Indian origin man in Singapore gets jail term

Singapore, April 26 : A 25-year-old Indian origin former drama teacher has been sentenced to one year in jail by a Singapore court after he pleaded guilty to having sex with a partner under the age of 16.
Aravind S. Menon, 25, was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl on three occasions in May and July, 2009, The Straits Times reported.
The accused, then aged 20, was working voluntarily as a drama teacher in a school when the girl joined the drama society in 2008.
According to the report, the girl grew close to Menon and the two ended up having sex in 2009.
However, the student’s parents got suspicious when they saw text messages from Menon to their daughter in her cellphone and warned the school. The school then sacked Menon.

Indian origin man wants name out of Malaysia voters roll

Singapore, April 24 : An Indian origin man in London is fighting to have his name removed from the electoral roll of Malaysia, which is going for general elections next month.
On finding that his name is registered in Malayasia’s electoral roll, S.K. Dinesh, 32, filed an emergency judicial review application April 4 through a firm, SN Fam & Co, to have his name removed.
However, the high court in Shah Alam, capital of the Malaysian state of Selangor, Wednesday denied him leave to initiate judicial proceedings against the Election Commission (EC), The Star newspaper reported.
Dinesh had named the EC and its chief registrar as the first and second respondents respectively.
An engineer, Dinesh has been a resident of Britain for 15 years.
In his application, Dinesh claimed that he had notified the chief registrar that he had neither registered to be a voter in Malyasia nor had he given the power or authority to anybody to register him as a voter, according to the report.
According to his father K. Siva Kumar, the fact that Dinesh’s name was on the roll came to light when a postcard stating that he was registered voter for the state seat Kota Alam and parliamentary seat Klang arrived at his home address.
Dinesh was not present in the court during Wednesday’s hearing, the report said.
Malaysia is going for general elections May 5. Indians comprise a little over seven percent of the country’s total population of nearly 30 million

Indian origin man gunned down in Kuala Lumpur

Singapore, April 27 : A 29-year-old Indian origin man was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne assailants while he was driving his car in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur.
R. Kaarikalan, a barber, was driving to his shop in the Puchong area of the city Friday when he was attacked, The New Straits Times reported.
According to the report, when Kaarikalan was at the Taman Billion roundabout, the two gunmen drew alongside him and fired at least eight to 10 times at him. While Kaaraikalan slumped down in his seat after being hit twice, his mother, who was with him, sustained minor injuries.
After passers-by alerted the police, Kaarikalan was rushed to the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre where he succumbed to his injuries an hour later.
Police have not ruled out a case of mistaken identity.

Indian origin woman Asha Patel short-listed for ‘best job in world’

An Indian origin woman in Britain has been shortlisted for the role of Western Australia taste master, advertised in the Australian state’s tourism website as “one of the best jobs in the world”.
If she finally lands the role, Asha Patel’s job would be to eat her way across the state, forage out the finest produce and uncover the best bars and restaurants, the Leicester Mercury newspaper reported Tuesday.
Over 600,000 people from across the world had applied for six positions – taste master, lifestyle photographer, outback adventurer, park ranger, wildlife caretaker and ‘chief funster’.
Only 25 names have been shortlisted for each role.
Each of the six winners will be going about doing their dream job for six months, getting paid $50,000 and an additional $50,000 for living expenses,
Patel, 30, a self-confessed food addict and travel lover, said landing the role would be a “dream come true” for her.
She said she knew the job was for her as soon as she saw the job description in the advertisement.
“I was thrilled, ecstatic and a bit overwhelmed when I found out I’d been shortlisted,” she was quoted as saying.
“It’s quite different to anything I’ve ever done before.”
Now working as a freelance writer and photographer in London, Patel grew up in Rushey Mead, Leicester.

Astronaut Sunita Williams takes 2,000 kids on spacewal

Astronaut Sunita Williams calls herself a citizen of the universe, though she has yet to meet ET or any alien during her sorties in outer space.
She took a 2,000-strong audience of children from 20 city-based schools on a virtual spacewalk during an hour-long inspirational lecture at Science City auditorium. When she said her “thank you”, the Indian-American who had spent 322 days in space since her first launch in 2006 fielded a clutch of queries from inquisitive youngsters.
The enthusiasm impressed the space celebrity, who had logged a record-breaking 50-hour-40-minute spacewalk over seven walks in zero-gravity void. “There were 2,000 school students raptly listening to a lecture on space for over an hour. What more evidence do you want that your youngsters are interested in science exploration and some of them will make it to space? I am here to encourage them and others too, to join our International Space Station (ISS) mission. It is a peaceful, international mission and we would like to have more and more people from different countries join us,” Captain Williams said.
The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) with support from Nasa has organised Suni’s ‘ as she is fondly known ‘ four-day tour of India from April 1. She has already confirmed her role-model status in Delhi (on Monday) and Calcutta, and it would be no different in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Her incredible lecture “Expedition-33 International Space Station Mission: Challenges and Success” stretched over an hour but not a single student fidgeted or buzzed in the seat ‘ other than the occasional coughing and energetic claps.
Sunita the astronaut took the stage in her blue Nasa overalls to explain how she did experiments with fluid in space; how she came to name Node 3 as Tranquility; how the space station protects itself from asteroids and other inter-galactic missiles; and a score of other questions. She also dwelt upon Nasa’s collaboration with Isro.
Sunita the woman, who touched down here in a capri and tee on Monday evening, said she was trying to go the whole nine yards: wear a sari. “Wherever I go I see these pretty saris,” she gushed. Also on her Calcutta to-do list are mishti doi and rosogolla, a visit to Raj Bhavan and a patio party in Taj Bengal.
“I wish I could travel and see India. I have seen Ahmedabad, where my father comes from, but I would really love to go to the Himalayas and also travel to the south, to Kerala and to Goa. But I have to do that incognito some day,” she said.
Then she adds: “I have seen the whole of India from space. When I am in India, my overwhelming impression is that there are a lot of people and that means there are great minds and great ideas.”
Then again, almost as an afterthought, she called herself a citizen of the universe. Williams said: “It feels great to be in space, I become taller, my ageing signs disappear, I have a lot of fun fixing broken things. But when I am asked if I would like to live in space forever, I would say earth is awesome.”
A window seat at the space station or shuttle gives Sunita the high jinks and it is addictive too. “You can start to tell the difference between continents…Latin America is dark, India is purple but the Himalayas is white and brown.”
“I’ve been lucky. I have been on two long missions. I want to step aside a little and let them (new astronauts) fly. More and more people from different places bring their experience and expertise to the table. I brought my Indian and Slovenian roots to the table.”
Sunita the sportsperson (runner, swimmer, biker, triathlete, windsurfer, snowboarder and bow hunter), however, needed a pause when asked to pick the sportsperson she would like to take to space. “That’s tricky. I was a swimmer and it really helped to be in space with my training to be underwater for long. You cannot be too tall because the spacecraft has space limitations, so basketball players are out. You cannot be too short…you can’t fit into a spacesuit. You have to be a bit muscular and be strong. Anyone who has done endurance sport will do well in space.”
Sunita the animal lover, who once wanted to be a vet, said she had loads of fun experimenting with Egyptian spiders Cleopatra and Nefertiti in space. “Their food supply was running out, so we put them in bubblewrap suits and they were taken out of the spacecraft and into the shuttle. Cleopatra did not survive, but Nefertiti did. She was taken to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC where she died after a couple of weeks.”
Sunita the future space author disclosed her plans: “I wrote a journal in space about what life is like in space. A moderated version is on the Nasa website. That has the potential to turn into a book.”

Indian-American hotel owner Vikram Chatwal arrested

Indian-American hotel owner Vikram Chatwal, who’s reportedly been close with American actress Lindsay Lohan, since 2011,has been arrested in Florida on drug charges, according to a media report.
Chatwal, 41, was busted on April 2 at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered an arsenal of drugs hidden on his person, in his crotch and in his bag, TMZ website reported citing a police report obtained by it.

Chatwal was booked on one count of trafficking (6 grams of heroin) and seven counts of possession, it said. According to the police report cited by TMZ, Chatwal admitted to cops that he illegally purchased and possessed the drugs.
Son of hotelier Sant Chatwal, Vikram Chatwal owns the Dream Hotel in New York City.
TMZ said it had reached out to Chatwal’s people, but had not heard back from them

Tosha Thakkar murder case in Australia update – Parents’ anguish: murdered daughter was their ‘sweet little fairy’

She was their “sweet little fairy”, a peaceful, happy “blessing” who was flourishing in Australia despite being separated from her parents in India.
The family of murdered Indian student Tosha Thakkar, 24, have told a court hearing of the intense pain of losing their only daughter and sister.
I cannot express the pain that I feel all the time, it’s invisible.

Ms Thakkar was living in Sydney and studying accounting when she was killed by her roommate, Daniel Stani-Reginald, in their Croydon flat in March 2011.
Stani-Reginald has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting Ms Thakkar, murdering her and putting her body in a suitcase which he dumped in a canal at a Meadowbank park.
He was arrested a few hours after construction workers connecting an oil line found the suitcase.
A court was told on Monday that Stani-Reginald’s father murdered his mother and was violent to his son as a child, leaving Stani-Reginald with extreme trauma and an obsession with violent and sexual crime.
Ms Thakkar’s parents, Varsabeen and Sunil, who travelled from India to attend Stani-Reginald’s sentencing hearing in the Supreme Court, said her death had affected them mentally and economically.
In a victim impact statement read aloud by a Hindi interpreter they said: “This man has not only taken away [our] daughter, he has also killed our life and all our happiness and our health.”
Ms Thakkar was a trustworthy, caring, confident woman who enjoyed living in Australia, they said.
“She was like a sweet little fairy” who brought “peace and happiness to all of us and a lot of blessings”, they said. “She used to take care of everyone with great love and care. She wanted to help a lot of people.”
Ms Thakkar’s younger brother Dishang said he still found it difficult to accept that his sister was gone.
“I cannot express the pain that I feel all the time, it’s invisible,” he wrote in his victim impact statement.
Kenneth Nunn, a psychiatrist who assessed Stani-Reginald in 2008 after he was charged with arson and malicious damage to property, told the court he had concluded Stani-Reginald suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, however no other specialists agreed with the diagnosis.
Dr Nunn believed that Stani-Reginald, an Australian of Sri Lankan heritage, would commit violent crimes and that a killing was more a “probability rather than a possibility”.
However, Dr Yvonne Skinner said assessments done after the murder, when Stani-Reginald was 19, showed no evidence of a mental disorder requiring involuntary treatment.
Dr Skinner said Stani-Reginald lacked empathy, had few friends or hobbies and had fantasized about committing violent and sexual crimes for years.
“He seems to have spent most or all of his leisure time planning or thinking about committing offences,” Dr Skinner told the court.
‘‘Do you mean offences of rape and murder?’’ asked Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC.
‘‘Yes,’’ she said.
In the months before the murder Stani-Reginald looked up websites to do with rape and killing, according to a computer log tendered in court.
Dr Skinner said Stani-Reginald was not impulsive and had shown no remorse after the killing.
“It is my opinion that it is planned rather than opportunistic,” she said.

NRI owned British company (Sun Mark Ltd) wins Queen’s award

An NRI-owned British company has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade for an unprecedented 5th year in succession.
Sun Mark Ltd won this year’s award which is a unique achievement as no other British company to date has won five consecutive Queen’s Awards.

Founder and Chairman of Sun Mark, Rami Ranger said, “For Sun Mark Ltd to win this accolade in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and now again in 2013 means that its name will be set in stone as being the only company to have won five consecutive Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and this achievement will remain in the business history books forever.”

He said the criteria set by the Queens Award Office are very high as they state that any company receiving this honour must show “an outstanding achievement resulting in substantial growth in overseas earnings, sustained over a minimum period of 3 years or more”.

He said “Sun Mark has been able to increase its sales, profitability and international reach because it believes that ‘a hidden talent is no talent’.

Badal in favour of issuance of SIM cards to NRI s on their non-Indian passport

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sought personal intervention of Union Minister of Communications & Information Technology KapilSibal to put in place a mechanism to issue local mobile SIM cards to the NRIs on the basis of their Non-Indian passport.
In a letter to Sibal, the Chief Minister said that NRIs were facing lot of difficulties in getting mobile SIM cards while visiting India as they don’t have any local identification. This was one of the major issues raised by Ministers, MPs, MLAs, Councilors and Mayors from all over the world, who had come to participate, in the Punjabi NRI Samellan held on 4th and 5th January, 2013 organized by the state government in Chandigarh and Jalandhar.
The Chief Minister impressed upon Sibal to get this genuine demand of NRIs thoroughly examined immediately and issue necessary guidelines to allow them local mobile SIM cards in order to mitigate their hardships.

Delhi high court rejects NRI’s plea in matrimonial dispute

In a matrimonial dispute, the Delhi high court has held that divorce granted by a foreign court on the ground of “irretrievable” break down of marriage is not recognised under the Hindu Marriage Act and the dissolution of marriage is not valid.
“Both the parties are Indians and marriage between them was solemnised at New Delhi according to Hindu rites and both are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA). Their marriage has been dissolved by a court in UK on the ground of having been broken down irretrievably which is not a ground for divorce under the HMA …” Justice Veena Birbal said.

The court cited a Supreme Court judgement, in which the apex court had held that a decree of divorce granted by a foreign court is not valid in India if the ground is not recognized by Indian law.

The court rejected the claim of an Indian-origin UK resident, that Ilford county court, UK, had in 2011 already granted divorce and the trial court here should drop the divorce proceedings against him on his wife’s plea for dissolution of marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Upholding the trial court order dismissing the man’s plea, the court concurred with the trial court. “… In view of the above discussion, no illegality is seen in the impugned order which calls for interference of this court. Petition is dismissed.”

The court also rejected the man’s argument that the UK court had made the decree “absolute” on the ground of “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage and his wife was also informed about the proceedings there.

Accepting the wife’s argument that divorce granted by the court in UK is an ex-parte divorce decree, Justice Birbal said, “Respondent (wife) never submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the said (UK) court. On June 15, 2011, she had lodged a representation before the Ilford county court informing that she was in India and filed a divorce petition here.

“She also informed that she was in acute financial difficulty to come to London to contest the divorce case. She wrote in detail about her financial condition and also informed that she had already filed a divorce petition in India. She requested the UK court not to make the divorce decree ‘absolute’ … In these circumstances, it cannot be said that she had submitted to the jurisdiction of the foreign court,” the court also said.

According to the man’s plea, the marriage had taken place in Delhi in March 2005 and both of them flew to the UK soon after marriage as they both were working there.

The woman, who returned to India in 2009 and now based in Delhi, said in her plea that their relationship turned sour few months after their marriage due to her husband’s alleged misbehaviour towards her.

Besides other complaints against her husband and in-laws under various laws including Domestic Violence Act, the woman had filed a divorce petition here in February 2011.

In his reply to her plea for divorce, the man had moved an application for dropping of the proceeding as he had already obtained the divorce from a UK court in May 2011. The trial court in September, 2011 had rejected his plea.