चांद पर पहुंच गया यह इंडो-अमेरिकन!
इंडो-अमेरिकन नवीन जैन की कंपनी – मून एक्सप्रेस पहली ऐसी प्राइवेट स्पेस कंपनी बनी है जिसे चंद्रमा पर मिशन चलाने को हाल में अमेरिकी सरकार की इजाजत मिली है। जैन (56) ने यह कंपनी स्पेस आंत्रप्रन्योर बॉब रिचर्ड और नासा के पूर्व साइंटिस्ट बर्नी पेल के साथ मिलकर बनाई है। उनकी कंपनी की टीम 20 मिलियन डॉलर के गूगल लूनर एक्स-प्राइज की होड़ में शामिल 16 टीमों में से एक है जो चंद्रमा पर अपना मिशन चला सकती हैं। मून एक्सप्रेस को अमेरिकी सरकार से मिले अप्रूवल का एक खास मतलब है। जैन बताते हैं कि इसके जरिये अमेरिकी सरकार सुनिश्चित करना चाहती है कि वह अपने मिशन से वायुमंडल या पृथ्वी को प्रदूषित न करे। मून एक्सप्रेस चंद्रमा पर एक खास मकसद से जाना चाहती है। जैन कहते हैं, हम वहां सोना, प्लैटिनम और रेयर अर्थ कहलाने वाले तत्वों की माइनिंग कर सकते हैं। चंद्रमा पर हीलियम-3 का भंडार है जो स्वच्छ ऊर्जा का एक बेहतरीन स्रोत है। हम वहां पृथ्वी या फिर चंद्रमा की कक्षा में फ्यूलिंग स्टेशन भी बना सकते हैं। आज की तारीख में लंबी स्पेस यात्राओं के लिए रॉकेट ईंधन ले जाना बेहद महंगा है पर यदि हम ऐसा कर सके, तो इससे स्पेस ट्रैवल की लागत घटेगी। अपने मिशन की लागत के बारे में जैन का कहना है कि चंद्रमा पर जाने की लागत अमूमन 10 मिलियन डॉलर है पर हम आरएंडडी पर अलग से 40 मिलियन डॉलर खर्च कर रहे हैं। इससे शुरू से आखिर तक हमारे मिशन पर कुल 50 मिलियन का खर्च आ सकता है। जैन कहते हैं कि हाल तक चंद्रमा की किसी भी चीज पर दुनिया का कोई भी मुल्क 1967 के एक अंतरराष्ट्रीय करार में बंधे होने के कारण अपना दावा पेश नहीं कर सकता था, लेकिन इधर अमेरिकी सरकार ने कानून में एक संशोधन किया है। इससे प्राइवेट कंपनियों को भी चांद पर खोजी गई चीज के स्वामित्व का हक मिल गया है।
US में सिख बना हीरो
न्यू यॉर्क और न्यू जर्सी में हुए बम विस्फोटों के मामले में वॉन्टेड अफगान मूल के अमेरिकी को पकड़ने में मदद करने के कारण अमेरिका में एक सिख लोगों के बीच हीरो बन गया है। इस हमले में 29 लोग घायल हो गए थे। हरिंदर बैंस लिंडन स्थित एक बार के मालिक हैं। उन्हें 28 वर्षीय अहमद खान राहामी बार के दरवाजे पर सोमवार को सोता हुआ दिखा। बैंस को पहले लगा कि कोई शराबी दरवाजे पर आराम कर रहा है लेकिन बाद में उन्होंने अहमद को पहचान लिया और पुलिस को बुला लिया। अधिकारी जब अहमद को पकड़ने आए तो उसने बंदूक निकाल ली और गोलियां चलानी शुरू कर दीं। इसके बाद पुलिस ने उसका पीछा किया। अहमद के खिलाफ एक कानून प्रवर्तन अधिकारी की हत्या का प्रयास और अवैध रूप से हथियार रखने का आरोप भी दर्ज किया गया है। इसके अलावा अहमद ने पाकिस्तान के क्वेटा की यात्रा भी की थी और हर बार यूएस लौटने पर उससे पूछताछ की गई थी लेकिन उसकी निगरानी नहीं हो रही थी।
INDIAN BUSINESSMAN WHO OWNS 22 APARTMENTS IN BURJ KHALIFA
An Indian mechanic-turned-businessman today owns an incredible 22 apartments in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. George V Nereaparambil says he is not stopping at 22 and will continue to buy more if he gets a ‘good deal’. He says: “If I get a good deal, I’ll buy more. I am a dreamer and I never stop dreaming …” Kerala-born George is believed to be one of the largest private owners within the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure. His stake in the property came about when a relative teased him about the 828-metre building. “A relative of mine once jokingly told me – see this Burj Khalifa, you cannot enter it, he said.” After seeing an advertisement in a newspaper about an apartment for rent in the building in 2010, Nereaparambil rented it the same day and started living there from the next day. Now, six years down the line, with 22 of the 900 apartments at perhaps the Gulf’s poshest address under his belt, he has rented out five, and as for the rest, he’s ‘waiting for the right tenant.’ In an incredible sounding rags-to-riches story, Nereaparambil realised there was huge scope for an air conditioning business in the hot climate of the desert after he first touched down in Sharjah back in 1976. Nereaparambil, who helped his father trade cash crops and made money from waste since the age of 11, then went about setting up the beginnings of his now mini-empire, the GEO Group of Companies. “People in my hometown used to trade cotton, but they’d throw away the cotton seeds. Not many people knew at that time that you could make gum from those seeds,” he said. Sifting through the dirt and sand to gather up the disregarded seeds, he said he would often make a ‘90 percent profit’ selling them. “I’d do the same with tamarind seeds too. I’d sell the empty shells as cattle feed,” he reflects.
INDIAN-ORIGIN UK PEER TAKES OATH ON RIG VEDA
Britain’s newest Indian-origin peer marked his entry into the House of Lords by swearing his oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on the Rig Veda. The copy of the Rig Veda used by Jitesh Gadhia was edited and published in Devanagari script in 1849, by German academic Max Muller. The 49-year-old investment banker of Gujarati-origin had been nominated for his peerage as part of former PM David Cameron’s resignation honours list and he coincidentally took his oath on the same day Cameron announced his resignation as an MP. “History will judge him (Cameron) to have been a great reforming PM, who brought the country back from the brink of financial ruin. I will be joining parliament at a defining moment in British history as we grapple with the new realities post-Brexit,” said Gadhia. “I wanted a copy of the original Sanskrit text of the Rig Veda but my research took me to this edition,” he explained. Gadhia, board member of UK Government Investments Ltd, is well known in British Indian circles as a Conservative party donor. He had played an active role during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to UK last November. Along with other new peers, he dressed up in traditional red robes to take a writ from the serving monarch, called the Letters Patent.
SIKH RACIALLY ABUSED ON POPULAR BBC BAKING SHOW
A Sikh man, who has caught the imagination of many as he vies to win the widely watched BBC programme “The Great British Bake Off”, has been subjected to racist abuse. Many rooted for Nadiya Hussain, a Muslim of Bangladeshi-origin, who won the popular cookery show last year, but Rav Bansal, 28, revealed on Twitter that he suffered abuse after appearing in the first two episodes of the ongoing series. Bansal, who lives in Kent and works in City University, is one of the 10 remaining contestants on the show. He tweeted that he was asked whether he was a “p*ki” by a stranger, who referred to the “not so British Bake Off”. Bansal ended his tweet with: “Really, in 2016?” Hussain winning the 2015 edition was hailed as an example of Britain’s multiculturalism, but the uneasy relationship with difference was never far from the surface. Hussain later spoke of how racism had become part of her life and how she had come to expect it. According to Bansal’s contestant profile, he has an especially strong bond with his sister who inspired him to bake. He studied criminology at university but took a different career path and now loves his job supporting students at City University London. “Rav has always been passionate about helping people and has volunteered for charities such as Victim Support. He is adventurous and experimental with his baking and likes to use a whole range of unusual ingredients,” the profile says. “He thinks he has a good sense of flavour combinations, even if they might seem strange to others. Rav is especially inspired by far eastern cuisine and likes vegan baking.”
INDIAN-ORIGIN CEO ACCUSED OF ABUSING MAID
An Indian American head of an IT consulting firm who once figured among top women business leaders has been accused by the US government of grossly underpaying her live-in domestic help from India and mistreating her by making her sleep in the garage with the family’s dogs when unwell. Himanshu Bhatia, the founder of Rose International, which earned US$ 357 million in 2011, has been charged by the US labour department of violating the Fair Labour Standards Act. She was also accused of subjecting Sheela Ningwal, the help, to ‘callous abuse’ and punishing her for pursuing her rights, according to a complaint filed in a federal court in California recently. Bhatia, who was born in Delhi and went to the School of Planning and Architecture, was named among the 25 top women business leaders in the US by Fast Company web magazine in 2012. She and her family live in San Juan Capistrano, California, and own ‘mansions and luxury penthouse condominiums in Las Vegas, Long Beach, and Miami’, according to the labour department’s complaint.
US HONOURS PIO DOCTOR WITH TOP AWARD
Abraham Varghese, an Indian-American doctor, has been awarded the ‘National Humanities Medal,’ America’s highest humanities award, by President Obama for his contributions to the field of medicine. Dr. Varghese is a physician and author, currently a professor of medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine. “The 2015 National Humanities Medal to Abraham Verghese is for reminding us that the patient is the centre of the medical enterprise,” the citation of the medal read.
US MAIL FRAUD: ACTION AGAINST INDIAN PRINTER
The US government will initiate actions against a host of global companies and individuals, including some in India, who were involved in mass mailing fraud schemes that have collectively defrauded millions of victims of hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the US justice department, fraudulent “direct mailers” create letters falsely claiming that the recipient has won, or will soon win, cash or valuable prizes. In order to collect these benefits, the letters say that the recipients need only send in a small amount of money for a processing fee. Among others, the complaint names Mail Order Solutions India Pvt Ltd, an India based printer and distributor, and its principals, Dharti Desai, 49, of New York County and Mumbai, and Mehul Desai, also of Mumbai.
TWO INDIAN AMERICANS WIN PRESTIGIOUS McARTHUR FELLOWSHIPS
It is called the ‘Genius Grant’ and each award comes with US$ 625,000, with no strings attached. But no, you can’t apply for it – or have a well-connected uncle enter you for it. Those being considered have no inkling of when the call comes, and when it does, they are always surprised. Manu Prakash, who was among the 23 winners announced on 22 September, almost didn’t answer the phone. The Indian-born Stanford biologist was handling his four-month old twins then. “I was very sleep-deprived when the phone rang,” he told Stanford, the university’s in-house magazine. But he did, eventually. He was one of two Indian born men among the 23 McArthur Fellowship awardees for 2016. Subhash Khot, a computer scientist from New York University was the second. They are both from IITs – Prakash from Kanpur and Khot from Mumbai. There is a third India-linked winner this year as well – Bill Thies, an American working at a Microsoft Labs in Bengaluru. The John D and Katherine T McArthur Foundation, which has offices in India as well, awards an unrestricted number of fellowships every year to people who have shown ‘exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances’. Past winners with an India connection include writers Ved Mehta and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, poet and scholar A K Ramanujam, classical musician Ali Akbar Khan and jazz pianist Vijay Iyer. Nominees, drawn from a variety of fields, are brought to the foundation’s notice by a changing pool of nominators who remain anonymous. Applications and ‘unsolicited’ nominations are ignored.
PHILANTHROPIST RAMLUTCHMAN HONOURED
ZULULAND philanthropist, Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu, received a gold medal award during the ‘Zulu Kingdom Orders Municipal Awards’ held at the Enyokeni Royal Palace recently. The Order of King Zwelithini is awarded to individuals who contribute to the preservation and promotion of culture, customs and traditional ceremonies of the Zulu nation. Ramlutchman said he was humbled by the award and also to be embraced by the royal family as a son. ‘Adopted and taken into the royal family has been a unifying factor between the Zulus and Indians and we all have to work together to achieve social cohesion in society.