Monday, 7 May 2012

British scientists to test Turmeric’s cancer fighting prowess

American scientists have already established Turmeric’s ability to help prevent mental illnesses such as Alzheimers and now this core ingredient of every sub-continental curry is to be tested for its ability to kill cancerous tumours.

The Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital will conduct trials on a number of bowel cancer patients who will be given doses of Curcumin – the central ingredient in Turmeric – along with regular chemotherapy drugs. 

Studies have already shown that Curcumin can beat cancer cells grown in a laboratory and benefits have been seen in stroke and dementia patients. 

Prof William Steward, who is leading the study, told the BBC that animal tests combining the two were "100 times better" than either on their own and that had been the "major justification for cracking on" with the trial.

He said: "Once bowel cancer has spread it is very difficult to treat, partly because the side effects of chemotherapy can limit how long patients can have treatment.

"The prospect that Curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side effects and can keep having treatment for longer.

- UKAsian Staff

Nominations now open for Asian Achievers Awards 2012

Asian Business Publications (ABPL) has revealed details of the 12th annual Asian Achievers Awards which will once again celebrate the most inspirational British Asians in Great Britain.

The 2012 Awards ceremony will take place at the luxe Grosvenor House Hotel on 14th September 2012 and will recognize the outstanding work of Asian individuals from all segments of society.

This year’s event will have added significance as ABPL celebrates 40 years since the launch of its iconic South Asian publications Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar.
The Asian Achievers Awards is arguably the most popular of the plethora of such events within the Diaspora community in the UK, in part due to the public’s participation in choosing the shortlist for each of the 11 categories.

Nominations are now open for the public to vote in the different categories, which this year include:
  • Sports Personality of the Year
  • Business Person of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Professional of the Year
  • Achievement in Community Service
  • Achievement in Media, Arts and Culture
  • Award for Entertainment
  • Woman of the Year
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Uniformed and Civil Services Award
  • International Personality of the Year
An independent panel of judges will select a shortlist in each category based on the public’s nominations and a winner chosen in the run up to the event.

Mr CB Patel, Chairman of ABPL Group and the mastermind behind the awards said, “Asian Achievers Awards is a unique award ceremony where nominations are made by members of the public and the selection is done by an individual panel of judges – truly the ‘People’s Awards’.”

Nominations can be registered via Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar newspapers, as well as online at:

The deadline for all nominations is July 12.

A R Rahman receives honorary American doctorate

Four years after the release of Slumdog Millionaire, America’s love affair with A R Rahman continues after the Oscar and Grammy-winning composer was awarded an honorary doctorate by Miami University on Saturday.

Intriguingly, it was Miami University in Ohio which conferred the doctorate on Rahman as part of its ‘Year of the Arts’ and invited him to deliver the keynote address at the university’s commencement.

A delighted Rahman said he was overwhelmed by the honour and couldn’t still digest the warmth with which America has embraced him; not least the personal invitation he had received from the US President inviting him over to the White House.

In a revealing and articulate speech to the more than 3000 graduates, Rahman laid out some of the principles that he lives by and which have brought him global success.

One insight seemed to be aimed specifically at Americans: “Learn through travel”, he said.  “Keep an open mind and be ready to receive things that come along the journey.  So often, we have an opinion from someone of a place or a culture before heading to a destination.  Each one of us are made differently sometimes there are so many hidden truths of a place that are never revealed to us till we experience it ourselves.”

He went on, “Never ever rush into Judgment, especially about people, there is always another side of a story, a good side – we must always find ways to see the beauty and value of a place or a person or an institution or an art form; half the problems for each of us can be solved if people do not rush into judgment.”

“Be in touch with the poor – try to think of ways to make their lives better – think of how you can pull them up – there is a hidden virtue in doing this because time and time again, when society ignores the poor, they always perish eventually.”

Rahman also alluded to his most prescient life philosophy: “To live in the umbrella of truth and honesty is so simple and easy if you think about it.  Having a strong ambition sometimes comes in the way of the truth.  To achieve a natural balance takes a lifetime but it is so worth it. In India, we say Satyameva Jayate, which means the truth, will always triumph and in fact, that was the name of my first song collaboration with Mick Jagger from our Band Superheavy.”

Concluding his speech, Rahman thanked the people who have helped him on his remarkable journey: “I wish to thank a few people who have made a significant impact in my life: My father and mother have anchored me with good values; then Mr. Mani Ratnam who is India’s noted film maker gave me my first break in the world of cinema in the film Roja. My Sufi teachers opened my consciousness and helped me discover myself. People from all around India have embraced me and my music without any discrimination and today, I find the same spirit of acceptance in Hollywood.”

- Poonam Joshi

Raghu Dixit performs for the Queen at Windsor Castle

Raghu Dixit has arrived in England to perform at ‘All the Queen’s Horses: A Diamond Jubilee Special’, part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

It will be a solo performance by Raghu, who will be joined by his dancer-wife Mayuri Upadhya and a number of other dancers for the event which aims to celebrate the Queen’s lifelong love of all things equestrian as well as the relationship between Britain and its’ commonwealth.

Artists from a number of commonwealth countries will join Raghu and the likes of Sanjeev Bhaskar, Omid Djalili, Dame Helen Mirren, Susan Boyle, vocal quartet Il Divo, US classical violinist David Garrett and South African actors from the hit West End musical Lion King.

The theatrical extravaganza will also reportedly feature hundreds of horses and be filmed on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 13.

A delighted Raghu tweeted: "After several visits to London, I can finally say 'I am off to London to see the Queen' and actually meet Her Majest!'.

The show's director and producer Simon Brooks Ward told the Press Association: "We have been overwhelmed by the goodwill and support from stars across the globe, who each have their own personal memories of the Queen, and share an enormous amount of love and respect for her work.

Raghu’s appearance at the festival is further evidence of his increasing popularity in the United Kingdom.
Having won over British hearts with its wonderfully soulful performance on Live with Jools Holland in 2010, the band has performed at a number of high profile events in the UK, including Glastonbury and Alchemy at Southbank.

In April, the band performed at the 2012 Alchemy Festival as well as at OneFest in Wiltshire and the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

-    UKAsian Staff

Aamir Khan waves magic wand with Satyamev Jayate

It was the most anticipated media event of 2012.
Aamir Khan, universally loved for his recently acquired story-telling prowess and widely respected for his social consciousness was taking a crack at Television; a medium which has brought a whole new level of success for the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and even Sanjay Dutt.

But whilst those actors attempted to cash in on the public’s febrile, voyeuristic fascination with reality TV, Aamir is attempting to tap into the nation’s conscience.

The star’s aptly titled ‘Satyamev Jayate’ (Truth Triumphs) burst on to TV screens round the world Sunday, devoid of fanfare and razzmatazz and the topic of discussion was the abhorrent issue of female infanticide in India.

The superstar conducted a series of heartrending interviews with ordinary women forced by partners and families to abort baby girls.  One described how her family had colluded with a gynecologist to drug her before aborting her baby.

It was poignant, distressing stuff delivered with a stark realism and a few tears from Aamir, a la Oprah Winfrey, backed up by some startling facts: 30 million baby girls killed or aborted in a matter of 4 decades and how the practice was encouraged at government hospitals.

Female infanticide is an issue that perennially lurking just below the surface of public discourse in India.  For the first time however it was brought spectacularly to the fore by a man adored and watched by millions in a medium that has the widest possible reach.

And it was all lapped up by the public and Aamir’s fellow actors and filmmakers.
Actor-director Farhan Akhtar called it a “show with a heart” while Shabana Azmi said “it can bring a revolution”.

Ekta Kapoor – the Queen of Indian soap operas – proclaimed the show “the best of the decade”, while trade analyst Komal Nahta said, “I cried while watching the show. I think people will watch it as it has touched an emotional chord.”

The show was mentioned thousands of times and was trending on Twitter.

The first episode was preceded by a publicity blitz and it didn’t disappoint.

Aamir is reportedly paid a staggering Rs. 30 million (more than £350,000) PER EPISODE and a 10-SECOND ad slot on the show will set you back Rs 1.2m.

With that kind of money involved, it remains to be seen whether the showcasing of the myriad social evils that continue to blight India’s advancement, by one of the country’s most well known figures will translate into anything approaching real action on the ground or whether it is all yet another exercise in a select few people making copious amounts of money while the rest get by on 50p a day.

- Vijitha Alles

Pictures of British Raj found in shoe box in Edinburgh

Dozens of images depicting life in India a century ago has been discovered in Edinburgh.

The 178 plate-glass negatives were found inside a shoe box at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

They include images commemorating a British royal visit and ships docking on the Hooghly River in Kolkatta.

They are said to have been taken in the country at the time of the British Raj and the negatives untouched for almost 100 years.

Archivists at RCAHMS have confirmed that some of the images were definitely taken in 1912, when King George V and Queen Mary visited Calcutta.

It was the only visit by a British monarch to India as emperor of the subcontinent.

Some of the photographs show the city's buildings lit up at night in tribute to the royal visit.

The images were likely taken by a British civil servant in Kolkata, or a Scot connected to the jute trade which thrived in the City at the time.

The fascinating collection provides an insight not only to life in India a century ago but also the strange and colourful new culture which greeted newcomers to the subcontinent.

For the full gallery, visit
-    UKAsian Staff

Muslim campaigner criticizes Pak community elders over child grooming ring

The head of a leading British-Muslim organization has condemned Pakistani community leaders for “burying their heads in the sand” on the exploitation of young white girls by Pakistani men, after 9 men were convicted for being part of a child-grooming ring at Liverpool Crown Court.

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, which aims to promote dialogue between communities, said: "There is a significant problem for the British Pakistani community, there is an over-representation amongst recent convictions in the crime of on-street grooming, there should be no silence in addressing the issue of race as this is central to the actions of these criminals.”

Of 68 recent convictions for on-street grooming, 59 were of British Pakistani men.
Mr Shafiq added, "They think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought; it is this sort of behaviour that is bringing shame on our community.
"I urge the police and the councils not to be frightened to address this issue, there is a strong lesson that you cannot ignore race or be over sensitive."

He added: "I have been overwhelmed by the support the Ramadhan Foundation has been given by young people for our campaign on child grooming but concerned that community elders are once again burying their heads in the sand, this concerns us all and we must speak out.
"The community elders need to learn from the reaction of young people and reject any attempt to silence the reaction from our community.

"We have over the past 12 months seen tremendous progress, more Imams have spoken out in Friday sermons; workshops and activities for young people have happened in the community and there is a strong commitment to see this work through.
"We encourage local authorities and schools to learn from Rochdale where over 9,000 teenagers have attended a workshop on child grooming.

The nine men – from Rochdale and Oldham – were found guilty of ‘grooming’ girls, one as young as 13, by playing them with alcohol and drugs so that they could be ‘passed around’ and used for sex.
“They have a respectable life in the community and then they have their night life”, Mr Shafiq continued.

“Asian girls are not available to them and so they look to Western girls. They think they’re easy. They see them as tarts who are there to be used.”

“This gang was the talk of the town among the taxi drivers. People were appalled because it’s nothing to do with faith, nothing to do with Islam.

Reports say that Mr Shafiq has received death threats for his views and his work with the Ramadhan Foundation.

The BBC also revealed today that the trial had been delayed by two weeks after two Asian barristers quit after being intimidated outside the Court.

- Terry Morton

'Salman is lonely and depressed in prison' - Mohammad Asif

Shamed Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif – who was released from Canterbury prison last week after serving 6 months for his role in the Lord’s spot-fixing scam – has described his former captain Salman Butt and fellow inmate as a ‘lonely and depressed man’, ‘counting the days to the end of his term.’

Asif, Butt and Mohammad Amir were jailed for their part in the infamous deliberate no-balls incident during a Test Match against England at Lords last summer.

Amir was released from a young offenders institute after serving 3 months out of a 6-month sentence while Asif’s release came halfway through his 12-month jail term.

Butt was jailed for a total of 30 months and will not be eligible for release until later this year.
Speaking to The Dawn newspaper, Asif revealed that he had shared a room with Salman in prison for about three months.  “He is a lonely man and looked very depressed on the day of my release from jail” Asid said.

“He has been quite miserable at times and is anxiously awaiting his release.”

HMP Canterbury allows two foreign nationals in the same room.

“There were very few Muslims in the prison and we both were first asked whether we could share the same room,” the paper quoted the former World No 2 pace man.

“We immediately agreed. Having a non-muslim room partner could have made life difficult for both me and Salman.”

When asked if there were any ill feelings between the two, particularly after the nerve-racking trial in London last September where both players hurled serious allegations at each other, Asif denied any such thing and added that the bond between the two grew stronger in prison.

“No, there were no ill-feelings between us. In fact, we were like two brothers in the prison,” said Asif.

 “Both of us were made gym in-charge where we played badminton and football.”

Asif said he used to speak to his family over telephone from the prison but none of his family members afforded to visit the jail.

However, the family members of his former captain did visit him in prison.

“Every month in the jail, Salman’s wife (Gul), his elder son and mother paid a visit there,” informed Asif.  “But his younger son has been denied visa again and therefore he could not see him.”

-    UKAsian Staff