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Newsletter. Issue 2004-15. Jul. 24, 2004
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Newsline Canada

The Human Development Index (HDI) is based on per-capita income, educational
level, healthcare and life expectancy.
Canada 4th best place to live U.N. index rates quality of life -Moves up from 8th spot in 2003
GRAHAM FRASERNATIONAL AFFAIRS WRITER Toronto Star
OTTAWA-We're number four! Canada has been ranked the fourth best country in the world in which to live on the United Nations' annual Human Development Index, behind Norway, Sweden and Australia.
For several years, Canada was listed first in the report, but dropped to third place in 2001 and to eighth place in 2003.
The index is a statistical calculation of quality of life focusing on life expectancy, school enrolment and literacy, and income.
"In absolute terms, Canada has improved on all fronts," said Stéphane Vigié, deputy director for donor relations at the U.N. Development Program, which produced the report.
Vigié said the differences between the major developed countries were very narrow. For example, he said had Luxembourg's students studying abroad been included in the education statistics, it would have moved from 15th place to fourth.
"If you look at the top 25, you're talking about countries that are doing very well," Vigié told the Star.
Despite Canada's high overall rating, some of the measurements were less positive.
Canada rated 12th on the Human Poverty Index, behind Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Japan and Switzerland. That index is calculated on the basis of the probability of not surviving until the age of 60, lack of functional literacy skills, long-term unemployment, and the percentage of the population living below the poverty line.
Similarly, Canada's average annual unemployment rate of 9 per cent between 1992 and 2002 compares unfavourably with those of Iceland (3.6 per cent), Japan (3.8 per cent), Norway (4.4 per cent), the Netherlands (4.8 per cent) and Sweden (6.4 per cent).
All but three of the 30 lowest-ranked countries were in Africa. War-ravaged Sierra Leone remains at the bottom of the index for the seventh consecutive year, ranked in 177th place.

India 127th in Human Development Index July 15, 2004 19:44 IST
India's rank in terms of Human Development Index (HDI) stood unchanged at 127 during 2002, with per capita income coming down but literacy rate improving slightly, the United Nations Development Programme said in its report on Thursday.
"Despite India showed improvement on two major parameters -- life expectancy at birth and adult literacy rate -- the country's ranking could not improve as other nations saw a much healthy growth in the social sector parameters,"
UNDP Assistant Resident Representative Surekha Subarwal said.
UNDP measures HDI in terms of life expectancy at birth, adult literacy rate, gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools, and per capita income in purchasing power parity (PPP).
The index was static mainly due to the decline in GDP per capita PPP to $2,670 in 2002 from $2,840 dollar in 2001, on account of the decade's worst drought in 2002 that resulted in lower GDP growth.
The life expectancy ratio improved to 63.7 in 2002 from 63.3 in 2001, while adult literacy rate went up to 61.3 from 58 in the previous year.
Enrolment ratio in schools, however came down marginally to 55 during 2002 from 56 in 2001.
The report covering 177 countries was released by Information and Broadcasting and Culture Minister S Jaipal Reddy in New Delhi.

Editorial
From the Catholic Register
The new loneliness - Turning a collection of individuals into a community.

Canada is becoming a nation where the sum is not even equal to -- let alone more than -- its parts. The recent election, with its historic low turnout, suggests we are turning our backs on working together to solve our common problems.
This sense of “bowling alone" -- a term coined by U.S. author Robert Putnam in his book of the same name -- was only reinforced by a Statistics Canada study released this month. Once a nation of common purpose and drive, we have become bewilderingly diverse hi our interests. And this is without even talking about Quebec.
The StatsCan survey on social engagement, using figures from 2003, suggests that Canadians are a very busy people. Sixty-one per cent of the population belong to at least one organization that takes up their time outside of work and home. But that was about as full as the glass was.; Some of the other findings of the study are rather ominous.
First, 38 per cent belong to nothing. They don't play sports, don't belong to a church group, aren't in contact with their alumni association, don't even belong to a union or professional association. They are cut off -- perhaps voluntarily and willingly -- from many of the usual connections that give a sense of purpose to life. While most still reported having close relationships with family and friends, the surveyors found that the happiest people those most involved their communities. This same group also had a greater sense of trust in institutions such as government, police, the health system and schools.
There was little good news for churches. Church attendance figures this survey confirmed those of many others. Only 30 per cent attended regularly (at least once a month). For younger people, aged 15-34, the figure drops to just over 22 per cent.
Figures on voting -- perhaps the single easiest and most direct form of participating in our democratic system- mirror involvement with religion. From a high turnout of 75 per cent in 1981, we have dropped to 60.5 per cent today And once again, there is a definite split between young and old.
Is this cause for despair? Not yet. Millions of Canadians continue to have a sense of responsibility to a world larger than themselves and their families. With their devotion, enthusiasm, talent and energy they fuel all that activity that turns a collection of individuals into a community.
Yet those of us involved in all those organizations need to ask seriously why so many seem to be alienated from all we hold dear. It is not enough to dismiss those outside our busy circles as apathetic or completely self absorbed Our own Gospel call to spread the Good News demands that we talk not just to ourselves, but to everyone. And serve not ourselves but those whose heeds are greatest. That's the real measure of a society.

Change in US working visas to hit India
In a move that would hit Indians working in the United States, the US government has introduced new procedures for revalidation and renewal for working visas with effect from tomorrow.
The new procedures would affect Indian visa holders as they would suffer hardships and financial loss in travelling out of US to get their visas extended.
The holders of visas like E1/E2,H,I,O,L P residing in the US will have to go back to their home country or any other third country for revalidation/ renewal before they are allowed to extend their stay.
"The procedure for grant of visa is a sovereign right of the country issuing it." Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

Goan Organization in America
The 2004 Biennial Convention – July 3-5, 2004
Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Centre, Burlington, Ontario
Report from Guirish Sardesai
Ben Antao - addressing
Ben-&-Guirish
Dr P S Ramani - addressing
Click on the photographs to enlarge

The 7th Biennial Convention of the Goan Organization in America (GOA) was held at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Centre in Burlington, Ontario, on July 3-5, 2004. More than 200 Goans participated in this event, the majority of them coming from the USA. The past Conventions of GOA were held in Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and Houston.

Guirish and Asha Sardesai who come from Candolim and Panjim respectively, and have been long term residents of Burlington, hosted this event.

The GOA Convention is essentially a family reunion of Goan families who have settled in North America. They reunite every two years with the sole purpose of keeping alive the friendship and camaraderie. Most participants are either related to one another by blood, or have been good friends for many years; and most of them know each other on a first name basis. There are absolutely no commercial, educational or other interests associated with these Conventions.

The activities started on Saturday, July 3, 2004, with registration, followed by cocktails and banquet dinner, with a touch of Goan food and wine. The evening entertainment program was a family affair, with songs, dances and other dramatic and musical pieces presented by family members, both young and old.

On Sunday morning, Dr. P. S. Ramani of Mumbai and Mr. Ben Antao of Toronto made presentations to the audience. Dr. Ramani, who is a leading neuro-surgeon, spoke about the causes for backache problems and the suggested remedies. Mr. Antao made an interesting presentation on his recent trip to Goa after a long spell, and how he "rediscovered" the homeland.

The participants then travelled by buses to the Toronto Harbourfront for lunch and scenic cruise aboard the chartered liner "Northern Spirit". It was a perfect setting for renewing old friendships, while enjoying the picturesque waterfront of Toronto. The young and the old danced to Goan music.

The younger generation (about 60 youths) then experienced the breathtaking view of Toronto from the CN Tower, before returning to Burlington for the 2004 GOA Youth Banquet at Burlington’s finest international buffet. Meanwhile, the remainder of the party returned to Holiday Inn for cocktails and banquet dinner, which included fish and other dishes cooked in Goan style. The dinner was followed by an evening of classical and semi-classical music, Natya Sangeet, Gazals and Film Songs, performed by Toronto’s top team of professional artists.

On Sunday morning presentations were made by Dr. Prafulla Hede and Dr. Suresh Dubhashi. Dr. Hede spoke about Samraat Club International, extending an invitation to the participants to join the Club. Dr. Dubhashi spoke on the topic of health care in India, and the efforts he is putting in to improve medical services to the underprivileged in Goa.

These presentations were followed by the Biennial General Meeting, at which time the delegates chose Chicago as the venue for the next Convention in July 2006.

The United States Deputy Secretary, Mr. Richard Armitage apologizes to George Fernandes for strip search
PTI New Delhi July 14: The United States Deputy Secretary, Mr. Richard Armitage today said he was "horrified" at the incident of strip-searching done on Mr George Fernandes during an official visit to US as defence minister and apologised to him.
"On the way in the car here I had the opportunity to telephone my old friend, George Fernandes and told him I had heard about the problem he had.
I was horrified about it and I personally apologised to him," he told reporters after he met the Leader of the Opposition, Mr L K Advani here.
Former deputy secretary of state, Mr. Strobe Talbott in his just published book said Mr. Fernandes was strip-searched twice at Duless airport when he was defence minister, once on an official visit to Washington in early 2002 and another time while enroute to Brazil in mid-2003.
The US embassy here said Mr. Fernandes was not strip-searched but a security wand was waved over him when a key in his pocket set off the metal detector at a US airport last year.
"Fernandes played an important role in the burgeoning US-India relationship and we consider him the cherished friend of the US," he said. Meanwhile, as a controversy raged over his frisking at the New York airport last year, former defence minister, Mr. George Fernandes today denied he underwent a "striptease".
"Nothing like striptease happened there," he told reporters here referring to the book authored by Mr. Talbott which says that the then defence minister was "strip-teased" twice.
Mr. Fernandes said he was asked to remove his coat, shoes and socks which he did.
"Then I was asked to spread my arms and then raise them," he said, adding after that "khel khatam ho gaya (the drama ended)".


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Goan Charitable Organization - Walk-A-Thon
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