Monthly Archives: November 2013

David Cameron promises to back the curry industry

Fewer curry chefs are spoiling the broth. Enam Ali MBE, David Cameron and chefs at British Curry Awards 2013The £3.6bn curry industry in the UK is facing an acute shortage of South Asian chefs due to strict immigration rules for non-EU nationals.

The curry crisis

The Home Office has set a minimum requirement of that all Indian immigrants must be able to speak English, be educated at NVQ level four with five years work experience at a post graduate level and be paid a minimum salary of £28,260 which most curry houses cannot afford to pay.

According to the immigration policy, locals are being trained to work in curry houses but it is not easy for those donning the apron. Most EU workers are reluctant to work in Indian restaurants, as they are unable to understand the basics of Indian cuisine and spices.

The government has been floating the idea of starting curry colleges to train local workers to work in the curry industry in a move to fix the shortage.

According to Spice Business, there are 10,000 curry restaurants in the UK that employ about 80,000 people.

This has led to a large gap in the kitchen where the demand for skilled curry chefs has increased but the supply is dwindling.

Cameron’s promise

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to back the curry industry at the British Curry Awards ceremony in London.

“Let me promise you this. We will work through this together. We will continue to help you get the skilled Asian chefs that you need. And we will also work with you to train up the next generation of home grown chefs,” said Cameron.

Promoting the curry industry

The British Curry Awards also known as the Curry Oscars was started in 2005 by British entrepreneur and restauranter Eman Ali. He has been promoting the British curry industry globally for the last 30 years.

“The British Curry has established itself as an international cuisine in its own right and a standalone culinary genre which has produced dishes such as the onion bhaji, the dhansak, the chicken tikka masala, the rogan josh, the chicken phall and the balti,” said Ali.

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Sachin retires from cricket

The Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar ended his 24-year cricket career in his 200th and final test match against West Indies in Mumbai today.

Retirement

Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement form One Day Internationals on 23rd December 2012 and Indian Premier League cricket 26th May 2013. On 10th October 2013, he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket after the two-test series against West Indies in November.

The test match was Tendulkar’s 200th test match. On his request, the BCCI scheduled the match at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, which is his home ground.

The last match facts

  1. In preparation for the final test, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) made every effort to make this test match a memorable one in honour of Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar’s wheelchair bound mother has never seen her son play international cricket. The MCA built a ramp for her to access the President’s box.
  2. The MCA named their new ground as Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana Club.
  3. There were huge Tendulkar cutouts displayed throughout Wankhede Stadium depicting the 24 years of his cricket career during the last test match.
  4. Each ticket to the match had his photograph and a list of the scores of his 51 international test centuries.
  5. Online travel portal Musafir organised 200 TAB cabs to provide free rides to the stadium from 14th to 18th November. This was on a first come first serve basis where fans had to show their match tickets to gain the free ride from the designated pickup points.
  6. On Day 1 of the match, Indian captain MS Dhoni flipped a special gold coin during the toss which had Tendulkar’s image on one side and the MCA logo on the other side. This coin was presented to Tendulaker as a memento.
  7. Kapil Sibal, Indian minister for Communications and Information Technology unveiled Tendulkar’s postal stamp. He is the second Indian after Mother Theresa to have a postal stamp released during their lifetime.

Bharat Ratna

The Prime Minister’s Office announced that Sachin Tendulkar will be conferred the Bharat Ratna award for his outstanding contribution to cricket.

“Sachin Tendulkar is an inspirational figure, and a role model for all sportspersons. He richly deserves the Bharat Ratna. I extend my heartiest congratulations to him,” said N. Srinivasan, President of the BCCI.

The Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian award for performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour. Tendulkar is the first sportsperson and the youngest to be awarded with this civilian honour.

The Farewell Speech

Sachin Tendulkar gave a tearful farewell speech where he thanked several people who have been a part of his life and career.

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World Diabetes Day to focus on awareness

Today is World Diabetes Day that marks the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, WDD-logo-date-EN-2048pxthe man who discovered insulin in 1922 along with Charles Best.

The goal

The idea behind World Diabetes Day is to spread global awareness about diabetes mellitus. The day that was started by the International Diabetes Foundation and the World Health Organisation is celebrated every year on 14th November since 1991.

The Blue Monument Challenge

Since 2007, iconic monuments around the world have been lighting in blue, which is the colour of the blue circle of diabetes. So far over 1000 monuments in more than 80 countries have lit in blue in support of the cause. Previous monuments include London Eye and 10 Downing Street in London, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai Building (BMC) in India, Empire State Building in USA and others.

In the UK this year, the Elizabeth Tower popularly known as the Big Ben, the BT tower and Trafalgar Square fountain will be lit in blue.

“Diabetes affects far too many people in London and across the UK. It is vitally important to raise awareness of a disease that is preventable and treatable and I am delighted to back this campaign. I hope it will encourage more people to get tested, but also inspire more of us to think about what can do to reduce the risks ourselves, by getting more active and eating more healthily,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson who will be lighting the Trafalgar Square fountain blue.

The Diabetes Atlas

On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, the International Diabetes Federation released the 6th edition of the Diabetes Atlas with an interactive map.

According to the latest Diabetes Atlas, 382 million people have diabetes and by 2035 this will rise to 592 million.

number of cases IDF regionBy the end of 2013, diabetes will have caused 5.1 million deaths and cost $548 billion in healthcare spending.

number of people with diabetes

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UK mums to be paid to breastfeed

New mums are being offered up to £200 in shopping vouchers in a bid to promote breastfeeding.

 A pilot scheme

An initial amount of £120 in shopping vouchers will be doled out if babies are fed naturally until they are six weeks old. Mothers will receive an additional £80 in shopping vouchers if they continue to breastfeed until their babies reach six months.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield are collaborating with experts in infant feeding research at the University of Dundee and health economics at Brunel University. The study is called Nourishing Start for Health that is being funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative.

The trial will involve 130 mothers in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire where breastfeeding is low. If this is successful, the scheme will later be rolled out to the rest of England.

Verification

There is no way to verify that babies are indeed being breastfed. However, mothers participating in this scheme have to fill in a form and the form has to be signed by midwives and health visitors to confirm that the baby has been breastfed.

The vouchers are meant to be used at high street shops and supermarkets. There is no system in place that would ensure that mothers don’t misuse the vouchers to buy alcohol and cigarettes.

Benefits of breastfeeding

Dr Clare Relton, principal investigator from the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), said: “Babies who are breastfed have fewer health problems such as upset tummies and chest infections, and are less likely to develop diabetes and obesity when they are older,”

For more information on breastfeeding, please click here

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UK remembers its Veterans

Today is Armistice Day, a memorial day to remember those who died during World War I. The hostility formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1919.

Commemoration in the UK

remembrance_poppyIn the UK, two minutes of silence is observed on 11th November at 11:00 am. The beginning and end of the two minutes silence is marked by the firing of the ceremonial cannon.

The national commemoration is at The Cenotaph at Whitehall in London. The Royal British Legion organises wreath-laying ceremonies at most war memorials across the UK.

Remembrance poppy

The remembrance poppy has been used to commemorate soldiers who died in the war. The Royal British Legion organises a fundraising drive called the “Poppy Appeal” to support former and current British military personnel.

A few weeks before Remembrance Sunday, the Royal British Legion offer artificial poppies to the public meant to be worn on clothing in exchange for donation.

The Poppy Girls

For the first time in 2013, the Poppy Girls, which is an all girl group, formed from armed forces family released their Poppy Appeal single ‘The Call (No need to say Goodbye)” on Remembrance Sunday. The song is the official anthem for the 2013 Poppy Appeal.

The band is formed of Megan Adams, Florence Ransom, Alice Milburn, Bethany Davy and Charlotte Mellor whose fathers are currently serving in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The girls were shortlisted from over 1000 contenders.

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UK government scraps £3000 visa bond

The UK government’s decision to scrap the £3000 visa bond comes as a sign of relief for India and other countries termed as “high risk”.

The bond

In a bid to tackling illegal immigration, the UK Home Office had announced its intention to pilot a scheme to charge a bond of £3000 to adult nationals of six countries intending to visit the UK. The countries termed as “high risk” were India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria.

This scheme was due to run for 12 months starting from November 2013. The bond payment would be returned if the visitor returned to their home country after the visit visa expires.

Australia and New Zealand have similar schemes where financial bonds are applied to visitors in order to mitigate the risk of them overstaying their visa.

This scheme sparked outrage in India and received criticism from several ministers and agencies.

Scrapping the scheme

On scrapping the scheme, the CII said, “The Confederation of Indian Industry welcomes the move by UK government to withdraw the pilot scheme of £3000 visa bonds for visitors from 6 countries including India.

‘These unfair and discriminatory measures would have alienated settled communities in the UK, making it very difficult for family and friends to visit,” said British MP Virendra Sharma.

MP Keith Vaz said, “The Home Secretary is right to shelve the bond proposals. Unfortunately the damage has already been done to our relationship with India. During this shambolic process the Home Office has managed to upset a number of foreign governments and confuse millions of potential visitors.”

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