INDIA'S GLOBAL MAGAZINE
Pravasi Bharat 

nri - pio section

Diversity
Diwali celebrations liven up Londonís Trafalgar Square
The annual Diwali celebrations organised by Ken Livingstone the NRI Mayor of London livened up Londonís Trafalgar Square as thousands of British Asians, Londoners and tourists braved the rain to enjoy Indian food, music and fusion east meets west Bollywood dances mixed with American hip hop. 
Organisers placed traditional Ďdiyasí in the fountains and distributed boxes of Indian sweets. Participating groups included the Academy of Punjabi Heritage, the Angel Dance School, the Apsara Dancers, B4U, Baps Swaminarayan School, Explosive Dhol ín Dance Manchester, Sai School of Harrow. Karma from the Imperial College, Sunrise Radio and a host of others.
Livingstone said Diwali is an important occasion for Londonís Hindus, Sikhs and Jains as it represents the power of good over evil relevant to all Londonís communities because it signifies the value of cooperation and mutual respect between peoples.
Immigration
Indians remit more money home than any other nation
Migrants working in industrialised countries sent home over $300 billion in 2006, almost three times the $104 billion given in foreign aid to developing countries.
India tops the list with $24.5 billion in remittances, followed by Mexico, China, the Philippines and Russia.
A recent UN study released ahead of the International Forum on Remittances co-hosted by IFAD and IDB stated that Asia received the largest share of remittances followed by Latin America.
The globalisation of labour markets is a worldwide phenomenon with labour migrants unstoppable. Over a third of the vast remittances flow to families in rural areas to be used for basic necessities such as food, clothing, medicines and a small percentage is stashed away in homes, not put to work in banks and financial institutions.
The task is now seen as a challenge to harness the money for development by promoting developing nationsí investment climates and expanding the banking systems to reach rural areas.

Immigration
American NRIs urged to get involved in US politics
Last month Indo American community leaders joined technology experts, venture capitalists, elected officials, aspiring politicians, doctors, academicians and film personalities at the inaugural conference of the Indo American Council in Silicon Valley.
Addressing the gathering Vinod Dham, known as the father of the Intel Pentium, stated that it was important for the community to get more involved in politics and become an important political force.
Congressman Mike Honda, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus said that if Indian Americans do not have a voice in the political arena the community goes unnoticed. Former State Controller of California and one of the founding executives of eBay Steve Westley said importantly that someone needs to decide whether to continue the restrictive policy to limit H1-B visas when technology talent is desperately needed.
The Indo American community has many successful business leaders with skills important in the political arena, among whom are entrepreneurs Dham, Kanwal Rekhi, Kailash Joshi and Talat Hasan.
Diversity
Berlin to have first Hindu temple
On November 4 the groundbreaking ceremony was held for Berlinís first Hindu temple, dedicated to the elephant headed deity Ganesha. To be built in the working class suburb of Neukoelin, that has a large immigrant population and widespread unemployment, local councillors hope the temple will help integrate and ease social tensions and even attract potential tourists.
Expected to be completed in September 2009 the temple is to cost $1.12 million financed almost exclusively by donations and will contain a seating capacity for over 300 faithful and include four smaller temples. Stone carvings will be imported from India to decorate the entrance. It will also be used for weddings and birthday celebrations and yoga and meditation courses will be available.
It will be only the second Hindu temple in Germany and the second largest in Europe, meant not just for Hindus but for people who want to live together in peace, in the words of Mr Krishnamurthy, a resident of Berlin for 33 years.
Leadership
First Sikh officer in Pakistan Army
Harcharan Singh, conspicuous by his traditional Sikh turban and beard, marched with fellow cadets in the passing out parade to become the Pakistan Armyís first Sikh officer.
The 21 year old from Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, celebrated his graduation with his parents at Abbottabad in the North West Frontier Province, near Islamabad. 
Harcharan said that he hoped to prove that Sikhs are more loyal than their Muslim brothers and thanked the Pakistan army for giving him the chance to be a part of the Pakistan Military Academyís 116th Long Course.
It remains to be seen how Harcharan deals with an army that has over the years become increasingly influenced by Islamic fundamentalism and the Taliban.
Immigration 
Indian students stranded as Canadian university is shut down
A group of international Indian students looking to get their MBA degrees are stranded since their university in Vancouver, the Lansbridge University, has been told to close down from May 1 following the discovery of management malpractice.
In Canada education is the responsibility of the provincial government and the ministry is responsible for governing public and private institutions in the province.
Some 13 students from India, studying at Lansbridge, a private institution, have now requested either the return of the tuition fees they paid or a transfer to another institution.
The Ministry of Advanced Education has assured the stranded students that the government is taking measures to protect the interests of the international students.
There have been several reports of Indian students being left high and dry after spending huge of money for higher education in foreign countries. 
Often this has been the result of misinformed decision by both the parents and students who are misled by touts of foreign universities. These universities operating on shorestring budgets promise everything from guaranteed immigration to six-figure jobs. Often many of these institutes donít even have proper labs or classrooms.