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Houstonian Corner (V9-I12)

March 15, 2007 by  


Daya Deserves All Of Your Support

Founded 11 Years ago, DAYA Inc. has gone through the transitional process of building and now is ready to take a bigger leap to a much higher level by starting the work towards the transitional shelter home of domestic abuse women and children. DAYA aims to promote healthy and harmonious family relationships, with special emphasis on South-Asian families, by increasing awareness and providing peer support, information and referrals to women and children, who are in crisis yet attempting to effect positive changes in their lives. DAYA promotes awareness of domestic violence through outreach and educational activities such as conducting seminars and publishing newsletters.

DAYA, Inc. 11th Anniversary Gala Dinner called the “New Beginnings” was held last weekend at the Old Stafford Civic Center and featured State Representative Honorable Ellen Cohen (D) and Texas Congressperson Honorable Nick Lampson (D) as the keynote speakers. Honorable Councilman of Sugar Land Thomas Abraham, Honorable Judge of Fort Bend County John Healy (R), Honorable Consul General of India S. M. Gavai and Honorable Consul General of Pakistan G. R. Baluch were present. Those present were enthralled by the elegant performance of many awards winners “Moodafaruka”, which is famous for their “Only by Faith”.

Program started with a short parody showing how ladies from other parts of the smaller or third world get married to compatriots, who are then US Citizens and come here to face hostile behavior by their husbands. Earlier these ladies did not know where to go and get help. With no awareness of the American culture, they were apprehensive in using the American system to settle their issues. With the advent of Daya, Inc., they have a place to go and seek assistance.

Dr. Shaila Patel, President of Daya, Inc., in her presentation explained how in initial years, number of calls were not that many from women, but as the awareness has increased and work of Daya, Inc. getting recognized, more and more ladies are picking up strength to come forward. Year 2005 calls of 1,178 increased to 2,451 calls in the Year 2006. During 2006, Daya, Inc. served 156 sufferers of whom 127 were new clients, which means more than 2 cases per week. Of them, 54% were from India, 24% from Pakistan and 21 from Bangladesh. These victims belonged to many religions including Muslims. With such diversity, Daya, Inc. is able to tailor their services to clients’ needs such as language, religious and cultural beliefs and immigration status.

State Representative Honorable Ellen Cohen (D), who is the President of the Houston Area Women’s Center, in her presentation talked about the scattered presence of transitional homes for abused in Harris County. She said that such homes are equal opportunity enforcers and on the long run eliminate or considerably reduce domestic and sexual violence. She applauded the services of Daya, Inc. and said they are on the right track towards building the transitional home. Texas Congressperson Honorable Nick Lampson (D) talked about the importance of empowered family members and said his family has been brought up by two strong ladies, his mother and now his wife. Honorable Consul General of India S. M. Gavai talked about some cases of domestic abuse reaching his office and how Daya, Inc. has been instrumental in handling those cases. That is the reason his wife Mrs. Gavai is actively involved with Daya, Inc. work.

More than $100,000 was raised. For more information on Daya, Inc., one can touch 713-981-7645 or visit www.dayahouston.org

Halliburton Going From Houston To Dubai By Chris Kromm

The only surprising aspect of Halliburton’s announcement yesterday that it was moving its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai, UAE was the secrecy behind it. As reported in media elsewhere, executives for the energy giant didn’t go out of their way to spread the news, at least in this country.

The company has posted a press release on its Website saying its chairman and CEO, Dave Lesar, has announced that he would be relocating to Dubai to open a “corporate headquarters office.” Lesar made the announcement at a regional energy conference being held in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Halliburton officials skipped some of the corporate courtesies that would usually attend such an announcement, failing to notify Houston Mayor Bill White and other community leaders in advance.

Congressional leaders, largely Democrats, are decrying Halliburton’s country-hopping at a time when the politically-connected firm is still the largest military contractor in Iraq. But the issues the move raises — about the pitfalls of a privatized military, the loyalty of companies to nations in a globalize economy — are much more profound.

But in a way, Halliburton’s move wasn’t shocking. Halliburton has always shown more fealties to its bottom line than the national pride or interest. Remember the 1990s, when Dick Cheney feverishly fought sanctions against Iran — charter-member-to-be of the “Axis of Evil” — so Halliburton could pursue oil and gas exploration there? The sanctions didn’t fall, but Halliburton set up shop in Iran anyway, using a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands.

Why this Halliburton’s hasty exit? They claim it’s to be closer to the energy action in “the Eastern Hemisphere” — and in a sense, Halliburton had already moved. More than 38 percent of Halliburton’s $13 billion oil-field services revenue last year came from sources in the Eastern Hemisphere, where the firm has 16,000 of its 45,000 employees.

Halliburton will also save a bundle on taxes (“a hundred million dollars” says one analyst). But another reason not mentioned in most media accounts is that Dubai may be a safe haven as a gathering storm of scandals and legal inquiries threatens to consume the company.

For example, last week Ken Silverstein of Harper’s pointed to a case dating to the mid-90s, where a Halliburton subsidiary apparently bribed Nigerian officials to win construction contracts worth $5.3 billion. After languishing for years, new information has bolstered several international investigations.

Halliburton’s newly filed 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission includes some interesting new revelations and hints that more damaging information will be coming down the pike. According to the filing there are ongoing probes into the matter in the United States (by the SEC and the Justice Department), in Nigeria, in France, and in Switzerland. “We also believe,” reports the filing, “that the Serious Frauds Office in the United Kingdom is conducting an investigation.”

Last March, Halliburton moved its annual shareholders meeting to “historic” Duncan, Oklahoma, largely to escape the throngs of human rights and peace activists that routinely converged on Houston to protest the company’s operations: Now they’re moving for good.

9-12

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