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Death: Francisco Rebello
22 Jan: UK. FRANCISCO REBELLO. Beloved Husband of Candelina Rebello. Loving Father/Father-in-law of Royston/Steffi, Grandfather of Eudora, Son of Late Eleuterio & Late Piedade Rebello. Dearest Brother/Brother-in-law of Milagrin/Late Luis, Benjamin/Maria, Philomena/Late Raymond, Seby/Joanita, Late Natividade/Late Jose, Peter/Croslin, Santan/Monica. Christine/Milton, Baptist/Julie, Cruz/Joalinda. Photo. click here.

Death: Brian D'Costa ex Karachi
23 Jan: Sydney, Aus. BRIAN D’COSTA. Ex Karachi. Died after a battle with cancer. Brian is predeceased by his parents Wilfred and Myrtle D'Costa, and leaves behind his wife Nancy (nee Shaw), and children Melanie (Neil Farrow), Keenan (Kylie) and Tracey. Brian is the proud grandfather to Thomas, Amelia, and Ethan Farrow. Brian is also survived by his siblings Cheryl (late Clarrie Rodgers), Brendan (Judy) and Desiree (Ron Molloy), as well as many nieces and nephews. [Info: Pompie Gois]

News Summary

EU/Presidency: Portugal to put India on EU political agenda

22 Jan: Lusa. The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union “will put India on the ‘screen’ of the EU’s political agenda”, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said, adding that this “is a major political step”, even if a trade agreement is “very difficult”… Borrell acknowledged that a comprehensive trade agreement with India is not yet within reach, but stressed the political importance of a revival of the relationship. “This is very difficult. A trade agreement with India is very difficult to achieve because India is a country with very defensive policies on trade aspects”, he said…  click here
21 Jun: ECFR. Where Portugal can lead Europe in 2021 … In May, the EU-India summit will take place in Oporto, and the presence of both the Indian prime minister and European leaders will be a valuable opportunity for engaging with the largest democracy in the world on climate and security, and exploring the possibilities for India as an alternative provider of value chain goods. It will also be important to conclude the EU-India trade agreement which is also still under negotiation…  click here

Historic India Club in London in fundraising drive to fight closure threat

23 Jan: Outlook. The historic India Club in London, a hub for Indian nationalists during the Indian independence movement in the 1930s and 40s, has launched a crowdfunding drive to raise legal costs for a fight to prevent its closure. The venue, which had won its battle to prevent the building in the heart of London’s Strand from demolition a few years ago, has been served a notice by the landlords to make way for a more modernised hotel. The proprietors launched a “Save India Club” online appeal this week, which has already raised over 4,300 pounds (USD 5,883) on the UK’s Crowdfunder platform… Besides housing one of the UK’s early Indian restaurants, the Club quickly transformed into a hub for a rapidly growing British South Asian community in the aftermath of India’s independence and Partition in 1947…  For further details click here
The India Club was the premiere venue for UK Goan meetings after the 1998 clubhouse fire. For the Crowdfunder “Save India Club” appeal [£7k+ raised so far],  click here

Video: New York: Gerson Fernandes: Taxi drivers and airline workers forced to brink of starvation

22 Jan: CNN. … For 21 years, Gerson Fernandes has driven a New York City yellow cab… He bought his in 2003 for $245,000, and is still paying it off monthly. But since the pandemic began he cannot afford the $3,000-a-month payment… In 2018, nine taxi drivers, faced with the debt committed suicide. And then the pandemic hit. "We've lost a lot of customers," said Fernandes, originally from Bombay … Fernandes used to work 12-hour shifts picking up dozens of customers. Today, he says he is lucky to get four or five. He spends his 8-hour shifts waiting for customers at LaGuardia airport… Fernandes says he's seen a slight uptick in customers since the height of the pandemic, but not enough to make him whole… [Alert via GoaNet]  For further details click here

Goa: COVID Headlines

24 Jan: Navhind Times. The COVID-19 death count rose to 761 in the state on Saturday, as three more patients succumbed to the deadly virus. Goa registered 85 new COVID-19 cases, taking the number of active COVID-19 cases to 873. Around 63 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours. With these new cases and recoveries, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Goa currently stand at 52,867, of which 51,233 patients have defeated the disease…  For further details click here
23 Jan: Mint. New Covid strain in India: 150 people infected with UK virus variant, says govt …  click here
23 Jan: Daily Mail (UK). Inside the world's biggest vaccine factory, India's Serum Institute. The firm, founded in 1966 in the western city of Pune, is producing millions of doses of the Covishield vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, for India and much of the developing world… click here.

Vijay Mallya Has Sought Asylum In UK, His Lawyer Indicates

23 Jan: HW. Mr Mallya, if extradited to India, will face charges of fraud and money laundering related to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. During a remote hearing on January 22, the barrister representing the liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya in bankruptcy proceedings in the High Court in London, confirmed that Mallya has applied to Home Secretary Priti Patel for “another route” to be able to stay in the U.K. Vijay Mallya, whose legal challenge to the Indian government’s extradition request was turned down at the Supreme Court level in the U.K. last year, is still in Britain on bail until Ms Patel signs off on the order for him to be extradited to India…  For further details click here
14 Jun. 2019: Goan Voice. 10 Jun: The Guardian. Fugitive Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya applies for UK asylum. Businessman seeks to avoid extradition to India to face allegations of £1bn fraud …
11 Jun: Times of India. India asks UK not to consider any request for asylum by Vijay ...  click here

This state is the ‘most welcoming region’ in India; find out

22 Jan: Indian Express. In India, there are many beautiful states and cities, and it has now been revealed that the state of Kerala is the most welcoming region in the county. As part of its Traveller Review Awards 2021, digital travel company revealed the top five most welcoming regions in India, and the state of Kerala topped this list, followed by Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The most welcoming cities in India are (ranked 1 to 5): Palolem (Goa), Agonda (Goa), Mararikulam (Kerala), Jaisalmer (Rajasthan), and Thekkady (Kerala)…  For further details click here

Gone to Goa: Five settlers explain why they moved to the state

23 Jan: Money Control. By Preeti Verma Lal. Goa offers a perfect balance between rural and urban lifestyle. Here, five settlers who call it their home share their experience and speak about what keeps them there. 1: Srishati Singhal (Founder, Lavida, a travel/event company, Tantra teacher) … As my partner is from England, we will straddle two continents. But in India, Goa will always be home… 2: Uma Shahi (Homemaker). Many years ago, I moved from my childhood home in Patna to a villa in Majorda … 3: Gauri Gharpure (Writer). After a degree in journalism from Columbia University, I bought an apartment in Alto Betim … 4: Mayank Prakash (Co-founder, Cognit Technologies). From a 1BHK in Mumbai, my wife and I moved to a 3BHK in Miramar for the same rent… 5: Rakhi Puri (Animal Welfare Worker). I was working with HSBC in Bengaluru but when my husband who runs/builds and manages property complexes found a golden opportunity in Goa, I quit my job and drove to Goa…  For further details click here

Video: Russian TV presenter Alina Mysechko on how she made coffins in Goa

22 Jan: New channel (Russia). Alina Mysechko from "Who Has More?" travel series on Novy Kanal reveals how she worked in Goa’s funeral service, making coffins … “There is little space in Goa, but people need to be buried. Therefore, the locals use a special soft wood which decomposes quickly and other people can be buried in the same place later” ... The programme aired at 12:00 on Sat. 23 Jan …  For further details click here
For the Russian original,  click here
Use a VPN client to watch the recording of the programme, click here.



Funeral of Martha D'Souza (née Falcao). Ex Nairobi

7 Jan: London. MARTHA D'SOUZA (née Falcao). Born 1951, Ex Nairobi. Daughter of late Peter Feleciano Falcao & Joanna Michaela Coutinho Falcao, widow to Leslie D'Souza, beloved Mother to Sean & Stephanie and loving Sister to Pascal, Mary, Alzira, Rudy, Ann and Freddy. Loving Aunt to Joanna, Melanie, Kevin F, Valerie, Jonathan, Leann, Holly, Kane, Rochelle, Clayton, Liam, Siobhan, Emma, Oliver and Kevin C.
There will be a private funeral service for the family on Tuesday 26th January at 11am which will be streamed online on the following link:
Floral tributes can be sent to Co-operative Funeral Care at 35 Bath Road, Hounslow TW3 3BN, to arrive on Monday 25th January or donations to Cancer Research UK would be preferred. Please keep Martha and her family in your prayers. Condolences/enquiries to

Death: Rev. Fr. Lloyd Rebeiro. Ex Zanzibar & U.K. /
21 Jan: Albany, NT, U.S.A. REVEREND FATHER LLOYD REBEIRO. Son of Late Phillip and Late Mollie. Brother of Iris (late Cecil) DeSilva [Toronto], Linda (Suria) Cotta [Montreal], Alban (Solange) [Paris], late Kenneth (Dorelle) Rebeiro, Gabriel (Sue) [Luton, UK], and Carol [London, UK]. Info: Claude Fernandes.

News Summary

UK: Croydon NHS giving out home oxygen monitors to tackle Covid

22 Jan: Croydon Guardian. Croydon NHS are giving remote oxygen monitors to certain people who test positive for Covid-19 in the borough to help patients and better manage the immense strain of coronavirus … Patients who join the service will be provided with a pulse oximeter (a finger pulse device that can measure heart rate and oxygen levels in the blood) to use at home to monitor their oxygen saturation levels … Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Chairman of Croydon NHS said: "This is a real step forward for both patients and healthcare teams, locally. Our patients are grateful to be at home whilst they recover, and the new digital tools allow our staff to monitor multiple patients efficiently and effectively at the same time." 494 words.  For further details click here
2004: Goan Voice Supplement on Dr Agnelo Fernandes. He was born in Margao, Goa and at the age of four he moved to Nairobi where he attended St.Teresa’s Primary School. Six years later he moved to England ... click here.

London: Met police to start recording ethnicity of people stopped in cars

18 Jan: The Guardian. Britain’s biggest police force will start recording the ethnicity of people stopped in their cars in a move aimed at stopping the alleged targeting of people for “driving while black”. It follows a spate of cases last year when people were stopped and found to be innocent… A small pilot last year in London suggested black people were six times more likely to be stopped while driving than white people…  click here
Video: 19 Jan: RT. Met police to record ethnicity of people stopped and searched. Ryan Colaco, who's been repeatedly stopped and searched, explains his optimism and apprehension to the scheme… 4m. 55s. + Comments  click here
6 Jul: Goan Voice. Ryan was born in Nairobi, the son of Constâncio Antônio Colaço and Pascoela Estefânia Menezes and moved to North London in 1995 at age 5. He traces his Goan roots to Mungul / Margão … click here.

Goa: COVID Headlines

23 Jan: Navhind Times. The state on Friday recorded 70 fresh cases of COVID-19, and one new death linked to the dreaded virus. Around 80 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours. The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Goa currently stand at 52,782 of which 854 are active cases while 51,170 patients have defeated the deadly virus. Till date, 758 patients have succumbed to the virus in Goa…  For further details click here
22 Jan: Outlook. Goa COVID-19 vaccination: 520 covered on Friday. A total of 520 registered beneficiaries were covered on Friday on the second day of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in Goa, a senior official said… A consignment of 18,000 vaccines had arrived in Goa on Wednesday…  click here
22 Jan: BBC. What we know about India's coronavirus vaccines. As India starts exporting Covid vaccines, here's what we know about Covishield and Covaxin… click here.

Taxi owners & politicians have an app-solutely cosy alliance. Who cares about tourists & commuters?

23 Jan: Herald. By Sujay Gupta. The temerity of the muscle-flexing taxi lobby of threatening the government of “consequences” if the State’s only functioning app-based taxi service is not scrapped, is a pathetic indication that abject lawlessness and a virtual surrender of the administration to politically powerful elements is a reality… 1136 words.  For further details click here
21 Dec: Times of India. Tourism body plans to move High Court again over taxi meters …  click here
20 Dec: Times of India. Govt holds talks with taxi operators over GoaMiles … click here.

Golden or trashy Goa?

22 Jan: Herald. By Blaise Costabir. The new year brought along awful stories of how pristine beaches, waterfalls, fields and any place worth visiting, were trashed by the hordes of tourists who came to let of steam after being cooped up in their homes in other parts of India. There are two parts to this issue, one, the uncouth tourist who creates a mess and then there is the local who also is not above board… 960 words  For further details click here

Noctiluca scintillans – the Sea Sparkle That Threatens the Arabian Sea

21 Jan: The Wire. By Malavika Vyawahare. On February 26, 2003, a group of scientists set out to sea from Goa in the Arabian Sea, India, on a routine mission. But what the team encountered there was far from routine. About 970 kilometers northwest of Mumbai on India’s western coast, they found themselves sailing on a green swirl that spread out as far as the eye could see. At night, the waters glowed neon blue… “We are seeing an ecosystem shift in the Arabian Sea,” said Helga do Rosario Gomes, one of the study’s authors… Gomes and her husband, Joaquim I. Goes, run a lab at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. For almost two decades, the couple has studied the sea sparkle blooms that have baffled scientists on at least three continents… 2221 words  For further details click here

Goa: Restaurants In Brief

21 Jan: Washington “Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India,” by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy. The Indian American chef returned to the rails to research this book with co-author Eddy, the pair munching on delicacies as they explored by third-class carriage. Every train station, Chauhan writes, has its specialty chaat … travelers arriving in Goa's Vasco da Gama train station are proffered tender omelets in coconut-rich tomato gravy…  For further details click here
21 Jan: Vogue. The hottest new restaurant opening in Goa: António at 31. Located in the historic Sao Tome neighbourhood, António, is the brainchild of chef Pablo Miranda… Think, baby squids stuffed with Prawn Balchao, a savoury-style Patoli (Goan rice crepe), and cocktails using indigenous ingredients…  click here
21 Jan: India Food Network. Packing for Goa? Here are some hidden gems, plus popular restaurants that you must check out: Jamun… Sai Krupa … Edible Archives … G-Shot Coffee Roastery & Café … Basilico … Mafia Cocktail … Roboto … Annapurna … click here.

From wild sex to antigens: how a local fetishist in Berlin became a COVID-19 testing center

20 Jan: Digis Mak. At the end of February 2020, the U8 line of the Berlin subway was transformed at dawn every weekend into a pilgrimage of clubbers … After the arrival of the pandemic, all night-time activity was paralyzed. Today, the libertine den has become a testing center for detecting covid-19… KitKatClub opened its doors in 1994 inspired by the bacchanalia trance late eighties in Goa… Its ideologues, Simon Thaur and Kirsten Krüger, had met in 1989 in Munich and, after a failed attempt to set up something similar in Goa, they decided to move to the German capital in 1993, where a few months later their dream had already come true… 1113 words  For further details click here



Death: Francis Fernandes. Ex Tanzania

14th Jan 2021. London, UK. Francis Fernandes. Ex Moshi, Arusha - Tanzania and Ex Goa passed away peacefully to a heart attack on 14/1/21. He was a loving husband to Maxima and Father to Wyn and Rea Fernandes. Son to Late Jose Santana and Late Antonietta Fernandes (Ex Tanzania). Brother to Olinda/Late Joseph D'Souza (Tanzania), Pauline/Leo Rebello (UK) and Late Raymond Fernandes. Brother in law to Miva/Late Roy Fernandes (Goa/UAE) and Rosita (Goa). Uncle to David/Fay/Meinrad/Tracy/Francisco/Julio & Germaine. May Francis' soul Rest In Peace. Condolences can be sent to Maxima - or Olinda - or Pauline -

News Summary

Couple stole £1.2K worth of booze and perfume from Heathrow Airport

20 Jan: Metro (London). A married couple helped themselves to £1,200 worth of booze and perfume from an airport duty free shop where she worked. Freeda Rodrigues, 24, and 23-year-old Flester Gomes (pictured) swiped luxury items — including Chanel perfume and £200 bottles of Johnny Walker whiskey — from the World Duty Free store inside Heathrow Airport's Terminal 2 last February … the items turned up during a search of the couple's home in Hounslow… Rodrigues pleaded guilty to a single charge of theft by an employee, while Gomes admitted handling stolen goods and a charge of entering a restricted area of the airport… Gomes was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and fined £1,000. Rodrigues was ordered Rodrigues to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work and to pay £1,611 in compensation… [Alert by Lui Godinho]  For further details click here
For the Facebook link to Flester Gomes and Freeda Rodrigues,  click here

UK: Government's apathy costing BAME community its lives

21 Jan: Asian Voice (UK). In 2020, when the first wave of coronavirus ripped through Britain, the vulnerability of the Black Asian Minority and Ethnic (BAME) communities and their susceptibility to contract and die of coronavirus were highlighted in several independent reports. But as 2021 begins misinformation, conspiracy theories and fake news are rife and absolutely no effort is being made by the government to combat them… 1095 words  For further details click here
20 Jan: Eastern Eye (UK). Asian vaccine scepticism ‘is costing lives’. Asians have been urged to take the coronavirus vaccine as doctors expressed concerns that “fake news” was causing many from the community to reject it…  click here
21 Jan: BBC Asian Network creates new Coronavirus advice videos in South Asian languages to target vaccine disinformation … click here.

PM Modi agrees to invite the pope to India

21 Jan: Aleteia (France). Narendra Modi, has agreed to send an official invitation to Pope Francis to visit his country. He made the announcement to three important Catholic cardinals during a meeting in New Delhi on January 19, according to a report by missionary news agency Fides on January 20. If the pontiff accepts, it will be the third trip of a pope to India … The meeting lasted about 45 minutes, during which the question of a potential visit by the pope was discussed. The Prime Minister agreed to invite Pope Francis to India, Cardinal Gracias said, though he noted that the date would hinge on current health and security conditions in India. At a previous meeting on March 21, 2018, the Indian PM did not respond to a similar request by Cardinal Gracias. If Pope Francis visits India, it will be the first trip by a pontiff to the country since the visits of John Paul II in 1986 and 1999…  For further details click here
20 Jan: Fides (Vatican). Meeting with Prime Minister Modi: Cardinals encourage Pope's visit …  click here

Indian Rupee trades today at 100+ to Pound Sterling

21 Jan: Xinhua. --The following are foreign exchange rates of the Indian rupee with major international currencies as was released by the X-rates Thursday: Pound sterling 100.2745 …  For further details click here
21 Jan: X-Rates for rupee against major currencies,  click here

Goa: COVID Headlines

21 Jan: Republic World. Goa Reports 55 New Coronavirus Cases; 54 Recuperate, One Dies. Goa's coronavirus caseload went up by 55 and reached 52,712 on Thursday, a health department official said. The virus claimed the life of one patient during the day, which took the state's death toll to 757, he said. The number of recovered patients in the state rose to 51,090 as 54 of them got discharge on Thursday…  For further details click here
21 Jan: NDTV. 145 People Infected With UK Coronavirus Strain In India: Centre. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others…  click here
Video: 21 Jan: The Sun (UK). Huge fire breaks out at world’s biggest Covid vaccine factory in India killing five … click here.

Video| Magical Mollem: Safeguarding Goa’s Green Heart

21 Jan: The Wire. With the approval of three new infrastructure projects, the Mollem forest – Goa’s only protected forest reserve – has come under threat. For months, locals have been raising their voices in protest. In this video, which explores the impact of felling thousands of trees, a child’s voice is used to drive home concepts such as intergenerational equity and shared wealth… 8m. 28s.  For further details click here
21 Jan: Times of India. The central-empowered committee (CEC) constituted by the Supreme Court arrived in Goa on Wednesday and they will start site inspections of the three infrastructure projects in Mollem from Thursday…  click here
21 Jan: The Echo (Australia). Environmentalist Bob Brown has warned that Adani’s latest move to arrest an Indian journalist is designed to scare media away from investigating the company’s activity… click here.

Goa Suffering Badly Due To Halt In Mining, Drop In Tourism

21 Jan: republic World. With mining, the backbone of Goa's economy, coming to a standstill and tourism also taking a hit due to the pandemic, the state is suffering badly and is borrowing up to Rs 400 crore every month, state Power Minister Nilesh Cabral has said. "Today the state is borrowing Rs 300-Rs 400 crore every month to sustain," the minister said during a webinar. Stating that mining, which is the backbone of its economy, has come to a standstill, the minister said the tourism sector has also suffered on account of the COVID-19 crisis…  For further details click here

Video: Football: Lucio's legacy

18 Jan: Freunde (Germany). We always thought Goa was all about wild parties and hallucinations. Seems to be true. There is no other way to explain this reincarnation of Lucio's magic …  For further details click here
For a replay of the goal with English commentary,  click here



Death Judith Cardozo. Ex Tanga, Tanzania
19 Jan. 2021: Davorlim, Goa. JUDITH FACULNERI DA PIEDADE CARDOZO. Ex Tanga, Tanzania. Born 19th June 1929. Beloved wife of late Alberto Gregorio Santana Cardozo. Mother / mother-in-law of Gerard / Brenda, Simeonne / late Savio Afonso, Thomas / Arwina. Adorable grandmother of Jeremy, Edgar, Warren and Esther. Sister / sister-in law of Anabel / late Peter, Arthur Pires and Dolores Pires. Sister-in-law of late Claudina / late Sacremento, late Remetina / late Assumcao, late Jeronimo / Clara and late Ligorio. Funeral cortege will leave her residence at Layamati, Davorlim on Thursday, 21st January 2021 at 3:45 p.m. to St. Sebastian Cemetery, Aquem, for Eucharistic celebration and burial for close family members only, due to current Covid restrictions. Photo. click here.

News Summary

Goa: COVID Headlines

21 Jan: Navhind Times. The state, on Wednesday, recorded, 87 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of active cases to 865. Around 84 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours. The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Goa currently stand at 52,657 of which 51,036 patients have defeated the deadly virus. Till date, 756 patients have succumbed to the virus in the state. Fortunately, no new deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours…  For further details click here
20 Jan: Business Today. Goa's vaccination drive to restart on Friday. A consignment of 18,000 vaccine doses against COVID-19 reached Goa by a flight from Mumbai on Wednesday morning and the immunisation drive in the state will resume from Friday, a senior health department official said…  click here
20 Jan: Times of India. ‘Those with comorbidities ignoring Covid symptoms’. Patients with comorbidities continue to take Covid-19 lightly and reach the hospital when it becomes difficult to save them, head of department of pulmonary medicine at Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC), Dr Durga Lawande said… click here.

India’s mammoth COVID-19 vaccine drive could be the envy of other countries

20 Jan: Channel News Asia. India has kicked off a major logistical exercise aiming to inoculate hundreds of millions of people… there are signs that India’s existing medical tourism infrastructure will be massively boosted thanks to the vaccine … I’m hearing that Americans, particularly those holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) visas, will fly to India and submit to the 14-day quarantine period, rather than wait more than six months at home…  For further details click here
20 Jan: Bloomberg. U.K., Belgium Among Nations Seeking Cheaper India-Made Vaccines. India says it can increase its production of Covid-19 vaccines to 500 million per month for export, as it fields interest from the U.K., Belgium, and countries across the Middle East and Africa seeking access to cheaper inoculations…  click here

UK cities to Mumbai, India from only £288 roundtrip (Feb-Jun dates) with Air France

20 Jan: Simple Flying. Depart from: Birmingham: £288-£327; London: £296-£338; Newcastle: £316-£333; Manchester: £332-£336; Edinburgh: £338-£348. Availability from February to June 2021…  For further details click here

What has changed in canon law for women?

20 Jan: Union of Catholic Asian News. Most Catholics, who grew up seeing women at the altar reading from the Bible and serving at Mass, wondered what was improved when Pope Francis changed canon law this month, purportedly to allow women to participate in such services. Although women have been taking care of these ministries at local bishops' discretion, they were barred from being instituted as lectors or acolytes because church law did not allow it. These minor orders were reserved only for men until now, touted as preparation for priestly ordination. On Jan. 11, the pope changed one word in Canon 230. The law originally said: "Laymen who have the age and skills can be permanently employed for the ministries of readers and acolytes … Pope Francis changed the opening word, making it "laypeople" to include women…  For further details click here

Hindu ceremony on church grounds in Goa marks trend to “deny sacred places to Christians”

19 Jan: Barnabas Fund (UK). A significant Hindu religious ceremony (pooja) to a Hindu deity was held on the grounds of a Christian church in Sancoale, Goa, India but police have not yet filed a report on the church minister’s complaint under Indian laws that ban deliberate and harmful acts intended to “hurt the religious feelings” of a group… At the time of the incident almost 2,000 Christians were worshipping in the church (which is observing regional social distancing requirements)… An Indian Christian leader in contact with Barnabas described the incident as “very insidious”. “There have been several incidents like this in the past. I am sure the incident did take place to provoke the Christians,” he said.  For further details click here
Video: 30 Dec: Old Church Sancoale.  click here

“British-Asians are making history, and it’s not being written down”

20 Jan: Eastern Eye (UK). By Barnie Choudhury. Meera Syal is ferociously funny, intensely intelligent, and she has an edgier side that shows off her campaigning spirit for equality… Syal grew up in the Midlands, the former mining village of Essington, her family being the only Asians… she would often have to use her fists to escape her out-of-village, racist, abusers… What happens in television and films, she said, is a lazy form of racism… It was the 1990s hit comedy series Goodness Gracious Me which propelled Syal into the nation’s consciousness, even introducing the Indian word for underpants [chuddis] into the English lexicon… Her semi-autobiographical novel about her childhood, Anita and Me, was not only made into a film, but is now a set text in some GCSE English exam boards… “a lot of our history has not been recorded. If you’re not recorded, you’re forgotten, so this is really important.” … 2328 words + videos.  For further details click here
Video: For a selection of Goodness Gracious Me programmes, click here.

Zoom: Celebrating the writing of Margaret Mascarenhas

Sat. 23 Jan: 7PM (IST). Watch on Zoom - Free. Enjoy this event from your home. Margaret Mascarenhas was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, and lived in many parts of the world, including Venezuela, California in the USA, Bombay, and Goa, where part of her family has roots. She worked as correspondent, columnist, editor, lecturer, art critic, independent curator, novelist, and creative writing teacher. She was also an activist deeply invested in causes that affected Goa, where she made her home in the last years of her life. Also in Goa, she was founding director of the Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts, and founding director of the Blue Shores Silent Prison Art programme. Margaret wrote two novels, Skin and The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos, and Triage: Casualties of Love and Sex, a poetry collection. When she passed away in 2019, she had been working on a third novel and collections of poetry and short fiction. Reading from Margaret’s poetry and other writing are: Karthika V.K., Maria Couto, Nilanjana Roy, Peter Griffin, Rosalyn D’Mello, Saryu Doshi, Sivagami Natesan, Sudeep Chakravarti, Tishani Doshi, Venita Coelho, and Urvashi Bahugana.  For further details click here
For the Wikipedia profile of Margaret Mascarenhas,  click here
Video: 29 Sep. 2020. Margao Book Club. Celebrating Margaret Mascarenhas … click here.


COOKERY: Rick Stein's Cornwall.: BBC 2. Sun. 24th Jan. 11:30 to 12:00. Just off Pentire Point, as the sun sets, Rick rides the gentle swell of the north Atlantic with an old friend, casting his line to hook Britain's fastest fish, before firing up the barbeque to cook his catch with a recipe inspired from a trip to Goa [Mackerel Recheado].

DRAMA: The Serpent. BBC 1. Sun. 24th Jan. 21:00 to 22:00. With the police operation pending, a nervous waiting game ensues for Charles to return to Kanit House with Marie-Andree and Ajay, but he might be one step ahead of the situation. Later, as a clock ticks down, Herman and Charles are locked in an exhausting battle of wits. Episode 5.

DOCUMENTARY: 24 Hours in A&E . Channel: More4. Sun 24th Jan. 21:00 to 22:00. Alan, who is in his sixties and had one leg amputated in 2009, comes in with the other dangerously swollen following a holiday in Goa, and 83-year-old James has to be persuaded by senior sister AnnMarie to accept treatment for a cyst on his knee.

COOKERY: Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey. Dave (Freeview 19). Mon. 25th Jan. 15:00 to 16:00. The chef ends his exploration of the Far East's most diverse food cultures by visiting Bangladesh, sampling the curry on offer in the country that has played a major role in establishing the success of Indian restaurants throughout the UK.

COMEDY: Beta Female. BBC Radio 4 Extra (Freeview 708). Tues. 26th Jan. 07:30 to 08:00. Zum Zum Pani, Amna tries to cover up an unholy mistake from her mother, with her brother as an accomplice Sitcom by Amna Saleem, starring Kiran Sonia Sawar. Starring: Kiran Sonia Sawar. (Series 1, Episode 3).

DOCUMENTARY: 24 Hours in A&E. Channel 4. Tues. 26th Jan. 21:00 to 22:00. Alan, who is in his sixties and had one leg amputated in 2009, comes in with the other dangerously swollen following a holiday in Goa, while a man who collapsed while playing golf talks about his unconventional upbringing in Kenya and how he had to adapt to fulfill his dreams.

ARTS: Bengal to Baker Street in 80 Paintings. BBC Radio 4 Extra (Freeview 708). Wed. 27th Jan. 14:30 to 15:00. Mukti Jain Campion explores the work of the pioneering Indian painter Jamini Roy, who set out to challenge the colonial view that there was no such thing as fine art in India.

CONSUMER: A Place in the Sun. Channel 4. Fri. 29th Jan. 15:00 to 16:00. Sonia and Andrew are selling their home in the UK and are ready to make the permanent move to inland Almería in Spain to enjoy semi-retirement in the sun. Sonia is keen to set up her own Indian food business, so she needs a large kitchen, and Andrew wants the home to be ultra-modern in design.



Official Death Notice: Ulrike Rodrigues

3 Jan: Vancouver B.C. ULRIKE RODRIGUES. She was 59. She will be sorely missed by her mother, Ursula Rodrigues, brothers Jurgen & Yvan Rodrigues and sisters-in-law Kim and Sarah Rodrigues, not to mention her multitude of close friends in Guelph, Vancouver and the world. Ulrike was a world traveler, a writer, a determined bicycle advocate, a sympathetic defender of disadvantaged people, a social organizer, a lover of getting together for beer or breakfast and a friend to many around the world … she travelled by bike in Goa, Belize, New Zealand & England, and by motorcycle in Australia and Canada. Ulrike generously willed her condominium to Atira Women's Resource Society to be used as furnished housing for women and girls in need. She also, with her savings, set up an endowment fund called Basic Needs + Mitey Deeds intended to help women in need. Respecting her wishes, there will not be a funeral. Her body will be cremated. Memories of Ulrike can be read & posted at :  For further details click here
Condolences can be sent to the family via Koru Cremation in Vancouver:  For further details click here
Donations to Basic Needs + Mitey Deeds can be sent to Vancity Community Foundation: click here.

News Summary

Raymond J. de Souza: An inauguration in an empty square and the decline of American democracy

19 Jan: National Post (Canada). As recently as December, president-elect Joe Biden was speaking about America’s democratic system as “messy” and “requiring patience,” but still being the “envy of the world.” He doesn’t quite speak so extravagantly as of late… America arrives at this inauguration with perhaps a quarter of its population believing that its elections are corrupt and its criminal justice system is not fair. Those are long-term trends that predate the current figures on the scene. And the problem is getting worse, not better, exacerbated by the current figures on the scene… 1075 words.  For further details click here
Fr Raymond is the son of Greta (ex-Mombasa) and Cedric D'Souza (ex-Uganda and Nairobi) of Calgary. For the article in National Post, 10 Sep. 2009: An Immigrant Story by Fr Raymond de Souza,  click here
For a selection of articles and video clips by Fr Raymond, click here.

Cardinals meet PM Modi, urge him to invite Pope Francis

19 Jan: Hindustan Times. Three Cardinals of the Catholic Church on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to invite Pope Francis to the country. Talking to reporters after the meeting in Delhi - Cardinals George Alancherry, Baslios Cleemis and Oswald Gracias - said the PM agreed to their request and promised to take a decision soon… they also discussed the two expert committee reports on Western Ghats (Gadgil and Kastuirangan), continued incarceration of Father Stan Swamy, among other issues…  For further details click here
19 Jan: National Herald. PM Modi refuses to intervene in Stan Swamy issue, says it must go through normal channels … click here.

Goa: COVID Headlines

20 Jan: Navhind Times. Goa on Tuesday, registered, 112 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of active cases to 862. Around 115 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours. With these new cases and recoveries, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Goa currently stand at 52,570 of which 50,952 patients have defeated the deadly virus. Till date, 756 patients have succumbed to the virus in the state. Fortunately, no new deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours…  click here
19 Jan: Times of India. Covaxin co warns people with med conditions not to take jab Out For Acutely Ill, Pregnant Women, Those With Bleeding Disorders Or Allergies, And Those On Blood Thinners Or Immunosuppressants  click here
19 Jan: Mint. Govt says 141 people found infected with UK Covid-19 strain so far. As many as 141 people have tested positive for the new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 in India until Tuesday, said the Union Health Ministry… click here.

CM assures amicable solution to taxi operators’ demands

19 Jan: Herald. Amidst growing differences between tourist taxi operators and the app-based GoaMiles service, the State government has assured an amicable solution without hurting the local business or tourism. The matter again knocked at the door of the Chief Minister on Monday, as adamant taxi operators demanded the scrapping of the GoaMiles mobile app service… Ironically, taxi drivers did not show any commitment over installation of the meters as they diverted the issue to scrapping of GoaMiles…  For further details click here
Video: 18 Jan: RDX News. Conflict between Goa Miles and taxi owners needs to be resolved says Minister Michael Lobo …  click here
Editorial: 19 Jan: Herald. App-based taxi services are the future … click here.

Only loot, no ease of doing biz in Goa: GFP

19 Jan: Times of India. The state government is harassing entrepreneurs and investors who wish to set up new industrial units in Goa by asking them to obtain structural reports from the town and country planning (TCP) department and the inspectorate of factories and boilers, GFP said on Monday… “Any person who wants to set up an industry in Goa has to pay Rs10 per sqm to get a structural report,” Kamat alleged…  For further details click here
15 Jan: Business World. Revise laws, clarify approach to make Goa ideal business destination, says Goan industry. Twenty-six representatives from diverse sectors such as pharma, IT, finance, telecom, and mining converged to etch Goa's current state on 'Ease of Doing Business'…  click here
16 Jan: Times of India. Need simpler laws to make Goa ideal biz destination: Industry. The Goa government needs to quicken the approval process, bring in clear leadership and enact supportive policies in order to attract investments, said business leaders at a high-level meeting with chief minister Pramod Sawant… click here.

This vodka is the newest Indian spirit to come out of Goa

19 Jan: Conde Nast Traveller. If you’ve lost track of the number of gins and beers to come out of Goa in the recent past, you’re not alone. Adding to the high spirits of the sunshine state, Rahasya vodka from Goa is the newest craft spirit that attempts to “capture the essence of India.” … Varna Bhat is the brains behind Rahasya. A serial entrepreneur, Bhat, who previously had her sights set on the civil services, has dabbled in eco-friendly branding solutions and experiential marketing before launching Rahasya… Bhat recommends pairing the vodka with chilled tender coconut water… Rahasya is available only in Goa now Rs850 for a 750ml bottle  For further details click here

5 Konkan farmstays to book right now

18 Jan: Conde Nast Traveller. Take a step back and take in the simple pleasures of life at these farmstays along the coast. 1: The Happiness Estate in Sawantwadi, Maharashtra … Doubles from Rs5,000, including all vegetarian meals and some activities. 2: K Farms, Ratnagiri … Doubles from Rs1,800. 3: Village Nirvana, Sindhudurg … Entire villa for upto 4 people, for Rs5,000. 4: Happiness Estate, Sawantwadi … Doubles from Rs4,000. 5: Maachli Farmstays, Vengurla … Doubles from Rs5,400, inclusive of all meals and some activities.  For further details click here



Death: Alba Fernandes ex Mombasa and Nairobi

7 Jan. 2021. Croydon, UK. ALBA FERNANDES nee Noronha. Born 1944. Ex Mombasa and Nairobi. Passed away peacefully. Daughter of the late Dulcidonio and Sapiencia Noronha. Wife of the late Clarence Fernandes and mother of Corinne, Andrea and Ashley and mother-in-law of Sophie and grandmother of Zachary. Sister of Melba, Hermes, Anthony and Joseph and the late Nancy, Hamilton and Edwin Noronha. Sister-in-law of Oscar, late Roy Fernandes, late Piety Fernandes and the late David Mendes. Sister-in-law of Bula, Jeannete, Jacinta, Pearl, Kiran, Bina and the late Zulema Fernandes.Due to the Covid lockdown there will be a private funeral service for the family only. Condolences to

News Summary

Gregory Dias: Uganda to Canada: From Forced Migration to Higher Learning

1 Feb: Our Canada Pages 52-53. By Gregory Dias, Mississauga. President Idi Amin of Uganda expelled all Asians 1972 ... Fortunately, the Canadian government stepped in and agreed to help the refugees… My sister, Matti, and brother, Placido made their way to Montreal in November 1972. My parents ultimately opted to return to Goa and brought me with them, since I was under age and did not qualify to go to Canada… Life was a constant struggle in our village house in Goa… my brother and sister sponsored me to come to Canada… I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 1980 … I am grateful to the many people who helped me in the pursuit of my education and the establishment of a rewarding life and career in Canada… 1099 words.  For further details click here
For the Gregory Dias Linkedin profile, click here.

Goa: COVID Headlines

19 Jan: Navhind Times. With only 1,085 samples drawn for testing on Monday, the daily fresh cases of COVID-19 saw a decline with state recording 53 new cases of the dreaded virus. Fortunately, no new death linked to COVID-19 was recorded in the last 24 hours. Till date, 756 patients have succumbed to the virus…  For further details click here
18 Jan: The Goan. Lukewarm response for vaccination drive not a healthy sign. Goa threw up a surprise on Day-1 of the vaccination drive with a mere 426 frontline healthcare workers turning up for the dose against the 700 listed… The absenteeism of 247 health workers goes a long way to show the hesitancy and sends across a disheartening message…  click here
18 Jan: The Goan. Day after Covid vaccine 10 report side effects, none hospitalised. A day after they received the jab of the Covid vaccine, around 10 health care workers are believed to have reported minor side effects such as fever and body ache. Sources in the know, however, said no one had to be hospitalized so far and these health care workers are managing the flu like symptoms at home… click here.

India: Vaccination Headlines

19 Jan: India Today. India's Covid vaccination drive: 2 dead after receiving jab, 5 others develop severe adverse symptoms. Two out of seven people who developed severe adverse symptoms after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine shot have died. While one death has been ruled as unrelated to vaccination, a post-mortem report in the second death is awaited…  For further details click here
18 Jan: Daily Mail (UK). Tens of thousands skip India's vaccine drive launch. India on Monday stepped up efforts to bolster trust in coronavirus vaccines after it was revealed that nearly a third of those invited to get jabs at the launch of a nationwide drive failed to turn up… The Hindu newspaper reported that in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the turnout was only 16 percent… The government said that over the first two days of vaccinations 447 people had reported adverse symptoms…  click here
18 Jan: Vice. This Is How the Super Rich Are Beating You to the Vaccine… Members of Knightsbridge Circle can fly to Dubai or Abu Dhabi in the UAE, or to India, where they will be given the AstraZeneca vaccine, spending time in Delhi before taking sightseeing trips to Agra and Udaipur, and then hitting the beach in Goa or Kerala… click here.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

18 Jan: Counterview. Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication...  For further details click here
UCAN (Union of Catholic Asian News) Stan Swamy …  click here
Video: 15 Jan: "Call us Adivasis, Indigenous, not Scheduled Tribe", In conversation with Stan Swamy … click here.

Air cargo rising, but UK flight ban hits exports

18 Jan: Times of India. Cargo movement at Goa International Airport continued to show a steady rise in December with the airport handling 576 tonnes of freight… Exports to England stopped once the Centre banned flights to the UK during mid-December because of a new Covid-19 strain. Goa used to export perishable items such as fruits and vegetables to the UK on Goa London weekly flights, according to information shared by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) …  For further details click here

Aqua culture, crab farming picks up in a more organised way in Goa

18 Jan: Herald. Post the COVID-19-induced lockdown, business in Goa is gradually coming together in a cooperative form. Crab and shrimp farming are being taken up in a more professional manner as the business is lucrative and profitable. Crab farming along with other aquaculture activities like mussel and shrimp farming are picking up in Goa with more and more locals opting for this mode of business. ‘Kurlio’ or crab is a highly priced, much sought-after seafood at restaurants along the coastal belt and is a big hit with tourists… Flynn Remedios co-founder of Goemcho Goenkar, an NGO, is helping Goans to take up this project in their backyard… Two crab farms will be a reality soon in Nuvem… The cost works out to Rs 3-4 per seed and each seed can generate Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 after the nine month period on harvesting… Goemcho Goenkar is conducting seminars and training programmes across the State on crab, mussel, shrimp and fresh water fish farming, along with kitchen farming and home horticulture…  For further details click here

Has Goa become moral compass for the world?

18 Jan: Hindustan Times. The Government of Goa has done the sensible thing by withdrawing plans to set up an IIT Goa in the cashew growing Melauli village, at the Western Ghats. And the local people have done well by protesting and bringing attention to their life-style choices. Both deserve congratulations, although one waits to see what happens to the IIT project. These events are not just local governance-they are the Indian parables for our climate-change stricken era, the moral compass of our tired times. Goa’s collective decision not to build the Indian Institute of Technology bears a profound lesson for the world…  For further details click here

Four-member panel to decide new site for IIT campus in Goa: CM Pramod Sawant

18 Jan: New Indian Express. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday said his government will set up a four-member committee to decide a new location for the construction of the proposed IIT campus in the state, following opposition from locals to the previous site. Bowing to public pressure, the Goa government last week announced that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus, which was proposed to set up at Shel-Melaulim village in Sattari taluka of North Goa district, will be shifted to another part of the coastal state. Talking to reporters on Monday, Sawant said the Goa government is all set to establish an IIT campus in the state and has not yet finalised a site for the project…  For further details click here



Death: Nancy Sequeira. Ex Mumbai

18 Dec: Kent, UK. NANCY LOURDES SEQUEIRA. Beloved wife of Norbert (Nobby) Sequeira, Passed away after a short spell in hospital. She joins her late parents Diego and Gracy D'Souza, sister Ivy, brothers Simon and Terry, and youngest son Nigel. She is survived by her sisters Baby (Canada) and Joyce (UK). Loving mother of Tyrone, Sharon and Ryan and their family, Hyacinth, Marcel and Myra, she brought great joy into all our lives. As a proud and doting Nana, her warm words of encouragement will be remembered by Javier and Majenta. Her smile, gentleness and compassion will always be remembered by family and friends all over the world. Due to Covid, the funeral and burial will be attended by Nancy's family on 19 Jan '21 in Kent. Please keep Nancy and the family in your prayers.

News Summary

The Goan identity question: Who are we protecting it for?

17 Jan: Herald. As your plane touches down as Heathrow more often than not, Goans hear a lingo they speak, think, dream, love and fight in… In the homes of Goans in Swindon, on Sunday morning, aromas of different spices emanating from kitchens waft through ... In Australia, a Konkani radio station is a massive hit among the diaspora across the world … And then the World Goa day… But here in Goa are we missing the wood for the trees? … Over the years, the basic characteristics of Goa have been eaten up. And not only is there no preservation, there is no obsession to preserve either… Are we really serious about protecting Goan identity? And who are we protecting it for? …
17 Jan: Herald. Is Liberation a pipedream for Goans? By Dr Joe D’Souza…
17 Jan: Herald. Who would have thought: 54 years later, Goa is once again searching for Asmitai. Don’t blame the bhailes. The bhitorles have a lot to answer for… Advocate Radharao Gracias was point-blank in stating that there is no Goan identity visible in Goa and one would have to go probably to London, Melbourne or Lisbon to find it. “Those who said they are Goan, are leaving the land and those who wanted to merge Goa with Maharashtra, are staying behind,” he said…  For further details click here

Vaccine Vacations - Getting A Private COVID Shot Abroad

17 Jan: Forbes. With the whole world trying to get their hands on a limited supply of vaccinations, one of the most frequently asked questions is, "how do I get a COVID-19 vaccination privately in the U.K.?". The answer is you can't. Unsurprisingly, this has led to one company's move to start offering "vaccination vacations" to an elite group of the super-rich in the U.K… A package is being offered by Knightsbridge Circle, a £25,000-a-year private members club. The trip can include first-class or private jet flights, accommodation for up to one month while you wait for your second dose, and a private vaccination. Trips can cost around $55,000 (£40,000). Currently, the options on offer are either the Pfizer jab in Dubai or the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in India, which is being sold at 1,000 rupees (£10) on the private market…  For further details click here
7 Dec: Travel Mole. Big demand in India for 'vaccine vacations'. Travel agents have been inundated with calls from Indian residents seeking a fast-track solution to a Covid vaccination. Agents are fielding hundreds of calls from customers keen to visit the UK to get a Covid jab…  click here

Integrated digital meters for taxis: govt issues fare chart

17 Jan: Navhind Times. The state government has issued a fare chart for taxis incorporating ‘make, model and cubic capacity’ of vehicle, a move that will pave the way for integrated digital meters to be installed in taxis. The transport department has not changed the fares but incorporated engine capacity of motor … The government is expecting a big shift in demand towards hired taxi service with a greater transparency in digital fare system and other safety devise fitted in taxis. The department will announce the schedule next week to roll out the integrated digital meter unit comprising an automated vehicle tracking device, fare meter with printer and panic button integrated with overhead display board to be installed in around 26,000 registered taxis that will instil confidence and trust in travellers and reduce arguments over fare charged…  For further details click here

Goa: COVID Headlines

18 Jan: Navhind Times. COVID-19 death count in state remained at 756 on Sunday as no more deaths due to the deadly virus were reported. The state registered 60 new COVID-19 cases, taking the number of active cases to 878. Around 59 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours…  For further details click here
18 Jan: Navhind Times. 447 adverse reactions after over 2.2 lakh vaccinated. A total of 224,301 beneficiaries have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine so far, out of which only 447 adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) were reported but only three required hospitalisation…  click here
17 Jan: Times of India. Many vaccinate, while some others vacillate: 63% go for it in Goa. A little over 63% of the 700 scheduled to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Goa for the launch of the nationwide programme showed up on Saturday. click here.

No family, no friends, no job: Yet, I moved from Delhi to Goa

16 Jan: Money Control. By Preeti Verma Lal. Moving to Goa was a blind leap of faith, writes our columnist, outlining the reasons and how she went about shifting base to Goa for good … Every time the idea of buying a second home swirled in my mind, Goa would pop on the mind-map. For no specific reason. No family, no friends, no job, no big love awaiting in the country’s smallest state. But the abstraction of Goa as home kept getting louder and larger. And one day in 2015 when work brought me to Goa, I decided to listen to the low hum of my instinct and started looking for a home… Moving to Goa was a blind leap of faith. I knew no one in the neighbourhood. I had a few acquaintances, no friends, no family. I did not Google about nearby hospitals or marts. It is not my instinct to inquire about necessities. I neither squabble with Life or Fate. I close my eyes and listen to the low hum of my heart. My faith in Life and goodness has never been betrayed. Never. It works. Always… 1039 words + photos. Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.  For further details click here
For the Preeti Verma Lal online Magazine,  click here

On Opinion Poll Day, opposition urges people to unite against govt

17 Jan: Times of India. Rallying under a unifying theme “Ek Pavl Ekacharachem” (A Step Towards Unity), a host of organisations came together and leveraged the commemoration of the Opinion Poll Day to rail against the government for what they called its “high-handedness” and “anti-people policies”…  For further details click here
17 Jan: Herald. Goans called to unite, overthrow anti-people BJP govt in Goa. Rich tributes paid to Dr Jack de Sequeira and Shabu Dessai at Opinion Poll Day celebration at Lohia Maidan; 3 MLAs assure to take govt to task at the ensuing Assembly session; Accuse govt of working against the interest of the people … click here.

How a postmaster's daughter snared the Serpent [Charles Sobhraj]

15 Jan: Daily Mail (UK). Barbara Smith was just 22 years old when she left Hampshire behind and set off for India on what was meant to be the trip of a lifetime… Within months, the village postmaster's daughter had been ensnared by one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century. The true story of how evil charmer Charles Sobhraj preyed on young backpackers along South-East Asia's hippie trail is the subject of the BBC's new crime drama The Serpent… He is known to have killed at least 12 people but it was thanks largely to a young British woman that the psychopath was finally put behind bars… The story of how Barbara Sheryl Smith, whose father ran the village post office at Barton Stacey in Hampshire, met Sobhraj and, for a while, fell under his spell, has never fully been told — until now… undercover police posing as waiters captured Sobhraj and Hall after laying a trap at a seafood restaurant in Goa. Sobhraj was sent back to prison and forced to serve extra time for his escape…  For further details click here
For the BBC iPlayer video recording of the Serpent episodes, click here.

Goa most sought-after honeymoon destination amid Covid-19 pandemic

17 Jan: India Today. The Covid-19 danger isn’t over yet and the recent tourist inflow in Goa has left many surprised. Many travel portals like Make My Trip, Ease My Trip, Go Ibibio, etc. are running back-to-back discount offers to attract customers. Portals such as are advertising their specific Goa honeymoon packages right on the home page. India Today TV hit ground zero in Goa to understand the mood of the young couples, the reason for them choosing Goa as their honeymoon destination and the reason for being so carefree even amid these times when one is expected to take maximum precautions…  For further details click here

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Divine Retreat Centre - Ramsgate, Kent, UK

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