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Monthly Newsletter
March 2012


In this issue:

Stress Management Tips - Helping You Reduce Stress

Yuvraj Singh, Amartya Sen, Bashar al-Assad & Mohamed Nasheed


Enrichment Enrichment Stress Management Tips - Helping You Reduce Stress

Stress is inevitable in life but that doesn’t mean that we have to be passive about it and risk being stressed out. With some stress management tips, coping or dealing with stress should not be difficult.

1. Start a stress diary

Keeping a stress diary is an effective way of finding out both what causes you stress, and what level of stress you prefer. In this diary note down your stress levels and how you feel throughout the day. In particular, note down stressful events. Record the following information:

  1. The time and place where the event took place
  2. The Intensity of the stress felt (On a scale of 1 to 10)
  3. Duration of stress felt. How long did you feel unhappy, angry, agitated etc
  4. The event, situation or people causing the stress
  5. What was the triggering event (The preceding event that has led to the stressful situation that you are in right now)
  6. Your reaction i.e. emotional or physical towards that event.

Here is a sample of a stress diary that you can copy.

By keeping track of all causes of stress that have affected you, you would be in a better position to find ways to manage them. Looking retrospectively, you should be able to avoid running into such situations again and hence reducing your exposure to stress.

 2. Exercise

Taking frequent effective exercise is probably one of the best physical stress-reduction techniques available. Exercise not only improves your health and reduces stress caused by unfitness, it also relaxes tense muscles and helps you to sleep.

Exercise has a number of other positive benefits you may not be aware of:

  1. It improves blood flow to your brain, bringing additional sugars and oxygen which may be needed when you are thinking intensely
  2. When you think hard, the neurones of your brain function more intensely. As they do this they build up toxic waste products that cause foggy thinking in the short term, and can damage the brain in the long term. By exercising you speed the flow of blood through your brain, moving these waste products faster. You also improve this blood flow so that even when you are not exercising, waste is eliminated more efficiently.
  3. It can cause release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream. These give you a feeling of happiness and well-being

Being fit and healthy also increases your ability in managing stress as it arises.

3. Relaxation and Meditation Techniques

Learn how to relax yourself and this can best be done through meditation.

The idea of meditation is to focus your thoughts on one relaxing thing for a sustained period of time. This rests your mind by diverting it from thinking about the problems that have caused stress. It gives your body time to relax and recuperate and clear away toxins that may have built up through stress and mental or physical activity.

Meditation is particularly useful where:

  1. you have been under long term stress,
  2. you have been under short term stress which has caused adrenaline to be released into your bloodstream,
  3. you have been worrying about problems,
  4. you have been physically active.

Relaxing using meditation can have the following beneficial effects on our health.

  1. slows breathing
  2. reduces blood pressure
  3. helps muscles relax
  4. gives the body time to eliminate lactic acid and other waste products
  5. reduces anxiety
  6. eliminates stressful thoughts
  7. helps with clear thinking
  8. helps with focus and concentration
  9. reduces irritability
  10. reduces stress headaches

4. Time management

Stress is often cited as a result of poor time management. These are often the people who do not prioritize their jobs or tasks. They tend to over-commit and over scheduled. In such cases, good time management skills are critical for effective stress control..  One way to help in developing time management skills is to always try to use a calendar or planner, and check it faithfully before committing to anything. You can also learn to identify time-wasting tasks by keeping a diary for a few days and noticing where you may be losing time.

5. Develop your social support network.

When under intense stress, it is very natural to withdraw from the world and concentrate exclusively on solving the problem that is causing the stress yourself . However, this may not be an ideal option. One person working on his or her own simply cannot achieve tasks beyond a certain size. Similarly, many stressful situations cannot be resolved without the help of other people.

As such, learn to be more sociable. Expand and develop your own social network of friends so that there are always these groups of people that you feel comfortable with that can help you in times of need.

Simple as they may seems, these stress management tips when put into use can greatly help you in managing and coping with stress. Stress should never be taken lightly especially on a long term basis. Acknowledging the presence of stress and dealing with stress as they arises is the only way to lead a more healthy and stress-free life.

What's Hot What's Hot Yuvraj Singh, Amartya Sen, Bashar al-Assad & Mohamed Nasheed

Yuvraj Singh

Just a few weeks after winning the World Cup, its man of the tournament - Yuvraj Singh was diagnosed with 'lung cancer'.

Indian cricket lovers got a big setback as dashing all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has been diagnosed with cancer. According to reports, Yuvraj, who left for the US on January 26th, has a tumor between his lung and the heart and is undergoing chemotherapy in the US.


Yuvraj Singh (born 12 December 1981) is an Indian Sikh cricketer, and the son of former Indian fast bowler and Punjabi movie star Yograj Singh. He has been a member of the Indian cricket team since 2000 (ODIs) and played his first Test match in 2003. He was the vice-captain of the ODI team from late-2007 to late-2008.

At the 2007 World Twenty20 he hit six sixes in an over against England's Stuart Broad—a feat performed only three times previously in any form of senior cricket, and previously never in an international match between two Test cricket nations. He was named the Man of the Tournament in the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

Childhood and Early Career

Yuvraj Singh is a cricketer from Chandigarh in India. He was born on 12 December 1981 in Chandigarh, India. He is the son of former cricketer and Punjabi movie star Yograj Singh.

Yuvraj was first noticed by the selectors while he captained the U-19 Punjab team in the final of the Cooch-Behar Trophy against Bihar U-19s. He scored 358 runs in the final match. He was then selected for the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in January 2000. The Indian team won the tournament.

In 2000, he was selected for the first batch of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. He displayed his potential in his second ODI against the Australians where he scored fast against a pace attack by seasoned bowlers like Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Glen McGarth . However, he was soon out of form, and in early 2001, he was dropped for the ODIs in India against Australia. Later in the year he scored an unbeaten 98 and helped India defeat Sri Lanka.

Yuvraj’s Sponsor

Regarding his commercial interests, Microsoft signed Yuvraj to be its brand ambassador for the Xbox 360 video game console when it was launched in India in 2006. He also endorsed Codemasters’ cricket video game Brian Lara International Cricket 2007. He also lent his voice to the Bollywood animated film, Jumbo, which was his career starting in Bollywood.

The Man of the Match against West Indies (2005), the Man of the Series against South Africa, Pakistan and England; he was now ranked among the top ten of the ICC ODI batting rankings. He was then short listed by the ICC as one of four nominees for the International One Day player of the year award. In 2008, he was declared the Man of the Match twice against New Zealand in a Test series played in India. He was awarded a Porsche 911 car by India’s BCCI for scoring 6 sixes in a single over while playing against England in the ECC World Twenty20 Super 8 match in Durban, South Africa. BCCI also gifted him Rs.10, 000,000 in cash for his superb performance in the tournament. In terms of strike rate, he is currently one of the world’s leading 20-20 batsmen.

Personal Life

Yuvraj Singh fans suffered a setback when it was reported that he is suffering from Lung Tumor in May 2011 after the world cup. That was clearly visible from his degrading performances on the tour of West Indies and England.

He got some treatment in London and back to normal by October. But now he is again in trouble as that tumor has now converted into Cancer as reported by Doctors. The 30-year-old has been undergoing chemotherapy at the Cancer Research Institute in Boston (U.S.) which is treating a malignant tumour near his lungs. He is responding well to the chemotherapy. The left-hander had previously stated he was seeking inspiration from Lance Armstrong, the cyclist who won seven Tour de France titles after being treated for testicular cancer.

India won the world cup 2011 beating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets. Man of the Series of World cup 2011 was won by Yuvraj Singh. He has displayed an all rounder performance in this World cup 2011. Also, he won four times man of the match awards in the world cup 2011.

Apart from this, Yuvraj Singh, so far, has got 22 man of the match awards in one day internationals.

Amartya Sen

India's Nobel Prize-winning Economist Amartya Sen named for the 2011 US National Humanities Medal

The White House on 10 February 2012 named India's Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen the  receipient of the 2011 US National Humanities Medal. Amartya Sen, who retains his Indian citizenship, is the first Indian to be honored with the medal that is typically awarded to US nationals. While Indian scholars and experts of Indian-origin had previously won White House recognition in science and engineering in the form of National Medals, this is a first in humanities.

The White House citation described him as an economist and a philosopher. Sen was recognised while for his insights into the causes of poverty, famine, and injustice. By applying philosophical thinking to questions of policy, he changed how standards of living are measured and increased our understanding of how to fight hunger. Sen helped create the United Nations Human Development Index.

Sen is among four (an unusually high number) foreign-born luminaries in a distinguished list for the 2011 US National Humanities Medal. The list also includes the American poet John Ashbery, historians Robert Darnton and Cuba-born Teofilo Ruiz; philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, music scholar Charles Rosen, literary scholars Andrew Delbanco and Ramon Saldivar and the educational program National History Day.


Amartya Sen, (born 3 November 1933) is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members. Sen is best known for his work on the causes of famine, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing or limiting the effects of real or perceived shortages of food. He is currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor. He is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, distinguished fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he previously served as Master from 1998 to 2004. He is the first Indian and the first Asian academic to head an Oxbridge college.

Amartya Sen's books have been translated into more than thirty languages over a period of forty years. He is a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security. In 2006, Time magazine listed him under "60 years of Asian Heroes" and in 2010 included him in their "100 most influential persons in the world". New Statesman listed him in their 2010 edition of 'World's 50 Most Influential People Who Matter'.

Membership and Associations

He has served as Presidents of the Econometric Society (1984), the International Economic Association (1986–1989), the Indian Economic Association (1989) and the American Economic Association (1994). He has also served as President of the Development Studies Association and is Honorary Vice-President of the Royal Economic Society, which he has been since 1988.

He presently serves as Honorary Director of Center for Human and Economic Development Studies at Peking University in China and is also a board council member of the Prime Minister of India's Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians.

Notable works

Welfare economics seeks to evaluate economic policies in terms of their effects on the well-being of the community. Sen, who devoted his career to such issues, was called the “conscience of his profession.”

His influential monograph Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970) which addressed problems such as individual rights, majority rule, and the availability of information about individual conditions, inspired researchers to turn their attention to issues of basic welfare. Sen devised methods of measuring poverty that yielded useful information for improving economic conditions for the poor. For instance, his theoretical work on inequality provided an explanation for why there are fewer women than men in some poor countries in spite of the fact that more women than men are born and infant mortality is higher among males. Sen claimed that this skewed ratio results from the better health treatment and childhood opportunities afforded boys in those countries.

In his book Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981), Sen revealed that in many cases of famine, food supplies were not significantly reduced. Instead, a number of social and economic factors led to starvation among certain groups in society. Governments and international organizations handling food crises were influenced by Sen’s work.

Bashar al-Assad

Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, and other senior officials could face investigation for crimes against humanity over a brutal crackdown on an anti-government uprising

Two powerful car bombings in Syria's most populous city of Aleppo has escalated the nationwide contest for political ascendancy but also seemingly diverted some attention from the embattled city of Homs where perceptions of gross human rights violations has put the regime of President Bashar Al Assad firmly on the defensive.

The attacks in Syria's two most important cities suggested that the grim struggle for political control between a hardy opposition and an implacable government was no longer confined to relatively peripheral Islamist strongholds. The attacks in Aleppo - Syria's most populous city and a business hub, not far from the Turkish border, evoked memories of the seventies and eighties, when armed Sunni men fought a losing battle with the former strongman, Hafez Al Assad, father of present embattled President, Bashar Al Assad.


Bashar al-Assad is the current President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Party. His father Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria until his death in 2000. Al-Assad was elected in 2000, re-elected in 2007, unopposed each time.

Early life

Bashar al-Assad was born in Damascus on 11 September 1965, the son of Aniseh and Hafez al-Assad, of Alawite background. The home he grew up in was filled with politics and was conducted in the shadow of his father Hafez Assad who had taken over the presidency of Syria in the 1970 Corrective Revolution. Unlike his brothers, Basil and Maher, and sister, Bushra, Bashar was quiet and reserved and lacked interest in politics or the military. He later stated that he only entered his father's office once while he was in power and he never spoke about politics with him.

Human rights

A 2007 law required internet cafes to record all the comments users post on chat forums. Websites such as Wikipedia Arabic, YouTube and Facebook were blocked intermittently between 2008 and February 2011. Human Rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have detailed how Bashar's regime and secret police routinely torture, imprison, and kill political opponents, and those who speak out against the regime. Bashar al-Assad could be classified as a war criminal; US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said as the United Nations announced more than 7,500 civilians had been killed by his forces since the start of the revolt.

Involvement in Lebanon

Despite gaining re-election in 2007, al-Assad’s position was considered by some to have been weakened by the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon following the Cedar Revolution in 2005. There has also been pressure from the U.S. concerning claims that Syria is linked to terrorist networks, exacerbated by Syrian condemnation of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah military leader, in Damascus in 2008. Interior Minister Bassam Abdul-Majeed stated that, "Syria, which condemns this cowardly terrorist act, expresses condolences to the martyr family and to the Lebanese people.

2011–2012 uprising

Following anti-government demonstrations in the Arab world, protests in Syria started on 26 January 2011. Protesters called for political reforms and the re-instatement of civil rights, as well as an end to the state of emergency which had been in place since 1963.

By the end of January 2012, over 7,000 civilians and protesters had been killed by the Syrian army, Assad's militia (Shabeeha) and Syrian security agents.  On 10 January 2012, Assad gave a speech in which he accused the uprising of being plotted by foreign countries and claimed that "victory was near". He also said that the Arab League, by suspending Syria, revealed that it was no longer Arab.  However, al-Assad also said the country would not "close doors" to an Arab-brokered solution if "national sovereignty" was respected. He has decreed to hold a referendum in March for a new Constitution that would effectively end nearly 50 years of single party rule.

The UN-appointed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria has compiled a list of officials whose names could be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The commission documented a widespread and systematic pattern of gross violations committed by Syrian forces, “in conditions of impunity,” since March 2011 when the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime erupted.

Mohamed Nasheed

A weak President, a belligerent set of officials who have re-discovered power, and a defiant former President are together pushing Maldives deeper into crisis

Mohamed Nasheed (born 17 May 1967) is a Maldivian politician and the founder of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who served as the 4th President of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012. He was a presidential candidate in the October 2008 election in which he defeated long-time President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the second round.

He was sworn in as President on 11 November 2008. He resigned on 7 February 2012, following weeks of public protests. Nasheed has stated that these protesters had joined with "powerful networks of regime loyalists" (referring specifically to the former administration of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom rather than his own régime) to force his resignation in a coup d'etat, explicitly stating that he was forced to resign "at gunpoint" by police and army officers.


Nasheed was held in prison for an article in the political magazine Sangu, published in 1990, in which he alleged the Maldivian government had rigged the 1989 general election. Because of his imprisonment, he was made an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience in 1991.

After being held in solitary confinement and reportedly tortured, he was accused of withholding information about a bombing plot. On 8 April 1992, he was sentenced to three years in prison on that charge. He was released in June 1993, then re-arrested in 1994 and 1995. In 1996 he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for an article he had written about the 1993 and 1994 Maldivian elections.

Political Party

In November 2003, Nasheed left the Maldives and joined Mohamed Latheef to help establish the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), in exile, in Sri Lanka and the UK. He was recognised as a political refugee by the British government in 2004. After about 18 months in self-proclaimed exile, Nasheed returned to Malé on 30 April 2005.

After returning to the Maldives he began promoting the MDP before it was officially recognised by the Government. With the decision to allow political parties in the Maldives, on 2 June 2005 and the official recognition of the MDP's existence, Nasheed accelerated his support campaigns for the party. He made several trips to the Atolls, and neighbouring countries on behalf of the party.

Resignation amid protests

In less than a year into the presidency the cabinet members representing the political parties in the coalition started resigning stating lack of governance with respect to the constitution and transparency. An opposition alliance (Madhanee Ithihaad) was formed on December 2011, which also included the parties that supported the President in his 2008 presidential race. On 23rd December, the capital city was rocked by protests by the opposition against the President Mohamed Nasheed. In relation to the protests Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was summoned twice by the Maldives Police Service, later held in arrest in a nearby island. This arrest sparked violent protests near the Republic Square.

The Judge of the criminal court investigating the arrest, called to summon both parties to the court. Instead, the next opening day (16 January 2012) Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed was arrested from his house, by the Military (Maldives National Defense Force).

After the government and the Military did not disclose any information to the public, the protests started gaining momentum, and demands were for an immediate release of the Chief justice from military detention to house arrest. They also called for an independent investigation into the Judge and to arrest him according to the constitution and for the president to stop using executive power over another institution.

The protest extended for over 22 days in the Republic Square and on 6th February 2012, the Maldives Police Service declined to use force to control or disperse the protests and joined the protest for the release of Judge Abdulla Mohamed. The Maldives National Defense Force fired rubber bullets at the protesters, later the army refused to engage with the Police force and regiments of the army joined the protests. President Nasheed resigned on 7th February 2012. On 8th February 2012, MDP convened an emergency executive meeting and announced for all its members across the nation to go into streets in protests.

Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, who claims to have opposed Abdulla Mohamed's arrest, was sworn as the new president of Maldives on the same day in accordance with the law of the Maldives. Nasheed now describes the event as a coup d'etat in which Hassan was complicit.

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