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December 2009 - January 2010

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Dispatches & Reports

Council strengthens economic partnership with India

Birmingham City Council this week welcomed the Organising Committee for Commonwealth Games, Delhi 2010, building on the synergy between modern sport and business after playing host to the Queen’s Baton Relay earlier in the week.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Mike Whitby welcomed Mr. Tribhuvan Shanker Darbari, Joint Director General of Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 and the Commonwealth Business Club India (CBCI) at a special business reception for the launch of the Commonwealth Business Club India at the Council House.

Officially opening the ceremony, Cllr Whitby said, "I am delighted to welcome my most distinguished guests to today’s event, which underpins the strong economic relationship between Birmingham and India. We are keen to further establish our strong business link through the Commonwealth Games. As a global city with a local heart, we are committed to fostering trade with India and today's event will help build more bridges to deliver that.

“Birmingham has been honoured to play host to the Queen’s Baton Relay as the countdown to next year’s Commonwealth Games gathers pace and as a city we are keen to showcase the immense opportunities to the Commonwealth business community.

“India is a great choice for the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi and this will be a great opportunity for the country to showcase its diverse cultures, celebrate its people and highlight its strengths in business and economy.”

Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, MP, India and Chairman of the Commonwealth Business Club India and Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi said, “It has been our endeavour to create a networking environment for business leaders of the Commonwealth and partnerships with the Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry and I am delighted to be here today in Birmingham”.

Mr. Tribhuvan Shanker Darbari, Joint Director General, Organising Committee, Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, added: ““On a wider scale, we want to develop greater awareness of India’s multifaceted tourist attractions while generating the business investment opportunities. The partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, will harness its potential for Commonwealth Business Club India to become a major catalyst in projecting India’s image and attracting sports collaborations”

The CBCI along with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and in conjunction with the route of the Queen’s Baton Relay, has planned Business-to-Business and Government-to-Business interactions in 13 cities of the Commonwealth countries.

The baton relay has been the curtain raiser to every Commonwealth Games since 1958 and began its journey from Buckingham Palace. The baton will appear at various high-profile sporting events and pass through all 53 of the Commonwealth nations before arriving in Delhi in a journey that will cover 190,000 kilometres in 336 days.


London’s favourite shirtmaker, Charles Tyrwhitt (, has launched in Mumbai and Bangalore through its relationship with The Collective Store. The Collective Store launched last month in Mumbai, as a super premium lifestyle retail brand ’for the discerning man’ by Madura Garments Lifestyle Retail Co. Ltd (part of the Aditya Birla Group). The Collective is the anchor store at the Palladium, India’s first and only luxury destination. Charles Tyrwhitt are one of the luxury brands for men being stocked in the store.

Charles Tyrwhitt has shops in London, Manchester, New York, Madrid, Paris, Singapore and Kuwait and sells to over 77 countries worldwide. Further expansion into India is planned for April 2010.

Charles Tyrwhitt has made huge in-roads into the German market, which is up 52% year-on-year exclusively through mail order and internet sales. Chairman Nick Wheeler founded Charles Tyrwhitt in 1986.


Increasing numbers of Sikh men are turning to surgery to reverse hair loss caused by tightly wound turbans.

The UK’s leading hair transplant specialists – The Farjo Medical Centre – reports that a growing proportion of its patients now come from the male Sikh community. Men as young as 20-years-old are turning to surgery after suffering traction alopecia, caused by turbans pulling on the hair.

According to Sikh religious laws, the turban is required to cover a man’s long, uncut hair, which is wound into a knot, along with a turban, on top of the head. Ironically, the long hair required by Sikhs to create the ‘rishi’ knot is being put at risk by the practice itself, as the knot pulls on the hair, resulting in hair loss.

Male Sikhs start to wear their hair wound into a knot from as young as 5-years-old, which then continues when they begin to wear a turban. Permanent removal of the turban is then forbidden. Accordingly, most Sikhs wear this style for 24 hours a day, leading to noticeable premature hair loss – particularly in the frontal scalp area. The turban is steeped in 400 years of history, meaning that the majority of the 10 million male Sikhs worldwide aren’t aware of the problems that can arise from wearing one.

Dr Bessam Farjo, former president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) and founder of Farjo Medical Centre, is urging turban wearers to prevent this problem by winding their turbans less tightly to minimise the stress put on the hair.

Dr Farjo said: “We are treating a significant number of patients who have suffered hair loss caused by wearing a turban. Hair transplant surgery can restore the hair permanently, as long as the wearer puts less stress on the hair.”

The Farjo Medical Centre warns that turban wearers aren’t the only people affected by traction alopecia due to choices of headwear or hair styles. The problem also commonly occurs as a result of hair braiding, hair extensions, tight ponytails and wearing tight fitting hats.

Dr. Bessam Farjo and his wife Dr Nilofer Farjo head up the UK’s leading hair transplant surgery. They carry out more than 300 operations each year at their Manchester clinic. More than 4,000 people have travelled from across the UK, Europe and as far as the Middle East, Australia and the United States, to the Farjo Medical Centre.

The centre has an international reputation for not only using the latest hair transplantation techniques – recognised throughout the surgical field – but also for placing significant emphasis on developing pioneering ways to counter hair loss.

One in five Brits discriminated against, according to EU survey

Around one in six people in Europe say they have personally experienced discrimination in the past year, according to a new opinion survey published by the European Commission. The figure was higher in the UK – one in five said they had been discriminated against in the past twelve months, shows the latest Eurobarometer.

Almost two thirds, or 64 per cent, of Europeans are also concerned that the recession will contribute to more age discrimination in the job market. The same figure in the UK was 59 per cent. The results come ahead of this year's European Equality Summit, to be held in Stockholm on 16 and-17 November.

On a positive note, the British have a greater mix of friends compared to people living in other EU member states, according to the survey. A large majority of the respondents said their social networks include people of different religion, or different belief from theirs, disabled people, people of different ethnic origin or homosexuals.

"Discrimination remains a problem across Europe and people's perceptions of it are broadly stable compared to last year," said Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimír Špidla. "One area of concern is the perceived rise in age discrimination as a result of the recession. These results show that despite progress, we still have a long way to go in making people more aware of their rights to equal treatment, particularly at national level and ensure that equality remains not just an empty phrase, but becomes reality," he added.

Personal experience of discrimination by respondents remains largely unchanged since the same survey was carried out last year, with age being the most common reason (6 per cent of respondents). Overall, 16 per cent of Europeans reported experiencing discrimination (on the basis of race, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation) in 2009, the same level as in 2008.

However, there has been a strong increase in perceived discrimination based on age and disability. 58 per cent of Europeans consider age discrimination to be widespread in their country, compared to 42 per cent in 2008, while 53 per cent cite disability discrimination (45 per cent in 2008). There is also a clear link with the current economic situation, with 64 per cent of people expecting the downturn to lead to more age discrimination in the job market. This may reflect rising unemployment among young people in many EU countries as a result of the slowdown and could also reflect growing awareness of these forms of discrimination.

Overall, one in three Europeans are aware of their rights should they become a victim of discrimination or harassment. However, this figure masks considerable differences at national level. Awareness has increased since the last survey in 2008 in the UK (+8 points), France (+7), Ireland and Sweden (each +6), but fallen in Poland (-12) and Portugal (-11).

Raising public awareness is a long-term process which requires joint efforts at European and national level, including important actors such as National Equality Bodies. The European Commission is pursuing efforts in this area through the 'For Diversity. Against Discrimination' pan-European information campaign, by funding national awareness-raising projects under the PROGRESS programme, and previously through the 2007 European Year for Equal Opportunities.

In terms of reporting cases of discrimination, most Europeans would first contact the police (55 per cent), while 35 per cent would get in touch with their equality body and 27 per cent a trade union. Confidence in the various organisations working with discrimination issues differs strongly from one country to another.

Encouragingly, the survey data gives an insight into the social mechanisms by which discrimination can be resolved. The report shows that social circles, education and awareness-raising efforts are contributing to a better acceptance of diversity. Efforts and policies that seek to work with this reality will no doubt further contribute to combating discrimination and promoting diversity.

On 16-17 November 2009, the Swedish Presidency of the EU and the European Commission will organise the 3rd EU Equality Summit in Stockholm. This annual event aims to drive discrimination and diversity issues to the very top of EU and national governments' agendas, and to share knowledge and experiences in order to develop more effective ways of counteracting all forms of discrimination.

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