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Shruti FoundationShruti Foundation will hold its second annual Tampa Bay Indian Music and Dance Festival 2017 from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Hindu Temple of Florida.

Music performers include Indrajit Banerjee of Kolkata/Austin on sitar. He is one of the leading exponents of the Maihar Gharana. The young, and talented Ambi Subramaniam, son of legendary violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam and singer Kavita Krishnamurti, will perform on the Carnatic violin. Nandkishor Muley, one of the senior disciples of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, will play the santoor. Disciple of Pandit Jasraj and music head of Pandit Jasraj School of Music in Tampa, classical vocalist Pandit Radharaman Kirtane will perform based on the celebration of Ganpati Festival, which will have begun the previous day. Also, taking the stage will be Mahesh Krishnamurthy on mridangam and tabla maestro Shankh Lahiri of Tampa. Tara Priyadarshini Bikkasani and Rudram Dance company will present “Bhakti,” a group production in Bharatanatyam.

Hindu Temple of Florida is at 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa. Tickets start at $30; students 12 years of age and under are $15. For information, call (813) 549-9288 or visit

BAPS Charities Holds Walk Green 2017 in Tampa

Eager to compare and share his success with his friends, Sneh Dadhania excitedly arrived early to submit all the donations he had diligently collected over the past month. Along with his peers, Neel Patel supported his friends and family with encouragement and reminders to raise money and awareness about the community involvement of BAPS Charities.

Patel is just one of 450 community members who supported the annual BAPS Charities’ Walk Green 2017 walkathon in Tampa on June 11. Building off an existing relationship with The Nature Conservancy, the walkathon had participants of all ages come out and support the Nature Conservancy and its Plant a Billion Trees campaign. The Nature Conservancy’s efforts focus on protecting habitats and preserving biodiversity across the world. Its current campaign aims to plant one billion trees by 2025 to which BAPS Charities contributed $100,000 to plant 70,000 trees in 2016. In addition to targeted conservation efforts, The Nature Conservancy also invests in research related to conservation and climate change to drive international efforts.

Additionally, with a firm belief to think globally, act locally, this year’s BAPS Charities Walkathon supported Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Foundation (HCFR). HCFR aims to promote Fire and Life Safety in Hillsborough County and the professional development, training and education of its members. Through the efforts of BAPS Charities’ volunteer base, who come together to participate in service projects throughout the year, Patel’s hard work not only inspires his friends but encourages participants of all ages to get involved in BAPS Charities initiatives.


India came in at No. 5 for foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate, according to an annual survey by the National Association of Realtors®, which also revealed that nearly half of all foreign sales were in three states: Florida, California and Texas.

Topping the list were buyers from China, which exceeded all countries by dollar volume of sales at $31.7 billion, which was up from last year’s survey ($27.3 billion) and beat 2015 ($28.6 billion) as the new survey high. Chinese buyers also purchased the most housing units for the third consecutive year (40,572; up from 29,195 in 2016).

Rounding out the top five, the sales dollar volume from buyers in Canada ($19 billion), the United Kingdom ($9.5 billion), Mexico ($9.3 billion) and India ($7.8 billion) all increased from their levels one year ago.

This year’s survey once again revealed that foreign buying activity is mostly confined to three states, as Florida (22 percent), California (12 percent) and Texas (12 percent) maintained their position as the top destinations for foreigners, followed by New Jersey and Arizona (each at 4 percent). Florida was the most popular state for Canadian buyers, Chinese buyers mostly chose California, and Texas was the preferred state for Mexican buyers.

NAR’s 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate found that between April 2016 and March 2017, foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased $153.0 billion of residential property, which is a 49 percent jump from 2016 ($102.6 billion) and surpasses 2015 ($103.9 billion) as the new survey high1. Overall, 284,455 U.S. properties were bought by foreign buyers (up 32 percent from 2016), and purchases accounted for 10 percent of the dollar volume of existing-home sales (8 percent in 2016).

The political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad did not deter foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of U.S. property over the past year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “While the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home-price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the U.S. is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest.”

Although China maintained its top position in sales dollar volume for the fourth straight year, the significant rise in foreign investment in the survey came from a massive hike in activity from Canadian buyers. After dipping in the 2016 survey to $8.9 billion in sales ($11.2 billion in 2015), transactions from Canadians this year totaled $19 billion – a new high for Canada.

Yun attributes this notable rise in activity to Canadians opting to buy property in U.S. markets that are expensive but still more affordable than in their native land. While much of the U.S. continues to see fast price growth, home price gains in many cities in Canada have been steeper, especially in Vancouver and Toronto.

Inventory shortages continue to drive up U.S. home values, but prices in five countries, including Canada, experienced even quicker appreciation2,” said Yun. “Some of the acceleration in foreign purchases over the past year appears to come from the combination of more affordable property choices in the U.S. and foreigners deciding to buy now knowing that any further weakening of their local currency against the dollar will make buying more expensive in the future.”

Foreign buyers typically paid $302,290, which was a 9 percent increase from the median sales price in the 2016 survey ($277,380) and above the sales price of all existing homes sold during the same period ($235,792). Approximately10 percent of foreign buyers paid over $1 million, and 44 percent of transactions were all-cash purchases (50 percent in 2016).

The upswing in foreign investment came from both recent immigrants and non-resident foreign buyers3 as each increased substantially to new highs. Sales to foreigners residing in the U.S. reached $78.1 billion (up 32 percent from 2016) and non-resident foreign sales spiked to $74.9 billion (up 72 percent from 2016).

Although non-resident foreign purchases climbed over the past year, it appears much of the activity occurred during the second half of 2016,” said Yun. “Realtors® in some markets are reporting that the effect of tighter regulations on capital outflows in China and weaker currencies in Canada and the U.K. have somewhat cooled non-resident foreign buyer interest in early 2017.”

Looking ahead, Yun believes the gradually expanding U.S. and global economies should keep foreign buyer demand at a robust level. However, it remains to be seen if both the shortage of homes for sale and economic and political headwinds end up curbing sales activity to foreigners.

For more information, visit

Story provided by National Association of Realtors®


ChablaniToastmaster Somesh Chablani of Jacksonville has been appointed as the new Area 11 director under District 84. Area 11 covers several toastmaster clubs in Jacksonville. District 84 comprises more than 200-plus corporate and community clubs in Central and Northern Florida.

Chablani, who has been associated with Toastmasters for four years, earned his Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB) and ACL credentials. He has personally and professionally benefitted from the program to build upon his communication and leadership skills. He has also trained children in the Youth Leadership Program and serves as a mentor to many members.

Toastmasters International empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Since 1924, it has helped people from diverse backgrounds become confident speakers, communicators and leaders.

To learn more about District 84, visit

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