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Nikki Haley takes stand against hike of H-1B, L-1 visa fees

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Nikki Haley participates in a panel discussion during the Republican Governors Association

Nikki Haley participates in a panel discussion during the Republican Governors Association

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — India for years has attempted to pressure the U.S. to curb the hiking H-1B and L-1 visa fees. The country’s efforts have begun resonating with key figures inside of the Obama administration, and even those who are members of the GOP.

Vinai Thummalapally, former classmate and close friend of President Obama, was selected in 2011 by the president to setup SelectUSA, a program which sought to attract foreign investment into the U.S. and also endorsed India’s stance on labor and visa issues.

Thummalapally said while India represents the fourth fastest-growing FDI, or foreign direct investment, for the U.S., there are several more hurdles to jump over for Indian companies looking to invest in the country because of the H-1B issues. “This is a huge issue for us. What we do is we actually communicate this to the White House and this is a big concern for the Indian companies,” Thummalapally said. “Of the top 18 companies in IT services about 15-16 are Indian companies including Wipro, Tatas and Infosys. They have been impacted by the rule.”

He added that U.S. affiliates of Indian-owned companies currently employed 45,100 employees in the U.S. in 2013 and contributed $1.5 billion to the country’s exporting market.

In March, India initiated a WTO dispute against the U.S. regarding measures that would impose increased fees on certain H-1B and L-1/L-2 visa candidates. The measures appear to be inconsistent with US commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, Indian officials said in their complaint.

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Republican governor of South Carolina and Indian-American Nikki Haley has come out in support of he Indian argument. Haley has been speculated by many to be a possible vice president candidate in the upcoming general election.

“We have so many Indian students that come here and go to our universities and what kills me is the fact that they are trained, they are talented and then they get sent back. There’s a lot of talent in India and that talent when they come here and they get educated here, it’s the first talent we want to see be able to join our forces and work for our companies,” Haley said.

Additionally, foreign direct investment growth decreased by more than half in the U.S. — $106.6 billion in 2014, down from $211.5 billion in 2013.

“There is a huge dichotomy in US’ trade policies, which is increasingly becoming protectionist while trying to attract more investment. This has led to US share of global FDI falling from 45 percent in 1984 to 12 percent in 2012. India is a huge untapped market for US and H1B visa issue has had a huge negative impact of trade,” said Marek Gootman, director, strategic partnerships and global initiatives at Washington D.C. based think tank Brookings Institute.

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FTX’s Nishad Singh got $543 million loan

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More fallout from the FTX cryptocurrency platform collapse. Court documents show its affiliate Alameda Research loaned executives like Sam Bankman Fried $1 billion and more than $500 million to Indian American Nishad Singh, FTX’s top engineer. FTX’s interim CEO says never in his career has he seen such complete failure of corporate controls and a complete absence of trustworthy financial information. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it was unable to come up with customer funds.

Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after her conviction in January for defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing start up Theranos.In her trial, Holmes alleged she was in the midst of a decade-long abusive relationship with her then-boyfriend and Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The Indian American was also found guilty for his role in this fraud and will be sentenced later.

Starting next month, India will assume the G20 presidency for a year and chair more than 200 meetings, leading the way for global economic growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country’s leadership here will be inclusive, ambitious, and decisive.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arvind Venkat & Tarik Khan win Pennsylvania State seats

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – Looking back at the midterm elections, Arvind Venkat and Tarik Khan made history as the first South Asian Americans elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Advocacy group Indian American Impact played a major role on the ground, saying it trained and mobilized 200 volunteers to go door-to-door, to engage voters and provide info they needed to elect new leadership.

After 35 years, the Nancy Pelosi era is officially coming to an end. The speaker from San Francisco announced she’s bowing out of leadership, but will retain her House seat. The midterms cost Pelosi’s Democratic party the House and effectively ended her speakership.

Two former Indian American executives at Meta Platforms will launch a new non fungible token start up for creators. Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi have raised more than $8 million for their new company called Virtualness. But they are facing headwinds as the FTX cryptocurrency exchange collapse is putting pressure on the entire industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Meet FTX insider Nishad Singh

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The controversy around failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX continues to captivate the world. Part of the scrutiny is now on the people involved, including Indian American Nishad Singh. According to new reports, this techie was part of FTX’s inner circle, which lived together and ran the cryptocurrency empire from the Bahamas. The software engineer was also reportedly aware that FTX secretly transferred customer funds worth billions of dollars to its sister firm Alameda Research. Currently, no one is facing any criminal charges. Diya TV featured Singh more than a decade ago for running ultra marathons as a 17 year old getting ready for college. 

Former President Donald Trump has officially announced he is running for president in 2024, marking his third bid for the White House. Trump had been hinting at this announcement for months, as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil litigations and as his party is grappling with a worse than expected showing in the midterm elections. 

At the G20 Summit in Bali, world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden are coming together to condemn the rising threat of nuclear weapons as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to raise tension and anxiety around the world.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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