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Sacramento Bee endorses Ami Bera’s re-election bid

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Incumbent Congressman Ami Bera has been endorsed by the Sacramento Bee in his re-election campaign.

Incumbent Congressman Ami Bera has been endorsed by the Sacramento Bee in his re-election campaign.

SACRAMENTO (Diya TV) — Ami Bera, currently the only Indian American serving in the U.S. Congress, is in the midst of another reelection campaign for his seat. Currently seeking his third term, Bera is campaigning against Republican Scott Jones.

The two brawled onstage during their Oct. 18 debate, accusing each other of ethical shortcomings. Immediately following the debate, polling website Election Projection predicted that Bera would retain his seat with a five percentage point lead over Jones.

A public service background of his own, Jones has served as Sacramento County’s sheriff since 2010.

Capitol Public Radio reporter Bob Moffitt reminded those in attendance and watching the debate that Bera’s father, Babulal Bera, would serve a year-long term in federal prison, beginning Nov. 18, for violating campaign finance laws. Babulal Bera, 83, reportedly used straw donors to funnel about $300,000 to his son’s first two Congressional campaigns in 2009 and 2011. According to court documents, Babulal Bera asked an estimated 90 family members to contribute the maximum allowable contribution of $2,400 each election cycle, promising to pay them back the full amount.

Before his Aug. 18 sentencing, the elder Bera wrote a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Troy Nunley, saying he was unaware he was violating election rules, and was simply caught up in the excitement of his son running for office.

“I am sad about what my father did,” Ami said during the debate. “He made a mistake. He is not a criminal, but he broke the law.”

“Had my dad reached out to me or to the campaign, we would have said, ‘dad, you can’t do this,’” said Bera, noting that the U.S. Attorney’s office has absolved him of any knowledge of his father’s activities. “We have fully cooperated with the investigation,” he said, adding: “We’re trying to get my mom and dad through this extremely tough year.”

Jones fielded the first question of the evening — he was previously found guilty of sexually harassing four female deputies. Jones has been ordered to pay $3.7 million to the victims, and almost $6 million in legal fees; the Sacramento sheriff said he denied all allegations under oath.

During the debate, Bera said Sacramento taxpayers would be footing the expensive bill for Jones’ sexual indiscretions. “A jury ruled against you. This is pretty disturbing.”

“No woman should ever have to face this type of harassment,” he said.

Jones attacked Bera’s support of a deal with Iran, in which $1.7 billion was pledged to Tehran, allegedly to prevent the country from developing a nuclear weapon.

Bera, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, defended his stance on the deal. “It was a difficult negotiation,” he said, noting that 13 meetings took place before the deal was offered. “The goal was to reduce the nuclear threat in the Middle East. We don’t want to get into another war,” said the congressman, noting that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had praised the deal.

The U.S. paid $400 million in August, at the same time as four hostages were released. “Why are we treating Iran like a friend?” Jones questioned. “They are never going to comply.”

“Paying $1.7 billion to secure four hostages puts every American at a risk of threat,” he stated.

The Sacramento Bee endorsed the incumbent on Oct. 22, writing: “Rep. Ami Bera is a hardworking and thoughtful member of Congress who has shown he is willing to find common ground with Republicans, to the extent possible in these partisan times. We recommend voters return the Elk Grove Democrat to Washington for a third term.”

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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