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Kamala Harris Sworn In as first Indian American Senator

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Kamala Harris was sworn in to the U.S. Senate Tuesday. Photo: Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Before friends and family in a packed chamber, Kamala Harris was sworn in as California’s newest U.S. senator Tuesday. As such, she became the first black woman California has ever elected to the post, and the first Indian American to ever serve in the chamber.

The Democrat and former California attorney general was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden, alongside Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her new Senate colleagues.

“It is a great honor to serve the people of California in the Senate, and I look forward to the work ahead.” Harris said. “There is no doubt that our country is at an inflection point in our history, one where we are challenged to stand up for the ideals of our nation. My message to those who are uncertain about the future is this: I intend to fight for our state and all our families. I’ve got your back.”

Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, was among seven new members of the Senate who joined those who won re-election. She defeated fellow Democrat Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez by a wide margin in November’s general election. There are two new Republican senators and five Democrats. The Republicans are Indiana Sen. Todd Young and Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy. The Democrats are Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Harris.

Harris’ husband, Los Angeles attorney Doug Emhoff, her stepchildren, brother-in-law Tony West, sister Maya Harris, extended family as well as several state officials from across the country who traveled watched from the gallery.

Also on Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown nominated Xavier Becerra to replace Harris as California’s next attorney general, beginning what is likely to be a smooth confirmation for the longtime Democratic congressman who has taken a combative stance against President-elect Trump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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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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