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Indian-Americans front and center in Trump Administration

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Indian Americans in Trump Administration
Nikki Haley, Ajit Pai, Seema Verma, three Indian Americans in Trump Administration

Nikki Haley, Ajit Pai, Seema Verma(Left to Right) , three Indian Americans in Trump Administration

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Indian-Americans have emerged as the most prominent ethnic minority in President Donald Trump’s mostly white and male administration.

Nikki Haley is serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ajit Pai currently serves as the chair of the Federal Communications Commission and Seema Verma was just confirmed Monday to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. All of this rings one central theme — Indian-Americans have been positioned with key roles in shaping the Trump administration’s policy, from international relations to healthcare.

Another Indian-American, San Francisco-based attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who is also a member of the Republican National Committee, is currently a top candidate to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Trump’s appointments coincide with a surge in the election of Indian-Americans to Congress, however, they are all Democrats. Washington state’s Pramila Jayapal last year became the first Indian-American woman elected to the House of Representatives, and California Sen. Kamala Harris became the first woman of Indian descent elected to the Senate.

California voters decided to send Rep. Ami Bera back for a third term, while Silicon Valley replaced Rep. Mike Honda with Ro Khanna. Raja Krishnamoorthi was also elected to represent Chicago’s western suburbs.

Indian-Americans voted 87 percent for Clinton and 9 percent for Trump, with the remaining voters choosing other candidates. In 2012, the first year Asian-American Decisions polled Indian-Americans, 83 percent voted for President Barack Obama, while 10 percent voted for Republican Mitt Romney.

Recent racially-motivated attacks, including the shooting death of Garmin employee Srinivas Kuchibhotla at a Kansas bar, may leave Indian-Americans wondering what Trump will do to protect minority communities from violence.

At least so far, though, Indian-Americans are the diversity of Trump’s administration. Haley, Verma and Pai have shared parts of their personal and family stories as the children of Indian immigrants.

Framed by a tapestry reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” and member state flags, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters after a Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Feb. 16, 2017, at U.N. headquarters.

During her January confirmation hearing before the Senate, Haley called her upbringing “an American story.”“Growing up in a small rural community in the South, our family was different,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We were not white enough to be white. We were not black enough to be black. My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. Our new neighbors didn’t quite know what to make of us, so we did face challenges, but those challenges paled next to the abundance of opportunities in front of us.” The Senate confirmed her with a vote of 96-4.

Pai, who grew up in Parsons, Kansas, was elevated to chairman of the FCC by Trump in January. He’ll need to be reconfirmed by the Senate later this year.

Upon his promotion to chairman, Pai paid tribute to his parents, who came to the U.S. from India 45 years ago, “with literally no assets other than $10, a transistor radio and a desire to achieve the American dream.”

“I hope my tenure as chairman will show me to be worthy of the sacrifices they’ve made for me and the lessons they’ve taught me,” Pai said. “And I’m ever grateful that this wonderful country has given me and my family the opportunity to dream big.”

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Puneet Talwar named US Ambassador to Morocco

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – The US State Department announced that diplomat Puneet Talwar is its new ambassador to Morocco. President Biden proposed Talwar as the new nominee last March. The new ambassador to Morocco has a rich portfolio in diplomacy. The diplomat is currently a senior adviser to the State Department.

Six men have been arrested for the gang rape and murder of two girls. Police say one of them is a neighbor and the remaining five are Muslims from a nearby village – although it’s not believed to be a religious crime.

As Pakistan continues to deal with historic flooding a new report published in Vice says the country collected $40 million for a mega dam on the Indus river, but spent $63 million on advertising it. The crowdsourced campaign was  launched by a Supreme Court judge and endorsed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan. It’s now at the center of a massive controversy. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian & Hindu American groups hold DC summit

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WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) – A group of Indian American and Hindu American organizations joined forces to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day and advocate for the diaspora on Capitol Hill, in what is being called an inaugural summit for political engagement. The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the Hindu American Foundation, the Coalition of Hindus of North America and Americans4Hindus, were among the more than one dozen organizations, hosting legislators from both sides of the aisle in a non-partisan effort to discuss issues of concern in the community. 
 
Indian American economist Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji has been named White House Coordinator for the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act’s historic $50 billion investment in the semiconductor industry at the National Economic Council. 
 
Fans of Indian comedian and actor Raju Srivastava are mourning his death. He passed away at the age of 58 after suffering a heart attack last month while running on a treadmill. He had a history of heart problems. 
 
Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.
 
 

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Sukhpal Singh arrested in Tusli Mandir hate crime case

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NEW YORK (Diya TV) – New York police arrested a man for allegedly sledgehammering a statue of Gandhi outside a Queens Hindu Shri Tusli Mandir. Twenty seven year old Sukhpal Singh is charged with criminal mischief and a hate crime for allegedly destroying the statue and defacing it with spray paint outside Tulsi Mandir in Richmond Hill last month. 

India and France agreed to set up an Indo-Pacific partnership to roll out development projects, expand strategic cooperation, and work closer to deal with pressing global challenges such as a food crisis triggered by the Ukraine invasion. 

More than a million customers in Puerto Rico are waiting for electricity to come back on after Hurricane Fiona hammers the region. The Dominican Republic is under a hurricane warning as well. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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