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USIBC hosts FCC Chairman Pai to discuss US India trade, tech and innovation

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Ajit Pai
Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spoke Wednesday at a meeting of the U.S.-India Business Council.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — One day after a controversial vote from the House to kill a landmark bill regarding broadband privacy regulations, FCC chairman Ajit Pai spoke at a meeting of the U.S.-India Business Council, he said the two nations are natural allies in more ways than one, including communication regulation.

Speaking to the Council, which is made up of more than 300 companies, Pai said the U.S. and India share more than $100 billion in bilateral trade, a figure that has more than tripled since a decade ago.

“As the country that invented the Internet and that’s home to the world’s most powerful and popular technology companies, the United States is an indispensable driver and beneficiary of the digital revolution,” he told the Council. “And it is worth nothing that many Indians and Indian-Americans are playing a prominent role in our high-tech success story. Multiple American technology companies now feature Indian or Indian-American CEOs, and nearly one in four Silicon Valley startups is founded by an Indian or Indian-American.”

Pai also paid his respects to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” initiative, saying the country’s leadership has begun to embrace the nation’s digital revolution. He said the FCC’s philosophies and policies are very much similar to those of “Digital India.” Because of the initiative, India has launched efforts to deploy fiber backbone to 600,000 villages, to dramatically expand public Wi-Fi hotspots in urban areas, and to connect every school and college with broadband.

“Like Prime Minister Modi, we don’t see the state of our digital infrastructure as a simple telecommunications issue,” said Pai. “It is an economic issue, a jobs issue, a competitiveness issues, an education issue, and a healthcare issue.”

His remarks came less than 24 hours after Congress voted to eliminate the consumer protections, a result that was very likely celebrated by Pai. The rules would have required home Internet and mobile broadband providers to get consumers’ opt-in consent before selling or sharing web browsing history, app usage history, and other private information with advertisers and other companies.

Pai has gone on record, more than once, as an ardent supporter of ISPs facing less strict regulations, similar to those of website operators like Google and Facebook.

“Last year, the Federal Communications Commission pushed through, on a party-line vote, privacy regulations designed to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies,” Pai said after yesterday’s vote. “Appropriately, Congress has passed a resolution to reject this approach of picking winners and losers before it takes effect.”

Business

New Zealand eliminates India in cricket World Cup

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New Zealand wins Cricket

MANCHESTER, England (Diya TV) — After a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India, when play resumed, the Kiwis held on to win by 18 runs, knocking India out of the Cricket World Cup. It’s on to the championship round for New Zealand.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an Indian restaurant in Washington DC, detaining several employees.

Airbnb, the Silicon Valley couchsurfing startup turned hospitality behemoth, says they made a direct economic impact of around $150 million in India in 2018.

Indian Airbnb hosts collectively made almost $28 million and welcomed nearly 800,000 guests last year. 

Chennai-based speech recognition startup, Uniphore Software Systems, raised $38 million as part of its Series C round. They’ve received funding from California venture capital firm March Capital Partners and former Cisco CEO John Chambers. 

And Indo-Australian Priya Serrao was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2019.

The 26-year-old policy advisor from the state of Victoria said she will use her new platform to promote multiculturalism. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Business

Trump says tariffs by India are ‘No longer acceptable’

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Tariffs no longer acceptable

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In a tweet, President Trump targeted India once again, saying “India has long had a field day putting Tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable.”

Yet earlier this year, the Trump administration stripped India of a preferential status that exempted billions of dollars worth of products from U.S. levies.

One of the most unique characters ever to run for President has died. Billionaire businessman Ross Perot was 89. Many give his independent campaign in 1992 credit for helping Bill Clinton beat incumbent George H.W. Bush.

A day after Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell got out of the race, another billionaire businessman, Tom Steyer, jumped into the Presidential fray.

India’s OlaCabs recently launched its ride-sharing services in London. And now Ola Electric, their electric vehicle spinoff, just raised a $250 million Series B round at a $1 billion valuation. It plans to bring 10,000 vehicles to the road this year.

And the world will have to wait another day to find out who will play for the Cricket World Cup, after a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arts & Culture

US India trade talks resume after G20 summit, in New Delhi

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US-India Trade Talks

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — India and the U.S. will resume bilateral trade talks in New Delhi next week. These talks continue the dialog established by Indian Prime Minister Modi and President Trump at the Osaka G20 Summit last week.

Sikh activists launched a petition asking Presidential candidate and California Senator Kamala Harris to apologize for supporting employment discrimination against a Sikh job applicant in 2011 during her tenure as California’s attorney general.

A report by Bloomberg says Boeing turned to Indian-based subcontractors who were paid as little $9 per hour for work on the U.S. planemaker’s beleaguered 737 Max aircraft.

Mahmud Jamal is now a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, becoming the 4th ever South Asian federal appellate judge in Canada.

A group of South Asian filmmakers including Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap and actors like Anupam Kher and Archie Panjabi are among the 842 people invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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