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First Indian American woman in congress Pramila Jayapal’s first 100 days in U.S. Congress

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Pramila Jayapal
Pramila Jayapal

While Rep. Pramila Jayapal ranks 407th in House seniority, she’s getting more media attention than usual in her first 100 days.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Seattle’s Rep. Pramila Jayapal made history by becoming the first Indian American woman to ever get elected to U.S Congress and now she’s getting all kinds of attention just within her first 100 days. Congressional newcomers rarely receive much press and media attention, but this hasn’t been the case with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a freshman Democrat from Washington who will conclude her first 100 days on Thursday.

Just three days after her official swearing-in on Jan. 3, Jayapal made national headlines when she objected to the Electoral College results that officially certified President Donald Trump’s election. Vice President Joe Biden prompted cheers when he cut her off, telling Jayapal: “It is over.”

“I knew I was going to be shut down,”Jayapal told the Miami Herald. “I heard the whole chamber laughing. I heard the Republicans. … It didn’t phase me. There was a point to be made. It energized and mobilized progressives across the country who desperately wanted people in Congress to speak out.”

Two weeks after that, she got a bit more attention when she skipped the inauguration of President Donald Trump, saying she couldn’t bear to watch after he had “vilified” immigrants, including herself. And when Trump’s travel ban went into effect on Jan. 28, she traveled to Sea-Tac International Airport and demanded to meet with customs and border protection officials, banging on the door until someone came out to talk.

In December, the Hill, a Capitol Hill publication, named Jayapal as one of the 10 freshmen to watch in the new Congress.

Jayapal yields no real power in Congress with Republican control, and she ranks 407th in Congressional seniority. There are 435 members. And her backers said she has delivered, thus far.

“When Democrats in the House have few official levers to use, she’s used the megaphone and organizing potential in an exceptionally effective way, to rally the troops, rally her colleagues, get to demonstrations, get in the media,” said Deepak Bhargava, head of the Center for Community Change, a group that works on immigration and other issues affecting low-income people and minorities.

Republicans have been unimpressed, comparing her to the congressman she replaced, Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott.

“It doesn’t seem that Congresswoman Jayapal has done very much to distinguish herself from the divisive politics of her predecessor,” said Lori Sotelo, chairman of the King County Republican Party.

Jayapal has taken to calling herself “the anti-Trump” after Crosscut, a digital news site, first described her in November as “an antidote to Trump.”

“Some people have called me the anti-Trump, and I’m so proud,” she said at a town hall meeting in Seattle last month.

Jayapal said she represents “the exact people that Trump is gunning for,” including immigrants, minorities and women. She said Trump “just can’t stop lying” and wants to divide Americans with “xenophobic policies.” She called one of the president’s top advisers, Stephen Bannon, a “white supremacist.” The vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee, she called the White House spending plan “the billionaire’s budget.”

Information from the Miami Herald contributed to this report.

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Rishi Sunak joins PM race to replace Boris Johnson in U.K.

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LONDON (Diya TV) — British Indian Politician Rishi Sunak has officially joined the race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. If Sunak is elected, he would become the UK’s first Asian Prime Minister. 

Sunak, 42, started his career as a politician in 2015 as he became a member of Parliament after working for Goldman Sachs and 2 hedge funds up to that point. He officially became chancellor in February 2020. While serving the chancellor position, his response to the COVID-19 pandemic has received acclaim as he launched multiple emergency spending programs to combat the economic downfall while Britain was on lockdown. 

Sunak resigned from the Chancellor position recently due to the conflict between him and Johnson. Shortly after, he jumpstarted his campaign to be Britain’s Prime Minister and supplant Johnson. While has gotten support from Conservative lawmakers, his reputation did take a hit this year. 

During the pandemic, Sunak was caught and fined for breaking Britain’s lockdown rules which did not sit well with citizens. This could make a difference when it comes to voting for the new leader of the country. However, the general consensus is that Sunak should garner a lot of support from lawmakers and citizens alike as he looks to make history.

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Shinzo Abe dies after being shot at campaign speech in Nara

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has passed away at the age of 67 after being shot in an assassination attempt during a campaign speech in the city of Nara. The assassination took place at approximately 11:30 Japan Standard Time on July 8. Abe was reported to be in a state of “cardiopulmonary arrest” after the gunfire and he passed away due to his injuries. 

Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and throughout his time in office, he strived to improve the Japan-India relationship and he handily achieved this goal through improved security cooperation. Japan was also able to connect with and form bilateral links with the United States, Australia and India under his control. Abe’s initiative to make these strategic links ultimately deepened the respective relationships between the foreign countries for the long term. 

On the day he was fatally shot, Abe was making a speech on the behalf of a Democratic Party candidate as the upper house elections were quickly approaching. Abe was shot from behind him up to 3 times and he collapsed on the spot. He was transported to the local hospital but showed no vital signs. Thereafter, Abe passed away.

The shooter has been taken into custody, being caught in the act, and has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old local of Nara. US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel released a statement on the shooting, stating the United States was “saddened and shocked.”

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Sharks make Mike Grier the first Black GM in NHL history

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SAN JOSE (Diya TV) — There is a changing of the guard in San Jose and one that has made NHL history.

The San Jose Sharks have formally announced Mike Grier as their new General Manager, making the 14-year NHL veteran the first African-American to hold such a position over the NHL’s lengthy history. After the resignation of former GM Doug Wilson and the relieving of previous head coach Bob Boughner and his coaching staff, wholesale changes were bound to happen. The franchise, still without a Stanley Cup, hopes to move in a new direction and regain the success they once had.

Grier is part of a family of sports executives as his father, Bobby, has worked as a director of scouting and player personnel with the NFL’s New England Patriots while his brother, Chris, is currently the GM of the Miami Dolphins. The new Sharks GM will follow in his family’s footsteps after playing professional hockey for more than a decade. 

As a member of the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks, Grier played a total of 1060 games across 14 years. After retiring in 2011, he sought out coaching roles with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, before ultimately getting the monumental callback from the San Jose Sharks which would change NHL history. 

One of the primary tasks for Grier as a GM will be finding a new head coach for a franchise in search of stability on the bench. From there, the rebuild will be strenuous with many current Sharks players getting older with the need to infuse younger talent. The Sharks will be picking at 11th overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, affording Grier the opportunity to select a potential franchise cornerstone.

After being sunk in no man’s land, the Sharks decided to make a large-scale change to create a new identity and reach the goal of lifting Lord Stanley for the first time.

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