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Ascend Pinnacle hosts Inaugural Awards Dinner

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Ascend Pinnacle
Ascend Pinnacle

Hewlett Packard Enterprise chief executive Meg Whitman and former Rohm and Haas chairman Rajiv Gupta at last week’s inaugural Ascend Pinnacle awards ceremony.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Diya TV) — Ascend Pan-Asian, a leadership group comprised of 20,000 members and 28 student chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, hosted the organization’s inaugural awards dinner on Friday, bringing together the South Asian community’s best and brightest from the technology, manufacturing and industrial sectors.

Since the organization’s founding in 2005, Ascend has sought to enhance the  Asian presence in North America’s leadership and business communities.

S.K. Gupta, one of Ascend’s co-founders and the group’s managing director, said the organization’s presence is important in positioning South Asians at the top of Silicon Valley’s management. A point that is only further amplified when you consider the contributions the community has made to the valley’s growth and development.

“Even those (Silicon Valley companies) powered by them (Indian Americans), when it goes public, we seem to not be at the top of the organizations. Now we want respect, and you get respect by sitting on the boards of Fortune 500 companies.”

S.K. graduated from the University of Michigan with a BSE degree in naval architecture and marine engineering, he promptly began working for Lockheed Martin in 1982. There, he held assignments in engineering, business operations, business development, operations and program management on commercial, military and classified programs, including as the test director of the stealth ship Sea Shadow from 1988-1995.

He also served as the vice president of operations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company from 2001 until 2011.

It’s not just about equal representation, Gupta said the positioning of more Asian and Indian American on Fortune 500 company boards is based off merit.

“What we’re saying is that there are people of merit, who are Asian American, who just because they look different or talk different, should still be recognized.”

And that’s what Ascend is about, building a pipeline of visible, qualified Asian American executives, ripe for the picking of company boards.

“(Ascend) will continue to build and fill the pipeline so people can’t say that we don’t have qualified candidates. The long-term goal is that we get to a point where we won’t need an Asian American board directors network because they’ll already be a part of the system.”

Raj Gupta, the former chief executive officer and president of Rohm and Haas, attended the event and was presented with an award for his accomplishments.

From India, Gupta graduated in 1967 with a degree in mechanical engineering from IIT, Bombay, eventually earning his master’s from Cornell University and an MBA from Drexel. He joined Rohm and Haas in 1971, working his way from the ground floor to the board of directors, ultimately being elected chairman in 1999. He left Rohm & Haas after its $15.3 billion acquisition in 2009.

He currently serves as the chairman of Delphi Automotive, in addition to his standing on a number of public and private boards. He spoke to Diya TV about the honor of being Ascend’s first-ever honoree at an event.

“When S.K. called me and said ‘Raj, we want you to be the honoree,’ I was blown away,” he said. “The fact that this recognition is coming from the Asian American business community personally means a great deal to me. I am overwhelmed.”

Raj said this drive by Asian Americans to become more visible is no different than any other minority or gender push to close the gap in company management, it’s about finding a voice.

“I’ve been on 10 public boards and five private boards and I’ve never heard one chairman ask the question, ‘should we aspire to get an Asian board member?’. For me, it is important to raise the profile.”

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Federal Court rules Trump must turn over tax returns | Diya TV News

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Trump Tax Returns

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — A federal judge ruled President Trump must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, striking down the President’s argument that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated. The ruling was quickly appealed and this case could end up in the Supreme Court to answer the constitutional question of whether presidents can be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the President celebrated a victory by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as a federal appellate court upheld most of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. It also ruled the FCC cannot preempt state net neutrality laws, meaning the rules of the road in states like California remain in place.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced their Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee will be holding a hearing asking State Department officials and human rights activists to chime in on Human Rights in Kashmir, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Muslims in Assam and the human rights situation in Pakistan, which includes the Sindh Province.

Lockheed Martin announced they will build F-16 wings exclusively in India, helping in integrating Indian industry into the $165 billion fighter aircraft market.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Tech CEO Pradyumna Samal convicted of large scale H1B fraud

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Pradyumna Samal

SEATTLE (Diya TV) — Tech CEO Pradyumna Samal was convicted of large scale H1B fraud. The CEO of two companies that supplied workers to companies like Microsoft and Amazon plead guilty to using fake documents to get H1-B visas. The Indian national Samal was sentenced to seven years in prison for what federal authorities say “was the largest and most sophisticated H-1B visa fraud scheme we have prosecuted in Western Washington.” 

Inder Singh, a Los Angeles-based Indian American community leader, has died. He was 86 years old. Singh was involved in the inception of a number of Indian American non-profit organizations in the effort to build a stronger relationship between the U.S. and India. Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla said on Twitter that Singh’s contributions have been “significant and his leadership will be greatly missed.”

Indiaspora launched ChaloGive.org, their first online giving campaign that runs October 2nd to the 8th. The goal is to increase levels of giving by the Indian diaspora, inspired in part by the success of Giving Tuesday in the U.S. and Daan Utsav in India.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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