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Ajit Pai confirmed by Senate for second term at FCC

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Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the second five-year term.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the second five-year term.

The 44-year-old was confirmed with a 52-41 vote to remain the Federal Communications Commission chair. Pai’s confirmation did not come without backlash form some legislators.

Ina  statement from the FCC, Pai says: “I am deeply grateful to the U.S. Senate for confirming my nomination to serve a second term at the FCC and to President Trump for submitting that nomination to the Senate.  Since January, the Commission has focused on bridging the digital divide, promoting innovation, protecting consumers and public safety, and making the FCC more open and transparent.  With today’s vote, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to advance these critical priorities in the time to come.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer alleged that during his tenure as acting FCC Chairman, Pai established a clear record of favoring big corporations at the expense of consumers, innovators and small businesses. He alleges Pai supported Congressional attempts to reverse the FCC’s 2016 broadband privacy rule, which would have prevented big cable and internet companies from profiting off of personal internet data.

 “Most disturbingly, Pai is currently attempting to dismantle the Open Internet Order, the net neutrality rules under which millions of consumers currently have access to a free and open internet,” Schumer said.

“Since January, the Commission has focused on bridging the digital divide, promoting innovation, protecting consumers and public safety, and making the FCC more open and transparent,” Pai responded. Republican Senator Roger Wicker defended Pai, saying he is “working to establish the light-touch regulatory framework that allowed the internet to become the marvel of the modern age, keeping it free and open for consumers, innovators and providers. Internet technology will continue to thrive if we keep the heavy hand of government away from the controls.”

Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said, “In recent weeks, Pai has worked tirelessly to help ensure communications services are restored to the communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.”

“Pai understands communications policy from just about every angle – no wonder, given his deep and impressive resume,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

President Trump named Pai acting Chairman of Federal Communications shortly after taking office.

Pai was previously Commissioner at FCC. Appointed by President Barack Obama, Pai was confirmed unanimously by the Senate in May 2012.

Before joining FCC, Pai was a Partner at Jenner & Block, LLP and Deputy General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, and Special Advisor to the General Counsel at the FCC.

Pai grew up in Kansas.His educational background includes honors from Harvard University (1994) and University of Chicago Law School 1997) where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas R Mulroy Prize.

The FCC is an independent agency created by Congressional statute to regulate interstate communications in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

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EXCLUSIVE: Fremont PD and FOG confirm Independence Day Parade cancelled over security, permitting

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FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV) — Fremont Police Department and FOG organizers confirm the annual Indian Independence Day parade, scheduled for this Sunday, is cancelled due to permitting and security concerns. FOG will still take place this weekend, minus the parade. Here’s our initial report on FOG security from earlier this week.

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Rep. Suozzi apologizes over Kashmir letter to Pompeo

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Kashmir apology

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi represents New York’s 3rd Congressional District, a diverse region with a large contingent of Pakistani and Indian Americans. After meeting with a group of Pakistani constituents upset about India’s change in approach towards Kashmir, he wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prioritize Kashmir. 

Now he’s backtracked from those remarks, issuing a new statement to apologize after meeting with Indian American constituents, saying he should have “framed [his] concerns differently.”

A Pakistani-American audience member at BeautyCon got the attention she was seeking for Kashmir when she publicly accused Indian actress Priyanka Chopra during a question and answer session of “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan.” Ayesha Malik says she did not intend to challenge Chopra at the event, but wanted know why Priyanka tweeted ‘Jai Hind’ after tensions flared up in Kashmir when terrorists from Pakistan killed 40 Indian soldiers. Chopra, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, dismissed Malik’s accusation, but is being criticized for being hypocritical and the tone and manner of the denial.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Gandhi celebrations take place in Atlanta, Bay Area

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Gandhi celebrations

ATLANTA (Diya TV) — The Indian Consulate in Atlanta, along with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the many celebrations that will mark his 150th birth anniversary this year. 

In the Bay Area, a full day symposium on Gandhi was put together, highlighted by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers along with Cesar Chavez.

Sonia Gandhi is back to lead the Congress Party as interim president, almost two years after she resigned. Her son Rahul resigned as party president recently after Prime Minister Modi was re-elected decisively. 

The federal budget deficit grew to $868 billion in the first 10 months of the new fiscal year. Not only is that a 27% increase from the same period one year ago, it’s the largest deficit since 2012. The annual deficit is expected to hit $1 trillion annually in 2022.

And while the debate over Kashmir rages on, Discovery in India premiered an Indian wilderness special featuring Prime Minister Modi. While the goal was to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change, critics remark Modi’s environmental record is leaves much to be desired.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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