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United States COVID-19 cases top 1 million, deaths near 60,000

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — The United States hit another difficult milestone, as more than 1 million residents have now been diagnosed with COVID-19. The death toll is nearing 60,000 people nationally. And while the curve is flattening in many parts of the country, there are still significant restrictions in place throughout the United States.

One of the first regions to enact a shelter in place, the San Francisco Bay Area, extended their order through the month of May. Illinois extended their stay at home order as well through May, but is loosening some restrictions.

H1B workers can only remain in the U.S. legally for 60 days without being paid. But with government mandated stay at home orders, some 200,000 H1B visa holders are in limbo. Now a coalition of companies are trying to get the government to extend expiration dates through September.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom grouped India and Pakistan among countries like Russia, China and North Korea in their annual report to Congress, designating them all as “countries of particular concern.” It’s the first time the USCIRF recommended India be on this list since 2004. India responded in kind saying the report is “biased [with] comments against India [that] are not new.” Adding they regard the USCIRF “as an organization of particular concern and will treat it accordingly.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to leave office

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to leave office | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The first Indian American to lead the Federal Communications Commission is stepping down. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he’s leaving on January 20th, once President-Elect Joe Biden comes into office. He started as a FCC commissioner in 2012 and was appointed to the top spot by President Trump in 2017. The FCC oversees at least one-sixth to one-third of America’s gross domestic product.

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris sent their best wishes to members of the Sikh community observing the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism. It’s the first time an incoming Presidential Administration acknowledged the birth of the Guru.

Four Indian Americans are part of the latest batch of Rhodes scholars. Swathi Srinivasan, Vijaysundaram Ramasamy, Garima Desai and Savarni Sanka are headed to the University of Oxford in England, where they plan to study and focus on a broad range of topics including climate change and COVID-19.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Neera Tanden chosen to lead OMB

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Neera Tanden chosen to lead OMB | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The CEO of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden, was selected by President-Elect Joe Biden to join his cabinet and direct the Office of Management and Budget. She would become the first-ever Indian American and South Asian to serve in the President’s cabinet. But Republicans and even some progressives are on the record saying Tanden is not the choice for this position, given some of the tough talk she has engaged with on Twitter against political rivals. Biden also announced Janet Yellen is his pick for Treasury Secretary, and selected an all-female White House communications team, with Jen Psaki serving as Press Secretary.

China is once again blaming COVID-19 on other nations. This time their scientists are pointing the finger at India, claiming the virus likely jumped from animals to humans in 2019 through contaminated water and then spread to Wuhan.

Chinese authorities also blamed Italy and the U.S. in recent months without much evidence. This latest accusation by China towards India comes as tensions continue over their shared border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India bans 43 more Chinese mobile apps

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India bans 43 more Chinese mobile apps | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — The Indian government continues its ban on Chinese apps, adding 43 new mobile apps to a growing list blocked in the world’s second largest Internet market. This time, popular shopping app AliExpress by Alibaba and Tencent backed Snack Video joined the blacklist. With the new additions, the Indian government has now banned more than 200 Chinese made apps over national security concerns.

Kash Patel, who became Chief of Staff to acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller just two weeks ago, is now in charge of the Defense Department’s transition to the Biden administration. Patel, who is in the Middle East now serving Thanksgiving meals to troops, is considered a Trump loyalist after playing a key role in helping Republicans discredit the Russia probe while working for Congressman Devin Nunes.

The India Community Center in the Bay Area celebrated its 17th Annual Banquet virtually, highlighted by a conversation with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent. Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gupta received the ICC Inspire Award and spoke of his experience on retaining his Indian heritage, while growing up, living, and working in the US.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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