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HAF accuses Al Jazeera, Audrey Truschke & others of libel

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) responded to allegations of being a front organization for Hindu extremist groups by sending cease and desist notices to five organizations and individuals ranging from Qatari state-owned media network Al Jazeera to Rutgers-Newark University Associate Professor Audrey Truschke. 

The Washington DC-based Hindu advocacy organization in a statement alleged the plaintiffs exhibited “reckless disregard of the truth…fully meeting the definition of libel under US law.”

Al Jazeera reported in April 2021 that five ‘Hindu supremacist’ groups received a total of $833,000 in federal aid through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDLA), Disaster Assistance Loan (DAL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — with the majority going to HAF. 

Al Jazeera went on to link HAF to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist organization affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India, through HAF corporate officers, donors, and board members associated with RSS chapters in the United States.

Described by Al Jazeera as a group that “lobbies to deflect any criticism of Modi government’s policies on Capitol Hill,” HAF has long faced allegations from within the South Asian community of being a proxy for right wing Hindu groups.

Hindus for Human Rights co-founder Sunita Vishvanath was quoted saying the five Hindu groups were “sympathetic to the Hindu supremacist ideology and parent (sic) organisations continue to spread hatred in Hindu communities towards Muslims and Christians.” Vishvanath also received a cease and desist notice.

Professor Audrey Truschke, who is a frequent target of online criticism due to her views on South Asian history and politics, has also been a vocal critic of HAF, accusing the group of using intimidation and “acting on behalf of a foreign government that is silencing American voices at home.”

”HAF is highly visible and often subject to harassment and abuse,” said HAF’s Executive Director Suhag Shukla. In a statement, HAF said its “leadership strongly rejected insinuations of dual loyalty to India, associations with foreign organizations or Islamophobia, and expressed a determination to fight these accusations in US courts.” 

In addition to Al Jazeera, Truschke and Vishwanath, HAF also sent notices to Hindus for Human Rights co-founder Raju Rajgopal, Rasheed Ahmed of the Indian American Muslim Council, John Prabhudoss of the Federation of Indian American Christians, and Al Jazeera reporter Raqib Hameed Naik, demanding they retract their statements and issue apologies within 24 hours.

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FTX’s Nishad Singh got $543 million loan

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More fallout from the FTX cryptocurrency platform collapse. Court documents show its affiliate Alameda Research loaned executives like Sam Bankman Fried $1 billion and more than $500 million to Indian American Nishad Singh, FTX’s top engineer. FTX’s interim CEO says never in his career has he seen such complete failure of corporate controls and a complete absence of trustworthy financial information. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it was unable to come up with customer funds.

Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after her conviction in January for defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing start up Theranos.In her trial, Holmes alleged she was in the midst of a decade-long abusive relationship with her then-boyfriend and Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The Indian American was also found guilty for his role in this fraud and will be sentenced later.

Starting next month, India will assume the G20 presidency for a year and chair more than 200 meetings, leading the way for global economic growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country’s leadership here will be inclusive, ambitious, and decisive.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arvind Venkat & Tarik Khan win Pennsylvania State seats

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – Looking back at the midterm elections, Arvind Venkat and Tarik Khan made history as the first South Asian Americans elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Advocacy group Indian American Impact played a major role on the ground, saying it trained and mobilized 200 volunteers to go door-to-door, to engage voters and provide info they needed to elect new leadership.

After 35 years, the Nancy Pelosi era is officially coming to an end. The speaker from San Francisco announced she’s bowing out of leadership, but will retain her House seat. The midterms cost Pelosi’s Democratic party the House and effectively ended her speakership.

Two former Indian American executives at Meta Platforms will launch a new non fungible token start up for creators. Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi have raised more than $8 million for their new company called Virtualness. But they are facing headwinds as the FTX cryptocurrency exchange collapse is putting pressure on the entire industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Meet FTX insider Nishad Singh

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The controversy around failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX continues to captivate the world. Part of the scrutiny is now on the people involved, including Indian American Nishad Singh. According to new reports, this techie was part of FTX’s inner circle, which lived together and ran the cryptocurrency empire from the Bahamas. The software engineer was also reportedly aware that FTX secretly transferred customer funds worth billions of dollars to its sister firm Alameda Research. Currently, no one is facing any criminal charges. Diya TV featured Singh more than a decade ago for running ultra marathons as a 17 year old getting ready for college. 

Former President Donald Trump has officially announced he is running for president in 2024, marking his third bid for the White House. Trump had been hinting at this announcement for months, as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil litigations and as his party is grappling with a worse than expected showing in the midterm elections. 

At the G20 Summit in Bali, world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden are coming together to condemn the rising threat of nuclear weapons as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to raise tension and anxiety around the world.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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