New York

Indian-origin executive settles charges with SEC, another charged for making false claims

New York: An Indian-origin executive has settled charges with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for overstating the companys subscriber base, while another Indian-origin person was charged for making similar misrepresentations.

Hari Ravichandran, 42 former chief executive of web hosting company Endurance International Group Holdings and former chief financial officer Waruna Ellawala knowingly provided inflated subscriber figures for the Massachusetts-based online marketing company, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said.

Ravichandran, a resident of Boston, had founded Endurance in 1997 and served as the companys Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors.

The SEC also filed a complaint in US District Court in Massachusetts alleging that former Constant Contact CFO Harpreet Grewal, 51, hid its slowing customer growth from investors and inflated its publicly reported subscriber numbers. Constant Contact became a subsidiary of Endurance after it was acquired by it in 2016.

Constant Contact sold email marketing and other online marketing tools to customers primarily through subscription arrangements. SEC said Grewal defrauded Constant Contacts investors concerning the number of paying customers for the companys products and services, which was a key metric disclosed by Constant Contact to its investors.

The SEC filed a settled enforcement action in June against Endurance and Constant Contact in which Endurance agreed to pay a $8 million penalty. In the latest action, Ravichandran and Ellawala agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying them and pay $1.38 million and $34,000 respectively in disgorgement, interest, and penalties.

They also agreed to cease and desist from further violations of various antifraud, reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws.

For companies who provide subscription-based services, size and growth of subscriber base can be critical metrics, said Paul Levenson, Director of the SECs Boston Regional Office. Investors depend on the integrity of management in reporting such figures, which commonly fall outside the scope of formal audits. Holding senior executives accountable for failures of oversight as well as outright manipulation of such metrics is vital to protecting our markets.

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New York

Nritya Saagaram Dance Academy celebrates 25th anniversary in NY

Nritya Saagaram Dance Academy celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the Hindu Temple Community Center Auditorium in Queens, New York on Saturday August 4, 2018, with a joyous and magical evening of classical dance and music. Founded by Guru Satya Pradeep in 1993, Nritya Saagaram Dance Academy has been in the forefront in promoting the arts of India in New York. Guru Satya who is an accomplished dancer, teacher and choreographer of Indian classical dance forms of Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi stated that she uses dance as a medium of expression to raise cultural awareness within and outside her community.

Guru Satya, a master teacher who is passionate for this art form, showcased her superb efforts to a full house by bringing her students and alumni together to perform brilliantly and in step with the live orchestra. The sheer variety and intricacies of each piece, showcased the schools motto that, dance is an ocean of learning. Making the evening memorable for all in attendance, was when Guru Satya herself took to the stage performing eloquently the Varnam. The beautiful and soulful orchestra music was performed by Nagai Narayanan on mridangam, Durai Srinivasan on violin, Ishwarya Ananthabhotia on keyboard and vocals by Akshay Padmanabhan. Dr. Sunderesh served as the master of ceremonies, superbly guiding and enhancing the audiences experience.

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New York USA

India’s Russia missile purchase, Iran won’t be focus of 2+2 meet: Pompeo

New York, Sep 5: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that India’s planned purchase of a Russian missile system or its relations with Iran will not be the primary focus of the incredibly important 2+2 Strategic Dialogue meeting he and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will be having with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman this week.

Calling India a true strategic partner, he said on Tuesday the meeting in New Delhi is really about things that are big and strategic and will go on for 20, 40, 50 years and those are the kinds of topics that Secretary Mattis and I are hoping to address.

We have a true strategic partner who, frankly, is our only major defence partner… with whom we have a great relationship and who is very important to our success in our Indo-Pacific strategy — enormous country with incredibly opportunity and capacity for wealth creation, he told reporters travelling with him to India according to a transcript provided by the State Department.

We hope we can find opportunities to continue to expand the relationship not only diplomatic and military-to-military but a good set of business relationships as well, he added.

There’s half a dozen things on the agenda that we’re really intent on making progress on, he said.

The 2+2 Strategic Dialogue was postponed twice at the request of the US — first in April when the leadership of the State Department was transitioning from Rex Tillerson to Pompeo.

I regret it was my fault the second time in July, he said. I had to travel to Pyongyang. Trump had suddenly set up a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump had decided on the Strategic Dialogue when they met in Washington in 2017.

Trump administration’s strategic vision embodies India and the US as the two bookends of stability in the Asia Pacific region — and a counterbalance to China’s rising power.

Symbolically, the US now calls the region Indo-Pacific and even renamed its Pacific military command.

At this week’s meeting, Iran and the Russian missile defence system purchase will certainly come up, but I don’t think they will be the primary focus of what it is we are trying to accomplish here, Pompeo said.

Those decisions are important to the relationship for sure, but I don’t see us resolving those during this set of meetings of the Strategic Dialogue, he added.

India is planning to buy five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia in a deal estimated to cost about Rs 40,000 crore.

India reportedly also plans to continue buying oil from Iran despite threat of sanctions by Trump, who reneged on the agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany to stop Tehran’s nuclear programme.

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New York USA

White House backs Asians suing Harvard alleging race discrimination

New York, Aug 31: The Donald Trump administration is supporting Asian Americans who are suing the Ivy League Harvard University alleging it racially discriminates against them in admissions.

No American should be denied admission to school because of their race, the Justice Department said in a document filed in a Massachusetts court on Thursday to back Asian Americans.

As a recipient of taxpayer dollars, Harvard has a responsibility to conduct its admissions policy without racial discrimination by using meaningful admissions criteria that meet lawful requirements, said the department headed Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The suit was filed in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) on behalf of high-performing Asian students – a category that includes Indians – who allege that Harvard discriminates against them on the basis of their race. The case is scheduled to be taken up for trial in October.

Either way it is decided, the case is expected to have wide repercussions for educational institutions across the US and impact affirmative action programmes that are in theory geared to help certain disadvantaged minorities.

Harvard College, the undergraduate institution of the university that is at the center of the suit, is headed by an Indian American, Rakesh Khurana.

The Justice Department also said in a statement Thursday that it had separately begun an investigation into Harvard’s admissions process last year based upon a complaint made to it by more than 60 Asian-American organizations.

The organisations that complained to the Justice Department include the Global Organization of Persons of Indian Origin, National Federation of Indian-American Associations, American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin, and BITS Sindri Alumni Association of North India.

While under US court rulings universities can use broad criteria like economic status to ensure diversity in admissions, making race the sole factor in a system similar to caste-based reservations in India is illegal.

Although the programmes for diversity at many universities are presented as progressive efforts to help historically oppressed minorities like African Americans and Latinos, it is the Whites who actually benefit at the expense of the Asians.

A study by a Princeton University academic found that to gain admission to elite universities, Asian-American students had to score 140 points more than whites in the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which is a common entrance exam used by most universities.

The Justice Department said that the students and parents who brought this (SFFA) suit have presented compelling evidence that Harvard’s use of race unlawfully discriminates against Asian Americans.

An evidence that has emerged in the case is Harvard’s use of personal ratings that relies on racial and ethnic stereotypes to undermine Asians’ chances of admission.

According to a court filing admissions officers were found to use personal ratings that gave lower ratings for Asians on subjective criteria like others like to be around him or her; has character traits such as likability… helpfulness, courage, (and) kindness; is an attractive person to be with; is widely respected; is a good person and has good human qualities.

The Justice Department said that the evidence shows that Harvard uses a ‘personal rating’ that may be biased against Asian Americans because it admits that, on average, it scores Asian-American applicants lower on this ‘personal rating’ than applicants of other races.

The university said in a court filing in June that it uses whole person evaluation and declared it does not discriminate against applicants of any race including Asians.

It called the SFFA case the latest salvo by ideological opponents of the consideration of race in university admissions.

The Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund (AALDEF), a civil rights group that has championed cases involving Indians, however, is backing Harvard University. It filed a statement in court on Thursday with the backing of about 20 groups, most of them Asian.

AALDEF said that there are vast differences within the Asian group, for example the South Asians and East Asians, many of whom have professional backgrounds, have an edge over South-East Asians, many of whom came as refugees and have to deal with adversities, and, therefore, could benefit from approaches to admissions like those followed by Harvard.

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New York

Entrepreneur DJ Sukhjinder makes a difference in South Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill, NY: Loud music and wild parties are probably what comes to mind when we hear the words disc jockey (DJ). Sukhjinder Singh is not one to argue against that, having worked as the DJ in the successful Punjabi Mela concert in New York last May. But try asking South Richmond Hill residents and they will tell you that Sukhjinder is not your ordinary DJ. He is more than loud music and wild parties. He is also all heart.

Born in a town in Kapurthala district in Punjab, Sukhjinder came to the US in 2000 at age 18 on his own search of the American dream. But it was not easy. I did all kinds of jobs. I worked whatever job I could get in restaurants, construction, you name it. I was earning only $80 to $90 a day. Taxi work was not available at that time.

For years, he worked multiple jobs but without losing sight of his goal — having his own business. Then in 2012, Sukhjinder opened his very own CD/DVD store in South Richmond Hill. And his formula for success: Service. As inspired by his personal experience as an unhappy customer. I needed a new SIM card for my phone. The guy at the store was charging me $10 to swap SIM cards! When all he needed to do was to pick up the cellphone and change the SIM cards. From there I ventured into the cellphone business as well. And never did I take money for changing a SIM card!

Since then, DJ Sukhjinder has dedicated himself to helping make things easier for the South Richmond Hill community. To this end, DJ Sukhjinder now offers DJ, photography, videography services and financial services in his CD/DVD store. He processes international money transfers, domestic money orders, and bill payments. For all these, DJ Sukhjinder has partnered exclusively with RIA Money Transfer: RIA is great! They have competitive fees, best rates, and extra mile service.

DJ Sukhjinder continues, With RIAs money transfer service, I have yet to hear a customer complaining that money was not received. Instead, customers are happy that loved ones dont have to go out of their villages to get the money. To them RIA is reliable and convenient. And because customers are happy with RIA, I am happy with RIA.

Visit DJ Sukhjinder at his Ria location,

116-01 101st Ave, South Richmond Hill, NY. He is currently offering fee-free bill payments to all new and existing customers.

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