Latest News USA

Indian American Seema Nanda nominated as solicitor in Labor Department

President Joe Biden on March 26, nominated yet another Indian -American civil rights lawyer and labor advocate Seema Nanda to be the Department of Labor Solicitor.

“President Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate Seema Nanda for Solicitor of the Department of Labor, ” the White House said in a statement.

Nanda’s nomination to the senior administration is yet to be approved by the Senate. Earlier, she served as a a chief of state and deputy solicitor to the Labor department in President Barack Obama’s administration.

After the Obama administration she was also a CEO of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for about two years where she stepped down in 2020 to facilitate fundraising in the Biden’s election campaign.

Nanda is currently a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program. She grew up in Connecticut and is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.

In prior stints in government she spent over 15 years in various roles as a labor and employment attorney.

Nanda has also led the Justice Department’s Office of Immigrant and Employee Rights Section and was a supervisor attorney in the National Labor Relations Board.

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Latest News USA

Pepsico Ex-CEO Indra Nooyi’s memoir to be out in September

New YorkFormer PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has a memoir coming out this fall that her publisher is calling an “unvarnished take” on her rise to becoming one of the world’s most powerful women.

“My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future” will be published Sept. 28, Portfolio Books announced Mar. 15. Nooyi, 65, will trace her life from her childhood in India to her experiences as an immigrant at Yale University’s business school to her many achievements as the rare woman and person of color in the upper echelons of the corporate world.

The Indian American executive worked at PepsiCo for 24 years, 12 of them as CEO, before stepping down in 2018. While she was CEO, PepsiCo’s revenues grew from $35 billion to $63.5 billion and she became known for promoting such “good for you” snacks as Baked Lay’s potato chips and Naked juices made of fruits and vegetables.

The mother of two children, she also spoke candidly while at PepsiCo of the difficulties in balancing commitments.

“As I wrote ‘My Life in Full,’ I saw how my own story relates to our evolving global economy and how it may inform our progress on better integrating work and family in the years ahead,” Nooyi said in a statement Mar. 15. “I hope this book inspires business leaders, policymakers and all women and men passionate about easing the work-and-family burden to come together and create change.”

Portfolio is an imprint at Penguin Random House. Financial terms for Nooyi’s book were not disclosed. She was represented by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose clients range from former President Barack Obama to Nike co-founder Phil Knight.

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Latest News USA

Indian-Americans taking over US: Joe Biden at NASA meet

Indian-Americans are “taking over the country” President Joe Biden said on Thursday, referring to the large number of “incredible” professionals from the community holding key positions in his administration.

In less than 50 days of his presidency, Biden has appointed at least 55 Indian-Americans to key leadership positions in his administration ranging from his speech writer to the NASA, to almost every wing of the government.

“Indian – of descent – Americans are taking over the country: you (Dr Swati Mohan); my Vice President (Kamala Harris); my speech writer, Vinay (Reddy). I tell you what. But thank you. You guys are incredible,” President Biden said during a virtual interaction with scientists at NASA who were involved in the historic landing of Perseverance rover on Mars on February 18.

Indian-American scientist Swati Mohan leads the guidance, navigation, and control operations of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission.

Joe Biden, who was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, has created history by appointing at least 55 Indian-Americans to key positions in his administration.

This does not include Vice President Harris, which is an elected position, and Neera Tanden, who a day earlier withdrew her nomination from the position of Director of White House Office of Management and Budget.

Nearly half of them are women and a sizable number of them are working in the White House. So far, the Obama-Biden administration (2009-2017) has the distinction of appointing the largest number of Indian-Americans in any administration, the previous Donald Trump administration was not lagging far behind as it appointed the first ever Indian-American with a cabinet rank and inside the National Security Council.

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Latest News New York

Conservatives clash on Indian-American associate attorney-general nominee Vanita Gupta

New York: After President Joe Biden’s Indian-American cabinet nominee, Neera Tandon, the focus is now on Vanita Gupta, who is soon to face the Senate for confirmation as the third highest-ranking official in the Justice Department.

Conservatives are split on Gupta, a civil rights lawyer, with two groups fighting it out with TV ads — one rallying against attacks on her by another.

President Joe Biden has nominated Gupta to be the associate attorney-general and the Senate is to take up her confirmation – a requirement for senior administration positions – on March 9.

The first salvo came from the Judicial Crisis Network with an ad campaign accusing her of being soft on crime.

In a reference to the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality that sometimes turned violent last year, the group’s ad said, “When our cities burned Gupta could’ve stood for law and order, for victims. Instead, she advocated to let convicts out of jail.”

However, it also coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and her suggestion to release some of the low-level criminals only echoed that of former President Donald Trump’s Attorney General William Barr, who wanted to ease crowding in jails that could spread the disease.

According to media reports, the Network spent $800,000 on the campaign.

Now, the Defending Democracy Together (DDT) organization is countering it with a campaign ad of its own that is on YouTube and is set to air on TV.

Urging her nomination, the ad said, “Don’t let Washington play politics with the nomination of Anita Gupta.”

It said that she “has been building bridges across partisan divides, she has the broad backing of law enforcement” and has the support of leading conservatives.

DDT is a group of Republican conservatives who have opposed Trump. Its directors include former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Linda Chavez, the highest-ranking woman among former President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff.

Gupta will need the support of all the 50 Democrats in the evenly-divided Senate to get her nomination approved – or will have to get Republican support if anyone from her party defects.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a petition against Gupta was being circulated by some Republican state attorneys-general.

Countering that campaign and the one by the Network campaign labelling Gupta soft on crime, three groups of law enforcement officials – Fraternal Order of Police, Major County Sheriffs of America and Federal Law Enforcement Officials Association have come out to support her.

During his Senate hearings Merrick Garland, who was confirmed as the attorney-general, faced hostile questions about Gupta from Republican Senator Mike Lee.

Garland vouched for her saying, “I regard her as a person of great integrity and a person dedicated to the mission of the department, particularly equal justice under the law.”

Gupta was the principal deputy assistant attorney-general and head of the Civil Rights Division in former President Barack Obama’s administration.

She made her mark as a newly-minted lawyer by winning the release of 38 people, most of them African-Americans, who had been wrongly convicted by all-White juries on drug charges in a Texas town and also got them $6 million on compensation.

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Latest News USA

‘US owes India $216 bn as American debt soars to $29 trillion’

The US, the world’s largest economy, owes India $216 billion in loan as the country’s debt grows to a record $29 trillion, an American lawmaker has said, cautioning the leadership against galloping foreign debt, the largest of which comes from China and Japan.

In 2020, the US national debt was $23.4 trillion, that was $72,309 in debt per person.

“We are going to grow our debt to $29 trillion. That is even more debt owed per citizen. There is a lot of misinformation about where the debt is going. The top two countries we owe the debt to are China and Japan, not actually our friends,” Congressman Alex Mooney said.

We are at global competition with China all the time. They are holding a lot of the debt. We owe China over $1 trillion and we owe Japan over $1 trillion, the Republican Senator from West Virginia said on the floor of the US House of Representatives as he and others opposed the latest stimulus package of $2 trillion.

In January, President Joe Biden announced a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to tackle the economic fallout from the pandemic, including direct financial aid to average Americans, support to businesses and to provide a boost to the national vaccination program.

The people who are loaning us the money we have to pay back are not necessarily people who have our best interest at heart. Brazil, we owe $258 billion. India, we owe $216 billion. And the list goes on the debt that is owed to foreign countries, Congressman Mooney said.

America’s national debt was $5.6 trillion in 2000. During the Obama administration, it actually doubled.

Since the eight years Obama was President, we doubled our national debt. And we are adding another projected here a completely out of control debt-to-GDP ratio, he said, urging his Congressional colleagues to consider this national debt issue before approving the stimulus package.

So I urge my colleagues to consider the future. Don’t buy into the government has no money it doesn’t take from you that you are going to have to pay back. We need to be judicious with these dollars, and most of this is not going to coronavirus relief anyway, he said.

Congressman Mooney said that things have gone completely out of control. The Congressional Budget Office estimates an additional $104 trillion will be added by 2050. The Congressional Budget Office forecasted debt would rise 200 per cent.

Today, as I stand here right now, we have $27.9 trillion in national debt…That is actually a little more than $84,000 of debt to every American citizen right here today, Mooney said.

We have actually borrowed $10,000 per person in one year. I mean, that is out of control, he said.

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Latest News USA

Indian American lawyer Kiran Ahuja nominated to head Office of Personnel Management

President Joe Biden has nominated Indian- American lawyer and rights activist Kiran Ahuja to head the Office of Personnel Management, a federal agency that manages America’s more than two million civil servants.

If confirmed by the Senate, 49-year-old Ahuja would become the first Indian-American to serve this top position in the US government.

Ahuja served as the Chief of Staff to Director of the US Office of Personnel Management from 2015 to 2017. She has more than two decades of public service and nonprofit/philanthropic sector leadership experience.

Ahuja currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Philanthropy Northwest, a regional network of philanthropic institutions.

She began her career as a civil rights lawyer at the US Department of Justice, litigating school desegregation cases, and filing the department’s first student racial harassment case.

From 2003 to 2008, Ahuja served as the founding executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, an advocacy and membership organization.

During the Obama-Biden administration, she spent six years as executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, leading efforts to increase access to federal services, resources and programs for underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).

Ahuja grew up in Savannah, Georgia, as a young Indian immigrant in the wake of the civil rights era, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College and a law degree from the University of Georgia.

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Latest News USA

Biden revokes Trump ban on work permit for H-4 visa holders

A week after his inauguration, US President Joe Biden has withdrawn a Trump-era rule rescinding work authorization for H4 visa holders, who are spouses of those possessing H-1B work visas, with majority being highly-skilled Indian women.

An H-4 visa is issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders, most of whom are Indian IT professionals.

The H4 visa is normally issued to those who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status in the US.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on Monday said the proposed rule titled, “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization,” was being withdrawn.

Spouses of Indian professionals on H-1B visas, mostly women, are the biggest beneficiary of the Obama-era rule that gave employment authorization cards.

Soon after coming to power, the Trump administration in 2017 announced that it would rescind that rule. However, the Republican Party-led Trump administration was not able to complete the process in the four year of its rule. During the presidential election, the Biden campaign had promised to withdraw the Trump administration’s move.

Soon after his electoral victory, a group of 60 members of the US House of Representatives in a letter urged Biden, a Democrat, to “unilaterally extend” the expiration work authorization documents for holders of H4 visas.

“We respectfully request that the Department of Homeland Security publish a Federal Register notice on day one of your administration that would extend the validity period of all expired H4 EADs (Employment Authorization Document),” the members of Congress wrote to Biden in a letter on December 16.

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Latest News Lifestyle

Obama welcomed Malia’s British boyfriend during quarantine; called him ‘a good kid’

Barack Obama is a doting father, and he keeps setting these dad-goals, which may look impossible to some. But if it makes his daughters happy, he is game. At least that is what we have understood ever since we found out that the former president of the US had opened his house to daughter Malia’s British boyfriend, who had quarantined with them early on.

According to a report in The Independent, Obama shared about his daughter’s dating life during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast, on which he was asked about his favorite moments in quarantine with his daughters, Malia (22) and Sasha (19).

The former president revealed the time spent together as a family was enjoyable because “all the teenage stuff is kinda gone now.” “It’s a blessing because all the teenage stuff is kinda gone now and they’re just back and they love you again and they want to spend time with you and they’re funny,” he shared.

In the first month of quarantine, Obama said the family spent their time playing games, and later revealed that elder daughter Malia’s boyfriend had also joined them.

“I think, [like] a lot of families, we went through that first month where we were playing games every night and doing little arts and crafts projects and then slowly they started to get a little bored with us. Maybe teaching Malia and Sasha, and Malia’s boyfriend who was with us for a while, spades, and then having some spades games. And teaching them how to properly trash talk and slap the cards down…”

While he naturally did not reveal the boy’s name, when pressed by the podcast host Ben Simmons, Obama revealed the boy is British, and a “wonderful young man.” “He was sort of stuck because there was a whole visa thing and he had a job set up. So we took him in and I didn’t want to like him, but he’s a good kid.”

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Latest News USA

Trump makes Christmas Eve a federal holiday

Washington: President Trump last Friday signed an order giving federal workers a paid day off work on Christmas Eve. The news was a welcome surprise for workers who expected at most a half-day.

Trump’s order says, “All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Thursday, December 24, 2020, the day before Christmas Day.”

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton only gave half-days when Christmas fell on a Friday, as it does this year.

Trump has been a big advocate of celebrating the holiday proudly and maintained before taking office that politically correct Democrats were waging a “war on Christmas.”

At a recent rally in Georgia stumping for two Republican senators in runoff races, Trump warned that his political opponents still want to erase the holiday.

“Let me begin by wishing you all a very merry Christmas. Remember the word?” Trump told the crowd. “Remember? We started five years ago, and I said, ‘You’re gonna be saying ‘Christmas’ again.’ We say it proudly again. Although they’ll be trying to take that word again out of the vocabulary.”

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