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Indian-Americans Dr Vivek Murthy and Raj Chetty among Biden’s core advisers

Washington, DC: Two prominent Indian-Americans are among Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden’s “core advisers” who have been guiding him on issues ranging from the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery to foreign policy and climate change, a media report said.

Biden, “plotting an ambitious presidency that would begin amid twin health and economic crises, is leaning on veteran advisers with high-level governmental experience rather than outsiders and ideological rivals to help guide him on subjects including the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s diminished standing in the world,” a report in The New York Times said.

Among those advising him on the pandemic are Dr Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General who was appointed by President Barack Obama and Harvard economist Raj Chetty is among those who have briefed Biden on economic issues, the report said.

Murthy and former head of the Food and Drug Administration David Kessler, as per NYT report would brief Biden “every day, or four times a week” in early days of the pandemic. 

“We would send in 80- to 90-page documents, take him through the epidemic from epidemiology, therapeutics, vaccines, testing. Staff would join, originally by phone but they soon shifted to Zoom,” Kessler said, according to the NYT report.

“The docs,” as Biden calls Kessler and Murthy, also “pore over research and data on the virus and consult with modelers, vaccinologists and other experts so they can provide Biden with projections about the coming months.”

On economy, Biden has cast a wide net for economic advice, soliciting input from several hundred policy experts, the report said.

Among those who have briefed Biden on the economy are Chetty, “who has produced pathbreaking research on economic mobility and its roots in the last several years” and former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen.

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Indian-Americans Dr Vivek Murthy and Raj Chetty among Biden’s key advisers

Two prominent Indian-Americans are among Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden’s “core advisers” who have been guiding him on issues ranging from the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery to foreign policy and climate change, a media report said.

Biden, “plotting an ambitious presidency that would begin amid twin health and economic crises, is leaning on veteran advisers with high-level governmental experience rather than outsiders and ideological rivals to help guide him on subjects including the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s diminished standing in the world,” a report in The New York Times said.

Among those advising him on the pandemic are Dr Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General who was appointed by President Barack Obama and Harvard economist Raj Chetty is among those who have briefed Biden on economic issues, the report said.

Murthy and former head of the Food and Drug Administration David Kessler, as per NYT report would brief Biden “every day, or four times a week” in early days of the pandemic. 

“We would send in 80- to 90-page documents, take him through the epidemic from epidemiology, therapeutics, vaccines, testing. Staff would join, originally by phone but they soon shifted to Zoom,” Kessler said, according to the NYT report.

“The docs,” as Biden calls Kessler and Murthy, also “pore over research and data on the virus and consult with modelers, vaccinologists and other experts so they can provide Biden with projections about the coming months.”

On economy, Biden has cast a wide net for economic advice, soliciting input from several hundred policy experts, the report said.

Among those who have briefed Biden on the economy are Chetty, “who has produced pathbreaking research on economic mobility and its roots in the last several years” and former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen.

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Latest News USA

Church source of strength and place for reflection: Kamala Harris

Democratic Party’s vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris on Sunday said the church has always been a source of strength and a place for reflection for her.

“For me, the church has always been a source of strength and a place for reflection. And in my private conversations with God, I usually ask for strength and protection and guidance to do the right thing,” Harris said at a drive-in church service in Southfield, Michigan, which is right outside of Detroit.

“I know this isn‘t how we usually do church but it is a reminder, pastor, that faith always finds its way,” she said referring to the unusual situation of the coronavirus pandemic.

Harris, 56, said faith must be a verb. “We must live it in our actions. That’s the kind of faith I was taught early on, pastor,” she said.

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Latest News USA

Hindus outraged over tweet pic of Kamala Harris as Goddess Durga

Hindu groups in the US have sought an apology from the niece of Senator Kamala Harris for tweeting an “offensive” image, which depicted the Democratic vice-presidential nominee as goddess Durga.

The tweet has now been deleted by Meena Harris, 35, who is a lawyer, a children’s book author and the founder of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, an organization that works to bring awareness to intersectional social causes.

“Your tweeting a caricature of the feminine divine, Maa Durga, with faces superimposed, deeply aggrieved many Hindus globally,” Suhag A Shukla of the Hindu American-Foundation said in a tweet on Monday.

HAF, which represents the Hindu American community, has issued a guideline for commercial use of images relating to the religion.

Rishi Bhutada of the Hindu American Political Action Committee said the “offensive” picture was not created by Meena Harris herself. It had been circulating on WhatsApp prior to her tweet and the Biden campaign confirmed to him that the image was not created by it.

“Given that, I personally believe that an apology should come from Meena Harris even though she did delete the tweet, and no one else. Our religious iconography should not be used in the service of politics in America — I said the same when the Fort Bend County GOP did it in an ad in 2018, and it holds the same here,” Bhutada said.

Ajay Shah, convener of American Hindus Against Defamation, said in a statement the image has offended and outraged the religious community.

In the now deleted tweet, a screenshot of which is being retweeted by some people, Meena Harris says: “I am actually speechless, other than to say that the first day of Navaratri was LIT.”

In the image, Kamala Harris, depicted as goddess Durga, was seen killing US President Donald Trump, who was depicted as buffalo demon ”Mahishasura”. The image also showed Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden as a lion, the ”vahana” (vehicle) of the goddess.

“If you think you are going to win Hindu votes by mocking us, think again. This image is highly offensive and insulting to Hindus. Our Divinities are NOT cultural curios for you to mock and trivialize. And you delete without an apology?” noted author Shefali Vaidya said in a tweet.

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AARP is fighting to protect AAPI 50-plus voters

The pandemic has forced so many to make sacrifices we never thought possible: limited family gatherings, rescheduled weddings and canceled trips to visit family and friends.  But we should not sacrifice our right and responsibility to vote.

This month many communities nationwide launched their voter registration activities for the 2020 election. Historically, in every election cycle, citizens miss the voter registration deadlines, which means the community was not fully represented. This year, AARP is making sure every voice is heard on the issues that matter most to the 50-plus – including preventing cuts to Social Security and Medicare, lowering prescription drug prices, and voting safely from home or in-person.

For nearly four decades, turnout among voters age 45 and up have consistently outpaced other age groups. That is why AARP launched “Protect Voters 50+,” a comprehensive voter engagement campaign for the 2020 elections. The campaign provides information on where candidates stand on issues that matter to Americans 50+ and help them cast their votes safely from home or in-person.

Currently, there are about 178 million people working and paying into Social Security with every paycheck and many are concerned about its future. Older Americans are also interested in plans for the future of Medicare. It’s a matter of continuing access to quality and affordable health care. The 50-plus community who rely on prescription drugs for varying health conditions are also keen on whether policymakers will take action to lower prescription drug prices. Too many are faced with the choice of paying for life-saving prescriptions over rent, food and other essentials.  

In this year’s election, Asian Americans may break voter turnout records. Overall, Asian Americans are more enthusiastic about voting this year than previous elections with 47% of Chinese, 62% of Filipino, and 58% of Asian Indians responding this way, AAPI Data reported. However, that is not guaranteed without engaging them in the months ahead of Election Day (Nov. 3).  That is why AARP and APIAVote are working together to mobilize Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to get registered to vote and to actually vote.

It’s important to know your voting options in 2020. First, you can vote from home. Second, you can vote early. Third, you can still vote in person, on Election Day (Nov. 3).

Every state has different guidelines for absentee ballots and early voting. To help provide people with the information they need, AARP has developed state-by-state guides so voters can learn about their options for safer voting during the pandemic. Visit aarp.org/Election2020 for specific information about your state. If you choose to go to a polling place, please check to see if your regular location is still open or has changed due to the pandemic. Additionally, prioritize your personal safety: make sure to wear a mask, bring your ID, keep social distancing, and sanitize afterwards.

The pandemic is no excuse to force anyone to pass on their civic duty. Voting is fundamental to our democracy. So, candidates who want to win over these influential voters need to hear their concerns, court their vote and enable them to vote safely from home or in-person. 

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Latest News US Election Special USA

Outraged supporters launch online campaign after senator mispronounces Kamala Harris

Washington, DC: Outraged over the mispronunciation of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ name by a Republican Senator from Georgia, her supporters launched an online campaign with the hashtags ”MyNameIs” and ”IstandwithKamala.”

During an election rally of President Donald Trump on Saturday in Macon City in Georgia, a battleground state, Senator David Perdue mispronounced 55-year-old Kamala Harris’ name.

“KAH”-mah-lah? Kah-MAH”-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” he told thousands of his supporters.

The mispronunciation outraged a large number of Harris’ supporters and her spokesperson Sabrina Singh said, “I”ll keep it simple: If you can pronounce ”former” Senator David Perdue, you can pronounce ”future” Vice President Kamala Harris.”

Condemning Perdue, Amit Jani — the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Outreach Coordinator of the Biden campaign — launched the ”My name is” campaign to “push back against the bigotry.”

BuzzFeed on Saturday reported that Perdue, who is seeking his reelection from Georgia, is facing backlash for mockingly mispronouncing Harris’ name.

Spokesperson of Perdue said the Senator mispronounced the name and he did not mean anything by it.

Several people gave the origin and meaning of their names as they expressed outrage at the mispronunciation of the democratic vice-presidential candidate’s name.

Preet Bharara, former attorney general for the powerful southern district of New York, tweeted, “#MyName is Preet, which means love.”

“#MyNameIs Meenakshi. I’m named after the Hindu goddess, as well as my great great grandmother. I come from a long line of strong women who taught me to be proud of my heritage and to demand respect – especially from racist white men like @sendavidperdue who are threatened by us,” tweeted Meena Harris, a lawyer and author.

Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from Minnesota tweeted, “#MyNameIs Ilham, I prefer Ilhan. I never liked the M sound Winking face with tongue. It means “Inspiration” in Arabic. My father named me Ilham and inspired me to lead a life of service to others. In his honour I am voting for an inspirational ticket over desperate and maddening one.”

Expressing support for presidential nominee Joe Biden and Harris, Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna tweeted, “#MyNameIs Rohit, and my friends call me Ro. It means bright light in Sanskrit.”

Khanna said in the upcoming election, he will vote for an “inclusive” America by voting for Biden and Harris.

“My great grandmother’s name was Kamala. Not ”Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever”. #MyNameIs Gautam. It means bright light. The kind of bright light a Biden-Harris administration will represent,” tweeted Gautam Raghavan, who is heading the transition team of the Biden campaign.

Perdue’s spokesperson John Burke in a tweet said that he was making an argument against the radical socialist agenda.

“Senator Perdue simply mispronounced Senator Harris’ name, and he didn’t mean anything by it. He was making an argument against the radical socialist agenda that she and her endorsed candidate Jon Ossoff are pushing, which includes the Green New Deal,” Burke tweeted.

“#MyNameIs Hiral. It means diamond, bright, full of luster. Sparkles My mom used to say that they picked it because she saw a bright light reflecting from me & a toughness that made me unbreakable. Glowing star It”s that strength my mom saw in me that gave me the courage to run for Congress,” tweeted Indian American Congressional candidate from Arizona, Dr Hiral Tipirneni.

Indian-American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal said her name comes from the Sanskrit word “prem”, which means love. “The name is constantly mispronounced as is my last name. I only mind that when it is done willfully and continuously. Let’s build an inclusive America. Vote #BidenHarris2020. Our vote, our power,” she tweeted. 

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We have to finish job…I have to get back soon: Trump in video

President Donald Trump posted a video on his Twitter account on Saturday from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where he is receiving treatment for Covid-19, saying that he will be back soon and will resume campaigning.

He said, “I am starting to feel good (but) you don’t know over the period of the next few days. So, that’s the real test. We’ll be seeing what happens over the next couple of days.”

In his four-minute long video Trump thanked the medical team at Walter Reed who are working round the clock to ensure he recovers swiftly.

Speaking of the treatment he said, “If you look at the therapeutics, which I am taking right now, some of them… and others are coming out right now… Frankly, they are miracles, if you want to know the truth.”

He said, “I came here. I wasn’t feeling so well… I have to make America great again. We have to finish the job… I have to get back soon.”

The US president also said he is fighting for everyone who has been infected by coronavirus. He said, “This is something that has happened to millions of people all over the world. I am fighting for them, not just in the US but for people all over the world.”

He also said that he could not remain locked upstairs inside the protected environs of White House and had to confront problems. He said, “As a leader you have to confront problems, there has never been a great leader who would have done that.”

The US president said that he was happy to see the Americans come together praying for his recovery. He said, “I am so thankful for all the support whether it is on television or reading about it. Most of all I appreciate what has been said by the American people, almost a bipartisan consensus of American people. I won’t forget it and I promise you that.”

Trump also explained why he chose to come to Maryland in the video. He said, “I have to be out front. This is America. This is the United States. This is the greatest country in the world and this is the most powerful country in the world. I can’t be locked up in a room upstairs and totally safe and says ‘Hey, whatever happens, happens!’

As for the campaign he said, “I will be back soon. I have to get back because we have to make America great again… I look forward to finishing the campaign. The way it was started, the way we have been doing and the kind of numbers we have been doing. We are so proud of it.”

Image courtesy of (Image courtesy: aninews.in)

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For Senate seat from NJ, Rik Mehta no match for Cory Booker

The race for the US Senate seat in New Jersey is turning out to be a one-sided affair with incumbent Democratic Senator Cory Booker holding a double-digit lead over his Republican challenger Rik Mehta. 

Poll pundits have predicted there’s little likelihood of the charismatic former Newark mayor losing to Mehta, a political newcomer with an accomplished background including a law degree and a doctorate in pharmacy.

There are no Senate ads running on broadcast stations in Philadelphia or New York – markets that capture New Jersey – for or against either candidate, according to the Federal Communication Commission’s records. Nonpartisan political ratings organizations count New Jersey firmly in the Democrats’ column.

Booker is a well-recognized figure, whose failed run in the most recent Democratic presidential primary had him under the national spotlight for months. Mehta is new to the political game and is the founder of biopharmaceutical firms. He lives in traditionally Republican Morris County with his wife and three children, while Booker lives in the Democratic stronghold of Newark in Essex County, with his partner, actor Rosario Dawson.

Booker is unabashedly liberal; Mehta said in an interview he won’t distance himself from President Donald Trump, who isn’t popular in New Jersey.

“I would describe myself as pretty unapologetically Republican,” he said. He added that he’s “completely happy with the direction the president has taken this country, especially before the pandemic.”

keywords: rik mehta, cory booker, democratic senator, november election, donald trump

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Trump campaign video aimed at Indian American voters hits 10 million views

By The SATimes News Service

Washington, DCUS President Donald Trump campaign commercial titled ‘4 more years’ aimed at winning support from the country’s Indian American voters has hit 10 million views.
Trump senior adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle took to Twitter during the Republican convention last month and posted the commercial. The Trump supporter tweeted “America enjoys a great relationship with India and our campaign enjoys great support from Indian Americans.”

The video features footage of Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walking hand in hand and quick clips of each speaking.
A prominent Trump supporter, Al Mason, who conceptualized the video told ANI that The “4 More Years” video has been viewed more than 3,00,000 times on Twitter alone. It has been viewed several hundred thousand times more on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Mason further added if Trump gets another four years at the White House it will massively boost the India-US partnership.

“With the re-election of Trump – these two larger than life personalities (President Trump and Prime Minister Modi) will take their true friendship to the next level,” said Mason, the co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee.

Indian-Americans have emerged as a significant political force in the US. They exert influence in US politics through campaign donations and fund-raising.

Indian-Americans are the wealthiest ethnic group in the US in terms of per capita income. With the November 3 election day closing in, the Republicans and Democrats, sensing a close contest, are leaving no stone unturned to woo Indian-American voters while holding on to their hardcore bases of support. 1.3 million Indian-American votes in the eight swing states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin, are being considered as decisive. (ANI)

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