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Dating apps team up to make vaccinating hot

Vaxxing, not waxing, is the new must-do before a date, with dating apps joining the White House on Friday to promote Covid shots.

Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, and Badoo are adding vaccination status to the expected details on dating profiles as part of a rollout over the next few weeks.

Getting the shot may do more for lovers than keep them healthy, the White House said. “Research from OKCupid shows people who are vaccinated or plan to get shots get 14% more Matches than people who don’t,” it said. Among incentives being offered by Tinder is access to the “Super Like” feature to “help them stand out among potential matches,” the White House said.

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Latest News USA

Indian American Neera Tanden to join White House as senior advisor

The Biden administration has announced that Indian-American Neera Tanden, who had withdrawn her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) amid bipartisan criticism, will now join the White House as a senior adviser to President Joe Biden.

In a statement, John Podesta, the founder of Center for American Progress (CAP) said: “Neera’s intellect, tenacity, and political savvy will be an asset to the Biden administration as she assumes a new role as senior adviser to the president. While we will be sorry to lose her considerable policy expertise and leadership at the Center for American Progress–an organization which we founded together in 2003–I am exceptionally thrilled to see her step into a new position serving this White House and the American people.”

He further said that many of the policy solutions under the Biden administration were developed and led by Tanden at CAP over many years.

“The administration’s efforts will be magnified with Neera Tanden on the team, and I am excited to see what she will achieve in the role of senior adviser and in the years to come,” he added.

Tanden serves as president and CEO of CAP and has served as the CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

In March, Tanden had withdrawn her nomination as Director of the White House OMB after the Democrats failed to secure enough votes in the Senate to secure her confirmation.

President Biden’s pick to lead the White House budget office had earlier generated early controversy, emerging as an immediate target for conservatives and Republican lawmakers. Neera is said to have run in trouble with some of the Republican senators due to her comments about some members of the Senate on Twitter, The Hill reported.

Besides accepting Neera’s request for withdrawal, US President Joe Biden indicated that she will be brought back in another capacity in his administration.

“I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work,” Biden said.

If Tanden had been selected, she would have been the first woman of color and the first South Asian American to lead the OMB.

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India International Latest News

US engaging with India on protecting minorities

New York: A senior State Department official dealing with religious freedom, said the US is regularly engaging with Indian officials on protecting the rights of minorities and the government has opportunities to address the concerns of civil society groups.

Briefing reporters about the 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom on Wednesday, Daniel Nadel said: “With respect to India, I think there’s genuine opportunities there for the government to address some of the concerns they hear from Indian civil society through greater dialogue and engagement.

“We do regularly engage with Indian government officials at all levels, encouraging them to uphold human rights obligations and commitments, including the protection of minorities, in keeping with India’s long tradition of democratic values and its history of tolerance.”

The report said that among the issues discussed with officials “were the Muslim community’s concerns about the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), difficulties faced by faith-based (religious) NGOs in the wake of amendments to the FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulation Act), and allegations that Muslims spread Covid-19”.

Nadel, the senior official in the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, said that the US encourages the Indian government to consult “religious communities, these outside actors” on passing laws to avoid alienating them.

“When laws are passed, when initiatives are undertaken that are done without effective consultation with these communities, it creates a sense of disempowerment; at times, of alienation. And the best way to address that is to engage in that direct dialogue between government and civil society, including religious communities.”

The annual report, which is mandated by Congress, did not grade India or deliver an overall verdict on the state of religious freedom in the country.

It listed incidents involving attacks on minorities taken from reports by the media and religious and civil society groups, and legislative actions.

Releasing the report, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “Our promise to the world is that the Biden-Harris administration will protect and defend religious freedom around the world. We will maintain America’s longstanding leadership on this issue.”

He acknowledged that “anti-Muslim hatred is still widespread in many countries, and this, too, is a serious problem for the US”.

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India,National Latest News National

Kamala Harris to chair National Space Council

Washington, DC: Kamala Harris is adding chair of the National Space Council to her expanding vice-presidential portfolio, senior administration officials announced Saturday.

Harris will put her own “stamp” of priorities on the cabinet-level body that coordinates national security priorities, civilian exploration and the growing private economy of space, including “supporting sustainable development of commercial space activity, advancing peaceful norms and responsible behaviors in space, achieving peaceful exploration objectives with our allies and partners,” an official said.

The list also includes a focus on climate change, STEM education, diversity in the workforce, promoting regional economic development and enhancing cybersecurity in space systems.

In a tweet Saturday Harris said she was “honored” by the new gig, adding, “In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it.”

The council was created by executive order by President George H.W. Bush, and requires the vice-president to be the chair. After Bush, the council was essentially disbanded until it was brought back by another executive order from President Donald Trump in 2017. It was then chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.

The Harris-chaired council will be operating under that same order but that could change. An official said they “haven’t really made a decision on whether changes in that executive order will be necessary.”

Operating out of the White House, the council has in the past orchestrated a series of new and far-reaching policy decisions, from returning astronauts to the moon by 2024 under Project Artemis — a goal the Biden teams says it wants to stick to — to addressing the growing problem of orbital debris, or space junk, and reforming regulations to help unleash the burgeoning private space industry.

The council also helped lay the groundwork for the launch of the U.S. Space Force.

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Latest News USA

Republicans criticize Biden for curbs on travel from India

Republican lawmakers on Friday criticized President Joe Biden for imposing restrictions on travel from India in view of the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Restricting travel to our ally India while leaving our border open to Mexico is not rational,” Congressman Tim Burchett said in a tweet, soon after the White House announced Biden’s decision.

“The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had said on Friday.

Another Republican lawmaker Jodey Arrington also criticized Biden for this proclamation on travel.

“Biden enacting an India travel ban while keeping the border open is like locking your front door, but leaving the back door wide open. I wonder if the Left will accuse him of being xenophobic and anti-Hindu,” Arrington asked.

“As Biden bans flights from India, perhaps he should be reminded of a tweet he put out last year. Also, I thought travel bans were xenophobic,” Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said in a tweet.

After the then president Donald Trump had imposed travel ban from Europe, Biden then the Democratic presidential candidate, had opposed it.

“A wall will not stop coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe – or any other part of the world – will not stop it. The disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet – and we need a plan to combat it,” Biden had said in a tweet on March 12 last year.

Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, however, supported the travel ban.

“I support the Biden Administration’s travel restrictions from India, which many in the Indian American community have called for,” he said.

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Latest News USA

New York Post reporter resigns after a false story on Kamala Harris’ book

New YorkA New York Post reporter who authored a story falsely claiming that migrant children were being given copies of Vice President Kamala Harris’ children’s book announced on Tuesday that she’d been “ordered” to write the “incorrect” story and resigned from the paper.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Post temporarily deleted Laura Italiano’s two stories on the topic and republished altered versions hours later with editor’s notes.

“An announcement: Today I handed in my resignation to my editors at the New York Post,” Laura Italiano tweeted on Tuesday evening. “The Kamala Harris story – an incorrect story I was ordered to write and which I failed to push back hard enough against – was my breaking point.”

Italiano’s cover story last Friday titled, “Kam On In: Solo kids at border welcomed with copy of veep’s book,” falsely reported that migrant children were provided with “welcome kits” that included Harris’ 2019 book. The story was void of evidence supporting that claim, which appeared entirely based on a Reuters photo showing a single copy of the book propped against a backpack on a table at the Long Beach, California, migrant shelter.

The story was debunked by other news outlets after it was heavily promoted in the right-wing media and brought up in a White House press briefing.

A spokesperson for the city of Long Beach told The Washington Post that the copy of Harris’ book was donated to the shelter by a community member as part of a city-wide book and toy drive to support young migrants. The Post fact-checker gave Italiano’s reporting four “Pinocchios.”

 

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Business Latest News

No major trading partner manipulates currency: US Treasury

Washington: The US Treasury Department said that no major trading partner of Washington meets the criteria as a currency manipulator, but Vietnam, Switzerland and Taiwan will be under enhanced monitoring for their currency practices.

In its semi-annual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the US, the Department concluded that Vietnam, Switzerland and Taiwan met all three criteria for enhanced currency analysis under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 during the four quarters through December 2020.

However, there is “insufficient evidence” to make a finding that Vietnam, Switzerland, or Taiwan manipulates its exchange rate for either of the purposes referenced in the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, the Department said.

The Treasury believed that “enhanced engagements” with Switzerland, Vietnam and Taiwan will enable it to better determine whether any of these economies intervened in currency markets to “prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or gain an unfair competitive advantage in trade”.

No other major US trading partner met the relevant 1988 or 2015 legislative criteria for currency manipulation or enhanced analysis during the review period, according to the Treasury.

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Latest News USA

Biden to address a joint session of Congress on April 28

Washington, DC: President Joe Biden will address lawmakers in a joint session of Congress later this month, delivering his first remarks to both chambers nearly 100 days after taking office.

Biden was formally invited on Tuesday to speak to Congress on April 28 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who wrote in a letter to the President that she was extending the invitation so he could “share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.” He accepted her invitation later Tuesday evening.

The address will come as his administration continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and to pitch lawmakers on his massive infrastructure proposal.

The joint session will be designated a National Special Security Event and there will be a limit on the number of lawmakers in the chamber due to Covid-19 protocols, a Capitol official involved in planning told CNN Wednesday. Lawmakers will also be seated in the upstairs gallery in addition to the House floor and guests will not be permitted.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, had said earlier this month that she was waiting to make a decision on extending an invitation to Biden amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, noting that it would come in consultation with the Capitol attending physician.

President Donald Trump’s final State of the Union address was delivered just before the pandemic took hold in the US, and his first address to a joint session of Congress was given in late February 2017. Barack Obama, meanwhile, gave his first presidential address to a joint session in February 2009.

 

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Latest News USA

It is Biden-Harris administration now

Washington: The White House website now refers to the “Biden-Harris” administration to underscore Kamala Harris’ “important role” as President.

The nomenclature is a break from previous administrations which have primarily emphasized the President on their website and social media. So when a reporter asked Press Secretary Jen at a news briefing recently about the “rebranding”,  she said, “I would take from it that Vice President Harris is an important partner, she’s the first in the room and the last in the room on most occasions if she’s in town.” She added  that it was a “reflection of the important role she  will play moving forward.”

Both Biden and Harris are also listed on the White House’s main Twitter page, with the bio reading: “Welcome to the Biden-Harris White House!”

Under the Biden-Harris administration tab on WhiteHouse.gov, the page says, “Thousands of people work in the West Wing, the East Wing, the Cabinet, and the Executive Office of the President. Learn more about the people who carry out the priorities of the Biden-Harris administration.” It shows pictures of Biden and Harris along with first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.

Under Trump, WhiteHouse.gov listed “The Administration.” It also contained photos of first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence.

The Obama White House website also headlined the page “The Administration,” but referenced the “Obama-Biden Administration” below.

Harris has taken a number of solo calls with world leaders, just a few months into the new administration – a signal that she’ll engage deeply even in foreign policy, though her experience has been almost entirely in the domestic realm.

This does not imply however, that the Indian American is heir apparent. Last week President Biden said he would likely seek reelection in 2024, but the 78-year-old also left open the possibility of stepping aside after one term. “My plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation,” Biden told reporters in a wide-ranging news conference, the first of his young presidency.

Should he run again, Biden said he “would fully expect” to choose Kamala Harris to be his running mate again. “She’s doing a great job. She’s a great partner,” he said.

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