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Ami Bera,Tulsi Gabbard and US lawmakers celebrate Diwali

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Photo: http://www.vishwagujarat.com/

Washington: Ten US lawmakers, including the lone Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera and the only Hindu-American lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard joined “Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists across the world” in celebrating Diwali.

Bera, Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, noted that last week almost 1,000 people came together in Washington to “celebrate the largest ever Congressional Diwali to recognize who we are as a community and what we have accomplished together.”

“Diwali is celebrated by nearly a billion people around the world and more than two million people in the US,” he said, and added “I look forward to continuing to grow this celebration and wish all who are celebrating this week a Happy Diwali.”

Gabbard, who represents Hawaii in the US House, said: “Diwali represents the victory of light over darkness, truth over untruth, righteousness over wrong. “Let it inspire us to set aside our differences, and find ways to work together towards the greater and common good.”

“No matter who we are, no matter what our race, religion, economic status, gender, age, or any other material consideration, each of us can use our lives in the loving service of God and of mankind, according to our own abilities,” she said.

“So as we light our lamps for Diwali, let us light the lamps of love for God within our hearts. Let us share the light of His unconditional love for us, and celebrate Diwali by doing what we can to bring about positive change in the world,” Gabbard added.

Grace Meng, who represents New York, reaffirmed her call for the creation of a Diwali postage stamp, an initiative she has pushed the US Postal Service (USPS) on with Representative Carolyn Maloney and others. She also wanted a school holiday created for Diwali in New York City.

Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said: “I am proud to join millions in the United States and around the world in celebrating Diwali this week.”

“As we light up our diyas and share in this joyous festival with family and friends, we are reminded that this holiday is a time to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.”

“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I wish everyone celebrating Diwali my best wishes and Saal Mubarak!” she stated.

Other CAPAC members who issued statements on Diwali included: Michael Honda, CAPAC Chair Emeritus, Xavier Becerra, House Democratic Caucus Chairman, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Loretta Sanchez and Chris Van Hollen.

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

  • Krishna Rao

    Look forward to the outcome of the Diwali stamp. I think it would be a very profitable venture by the post office.

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US Lawmakers Accuse Facebook of Exposing Sensitive Health Data

A Facebook spokesperson, however, denied the social network giant was misleading users about closed groups

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Facebook , FTC
FILE- In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. A report says Facebook and the FTC are negotiating a "multibillion dollar" fine for the social network's privacy lapses. VOA

A day after Facebook was accused of exposing sensitive health data of its users in “closed” groups, US lawmakers have written a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to brief them about the latest privacy concerns.

A complaint filed by a security researcher and others with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday alleged that “Facebook lures users into sharing their personal health information in closed groups”.

“Facebook marketed this product as a Personal Health Record and it then leaked the health data that those patients uploaded to the public,” said the complaint.

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to Zuckerberg on this, saying “the consumer complaint raises a number of concerns about Facebook’s privacy policies and practices”.

“Facebook’s systems lack transparency as to how they are able to gather personal information and synthesize that information into suggestions of relevant medical condition support groups.

“Labelling these groups as closed or anonymous potentially misled Facebook users into joining these groups and revealing more personal information that they otherwise would have,” wrote the lawmakers.

Facebook
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. VOA

The lawmakers said they want a staff briefing from Facebook on this issue no later than March 1.

A Facebook spokesperson, however, denied the social network giant was misleading users about closed groups.

“Facebook is not an anonymous platform; real-name identity is at the center of the experience and always has been.

Also Read- US Hate Groups Increases by 7% in 2 years, Hit Record

“It’s intentionally clear to people that when they join any group on Facebook, other members of that group can see that they are a part of that community, and can see the posts they choose to share with that community,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The issue was first noticed last July, when members of a women’s group with a gene mutation discovered how easily the names and email addresses of members could have been downloaded in bulk, either manually or through a Chrome extension, The Verge reported. (IANS)