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Democratic Indian-American Raja Krishnamoorthi Wins 8th Congressional District of Illinois

Krishnamoorthi served as deputy treasurer of Illinois in 2007 after he was appointed special assistant attorney general in Public Integrity Unit by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

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Raja Krishnamoorthi, Twitter

by Himani Kumar 

Chicago, November 8, 2016:  It was finally a victory for Raja Krishnamoorthi as he won the 8th Congressional District of Illinois on election night yesterday and became a Congressman.

With this, he became the second Indian American to join the U.S. Congress after Amy Bera from California. It  was indeed a  victory for people belonging to the middle-class section in the society.

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His journey started in 2010. On Tuesday night, Krishnamoorthi has beaten republican candidate Pete DiCianni to win the 8th congressional district seat,  that  was occupied by Tammy Duckworth to whom Raja lost in 2012 in the Democratic Primary for the 8th district house seat.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift.. a present,’’ Krishnamoorthi said, quoting cartoonist Bil Keane at the Wyndham Garden in Schaumburg, where the victory party was celebrated before the race was called.

“I’ll work for the middle class, small businesses, and increase employment,” Raja added resonating with the people, as he was a small business owner himself and told that he knew their problems.

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Krishnamoorthi thanked his family, his friends and campaign manager Noah Wasserman after winning the seat. “You can call me Raja…not Congressman Raja…, he added,” trying to strike a chord with the common man. “I’ll work for the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains and others,” he added.

“It is a coming out of the South Asian community tonight,” he said as his family members gather on stage and flouted the Cubs’ “Fly The W” flag  commemorating the recent win by the Cubs baseball team.

Several prominent members of the Indian and American community were present at the event.

“Raja’s coming to power is good for employment and for our community,” Hema Shastri of Bensenville said.

Her father-in-law Dr C. L. Shastri was instrumental in building the Manav Seva temple in Bensenville in Illinois, one of the oldest temples built in the United States.

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“American Indians need at least five Congressmen in the White House and we just have one Congressman Amy Bera from California, compared to our population of 1 percent in America,” Raja’s wife Priya, an anesthesiologist said.

Anuja  Gupta helped with building the  first retirement community for Indian people in Schaumburg called “Verandah” that was inaugurated on October 1, this year. “There are enough older Indians in Chicagoland,” she said. “It’s exciting for Raja to win,” Gupta said. “ I hosted a fundraiser in my house and raised $14,000 for his campaign.”

Krishnamoorthi served as deputy treasurer of Illinois in 2007 after he was appointed special assistant attorney general in Public Integrity Unit by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

A Harvard law school  graduate, he was once also a partner at law firm Kirkland and Ellis.

Krishnamoorthi currently also is the  president of Bolingbrook’s Sivananthan Laboratories. The company focuses on research, development and commercialization of military night vision technology, solar cells, radiation detectors and biosensors to detect weapons of mass destruction.

Krishnamoorthi joins Kamala Harris from California, Ro Khanna from California’s 17th District and Pramila Jayapal from Seattle among the Indian Americans entering U.S. Congress. There is still no call in the race between Amy Bera from California and Scott Jones.

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Supports Releasing Russia-linked Advertisements

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Facebook chief
Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F, in Paris. voa

Washington, October 12: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Thursday she “absolutely” supports the public release of all advertisements produced by a Russia-linked organization during the 2016 presidential election.

Sandberg said the company is “working on transparency” following the revelation last month that a group with alleged ties to the Russian government ran $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook promoting “divisive” causes like Black Lives Matter.

“Things happened on our platform that shouldn’t have happened,” she said during the interview with Axios’s Mike Allen.

Later Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer is set to meet with Congressional investigators who are looking into what role the advertisements which began running in 2015 and continued through this year may have played in the 2016 presidential election.

The $100,000 worth of ads represent a very small fraction of the total $2.3 billion spent by, and on behalf of, President Donald Trump and losing-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaigns during the election.

Multiple congressional investigations have been launched, seeking to determine what effect alleged Russian meddling may have played in the election.

In addition, Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is conducting a criminal probe, including whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian operatives during the election season. Trump has denied working with the Russians.

Facebook had previously agreed to disclose the thousands of Facebook ads to congress. Sandberg said Thursday she thinks “it’s important that [the investigators] get the whole picture and explain that to the American people.”

In response to the Russian ad buys, Facebook Chief Operating Officer said that company is hiring 4,000 new employees to oversee ads and content. She said the company is also using “machine learning and automation” to target fake accounts that spread fake news.

She defined fake news as “things that are false hoaxes” and said Facebook is working to stamp out the bad information by teaming up with third-party fact checkers and warning users before they share news deemed fake by Facebook.

She said it is important to be cautious when going after fake news because “a lot of what we allow on Facebook is people expressing themselves” and “when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people.”

“We don’t check the information posted on Facebook before people post it, and I don’t think people should want us to,” she said.

Hundreds of fake accounts were used to distribute the Russia-linked advertisements, Sandberg said. But had those ads been posted by legitimate users, “we would have let them run,” she said.(VOA)

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Las Vegas Mass Shooting Reignites Gun Debate in US Congress

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Gun Shop in US
Assault weapons and handguns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield. voa

Amid an outpouring of grief and condolences as the death toll of Las Vegas Mass Shooting, climbed higher. U.S. senator, Chris Murphy sent out a tweet, pointing an angry finger at his colleagues on Capitol Hill.

Murphy represents Connecticut, where a gunman toting a semi-automatic rifle slaughtered 20 children aged six and seven at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Congress enacted no legislation restricting firearms in the months that followed, nor after any subsequent mass shooting, including last year’s bloodbath at an Orlando, Florida nightclub that left 49 people dead.

“Thoughts and prayers need to be matched by action,” Murphy said later on the Senate floor. “The reason why we exist is to act, is to change the laws of the nation, to address challenges that our constituents face.”

During a visit to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico on Tuesday, President Donald Trump praised Las Vegas’ police force and said, “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.”

Forcing the dialogue

In both houses of Congress, many Democrats are attempting to force an immediate dialogue in hopes of jumpstarting legislation on measures that have broad public support, such as expanding background checks for gun purchasers and scrutinizing firearms sales at gun shows.

The NRA did not comment immediately on the carnage in Las Vegas, but other organizations representing gun owners insisted the mass shooting in no way invalidates Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.

“There’s no way to make a law, any law that would stop an evil person from doing an evil deed,” Eddie Fulmer, president of Bama Carry, an Alabama run rights group, told VOA. “I don’t think restrictions do anything but prevent honest, law-abiding people from getting a weapon they need and deserve to have, with the freedoms we have in America.”

Murphy rejected such arguments after the Newtown slaughter and did so again this week.

“Laws do work,” the Democratic senator said. “Though you can’t regulate away evil in total, you can do more to protect people.”

Although there is little appetite for new gun restrictions among Republicans who control both houses of Congress, legislation to liberalize firearms sales is being put on hold. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Tuesday that a bill deregulating the sale of gun silencers has been shelved.

Trump is to travel to Las Vegas Wednesday to mourn the loss of life and honor the city’s first responders. Democrats want the president to do much more. (voa)

 

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Indian-American Lawmakers Slam US President Donald Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

They are accusing him of bigotry

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Trump's transgender military ban is being slammed by India-American lawmakers
Trump's transgender military ban is being slammed by India-American lawmakers. Wikimedia
  • Ami Bera is the longest-serving Indian-American currently in the Congress
  • Removing these men and women from service or refusing recruits because of who they are going against every American value they swear to defend
  • Our transgender service members deserve honour and respect

Washington (US), August 27, 2017: Prominent Indian-American lawmakers have criticised US President Donald Trump after he signed a memo instructing the Defence Department to stop accepting transgender people into the armed forces.

The presidential memorandum signed on Friday officially requested the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, to be put in place on March 23, 2018.

Slamming the move, Democratic US Representative Ami Bera said, “If you wear an American military uniform, you deserve the respect and support of the Commander-in-Chief… Unfortunately, Donald Trump is more comfortable peddling in discrimination and bigotry, and he’s shown that he is unable to support our troops.”

“Removing these men and women from service or refusing recruits because of who they are going against every American value they swear to defend,” said Bera, who is the longest-serving Indian-American currently in the Congress, in a press release.

ALSO READ: US Senate Confirms Three Indian Americans picked by President Donald Trump to Key Governmental Posts

The directive, signed on Friday, bars transgender people from enlisting, but instructs Secretary of Defence James Mattis and the Homeland Security “to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant”, according to a White House official.

It ordered the Pentagon to stop paying for gender reassignment surgeries, except in cases that were already in progress to “protect the health of an individual”.

California Democrat Ro Khanna tweeted, “Our transgender service members deserve honour and respect. This military ban is anti-trans discrimination and must not be tolerated.”

In a tweet, Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi said that he hoped that Trump would reconsider the ban.

“I hope the President immediately reconsiders this ban. There is no place for discrimination in our armed forces.”

In another tweet, Krishnamoorthi said, “We must never abandon those who have sacrificed so much for their nation. #ProtectTransTroops”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, termed the ban “downright shameful”.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with the transgender community. This is downright shameful. #TransRightsAreHumanRights,” she tweeted. (IANS)