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Indian American Congressman asks Trump to end government shutdown. VOA

Democratic congressional leaders on Monday said that US President Donald Trump is “plunging the country into chaos” with his recent attacks on the Federal Reserve and engineering a partial government shutdown, which has left 25 per cent of US government agencies without operating funds.

The Democratic declaration comes after Wall Street closed on Monday with heavy losses and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the main market benchmark, fell 2.91 per cent — or more than 653 points — in its worst Christmas Eve performance in history, Efe reported.

In a joint statement, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned that: “It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos. The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve — after he just fired the Secretary of Defence,” referring to Gen. James Mattis, who resigned last week only to be booted by Trump as of January 1, two months before his stated departure date.

Trump on Monday tweeted that “the only problem” with the US economy is the Fed because that entity doesn’t “have a feel for the Market.”

According to local media reports, the president has been considering whether to fire Fed Chairman Jerome Powell after he raised US interest rates last week, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has denied that Trump is going to jettison Powell.

The president, moreover, is being harshly questioned over his dismissal of Mattis, who submitted his resignation letter late last week — to be effective February 28 — after Trump abruptly announced that he was withdrawing all US troops from Syria.

U.S. President Donald Trump. VOA

Due to the government shutdown, some 25 per cent of US government activities have been paralyzed since Friday at midnight because Congress has not been able to approve a budget and funding for those departments has expired.

The shutdown came about because Trump has demanded that Congress include $5 billion to build portions of his much-touted wall along the Mexican border, something that Democratic lawmakers have refused to agree to, although some $1.3 billion has been allocated by Congress for other types of enhanced border security.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers, along with Trump, are negotiating to try and reopen the government, but Schumer and Pelosi said Monday that reaching an agreement is difficult because the White House does not have a unified position.

The Democratic leaders said that different people in the White House are saying different things about what the president could or could not accept in exchange for ending the shutdown he originally he would be “proud” to bring about, and thus the administration evidently does not have a common or unified stance on the matter.

Also Read- Apple Provides Customers’ Personal Data on Indian Government Requests

Trump met on Monday at the White House with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to discuss border security, but it is not yet known what the results of that meeting were.

The Senate will meet again on Thursday to try and reach a budget agreement so that the government can be fully reopened, but the White House says that the shutdown may continue into January.

Trump wants to secure additional funding for his border wall from the Republican-controlled Senate — where the GOP is seriously divided — before the Democrats take over the House on January 20, after which they are expected to cancel any budgetary plans that include the wall. (IANS)



Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)

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Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features.

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.

When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.

The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)

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Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit.

By Olivia Sarkar
It's the holiday season, which means it's time to be merry! As the month of December approaches, we're all in a festive mindset. With Christmas just around the corner, there will be plenty of parties and get-togethers with friends and family.

Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit. The Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts offer distinctive cocktails ranging from Hot Toddies to Decadent Egg Nogs. Sit back and enjoy one martini at a time to make the festive season a little brighter.

Dirty Chai Eggnog:

Eggnog is a Christmas favorite that is accustomed to toasts for good health and prosperity. It is an American tradition that has spread around the world. Historically, it has been made using eggs, milk, and alcohol. Our culinary artists have given an Indian twist to this winter drink, making it quintessentially desi!


30 ml Bourbon
30 ml Baileys
90 ml Hot milk tea
Whole Spices
Sweet cream foam to top up

Cinnamon powder and star anise.

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