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Gay Indian-origin Leo Varadkar leads race to become Ireland’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister

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Leo Varadkar, Twitter

Dublin, May 21, 2017: Welfare Minister Leo Varadkar is leading the race to succeed Enda Kenny as Ireland’s first Indian-origin and also openly gay Prime Minister or the Taoiseach, the media reported.

The 38-year-old will face Housing Minister Simon Coveney after nominations closed for the leadership of the governing centre-right Fine Gael party, reported Sky News on Saturday.

Varadkar is favoured to take over from 66-year-old Kenny, who is stepping down after six years as Taoiseach and 15 years at the helm of Fine Gael.

Kenny’s successor is due to be elected in the June 2 general elections and Ireland’s Parliament will vote for Prime Minister a few days later.

Varadkar has won early support for his leadership bid from several senior cabinet members and a majority of his parliamentary colleagues have publicly backed him.

The Dublin-born son of an Indian immigrant father and Irish mother, Leo Varadkar became the first openly gay cabinet minister in Ireland after coming out in 2015, reports Sky News.

He has campaigned on same-sex marriage and liberalizing abortion laws and is an advocate of tight fiscal restraint.

He was a doctor before winning a seat in Parliament in 2007 and has rapidly risen through the ranks, holding several ministerial portfolios.

Ahead of the deadline for leadership nominations, Varadkar had secured 45 of 71 available votes from members of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party.

They account for 65 per cent of the electoral college, with 22,000 ordinary party members sharing 25 per cent. County councillors account for the remaining 10 percent. (IANS)

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‘Parent by Choice for Choice’ : Thousands Join Protests Against Ireland’s Abortion Laws

This year's march against abortion laws was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year

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Thousands gathered to protest against Ireland's abortion laws holding placards saying "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" and "Parent by choice for choice (representational image) Wikimedia

Dublin, September 1, 2017 : Thousands of people staged a massive protest in Dublin, calling for an end to Ireland’s strict abortion laws, the media reported.

Campaigners took part in the March for Choice in the capital’s city centre on Saturday, chanting: “Hey, hey Leo (Prime Minister Leo Varadkar), the eighth amendment has got to go” and carrying banners which read: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “Parent by choice for choice”, reports the Guardian.

This year’s march against abortion laws, the sixth in a series of annual events, was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year.

The Irish government recently set a potential timescale of early 2018 for the referendum on the eighth amendment, the section of Ireland’s constitution imposing tight legal restrictions on terminations.

ALSO READ Anti-abortion Activists and supporters of a Woman’s right choose staged demonstrations in US

The amendment, which was voted into the constitution by referendum in 1983, affords equal rights to unborn babies and pregnant women and gives foetuses the right to life by law, the Guardian reported.

Terminations are only permitted when the life of the mother is at risk, and the maximum penalty for having an illegal abortion in Ireland is 14 years in prison.

Thousands of Irish women travel to the British mainland each year to have a legal termination.

ALSO READ DIY abortions: To do or not to do?

Anti-abortion activists staged counter events in the city and across Ireland to warn against the relaxation of the current law reports the BBC.

A pro-choice rally was also staged outside the Irish embassy in London on Saturday, with campaigners highlighting the numbers of Irish women who have traveled to the UK for an abortion in the last three decades.  (IANS)

 

 

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JY Pillay: Indian Origin Civil Servant Appointed as the Acting President of Singapore

As CPA Chairman since 2005, Pillay has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip

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Acting President of Singapore
JY Pillay. Youtube
  • JY Pillay has been appointed as the acting President of Singapore
  • Pillay, also the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, is a veteran civil servant of Indian Origin
  • The Singapore polls take place on 23rd September

September 2, 2017: Indian-origin veteran civil servant JY Pillay on Friday took over as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of the state is elected later this month.

The temporary appointment of Pillay, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), follows the completion of President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s six-year term on Thursday, the Strait Times reported.

The nomination day for the Presidential election is September 13, followed by polling day on September 23.

According to the report, when the office of President is vacant, the first in line to exercise its powers is the CPA Chairman, followed by the Speaker of Parliament. This is the first time the office has fallen vacant since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991.

Pillay is no stranger to exercising the powers of the President. As CPA Chairman since 2005, he has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip. He acted as President in May, when Tan made state visits to Europe.

He has served more than 60 such “stints”– the longest of which was 16 days in April and May of 2007 when then President SR Nathan visited Africa. (IANS)


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Indian-Origin CEO Ravin Gandhi Faces Racism in The US for Criticising Trump After Charlottesville racial violence

Ravin Gandhi posted a voicemail from an alleged Trump supporter on the social media along with the nastier emails he received

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Indian-Origin CEO Ravin Gandhi faces racism in the US. Pixabay
  • An Indian origin CEO says he was racially abused and was told to “go back” to India
  • He refused to defend US President Donald Trump’s economic agenda following the racial violence in Virginia
  • He said he will speak out against such abuse as long as he has a platform to do so

Washington, August 24, 2017: An Indian origin CEO says he was racially abused and was told to “go back” to India and also take along top Indian-American diplomat Nikki Haley after he refused to defend US President Donald Trump’s economic agenda following the racial violence in Virginia.

Ravin Gandhi, founder, and CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings, a global supplier of coatings for cookware and bakeware, penned an op-ed for CNBC following the Charlottesville racial violence but in response was slammed and racially abused by readers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

 At least one woman was killed and dozens were injured in Charlottesville last week during clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors at a rally. Trump, instead of blaming white supremacists, held both sides responsible for the violence and was criticised by both Democrats and Republicans for the response.

“I recently told the New York Times I was ‘rooting’ for certain aspects of Trump’s economic agenda,” Gandhi, 44, wrote in the article.

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“After Charlottesville and its aftermath, I will not defend Trump even if the Dow hits 50,000, unemployment goes to 1 per cent, and GDP grows by 7 per cent… I will not in good conscience support a President who seems to hate Americans who don’t look like him.

“The fact that Trump equated hate groups with those protesting hate lit me up,” Gandhi said. “His moral leadership on this issue is reprehensible.”

US-born Gandhi, after his op-ed was published, received a voicemail from an alleged Trump supporter, who told him to “get your (expletive) garbage and go back to India”.

“You can take that other half-(expletive) Bangladesh creep with you, Nikki Haley,” the woman said in the message.

“She’s the one that started all this when she took down the Confederate flag. So don’t tell us that you gave him a chance. We don’t give an (expletive) who you gave a chance, OK? We’re going to start taking down Buddhist statues and see how you and Nikki Haley like that.”

The caller told Gandhi to “go clean up your own (expletive) country, it’s a filthy mess”.

He soon posted the voicemail on the social media and also shared the nastier emails he received, the report said.

“It was obvious that people thought my professional position somewhat protected me,” he said. “I wanted to show people that racism is blind to socioeconomics.

“Even though my race is a complete non-issue in my day-to-day life, the sad reality is there’s a group of racists in the USA that views me as a second-class citizen,” he said.

“I wanted my peers in the business community, the civic community, my friend community to see that this can happen to me. Because there’s this delusion that racism is dead because (Barack) Obama was elected (President),” Gandhi said.

He said while his sharing a “bigoted” voicemail may not make a big difference, he will speak out against such abuse as long as he has a platform to do so. (IANS)