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Speculations about Nikki Haley as Republican Vice President candidate

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Washington: Republicans picking South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley to give the party’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, fuelled speculations that she might be party’s pick for the Vice President candidature.

Born Nimrata “Nikki” Randhawa, to Sikh immigrant parents from India, Haley at 43 the youngest governor in the country will give the Republican response to Obama’s final annual address to the Congress Tuesday night.

A day later she will speak to Republican leaders gathered for the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charleston at a private event aboard the USS Yorktown in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina, influential Politico reported citing sources.

The following day, just before Republican presidential hopefuls gather for the debate, Haley is expected to have a private meeting with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, according to a source familiar with her plans.

“All this comes on the back of a strong year that saw her prospects in the veepstakes improve as Haley signed off on legislation removing the Confederate flag from Columbia and oversaw a state battered by a tragic massacre and a massive flood,” the Politico said.

In August, at the RNC summer meeting in Cleveland, Haley was invited to be its luncheon headliner, the Politico noted.

In recent months, Haley has fostered a close relationship with Christie as well as with two other Republican White House hopefuls: Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, it said.

Over the course of the primary campaign, she has been exchanging text messages with all three candidates.

Haley said Thursday she plans to address the challenges in South Carolina and the nation that she thinks are the most important in her Republican response to Obama’s address.

Haley declined to reveal details of what she plans to say, except to repeat that she is giving an “address” to the nation rather a “response” to Obama. “I certainly am not one to compete against the President or try to imply that I could be,” Haley told reporters, according to Charlotte Observer.

Haley’s selection, the Observer said, is seen as part of the Republican Party’s attempts to win over female voters, who will have a chance to elect the first female president if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. But she called such talk a “waste of time”.

When asked about being given such an honour, she smiled and said she was humbled by it. “You have to know I always go back to that 5-year-old Indian girl that lived in Bamberg. That just wondered what was out there,” Haley said.

Haley was first elected South Carolina governor in 2010, becoming both the first woman and the first Indian-American to hold the top office in the state. She was re-elected in 2014(Arun Kumar, IANS)(Image: Youtube)

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Google CEO Will Answer Republicans Before The US House Judiciary Committee

Pichai is also meeting with Democratic lawmakers and is due to meet with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has agreed to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee later this year over Republican concerns that the company is biased against conservatives, a senior Republican said Friday.

Republicans want to question Google, the search engine of Alphabet Inc, about whether its search algorithms are influenced by human bias. They also want to probe it on issues such as privacy, classification of news and opinion, and dealing with countries with human rights violations.

Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.

McCarthy told reporters after the meeting that it was “very productive” and “frank.”

Capitol hill, google
An empty chair reserved for Google’s parent Alphabet, which refused to send its top executive, is seen as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg accompanied by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms’ on Capitol Hill. VOA

“I think we’ve really shown that there is bias, which is human nature, but you have to have transparency and fairness,” McCarthy said. “As big tech’s business grows, we have not had enough transparency and that has led to an erosion of trust and, perhaps worse, harm to consumers.”

Alphabet Inc’s Google unit has repeatedly denied accusations of bias against conservatives. Pichai left the meeting without comment.

Pichai wrote in an internal email last week that suggestions that Google would interfere in search results for political reasons were “absolutely false. We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda.”

The CEO had been scheduled to be in Asia this week but canceled the trip to be in Washington.

The hearing will take place after the midterm congressional elections in November, McCarthy said.

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Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. Wikimedia Commons

Google came under fire from members of both parties earlier this month for refusing to send a top executive to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that included Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc executives.

Republicans have also raised concerns about Google’s dominance. Earlier this week, the Justice Department met with state attorneys general to focus on the need to protect consumer privacy when big technology companies amass vast troves of data, but came to no immediate conclusions.

Also Read: US to Probe Social Media Giants Like Facebook, Twitter Over Censorship Concern

Asked if Republicans will push to break up Google, McCarthy said: “I don’t see that.” He said the hearing will look at privacy, bias issues, China and other matters.

Pichai is also meeting with Democratic lawmakers and is due to meet with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday, a White House official said Thursday. (VOA)