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Trump administration to undo Barack Obama’s auto Pollution rules that contributes to Global Warming

Trump is also expected to direct Pruitt to begin the process of dismantling the Clean Power Plan, Obama's rules to cut planet-warming pollution from coal-fired power plants

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Donald Trump and Barack Obama at White House. VOA

WASHINGTON, Mar 4, 2017: The Trump administration is expected to begin rolling back stringent federal regulations on vehicle pollution that contributes to global warming, marking a U-turn to efforts to force the American auto industry to produce more electric cars, a media report said.

The announcement – which is expected as soon as Tuesday next week and will be made jointly by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt and Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao – will immediately start to undo one of former President Barack Obama’s most significant environmental legacies, the New York Times reported on Friday.

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Trump is also expected to direct Pruitt to begin the process of dismantling the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s rules to cut planet-warming pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The regulatory rollback on vehicle pollution will relax restrictions on tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide and will not require action by Congress. It will also have a major effect on the United States auto industry, the daily said.

Under the Obama administration’s vehicle fuel economy standards, American automakers were locked into nearly a decade of trying to design and build ever more sophisticated fuel-efficient vehicles, including electric and hybrid models.

The EPA will also begin legal proceedings to revoke a waiver for California that was allowing the state to enforce the tougher tailpipe standards for its drivers, the New York Times reported.

On February 21, a coalition of the 17 largest companies that sell cars in the US sent two letters to Pruitt, asking him to revisit the tailpipe rules.

They complained about the steep technical challenge posed by the stringent standard, noting that only about 3.5 per cent of new vehicles are able to reach it.

That even excludes some hybrid cars, plug-in electric cars and fuel cell vehicles, the automakers wrote.

The automakers estimated their industry would have to spend a “staggering” $200 billion between 2012 and 2025 to comply and said the tailpipe emissions rule was far more expensive for the industry than enforcing the Clean Power Plan.

Former Obama administration officials and environmentalists denounced Trump’s expected announcement.

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“The rest of the world is moving forward with electric cars. If the Trump administration goes backward, the U.S. won’t be able to compete globally,” said Margo T. Oge, a former senior EPA official.

The tailpipe pollution regulations were among Obama’s major initiatives to reduce global warming and were put forth jointly by the EPA and the Transportation Department.

They would have forced automakers to build passenger cars that achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, compared with about 36 miles per gallon today. (IANS)

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Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner Used Private email Account for White House officials

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Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner is senior advisor at the White House .

Washington, Sep 25: US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner has occasionally used a private email account for correspondence with fellow administration officials, his lawyer confirmed.

“Fewer than a hundred emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account,” counsel Abbe Lowell told CNN on Sunday night.

Politico news had first reported Kushner’s use of a private account and said it was set up in December and was used to sometimes trade emails with senior White House officials, outside advisers and some others about media coverage.

Lowell said that the emails on Kushner’s private account were “usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address”.

Federal law requires that all White House records be preserved, including emails.

Regarding concerns that some of the emails might not have been preserved since Kushner was not using a White House account, Lowell told CNN: “All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address, and all have been preserved, in any event.”

During his campaign, Trump repeatedly criticised Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server to send and receive an email during her tenure as Secretary of State.(IANS)

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US President Donald Trump’s Tough Stand Against Pakistan and more Highlights from his Speech

Donald Trump on wanting cooperation from India for reconstruction of Afghanistan

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US President Donald Trump during speech
US President Donald Trump during speech. Wikimedia
  • We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America
  • The new policy by Trump will allow the military to observe the conditions on the ground before they take a decision on if they want to attack or withdraw
  • We have been paying Pakistan  billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting

Virginia, USA, August 23, 2017: US President Donald Trump in his speech at Arlington, Virginia on August 21, 2017, divulged details on his new policy for Afghanistan and South Asia. He made it clear in his speech that American troops will continue to fight the war between US and Afghanistan, the longest war in US history which has been continuing for 17 years.

Trump made it a point to announce that he’s not just rearranging the Afghanistan policy. He also spoke against Pakistan and criticized them for harboring the terrorists and said that the US would want India’s help and contribution to restore the stability of Afghanistan.

Trump said, “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear. We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter.”

Trump listed out the factors that would lead to a change in Afghanistan and South Asia policy in the coming years:

  • Donald Trump criticized Barack Obama
    Trump, many times during his presidential campaign has criticized former US President Barack Obama “for announcing a date by which American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan.” He said that it allowed Taliban and others like them to reassemble and lay waiting for them to do so.
  • The new policy by Trump will allow the military to observe the conditions on the ground before they take a decision on if they want to attack or withdraw. Though it seems like a wise decision, it also means that the US troops are likely to be in Afghanistan for few more years, by taking into consideration how long this war has continued. The US President stressed upon, “A shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.”

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

  • Trump talked of a successful outcome

America will focus on their interests first, Donald Trump said, “The integration of all instruments of American power – diplomatic, economic, and military – toward a successful outcome.”  Trump said that America has spent a lot of time, money and soldier’s lives to try and rebuild countries in its own image. He expressed that a future political solution in Afghanistan might even include the Taliban, but it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take that decision. “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists,” he said.

  • On Pakistan

Trump said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat.” Trump made some strong remarks about Pakistan, a country that has apparently been an American ally for decades, but was also often accused of taking funds from USA and using them to “take part in an arms race with India”, instead of using that money to fight the terror organizations which were often nurtured by them. Trump said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”

  • On wanting cooperation from India

Donald Trump then talked about India and said: “Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India – the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States.  We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.  We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.”

Trump called for India’s helping hand- He wants India to play a much larger role in the rebuilding of Afghanistan, particularly in the areas like development and economic assistance. This came as positive news to New Delhi, and the Ministry of External Affairs was ready to welcome the statement with open arms. The spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs said “We welcome President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives.”

ALSO READ: US President Donald Trump Needs to Do Better than Tweeting, to Deal with North Korea

But Donald Trump’s framing of the issue has a problem in it – this seems transactional (like a business deal) and the narrative put forward by the US President saying that Afghan reconstruction is mainly an American effort only. Trump said, “But India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States,” he said this as if he wants to say that this should be the reason due to which New Delhi should do what Washington asks from it. Though India’s trade relations with the US shouldn’t be the reason for which India would take a bigger role in Afghanistan reconstruction. Instead, it is because of India’s personal interests in wanting to see Afghanistan as a stable, peaceful and terror-free region which leads it to move in the direction of forming a partnership with Kabul. Journalist Bobby Ghosh said, “One of the strengths of India’s involvement in Afghanistan is that it is seen unambiguously as Indian involvement.”

The real hindrance to a much larger involvement of India in Afghanistan is the danger of Pakistan taking revenge and they have been more than willing to use their weapons of terror against India in the past. This is where Trump’s strict stand on Pakistan is welcome and much needed.hat we don’t know is how much of Trump’s words will turn into action in the coming years. In the past also, American leaders have vowed to be strict with Pakistan, but they caved into demands of the country’s military. Now, Trump has talked about a “dramatically changed” approach, and these have been the most direct remarks coming from a US president regarding Pakistan till now. Now, only time will tell how much change can this bring.

What we don’t know is how much of Trump’s words will turn into action in the coming years. In the past also, American leaders have vowed to be strict with Pakistan, but they caved into demands of the country’s military. Now, Trump has talked about a “dramatically changed” approach, and these have been the most direct remarks coming from a US president regarding Pakistan till now. Now, only time will tell how much change can this bring.


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US to probe into complaint: Does Harvard University discriminate against Indians, Asians?

Harvard University's alleged biased behavior against students from the India and Asia, US will take a look into this.

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Harvard University
Harvard University. wikimedia

August 4, 2017: US President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to probe a complaint by four Indian-American organizations and other Asian groups that Harvard University discriminates against students from the communities in its admission process.

Justice Department Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said on Wednesday the department wants to investigate the “administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations in May 2015 that the prior Administration left unresolved”.

Flores said: “The complaint alleges racial discrimination against Asian-Americans in a university’s admission policy and practices.”

The Global Organisation of Persons of Indian Origin (Gopio), National Federation of Indian-American Associations, American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin, and BITS Sindri Alumni Association of North India were among the 64 Asian groups that jointly filed the federal complaint.

The complaint said: “Many Asian-American students who have almost perfect SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores, top one per cent GPAs (Grade Point Average), plus significant awards or leadership positions in various extracurricular activities have been rejected by Harvard University and other Ivy League Colleges while similarly situated applicants of other races have been admitted.”

SAT is one of the common entrance exams for college admission.

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Though officially the affirmative action programmes are meant to aid African American and Latino students, in reality, the quota system — similar to reservations in India — has expanded to also helps white students at the expense of Indian and other Asian students.

To ensure diversity, elite universities set academic standards for Asian students that are higher than that for even whites to prevent high-scoring Asians dominating the universities if admissions were based solely on merit.

A study by a Princeton University academic found that Asian-American students had to score 140 points more than whites in the SAT to gain admission to elite universities.

If a comparison is to be made to the Indian situation, Asians would be classified as “most forward” over the “forward” category.

Gopio International Chairman Thomas Abraham said he welcomed the Trump administration’s move to take up the complaint by the Indian and other Asian organizations.

Also Read: “Buddhism Through its Scriptures”: Due to rising demand, now Harvard University has an Online course on Buddhism!

He conceded that there was a need for affirmative action programmes to right the historical injustices done to the African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans and, therefore, he supported it for only those communities.

But “in the general quota for all the others there should not be any discrimination against Indians or Asians,” he added.

“A white kid should not get preferred treatment at the expense of Asians and the general quota should be based solely on merit” and this was the central point in the complaint,” he said.

Under former President Barack Obama, the Education Department dismissed a similar complaint by another organization, while the Justice Department did not follow up on the complaint made to its Office of Civil Rights that is now being taken up for review.

When it became known that the Justice Department was seeking lawyers to investigate the Asians discrimination suit, some major, mainstream American media twisted it and put out fake news that the Trump administration was preparing to sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies that were seen as discriminating against whites.

Flores denied the reports and said it was only the Asian complaint that was being taken up and that the department “has not received or issued any directive, memorandum, initiative or policy related to university admissions in general”.

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“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting all Americans from all forms of illegal race-based discrimination,” she added.

A former civil rights official, Vanita Gupta, told The New York Times that the person sought for the investigation will be in “the political front office” and this “suggests that this person will be carrying out an agenda aimed at undermining diversity in higher education without needing to say it”.

Gupta was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in President Barack Obama’s administration and led the civil rights division. She is now the President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. (IANS)