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Under President Donald Trump, US-India ties expected to conquer new Frontiers

An Indian American talks about how he believes US India ties will improve under Trump's administration and how it will be beneficial for India in the long run

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Donald Trump Wikimedia

Washington, Mar 9, 2017: Under Trump’s administration, US-India ties are expected to conquer new frontiers, the two countries being “natural partners” with common interests, an Indian-American entrepreneur who is considered to be close to Vice President Mike Pence said.

“With Indian-Americans playing the role of an umbilical cord between the two countries, India and the United States have common interests in balancing the increasing economic and military influence of China in the Asia-Pacific region and fighting together the menace of terrorism in South and Central Asia,” said Indiana-based Gurinder Singh Khalsa told PTI in an interview.

Khalsa, the Chairman and Founder of Sikhs Political Action Committee, the SikhsPAC has emerged as a vocal leader of the Indian-American Sikhs.

“India and the United States are natural partners at this time. Both have an interest in balancing growing Chinese economic and military influence in southeast Asia. Both have an interest in fighting terrorism originating in central Asian areas like Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Khalsa told PTI.

Khalsa said that improving relations with the US would be of long-term benefit to India. The countries also have shared priorities in business, especially in IT and tech industries.China has been assertive in the disputed South China Sea region, building artificial islands which could potentially be used for military purposes. It is also building a number of ports in South Asian countries.

Khalsa has been a friend of Pence from the days when the present US Vice President wasn’t even elected as the Governor of Indiana.

Khalsa wishes to strengthen US-India relations and be the voice of the Indian-Americans and other similar ethnic communities in the US.

“(Pence) has been very outspoken about the need for more economic cooperation between India and Indiana. Prior to his selection as Vice President, he spoke to us about his intention to travel to India after the election. He wanted to be the first Indiana Governor to visit India after the election,” Khalsa said recollecting his meetings with Pence.

Khalsa, who was born in 1973, shifted to the US in 1996. Before moving to the US, he wrote four papers, including topics like India-Pakistan boundary disputes and extensive deforestation leading to environmental degradation in the Himalayas.

He spent five years in the insurance, finance and real estate sectors in California before moving to Indiana in 2008.Since 2003, he has developed a chain of businesses throughout California, Nevada and Indiana.

He first met Pence in 2012 in the gubernatorial camp, when they agreed on a meeting to discuss tax issues which involved some Indian gas station workers.

In 2007, a TSA agent refused to allow Khalsa on an airplane unless he removed his Turban. He argues that it would be a clear violation of Sikh religious practice, refusing to take off his turban and took forward this issue before the Congress and was successful in changing the headwear regulation of TSA.

The Turban is Considered to be a sign of respect by the Sikh Community; Source: Pixabay

“Because of this effort, Sikhs are now allowed to wear their turbans through airport security,” he said.

Now that Indian-Americans have proven their great skill as entrepreneurs and businessmen, Khalsa asserts that it is time for the community to step-up and serve in public office and the military.

“I mean, look, we have a rich history as soldiers and administrators in India,” he said.

“At this time, Indians account for about 1 per cent of the US population and the United States is overall more diverse than it has ever been.”

“This is an opportunity for both Indians and Americans. At the end of the day, Indians have done very well in the US in terms of business opportunities. SikhsPAC is a model for ensuring Indians have the resources they need to give back through service to their country. We’re already seeing great examples of this with the US military removing restrictions on soldiers wearing the turban and beard. That is progress on which we need to build,” Khalsa said.

– prepared by Nikita Saraf, Twitter: @niki_saraf

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NASA to put humans on the Moon again: Mike Pence

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NASA to put humans on the Moon again: Mike Pence (Image:Wikimedia)

Washington, Oct 6: The Trump administration will direct NASA to land humans on the Moon and establish presence on the lunar surface before sending astronauts to the Red Planet and beyond, US Vice President Mike Pence has said.

Pence made the administration’s intentions known in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, as well as a speech he gave during the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council — a newly resurrected executive group aimed at guiding the US space agenda, The Verge reported on Thursday.

“We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon — not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” he told reporters at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Pence made it clear that space is a national priority, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement after the first meeting of the Council.

“The vice president also announced a call for renewed U.S. leadership in space – with a recommendation to the president that NASA help lead and shape the way forward,” Lightfoot said.

“Specifically, NASA has been directed to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations,” Lightfoot added.

The Council acknowledged the strategic importance of cis-lunar space — the region around the Moon — which will serve as a proving ground for missions to Mars and beyond, Lightfoot added. (IANS)

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US Department of Justice Demands Account Details of Facebook Users who ‘Liked’ Anti-Trump Pages

The administration claims it needs the information in connection to an examination concerning and persecution of activists captured in Washington DC as President Trump was confirmed as President

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Department of Justice
The Department of Justice has obtained search warrants; one of which was issued for the DisruptJ20 Facebook page, which organized protests upon President Trump's inauguration (VOA).

Washington, September 29, 2017 : The Department of Justice has obtained court orders that could reveal data about a huge number of individuals who extended support to a resistance page on Facebook. The search warrants would allow government lawyers to access Facebook accounts operated by protesters against American president Donald Trump.

The Department of Justice has sought orders to acquire the passwords, personal messages, comments, status updates, photos and additionally, the deleted posts of two individual activists – Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour, along with information about over 6,000 users who ‘liked’ an anti-Trump page on Facebook.

One of the three warrants was issued for the DisruptJ20 Facebook page, which organized protests upon President Trump’s inauguration.

The administration claims it needs the information in connection to an examination concerning and persecution of activists captured in Washington DC as President Trump was confirmed as President on 20 January 2017. Thus, it has asked for data between November 2, seven days before the presidential decision, and February 9.

While the Facebook page is open to the public, executive Emmelia Talarico was quoted by CNN as saying that the Trump organization would have the capacity to get to the “private lists of invitees and attendees to multiple political events sponsored by the page” if details of the account are turned over.

ALSO READ Zuckerberg Responds to Trump’s Allegations, says Facebook was Never Against You

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is fighting the warrants in court, described the requests as “a gross invasion of privacy”.

Lacy MacAuley also asserted that the page had details of her personal life and of people associated with it that the federal government need not know. “The primary purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to prevent this type of exploratory rummaging through a person’s private information” she said.

At the moment, none of the three activists in question have been charged with any offence in relation to Inauguration Day.

Previously, the Department of Justice had also attempted to arrange a web-host supplier to reveal the the IP addresses of 1.3 million individuals who went to the DisruptJ20.org site. However, this was quashed by Dream Host, the web facilitating organization.

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter : SohaKala

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Consulate General of India Chicago Celebrates the 4th Edition of “Kala-Utsav” , an Annual Festival to Promote Rich Heritage of Indian Art and Culture

Nearly 700 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of US Midwest, including many US nationals and different ethnic groups attended the event

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“Kala-Utsav”
Consul General of India Chicago Ms. Neeta Bhushan with Kala-Utsav participants
Chicago, August 30, 2017: The Consulate General of India organized 4th edition of “Kala Utsav” the Annual Cultural Festival on August 26, 2017, at Yellow Box, Naperville with 19 different Indian Cultural Organizations to promote the rich heritage of Indian Art and Culture in the US Mid-west. The event provided a platform for over 200 renowned as well as new Indian artists, from across the US Midwest to showcase their talents through various performances. 
 
Hon’ble Cogressman from 8th District of Illinois Raja Krishmoorthi was Chief  Guest and Mr. Juan Ochoa, Special Advisor to Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emmanuel and Board of Director of MPEA [Metropolitan Exposition Authority] was the Special Guest on the occasion of kala utsav 2017. The festival was inaugurated by Consul General of India, Ms. Neeta Bhushan, by lighting of the lamp as per the traditional Indian customs. The Chief Guest, Special Guest, prominent community leaders and volunteers participated in the lighting of the lamp. This was followed by the Indian and the US National Anthems.
 
Nearly 700 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of US Midwest, including many US nationals and different ethnic groups attended the event.
 
In her inaugural address, Consul General Ms. Neeta Bhushan underlined the ancient, rich and diverse culture of India. She added that the objective of the annual ‘Kala Utsav’ festival, which was launched by the consulate in August 2014, is not only to encourage and showcase the extraordinary talents in the Indian-American community but also to reiterate and celebrate India’s unity in diversity.

MAFS Seniors Dance Group

 
During his address, Hon’ble Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi also appreciated the efforts of Consulate in providing a platform “kala utsav” for showcasing India’s various folks and classical dance forms as well rich musical tradition through the local talents.

Kala Utsav
Team Ghunguru Participates in Kala Utsav in Chicago

 
The function started with a stunning performance of ChendaMelam” by the Chicago Kalashetra which is the best –known and most popular kshetram vadyam (temple percussion) genre followed by a sequence of captivating dance performances representing the classical, folk and modern dance forms of India from different dance schools. 

Soorya Dance School

 
The classical dance segment included Kathak performances presented by Anila Sinha Foundation,  Bharatnatyam performance presented by Natya Dance School, Kuchupudi by Nrityamala Dance Academy, Odissi dance presented by Utkalaa Dance Group, Adardhnareshwar by Rina Rockers, Jugalbani and Bharatnatyam by Yakshagana from Indiana.  
The folk dance segment was quite large. There were 6 folk dance representing six States of India. The Bengali Folk Dance presented by Jhankaar Dance, Shingari Dance School presented Kerala Folk DanceRhythms & Grace Dance Studio presented Rajasthani folk dance, the Assam Association of Greater Chicago presented Assam’s Folk dance and high energy Punjabi folk dance “Gidda” by Bollywood Dance Academy. The performance of “Garba”, Gujarati folk dance, by MAFS Seniors Dance Group enthralled the audience.
 
The kids from Bolly Dance Fit and Fun creative kids also participated and performed in the festival.

Kids from Bolly Dance Fit and Fun creative kids

There were four presentations under the Contemporary/Fusion dance category in which over twenty-five artists participated. The presentation ‘Rain, Drought & Flood’ by Soorya Dance School captured the hearts of the audience.  “Bollywood Dance ” was presented by Bollywood Rhythm and Rhythm of Kerala by Team Ghunguru. Mythilli Dance Academy attempted to keep the flame of vibrancy in the heart by presenting “ Parai Drum Dance”.
 
Mrs. Lakshmi Parmeswaran and Ms. Tanvi Bhatt ably anchored the event as emcee and kept the audience engaged. Mr OP Meena, Consul [HOC], proposed a vote of thanks.