Desi News

Three Indian-Americans among 46 judges appointed and reappointed in New York City

Judge Archana Rao (Photo: Asian Women in Business. Awib.org) New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced 46 judicial appointments for the New Year, including one new appointment and two reappointments of three Indian-Americans. All three are women judges. Judge Archana Rao was appointed by the Mayor to Civil Court and has been assigned to Criminal Court. She has spent her entire career so far with the New York County District Attorney’s Office working in several bureaus during her 17 year tenure there, is a new appointee, according to a press release from the Mayor’s office Jan. 31. She last served as Bureau Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau. She joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 2001. She was assigned to the trial division, where, in addition to prosecuting street crime cases, she served in the Domestic Violence Unit and the Welfare Fraud Unit, according to a bio on…

Desi News

DHS announces revised H-1B Visa program, calls it “More Effective and Efficient”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted its “final rule” amending regulations dealing with H-1B petitions that are subject to caps, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. It will come into effect April 1, and could lead to advantages for Indian applicants with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. Indian applicants for H-1B visas form the overwhelming majority of petitions filed for this category. The final rule, which was flagged last December, and has come into operation faster than previous such changes, reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption. It also introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. Authorities say this new formulation makes the system “more effective and efficient,” and one expert from the Obama administration, says it is good news for…

Desi News

Americans take the pain of girls less seriously than that of boys, a new study finds

A pharmacy employee looks for medication as she works to fill a prescription while working at a pharmacy in New York December 23, 2009. REUTERS/File Photo: Lucas Jackson) A child’s finger is pricked at a doctor’s office, and the child cries out. “Ow! Ah! Oh!” How much pain adult Americans think the young patient is suffering will depend on whether they believe the child to be a girl or a boy, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Those who know the distressed patient as “Samuel” will infer that he is in more pain than those who know the patient as “Samantha,” even though Samuel and Samantha are in fact the same 5-year-old, whose shoulder-length blond hair, red T-shirt and gym shorts don’t immediately suggest male or female characteristics. The child’s finger-prick test was captured in a short video played for 264 adults, men…

Desi News

In India, female college students fight for their right to stay out after dark

Bhopal’s Regional Institute of Education which trains students to become teachers. (Photo: http://riebhopal.nic.in/) NEW DELHI – Late one night in the fall, about 200 female students in Bhopal, a city in central India, held a rare demonstration on their college’s basketball court. Their very presence there was an act of protest: Women were not allowed to be outside their dormitories after dark, just one of many restrictions on their movement. They spent the night outdoors – the first time many of them had seen the moon since they began college, one student recalled. For years, college campuses in India have regulated the movement of their female students in the name of safety. But in protests over the past several months, women on college campuses nationwide have voiced their demands: freedom from oppressive rules and equality with the male students. And slowly, colleges are responding. Women’s access to education in India…

Desi News

ICE set up a fake university. Hundreds enrolled, including from India, not realizing it was a sting operation

On its website, the University of Farmington advertised an innovative STEM curriculum that would prepare students to compete in the global economy, and flexible class schedules that would allow them to enroll without disrupting their careers. The Michigan-based school touted the number of languages spoken by its president (four) and the number of classes taught by teaching assistants (zero.) Photos of the campus showed students lounging around with books on a grassy quad, or engaged in rapt conversation in its brightly-lit modern library. Tuition was relatively reasonable – $8,500 a year for undergraduates and $11,000 a year for graduate students. “Located in the heart of the automotive and advanced manufacturing center of Southeast Michigan, the University of Farmington provides students from throughout the world a unique educational experience,” the site informed prospective applicants. But there were no classes taking place at the university, which employed no instructors or professors. In…

Desi News

India summons Pakistan envoy over phone call to Kashmiri separatist

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India summoned Pakistan’s envoy in protest against a telephone call made by Pakistan’s foreign minister to a separatist leader in Indian Kashmir and said there would be consequences if there was more such contact. The row is the latest to erupt between the nuclear-armed rivals over the disputed territory of Kashmir at the heart of seven decades of hostility. India has refused any talks with its neighbour saying it must first stop supporting militants fighting its rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir. Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale called Pakistan’s ambassador, Sohail Mahmood, on Wednesday to denounce Pakistan for trying to subvert the country’s integrity, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement. It said the call by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a leader of the separatist umbrella All Parties Hurriyat Conference, based in Srinagar, the capital of Indian Kashmir, was deplorable. “The…

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India’s jobless rate hits 45-year high, report says

Tradespeople sit on the side of a road as they wait to get hired for work in Mumbai, India, November 6, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui) NEW DELHI (Reuters) – An official survey that has been withheld by the government shows India’s unemployment rate rose to a 45-year high during 2017-2018, the Business Standard newspaper reported on Thursday, delivering a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi just months before what is expected to be a closely fought general election. A political controversy over the survey erupted after the acting chairman and another member of the body that reviewed the jobs data resigned, saying there had been a delay in its scheduled December release and alleging interference by other state agencies. The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) conducted between July 2017-June 2018 showed the unemployment rate stood at 6.1 percent, the highest since 1972-73, the newspaper reported. That year,…

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A UPenn team including two Indian-origin students, wins prize for research on new catheters

Winners of the YPrize at University of Pennsylvania, Jan. 28. From left, Ishir Seth, Tanvi Kapur, Beatriz Go, WenTao Zhang. (Photo: Michelle Eckert, via Penntoday.upenn.edu) Two Indian-origin students are in a team from University of Pennsylvania that won the 2019 YPrize for their plan to make catheters immune to deadly infections. This Jan. 28, students Tanvi Kapur from Germany, a senior at the Wharton School, and junior Ishir Seth (of North Carolina), who is in the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Science Management, beat out three other finalists at the Jan. 28, competition to win the $10,000 Y-Prize, which is awarded to four Penn undergraduates. Their team includes senior WenTao Zhang, also from the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program, as well as  Beatriz Go, a senior at UWharton and the School of Engineering and Applies Science. The team’s company, Nosoco Technologies, is also vying for the Penn Startup…

Desi News

Indian-American Mayor of Hoboken, N.J., criticizes Washington, says his city best in country

Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Ravinder Bhalla giving his first State of the City address Jan. 29. (Photo: Mayor’s Office) The first-ever Indian-American mayor of Hoboken, N.J., delivered his first State of the City address Jan. 29, at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Mayor Ravinder Bhalla has distinguished himself with his very active grassroots social media approach to 21st Century governance. Calling his city the best place to live in the country, he dwelt on his achievements even as he presented a long-term vision that aims at dealing with daily lifestyle issues. He also recognized an Indian-American child with an award. “I’m biased, but Hoboken is the best place in America to call home,” Mayor Ravinder Bhalla asserted as he began his speech.  His address focused on his three major priorities: a Vision Zero pedestrian safety campaign that would eliminate all traffic-related deaths by 2030;  water main upgrades that include $1.5 million…

Desi News

N.Y. fashion week reaches beyond runways toward diversity

NEW YORK – Fresh on the heels of Paris’s glittery fashion week, all eyes are trained on New York where designers are gearing up to present their latest looks for fall and winter 2019, starting next week. Formally known as New York Fashion Week: The Shows, the series of presentations, runway productions, parties and other promotional events kicks off on Feb. 7, preceded by three days of menswear collections. Fashion icon Tom Ford will unite the sexes with a Feb. 6 show featuring looks for both men and women. “Fashion week is a celebration of fashion’s role in our culture,” said Leslie Russo, vice president of IMG fashion events, which puts on the shows. “We all wear clothes,” Russo observed. “I think you would really see over the last few years how fashion week has changed the conversation around things like diversity in casting. “On the runway,” she explained, “size…