Desi News

USCIS Announces Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Opportunities

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced July 31, it is accepting applications for two funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program that will provide up to $10 million in grants for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country. These competitive grant opportunities are open to organizations that prepare lawful permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic assimilation through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics. The agency said it seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship and assimilation services throughout the country with these two grant opportunities: Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services. This grant opportunity will fund up to 36 organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to lawful permanent residents. Applications are due by Aug. 13, 2019. The Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program. This grant opportunity will fund up to four organizations to provide individualized services to lawful permanent residents…

Desi News

Banana Republic is selling hijabs. Muslim shoppers wonder: Inclusion or appropriation?

Banana Republic, the mainstream retailer known for no-frills work wear, has introduced a line of hijabs, making it the latest consumer brand to create products for Muslim women. People of many faiths came to the April 28, Open Mosque Day at Islamic Center of Naperville, where among many activities was a chance to try on the hijab worn by many Muslim women. (Photo: Syed Khalil Ullah) The company this week began selling four styles of the religious head scarves, including satin fabrics and leopard prints, on its website for between $40 and $50. It quietly added the products to the “accessories” section of its site on Tuesday as part of an effort to “to reflect the rich diversity of customers and employees,” a company spokeswoman said in an email. The growing popularity of “modest” clothing lines and hijabs at mainstream stores signals a shift, analysts say, in retailers’ attitudes toward…

Desi News

Supreme Court to probe threat accusations against BJP politician accused of rape

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Supreme Court will look into accusations that a powerful regional politician threatened the family of a woman who accused him of rape, the chief justice said on Wednesday, stepping into a case that has triggered outrage. Supreme Court is pictured through a gate in New Delhi, May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee The case has become a political embarrassment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the legislator belongs to the ruling party and opposition groups accuse the government of moving too slowly to investigate. The woman is battling for her life after a weekend car crash in her northern home state of Uttar Pradesh that police are investigating after her family said they were being targeted. Weeks before the collision, the family wrote to the Supreme Court saying they faced threats from the legislator she accused, and the chief justice said he…

Desi News

V.G. Siddhartha, chairman of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd, speaks during a news conference in Mumbai, India, October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/File Photo MANGALURU/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Authorities in Karnataka recovered the body of coffee baron V.G. Siddhartha floating in a river on Wednesday, two days after his disappearance sparked speculation that he was under intense financial strain. The recovery of Siddhartha’s body unnerved investors in his flagship listed Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd and sent its shares plunging to an all-time low on Wednesday. Coffee Day Enterprises held an emergency board meeting on Wednesday and named independent board member S.V. Ranganath as interim chairman. The company has also set up a committee that will be vested with the powers of the chief executive and they will explore opportunities to deleverage the Coffee Day Group. A letter, purportedly written by Siddhartha and addressed to his board and employees, said he “gave up,” blaming…

Desi News

Biden and Harris to square off in Round two of Democratic presidential debate

DETROIT (Reuters) – Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and rival Kamala Harris will stage a rematch of last month’s explosive debate confrontation during Round 2 on Wednesday, with a re-energized Biden promising a more aggressive approach. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris debate racial issues as Senator Bernie Sanders listens during the second night of the first U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate in Miami, Florida, U.S., June 27, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar) On the second of back-to-back nights of Democratic debates, Biden will be flanked at center stage by Harris and Cory Booker, U.S. senators who are the most prominent black contenders in a Democratic nominating contest in which race has played a prominent role. Seven other candidates, including former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, will join them on stage in Detroit in search of a…

Desi News

Ramayana focus of new exhibition at Met Museum

Rama, Sita and Lakshmana Begin their Life in the Forest. India, Punjab Hills, kingdom of Kangra, ca. 1800-1810. Opaque watercolor, gold and silver on paper. Promised Gift of Steven Kossak, The Kronos Collections. Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. NEW YORK – One of the major epic narratives of South Asia literature, the Ramayana, will be the focus of an upcoming exhibition opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, from August 10 through August 23, 2019. ‘Sita and Rama: The Ramayana in Indian Painting’ will be exhibited at the Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries. Including seven promised gifts, ‘Sita and Rama: The Ramayana in Indian Painting’ will showcase 30 outstanding paintings that narrate the heroic and adventurous tale of Rama’s rescue of his beloved wife, Sita. The works were produced for the Rajput and Pahari courts of north India between the 17th and 19th centuries and will be…

Desi News

Bollywood rapper sets viewer record YouTube isn’t talking about

Within 24 hours of posting his video “Paagal” to YouTube, Indian rapper Badshah broke a record even Taylor Swift couldn’t touch. The clip, a dancehall romp, was seen 75 million times in one day, eclipsing a mark set by Korean boy band BTS in April. But then a funny thing happened: YouTube declined to credit the Sony Music artist. Since introducing a new way to premiere videos last year, the Google-owned site has trumpeted the setting of every new record, from Ariana Grande’s “thank u next” to Blackpink’s “Kill This Love,” culminating in BTS’s “Boy With Luv.” It even said Swift’s “ME!” set a record for “most-viewed female solo debut.” But Badshah’s feat elicited no response from the world’s most popular online video hub. Rival executives in the Indian music industry began whispering “Paagal” had benefited from server farms and bots – two tools grouped under “fake views.” But in…

Desi News

Indian-American IT consultant convicted of multimillion-dollar kickback scheme

An Indian-American information technology consultant was convicted by a federal grand jury in New York, for engaging in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme July 29. Shivanand Maharaj was found guilty of honest services wire fraud, paying kickbacks in connection with an employee benefit plan, and conspiracy, following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl. Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the guilty verdict, noting that Maharaj’s co-cospirator Enrico Rubano, a/k/a “Rick Rubano,” who was a director of information technology at a large union pension and health benefit fund (the “Funds”), pled guilty in connection with the same crimes shortly before trial. “For years, Shivanand Maharaj bribed an insider at a pension and health fund to approve hundreds of invoices for information technology work that was never done at all.” Maharaj will be sentenced by Judge Koeltl on December 6,…

Desi News

Indian-American Mayor in New Jersey wins court battle against New York Waterway

The Indian-American Mayor of Hoboken, Ravi S. Bhalla, led his city in a court battle against New York Waterway when the Hudson County Superior Court on July 29, dismissed the lawsuit filed by the private company against the City of Hoboken. Mayor Bhalla has led the public outcry including protests, against the New York Waterway plans over several months and has lobbied for alternative use of the site. Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Ravinder Bhalla giving his first State of the City address Jan. 29. 2018 (Photo: Mayor’s Office) “Hoboken remains committed to acquiring Union Dry Dock for public, open space, and I’m thankful this decision puts us one step closer to making this a reality,” the activist Mayot Bhalla is quoted saying in the press release. The New York Waterway lawsuit sought declaratory judgement against the City of Hoboken, N.J., to allow New York Waterway to begin building a heavy refueling…

Desi News

Modi versus Wild: Indian PM to join Bear Grylls in wilderness

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to cast his vote for the country’s next President, at the Parliament House in New Delhi, India, July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi is teaming up with British TV adventurer Bear Grylls to venture into India’s wilderness to raise awareness about protecting nature, the show’s host said. India is struggling to protect its environment and its wildlife, as a huge and growing population puts ever more pressure on its wild spaces. “People across 180 countries will get to see the unknown side of PM @narendramodi as he ventures into Indian wilderness to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change,” Grylls, star of survival show “Man vs. Wild” on the Discovery Channel, said on Twitter. A trailer for the programme shows Modi, 68, driving into the Jim Corbett National Park in northern India guided by Grylls, with images…