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Report Dated January 16, 2017 7:23 PM
All five Indian-American lawmakers, the highest in the history of the US Congress, have been nominated to influential Congressional panels.
Congressman Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley has been nominated to the powerful House Budget Committee, while Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, elected to the House of Representatives from Seattle, would serve on yet another powerful House Judiciary Committee.
Raja Krishnamoorthi, representing Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs, will serve on the House Education and Workforce Committee, along with the powerful House Democratic Policy and Steering Committee.
Three-term Congressman Ami Bera, who is the senior most among all Indian American lawmakers in the House of Representatives, has been renominated to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Bera is also co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
Kamala Harris, the first Indian-American to have been elected to the US Senate, has been made member of four powerful Senate Committees. These are Committee on Budget, Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Environment and Public Works and Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
In addition to normal committees, Jayapal will serve as a Senior Whip for the House Democrats and as a Vice Chair for the Congressional Progressive caucus. As a Senior Whip, Jayapal will play a key role in mobilising her Democratic colleagues, discussing upcoming legislation with them, and coordinating legislative strategy with the leadership.
Report Dated January 14, 2017 10:32 AM
Comedian Aziz Ansari, son of immigrants from Chennai, will become the first person of Indian-origin to host the acclaimed ”Saturday Night Live” on January 21, the network NBC announced this week. The gig comes on top of a rocking year for Ansari, won his first Emmy (outstanding writing for a comedy series) after earning a total of four nominations for his Netflix series ”Master of None.”
SNL, as Saturday Night Live is abbreviated, has been panned in the past for lack of racial diversity, its hosts typically being white entertainers. Only two celebrities of Asian descent — Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu — have hosted the show before, according to demographic breakdown put out by IndieWire, although several black performers, notably Oprah Winfrey, Janet Jackson, Dave Chapelle, and Chris Rock, have hosted the show.
Ansari’s break comes not so much on account of any affirmative action as his growing popularity and rising profile in the high-wire comedy world. ”Even though I’ve sold out Madison Square Garden as a standup comedian and have appeared in several films and a TV series, when my phone rings, the roles I’m offered are often defined by ethnicity and often require accents,” he had written in an NYT OpEd in 2015 on the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina to immigrant parents from Tamil Nadu (his mother, Fatima, works in a medical office, and his father, Shoukath, is a gastroenterologist), Ansari was studying at New York University Stern School of Business when he fell into comedic ways, performing in Big Apple clubs and weekly shows. He won the Jury Award for ”Best Standup” at HBO’s 2006 US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, after which there was no looking back.
In June 2008, he was named as the first cast hire for NBC’s new comedy Parks and Recreation, in which he portrays Tom Haverford, an underachieving government official with extreme self-confidence and dreams of being mainstream. Critics praised his performance, calling him a ”scene stealer” and ”breakout star,” as he held the role for seven seasons.
In 2015, Ansari teamed with Parks and Recreation writer Alan Yang to write and star himself in the Netflix original series Master of None. Playing Dev Shah, a 30-year-old actor who attempts to make his way through life in New York City, the series became a major hit, pitchforking him to the frontlines of the entertainment business and on to SNL, whose recent hosts include Donald Trump, who has lately fumed against the show because it has mocked him mercilessly, as it does everyone.
Indian-Americans have made immense strides in the comedy world with more than a dozen performers making a mark in the tough business. Among top stand-ups of Indian-origin are Canadian Russell Peters, son of Anglo-Indian immigrants from Kolkota, who is considered one of the top-grossing comedians earning around $ 20 million annually, and Mindy Kaling (nee Vera Chokalingam), star of the Fox sitcom The Mindy Project.
Report Dated January 12, 2017 4:18 PM
A 20-year-old Sikh girl will represent Malaysia at the Miss Universe 2016 finals at Manila.
Kiranmeet Kaur Baljeet Singh Jassal, won Miss Universe Malaysia title in 2016 and was awarded ‘Miss My Dentist Winning Smile’ subsidiary title.
Kiran’s family shifted to Malaysia decades ago and is based in the suburbs of Subang Jaya town of Selangor state.
Her mother, Ranjit Kaur, was the winner of the Classic Mrs Malaysia title in 2015 while her sister Ranmeet, a model, was also a beauty pageant title holder and a doctor by profession, Malaysian Star reported.
The Jassal sisters grew up admiring and idolising beauty queens, Miss World 1994 Aishwarya Rai and Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen, the report said.
The 65th Miss Universe 2016 finals will take place in Manila, Philippines on January 20.
Report Dated January 5, 2017 2:42 PM
50 years old Kamala Harris whose mother was from India and father from Jamaica was sworn in as the Senator from California by outgoing VP Joe Biden. She is the first NRI to ever have served in the Senate. She was accompanied by her husband Doug Emhoff, sister Maya Harris and others from the family.
Kamala Harris who held the position, shortly after, said she was honoured and humbled to serve the people of California. ‘Let’s get to work”
Shortly after, the community moved to the House Chambers wherein four NRIs were sworn in as members Including Congressman Ami Bera who has been re-elected for the third consecutive term.
Young, dynamic Ro Khanna, 40, represented the Silicon Valley, and was sworn in on a bicentennial edition of the Constitution.
Report Dated January 2, 2017 12:34 PM
NRI Sheikh Rafik Mohammad, who hails from Kerala and who is Saudi-based, has been appointed Major General of Kyrgyzstan by the Defence Minister of Kyrgyzstan at an official ceremony in Dubai.
It is a rare military position occupied by an overseas Keralite, whose family resides in Dubai and holds Kyrgyzstan nationality.
Rafik was invited by the Kyrgyzstan government to take up the military position in view of his earlier contribution to the nation.
This could be the first time a Malayali has occupied the top military leadership of a foreign country.