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US Lawmakers urge Pentagon to ease military uniform policy for Sikhs
Report dated 11/03/2014 @ 6:55 PM
105 US lawmakers including Representatives Joseph Crowley, a Democrat and Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican, signed a bipartisan letter to defence secretary Chuck Hagel saying they believe it is time the US military eased the military uniform policy to enable the inclusion of practicing Sikh Americans and make it a rule not an exception, that will enable Sikhs to wear beards, long hair and turbans in accordance with the customs of their religion.
The letter came six weeks after the Pentagon adopted a new policy aimed at giving individual troops greater latitude to groom or dress according to their religious beliefs, including having beards, turbans, head scarves, yarmulkes or tattoos. The policy says recruits still have to request a waiver of the regular military-attire rules, which is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the requests would receive a response within a month. Still, 6 weeks after the policy was announced one Army recruit has yet to hear on a pending request for a waiver.
The policy has not satisfied many groups and those most directly affected i.e. the Sikhs, Muslims and Jews, say it still sets a prohibitive hurdle.
Amardeep Singh, spokesman for the Sikh Coalition said the Pentagon had so far, been unwilling to firmly commit to accepting people whose religion included dress and grooming requirements. He suggested the US implement clear, specific guidelines like the militaries in Canada, Britain and India, where guidelines clearly state how Sikhs will dress and present themselves in uniform.
Two young US Sikh doctors asked the Sikh Coalition for help and both men received waivers and were deployed to Afghanistan. Both received commendations for their service.
Oddly enough the first Sikh in the US Army is said to have been Bagat Singh Thind, who joined in the First World War. Photos show him with a turban and beard in a large group of bare-headed troopers at Camp Lewis, Washington, in 1918.
India is second happiest country in the world : Survey
Report dated 11/03/2014 @ 6:51 PM
According to a survey by global research company Ipsos that polled over 18,000 adults in 24 countries for its new Ipsos Global Trends Survey, India is the second happiest country in the world with 84% of Indians reporting they are largely happy, of which 41% said they are very happy and 43% somewhat happy, despite gloomy economic sentiments.
Indonesia scores the happiest out of the 24 countries surveyed, with India the second happiest, followed by Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, the US and Canada. On the other side, the lowest number of very happy people were found in South Korea, Hungary, Italy, and China, followed by France, Germany and Russia.
The Ipsos study shows the highest levels of self-reported happiness are not in wealthy countries, but in poor and middle-income ones, notably Indonesia, India and Mexico, so levels of income are, if anything, inversely related to perceived happiness which depends on a lot more than material welfare.
India is Dubai's leading trade partner
Report dated 11/03/2014 @ 6:47 PM
In 2013 India emerged as the leading trading partner of Dubai with a trade volume of $37 billion, representing a 10 percent share of the total foreign trade of the Emirate.
China is second with a value of $36.7 billion and the US is third with $23.4 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UK. China also leads as top imports partners followed by the USA and India.
India, Turkey and Switzerland are the leading exports partners of Dubai.
Foreign trade has managed to keep up with Dubai's new economic surge, based on a wider diversity of growth, where various economic sectors contribute with convergent rates.
Indian headshakes video goes viral !
Report dated 10/03/2014 @ 2:40 PM
A video called 'Indian Headshakes - What Do They Mean?' created by Paul Mathew, that explains the typical Indian head movements denoting a yes, no, maybe or carry on, has gone viral and charmed viewers all over the world who have long found the various nods inscrutable.
Mathew who is from south India and now works in the film industry in Mumbai is the writer and director of the video that has received more than a million views on YouTube, says if he'd known the video was going to receive such awesome viewership, they would have shot it better.
The response on social media has been largely positive, but some found it offending and lacking in subtlety, even if it is accurate.
NRI candidate asked to quit US Congressional race
Report dated 09/03/2014 @ 2:28 PM
Republican Congressional candidate in Illinois, Manju Goel, has been asked by the head of the Cook County Republican Party to withdraw from the primary race, after her opponent Larry Kaifesh accused her campaign and supporters of putting up fake web and social media sites to discredit him.
Kaifesh was quoted as saying Goel took her campaign into the gutter in her "Where's Larry website that is all malicious in nature, where they have created imaginary images, and which was paid for by a Political Action Committee called the Indian Americans for Freedom (IAFF), which lists Goel's address.
Under US law, Super PACs, officially known as 'independent expenditure only committees' can engage in unlimited political spending as long as they don't make contributions to candidate campaigns or parties.
The PAC was formed by NRI businessman Shalli Kumar, a supporter of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Responding, Goel said she has no control over the IAFF and cannot account for anybody else's actions.
However, Cook County Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar said he wants Goel to drop out of the race as her behaviour regarding the campaign has been unbecoming of a Republican congressional candidate.