Goodbye to the Ambassador

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The end of the line: The iconic Hindustan Ambassador car is nearing the end of its iconic run. Read this bittersweet piece in the New York Times (there’s a video too.)

“Ramadan Kareem,” says President Obama: Read the official White House statement on the start of Ramadan here. [White House]

Please check one: Male, female or third gender: Fergusson College in Pune, India now gives applicants the option of registering as the third gender. [Firstpost]

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Dinesh D’Souza Kills Off George Washington in His New Film

Dinesh D’Souza release the film you probably weren’t waiting for: The conservative author and filmmaker is set to release his second film next week. In its review of the movie, Variety notes that the story is “evidently set in an alternative universe, kicks off the film by dramatizing the fatal shooting of George Washington during a Revolutionary War battle. ” [Variety]

Watch the latest trailer for Dr. Cabbie: The film, which stars Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar, will hit theaters in September. Watch it over on YouTube.

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Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Aziz Ansari Take the Best Selfie Ever

Oh, to be a fly on the wall: Chris Rock posted this photo to his Instagram account late Thursday night:

Radio City Music Hall. (Regram from @chrisrock)

A post shared by @azizansari on

(Dave Chappelle performed at Radio City Music Hall last night.)

Are more tech experts moving to Bangalore than the actual Silicon Valley? New data from Linkedin seems to suggest so. ” While Bangalore clocked 44% new residents with technical talent, the San Francisco-Bay Area region had 31%.” [Forbes]

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The Story of How Google Earth Reunited an Orphan with His Birth Mother

A lost child: I wrote about Saroo Brierley, the Indian-Australian adoptee who located his birth family with the help of Google Earth for NBC’s new Asian American vertical. [NBC]

Quote of the day: Over at The Nation, Hannah Harris Green interviews Saba Ahmed, the American University law student who was in the news last week after her questions at a Heritage Foundation panel were repeatedly challenged. Here’s how Ahmed describes the congressional hearings and panels she frequently attends:

I’m amazed when we go to these congressional hearings. They’re asking for hundreds of millions of dollars for the State Department budget on outreach towards counterterrorism. Out of all that money, we couldn’t hire one person who knows the Qu’ran? Every time I go to congressional hearings, again it’s budget talks. They keep on asking for more funds, and we keep on funding them. But they’re not addressing the root causes of problems.

You can read the full interview here.

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India’s Health Minister Makes Troubling Statement on Condoms and AIDS

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

That sound you hear is public health officials from all over the world smacking their heads against their desks:  India’s newly installed health minister is already raising eyebrows after recent comments about AIDS awareness in India and condom usage. Dr. Harsh Vardhan told the New York Times in an interview that more attention should be paid to “promoting the integrity of the sexual relationship between husband and wife,” rather than just on promoting condoms as a successful AIDS prevention tool. From the article:

“The thrust of the AIDS campaign should not only be on the use of condoms,” he said in a telephone interview last week. “This sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you’re using a condom, it’s fine.”

Pardon me for a second, I just have to throw a bunch of things against the wall. [New York Times]

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This Little Beetle Might Cost Coffee Prices to Skyrocket

This year's coffee crop is in danger. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Coffee plantations throughout India are battling the white stem borer beetles. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad news for coffee drinkers and farmers: Most American coffee drinkers probably haven’t heard of the white stem borer beetle but they’ll soon notice the damage these insects are capable of. The beetles have been attacking the bark and stems of the arabica coffee plants that make up many of India’s coffee plantations. India is currently the world’s sixth largest producer of coffee and Reuters reports that unusually warm weather this year has caused the beetles to thrive. [Reuters]

The story of the boy tied to the Mumbai bus stop: Lakhan Kale, a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy in Mumbai, made headlines earlier this year when it was discovered that his grandmother regularly tied him to a bus stop while she went to work. CNN reporter Mallika Kapur looks at Lakhan’s story and the reality of what life is like for millions of disabled Indians. [CNN]

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Preet Bharara Speaks Out About the Accusation that He Deliberately Targets Indians

Bharara addresses the rumors that have dogged him for years: No, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is not singling out Indians for prosecution. The vitriol was particularly intense last year during the Devyani Khobragade scandal, in which an Indian diplomat was arrested and charged for allegedly underpaying her nanny. The Associated Press notes that Bharara has been addressing the charges in recent public remarks:

In a recent speech at Harvard Law School, he noted the criticisms and countered them with unusual candor. Citing one commentator in India who questioned if he took up the diplomat case “to serve his white masters,” Bharara quipped about who those white masters might be.

“Presumably, Eric Holder and Barack Obama,” he said.

Follow the money: This should be interesting– the Swiss government has prepared a list of Indian nationals who are suspected to have put millions of dollars in black money in various Swiss banks. [Indian Express]
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Will Narendra Modi be Invited to Address a Joint Session of Congress?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Is an invitation in the mail? Representative Ed Royce, the the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wants to invite India’s newly elected Prime Minster Narendra Modi to address a joint session of Congress. The congressman sent Speaker John Boehner a letter stating that that ““The United States has no more important partner in South Asia… “It is not an overstatement to say that the U.S.-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” Of course, just under a decade ago, Modi was denied a visa to enter the United States. [Wall Street Journal]

World War II’s forgotten Indian battle: It’s been 70 years since The Battle of Kohima and Imphal, which reporter Gardiner Harris describes as “bloodiest of World War II in India.” Despite playing a key role in the war, India’s participation in World War II has largely been forgotten by the population at large due to the legacy of colonialism and the complicated histories of Nagaland and Manipur, the two states the battle was fought in. [New York Times]

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The Woman at the Center of the Heritage Foundation Debacle Speaks Out

Telling her story: It’s been four days since American University law student Saba Ahmed was thrust into the public eye after she was taunted by several prominent conservatives during a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation. After having various accusations thrown at her– including ones that said she was a Democratic Party plant or that she had been exaggerating the incident– Ahmed decided to speak out in the form of a guest blog post in the Washington Post opinions section. From the piece:

I find it deeply offensive when people misrepresent my faith, as participants in the Heritage forum did. In addition, I am a Republican, because of my conservative Islamic values: pro-life, pro-family, pro-business, pro-trade. I had been a Democrat for years but concluded that the party’s liberal values conflicted with Islam.

Ahmed also reveals that she was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and notes that she is the proud holder of a bachelor’s, an MBA and a law degree and is currently studying for a masters in law and government at American University. (Washington Post)

Kumail Nanjiani explains how he prepares for Portlandia: In case you missed it, The comedian was on Late Night with Seth Meyers last month dishing about Portlandia. Here’s the information the show’s producers gave him before he taped his first episode. “I get an email that says, ‘They want to buy a cell phone and you’re trying to upsell them.’ And that was it. It was two lines.” You can watch the segment in the video above.

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Hari Kondabolu Explains Colonialism on Conan

Hari explains it all: “So before we begin, I’d like you all to know that the theme of my set tonight will be colonialism.” Those were nearly the first words out of comedian Hari Kondabolu’s mouth during his set on Conan on Monday and he delivered as promised. Watch Kondabolu riff on Chinese restaurants, the real reason the Adam and Eve story is hard to believe and ask the all important question, “What would Baloo do?” (Team Coco)

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