Category Archives: News

A look back at my favorite posts of 2014

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I’ve noticed that many of my favorite writers have been compiling year in review blog posts over the past couple of days, so I thought that I’d join in on the fun. Reading many of these posts, I was immediately struck by how many writers and journalists said that 2014 was the year that things just clicked for them and that they achieved all sorts of things that they hadn’t thought were possible on this day in 2013.

That was certainly the case for me. I had spent a good chunk of 2013 temping for one of Long Island’s largest temp agencies while also freelancing, blogging for free and wondering if I should look at other career options. And while the first quarter of 2014 was fairly miserable, things just seemed to click sometime in May. In no particular order, here are my favorite articles of 2014.

Anti-Rape Clothes Fail to Address Culture Behind India’s Crisis (NBC Asian America): Amna Nawaz and I looked at the recent trend among young Indian entrepreneurs of creating clothing and other accessories that, they say, will help women ward off rapists. “I applaud the ingenuity [of these inventors]. People should do what they need to do to feel safe,” Indian journalist Sonia Faleiro told me. “But a pair of jeans does not reflect the experience of 70 percent of the population.”

The Ballad of Yoko Ono, on Her 45th Wedding Anniversary (The Toast): This March would have marked John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 45th wedding anniversary. The Associated Press’s coverage of the event was… interesting.

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Congressman Mistakes South Asian American Officials for Members of the Indian Government

Things got very awkward very quickly during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday when a freshman Republican congressman repeatedly mistook to two senior U.S. government officials as being representatives from the Indian government.

“I am familiar with your country,” Representative Curt Clawson tells the State Department’s Nisha Biswal and Commerce official Arun Kumar. “I love your country….And I understand the complications of so many languages and so many cultures and so many histories all rolled up in one.”

Clawson then urges Biswal and Kumar to urge “your capital” – referring to the Indian capital city of New Delhi – to ease trade restrictions between the two countries. “Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I’d like our capital to be welcome there,” he said. “I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?” he asked the pair.

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Sim Bhullar Gets One Step Closer to the NBA

Could we soon see the first NBA player of Indian descent? While New Mexico State center Sim Bhullar wasn’t among the players drafted by the NBA last week, he did receive a summer league contract from the Sacramento Kings. (It should be noted that the Kings are owned by Vivek Ranadivé, the only Indian American owner in the league.) [NBC Asian America]

ETS and the College Board apologize for offensive t-shirt: The test administrators issued a statement late last week after a “culturally and racially insensitive” t-shirt was distributed at this year’s AP World History grading. [NBC Asian America]

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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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