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Never Sexually Assaulted Anyone: Brett Kavanaugh September 25, 2018 13:17

In a televised interview, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Monday declared that he never sexually assaulted anyone during his high school time or at any other time in his life.Kavanaugh, along with his wife, Ashley, sat down for an interview with Fox News Channel's "The Story with Martha MacCallum" after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct.Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were adolescents. Kavanaugh denied he was "at any such party." He said he did not question that perhaps Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted, "but what I know is I've never sexually assaulted anyone."Kavanaugh said it is possible he may have met Ford at some time, but he said they were not friends and did not travel in the same social circles. He said he did not remember being at a party with her."I was not at the party described," Kavanaugh said.Kavanaugh was asked if there was any chance Ford misinterpreted an exchange between them."I have never had any sexual or physical activity with Dr. Ford," Kavanaugh said. "I've never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise."Deborah Ramirez, the second woman, has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a Yale dormitory party, putting his penis in her face and causing her to touch it without her acceptance as she pushed him away.Kavanaugh said Monday, "I never did any such thing.""If such a thing had happened, it would have been the talk of the campus," Kavanaugh said.Russell Wheeler, an expert on the judicial selection process at the Brookings Institution, said he is unaware of a similar media interview by a Supreme Court nominee in the past 100 years.President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say they are determined to get Kavanaugh on the court, calling the allegations against him false and politically motivated. Kavanaugh was defiant as well."I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process," Kavanaugh said.Republicans have been accused by Democrats of not conducting a thorough review in their rush to get Kavanaugh confirmed. They want the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reopen its background investigation of Kavanaugh and investigate the allegations against him.Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford and Kavanaugh are set to testify Thursday. In the Fox interview, Kavanaugh got a taste of the personal questions he will face from senators. MacCallum asked him how long he was a virgin in college after he volunteered that he never had sex in high school."Many years after. I'll leave it at that," Kavanaugh said.Ashley Kavanaugh was asked whether she wondered if her husband was telling the truth about the allegations against him. "No, I know Brett. I've known him for 17 years," she said, adding: "I know his heart. This is not consistent with Brett."Kavanaugh appeared to get emotional at the end of the interview. He said Trump called him in the afternoon to show his support.Related content: Trump Defends U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Accused of Sexual Assault"I know he's going to stand by me," Kavanaugh said.-Sowmya Sangam

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Instagram Co-Founders to Step Down from Company September 25, 2018 12:31

Facebook-owned Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom have stepped down from photo-sharing app that has more than one billion users.According to a report in The New York Times late on Monday, the co-founders have resigned from their positions and plan to leave the company in the coming weeks while the reason behind their move was still unknown.Later, Systrom wrote in a blog post that they were planning on taking some time off to explore their curiosity and creativity."Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that's what we plan to do," said Systrom."Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team."We've grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We're now ready for our next chapter," the blog post added.The quitting of founders, came when social media platforms including Facebook were going through intense scrutiny over the spread of fake news and menacing campaigns. Related content: ACLU Sues Facebook over Discriminatory Job PostingsInstagram, which was founded in 2010 was bought by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012."We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion," said Systrom."Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents…I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it. I wish them all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next," Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.However, according to TechCrunch reports, the reason for the exit of the founders could be because of mounting tensions between Instagram and Facebook's leadership with regard to Instagram's autonomy.-Sowmya Sangam

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Florence Sweeps Away Indian-American Kin's Motel September 25, 2018 11:32

Hurricane Florence that affected Carolinas gravely, has as well put umpteen Indian-Americans in pathetic condition.The surge has swept away the personal property of an Indian-American motel owner's family and it wiped out the investment that three brothers from India had spent years working toward."We put all our life savings in there," co-owner Kishor Depani said of himself and his brothers. "We moved to America in 2007. We've been working until last year when we bought this motel. We used to work at a gas station, small jobs - McDonald's and stuff like that - just to save up money so we can start this business."He said the property in Spring Lake, North Carolina, did not have flood insurance."We have regular insurance, but I know for a fact there is no way they are going to cover this," he said. "Hopefully the state government or FEMA can help us."An Indian-American Depani, 50, moved to the United States along with his brothers in pursuit of finer education possibilities for their children.Photographs from ahead the storm display the single-story brick motel stretched out parallel to state Highway 87, its sign bearing the words "Starlite" above "motel" in all caps. The motel built six decades ago sits with its back to the Little River, but the siblings felt it was a harmless investment since Hurricane Matthew's floodwaters in 2016 - some of the worst the area had ever seen - put only a few inches of water on the property.As Florence approached, Depani sent his family to stay with relatives nearby while he stayed in their apartment on the place to man the business. He was there when the storm hit early September 14.Flooding predictions became critical, and an evacuation was ordered. Depani went door-to-door telling 40 or so people in the motel's 20 rooms to evacuate. A handful had been renting there for months. Related content: Florence: Evacuations Go on as North Carolina Rivers RiseThen he went to Fayetteville to wait out the flooding. He returned September 16 to retrieve some belongings and found only a couple of feet of water. A day or so later, while watching television, his worst fright was realized."We saw on the news, from the chopper, that the water was touching the roof," he said. "My mind went blank - could not think, could not function."On September 19, the waters had receded and Depani went back to survey the scene. Lost were a new refrigerator and dishwasher, television, two laptops, phones, and his father's wheelchair.Kishor Depani said the three brothers had hoped the motel would be an early piece of a growing collection of businesses they could expand into other cities. They made a down payment of about $100,000 and still owe as much as $500,000 on the mortgage. -Sowmya Sangam

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Ram Charan's Next gets an Interesting Title? September 25, 2018 11:10

Mega Powerstar Ram Charan is busy shooting for his next film in the direction of Boyapati Srinu. The film is said to be a mass entertainer and Kiara Advani is the heroine. Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi is the lead antagonist in this mass entertainer which is yet to be titled. The makers considered several titles for the film and the first look along with the title will be announced on October 18th during Dasara. The latest speculations say that the makers locked State Rowdy as the film's title. This happens to be the title of Megastar Chiranjeevi's film. A massive Azerbaijan schedule has been wrapped up recently and the next schedule will commence in Hyderabad from October. Devi Sri Prasad is the music composer and DVV Danayya is the producer. The film will hit the screens during Sankranthi next year.  

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Uzra Zeya Quits U.S. State Dept. Over Racist, Gender Bias September 25, 2018 11:06

An Indian-American diplomat Uzra Zeya has quit the U.S. state department alleging sexist and racial discrimination in a Trump administration trend that she says involves "the exclusion of minorities from top leadership positions in the state department and embassies abroad".After serving for over 25 years, the United States-born diplomat daughter of Indian immigrants has resigned from state department."In the first five months of the Trump administration, the department's three most senior African-American career officials and the top-ranking Latino career officer were removed or resigned abruptly from their positions, with white successors named in their places. In the months that followed, I observed top-performing minority diplomats be disinvited from the secretary's senior staff meeting, relegated to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) duty (well below their abilities), and passed over for bureau leadership roles and key ambassadorships," Zeya wrote in Politico last week, accounting the eclipse of minorities after Trump became the president.According to her analysis of public data from the American Foreign Service Association, 64 percent of Trump's ambassadorial nominees so far have been white non-Hispanic males, a 7 percentage point increase from the eight years of the Obama administration.Related content: 3 U.S. Citizens Sue TCS Over Bias in Hiring"President Trump stands out from his six predecessors in his failure so far to nominate a single African-American female ambassador; African-American women made up 6 percent of all ambassadors under President Barack Obama and 5 percent under President George W Bush, who had two African-American secretaries of state. Meanwhile, from September 2016 to June 2018, the share of African-Americans in the Senior Foreign Service-the top ranks from which most career ambassadorial nominees are drawn-dropped from 4.6 percent to 3.2 percent,'' she wrote.According to Zoya, the ranks of female ambassadors is also thinning, who represent 26 percent of Trump nominees thus far, 2 percentage points above the overall share in the Bush administration but a 7 percentage point drop from the Obama administration."A 25-year upward trend that saw the percentage of female ambassadors increase with every administration since President Bill Clinton has now been reversed," she wrote.Zeya's accounts are challenged by the Mike Pompeo-led state department, whose spokesperson says the secretary "has placed incredible emphasis on staffing up the state department and increasing diversity as well as reinvigorating and restoring the finest diplomatic corps in the world".Zeya last served overseas as the charge d'affaires and deputy chief of mission at U.S. Embassy in Paris from 2014 to 2017."In my own case, I hit the buzz saw that Team Trump wielded against career professionals after leading the U.S. Embassy in Paris through three major terrorist attacks over three years and after planning President Trump's Bastille Day visit. Upon returning to Washington, as accolades for the president's visit poured in, I was blocked from a series of senior-level jobs, with no explanation. In two separate incidents, however, colleagues told me that a senior state official opposed candidates for leadership positions-myself and an African-American female officer on the basis that we would not pass the 'Breitbart test'", she writes."One year into an administration that repudiated the very notion of America I had defended abroad for 27 years, I knew I could no longer be a part of it, and I left government earlier this year," she explained.Zeya is one of several diplomats of Indian-origin who rose through the ranks of the State Department in the Bush, Clinton, and Obama time period resulting in some of them being appointed to ambassadorships.-Sowmya Sangam

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Florence: Evacuations Go on as North Carolina Rivers Rise September 24, 2018 17:40

Hurricane Florence is hitting Carolinas gravely, as some of the rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told on Monday to plan to leave their homes before rivers reach their coast.In Georgetown County, South Carolina, nearly 8,000 people were alerted to be prepared to evacuate potential flood zones ahead of a "record event" of up to 10 feet (3 meters) of flooding, which is foreseen to set about Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said.The county's emergency management director, Sam Hodge, said in a video message posted online that authorities are closely watching river gauges, and law enforcement would be going door to door in any threatened areas."From boots on the ground to technology that we have, we are trying to be able to get the message out," Hodge said, warning people not to wait for an official evacuation order if they begin to feel unsafe.According to the National Weather Service, in North Carolina, five river gauges still showed major flood stage levels and five others were at moderate flood stage.The parts of Interstate 40 are expected to remain underwater for another week or more, while the Cape Fear River was expected to crest and remain at flood stage through the early part of the week.North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed that Interstate 95 reopened to all traffic Sunday night for the first time since the floods.Floodwaters already receding on one stretch of Interstate 40 left thousands of rotting fish on the pavement for firefighters to clean up.North Carolina Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said major flooding is continuing in eastern counties along the Black, Lumber, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers."Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina," Cooper said in a statement Sunday evening.He added that crews conducted about 350 rescues over the weekend and that travel remains treacherous in the southeastern area of his state. But he said National Guard members would be shifting next to more door-to-door and air search wellness checks on people in still-flooded areas.The storm has claimed at least 43 lives since slamming into the coast September 14.Lawmakers in Washington are considering about $1.7 million for disaster relief and recovery, even as they face a deadline this week to fund the government ahead of the October 1 start of the new budget year.-Sowmya Sangam

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Telugu is U.S.'s Fastest Thriving Foreign Language: Study September 24, 2018 17:06

The number of native Telugu speakers is growing like no other in the United States, and a study by Center for Immigration Studies prove this to be literal.Amid a period of 2010 and 2017, Telugu speakers in the U.S. surged 86 percent, which was the highest leap among the most widely spoken foreign languages in the country, among those that had more than 400,000 people speaking it.The Telugu language is native to the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.Hindi and Gujarati speakers, which are well popular Indian languages likewise clocked high growth rates. Rise of TeluguEarlier in 2000, the U.S. was home to just 87,543 Telugu speakers. By 2010, it elevated to 222,977.At present, there are 415,414 Telugu speakers, according to latest figures which were found by CIS when looking at Census Bureau population data as of July 01, 2017.Taking into consideration the monolithic representation of the south Indian diaspora in the technology and engineering spaces, the info of Telugu's increased adoption in the U.S. is not astonishing.Telangana's capital Hyderabad is believed to send the largest number of engineers to abroad from India. Between 2008 and 2012, sent more than 26,000 students, according to a report.Though there are galore Indian-Americans who marked as achievers, there is a dark side too.From hate crimes to robbery attempts, a heap of Telugu workers has been shot dead in the U.S. in various incidents. On the other hand, assimilation attempts are likewise prevailing.In the aspect of the U.S. becoming an abode for Indian immigrants progressively, Telugu is only one of the many languages from the country gaining popularity.Other Indian languagesOther Indian language speakers, such as Bengali and Tamil have smaller populations of about 350,000 and 280,000 respectively, yet there were still among the fastest-growing ones.Bengali speakers logged a 57 percent increase while the Tamil speaker, 55 percent.Though Telugu might have grown at a higher pace but Hindi proceeds to remain the most widely spoken Indian language in the U.S. Although, at 863,000, it is dwarfed by the 41 million speakers of Spanish. In outright numbers, people speaking Hindi at home increased the third-most between 2010 and 2017, after Chinese and Arabic. CIS said, overall, 21.8 percent of the U.S. population speaks a foreign language at home. In the country's five largest cities, this share goes up abruptly to nearly half of the residents.India, ironically, is abode to about four times more English speakers than the U.S.-Sowmya Sangam

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Does Your Marriage Lack Physical Intimacy? Here’s why. September 24, 2018 14:02

As much as love in a relationship plays a key role, physical intimacy has its fair share of importance. While the basic cliché romance novel protagonists may go on and about how physical touch and being intimate with a partner is not the main factor in a relationship, trust me, it is a fabricated lie and far from being the truth. If your partner is shying from your touch or not being intimate with you, here are a few possible reasons why.“Exhaustion from work”With the kind of exhilarating and strenuous life that we lead, work pressure often tends to take a toll on us. The consistent stress from work wears a person out and it is not uncommon for them to want a break from being physical with you and indulge in sex after a hectic day at work. This is somewhat of a common reason for temporary disinterest in concerns of physical activity and not something sustained. “Possible affair”Now, marriages are hard and so are the relationships. If you have been witnessing your partners consistently shying away from your touches or backing out from having sex, it is possible that they might be seeing someone else. It is definitely not something that has to be set in stone but could be an ardent possibility. Just confront them and get your dilemma cleared out.“Lack of things to further spice up”If you have been in a relationship or a marriage for quite some time now, there are possibilities that you might lose the interest that you would have had back in the days. When you have been with someone for quite a long time, there are possibilities that you guys know everything about them which could sometimes be a turnoff in the bedroom. Look for new ways to spice things up.“Kids are being a roadblock”When you have a house full of kids and your partner doesn’t want to scar your children for life, having sex is possibly the last thing on their mind. The overburdening of the responsibilities because of the kids is yet another factor that often times take a toll on the person which makes them abstain themselves from engaging in physical intimacy. Get a day off and send the kids off to their grandparent’s and that should do the trick. Physical intimacy is a crucial part to any relationship which is why it is important to ensure that you understand what or where the problem is rooting from. These above mentioned points could be a possible factor but then again, every marriage is different and every relationship is different.-Somapika Dutta

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WhatsApp Appoints 'Grievance Officer for India' September 24, 2018 12:24

Harried to take rough action on menacing messages, WhatsApp has appointed a grievance officer for India and detailed out the procedure for users to flag complaints and concerns, together with those around fake news.Meeting one of the significant demands that India had put on WhatsApp to limit fake messages that caused mob killings, the Facebook-owned company has updated its website to reflect the appointment of a 'Grievance Officer for India'.Komal Lahiri as 'Grievance Officer'According to update mentions, users can seek help through the mobile app, send an email or write in to 'Komal Lahiri', who is based out of the United States. According to Lahiri's LinkedIn profile, she is a senior director, global customer operations and localization, WhatsApp.According to sources, the appointment of the Grievance Officer was made at the end of August.They added that the Grievance Officer for India being based in the U.S. is in tune with similar practices by other American tech giants.According to the WhatsApp website, users can reach out to the company's support team right from the app under 'Settings' tab and in case they wish to intensify the complaint, they can contact the Grievance Officer directly.A section within Frequently Asked Questions read: "You (users) can contact the Grievance Officer with complaints or concerns, including the following: WhatsApp's Terms of Service; and Questions about your account".The updated FAQs also detailed out the mechanism for law enforcement officials to reach out to WhatsApp.The administration has been demanding WhatsApp to advance tools to fight fake messages. Tough stance on social mediaIndia is WhatsApp's major market with over 200 million users. In July it limited message forwards to five chats at a time and had likewise removed the swift forward button positioned next to media messages to discourage mass forwarding. It has also presented a 'forward' label to help users identify such messages.Related content: WhatsApp Curbs Forwarding Messages to Five UsersWith the General Election scheduled for following year in India, the government is taking a tough stance on the use of social media platforms for the spread of misinformation.The government had cautioned that it will treat the WhatsApp as an assistant of rumor spread and lawful consequences will follow if satisfactory checks are not put in place.In a meeting held with WhatsApp Head Chris Daniels last month, IT (Information Technology) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had stated that the company will have to find a solution to track origin of messages on its platform, set up a local corporate entity that is subject to Indian laws within a defined time-frame as well as appoint a grievance officer.WhatsApp, which has been hit with two notices with the third one under consideration, has said it is in the course of establishing a local corporate entity.By Sowmya Sangam

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U.S. Seeks to Deny Green Cards for Immigrants on Public Aid September 24, 2018 10:33

The Trump administration on Saturday proposed rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use food stamps, Medicaid, housing vouchers and additional forms of public assistance.Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and to prove they will not be a burden - or "public charge" - but the new rules detail a broad range of programs that could disqualify them.The Department of Homeland Security said current and past receipt of certain public benefits above thresholds would be considered "a heavily weighed negative factor" in granting green cards as well as temporary stays.The proposal "will clearly define long-standing law to ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits," the department said.The 447-page proposal available on the department's website will appear in the Federal Register "in the coming weeks," activating a 60-day public comment period before it takes effect.Coming less than seven weeks before midterm elections, the statement could aid galvanize voters who have supported or opposed Trump's broad crackdown on legal and illegal immigration.Related content: Will Revoke Work Permits to H4 Visa Holders in 3 Months: U.S.Immigrant advocacy groups said people may avoid or withdraw from public aid programs even at the risk of losing shelter and suffering deteriorating health because they worry they will be denied visas."Inhumane attack": Hincapie Marielena Hincapie, an executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the proposal was "an inhumane attack on the health and wellbeing of so many families and communities across the country.""How you contribute to your community - and not what you look like or the contents of your wallet - should be what matters most," she said."This proposed rule does the opposite and makes clear that the Trump administration continues to prioritize money over family unity by ensuring that only the wealthiest can afford to build a future in this country."Possibly barring benefits comprise Medicare Part D prescription drugs, Medicaid with some exclusions for emergency services and disability services related to food stamps, education, and Section 8 housing vouchers.By Sowmya Sangam

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