New England Choice Awards 2022 Presented

US Congresswoman and Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives Katherine Clark and Museum of Science President Tim Ritchie joined about 300 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, philanthropists, educators and community leaders to honor New England Choice Award recipients at Hilton Woburn Hotel in Woburn, MA on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

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Organized by INE MultiMedia, Inc., in collaboration with INDIA New England News, New England Choice Awards also honored Congresswoman Clark and Mr. Ritchie for their services. Dr. Manju Sheth, President of INE Multimedia and creator of the awards presented the awards to the two national leaders for their leadership and commitment to public service.

“One of the feedback that we heard constantly from our Awardees and audience was that it was a very elegant and unique event that was very inspirational and heartwarming,” said Dr. Manju Sheth. “This show has truly been a labor of love for me. I am very grateful to be given an opportunity to honor some extraordinary people.”

Renowned nephrologist, philanthropist, community activist and Visterra President and CEO Brian Pereira was honored with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement. In addition, six leading Indian American go-getters and super achievers from academics to business to healthcare, and a non-profit organization were awarded the prestigious New England Choice Awards (NECA) on Nov. 19, 2022 at Hilton Woburn.

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This year’s NECA award recipients were: Madhu Sudan, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Sciences at John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University; Indira Viswanathan Peterson, a leading scholar of Sanskrit, Tamil literature and South Indian cultural history and performing arts; Aman Narang, President and Co-Founder of Toast Inc., which empowers restaurants of all sizes and has a market cap of $11 billion; Seshi Sompuram, President of Shishu Bharati, which teaches Indian languages and culture to about 900 students each year; Dr. Nagagopal Venna, MD, Chief of the Division of Neuro-Immunology and Neuro-Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital; Shriya Srinivasan, a MIT Postdoctoral Researcher, Incoming Assistant Professor at Harvard University, Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Biomedical Engineer; and India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB), one of the oldest non-profit community organizations in the United States.

The 2022 New England Choice Awards team consisted of Anu Chitrapu, Upendra Mishra, Mandy Pant, Anupendra Sharma, Manju Sheth and Aditi Taylor. The judging committee consisted of several prominent members and entrepreneurs of the Indian American community.

NECA this year was produced with the support of number of community sponsors: Cocoon Media, TaranaOM Creations, Sraveo, Foto Duniya, Paani Restaurant, and DJ Randeep.

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Aakriti, a vibrant team of dancers with rigorous training in Indian classical dance disciplines, performed songs and dances from the film Bajirao Mastani and TV show Bandish Bandits. Young vocalist and singer Reeshabh Purohit of Berkele College of Music entertained the audience with songs.

As per reports, INE received over 200 nominations for these awards. A jury of 13 individuals selected the final winners. “It is a true privilege for us at New England Choice Awards to honor our extraordinary recipients for their immense contribution to their work and community,” said Dr. Manju Sheth, creator of NECA Awards and CEO of INE MultiMedia, a Waltham, MA-based (501c-3) non-profit organization devoted to promoting and supporting charitable organizations, art, culture, education and empowerment. “My congratulations to all the recipients.”

‘It Took Us A 100 Years, But We Have A Spot At The Table,’ Dr Jasmeet Bains

California District 35’s newly-elected Assemblymember is elated. “It’s an amazing feeling, a very big moment for me and for the community,” she told indica. “We have been here for 100 years and finally, our community gets a spot at the table.”

Jasmeet Bains, a medical doctor from Bakersfield, is that newly-elected Assemblymember – the first South Asian and Sikh American woman in the state legislature. The district’s mid-term election, held on November 8, took exactly two weeks to be decided. In the end, Dr Bains – a Democrat – won 60.5% of the votes to defeat her challenger, another Democrat Leticia Perez, who won earned 39.5% votes. The oath ceremony will be held on December 5 in the state capital Sacramento.

“I have mixed emotions,” Bains, who works at Bakersfield Recovery Services as its medical director, said. “While it is a proud moment, I also wonder why it took over 100 years for our community to be represented.”

She said after breaking this barrier, she will have to make ensure these barriers don’t return. “I cannot be the last.”

She credits the South Asian and Indian American community for her victory. “It is because of their work that made it possible for her to win today.”

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Bains says that one factor that loomed large in the community not getting adequate representation was fear. “The Sikhs mostly migrated to this place to escape persecution. There was always a fear towards a government that held us back. Growing up we were told to be professional and there was never any talk about politics,” she said.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Bains grew up in city of Delano, California. As the eldest sibling, she used to help her father Devinder Bains, who owns an automobile dealership in Bakersfield. She credited her parents for the values they instilled in her.

As an elected representative, Bains said, her top priority for the district will be to resolve the drugs problem and mitigate the impact of the economic downturn. She said workers in her district come from diverse and hard-working families trying to pursue the American dream.

“If we want a healthier community, we want to make sure we foster a healthier economic climate with safer neighborhoods and more awareness about fentanyl,” she said. “Health is our biggest issue. Access to jobs, access to healthcare, access to health insurance, that’s how we will promote a healthier community.”

Bains is clear that District 35 has a labor issue. “We definitely need to do a lot of work on the front lines so that our people have strong jobs, and at the same time, we need to ensure workers’ safety; make sure people have appropriate benefits. Farm workers, law enforcement, firefighters… these are the people that make our community safe. We need to make sure they are taken care of.”

Bains said that she got support from diverse voters – from young kids to grandparents, South Asian Hindus, Muslims, Hispanic leaders – “everyone came out and supported me. We need more, this is just the beginning.”

The doctor is close to her parents and talks about them with reverence and respect. Bains said it was her decision to run, but “like most Indian parents, when it comes to politics, there was a sense of fear about what would happen or how I will be treated.” She said it is natural for parents to worry, “but they never discouraged; they just did not know what would happen.”

She added, “My parents know I am a hard worker. They saw me grow up selling cars and now, I am a doctor and an Assemblymember-elect. They know I will give it my all… my 100%.”

Devinder Bains, Jasmeet’s father, also spoke to indica and shared his feelings of pride for his daughter. “She has made history here in the US, for India, for the Punjabi community, and for all the minorities.”

Bains Sr, who moved with his wife to the US from India in 1978, said Jasmeet being the eldest of the siblings, would always act like a leader. “She would discipline them as well. She has had those qualities from her childhood. She is a born leader,” he told indica.

He said Jasmeet was not just active in class, she also gave back to the community. “She would go and help under-served communities,” he said. “She has visited Kolkata, Panama, Africa and Mexico as part of her Global Healthcare Group. She would take a team of future doctors and train them, so that they understand issues and concerns before they get into this profession.

Devinder recalls that a few months before the primary election, Jasmeet told her parents at the dinner table, “Mom, Dad, I’d like to run for office”. I jokingly said yes, run, run but run against it. Stay away from politics because politics is a dirty game. We are not politicians and you are a physician and you are trained to go and help the community.”

“But she reminded me of my own words, ‘If you want to make a change in the world, you need to change yourself first’. That surprised me, and I realised that my daughter, this young lady, was speaking with such passion. I told her that if you want to do it, I will give you all my support.”

Devinder shared how Jasmeet earned the Latino vote by speaking to them in Spanish. “Her opponent was a Latino, but even then, she broke that language barrier and endeared herself to the community.”

Like most Indian fathers, Devinder said he and his wife are constantly worried about Jasmeet’s matrimonial prospects. “We ask her all the time, but we left her alone during to the campaign. But now that she has won, we will start asking her again,” he laughs. (Courtesy: Indica News)

China Warned US Not To Interfere In Its Relationship With India, Pentagon Says

China has warned American officials not to interfere in its relationship with India, the Pentagon has said in a report to the Congress. Beginning in May 2020, Chinese and Indian forces faced off in clashes with rocks, batons, and clubs wrapped in barbed wire at multiple locations along the LAC. The resulting standoff triggered the buildup of forces on both sides of the border.

As per reports, throughout its standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Chinese officials sought to downplay the severity of the crisis, emphasising Beijing’s intent to preserve border stability and prevent the standoff from harming other areas of its bilateral relationship with India, the Pentagon said in a report on Tuesday.

“The PRC (People’s Republic of China) seeks to prevent border tensions from causing India to partner more closely with the United States. PRC officials have warned U.S. officials to not interfere with the PRC’s relationship with India,” the Pentagon said in its latest report to the Congress on Chinese military buildup.

In a section on the China-India border, the Pentagon said throughout 2021, the PLA sustained the deployment of forces and continued infrastructure build up along the LAC. Negotiation made minimal progress as both sides resist losing perceived advantages on the border, it said.

Beginning in May 2020, Chinese and Indian forces faced off in clashes with rocks, batons, and clubs wrapped in barbed wire at multiple locations along the LAC. The resulting standoff triggered the buildup of forces on both sides of the border. “Each country demanded the withdrawal of the other’s forces and a return to pre-standoff conditions, but neither China nor India agreed on those conditions,” it said.

“The PRC blamed the standoff on Indian infrastructure construction, which it perceived as encroaching on PRC territory, while India accused China of launching aggressive incursions into India’s territory,” it added.

Since the 2020 clash, the PLA has maintained continuous force presence and continued infrastructure build up along the LAC.

The 2020 Galwan Valley incident was the deadliest clash between the two nations in the past 46 years, the report said. On the June 15th, 2020, patrols violently clashed in Galwan Valley resulting in the death approximately twenty Indian soldiers and four PLA soldiers, according to PRC officials, it said.

According to media reports, China may station aircraft carriers, large warships and submarines in its first overseas military base in Djibouti, a move that would have profound security ramifications for the Indian Navy.

Details of the base feature in the US Department of Defense’s annual report on China, which is submitted to the US Congress. The report, released on Sunday, comes less than four months after NDTV published high-resolution satellite images of the base, including a large Chinese Navy landing ship at the dock. This is the backbone of China’s amphibious assault forces.

“In late March 2022, a FUCHI II class (Type 903A) supply ship Luomahu docked at the 450-metre pier for resupply; the first such reported PLA Navy port call to the Djibouti support base, indicating that the pier is now operational,” says the US Department of Defence’s 2022 China Military Power Report. “The pier likely is able to accommodate the PLA Navy’s aircraft carriers, other large combatants, and submarines,” it adds.

This is not the first time that the United States has raised the possibility of China getting ready to deploy aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean region. In 2017, Admiral Harry Harris Jr., who was commanding the US Pacific Command, told NDTV, “There is nothing to prevent them from sailing in the Indian Ocean today.”

Since then, China has been busy developing its aircraft carriers and now has three operational ships, each with incrementally greater capability. The Indian Navy presently operates two aircraft carriers, the made-in-Russia INS Vikramaditya and the INS Vikrant which is still several months away from being fully operational.

Who’s Qualified For The 16, In The Knockouts At The FIFA World Cup?

All 32 teams started the 2022 FIFA World Cup with one goal: get to the knockout rounds.

Any player and coach will tell you that, in the single-elimination knockout stage, anything can happen. That’s why teams don’t care how they get there. They just want to get there.

Some paths will prove easier than others in the knockouts depending on the teams that qualify and the final pairings. The Round of 16 matchups are all predetermined with teams slotting in based on their finish in their respective groups (group winner or group runner-up).

Those nations that win their group are paired with a runner-up from a different group in the Round of 16 and a favorable first match can really set a team on its way to a deep run.

France became the first side to reach the Round of 16 on November 26 and since then nine other sides have followed them.

Like France, Brazil and Portugal also mathematically qualified after just two matchdays, but they’re still waiting to see if they’ll go through as a group winner or group runner-up when they play their finales. Meanwhile, Groups A-D were the first ones to wrap up play.

England booked their place in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup with a 3-0 win over Wales to top Group B. They will be joined by USA who beat Iran 1-0.

Earlier on the same day, Netherlands and Senegal finished in the top two positions in Group A to seal their places in the knockout stages.

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The Dutch beat tournament hosts Qatar whose sorry campaign ended with three defeats from three, while Senegal edged past Ecuador who could have qualified with a draw.

They join France, Brazil and Portugal who each confirmed qualification with a game to spare in groups D, G and H respectively.

The defending champions became the first team to progress to the last 16 after snatching victory over Denmark on Saturday, with Brazil and Portugal joining them 48 hours later.

Finishing second in Group D are Australia who recovered from an opening match hammering from the French to win back-to-back games against Tunisia and Denmark respectively.

Here, we break down the permutations – including what Lionel Messi’s Argentina need to do to make the last 16 – for all the groups. How are they shaping up? And what does each nation need to qualify?

Oh, and think you know what will happen? You can still dive into our bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues.

How does Round of 16 work in World Cup?

The Round of 16 is the start of what is commonly referred to as the knockout rounds because every match is single elimination from here on out.

There are no points earned. There are no standings. There’s simply a winner and a loser.

What happens if knockout matches finish tied?

There has to be a winner on the day in the case of each Round of 16 match and for subsequent knockout-round matches. If teams are tied after 90 minutes of regulation, the match goes into a 30-minute period of extra time.

If the deadlock persists after those 30 minutes of extra time, then a penalty shootout will determine the team that moves on to the quarterfinals.

The Round of 16 pairings are set in advance of the World Cup Draw. Teams that finish in first place in the group stage match up against teams that are runners-up in their respective groups.

Round of 16 fixtures and schedule

Saturday December 3

R16 1 – Netherlands vs. USA (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; 3pm)

R16 2 – Argentina vs. Australia (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan; 7pm)

Sunday December 4

R16 3 – France vs. Poland (Al Thumama Stadium, Doha; 3pm)

R16 4 – England vs. Senegal (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; 7pm)

Monday December 5

R16 5 – Winners of Group E vs. Runners-up of Group F (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; 3pm)

R16 6 – Winners of Group G vs. Runners-up of Group H (Stadium 974, Doha; 7pm)

Tuesday December 6

R16 7 – Winners of Group F vs. Runners-up of Group E (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; 3pm)

R16 8 – Winners of Group H vs. Runners-up of Group G (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; 7pm)

Reform Of UNSC And Terror Will Be Focus As India Assumes UNSC Chair

As India takes over the presidency of the UNSC on December 1, in the final month of its two-year stint in the council, it will double down on its core agenda of pushing UN reform and countering terror, media reports suggest.

India’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ruchira Kamboj met with the United Nations General Assembly President Csaba Korosi, according to his Spokesperson Paulina Kubiak. Kubiak said the meeting took place on Monday, November 28th with India set to take the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of December on Thursday.

Korosi tweeted, “Today’s discussions focused on India’s presidency of the Security Council. I look forward to the month ahead,” he added.

New Delhi has advocated closer coordination between the Council dominated — and often paralyzed — by the five permanent members and the General Assembly that where the 193 UN members are represented equally.

According to the UNSC rules of procedure, the Council presidency rotates between each of the 15 members of the UNSC, in alphabetical order.

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For us, in the December Presidency, our priorities will be countering terrorism for which we have very successfully built a good narrative in these past few months as well as a focus on reformed multilateralism, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj told PTI in an exclusive interview here.

India assumes the monthly rotating presidency of the Security Council from December 1, the second time after August 2021 that the country will preside over the Council during its two year tenure as elected UNSC member.

India’s 2021-2022 term on the Council ends December 31, with Kamboj, India’s first woman Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York sitting in the President’s seat at the powerful horseshoe table for the month. India will also take over the year-long G20 presidency from December 1.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will travel to New York to preside over “signature events in the Security Council on renewed orientation for reformed multilateralism on December 14 and on countering terrorism on December 15.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly Csaba Korosi are also expected to brief the UNSC meeting on December 14.

Kamboj said counter-terrorism was one of India’s top priorities when it entered the Council on January 1, 2021.

She underscored that from the eight-point action plan on combating terrorism outlined in the Security Council by Jaishankar in January 2021 to the October 2022 Special Meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee hosted by India during which the Delhi Declaration’ was adopted, India has been successful in demonstrating two things.

One that there can be no justification for terror, it is condemnable, it has to be called out and countries who seek to obfuscate that, seek to justify that should be called out, Kamboj said.

The second point is that all countries, importantly, should speak with a united voice. The problem (of terror) is transnational and we have to pool in our resources, knowledge and expertise to speak with a united voice, she said.

On October 28-29, the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, currently chaired by India, organised a Special Meeting in New Delhi and Mumbai on the overarching theme of Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.

As an outcome of the special meeting, the Committee adopted the pioneer document Delhi Declaration’ on countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.

The Delhi Declaration serves to focus attention on the scourge of terrorism and particularly the fact that it has raised its head in a new avatar where terrorists have been abusing, misusing virtual platforms to forward their narrative, Kamboj said.

She added that this message was taken forward in New Delhi this month through the No Money for Terror’ (NMFT) Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing that was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“That was a continuation of what we have been doing, specifically where the CTC meeting in New Delhi and Mumbai left off and going forward, to complete the arc, during our term we will be having a focussed discussion on December 15 in the presence of the External Affairs Minister and other foreign dignitaries in the Council.

India has done everything that it could to fulfil the mandate of the CTC. All countries across the table, without exception, have complimented India for the Delhi Declaration, for the CTC event in Delhi and complimented the conference as being outstanding both in terms of logistics and substance. That is not insignificant and that must be noticed, Kamboj said.

Jaishankar had announced a voluntary contribution of USD 500,000 by India to the UN Trust Fund for Counter-Terrorism to augment the UNOCT’s efforts to build the capacity of member states to counter terrorism.

India is very strong on this narrative. We are very mindful that countries in Asia and Africa particularly” are facing the scourge of terrorism. “This is something that we’ll continue to keep our focus on while we’re in the Council, she said.

On December 2, Kamboj will brief the wider UN membership on the CTC meeting in New Delhi and our achievements, what that meeting achieved.

She said the issue of reformed multilateralism was among India’s key priorities as it entered the Council last year and we will keep a strong focus on that.

Kamboj said many countries have spoken that the system cannot continue as it is. It needs to be reformed. The architecture of 1945, the world of 2022, (both are) very different. It’s an anachronism the way the Security Council is configured, she said.

Kamboj underscored that India’s position is clear and well known. New Delhi wants early reform and the Security Council needs to be expanded in both permanent and non-permanent categories, improvement in working methods of the Council to make it more transparent, inclusive, improved relationship between the General Assembly and Security Council as well as the question of the veto.

India has highlighted the need for a consolidated text to serve as the basis for negotiations and this has been espoused by a majority of UN member states, Kamboj said.

With the PGA having appointed Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations Michal Mlynar and Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait Tareq M A M Albanai as co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, Kamboj expressed hope that the discussion will lead us somewhere and hopefully move the dialogue towards achieving UNSC reform.

She stressed that when the Intergovernmental Negotiations process commences next year, India will be very active, will be reaching out to various groups and advancing discussions on UNSC reform.

India will be concluding its stint as an elected member of the Security Council next month presiding over the council for the second time during its two-year term. India last headed the Council in August 2021 with former UN Permanent Representative T.S. Tirumurti.

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