The Biden-Harris administration has added one more Indian American staff by adding Indian and Filipino American Michael George to the team. George, who has dedicated his career examining how policy can improve social mobility and reduce inequalities, was named to Vice President Kamala Harris’ team as a policy adviser. “As the son of Indian and Filipino immigrants, I’m honored and humbled to share some personal news: I’ve started a new job as a Policy Advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris, George, who served on the Biden-Harris transition for economic policy, tweeted. Before joining the administration, George was a program officer on economic mobility and opportunity for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, his bio notes.
Top Bhutan general, judges detained
Police in Bhutan have detained a top general and two judges over an alleged plot to overthrow the top military officer and chief justice. Former Royal bodyguard commandant Brigadier Thinley Tobgay, Supreme Court judge Kuenley Tshering and top district court judge Yeshey Dorji appeared in court after being detained at their homes. The three have been accused of plotting to overthrow the country’s top military officer, Lieutenant General Batoo Tshering by implicating him in a corruption scandal. All were denied bail and remanded in custody until a first formal hearing on February 27.
India born woman Muslim chaplain in US force
Saleha Jabeen, US military’s first India-born female Muslim chaplain, has graduated from Air Force Basic Chaplain Course, vowing to take her duty as a spiritual mentor very seriously. The historic graduation ceremony was held on February 5, an official statement. Jabeen said she was grateful for the opportunity and aware of the responsibility that she has to set an example and show that there is a place in the military for anyone who wants to serve. “I did not have to compromise on any of my religious beliefs or convictions. I am surrounded with people who respect me and are willing to receive what I bring as a woman, a faith leader, an immigrant.”
Chinese woman attacked in NY
An Asian woman standing on a New York City street was violently shoved to the ground and police were searching for the suspect, with a spotlight being put on the case by actor Olivia Munn who said she was a friend of the woman’s daughter. The New York Police Department said the 52-year-old woman was outside a bakery in Queens when the suspect got into a verbal dispute with her and pushed her. “My friend’s mom is a 5’3’’ 50+ Chinese woman .. she was attacked,” Munn tweeted.
Oz PM apologises to former staffer who alleged rape at work
Australia PM Scott Morrison apologised to a former government staffer who alleged she was raped by a colleague in a minister’s office two years ago. The former staffer Brittany Higgins alleged in a TV interview that a colleague had raped her in the office of the then-defence industry minister Linda Reynolds weeks before the 2019 election and that she did not receive the support she needed from bosses. The man she accused was fired for a security breach. Higgins, who was Reynolds’ media adviser, said she decided not to pursue a police complaint at the time because she felt it would affect her employment. She resigned in January this year and said she plans to reinstate her police complaint. Morrison said Reynolds should not have questioned Higgins about her accusation in the same office where Higgins alleged the rape took place.
N Korea tried to steal Pfizer vax know-how
North Korea has attempted to steal Covid-19 vaccine technology by hacking Pfizer Inc according to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service. South Korea’s news agency Yonhap did not report when the alleged hacking took place or whether it was successful. Pfizer’s offices in Asia and South Korea did not have an immediate comment. Last year suspected North Korean hackers tried to break into at least nine health organisations, including Johnson & Johnson , Novavax Inc, and Astra-Zeneca. South Korea’s intelligence agency said it had foiled North Korean attempts to hack into South Korean firms developing vaccines
WHO alerts six African nations over Ebola
The World Health Organization (WHO) has alerted six African countries to watch out for potential cases of Ebola after it emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea. The DRC declared the emergence of Ebola on February 7 while Guinea declared the outbreak later. "We have already alerted the six countries around, including of course Sierra Leone and Liberia, and they are moving very fast to prepare and be ready and to look for any potential infection," the WHO's Margaret Harris said. Meanwhile, the Ebola vaccination campaign kicked out in areas where the epidemic was first reported.
Libya celebrates 10 years since the overthrow of Gaddafi
Libyans marked the 10th anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed the long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Libyans from all walks of life gathered at Tripoli main square to celebrate this decade-old anniversary amid tight security. The celebrations began not only in Tripoli but also in other cities all over Libya. Local media reported that celebrations in the city of Sabha were brought to a halt after fireworks killed a child and injured 15 other peoples. Investigations have been launched into the cause of the incident.
Navalny’s appeal against prison term rejected
A Moscow court has rejected Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s appeal against his prison sentence, even as the country faced a top European rights court’s order to free the Kremlin critic. Speaking before the verdict, Navalny urged Russians to stand up to the Kremlin in a fiery speech mixing references to the Bible and “Harry Potter”. A lower court sentenced Navalny earlier this month to two years and eight months in prison for violating terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany. Navalny appealed the sentence and asked to be released. But, the judge only reduced his sentence to over 2 1/2 years in prison, ruling that a month-and-half Navalny spent under house arrest in 2015 will be deducted from his sentence.
Nigeria to sell 36 properties to finance 2021 budget
The Nigerian government is planning to sell a number of properties to finance its 2021 national budget. The projects are expected to be concessioned or sold between January 2021 and November 2022. A number of properties have already been listed for sale or concession and they include the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), the Abuja International Conference Centre (ICC), some unnamed refineries, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Abuja Water Board, Nigerian Film Corporation, among others. These transfers vary in terms of core investor sales, while some will be in the form of share sales. Some will undergo concession while others will be commercialized fully or partially.
TPLF forces claim killing 502 Ethiopian troops
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) claimed it has killed hundreds of Ethiopian national soldiers including those from Eritrea. TPLF said it killed 502 troops who were allegedly involved in an offensive in Ethiopia’s northern region. The fighting also left a number of soldiers wounded according to Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) spokesperson Gebre Gebretsadik. “ On February 8 our forces launched a military offensive against enemy troops stationed around Kola-Temben town in Juwamare locality. We have completely eliminated enemy forces," said Gebre in an interview with Dimtsi Woyane (DW) TV.
'Hotel Rwanda' hero on trial for terrorism
Paul Rusesabagina, the hero whose story inspired the film 'Hotel Rwanda' is facing trial on terrorism charges. He is praised for saving some 1,000 ethnic Tutsis during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. But is a staunch critic of longtime President Paul Kagame and faces 12 charges, including terrorism. Rusesabagina's family says he has no chance at a fair trial and that the 66-year-old could die from poor health behind bars. His legal team said last month that his prescribed medication for a heart disorder was being withheld. He holds Belgian nationality and is a US resident. In 2005 he was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is not clear how long Rusesabagina would stay in prison if convicted.
French parliament passes the anti-radicalisation bill
In a major shot-in-the-arm for French President Emmanuel Macron, who had vowed to act against rising extremism in the country, the French legislators in the lower house of the parliament on overwhelmingly supported in favour of a bill that would strengthen the supervision of mosques, schools and sports clubs as a measure to guard against radical Islam and to ensure respect for French values. The voting in the lower house was the first impediment for the bill after two weeks of intense debate that went into its formulation. The bill was passed with an overwhelming majority of 347 as opposed to 151, with 65 abstentions.
Man arrested for stealing camel for gift to girlfriend
Emirati police have arrested a man for allegedly stealing a highly valuable newborn camel to give to his girlfriend for her birthday. The owners of the baby camel reported the theft from their farm earlier this month, prompting Dubai police to fruitlessly search the area. Several days later, an Emirati man called authorities to say a stray camel had wandered onto his farm. When interrogated, the man’s story fell apart, according to police in Dubai. He soon admitted to trespassing on his neighbor’s farm to steal a rare breed of camel for his girlfriend, the report said, settling for the newborn after failing to wrangle an adult.