Indian-American Neomi Rao To Replace Brett Kavanaugh In US Court, Says US President Donald Trump


Indian-American lawyer Neomi Rao will fill the seat vacated by Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh. (File)

Washington: 

Indian-American lawyer Neomi Rao has been nominated by US President Donald Trump to fill Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Trump, during Diwali celebrations on Tuesday at the Roosevelt Room of the White House, announced the nomination of the 45-year-old regulatory czar for the DC Circuit which is considered next to the US Supreme Court.

If confirmed by the Senate, Ms Rao, who is currently administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), would be the second Indian-American judge in this powerful court after judge Sree Srinivasan, who was appointed during the previous Obama regime.

“She is going to be fantastic. Great person,” Trump said.

Ms Rao will fill the seat vacated by Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, who served on the appeals court for 12 years.

A formal announcement on her nomination is expected to be made by the White House today.

“I just nominated Rao to be on the DC circuit court of appeals, the seat of justice Brett Kavanaugh. That could be a big story,” Trump announced.

Ms Rao thanked the President for the “confidence” he has shown in her.

Called the ‘regulatory czar’ of Trump administration in her current capacity, she oversees implementation of the administration’s deregulatory agenda and regulation-related executive orders.

She was confirmed by the Senate with a 54-41 vote in July 2017 to head the OIRA and is known among legal circles as a highly respected administrative law scholar who has distinguished herself for her right-of-centre views, media reports stated.

A former clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Ms Rao was recommended for the post by former White House counsel Don McGahn. Trump’s nomination of Ms Rao is in recognition of her contribution in cutting down regulations.

Ms Rao has previously served in all three branches of the federal government, and before taking on her current role in the executive branch, she was associate counsel and special assistant to the president for the George W Bush administration.

A graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, Ms Rao also worked in the private sector, in the international arbitration group of the London-based law firm, Clifford Chance LLP.





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US President Donald Trump Should Have Shown Common Decency On Paris Attacks Anniversary, Says France


US President Donald Trump returned to Washington from a weekend in Paris recently. (File)

Paris: 

US President Donald Trump should have shown some “common decency” and respected France’s day of mourning on the third anniversary of the November 13 attacks in Paris, the French government’s spokesman said today.

Asked about Trump’s tweets, in which the US leader criticised France’s record in World War One and Two, French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said: “Yesterday was November 13, we were commemorating the murder of 130 of our people,” he said.

“So I’ll reply in English: “common decency” would have been appropriate,” he added.





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US President Donald Trump Praises Indian-Americans In US Administration


US President Donald Trump hosted Diwali celebrations in Roosevelt Room on Tuesday. (File)

Washington: 

US President Donald Trump, who has appointed more than two dozen Indian-Americans to senior positions since he assumed office in 2017, praised them for their “incredible” performance in his administration.

“I’m grateful to have numerous Americans of Indian and Southeast Asian heritage who fulfill critical roles across my administration. And they’ve done an incredible job,” Trump said as he hosted Diwali celebrations in the Roosevelt Room on Tuesday.

Except for the former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, around two dozen of his top Indian-American lieutenants were present at the celebrations.

Ms Haley, the first-Indian-American appointed to top Cabinet-level position, resigned last month as the US ambassador to the UN.

As a Diwali gift to the community, Trump surprised many by announcing that he has nominated his regulatory czar Neomi Jehangir Rao to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

Ms Rao, 45, will replace the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, where he served earlier before heading to the apex court.

In eight years, former president Barack Obama had appointed more than 50 Indian-Americans to key administration positions, including Raj Shah as United States Agency for International Development administrator; Nisha Desai Biswal as the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia and Richard Verma as the US Ambassador to India.

By appointing more than two dozen Indian Americans in key administrative positions, Trump seems to be on the track to breaking the record set by his predecessor.

“Many of them are here today, including the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commissions, Ajit Pai,” Trump said as he called upon him.

“Ajit, where’s Ajit? Come here, Ajit. I just didn’t like one decision he made, but that’s all right,” he said as the small audience burst into laughter. “Not even a little bit. But he’s independent,” said the president.

Seema Verma, who in her capacity as administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, is playing a key role in healthcare reforms, Trump said.

“Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Neil Chatterjee. Where is Neil? Good. Nice to see you,” said the US president indicating that he personally knows each one of these Indian-Americans.

“The acting administrator of Drug Enforcement, and another person that I’ve become very close to, Uttam Dhillon,” Trump said.





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Er… No Hindus? Twitter Calls Out Donald Trump On Diwali Post


Donald Trump’s Diwali tweet missed any reference to Hindus.

New York: 

US President Donald Trump’s tweets on Diwali, a week after the festival, caused a flap on Twitter with an omission that was widely called out. The first tweet described Diwali as a “holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains”, missing any reference to Hindus.

However, in another tweet, he wrote: “It was my great honour to host a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, in the Roosevelt Room at the @WhiteHouse this afternoon. Very, very special people!”

Reports say the problem was that Donald Trump’s tweets, based on his prepared speech, were out of sequence and his first tweet was deleted and reposted.

His first tweet was from the second part of the Diwali speech. The second also didn’t mention Hindus. It took three tries.

The gap between the tweets, though miniscule, was enough to fire up Twitter.

One user, Jeff Young, tweeted: “Hey, whoever wrestled Trump’s phone away to post this: Pretty sure Hindus also have some interest in Diwali.”

Trump began his Diwali speech saying, “I’m thrilled to be here for the celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.” But he left Hindus out later while listing the communities that celebrate the festival.
He told the small gathering at the White House Diwali celebration that they were a “very impressive group”. “Now I know you are very important, very impressive”, Trump read out from his prepared text: “I am thrilled to be here for the celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights and I am honoured to host this beautiful ceremony at the White House.”

Then veering off his text, he added, “Very, very special people.”

He interrupted the speech to talk about the wildfires that have killed more than 40 people in California.

The President then resumed his Diwali speech and continued: “We are gathered today to celebrate a very special holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains throughout the US and around the world.”





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US President Donald Trump At White House Diwali Celebrations


Ivanka Trump has great respect for India and the Indian people: Donald Trump at Diwali celebrations (AFP)

Washington: 

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he is “grateful” for his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he celebrated Diwali in the White House along with top Indian-Americans and described India as “very good negotiators“. 

“The United States has deep ties to the nation of India and I am grateful for my friendship with Prime Minister Modi,” President Trump said before lighting the ceremonial Diya in the historic Roosevelt Room of the White House. It is the second consecutive year that Donald Trump has celebrated the largest festival of India and Indian Americans in the White House.

Along with nearly two dozen top Indian American officials of his Administration, present in the room with President Trump was his daughter Ivanaka Trump. 

“Modi is my friend and now her (Ivanka) friend and has great respect for India and the Indian people that I can say,” said the US President as he introduced his daughter to the audience, who was present in the room. “Absolutely,” replied Ms Ivanka, who had visited India last year. She was the first top official of the Trump Administration to travel to India.

President Trump also invited the Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, his wife Dr Avina Sarna, and his special assistant Pratik Mathur to be present during the White House Diwali celebrations, a rare.

“India is the world’s largest democracy and the relationship between our two countries connect as a bulwark for freedom, prosperity, and peace,” Donald Trump said.

Navtej Sarna in his brief remarks thanks the President for this great honour for India. “They feel very welcome here and so integrated with the American society,” he said. 

“I think, we are looking at one of the best times we ever had in India-US relationship,” Mr Sarna said, which was agreed by Donald Trump. “I think, that’s true. Very close, closer than ever before,” said the US President.

In his remarks, Donald Trump welcomed senior Indian American officials gathered at the White House for Diwali celebration.

“As we light the Diya in the White House we are joined by in a fellowship with all of those who light lamps in their own home, cities and places of worship. America is a land of faith and we are truly fortunate to have these wonderful traditions woven into the tapestry of our national life. And that is true,” he said.

Mr Trump said that he is thrilled to celebrate Diwali at the White House.

“I’m honored to host this beautiful ceremony at the White House. Very, very special people. We’re gathered today to celebrate a very special holiday observed by Buddhist, Sikhs and Jains throughout the United States and around the world. Hundreds of millions of people have gathered with family and friends to light the Diya and to mark the beginning of a New year: very special new year,” he said.

“Our nation is blessed to be home to millions of hardworking citizens of Indian and South East Asian heritage to enrich our country in countless ways. Together we are one proud American family. Do we agree with that? I think so. I think we do. Right? Better, believe it,” he said.

President Trump said Americans of Indian and South East Asian heritage have done an incredible job and identified several of them by name including the chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai; Manisha Singh, Acting Under Secretary of the Department of State; Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services; Uttam Dhillon, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Raj Shah, the Deputy White House Press Secretary.

“We’re trying very hard to make better trade deals with India. But, they’re very good traders. They’re very good negotiators. You would say right. The best. So we’re working. And it’s moving along,” Mr Trump said referring to the India-US trade deal negotiations that have started between the two largest democracies of the world.

The first White House Diwali celebrations was held in 2003 under the then US President George W Bush, who never attended the celebrations in person. A senior administration official represented him. It was mostly held in the India Treaty Room of Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House complex.

Since 2003, Diwali celebrations at the White House has become an annual tradition. In 2009, President Barack Obama lighted the ceremonial lamp in the East room of the White House. The event was attended by about 200 guests.

In 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Diwali in the East Room. Immediately before the celebrations, she participated in a Bollywood dance with local students in the State Dining Room. In 2016, Obama celebrated Diwali in the Oval Office with a group of Indian Americans officials from his administration.

In 2016, Vice President Biden hosted a Diwali reception at his official residence Number One Observatory Circle. In 2017 President Trump celebrated his first Diwali in the Oval Office with Amb Nikki Haley, senior officials from his administration and a small group of Indian Americans.

Over the years, it is being celebrated by the Indian Americans in Pentagon and the State Department. For the past several years, Diwali is also being celebrated at the US Capitol by Rep and Senators, being hosted by India Caucus. 





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Donald Trump Names New US Ambassador John Abizaid To Saudi Arabia


Washington: 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped John Abizaid, a top US general from the Iraq war who has studied the Middle East for years, as ambassador to Saudi Arabia amid growing friction between the longstanding allies.

Abizaid is a fluent Arabic speaker of Lebanese Christian descent who headed US Central Command — which covers the Middle East — during the Iraq war from shortly after the US invasion in 2003 through 2007.

The 67-year-old wrote his master’s thesis at Harvard University about Saudi Arabia, studying how the kingdom makes its decisions on defense spending, in a paper that won acclaim in academic circles.

A California native, Abizaid graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and later won a scholarship to study in Jordan, where he honed his Arabic, which he did not speak as a child.

Trump has been slow in filling key posts amid his promises to shake up Washington. But the absence of an ambassador in Riyadh, nearly two years into his presidency, has become more glaring amid rising tensions between the countries.

Trump, who quickly forged a close relationship with Saudi Arabia upon taking office, has been forced to criticize the kingdom and its powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, after a team from the kingdom killed a US-based critical journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Amid a US souring on the heir apparent, the United States has also curbed cooperation and demanded a halt to the Saudi-led military campaign against rebels in Yemen that has contributed to a humanitarian crisis believed to be the worst in the world.

But US pleas — made by telephone rather than in person by an ambassador — have failed to sway the Saudis.

Abizaid requires confirmation from the Senate, which would appear likely as the retired four-star general has long enjoyed respect in Washington.

Shortly after taking over as CENTCOM commander, Abizaid told reporters that US forces were facing a “classical guerrilla-type campaign” from remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

His choice of words contradicted his bosses, who initially tried to portray the Iraq invasion as a quick victory, but then defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld did not move to replace him amid admiration for Abizaid’s skills.

And soon after retiring in 2007, Abizaid said that, while the United States should try to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, “there are ways to live with a nuclear Iran,” describing the clerical state’s behavior as rational and noting the United States also dealt with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union.

Trump has championed a hard line on Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival.

The real estate mogul turned president has shown a fondness for appointing retired generals, with Jim Mattis as defense secretary and John Kelly as his chief of staff.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Donald Trump Could Remove Top Aide Who Feuded With Wife Melania


Sources said that Melania Trump explicitly asked the president to oust Mira Ricardel.

Washington: 

President Donald Trump is moving to replace his deputy national security adviser after she feuded with first lady Melania Trump, two sources familiar with the matter said, with a spokeswoman for the first lady leaving no doubt about where she stood on the matter.

The first lady complained to the president that she was unhappy with how she was being treated by Mira Ricardel, a former Boeing Coexecutive who worked on the Trump presidential campaign and was picked by National Security Adviser John Bolton to be his deputy earlier this year, two sources told Reuters.

Asked about the reports, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham issued a extraordinarily frank statement.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House,” Grisham said.

Sources said that Melania Trump explicitly asked the president to oust Ricardel after their dealings over the Africa trip “didn’t go well.” The other source said that Melania Trump felt that Ricardel tried to short-change the first lady in terms of U.S. government resources allocated to support her Africa tour.

The sources did not elaborate on the clash over resources.

The White House and the National Security Council (NSC) did not respond to requests for comment.

Ricardel could not be reached for comment. She had a prominent place standing to Trump’s right on Tuesday at a White House ceremony in the Roosevelt Room marking Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

A source familiar with Ricardel’s White House performance said Ricardel also ran afoul of much of the NSC staff and “sort of alienated everyone” except for Bolton, the veteran conservative foreign policy expert who has been her immediate superior.

Bolton is currently travelling in Asia with Vice President Mike Pence.

One of the sources familiar with the White House intrigue said the tensions began building to a crisis point about a month ago and serious, but apparently unsuccessful, efforts were made to defuse the dispute.

Ricardel was also believed to have had a dislike of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, current and former officials have told Reuters.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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At White House Diwali Celebration, Donald Trump Says India A Tough Trade Negotiator


“I’m honored to host this beautiful ceremony at the White House,” Donald Trump said. (File)

Washington: 

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday described India as “very good negotiators” as he celebrated Diwali in the White House along with top Indian-Americans and said he is “grateful” for his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The United States has deep ties to the nation of India and I am grateful for my friendship with Prime Minister Modi,” Trump said before lighting the ceremonial Diya in the historic Roosevelt Room of the White House. It is the second consecutive year that Trump has celebrated the largest festival of India and Indian Americans in the White House.

“We’re trying very hard to make better trade deals with India. But, they’re very good traders. They’re very good negotiators. You would say right. The best. So we’re working. And it’s moving along,” Trump said referring to the India-US trade deal negotiations that have started between the two largest democracies of the world.

Along with nearly two dozen top Indian American officials of his Administration, President Trump had invited the Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, his wife Dr Avina Sarna, and his special assistant Pratik Mathur to be present during the White House Diwali celebrations.

 

“I’m honored to host this beautiful ceremony at the White House. Very, very special people. We’re gathered today to celebrate a very special holiday observed by Buddhist, Sikhs and Jains throughout the United States and around the world. Hundreds of millions of people have gathered with family and friends to light the Diya and to mark the beginning of a New year: very special new year,” Donald Trump said.

The first White House Diwali celebrations was held in 2003 under the then US President George W Bush, who never attended the celebrations in person. A senior administration official represented him. It was mostly held in the India Treaty Room of Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House complex.





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Donald Trump Says North Korean Missile Sites Nothing New


I will be the first to let you know if things go bad, says US President Donald Trump

Washington: 

US President Donald Trump today criticized what he called “inaccurate” media reports that North Korea had not declared an estimated 20 missile bases.

“We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”

Pyongyang halted missile and nuclear bomb testing earlier this year but US and South Korean negotiators have yet to elicit from North Korea a concrete declaration of the size or scope of the weapons programs or a promise to stop deploying its existing arsenal.





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Donald Trump, Xi Jinping To Discuss Trade War During G20 In Argentina


Washington: 

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will discuss trade on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Argentina this month, a senior US official said Tuesday.

Top White House economic aide Larry Kudlow said the high-level efforts continue to resolve the US-China trade war, and follow Trump’s recent telephone call with Xi.

“Right now we’re having communications at all levels of US and Chinese government,” Kudlow told CNBC.

“We now know that we will in fact discuss trade at the G20 meeting in Argentina. We didn’t know that before but that’s a certainty.”

Trump is due to arrive in Buenos Aires on November 29 for the G20 summit, which will give him the opportunity for face-to-face meetings to ease the trade tensions.

Major US corporations say they are raising prices and face higher costs due to the trade war, in which Washington has imposed steep import duties on more than $250 billion in Chinese goods. China hit back with tariffs on $110 billion in US goods.

Duty rates on a $200 billion in imports are due to rise to 25 percent from the current 10 percent, and Trump also is threatening to impose tariffs on another $267 billion of additional Chinese goods.

 

 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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