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Another Indian-American on strong track to be elected to US Congress

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New York, June 20 (IANS) “Samosa Caucus” — the group of Indian-Americans in US Congress — has a strong chance of getting another member next year with the victory of Suhas Subramanyam in the Virginia Democratic primaries.

He won the intra-party election on Tuesday to pick the Democratic candidate to contest the November general election for the House of Representatives from a constituency held by it.

The constituency includes some suburbs of Washington.

Meanwhile, in primaries in New Jersey last week, Indian-American Rajesh Mohan won the Republican ticket for a House seat but faces an uphill battle because it is in a strongly Democratic constituency.

There are now five Indian-Americans in the House of Representatives, all Democrats who call themselves the “Samosa Caucus”: Ami Bera and Ro Khanna from California; Pramila Jayapal from Washington State; Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois, and Shri Thanedar from Michigan.

A State Senator, Subramanyam bested 11 other candidates in an ugly contest where his main adversary faced allegations of sexual harassment.

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He was backed by the retiring House member Jennifer Wexton, who flipped the seat to the Democratic side in 2018 and was re-elected twice, winning 53 per cent of the votes in 2022 making it a safe seat for the party.

Subramanyam’s family is from Bengaluru.

A 37-year-old lawyer, he was President Barack Obama’s technology advisor working on cybersecurity and modernising government agencies.

In 2019, he was elected to the Virginia General Assembly, and the State Senate last year.

He is also a volunteer medic and firefighter.

Mohan, who defeated his three Republican rivals, will be contesting from a constituency held by a Democrat.

Andrew Kim, who is giving up the seat to run for the US Senate, flipped it from the Republican Party in 2018 and won his second re-election in 2022 by 55 per cent.

Three ratings of the race surveyed by Ballotopedia declared it a solid or safe Democratic seat.

A cardiologist, Mohan received his medical degree from the Delhi University College of Medical Sciences.

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In New Jersey, Ravinder Singh Bhalla, the Mayor of Hoboken, lost the Democratic Party primary for the House seat to Rob Menendez who currently holds the seat.

The sitting representative’s father, Senator Bob Menendez, is on trial on corruption charges but undeterred, he waged an ugly campaign against Bhalla, a turban-wearing Sikh, alleging that he made quid-pro-quo deals with the Mayor of a neighbouring city and used images marring his appearance in TV ads.

Susheela Jayapal, the sister of influential Representative Pramila Jayapal, lost the primary for a Democratic seat in Oregon.

Pramila Jayapal heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group of leftist Democratic Party legislators.

She represents a constituency in Washington State, a neighbour of Oregon where her sister Susheela Jayapal was a county commissioner and was among several leftist candidates who faced an ideological backlash in the Democratic primaries.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed at @arulouis)

–IANS

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Six killed in road accident in Afghanistan

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Pul-e-Khumri, July 14 (IANS) Six commuters have been confirmed dead and five others injured in a road accident in north Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, police said.

The deadly road crash on Saturday occurred in the province’s Dand Ghouri district when a military vehicle collided with a passenger car, killing six travelers including a woman, and injuring five others, the statement added, reported Xinhua news agency.

Similarly, a motorcyclist was killed when his motorbike hit a vehicle in Hussainkhail region, Pul-E-Khumri city, the provincial capital of the province late on Saturday.

Road accidents are prevalent in Afghanistan due to poor road conditions, reckless driving, difficult terrains, overloading, overtaking, and overspeeding.

–IANS

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World leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump

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United Nations, July 14 (IANS) World leaders have condemned the attack on former US President Donald Trump at an election rally in western Pennsylvania.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, on Saturday said, “The Secretary-General unequivocally condemns this act of political violence.”

“He sends his best wishes to President Trump for a speedy recovery,” he added.

Trump, who is due to be anointed the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, had a narrow escape on Saturday when shots aimed at him at a campaign rally grazed his ear and killed two people at the event.

Many leaders took to X, the social media for immediate dissemination, to express their disgust with the attack and condemn political violence, while some saw it as an attack on democracy.

US Vice President Kamala Harris took to her X handle and expressed her shock over the attack on Republican Party Presidential candidate Trump.

“I have been briefed on the shooting at former President Trump’s event in Pennsylvania. Doug and I are relieved that he is not seriously injured. We are praying for him, his family, and all those who have been injured and impacted by this senseless shooting,” Harris wrote.

She said, “We are grateful to the United States Secret Service, first responders, and local authorities for their immediate action.”

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“Violence such as this has no place in our nation. We must all condemn this abhorrent act and do our part to ensure that it does not lead to more violence,” Harris added, condemning the attack.

Former US President Barack Obama said, “There is absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy. Although we do not yet know exactly what happened, we should all be relieved that former President Trump was not seriously hurt, and use this moment to recommit ourselves to civility and respect in our politics. Michelle and I are wishing him a quick recovery.”

Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also expressed shock over the incident and wished for Trump’s speedy recovery.

“As one whose family has been the victim of political violence, I know firsthand that political violence of any kind has no place in our society. I thank God that former President Trump is safe. As we learn more details about this horrifying incident, let us pray that all those in attendance at the former President’s rally today are unharmed,” Pelosi said in a post on X.

Former Presidential candidate Nikki Haley, in a post on X, said, “This should horrify every freedom-loving American. Violence against presidential candidates must never be normalized. We are lifting up Donald Trump, the entire Trump family, and all in attendance in prayer.”

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UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer expressed his shock over the attack and said that political violence has no place in society.

“I am appalled by the shocking scenes at President Trump’s rally, and we send him and his family our best wishes. Political violence in any form has no place in our societies, and my thoughts are with all the victims of this attack,” Starmer said in a post on X.

One of Trump’s closest Western allies, Hungary’s President Viktor Orban posted. “My thoughts and prayers are with President in these dark hours.”

Another right-wing politician, Argentina’s President Javier Milei, blamed what he called the “international left” for the attack, writing, “In panic of losing at the polls, they resort to terrorism to impose their backward and authoritarian agenda.”

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, another leader from the right, expressed “apprehension” and wrote that she hoped during “the electoral campaign, dialogue and responsibility can prevail over hate and violence.”

From the US neighbour to the north, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted, “I’m sickened by the shooting at former President Trump. It cannot be overstated – political violence is never acceptable.”

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, “We must stand firm against any form of violence that challenges democracy. I pray for former President Trump’s speedy recovery.”

Writing in Portuguese, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, “The attack on former President Donald Trump must be vehemently repudiated by all defenders of democracy.”

Writing on his and his wife’s behalf, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted, “Sara and I were shocked by the apparent attack on President Trump. We pray for his safety and speedy recovery.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote that the “incident” at the campaign rally “is concerning and confronting. There is no place for violence in the democratic process.”

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric Font posted in Spanish, “Violence is a threat to democracies and weakens our life together. We must all reject it.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol denounced the attack as “horrible political violence” and wished Trump a quick recovery.

“I am appalled by the horrible political violence. I wish former President Trump a speedy recovery. The people of Korea stand in solidarity with the people of America,” Yoon wrote in English on his official X handle.

–IANS

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Trump to attend Republican National Convention next week despite injury in rally shooting

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New York, July 14 (IANS) Despite being injured in a shooting at a rally in Butler in the US state of Pennsylvania, former US President Donald Trump’s campaign said he will attend the Republican National Convention next week as scheduled.

In a joint statement, Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee said the former president “is doing well” and “looks forward to joining you all in Milwaukee as we proceed with our convention”, reported Xinhua news agency.

The Republican National Convention will convene in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 15-18, during which Trump is expected to be officially nominated as the party’s presidential candidate for the November 5 election.

Gunshots were fired at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania on Saturday evening when Trump was delivering a speech.

Screams were heard from the crowd and Trump was seen with blood on the side of his head and his ear, video footage showed. He was quickly escorted into a vehicle before his motorcade left the venue.

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In a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump said he was shot with a bullet “that pierced the upper part of my right ear.”

“I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” he said.

“Much bleeding took place, so I realised then what was happening,” he added.

Trump noted that one person was killed at the rally, and another badly injured, adding that he wanted to extend condolences to their families.

In a statement on X, the US Secret Service said that during Trump’s rally in Butler, a suspected shooter fired “multiple shots” toward the stage from an elevated position outside of the rally venue.

Secret Service agents “neutralized the shooter, who is now deceased,” and the former president “is safe,” the statement said, adding that one spectator was killed and two others were critically injured.

“The incident is currently under investigation,” the statement added.

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The shooting incident is being investigated as an attempted assassination, law enforcement officials said.

US President Joe Biden condemned the shooting on Saturday.

“There’s no place for this kind of violence in America. We must unite as one nation to condemn it,” he said on X.

In remarks released by the White House, Biden said he had been thoroughly briefed on the incident.

“I have tried to get a hold of Donald. He’s with his doctors, he’s doing well,” Biden said.

Biden spoke with Trump in the wake of the shooting incident, according to the White House.

Biden, who was returning to the White House from Delaware to monitor the situation, said there is no place in the country for this kind of violence.

“We cannot allow this to be happening. We cannot be like this. We cannot condone this, Everybody must condemn it,” Biden said.

–IANS

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South Korea warns to end North Korean regime if Pyongyang uses nuclear weapons

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Seoul, July 14 (IANS) South Korea warned on Sunday that North Korea will face the end of its regime if it attempts to use nuclear weapons.

“We sternly warn that there is no scenario in which North Korea’s regime will survive after using nuclear weapons,” Seoul’s defence ministry said in a statement, reported Yonhap news agency.

It was released in response to a statement by the North Korean defence ministry from the previous day. After South Korea and the United States adopted “Guidelines for Nuclear Deterrence and Nuclear Operations on the Korean Peninsula” in Washington on Thursday, North Korea condemned it as a “reckless provocative act.”

North Korea also threatened that Seoul and Washington would pay “an unimaginably harsh price.”

Commending the signing of the guidelines, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden warned any North Korean nuclear attack against South Korea will be met with a swift, overwhelming, and decisive response.

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The allies’ guidelines are expected to expand the assignment of the US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula by increasing the frequency and level of their deployment during both wartime and peacetime.

The South’s defence ministry said it was “self-contradictory” on North Korea’s part to condemn Seoul and Washington for formulating joint nuclear deterrence guidelines when it is Pyongyang that threatens the use of nuclear weapons.

“Without North Korean nuclear threats in the first place, those joint guidelines would not have been necessary,” the ministry added. “This is a fair step taken by the South Korea-US alliance in the face of the improving North Korean nuclear capabilities and its blatant nuclear threats.”

The ministry also blamed the rising tension in the Korean Peninsula on the North Korean regime and noted, “Despite opposition from the international community and sufferings of North Korean people, the regime has continued with its illegal nuclear missile development.”

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The ministry issued a similar warning in April after North Korea said it had conducted rocket drills simulating a nuclear counterattack.

–IANS

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Cambodia says search for missing military helicopter continues amid poor weather

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Phnom Penh, July 14 (IANS) Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defence said on Sunday that search and rescue operations for a missing military helicopter are underway amidst poor weather and obstacles.

The chopper had lost contact with the Air Force headquarters while flying over the densely forested Cardamon Mountain range in Pursat and Koh Kong provinces during a training flight on Friday, reported Xinhua news agency.

Bad weather was blamed for the disappearance of the helicopter.

“After a full day of search and rescue efforts on July 13, 2024, with unfavourable weather and many obstacles.., the rescuers have not yet located or found this missing helicopter,” the Ministry of National Defence said in a statement.

“On the morning of July 14, 2024, the rescue team, with the participation from relevant units in the geography of the lost helicopter, is continuing search activities for the missing chopper,” it added.

The statement did not specify how many people were aboard the disappeared helicopter.

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–IANS

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