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Report: Ami Bera’s father admits to illegal campaign contributions

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In this 2010 photo, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) addresses supporters at a campaign gathering in Carmichael, Calif. Bera's father has pleaded guility to illegal campaign contributions in 2009 and 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

In this 2010 photo, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) addresses supporters at a campaign gathering in Carmichael, Calif. Bera’s father has pleaded guility to illegal campaign contributions in 2009 and 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Babual Bera, father of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), pleaded guilty on Tuesday to channeling more than a quarter of a million dollars to his son’s 2010 and 2012 political campaigns.

His plea was entered during a brief appearance in Sacramento federal court, and will face sentencing in August. Federal prosecutors are recommending up to 30 months in prison for the offense. In court documents, prosecutors said the 83-year-old retired engineer and his wife asked “relatives, friends and acquaintances to make the maximum allowable federal campaign contributions” to campaigns in 2009 and 2011.

“Congressman Bera and his campaign staff have been fully cooperative in this investigation,” acting U.S. Atty. Phillip A. Talbert said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “To date, there is no indication from what we’ve learned in the investigation that either the congressman or his campaign staff knew of, or participated in, the reimbursements of contributions.”

The congressman reiterated the same points, saying he was completely unaware of any illicit activities by his father until the U.S. Attorney’s Office had approached him.

“Since I learned from authorities about this investigation, my team and I have cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Neither I, nor anyone involved with my campaign, was aware of my father’s activities until we learned about them from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and, on the advice of my attorney, I have not discussed this matter or anything else regarding my campaigns with my father.

“Once this investigation was made public, I immediately took steps to give the full amount of improper donations to the United States Treasury and the taxpayers.

“My father taught me the value of hard work and, if not for him, I would not be a doctor.  But he also taught me that we are all accountable for our own actions, and he has accepted responsibility for what he did.”

However, prosecutors said there were more than 130 instances of improper campaign contributions from approximately 90 people. Babual repaid portions of those donations, and investigators said that it’s within the realm of reality that even more money was donated illegally to Ami’s early campaigns — he unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2010, before narrowly defeating Rep. Dan Lungren in 2012.

Babual plead Tuesday to funneling $225,326 in 2009 and another $43,000 in 2011. In both election cycles, his parents had already made their own contributions of $2,400 and $2,500, the maximum allowed by law.

The investigation began after an anonymous tip to the FBI in the fall of 2014, saying that donations had been made and later repaid by different people in various parts of the country. The elder Bera was interviewed by FBI agents last October about the allegations.

In a written statement, Rep. Bera said he was “incredibly saddened and disappointed in learning what my dad did.”

“While I deeply love my father, it’s clear that he has made a grave mistake that will have real consequences for him,” Bera said in the statement.

The two-term congressman currently finds himself in the heat of a re-election battle against Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican. Additionally, he has found himself in a tough spot with some of his fellow Democrats and labor unions as of late for his support of President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

When asked by the judge whether he was guilty of the offenses, the elder Bera replied simply: “I have, in fact, done the crime.”

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Google launches mobile payment App Tez tailored to Indian users

Google launches mobile payment App Tez tailored to Indian users

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Tez

Following vast speculation, Google officially launched a mobile payment platform for the Indian market, called Tez.
Available for Android and iOS users in India, Tez initiates Google’s entry into the mobile payment industry in India.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Diya TV) — Following vast speculation, Google officially launched a mobile payment platform for the Indian market, called Tez.

Available for Android and iOS users in India, Tez initiates Google’s entry into the mobile payment industry in India. The app allow users to link their smartphones with their bank accounts and pay for goods and services online and at traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Users can also make person-to-person instant money transfers, similar to PayPal.

With Tez, users pay directly from their bank account, using a Unified Payments Interface. Currently, the app works with all major banks, including Google partners Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI and State Bank of India.

Tez is not a mobile wallet like PayTM and MobiKwik. Rather, instead of users storing money, it works more like Apple Wallet, linking the bank account, allowing payments to be deducted from the account.

According to Tez, it’s Tez Shield built-in security “helps to detect fraud, prevent hacking, and verify your identity.” Each transaction is secured with the user’s UPI PIN. Additionally, the app is secured with a Google PIN or a screen lock method such as fingerprint.

Tez says the app has partnered with a myriad of apps and vendors, including RedBus, PVR, Domino’s, Dish TV and Jet Airways. The app supports multiple languages: English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Business owners can use the Tez with their current account to start accepting digital payments. Payments will go directly to their bank accounts “without any additional cost incurred for the transaction.”

During a launch event in Delhi, Caesar Sengupta, the head of Google’s Next Billion program said the app “works with the vast majority of Android smartphones in the country.”

The app launch took place on Sept. 18 with India Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying, “Tez by Google is perhaps the simplest form of monetary transactions.”

Since launching on Google Play and iTunes store, the app has received positive reviews by users. On the Android platform, of nearly 15,000 reviews and over 100,000 users, the app has a 3.8 star rating, with over half of the reviews being 5-star. On the Apple platform, Tez has a 4.5-star rating with 15 reviews.

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Mahindra and Ford Announce Strategic Cooperation

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Ford Mahindra

Designed at leveraging the benefits of Ford’s global reach and Mahindra’s scale in India and successful operating model, Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company announced a strategic alliance.

DEARBORN, Mich. (Diya TV) — Designed at leveraging the benefits of Ford and Mahindra’s strengths, Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company announced a strategic alliance.

A Sept. 18 announcement by Ford says the “agreement between the two companies will allow each to leverage their mutual strengths during a period of unprecedented transformation in the global automotive industry.”

Areas of cooperation include:mobility programs; connected vehicle projects; electrification; product development; sourcing and commercial efficiencies; distribution within India; improving Ford’s reach within India; and improving Mahindra’s reach beyond India.

“Ford is committed to India and this alliance can help us deliver the best vehicles and services to customers while profitably growing in the world’s fifth largest vehicle market,” stated Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets.

Ford and Mahindra will work together for a period of up to three years. Following that the period may be extended.

“The changes facing the automotive industry globally are triggered by the accelerated rise of new technologies, sustainability policies and new models of urban shared mobility. Given these changes we see the need to anticipate new market trends, explore alternatives and look for ways to collaborate even as we compete and build powerful synergies that will allow rapid exploitation of the exciting new opportunities …,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra.

Mahindra is one of the leading utility vehicle manufacturers in India for over 70 years.

Mahindra owns a majority stake in Ssangyong Motor Company in Korea and is developing products like the GenZe – the world’s first electric connected scooter.

Ford is one of the largest exporters of cars from the U.S., manufacturing and exporting vehicles and engines from its manufacturing facilities in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Sanand, Gujarat. India is also the second-largest Ford employee base globally, with more than 14,000 people working across the Ford India and Global Business Services operations in New Delhi, Chennai, and Coimbatore.

The Mahindra Group is a $19 billion federation of companies focused on “innovative mobility solutions, driving rural prosperity, enhancing urban living, nurturing new businesses and fostering communities.”

It is the world’s largest tractor company, by volume. It also enjoys a strong presence in agribusiness, components, commercial vehicles, consulting services, energy, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, steel, aerospace, defense and motorcycles. Mahindra employs over 200,000 people across 100 countries.

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles. Ford employs approximately 203,000 people worldwide.

The two companies had a brief 1995 partnership for manufacturing the Ford Escort. However, after three years, the partnership ceased.

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Duke University Opens India office in Bengaluru

Duke University Opens India office in Bengaluru

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Duke University India

North Carolina-based private research university Duke University recently opened an India office in Bengaluru to foster its collaborations with Indian universities and organizations.

DURHAM, N.C. (Diya TV) — North Carolina-based private research university Duke University recently opened an India office in Bengaluru to foster its collaborations with Indian universities and organizations.

Duke University India “aims to expand the existing Duke-India partnerships, which include academic exchange programs and research collaborations,” Duke Today reported.

https://youtu.be/SLGE2vf-hTo

According to the report, the University’s current partners in India include NITI-Aayog, the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University in Ahmedabad, Narayana Health City, IIM – Udaipur, IIM – Ahmedabad, and IIT- Gandhinagar.

Duke hosted a launch event on Sept. 18, celebrating the commencement of operations, featuring a conversation between Dr. Michael Merson, vice president and vice provost for global affairs at Duke and Dr. Devi Shetty, chairman and founder of Narayana Health.

“I think we cannot think of education if we don’t think of global education,” Namrata Jha, executive director of Duke University India said in a video posted by Duke Global. “Duke University has opened a new office in India, based in Bangalore to create more partnerships – research collaborations, university partnerships, more student exchange, faculty exchange, going to India and understanding about Indian culture, more student exchange, faculty exchange, going to India and understanding about Indian culture, learning from the community, giving back to the community. And my team at Duke University’s office in India will be working with faculty at Duke to make that happen.”

“India is unique. While it has lots of challenges, it is also a hub of intellect, of forward-looking thinking, young minds. It’s a fertile ground for doing something groundbreaking in this world. If the technological innovation and great minds of Duke University could tap into the young minds of India, I think we can create wonders,” she added.

Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina.  More than 430 Indian students are currently enrolled there and nearly 700 Duke Alumni live in India.

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