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Pakistan appoints first ever female Hindu civil judge

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Suman Bodani Pakistani Hindu Judge

Islamabad, Jan 29 : Pakistan has appointed the country’s first ever Hindu female civil judge after she passed an examination for induction of judicial officers, the media reported on Tuesday.

Suman Kumari, who hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot in Sindh province, will serve in her native district, reports Dawn news.

Kumari passed her LL.B. examination from Hyderabad and did her masters in law from Karachi’s Szabist University.

Kumari fears that her community would not appreciate her decision to become a lawyer, but “I am confident my family will stand by me come what may”.

According to her father, Pawan Kumar Bodan, Suman wants to provide free legal assistance to the poor in Qambar-Shahdadkot.

“Suman has opted for a challenging profession, but I am sure she will go places through hard work and honesty,” he said.

Hindus currently make for approximately 1.85 per cent of Pakistan’s population, according to official data.

In 2006, Ratna Bhagwandas Chawla became the first Hindu woman elected to Pakistan’s Senate.

Last year, Krishna Kumari Kohli, a Hindu woman became the first non-Muslim female to win a women reserved seat in Senate of Pakistan.

Politics

‘A ship of fools and a circus’: American voters react to Trump impeachment trial

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Donald Trump

New York, Jan 24: American voters reacting in real-time to the historic impeachment trial of US president Donald Trump are saying only something “dramatic” and “crazy” could tip the balance against Trump and that he is on course to win re-election by a “razor thin” margin this November.

Barely days into Trump’s impeachment trial, US voters who spoke with IANS are already dug in on how the trial currently on in Washington DC might affect outcomes in the US presidential elections this November.

Anni Lundy, a self described “moderate” and “vegan gun owner” from Houston calls the impeachment process that’s getting wall to wall prime time coverage “a ship of fools” and a “circus”.

“I don’t think this is going to move the needle but I know what will,” she said.

Hearing from former White House national security adviser John Bolton tops Lundy’s list.

“At the end of the day, if John Bolton doesn’t testify, and it’s not looking like he will, we’ll never ever know for sure. That’s a shame,” said Lundy.

If Bolton does testify, he could provide a first-hand account of events at the heart of the impeachment case against Trump. Bolton was present at key moments in meetings with Ukrainian officials.

The impeachment case against Trump revolves around a pressure campaign against Ukraine, a vulnerable ally of the US. Nearly $400 million of taxpayer-funded and Congress-approved military aid was held back on Trump’s orders, as he pressed Ukraine to announce an investigation of his opponents. The aid was released only after a whistleblower’s complaint and after Democrats in Congress opened the investigation.

For Lundy, the takeaway from a Bolton testimony is straightforward: the closure of “speculation”.

“If Bolton testifies, he can tell us what is on that server where the transcript of that phone call Trump made to Ukraine are kept.”

For others like Patrick Lee, a stay at home dad who lives close to New York City, is less about the fine print, more about social anxiety.”

“White people feel they are losing their way of life and they will vote Trum”,” said Lee, speaking to the potent tribalism that political research scholars found to be a key ingredient of Trump’s stunning 2016 triumph.

“Republicans on the fence about Trump will not vote. They will never throw him under the bus,” Lee said.

Lee thinks Trump will get re-elected with”a “razor-thin margin”.

The lion’s share of impeachment and removal polling trackers show an absence of broad public support for Trump’s exit.

Forty seven percent of Americans support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office while 47.9 per cent are against it, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average of eight latest polls in January alone from Economist, Monmouth, Politico, CNN, Gallup, NPR-PBS, Quinnipiac and IBD.

Throughout the last three years of his presidency, including after the impeachment inquiry began, Trump’s approval rating has remained doggedly within a slim range in the 40s.

Two thirds of the Senate – or 67 votes – would be needed to convict Trump of an impeachment charge and remove him from office. Republicans control the Senate 53-47.

Beyond the numbers, though, voters’ reactions swiftly go beyond merely partisanship and demographic stereotypes.

Lucia, a Maryland voter, thinks it will be hard to out Trump based entirely on the impeachment storyboard. She says it will take”a “dramatic piece of information to challenge an amazing economy.”

“It depends who the Democratic nominee is as well”, she said, pointing to the crowded opposition field from which a challenger to Trump will eventually emerge.

Other voters we spoke to answer with questions that transcend who wins and who loses the next election. “

“Can the US still call itself a democracy if it has a president that is allowed to put national security at risk and isn’t held accountable to the constitution? Thank goodness for Adam Shiff”, said a mom from northern New Jersey.”

“I think no one has any expectation that any GOP members of the Senate will break with their party and vote in favour of removing Trump.”

Alan Brown, who will be voting in New York this November, believes that US election fortunes'”aren’t about logic an”more.”

“I thin’ it’s all crazy. If the economy tanks or something extraordinary happens, maybe Trump will go. But that level of insanity has to be such that even those who’don’t operate from a place of logic’won’t have any ground to stand on.”

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Indian-American Amrit Singh becomes first turban-wearing Deputy Constable in Harris County in US state of Texas

In 2015, Harris County made national headlines after sheriff’s deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal fought for and won the rights to wear his turban and beard on duty.

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Sikh Man

Houston, Jan 22 : Amrit Singh, an Indian-American law enforcement officer, has scripted history by becoming the first-ever turban-wearing Sikh to be sworn in as Deputy Constable in Harris County in the US state of Texas.

Singh, 21, will be the first in his profession to wear his articles of faith – a turban, beard, and uncut hair in the line of duty.

It was a historic day on Tuesday as Singh’s swearing-in coincided with the adoption of a new policy that allows law enforcement officers in nearly every single Harris County Constable’s Office to wear articles of their faith while in uniform. For Sikhs, that means being able to wear a turban and beard while on duty.

Singh always wanted to work as a peace officer. He spent years in law enforcement explorer programmes and five months in a police training academy.

“Growing up, I always wanted to be a deputy and my Sikh faith was also very important to me,” Singh said.

“Constable Alan Rosen was the first one to give me a callback. He opened this agency with open arms for me,” he said.

Speaking at Singh’s swearing-in ceremony, Precinct 1 Constable Rosen said the county’s eight constables supported accommodations for Sikhs to serve while adhering to their religion.

“As a man of the Jewish faith, I know how it feels to be religiously targeted and how important it is to teach inclusion, understanding and tolerance,” Rosen said, standing in front of representatives from the county’s other constable offices.

“To me, wearing a yarmulke or him wearing a turban really doesn’t impact the quality of work he’s going to do. It should have zero impact on public safety or what job we do. Are you going to care if the person showing up to your door to help save you has a turban or yarmulke? You’re not. You’re just happy they’re there to save you and keep you safe,” the officer said.

Singh will now go on to months of field training, after which he will be assigned to patrol within Precinct One.

In 2015, Harris County made national headlines after sheriff’s deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal fought for and won the rights to wear his turban and beard on duty.

At the time of the deputy’s murder last year, just a few dozen law enforcement agencies across the United States — and the US Army — had uniform policies with religious accommodations allowing Sikhs to serve in accordance with their faith.

“Legacy of Dhaliwal is not far removed, it clearly recognised and acknowledge his service and this is a gift that continues to give in his recognition and legacy,” said Bobby Singh, a Sikh community leader.

In 2009, Dhaliwal was the first Sikh to join the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and in 2015, he became the first Sikh law enforcement officer to be allowed to wear his articles of faith in uniform. He was shot and killed during a traffic stop last year.

“We honour his legacy by honouring his faith here today,” Rosen said.

In the months since Dhaliwal’s death, law enforcement agencies in California, Washington and in Texas have signalled willingness to change their policies, said Manpreet Singh of the Sikh Coalition, which advocates for religious accommodations for minority communities in public and private sectors.

“It makes me proud to be a Houstonian, and a Texan. I hope the rest of the nation follows Texas,” she said.

“I could just hope that I could be half as decent a cop as he ever was, and everything I do, I want people to know that I’m doing it following in his footsteps,” Deputy Singh said.

“He made our community proud,” said Suhel Singh, Deputy Singh’s father.

Singh’s parents were recognised at the ceremony. They told FOX 26 that they were proud to see their son pursue his passion even though it is a dangerous job.

“The way I look at it, maybe it will make me pray harder and be more praying for his protection from God,” said Singh’s mother Sukie Kaur.

Singh is now one of just two law enforcement officers in the county wearing a turban.

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China, US should boost strategic communication: Ambassador

Signing the deal “serves the interests of China, the United States, and the world as a whole,” the ambassador stressed.

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Chinese Cui Tiankai

Washington, Jan 22 : China and the United States should strengthen strategic communication and look at each other rationally, Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, said.

Speaking at a Spring Festival reception hosted by the Chinese embassy, Tiankai said on Tuesday that China-US relations have achieved historic development since the establishment of their diplomatic ties, which has not only brought about great benefits to the two peoples but also helped promote world stability and prosperity.

The Chinese ambassador also dismissed claims of “decoupling” or “New Cold War” between China and the United States, saying that they are against the trend of history and unpopular.

“There is no difficulty that cannot be overcome as long as the two sides respect each other’s dignity, sovereignty, and core interests,” he said.

Talking about the phase-one economic and trade agreement that China and the United States have recently inked, Tiankai said the deal, which was aimed at addressing concerns of both sides, showed a spirit of mutual respect and came to fruition through consultation on an equal footing.

Signing the deal “serves the interests of China, the United States, and the world as a whole,” the ambassador stressed.

China and the United States, he suggested, should take it as an opportunity to earnestly implement the strategic consensus reached by their leaders, reduce misunderstandings and miscalculations and properly manage their differences so as to build a relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.

The reception was attended by some 700 guests, according to the Washington DC-based Chinese embassy.

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