Desi Talk - page 6

May 27, 2016
– that’s all you need to know
By Ela Dutt
wati Dandekar, former
Iowa state lawmaker,
was confirmed by the
U.S. Senate May 17, for
the position of U.S.
executive director at the Asian
Development Bank, an ambas-
sadorial rank position.
She was nominated by
President Obama in November
"I am looking forward to
going to Asia and focusing on
renewable energy, clean water,
infrastructure, women's issues,
and education," Dandekar, 65,
told News India Times.
Dandekar is the past chair of the
National Foundation forWomen
While a date is yet to be
announced, Dandekar will take
over her new position in Manila,
Philippines, the headquarters of
the ADB. The three-term Iowa
state Representative (2002-2008)
also served in the Iowa state
Senate (2009-2011), before
resigning to join the Iowa
Utilities Board in 2011.
She said she feels well-
equipped to deal with ADB's
portfolio. "My background in
public policy and utilities equips
me with the experience, and I do
understand a few Asian lan-
guages," which she is keen refur-
bish, Dandekar said. She served
in several positions in education
in her home state, starting as a
school board member for Linn-
Mar school in Iowa.
The ADB which was estab-
lished in the 1960s, is a regional
development bank with 67
member countries, 48 of them
from Asia. The financial institu-
tion was established with a view
to foster economic growth and
cooperation in one of the poor-
est regions in the world, by
extending loans. The ADB oper-
ations in 2015 totaled $27.17 bil-
lion. Its priority areas include
energy, infrastructure, telecom-
munications, clean water, and
education, transport and urban
development, agriculture and
food security, gender issues, and
environment and climate
A graduate in science from
Nagpur University, Dandekar
came to the U.S. 43 years ago
with her husband, Arvind
Dandekar, a businessman, who
she told News India Times,
would split his time between
Iowa and Manila.
Swati Dandekar Confirmed As U.S. Director Of Asian Development Bank
By a StaffWriter
resident awarded the
National Medal of Science
and the National Medal of
Technology and Innovation to
17 individuals May 19 at the
White House, one of them an
Indian-American scientist at
Harvard. The medals are the
highest honors bestowed by the
government on scientists, engi-
neers, and inventors and list of
awardees was announced in
Dr. Rakesh K. Jain of Harvard
Medical School and
Massachusetts General Hospital,
received the National Medal of
Science at aWhite House cere-
mony. The award recognized his
pioneering research at the inter-
face of engineering and oncolo-
gy, including tumor microenvi-
ronment, drug delivery and
imaging, and for groundbreak-
ing discoveries of principles
leading to the development and
novel use of drugs for treatment
of cancer and non-cancerous
“These scientific laureates
exemplify the American spirit
and ingenuity that have
enriched our society and the
global community in profound
and lasting ways,” President
Obama is quoted saying in a
release from theWhite House.
“Their ambition and accom-
plishments are an inspiration to
the next generation pursuing
careers in the essential fields of
science, technology, engineer-
ing, and math.”
Jain, recipient of numerous
awards, is the AndrewWerk
Cook Professor of Tumor Biology
(Radiation Oncology), and
Director, Edwin L. Steele
Laboratory for Tumor Biology, at
Mass General. Jain received the
Guggenheim Fellowship in 1983
and is a member of the Institute
of Medicine, the National
Academy of Engineering, the
American Academy of Arts and
Sciences, and the National
Academy of Sciences. A graduate
of Indian Institute of
Technology, Kanpur, and Ph.Ds
in chemical engineering from
the University of Delaware.
The National Medal of
Science was created by statute in
1959 and is administered for the
White House by the National
Science Foundation. The
President receives nominations
from a committee of
Presidential appointees based
on their extraordinary knowl-
edge in and contributions to
chemistry, engineering, comput-
ing, mathematics, and the bio-
logical, behavioral/social, and
physical sciences.
President Obama Honors Harvard Cancer Researcher With National Medal Of Science
FromNews Dispatches
omner Elementary
School teacher Revathi
Balakrishnan, 53, the
2016 Texas Elementary
Teacher of theYear, was recog-
nized by President Obama for
excellence in teaching at a cer-
emony to announce the
National Teacher of theYear
award at theWhite House May
The Chennai-born
Balakrishnan has an econom-
ics degree fromUniversity of
Madras, and teaches math in
grades 3 to 5 at Somner
Elementary. Last October
Balakrishnan was named 2016
Texas Elementary Teacher of
theYear and Texas Teacher of
theYear, which made her eligi-
ble to compete for the
National Teacher of theYear
While she did not win that,
Balakrishnan was the sole
Texas candidate representing
the state in the National
Teacher of theYear program.
Balakrishnan has been an
educator for nine years, six of
which have been at Sommer
as a founding staff member.
“We are so excited to cele-
brate Ms. Balakrishnan and
her outstanding efforts and
passion,” Dr. Steve Flores,
Texas Superintendent of
Schools is quoted saying in an
October press release . “World
class schools start with caring
educators working tirelessly
for students, and she exempli-
fies that mission," Flores
"It is not work for me. It is
actually a passion,"
Balakrishnan is quoted saying
in news reports.
Texas Teacher Of The Year
Recognized At White House
By Patricia Zengerle
.S. lawmakers are looking
to use a defense policy
bill to increase restric-
tions on military aid for Pakistan,
expressing frustration with what
they see as Islamabad's failure to
crack down on Afghanistan's mil-
itant Haqqani network.
The $602 billion National
Defense Authorization Act, or
NDAA, passed by the House of
Representatives late on
Wednesday would block $450
million in aid to Islamabad
unless it does more to fight the
network, which lawmakers see as
a major threat to U.S. forces in
The bill requires the Pentagon
to certify that Pakistan is con-
ducting military operations to
disrupt the Haqqani network, not
letting the network use North
Waziristan as a safe haven and
actively coordinating with
Afghanistan's government to
fight the network along their bor-
As they finalized the 2017 ver-
sion of the annual bill, House
members added three amend-
ments related to Pakistan. All
passed by unanimous voice vote.
One added a fourth require-
ment to the release of the aid,
that the administration certify
Pakistan has shown progress in
arresting and prosecuting
Haqqani network senior leaders
and mid-level operatives.
Another required that the
Secretary of Defense certify
Pakistan is not using its military
or any funds or equipment pro-
vided by the United States to per-
secute minority groups.
And a third added a "sense of
Congress" that Shakil Afridi is an
international hero and calls for
his immediate release from
prison. Afridi is a Pakistani doctor
believed to have helped the CIA
hunt down Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan sentenced Afridi in
2012 to 33 years in jail on charges
of belonging to a militant group,
which he denies. That sentence
was overturned and Afridi is now
awaiting trial on another charge.
Pakistan says its courts will
decide Afridi's fate, and has
angrily criticized U.S. politicians,
including Republican presiden-
tial candidate Donald Trump,
over calls to release him.
The House version of the
NDAA is not the final version of
the legislation. It must be com-
bined with a Senate bill before
being sent to theWhite House for
President Barack Obama to sign,
or veto.
However, there is also strong
criticism of Pakistan in the
Senate. This month, Senator Bob
Corker used his authority as
chairman of the Foreign
Relations Committee to bar the
use of any U.S. funds for Pakistan
to buy American F-16 fighter jets.
– Reuters
U.S. House Seeks To Tighten Restrictions On Pakistan Aid
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