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Thursday , October 17 2019

Bill Gates to honor Modi – India-US ties in good health

FILE – In this Sept. 28, 2015, file photo, from left, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet with French President Francois Hollande, as part of the 70th U.N. assembly in New York. Bill and Melinda Gates aren’t backing down from honoring India Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite concerns about human rights abuses in the disputed Kashmir region. A group delivered 100,000 petition signatures to the Gates Foundation’s Seattle headquarters Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, asking the world’s largest private nonprofit not to honor Modi’s sanitation initiative that improved access to toilets. (Alain Jocard/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Bill and Melinda Gates aren’t backing down from honoring India Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite concerns about human rights abuses in the disputed Kashmir region. A dozen people, some wearing “Free Kashmir” T-shirts, with the Justice For All coalition delivered 100,000 petition signatures to the Gates Foundation’s Seattle headquarters on Monday, asking the world’s largest private nonprofit not to honor Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission, a sanitation initiative that improved access to toilets. Javed Sikander, a demonstrator in Seattle who said he is a former Microsoft employee, spoke of his admiration for the Microsoft cofounder, calling Bill Gates and his namesake foundation an inspiration. “That is all the more reason we’re so disappointed that the foundation would honor a person who is clearly committing human rights violations in India,” Sikander said. Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government presented an order in Parliament on Aug 5 revoking the autonomy of India’s only Muslim-majority state. It has imposed tighter controls on India’s side of Kashmir, including limiting internet access, mobile and landline phones and cable TV in the disputed region home to 12.5 million people. (AP)

India-US ties in good health: India’s external affairs minister says relations with the United States have come a long way and are in very good health. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to visit the US to address the UN General Assembly this month. He also will speak to the Indian diaspora in Houston, Texas, at an event titled “Howdy, Modi!” President Donald Trump plans to attend the Houston meeting, which External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Tuesday was a “great honor” and an achievement for the Indo-American community. (RTRS)

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