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Richard Verma quits US state department for private sector

Indian-American Richard Verma, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, who played a key role in US' negotiations with Russia on the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, is leaving the state department for private sector. The secretary of state Hillary Clinton hosted a farewell for Verma.

"He now leaves for the private sector. He has been a tremendous friend and colleague of all of us for the past couple of years. Most recently, Rich (Richard Verma) helped the secretary (Clinton) both in her recent testimony of the last week. Today is supposed to be his last day," state department spokesman P J Crowley said. Verma is a lawyer with extensive experience in national security and non-proliferation issues.

"He's extending into overtime next week when the secretary does one more hearing on the (Capitol) Hill. But he certainly helped shepherd the effort throughout tChe executive branch late last year that led to the ratification of the START Treaty. So we will bid a fond farewell to our friend, Rich Verma," Crowley told reporters at his daily news conference. Verma assumed the mantle of assistant secretary for the bureau of legislative affairs on April 6, 2009. In this role, he served as the primary adviser to the secretary of state on Congressional affairs, as well as the department's chief liaison to Congress. Prior to his appointment, Verma was a lawyer in private practice, but he also served as senior national security adviser to the senate majority leader Harry Reid, a position he held for several years. A veteran of the US Air Force, Verma is a former country director for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and has worked in the House of Representatives.

IACS organizes meet with Homeland Security and Preparedness

Prominent South Asian community members met up with the officers of Homeland Security and Preparedness in Edison here organized by the Indo American Cultural Society Inc. Anne Kriegner working as Assistant Deputy Director, Operation told the guests, "The training of law enforcement and other individuals tasked with homeland security and emergency preparedness will be shared in temples, church, Gurudwaras, schools or colleges in conjunction with multiple partners in state and local government. The Task Force issued several recommendations to improve the security at the state's colleges and universities also." John Paige, an investigator in special tasks said, "Federal and state local homeland security, law enforcement and emergency management maintain a close working relationship with the Newark and Philadelphia FBI Offices. If you observe suspicious behavior, or someone asking for suspicious chemicals, weapons or someone having killing thoughts must be brought to our knowledge for proper handling of the person or situation."

Leaders from audience asked many tough questions related to Homeland Security and Preparedness and mistreatment of South Asian community at airports in particular and many places in different part of the country and stressed the need of sensitivity training to Law Enforcement Officials and majority community. Any suspicious activity can be reported on toll free number and 24-hour terrorism tip line 1-866-4SAFE-NJ and a newly established email address This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Gayatri Chetana Center celebrates Maha Shivratri

On Maha Shivratri day Gayatri Chetana Center, Los Angeles Branch here celebrated special rituals with scientific reasoning. More than 300 people attended Shiv pojan in Gayatri Center on March 2, 2011 at 6:00PM. Shiv means "Shubha" Shankar means "Kalyankari" with understanding of Lord Shiva divine message of divine form as a Manifestation of Supreme Consciousness was explained by Mahesh Bhatt during the ritual. All attending family members were having shivaling and pooja items in front of them to perform special rituals with Abhishekam. Niki and Viren Bhatt performed the main shivalingam poojan on the stage as representative of all members and to get blessing on their marriage anniversary. Shiv Strotram, and special devotional songs were sung by Niruben Barot, Niki Bhatt and Bhumika Dave.

Shankarbhai Barot, Niruben Barot and Chinubhai Thaker, Vyvasthapak of the Gayatri Chetana Center, LA who leave at this center's premises, inaugurated the special 40 day "Gayatri Mantra Lekhan Sadhana" and invited all temples and spiritual organizations in USA and Canada to participate.

Special announcement was made for starting of Sunday Bal Sanshkar Shaal at this Gayatri Chetana Center from March 6, 2011. Mohan Gupta is facilitating the curriculum and planning of this program. Mohan introduced the teachers for the Bal Sanskar Shaala Neha Vaidhya, Niki Bhatt, Pragya Sharma, Rohita Bhatt, Bhumika Dave and Sashank Patil.

US tech magazine puts Indian American in list of top 25

An Indian American, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, has been listed as one of "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" by a government technology magazine. Sai Kumar Rachuri is the Chief Information Officer in the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and belongs to Vijayawada.

The monthly magazine, published from California, named the top 25 list in its March issue and Rachuri is the lone Indian-American. The magazine honors annually 25 people in the US Public Sector Service, who have conquered barriers to innovate and reshape government operations in the public sector for the better. Rachuri has won the credit for his "unique and groundbreaking" design of the Ohio Shared Services Center's technology backbone, according to a statement. The design ensures that employees work on thin clients and voiceover Internet protocol telephony; data goes to the on-site, dedicated server room. State employees send their invoices to the center through a statewide PeopleSoft ERP implementation called the Ohio Administrative Knowledge System.

The information technology was made flexible so that the state could quickly add or subtract services as needed, but it is robust enough that the state can potentially use the infrastructure someday for other shared service "verticals" such as technology or procurement.

Handled individually, each invoice used to cost the state $ 33. "Ohio has lowered that to $ 12 dollars and hopes to get down to $ 6," the statement quoted him as saying. Rachuri arrived in the US in 1986 and got his master's degree in electrical engineering from Ohio State University. He has served the Ohio state government in different capacities.