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Davan Maharaj named editor of LA Times

Davan Maharaj, an Indian-origin journalist has been named as the new editor and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Times. He will take the place of Russ Stanton, under whose leadership the paper won three Pulitzer Prizes.

Maharaj will be the 15th editor of LA Times. Currently the managing editor of the newspaper, 49-year-old Maharaj was born in Trinidad. He holds a political science degree from Tennessee and a Masters degree in law from Yale and has worked at the paper for 22 years with a short stint in Africa. He has also been an assistant foreign editor and then business editor before becoming the paper's managing editor in 2008. Maharaj's series on poverty in sub- Sahara won him the 2005 Ernie Pyle award. In comments on his appointment, Maharaj said, "I am humbled and honored and propose to push forward the newspaper in the digital and mobile space."

Ravi Batra appointed to New York State ethics committee

Ravi Batra, an eminent Indian- American attorney has been named to New York State's ethics committee. The committee acts as an independent corruption monitor. A New York-based attorney with a private practice experience, Batra is the only Indian- American to be appointed to the powerful 14-member Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOP). The committee which oversees both the executive and legislative branches, as well as lobbyists will be headed by Attorney Janet Di- Fiore. "The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is an independent monitor that will aggressively investigate corruption and help maintain integrity in state government," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "I am confident that under the leadership of Chair DiFiore and the other board members, the Commission will be the toughest ethics enforcer in our state's history," he said. Batra, who has served as a professor of business law at Pace University, has also served as Chair of the Judicial Independence Committee of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

Obama appoints Preeta Bansal to key administration post

President Barack Obama has named Indian-American, Preeta D. Bansal, as a member of an independent agency promoting improvements in the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of government procedures "I am proud to appoint such impressive individuals to these important roles, and I am grateful they have agreed to lend their considerable talents to this Administration," he said naming two members of the Advisory Council of the Administrative Conference of the US. "I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead." Bansal joins over two dozen Indian-Americans serving the Obama administration in high places. By far the highest ranking Indian- American in any presidential administration is USAID administrator Rajiv Shah. As the General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Management and Budget from 2009 to 2011, Bansal was also a government member of the Council, serving as vice chair from 2010 until 2011. A Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Bansal was a partner and head of the Appellate Litigation Practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP, in New York City, prior to joining the Obama Administration. She is the former solicitor general of the State of New York and a former law clerk to US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. From 2003 to 2009, while in private law practice, Bansal also was a commissioner of the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom, serving as its Chair from 2004 to 2005. Bansal received a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and an A.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard- Radcliffe College.

Anu Natarajan named Mayor Pro Tem of Freemont

On Dec. 29, Fremont Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan was named Mayor Pro Tem, following the death of Mayor Bob Wasserman, who has been Mayor of Fremont since 2004. Natarajan will fulfill the duties of mayor until the City Council makes a decision on filling the vacancy in the office of the mayor. The City Council will consider filling the vacancy within 60 days from the commencement of the vacancy. Anu Natarajan has lived in Fremont for 14 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and a Masters degree in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington. Her professional experience includes working as an architect, public agency planner and as an urban planning consultant. Through a communitybased planning process, she believes in creating well-designed, sustainable and livable communities, which is essential to fostering economic growth. Natarajan served on the Fremont Planning Commission from January 2003 to December 2004. She volunteers with community organizations, and also enjoys exploring new cities and their architecture, meeting people, and reading.

Ishan Shah appointed to California Student Aid Commission

Ishan Shah, 19, of Fremont, has been appointed to be a student representative on the California Student Aid Commission by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr on Nov. 19. Shah is pursuing a degree in political science at Ohlone College. Shah served as a commissioner on the Human Relations Commission in Alameda County from 2010 to 2011. He has served as a student senator for the Student Senate for the California Community Colleges from 2010 to 2011. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. "Since my campaign for the Ohlone College Board of Trustees last year, I've become hooked on educational policy. Thankfully Governor Brown is one of the limited number of politicians who backs up what he says. I believe he's always been a supporter of students, and knows we have many tough battles ahead of us," said Shah. Shah was named to the Alameda County Human Rights Commission last year. He has also served on the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.