New at Roosevelt House
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has given its stamp of approval to the nomination of Nancy J Powell, who was named by President Barack Obama as the ambassador to India in mid-December. The positive tone set at the beginning by Sen. John Kerry, the committee chairman, largely remained throughout the 65-minute hearing. Terming the ambassador-designate as “one of the foremost South Asia experts” in the US Foreign Service and “one of our best,” the Massachusetts Democrat said, “It is only appropriate that she be tasked with one of the state department’s most important postings.” Her familiarity with India and the region — she served as the consul general in Kolkata and ambassador in Katmandu and Islamabad — was evident in Powell’s testimony. Once confirmed, the Iowan will be the first woman US ambassador in India and the 22nd American to occupy the Roosevelt House in New Delhi.
Bharara Not Resting on Laurels
Preet Bharara seems in no mood to close his Galleon book. After securing an 11-year conviction against Raj Rajaratnam, the Sri Lanka-born founder of the now-defunct hedge fund, and pressing charges against former McKinsey & Co chief Rajat Gupta, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, recently indicted another fund manager for insider trading. Douglas Whitman, who founded the California-based Whitman Capital, is accused of making $900,000 in profit, using insider information to trade in the shares of Google and two other technology companies. According to the New York Times, the Bharara-led crackdown against Wall Street insider trading, called “Operation Perfect Hedge,” has resulted in more than 60 guilty pleas or convictions, and half of the “64 charged so far are connected to the Galleon case.”
Breathe In, Breathe Out
A US airport has turned to yoga for helping passengers reduce air travel-related stress. The San Francisco International Airport — the 23rd busiest in the world in passenger traffic in 2010 — recently opened a yoga room, believed to be the first airport yoga studio in the world. The “150-square-foot room with mirrored walls” cost the airport between $15,000 and $20,000, the Associated Press reported. Yoga is a $6-billion industry in the country today, and one in nearly 15 Americans practices yoga, a 2008 study by the Yoga Journal revealed. Singer Madonna, who wowed the world with an age-defying tour de force during the halftime of Super Bowl on February 5, had reportedly used a hydraulic yoga mat during her preparation for the show, watched by 123 million people around the world.