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How Kamala Harris’ Indian relatives helped shape her views on civil rights and civic duty

New Delhi (CNN)In 1958, Shyamala Gopalan arrived in Berkeley, California, after traveling thousands of miles from her family to pursue a doctorate in nutrition and endocrinology. Gopalan was a precocious 19-year-old student. She had already graduated early from the University of Delhi, but the trip to California marked her first time out of India, where…

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How Kamala Harris’ Indian relatives helped shape her views on civil rights and civic duty

New Delhi (CNN)In 1958, Shyamala Gopalan arrived in Berkeley, California, after traveling thousands of miles from her family to pursue a doctorate in nutrition and endocrinology. Gopalan was a precocious 19-year-old student. She had already graduated early from the University of Delhi, but the trip to California marked her first time out of India, where her parents and three siblings lived.She was alone. Fortunately for Gopalan, she had chosen to study at a campus that was about to become the counterculture capital of the United States. There, she found a home within the Bay Area’s vibrant Black community, which welcomed her with open arms. Gopalan became an active civil rights crusader, while she undertook her studies. She met her first love in the movement, a Jamaican economics student named Donald Harris. They married and had two daughters together, Maya and her older sister, Kamala, who was announced Tuesday as the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president.”From almost the moment she arrived from India, she chose and was welcomed to the Black community,” Harris wrote of her mother in her 2019 autobiography, “The Truths We Hold.” “In a country where she had no family, they were her family — and she was theirs.”Gopalan and Donald Harris divorced when the children were young, but she would continue to be active in the civil rights movement. Kamala Harris wrote that her mother was acutely aware she was raising two girls that the general public would assume were Black, not Black and Indian.Harris credits her mother, who died in 2009, as one of her most important influences in her life who, along with others, inspired her to go into politics. But while Gopalan’s sense of civic duty may have found new purpose in Berkeley, it was forged in India.Gopalan’s mother and Harris’ grandmother, Rajam Gopalam, was an outspoken community organizer. Rajam’s husband, P.V. Gopalam, was an accomplished Indian diplomat.”My mother had been raised in a household where political activism and civic leadership came naturally,” Harris wrote in her book.”From both of my grandparents, my mother developed a keen political consciousness. She was conscious of history, conscious of struggle, conscious of inequities. She was born with a sense of justice imprinted on her soul.” The influential grandfatherThat sense of justice was shaped in large part by P.V. Gopalan, who as a diplomat worked to help resettle refugees from East Pakistan — modern-day Bangladesh — in India after the country’s partition, according to Harris’ maternal uncle, Gopalan Balachandran.Balachandran told CNN in a phone call that his father had strong views on humanitarian issues, which influenced Shyamala’s upbringing.But that wasn’t exactly what the two siblings bonded over when they were younger.Balachandran, 80, said he best remembers how he and his sister loved to play pranks and would get into trouble when they were younger and living in Mumbai. He remembers his father as stingy with advice and quiet but supportive.Gopalan’s confidence in his children proved crucial when it came time for Shyamala to move to Berkeley. Balachandran said at the time, she would have been one of the first 19-year-old single Indian woman to travel to the US to study because of conservative attitudes about the role of women in India.But P.V. and Rajam Gopalan were progressive for their time. Balachandran said they offered to pay for the first year, and after that, Shyamala would have to make it on her own, which she did.”We were so happy,” Balachandran said. Balachandran said his father was a bit warmer with his grandchildren, something Harris seems to reflect in her public comments about him. When they asked him for counsel, P.V. Gopalan would tell his grandchildren, “I will give you advice, but do what you think is best, what you like most, and do it well,” Balachandran recalled. Harris called her grandfather one of her “favorite people in the world,” in an interview with Los Angeles Times last year, while she was still campaigning for the democratic presidential nomination.Speaking in a 2009 interview with Aziz Haniffa, the former executive editor and a chief correspondent of India Abroad, Harris said some of her fondest childhood memories were walking along the beach with her retired grandfather when he lived in the southern Indian city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras.”He would take walks every morning along the beach with his buddies who were all retired government officials and they would talk about politics, about how corruption must be fought and about justice,” Harris said. “They would laugh and voice opinions and argue, and those conversations, even more than their actions, had such a strong influence on me in terms of learning to be responsible, to be honest, and to have integrity.”Harris said her grandfather was one of the “original independence fighters in India,” but her uncle downplayed P.V.’s role in India’s fight against the British.’Make Shyamala proud’Harris’ aunt, Sarala Gopalan, was awoken at 4 a.m. on Wednesday in Chennai with the news that her niece was former Vice President Joe Biden’s pick to join her on the Democratic ticket. She didn’t go back to sleep. “The family are all very happy, all of us,” she told CNN affiliate CNN News 18. Balachandran wasn’t exactly surprised. He knows US politics, both from his time in the country — he obtained a doctorate in economics and computer science from the University of Wisconsin — and his work as a regular commentator for The Hindu, one of India’s most prominent English-language newspapers.Once Biden said he was going to nominate a woman, Balachandran thought it was “very, very likely” it would be Harris based on her experience and backgroundBalachandran said he and Harris don’t speak that often, in large part due the distance and the demands of being a high-ranking US politician. He joked that people in India who call Harris a “female Barack Obama” should now be calling the 44th US President a “male Kamala Harris.” When asked if he had a message for his niece, Balachandran remembered something his sister used to say.”Shyamala always said never sit still. If you can do something, do something,” he said.”Make Shyamala proud.”
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Most of the US is headed in the wrong direction again with Covid-19 cases as deaths near 200,000

(CNN)Despite making progress after a difficult summer, most of the US is heading in the wrong direction again as the nation closes in on 200,000 Covid-19 deaths.In 31 states, the number of new Covid-19 cases has increased by at least 10% this past week compared to the previous week, according to data Sunday from Johns…

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Most of the US is headed in the wrong direction again with Covid-19 cases as deaths near 200,000

(CNN)Despite making progress after a difficult summer, most of the US is heading in the wrong direction again as the nation closes in on 200,000 Covid-19 deaths.In 31 states, the number of new Covid-19 cases has increased by at least 10% this past week compared to the previous week, according to data Sunday from Johns Hopkins University. Only four states — Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana and Michigan — have had decreases of more than 10%. Fifteen states are holding steady, including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington state.And the test positivity rate — the percentage of new test results that are positive — is rising in 25 states, according to the Covid Tracking Project.This is exactly what doctors feared would happen in the weeks following Labor Day, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “A couple of weeks ago, as we went in to Labor Day, we were talking about exactly this — and our worry that coming out of Labor Day, as we’ve seen after Memorial Day and July Fourth, we’d see an increase,” he said.”And unfortunately, we’re walking into the fall, where weather gets colder. We’re going to spend more time indoors. So this is not where we want to be as a country right now.” Utah set a new record high of 1,117 cases on Friday, Gov. Gary Herbert said Saturday. Herbert extended Utah’s state of emergency until October 20. Wisconsin also reported a record number of new cases — 2,533 on Friday. Health officials urged people to stay home, keep at least 6 feet of distance from those outside their household, and wear masks in public. Nationwide, more than 6.7 million people have been infected with coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. As of 3:45 p.m. ET Sunday, more than 199,400 have died.A state doing well says keep up the testingBut some states are showing continued progress. On Sunday, Maryland announced a new record-low test positivity rate — 1.89%. And there’s more good news. “Total current hospitalizations have fallen below 300 for the first time since March 30, to 281,” Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said. “There are 68 ICU beds in use — the first time ICU levels have dropped below 70 since March 26.”Many health experts say widespread testing is key to finding asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers, so those people can isolate and prevent the virus’ spread. In Maryland, state officials “continue to encourage all Marylanders to get tested for COVID-19” at one of the state’s 210 testing sites. Study find more links between pandemic and mental healthAs Covid-19 intensified in the US, so did levels of stress and depression, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances. The study of more than 6,500 people found that several factors may have worsened people’s stress.The biggest risk for symptoms of depression was a pre-existing mental health diagnosis prior the pandemic, researchers found.But symptoms of stress and depression were also associated more with personal exposure, rather than public spread — suggesting “concerns about contracting the disease outweighed concerns about pandemic-related disruptions in daily life,” the researchers said.”Approximately a quarter of the sample (23.5%) reported that they or a close other had been exposed to COVID-19 (e.g., experienced symptoms, were diagnosed),” researchers wrote in the report published Friday.Employment also had a big impact, with those who lost their jobs suffering most, the study found. The “data suggest that individuals who continued working during this early phase of the pandemic were less depressed than individuals who were not working, even though they were at greater risk for contracting the virus,” the researchers said.Those “remaining employed as an ‘essential’ worker may have given new meaning to respondents’ work that reduced their risk for depression.”Researchers said another factor in pandemic-related stress is how often participants were exposed to conflicting information from the news and social media. People were immersed in news an average of seven hours a day, they found, and acute stress increased as time went on.But consistent, accurate and reliable news reports may be one of the best ways to control stress, the researchers suggested.Why Black and Hispanic Americans often suffer moreNot everyone has the luxury of working from home. And since many minorities have public-facing jobs, this pandemic has hit them especially hard. “American Indians and Alaskan Natives and African Americans have been hospitalized at rates 3.5 times higher than Whites,” US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said. “Hospitalization rates are three times higher for Hispanics compared to Whites.”The pandemic exposes health disparities and structural conditions that contribute to those disparities, the surgeon general said. “Social distancing and teleworking are critical to preventing spread of coronavirus, yet only one in five African Americans and one in six Hispanic Americans have a job that allows him to work from home,” Adams said. People of color are also more likely to live in “densely packed urban areas” and in multi-generational homes. They’re also more likely to use public transportation, he said.”Combined, these and other factors create a greater risk for spread of a highly contagious disease like Covid-19.”CNN’s Gregory Lemos and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.
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‘Stunning’: Dr. Gupta reacts to Washington Post White House report – CNN Video

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.JUST WATCHED’Stunning’: Dr. Gupta on Washington Post White House reportReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCHCNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reacts to a report from the Washington Post that claims the White House stopped a plan by the United States Postal service to mail…

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‘Stunning’: Dr. Gupta reacts to Washington Post White House report – CNN Video

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.JUST WATCHED’Stunning’: Dr. Gupta on Washington Post White House reportReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCHCNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reacts to a report from the Washington Post that claims the White House stopped a plan by the United States Postal service to mail 650 million masks to Americans.Source: CNNStories worth watching (15 Videos)’Stunning’: Dr. Gupta on Washington Post White House reportRide along in the latest Ferrari convertibleWhy Trump’s war on WeChat could hurt American businessesAnother 860,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claimsBrianna Keilar calls out Fox News guest’s Covid-19 misinformationFed signals low rates through 20233M CEO: Meeting demand for N95 masks is still a challengeThe stock market boom doesn’t help everyoneSnowflake’s market debut is biggest software IPO everNissan gives a glimpse of its first Z car in more than a decadeMillions of Americans are out of work. Why is the stock market soaring?See robot stacking shelves in JapanAmazon is booming while small businesses struggleLG’s new smartphone has a unique swivel screenThis was Apple’s first ‘iPad.’ It failed miserablyHere’s one thing Joe Biden and President Trump actually agree onSee MoreNew DayCNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reacts to a report from the Washington Post that claims the White House stopped a plan by the United States Postal service to mail 650 million masks to Americans.Source: CNN
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A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween

The night sky on Halloween will be illuminated by a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. The relatively rare occurrence happens once every two and a half years on average, according to NASA’s National Space Science Data Center.Every month has a full moon, but because the lunar cycle and the calendar year…

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A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween
The night sky on Halloween will be illuminated by a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. The relatively rare occurrence happens once every two and a half years on average, according to NASA’s National Space Science Data Center.

Every month has a full moon, but because the lunar cycle and the calendar year aren’t perfectly synched, about every three years we wind up with two in the same calendar month.

The National Weather Service spotted a massive bat colony on its weather radar
October’s first full moon, also known as the harvest moon, will appear on the first day of the month. The second full moon, or blue moon, will be visible on October 31. It’s the first instance of a blue moon in the Americas since March 2018.
It’s also the first time a Halloween full moon has appeared for all time zones since 1944, according to Farmers’ Almanac. The last time a Halloween full moon appeared was for the Central and Pacific time zones in 2001.

The “once in a blue moon” phenomenon does not necessarily mean the moon will look blue on Halloween. While the dark blue tone of an evening sky can affect the coloring we see, Earth’s satellite will most likely not appear blue at all.

Typically, when a moon does take on a bluish hue, it is because of smoke or dust particles in the atmosphere, such as during a major volcanic eruption.

When the phrase “once in a blue moon” was coined, it meant something so rare you’d be lucky (or unlucky) to see in your lifetime, according to NASA.

So if anything unusual happens to you on Halloween, there might just be a good reason why.

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