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Sonika Vaid advances, heads to Hollywood for next round of ‘Idol’

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Sonika Vaid, an Indian American singer from Martha’s Vineyard, has made a habit of impressing judges and past-winners of the hit TV show American Idol, has officially collected her yellow ticket, and is on her way to Hollywood.

Sonika Vaid performs on American Idol

Sonika Vaid performs on American Idol

Vaid coasted through the first group of finalists, showcased with a perfect rendition of Arianna Grande’s “Problem,” during group renditions. It wasn’t a far cry from her audition, where she belted out “a perfect performance,” according to singer Harry Connick Jr. Since then, past Idol winner and seven-time Grammy Award winner Carry Underwood has hitched her support to Vaid’s side.

Before her audition, Vaid was most concerned about standing out to the judges.

“I’d like to say I gave it a try,” Vaid said before her performance. “Looking around the room, there are a lot of girls, and they are beautiful and talented and I hope I stand out to the judges.”

After Vaid’s audition, Underwood tweeted: “@AmericanIdol Wow. I might have found a season favorite already! What a beautiful voice…” Ironically, during her audition, Vaid chose to perform a cover rendition of Underwood’s “Look at Me,” which led judge Harry Connick Jr. to opine, “that was a perfect performance. This is one of the only times, this particular season, that I saw somebody that I can think can actually win this thing.”

During an interview with FOX 25 News, Vaid said she’s been singing since the age of three, and got most of her practice in while singing at special events at a park near her childhood home.

Watch Sonika Vaid’s performance in Idol’s “Hollywood Week,” here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTcfS_WAP58

The final season of American Idol will continue on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. on FOX. For more information, visit americanidol.com

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Puneet Talwar named US Ambassador to Morocco

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – The US State Department announced that diplomat Puneet Talwar is its new ambassador to Morocco. President Biden proposed Talwar as the new nominee last March. The new ambassador to Morocco has a rich portfolio in diplomacy. The diplomat is currently a senior adviser to the State Department.

Six men have been arrested for the gang rape and murder of two girls. Police say one of them is a neighbor and the remaining five are Muslims from a nearby village – although it’s not believed to be a religious crime.

As Pakistan continues to deal with historic flooding a new report published in Vice says the country collected $40 million for a mega dam on the Indus river, but spent $63 million on advertising it. The crowdsourced campaign was  launched by a Supreme Court judge and endorsed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan. It’s now at the center of a massive controversy. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian & Hindu American groups hold DC summit

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WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) – A group of Indian American and Hindu American organizations joined forces to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day and advocate for the diaspora on Capitol Hill, in what is being called an inaugural summit for political engagement. The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the Hindu American Foundation, the Coalition of Hindus of North America and Americans4Hindus, were among the more than one dozen organizations, hosting legislators from both sides of the aisle in a non-partisan effort to discuss issues of concern in the community. 
 
Indian American economist Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji has been named White House Coordinator for the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act’s historic $50 billion investment in the semiconductor industry at the National Economic Council. 
 
Fans of Indian comedian and actor Raju Srivastava are mourning his death. He passed away at the age of 58 after suffering a heart attack last month while running on a treadmill. He had a history of heart problems. 
 
Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.
 
 

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Sukhpal Singh arrested in Tusli Mandir hate crime case

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NEW YORK (Diya TV) – New York police arrested a man for allegedly sledgehammering a statue of Gandhi outside a Queens Hindu Shri Tusli Mandir. Twenty seven year old Sukhpal Singh is charged with criminal mischief and a hate crime for allegedly destroying the statue and defacing it with spray paint outside Tulsi Mandir in Richmond Hill last month. 

India and France agreed to set up an Indo-Pacific partnership to roll out development projects, expand strategic cooperation, and work closer to deal with pressing global challenges such as a food crisis triggered by the Ukraine invasion. 

More than a million customers in Puerto Rico are waiting for electricity to come back on after Hurricane Fiona hammers the region. The Dominican Republic is under a hurricane warning as well. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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