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Connecticut teen creates non-profit to assist schools abroad

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(DIYA TV) — Ishaan Patel, an 8th grade student from Connecticut is tackling philanthropy at an early age: the 13-year-old Patel has launched a non-profit called Planting Pencils, dedicated to promoting education in India and empowering other school-age children around the globe. The non-profit also raises money to donate money and supplies to underfunded schools worldwide.

Ishaan’s mother, pediatrician Dr. Alpa Patel, said she wanted to instill the values of understanding the lives of those less fortunate. Her parents planted the seed of similar values in her when she was a youngster. “If we’re doing well, then we should take care of those less fortunate than us,” she said.

Ishaan told a local Connecticut newspaper he was inspired to create the non-profit after learning of his aunts trip to volunteer at underfunded schools in India and Costa Rica. He learned that even the most barebones American schools have far greater amenities than some of those abroad.

“We have all this stuff here, all this technology like smart boards, and they only have one chalkboard,” Patel said.

In an effort to learn more, Patel attended a leadership program at Stanford University last summer, and began researching the status of underserved education systems abroad. Once complete, Patel created a YouTube video with the collected data, and cited information in his report from organizations such as the United Nations.

Patel’s work hasn’t just benefited the general public, his mother has learned a few new facts from her son’s work as well.

“There’s only 2 percent of humanitarian aid going to education,” she said. “Everyone is so focused on trying to make sure people have clean water and food, but they’re not teaching them to be self-sufficient.”

Patel starting bringing collection boxes to his middle school, and began gathering whatever school supplies he could to support his efforts. Planting Pencils has already received donations totaling $5,000. He hopes to begin distributing the money and supplies domestically and internationally in the coming weeks.

Patel’s ultimate goal?

To build a school in a community which lacks one, offering daily healthy meals along with clean water for drinking and washing.

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Trump impeachment inquiry hearings begin

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Trump Impeachment inquiry

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — On the first day of the public Trump impeachment inquiry hearings over the President’s dealings in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, testified one of his aides heard from EU ambassador Gordon Sondland that the President was focused on triggering investigations into Joe Biden and his son. The aide, David Holmes, reportedly also overheard a conversation between Trump and Sondland, where they discussed ‘the investigations.’ Holmes will appear for a closed-door deposition with impeachment investigators Friday. Republican allies of Trump painted the testimony of Taylor and George Kent as hearsay.

More than 100 Indian CEOs, political leaders and even Bollywood stars like Deepika Padukone will head Davos in January for the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to discuss making ‘cohesive and sustainable world.’ President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are also expected to be there.

The Food and Drug Administration granted Shreis Scalene Sciences (Shreis), an American company, a ‘Breakthrough Device Designation’ for the CYTOTRON, a cancer treatment, developed in India, by scientist Dr. Rajah Vijay Kumar in Bengaluru.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India, Pakistan trade quips at UNESCO

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UNESCO

PARIS (Diya TV)  — At UNESCO’s general conference in Paris, both Pakistan and India traded quips over Kashmir. Pakistan’s Minister of Education and newly elected President of UNESCO’s Education Commission Shafqat Mehmood efforted to convince UNESCO leadership to confront India over their recent constitutional change affecting Jammu and Kashmir, claiming 1.5 million Kashmiri students who have not been able to attend schools since August 5th. In response, India’s UNESCO delegate Ananya Agarwal countered that “Pakistan is the world’s largest producer and exporter” of terrorism, calling Pakistan’s charges “fabricated falsehoods.”

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Notable executives from the worlds of private investing, industry and nonprofits came together to talk about impact investing at Akshaya Patra’s TAP Forum in the Bay Area. The goal is to take the diasporas success to build a foundation for the next generation.

The Indian women’s hockey team will get the chance to go for the gold in Tokyo, qualifying for the 2020 Olympics after beating team USA in a qualifying match.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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House holds hearing on human right violations in Jammu & Kashmir

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Jammu

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, examined the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was among those on hand hearing testimony from experts offering widely different narratives. The commission plans to take these perspectives into account before offering recommendations for action by Congress.

In a line of questioning during the impeachment inquiry lauded by many political analysts, Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi focused on the timeline of the Ukraine affair, confirming through witness testimony that once Congress began investigating quid pro quo by the Trump administration, security funds were released to Ukraine two days later.

American tech firms are increasingly sponsoring green cards, or permanent US residency, for their employees from India and elsewhere in an effort to hold on to their skilled talent at a time when work visa extensions have become unpredictable.

India will fund at least 250 defense startups over the next five years as it seeks new technologies for their armed forces. The plan is obtain at least 50 ‘tangible innovations’ by the startups for military use.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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