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Indian American Scholars awarded fellowships with Sloan Foundation

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SLOAN_logoNEW YORK (Diya TV) — Among the crowd of 126 scholars and researchers from the U.S. and Canada selected as this year’s fellowship grantees for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation were seven Indian Americans.

Venkat Chandrasekaran of the California Institute of Technology, Abhinav Gupta of Carnegie Mellon, Ankur Moitra and Yogesh Surendranath of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Devi Parikh of Virginia Tech, and Surjeet Rajendran and Nikhil Srivastava of the University of California at Berkeley were the Indian American recipients of the awards this year.

The research fellowships have been handed out since 1955, and honor career scientists and scholars who are identified early as the industry’s future. Often charged with spearheading the next generation of scientific research, those who are selected by the foundation receive a grant of $55,000 to further their research and studies.2016-SRF-Announcement-Spotlight

Chandrasekaran, an assistant professor in the computing and mathematical sciences department at the California Institute of Technology, leads a research team focused on mathematical optimization. Specifically, Chandrasekaran is searching for an understanding of the power and limitations of convex optimization. His thesis, which also studied the specifics of convex optimization, received the Jin-Au Kong Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in electrical engineering at MIT. He’s also been the recipient of the Young Researcher Prize in Continuous Optimization for his work on matrix decomposition.

Gupta serves as an assistant professor in Carnegie Melon’s Robotics Institute. His research has put the magnify glass on how humans interact with their environment and how their perception of visual world depends on these interactions and their abilities.

Moitra works as an assistant professor at MIT’s department of mathematics, and is also a member of the computer science and artificial intelligence lab at the school. Prior to his arrival in Cambridge, Moitra was an NSF CI Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, and also a senior postdoc in the computer science department at Princeton University. Moitra’s work has specialized in multiple areas of algorithms, and lately has been working on the intersection of algorithms and machine learning.

Surendranath, Moitra’s MIT counterpart, spends his time in a lab focused on addressing global challenges in the areas of chemical catalysis, energy storage and utilization, and environmental stewardship. The technological advances discovered by him and his team have allowed for new methods for controlling the selectivity and efficiency of inner-sphere reactions at solid-liquid interfaces.

Parikh, leader of Virginia Tech’s computer vision lab, was previously awarded the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in 2014. She is using her prize money to help computers “read” complex images with the use of cartoon clip art scenes.

Rajendran, a graduate of both Caltech and Stanford University, with degrees in both mathematics and a Ph.D. in physics respectfully, has very broad interests. His studies range from theoretical physics, to a strong focus physics beyond the standard model. Physics’ standard model has withstood multiple experimental tests, leaving many questions unanswered. His desire is to seek out a new invention; one which would develop new experimental avenues to clear the path for discoveries of new types of physics.

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Indian Supreme Court ends Ayodhya dispute: Hindus receive land, Muslims get alternative site

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AYODHYA, India (Diya TV)  — In a decision over a subject that has been politically and culturally sensitive for several decades, the Indian Supreme Court awarded the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya to Hindus, while deeming the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1991 a crime.

The unanimous decision by five justices, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, paves the way for the construction a new Hindu temple at the site, believed to be Lord Ram’s birthplace. The decision ends the oldest land title dispute in India.

A board of trustees will be established in the next three months to determine construction plans for the temple. While the court ruled in favor of the Hindu petition, they ordered five acres of land to be set aside at an alternative site in Ayodhya for a mosque to be built.

Ahead of the verdict political leaders appealed for peace and calm. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the verdict in this sensitive case will “not be a matter of victory or loss,” appealing to his nation to “strengthen India’s great tradition of peace, unity and amity.”

The court was also clear the desecration of the Babri Masjid was still a criminal matter and a court case on that issue is still pending.

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Indian Supreme Court to rule on ‘Ayodhya’ dispute

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Indian Supreme Court To Rule On Ayodhya Dispute | Diya TV News

AYODHYA, India (Diya TV)  — The Indian Supreme Court is expected to issue its verdict on the dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi / Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, India on Saturday, November 9th. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the verdict in this politically sensitive case will “not be a matter of victory or loss,” appealing to his nation to “strengthen India’s great tradition of peace, unity and amity.”

India’s credit rating was cut to negative by Moody’s Investors Service, the first step toward a downgrade, as concerns mount an economic slowdown will be prolonged and debt will rise. Meanwhile, China said it has agreed with the United States to cancel tariffs on each others’ goods in phases, a key demand of Beijing to end a trade war that has affected economic growth globally.

India and China will surpass the U.S. as the World’s Centers of Tech Innovation by 2035, according to Bloomberg New Economy Global Survey, which gathered views from 2,000  business professionals in 20 markets.

And Harsimran Kaur becomes first female player from the NBA Academy’s Women’s Program in India to be invited to The NBA Global Academy.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Skilled immigrant category H-1B visa denials continue to rise

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H-1B visa denial rates dramatically increase | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — The Trump administration’s new immigration policies are leading to a significant rise in the rejection of petitions for H-1B visas, with the highest denial rate among major Indian IT companies, according to a study by the National Foundation for American Policy.

The Maine Ethics Commission imposed a $500 fine on House Speaker Sara Gideon‘s former political action committee over reimbursements worth $500 made to her in 2016. The commission said there was no attempt to deceive the public. Gideon is now running for Maine’s Senate seat against longtime incumbent Susan Collins.

Next week, the U.S. and India will hold their first-ever tri-service military exercise. It’s codenamed “Tiger Triumph” and will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. All three Indian military services will work alongside the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine corps

On the heels of announcements by Facebook and Google putting forth $1 billion each towards affordable housing initiatives in the Bay Area, Apple upped the ante and will set aside $2.5 billion for housing programs, including $1 billion for first-time home buyer mortgage assistance.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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