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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar refuses to pay fine levied by India’s Green Tribunal

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Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty

NEW DELHI, (Diya TV) — India’s National Green Tribunal has fined a group led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, 50m rupees for its construction of features that altered the topography and flow of a Delhi river before a cultural festival set to take place this weekend.

The environmental watchdog ruled it would allow the procession to take place, led by the Art of Living Foundation, but first, payment of the fine must be received. The group’s leader and founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has refused, and said he would challenge the order in appeals court. “We have done nothing wrong. I will go to jail but not pay the fine,” he said, adding that the foundation would clean the riverbank after the festival.

The order was issued by the tribunal on Wednesday after outcry from environmentalists claimed the roads, ramps and platoon bridges could cause irreversible damage to the Yamuna floodplains. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been tapped to inaugurate the festival on Friday, however, the president’s office said Pranab Mukherjee would not attend the closing ceremony on Sunday. The festival is anticipated to draw crowds in the millions and will feature performances by thousands of musicians and dancers.

Construction work gets under way on the banks of the Yamuna in New Delhi. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

Construction work gets under way on the banks of the Yamuna in New Delhi. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

The river is a tribute of the Ganges that swells during the monsoon. The body of water does not see much recreational swimming, but Hindus use the river to bathe in during religious festivals — despite its grunge look and foul smell, which officials say is tainted with sewage and industrial pollution. Luckily, the water is treated before being distributed to Delhi’s population of nearly 18 million.

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Exclusive: Sanders, Bloomberg camps on Indian American outreach

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Sanders

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — We have more from Las Vegas in the aftermath of the latest Democratic debate. We spoke with both the Sanders and the Bloomberg campaigns about what they plan to do to reach the Indian American community and have more analysis on whether any of the candidates moved the needle to win new support.

A number of prominent Indian Americans in government will accompany President Trump and the first lady to India next week. The delegation will visit Delhi, Agra, and Ahmedabad and likely include Rita Barnwal of the U.S. Department of Energy, Bimal Patel of the U.S. Treasury Department, Manisha Singh of the State Department, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Seema Verma of Health and Human Services and Kash Patel in the National Security Council.

There is tragic news to report out of India, where we’ve learned Ayurvedic Master Healer Dr. Pankaj Naram has died. Dr. Naram has been a mainstay on Diya TV in the daytime for many years, sharing his wisdom on how to use everyday ingredients to heal challenging ailments. Dr. Naram literally touched the lives of millions of people and we will effort to pay homage to this man whose impact will live on forever.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India becomes 5th largest economy, overtakes UK, France

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Economy

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — India is now the world’s fifth largest economy, overtaking the UK and France in 2019, according to a report by American non-partisan think tank World Population Review. The report says India’s economic liberalization starting in the early 1990s was key to this growth. Though the report also indicates India’s real GDP growth is expected to weaken for the third straight year from 7.5 percent to 5 percent.

Billionaire entrepreneur and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on stage at the ninth Democratic Debate in Las Vegas, qualifying for the first time after polls indicate his star is rising amongst potential Democratic primary voters after spending more than $300 million in political advertising. Diya TV will be in Las Vegas with full coverage from what will certainly be an eventful night.

Lakshmi Sridaran, who has been the interim executive director for non-profit civil rights group, SAALT, South Asian Americans Leading Together, will take on that role moving forward. SAALT also announced Simran Noor will serve as their new Board Chair.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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150,000 people expected for ‘Namaste Trump’ in Gujarat

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Namaste Trump

AHMEDABAD, India (Diya TV)  — President Trump & the first lady will get a massive welcome on his visit to Gujarat next week, where 150,000 people are expected to attend ‘Namaste Trump.’ It’s expected to be an even grander event than ‘Howdy Modi’ in Houston, where 50,000 people greeted Prime Minister Modi. A delegation of business leaders from the U.S. are also headed to India for a series of events in New Delhi.

The 17th annual India Conference at Harvard brought more than 1000 people to the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard’s Business School including a long list of luminaries in business, politics and entertainment. And only on Diya TV, we have exclusive conversations with Indian unicorn CEOs Ankiti Bose of Zilingo and Ritesh Agarwal of OYO.

Roseville Police in California say a taxi driver, Rajbir Singh, saved an elderly passenger in his cab from giving a scammer $25,000. The 92 year old told Singh she was about to withdraw the money to settle a debt with the IRS. It sounded like a scam to Singh, who asked the woman to reconsider, even detouring to a police station to help convince her not to withdraw her money. Eventually, she decided not to proceed. Roseville Police say Singh should be honored with a “great citizen award.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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