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Indian American students headline Intel science talent search

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Maya Varma, right, with fellow first-place winners Amol Punjabi of Marlborough, Mass., and Paige Brown of Bangor, Maine (Intel Science Talent Search)

Maya Varma, right, with fellow first-place winners Amol Punjabi of Marlborough, Mass., and Paige Brown of Bangor, Maine (Intel Science Talent Search)

WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) — More than a handful of Indian-American students paced the table, including two of whom took home top spots in two separate categories, at the recent Intel Science Talent Search contest. A prestigious competition for young innovators, $1 million in prizes were handed out to the winners.

Indian-Americans Amol Punjabi and Maya Varma captured two of the three first-place awards — Punjabi for basic research and Varma for innovation. Paige Brown, of Maine, won the first place medal for the distinction of global good.

“They and the rest of the top winners of Intel STS 2016 are using science and technology to help address the problems they see in the world and will be at the forefront of creating the solutions we need for the future,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and alumna of the Science Talent Search.

Punjabi, 17, developed software that can assist drugmakers develop new therapies for cancer and disease. He also served as the lead author for a paper on nano particles published in ACS Nano, and co-authored another paper the related topic of nanoscale.

Varma, also just 17 years old, and from San Jose, turned $35 worth of miscellaneous electronics and free computer-aided design tools to create a low-cost, smartphone-based lung function analyzer that diagnoses lung disease as accurately as expensive devices currently used in medical laboratories. She was among 1,750 high school students who applied to be a part of the competition, which for the first time in its history saw female finalists outnumber the male finalists 21 to 19.

The field of second and third place of all three categories was dominated by Indian Americans as well.

Meena Jagadeesan, 17, took second place in the field of basic research, alongside Punjabi. Milind Jagota, 18, joined Varma in the innovation category, taking home the second place prize. Finally, Kunal Shroff, 17, rounded out the trifecta in the basic research category, taking home the third place medal.

First place paid prize money of $150,000; three second-place winners received $75,000 in prize money; and three third-place winners received $35,000. The winners were announced during a black-tie gala on Tuesday night at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.

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Exclusive: Judges Srinivasan, Rao kickoff SABA virtual conference

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Srinivasan

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Diya TV is home to the South Asian Bar Association virtual conference this weekend, which got kicked off by perhaps the two most powerful Indian American lawyers in the nation: Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan & Circuit Judge Neomi Rao, both of whom serve in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the second most powerful court in the nation to only the Supreme Court. We’ll update you on their conversation and preview this weekend’s virtual gala featuring Stacy Abrams, Preet Bharara, Vanita Gupta, Ajit Pai and many others.

Meanwhile, Judges Srinivasan and Rao may get another Indian American colleague, as President Trump nominated Vijay Shanker to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Democratic Party announced they will be conducting their convention virtually from Milwaukee.

Indian American Jeremy Cooney is leading in the race for New York State’s 56th Senate District, with absentee ballots still to be factored in.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Satellite images show larger Chinese presence at Indian border

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LADAKH, India (Diya TV)  — While the ongoing fracas between India and China has not led to all-out war yet, satellite images indicate China is sending a larger group of troops and building infrastructure in Galwan Valley, site of that vicious clash that killed 20 Indian troops, and a reported 43 Chinese soldiers. It was the first loss of life in battle for the Chinese in more than 40 years. U.S. intelligence decreed China instigated the battle and India says China has been staffing up in the area since May. Following the release of the satellite images, China says India is to blame.

The U.S. is regressing in its battle against COVID-19, setting a new single day record for coronavirus cases at more than 37,000. The virus has infected nearly 10 million people globally, a quarter of that total in the U.S. The death toll now stands at 125,000 in the United States, with Florida, Texas, Arizona and California seeing major increases.

Pakistani-American Qasim Rashid advanced in the Democratic primary in Virginia’s First Congressional District. ​He’ll take on longtime incumbent Republican Congressman Robert Wittman in the fall.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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As critics fume, Modi says India was not breached by China

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NEW DELHI (Diya TV)  — During an all-party political leaders meeting, Indian Prime Minister Modi told the group China did not breach Indian territory in Ladakh, nor was any Indian Army border post captured. Modi emphasized India will protect Galwan Valley, the region where the clash killing 20 Indian soldiers and a reported 43 Chinese soldiers took place. But Modi’s critics say the situation was an intelligence failure and many want Modi to strike back with force. Meanwhile, in a statement, the Chinese Government pinned the conflict on India and is laying claim to the entire valley region.

India was elected as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council for a 2-year term starting next year, receiving 184 out of 192 valid votes.

And in a wild Friday night surprise, the Justice Department said Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York would be stepping down, to be replaced by Jay Clayton, the current Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. But in a statement, Berman said he’s not leaving until Congress confirms someone & his investigations, including into folks allied with President Trump, will continue.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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