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Georgia parents offended by ‘Yoga,’ get ‘Namaste’ banned from schools

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yoga-for-kidsATLANTA (Diya TV) — A group of parents at a Cobb County elementary school are upset over the school’s use of yoga and other mindfulness practices for students, claiming it endorses and promotes a non-Christian belief system.

In response, school leaders at Bullard Elementary recently held a meeting with parents to address the “many misconceptions” over the belief that yoga had “created a distraction in our school and community,” according to an email to parents from Bullard principal Patrice Moore.

“While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some,” the email states.

However large the misconceptions, the school is making direct changes.

When students participate and use yoga moves in the classroom, they will not say the word “namaste” nor put their hands by their hearts, according to the email. The term and gesture are often used as a greeting in Hindu custom. Additionally, when students are coloring during teaching breaks, they will not be allowed to color mandalas, spiritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism.

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The principal also wrote that teachers have “never used nor taught about crystals having healing powers during these breaks, we understand it has become a belief. Therefore we will ensure that nothing resembling this will be done in the future.”

Moore could not be reached for comment, but in her email asked parents to be part of a new committee to gauge input on a variety of topics, including mindfulness and curriculum practices. For the past decade a growing number of schools across the U.S. have begun employing yoga and other mindful practices in their curriculum, in an effort to help students deal with stress and increase the focus on academics.

In some high schools, yoga-based activities are offered on an elective basis. But at lower grade levels, students often participate in yoga breathing exercises in their physical education classes.

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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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