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Indian-American Army Lt. Varun Hollabbi to be honored at the Spirit of India Event in Michigan

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On the far right, Army First Lt. Varun Hollabbi with his platoon in Afghanistan in 2015 (Photo: Varun Hollabbi)

On the far right, Army First Lt. Varun Hollabbi with his platoon in Afghanistan in 2015 (Photo: Varun Hollabbi)

DEARBORN, Mich. (Diya TV) — When Army First Lt. Varun Hollabbi was a freshman at the University of Michigan, he wanted to try something different, and became interested in joining the military. He joined the school’s Army ROTC program.

Now, Hollabbi is a first lieutenant with a Bronze Star Medal he received for his service last year in Afghanistan, where he led a platoon.

“I saw the military as a viable career path,” the 25-year-old Hollabbi said. “I thought there was nothing more noble that I could do. On a daily basis, I could feel like I’m having an impact on society, which is what I truly feel every day. It’s not just a regular job for me. … I didn’t see a lot of people take this path. I wanted to be a trailblazer and go for it.”

When he joined the military, though concerned he would be unable to maintain his vegetarian diet, his family was supportive. The Army has vegetarian meal options available for its troops, Hollabbi shared with his family, who added he found his experience in the military to be a very welcoming and diverse environment.

“The Army and the military as a whole is a pretty good reflection of our society’s diversity,” he said. “My platoon had people from all parts of the country, all socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s a representation of everyone.”

“With my generation coming of age now, you see a lot more Indian Americans serving.”

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in neuroscience and political economics, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team with the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, N.Y., where he’s currently based.

On Sunday, Hollabbi will be honored at Dearborn’s annual Spirit of India event, where thousands of Indian Americans are expected to be in attendance. The festival celebrates Indian culture and includes music, food as well as honoring young Indian Americans like Hollabbi. Other recipients include youngsters who have exceeded in sports and academics.

“We’re part of the fabric of this country now, and so I think it’s part of our duty now to serve,” Hollabbi said. “It’s a way to give back.”

The event was created by MIIndia.com —a website created by Anand Kumar that lists Indian-American activities in Michigan — in 2004, and reaches about 100,000 people every month. Kumar hopes the website and event will ultimately serve as a tool for introducing the public to the Indian American community.

There are north of 100,000 Indian-Americans currently living in Michigan, according to 2014 U.S. census figures.

“The community is growing and trying to make a positive impact on Michigan’s economy,” Kumar said. “A lot are in job-creating positions in IT, engineering and medicine that can help Michigan’s economy.”

Information from the Detroit Free Press contributed to this report.

 

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Nikki Haley wont run, if Trump runs in 2024

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If Trump Runs In 2024, Haley Says She Will Not | Diya TV News

SOUTH CAROLINA (Diya TV) — Former US Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says she will not make a run for the White House in 2024. But that’s only if Donald Trump decides to enter the Presidential race. Haley continues to be mentioned as a potential candidate for the Oval Office, but the Indian American’s public comments are being interpreted as an early endorsement for former President if Trump chooses to run again.

And more positive news for India’s economy. The International Monetary Fund says it’s projecting a 12 and half percent growth rate for the South Asian nation in 2021. That’s even stronger than what’s expected for China and America’s economy this year.

India is going through a historic tech boom for unicorn start ups. These are the companies valued at more than a billion dollars. In a span of four days, the country saw 6 tech unicorns emerge onto the scene. Startups like Groww, Gutshup, API Holdings, Mohalla Tech, Meesho, and Cred all reached valuations of a billion dollars or more. And that’s attracting some of the world’s largest investors like Softbank and Tiger Global.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian American couple dead in apparent murder-suicide

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Indian American Couple Dead In Apparent Murder-suicide | Diya TV News

 North Arlington, NEW JERSEY (Diya TV) — Authorities in New Jersey are investigating a possible murder-suicide, saying Balaji Rudrawar stabbed his wife Aarti to death. Both were found dead in their home with multiple stab wounds. Their young daughter was found unharmed inside. The motive remains unclear. The man’s father told an India-based media outlet his daughter in law was 7 months pregnant.

In Indian waters, a US war ship sailed through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone without asking for permission, a violation of that country’s law. Both countries remain partners in the region. Sources with the Indian Navy say the move was more about sending a message to China.

As Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry wraps up his India trip,  he’s taking to social media and personally thanking some of the leaders of that region including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen of Bangladesh, saying all the countries involved are committed to address global warming and climate change. Kerry is raising awareness about this issue heading into a climate conference with world leaders later this month. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Muslim advocates sue Facebook over not removing anti-Muslim hate speech

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Muslim Advocates Sue Facebook | Diya TV News

MENLO PARK, Calif. (Diya TV) — Frustrated with what it sees as a lack of progress, a group called Muslim advocates, along with law firm Gupta Wessler, is suing Facebook, claiming the social media giant does not consistently remove all hate speech, especially language that targets followers of Islam.  The group is calling out top executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, demanding the social network start taking anti-Muslim activity more seriously. A Facebook spokesperson says it regularly uses artificial intelligence to remove posts that violate its policies.

“Hugs are back.” That’s what US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is saying after seeing an increase in Covid-19 vaccinations all across the nation. Murthy says more and more Americans are becoming comfortable getting vaccinated. And by April 19th, all adults will be eligible for the vaccine. The Indian American doctor says this trend is encouraging, but also says there is still lots of work that needs to be done about battling disinformation.

And a big blow to Indian filmmakers.  The Federal government is cutting the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, which allowed filmmakers to appeal decisions made by the censors, which has the power and authority to ban certain movies for inappropriate content.  Instead, they will now have to go to lawyer up and go straight to court and fight if they disagree.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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