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Indian Americans dominate National Geographic Bee, 7 qualify for finals

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The finalists are Pranay Varada of Texas, Saketh Jonnalagadda of Massachusetts, Lucas Eggers of Minnesota, Grace Rembert of Montana, Thomas Wright of Wisconsin, Ashwin Sivakumar of Oregon, Kapil Nathan of Alabama, Rishi Nair of Florida, Rishi Kumar of Maryland and Samanyu Dixit of North Carolina. (Photo: www.nationalgeographic.com)

The finalists are Pranay Varada of Texas, Saketh Jonnalagadda of Massachusetts, Lucas Eggers of Minnesota, Grace Rembert of Montana, Thomas Wright of Wisconsin, Ashwin Sivakumar of Oregon, Kapil Nathan of Alabama, Rishi Nair of Florida, Rishi Kumar of Maryland and Samanyu Dixit of North Carolina. (Photo: www.nationalgeographic.com)

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Seven Indian-American students from across the country continued their dominance of the nation’s spelling bee competitions, advancing to the final found of the National Geographic Bee championship, which will be held on Wednesday.

The final will take place at the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C., and will fittingly test the candidates knowledge of geography — the 10 finalists were drawn from a pool of 54 students from around the country, all of whom were champions at the state level.

The finalists are Pranay Varada of Texas, Saketh Jonnalagadda of Massachusetts, Lucas Eggers of Minnesota, Grace Rembert of Montana, Thomas Wright of Wisconsin, Ashwin Sivakumar of Oregon, Kapil Nathan of Alabama, Rishi Nair of Florida, Rishi Kumar of Maryland and Samanyu Dixit of North Carolina.

Whomever of the 10 finalists emerges as champion will be awarded a $50,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finalists will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.

Indian-Americans have performed with supreme consistency in spelling bee competitions throughout the years — last year, 14-year-old Karan Menon won the National Geographic competition, with 11-year-old Shriya Yarlagadda as the first runner-up. The Scripps National Spelling Bee competition has produced eight consecutive Indian-American champions, as well as 13 of the past 17, a run which began back in 1999. Last year’s competition produced co-champions, Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam, for the second consecutive year. In 2014, Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe were declared joint winners.

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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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