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President Obama lights first Diya in Oval Office history

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President Barack Obama lit a Diya in the Oval Office to celebrate Diwali Sunday.

President Barack Obama lit a Diya in the Oval Office to celebrate Diwali Sunday.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — U.S. President Barack Obama celebrated Diwali on Sunday, he lit the first-ever Diya in the Oval Office of the White House, saying he hopes those who occupy the office after him make the tradition annual.

It’s not the first precedent Obama has set during Diwali season in Washington — in 2009, he became the first president to celebrate the festival in the White House. The Diya was lit during a ceremony in the Oval Office alongside Indian-American members of his administration.

“I was proud to be the first President to host a Diwali celebration at the White House in 2009, and Michelle and I will never forget how the people of India welcomed us with open arms and hearts and danced with us in Mumbai on Diwali,” Obama said.

“This year, I was honored to kindle the first-ever Diya in the Oval Office — a lamp that symbolizes how darkness will always be overcome by light. It is a tradition that I hope future Presidents will continue,” Obama said on the White House Facebook page.

“On behalf of the entire Obama family, I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness on this Diwali.

“To all who are celebrating the festival of lights across America and around the world, happy Diwali. As Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists light the diya, share in prayers, decorate their homes, and open their doors to host and feast with loved ones, we recognise that this holiday rejoices in the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance,” he added.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has scores of support from the Indian-American community, greeted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains across the world on the occasion of Diwali.

“On Sunday, nearly a billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists around the world — including more than two million Americans — will celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. For members of these faiths, lighting the lamp (the diya) is a reminder that light prevails over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil,” Clinton said.

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Houston to host community summit for Indian Prime Minister Modi

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Houston hosts Modi

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Non-profit group Texas India Forum announced they are organizing “Howdy, Modi!”, an Indian American community event for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Houston September 22nd. The venue has yet to be announced, but tens of thousands of people are expected at the event.

Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was among the members of the House antitrust committee with sharp questions for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in a hearing focused on competition and anti-competitive behavior online.

Saravana Bhavan founder P Rajagopal died days after the Indian Supreme Court threw out his plea to postpone imprisonment in a murder conviction. He was 72. The ‘dosa king’ was found to have orchestrated the murder of a man, whose wife he wanted to marry.

And the managing director of the State Bank Of India, Anshula Kant, is taking the helm at the World Bank as managing director and chief financial officer.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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House vill passes removing Green Card country cap

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The House of Representatives passed a bill to lift the current seven percent country-cap on issuing Green Cards, a development that could benefit thousands of skilled Indian IT professionals.

The United States India Strategic Partnership Forum had a bipartisan feel to it in Washington, as the event was keynoted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senior Advisor to President Trump, Jared Kushner. Watch both of their speeches to the USISPF crowd exclusively on Diya TV.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is resigning his post amid controversy over the way he handled a sex crimes case a decade ago against wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein when Acosta was U.S. attorney for southern Florida.

Billionaire Richard Branson’s spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will be the 1st publicly traded space tourism company in a $800 million deal backed by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya’s investment company.

And Mindy Kaling’s open casting call for her upcoming Netflix series led to the hiring of Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who was cast out of 15,000 people.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Business

New Zealand eliminates India in cricket World Cup

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New Zealand wins Cricket

MANCHESTER, England (Diya TV) — After a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India, when play resumed, the Kiwis held on to win by 18 runs, knocking India out of the Cricket World Cup. It’s on to the championship round for New Zealand.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an Indian restaurant in Washington DC, detaining several employees.

Airbnb, the Silicon Valley couchsurfing startup turned hospitality behemoth, says they made a direct economic impact of around $150 million in India in 2018.

Indian Airbnb hosts collectively made almost $28 million and welcomed nearly 800,000 guests last year. 

Chennai-based speech recognition startup, Uniphore Software Systems, raised $38 million as part of its Series C round. They’ve received funding from California venture capital firm March Capital Partners and former Cisco CEO John Chambers. 

And Indo-Australian Priya Serrao was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2019.

The 26-year-old policy advisor from the state of Victoria said she will use her new platform to promote multiculturalism. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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