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Masaya Nakamura, Founder of Namco and Pac-Man Creator, Dies at 91

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – Masaya Nakamura, a Japanese toy entrepreneur whose company’s most enduring creation, Pac-Man, became a worldwide phenomenon, died on Jan. 22. He was 91 years old.

His death was announced on Monday by Bandai Namco. No cause was given, and the company did not say where he died.

Nakamura began exploring amusement in business form first in 1955, a decade after Japan’s defeat in World War II. The nation’s economy was slowly springing back to life, the somber mood of the first postwar decade was retreating, and the Japanese were once again ready to begin embracing fun and games.

He wouldn’t rise to true fame until the the world’s obsession for video games was born.

Nakamura was an early believer in their potential. In the 1970s, he hired software engineers and directed his growing company, Nakamura Manufacturing – later renamed Namco – to develop titles for arcades. His company’s first hit was Galaxian, a Space Invaders-esque game that he sold to American company Midway Games in 1979. Pac-Man was born the following year.

The brainchild of 25-year-old Namco employee Toru Iwatani, who would later say that he was inspired by the shape of a pizza with a slice missing. The “Pac” came from the Japanese onomatopoeic word “pakku,” equivalent to the English “gobble” or “munch.”

“I never thought it would be this big,” Mr. Nakamura told an interviewer in 1983, after the game took the world by storm. “You know baseball? Well, I knew it would not be a single. But I thought maybe a double, not a home run.”

In the decades since Pac-Man’s release, video games have grown increasingly violent and complicated, but Pac-Man remains child-friendly, accessible and challenging. Versions of Pac-Man or one of its spinoffs exist on different gaming platforms and are readily available online, such as a ps2 iso of a Pac-Man title. Though the true numbers are unknown, it’s estimated that millions of work hours were squandered after Google hosted a game of Pac-Man on it’s website in 2010. That’s right, they released a playable version of the game with no strings attached for people of all ages to play.

In the 36 years since its release, it is estimated to have been played more than 10 billion times. The Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Modern Art have Pac-Man machines in their collections.

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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