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NASA announces discovery of four new Earth like planets

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Astronomers from NASA and the European Southern Observatory announced Wednesday the discovery of four new Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a star about 40 light-years away, and that three may contain liquid water and be able to sustain life.

The star’s small grouping of planets now boasts the most Earth-sized worlds of any system astronomers have ever discovered, as well as the most exoplanets that may be able to support surface life.

A team of Belgian astronomers were able to make the discovery using space- and ground-based telescopes as each exoplanet passed in front of its host, a red dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. These orbits created dips in the Jupiter-sized star’s light output that helped astronomers determine the sizes, compositions, and orbits of each of the celestial bodies.

The four exoplanets join three others circling TRAPPIST-1 that were discovered by the same team early in 2016, after which the group said it intensified follow-up efforts.

“This is an amazing planetary system, not only because we have found so many planets, but because they are all surprisingly similar in size to Earth,” said Michaël Gillon, astronomer from the University of Liège in Belgium and lead author of the paper about the discovery published in the journal Nature.

All seven planets that surround the star — which has only about eight percent the mass of our sun — orbit more tightly to their host than any of the planets in our system are to the sun. TRAPPIST-1 doesn’t emit much energy, but the inner six exoplanets are in such tight orbit around their host that they have temperatures comparable to those on Venus, Earth, and Mars.

The observations and measurements taken by astronomers suggest the inner six planets have rocky compositions, and that three of TRAPPIST-1’s surrounding bodies may orbit within a habitable zone that represents the “holy grail for planet-hunting” as they could be warm enough to host surface water and oceans.

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Indian Americans jump into congressional races

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Indian Americans jump into congressional races | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The latest numbers show more Indian Americans than ever are running for Congress. In the last six years, nearly 80 candidates made it on the ballot, soaring far beyond numbers seen in past elections. Leading the wave are successful candidates from California, like Kamala Harris, who rose from a Senate seat to become vice president. Helping those numbers, Indians Americans are also one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country.  

Nisha Ramachandran is the new Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the first Indian American to serve in this role.  Ramachandran most recently managed her own consulting business focused on AAPI advocacy. She’ll be working closely with Congresswoman Judy Chu who chairs the group to further Asian American causes and initiatives. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the people of Telangana after the Kakatiya Rudreshwara Ramappa Temple was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The PM also urged citizens to visit the temple which was built during the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Blinken begins India visit, Afghanistan top issue

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Blinken begins India visit, Afghanistan top issue | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — US secretary of state Antony Blinken begins his two-day India visit on Tuesday hoping to engage the nation on issues such as the Covid-19 response, human rights, and democracy. The American troop pullout in Afghanistan will also be a key issue. India is concerned about the implications of the withdrawal and the need for sustained pressure on Pakistan over issues like terror financing.

And India’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics goes to Mirabai Chanu. She won silver in Women’s weight lifting. Chanu’s Olympic preparations were hindered by injuries and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic but she still beat the odds and is being praised back home.

Tesla may open a factory in India. But CEO Elon Musk says only if the cars receive a good response in that marketplace. The company has already been hiring talent in the country. But Musk also hinted at some downsides to opening overseas, citing India’s import duty tax is the highest in the world for a large country.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign

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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign | Diya TV News

SACRAMENTO (Diya TV) — Indian American Democrat Shrina Kurani is running for Congress in California’s 42nd district and is preparing to take on 15-year Republican incumbent Ken Calvert. Kurani is a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur and says she’s running to create more sustainable jobs in her community and to take on the status quo in Washington DC.

More than 30 interfaith organizations in the U.S. are urging the State Department to sanction India and designate it as a country of “particular concern”. Their resolution claims that the Indian government is promoting policies that lead to the persecution of religious minorities, especially Muslims.
Despite growing concern over rising Covid-19 cases in Japan, the 2021 Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony got underway. India is sending its largest ever contingent to the Olympics with120 athletes competing across 85 events.  The country hopes to win medals for shooting, wrestling, boxing, archery and badminton.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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