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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’ complex relationship with politics in Trump America

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Rep. Gabbard presents a copy of the Bhagvad Gita to Indian Prime Minister Modi (2014)

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Indian Americans constitute a tiny 1.5 percent of the U.S. population. The presence of Donald Trump, over 60 prominent lawmakers, and leaders of the corporate world, at the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event speaks to the many economic successes of this community in addition to the trade ties between the two countries.

Indian Americans are not just a rapidly rising population in the U.S.—from close to 2 million in 2010, to about 4 million in 2015— but are also the highest earning ethnic group in the US. 

At a median age of 34 years, 70 percent Indian Americans are foreign born. For them, forming allegiances with a political party in Trump America, can be daunting.

Howdy, Democrats: Indian Americans need to know

Two Democratic leaders not attending the event have become symbolic of the way some Indian Americans are conflicted in forming a clear political identity: Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard.

Democratic Congressman from California, Ro Khanna, recently tweeted that, “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians.” This was opposed immediately by those who thought that this was guilt shaming Hindu Americans.

While Hinduism is a religion based on myriad traditions and philosophies, Hindutva is a political ideology primarily based on a pluralistic Hindu identity. In an exclusive interview to Diya TV, he defended his stand saying, “We got a standing ovation when we said that in the district.”

He had previously joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and was urged by 230 Indian American organizations in the United States to withdraw from the caucus. Caucuses in the U.S. political system make decisions based on shared viewpoints to influence state legislatures.

Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, made history by becoming the first Hindu to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. An Army veteran she was deployed as a medical administrator in Iraq. She kept her childhood copy of Bhagwad Gita for comfort during those days and gifted that copy to PM Modi on her first visit to India in 2014. However, she would be unable to share stage with PM Modi due to “prior engagements.”  Or perhaps Trump’s presence had something to do with her absence? She sent in a video with greetings and apologies to PM Modi for not being able to make it.

There was another stage Gabbard missed addressing in Houston last week: the presidential primary debate. She is one of the lower-polling Democratic presidential contenders and was passed up by the Democratic National Committee. Their reason being that she could not make the 2 percent threshold in polls although she had enough donors—very akin to the Indian American diaspora.

Gabbard’s political rise is attributed to funding from many Hindu organizations.

Both, Khanna and Gabbard, are scathing critics of American foreign military adventurism—that’s a viewpoint all Indian Americans could get on board with.

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Rep. Ro Khanna responds to criticism over Hindutva tweet

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Ro Khanna

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Diya TV spoke exclusively with Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna to get his response in the aftermath of a barrage of criticism he’s faced after posting a tweet that appeared to endorse an anti-Hindu activist.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold 20 bilateral meetings during his time in the U.S., including with President Trump. His speech at the UN will focus on India’s efforts in development, peace and security, but no further explanation on Kashmir, as it’s deemed an internal matter.

The Biden campaign hired Maju Varghese, a former Obama White House aide, to be its Chief Operating Officer and Senior Advisor.

Nova Southeastern University’s new Tampa Bay Regional Campus is now open, made possible thanks to a $200 million donation by Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel.

And ‘A Little Late with Lilly Singh’ debuted on NBC, with her first guest none then other than Mindy Kaling. Singh, who is Indo-Canadian, becomes the first woman of color ever to host a late night network show.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian American IMPACT Summit showcases new leaders

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Impact Summit

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — A large contingent of politically engaged Indian Americans met at the Indian American Impact Summit in Washington to hear from current leaders and meet some that are on the rise. Diya TV was a proud media partner in the showcase that featured Democratic National Committee CEO Seema Nanda, and a host of local, state and federal candidates.

Prime Minister Modi and President Trump are scheduled to meet twice in the next week, according to Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla, saying the India-US relationship has the potential to become the “defining partnership” this century. Full coverage of the Modi Trump Community Summit in Houston starts Sunday at 10 am Eastern, 7 am Pacific.

Indian American attorney Suraj Patel is launching another run for the 12th Congressional District in New York City, taking on fellow Democrat Carolyn Maloney once again.

Silicon Valley resident Natasha Gupta announced she is running for the California State Assembly in the 25th District. Gupta says she didn’t expect to run for office at this point in her life, but the turning point was the Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting, as she was in attendance the day before.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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