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No More Co-champions, say rule changes at the Scripps National Spelling Bee

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Scripps National Spelling Bee
Scripps National Spelling Bee

Nihar Janga and Jairam Hathwar celebrate as co-champions during the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — In an effort to make it less likely that the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee will have co-champions for the fourth year in a row, bee organizers announced rules changes Tuesday aimed at creating an effective tie-breaker.

Contestants who remain on the stage after the first day of the bee will be administered  a written test of 12 spelling words and 12 vocabulary items. If after 25 rounds involving three or fewer spellers a champion hasn’t won, the results of the written test will be used to determine the winner.

Even still, this doesn’t guarantee there won’t be co-champions again since, as anyone familiar with the caliber of the competition knows, these kids don’t often make mistakes at this level. An additional change will have spellers handwrite their preliminary classroom written spelling test, which will then be hand-graded. That was most recently the practice in the 2011 bee. In 2015 and last year, the preliminary test was recorded on Scantron test forms.

Jairam Hathwar, 13, of Painted Post, N.Y., and Nahir Janga, 11, of Houston, were co-champions last year.

“The very first bee started with nine students and now the Scripps National Spelling Bee program reaches more than 11 million,” Paige Kimble, executive director of the program and a champion speller herself, said in a statement.

The year’s 90th national spelling bee will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center south of Washington, D.C. It will consist of 290 students aged 5 to15 from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Department of Defense Schools in Europe. Also competing will be spellers from the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

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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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