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New $36M South Asian satellite launch by India does not include Pakistan

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Indian Satellite

An Indian rocket carrying the South Asia Satellite prepares for launch.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — In a first in the nation’s history, India’s space agency is set to launch a satellite Friday to provide communications services to its neighboring countries.

But not all of them.

The South Asia satellite, funded entirely by India, was announced several years ago with the intention of serving all eight members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). According to Uday Bhaskar, director of Delhi-based think tank the Society for Policy Studies, the satellite represents a “new form of regional cooperation,” and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called it a “gift to the SAARC region.”

The project does not, however, involve Pakistan, which removed itself in involvement of the development.

The satellite project comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries. This week, India accused Pakistan of mutilating the bodies of two of its soldiers in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Last year, militants from Pakistan killed 18 Indian soldiers in an attack on an Indian army base.

Some have suggested Pakistan may have pulled out due to espionage concerns. N. Sathiya Moorthy, a regional director at the Observer Research Foundation, said India should “do everything to ensure that policy makers (in Pakistan) remain convinced that it is nothing more than what India says it is.”

Lele hailed Pakistan’s backing out as a missed opportunity for Islamabad. Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Nafees Zakaria said the country was initially “keen to participate in the project.”

“However, as India was not willing to develop the project on a collaborative basis, it was not possible for Pakistan to support it as a regional project under the umbrella of SAARC,” he added.

He dismissed speculation over espionage concerns as “unfounded.”

The satellite will provide communications and disaster management services across South Asia.

Experts say the move is also designed to counter China’s growing influence in South Asia. In 2011, Beijing launched a communications satellite for long-time ally Pakistan, followed by the launch of another for Sri Lanka in 2012.

The South Asia satellite weighs 2,230 kilograms and is carrying 12 top-of-the-line communication transponders, making it India’s most significant space project since February’s record-breaking launch of 104 satellites with a single rocket.

Since the 2013 launch of India’s Mars orbiter, the country’s space agency has established itself as a reliable, low-cost global player. Friday’s launch will enable the new satellite to provide telecommunications, disaster management and weather forecasting services, among others.

India’s space program is increasing in sophistication.

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India’s tariff upsets Washington state’s apple cart

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India's Tariff upsets Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Diya TV) — Washington State’s apple industry is upset after India hiked duties on their fruit, saying it’s hard to sell products to other markets when losing reliable and established markets like India.

The U.S. told India it is considering caps on H-1B work visas for countries that force foreign companies to store data locally, widening the two countries’ posturing over tariffs and trade.

The Indian government said they will not allow foreign companies to operate multiple brands in the same sector to preclude predatory pricing.

Facebook may not launch Libra in India, their new cryptocurrency offering because current regulations in India do not permit the use of the nation’s banking network for blockchain currency transactions.

And the South Asian Bar Association National Convention is underway in Atlanta. Diya TV is a proud sponsor of this annual event that brings legal scholars from around the country to network and embolden the community.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Business

Indian IT companies curb H-1B premium processing

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H1-B visa premium processing

MUMBAI (Diya TV) — Indian IT services companies are not racing to use a H1-B visa premium processing option as in years past due to a changing business model and higher rejection rates.

Google announced a $1 billion commitment to help alleviate Silicon Valley’s housing crisis, saying they will add about 20,000 homes. While the housing plan is welcomed, many critics are upset that Google is able to do this because they exploit tax loopholes to shelter billions of dollars in revenue.

PG&E, the California public utility blamed for igniting several wildfires caused by downed power lines that killed dozens and destroyed thousands of homes, agreed to pay $1 billion in damages to local governments.

Laxman Narasimhan will becoming CEO of consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser this fall.

He was Chief Commercial Officer at PepsiCo.

And India’s lunar lander will launch this July for the moon, and will launch its first mission to study the sun in 2020. ISRO is also planning to have a space station for India by 2030.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Basketball

Deaths of Indian American family in Iowa ruled murder-suicide

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Iowa murder suicide

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Diya TV) — Iowa police say the shooting deaths of an Indian American family in West Des Moines, Iowa was a murder-suicide. Police said autopsies determined 44-year-old Chandrasekhar Sunkara’s death was a suicide. And the deaths of his wife, 41-year-old Lavanya Sunkara, and their two boys, aged 15 and 10, were homicides.

Top diplomats from the U.S. and India are meeting later this month to continue trade negotiations.

India said this week they will increase tariffs on US exports effective immediately, impacting items like apples, almonds, lentils and several chemical products.

The tax has raised the ire of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who blamed the situation on President Trump. California almond exports to India are worth more than $650 million a year.

21-year-old Bishwajeet Kumar Jha, who authorities say was the head of a group of Indian college students who cheated more than 20 people out of nearly $1 million in a tech support telemarketing fraud scheme, received a five year sentence to prison in Rhode Island.

And we’ll introduce you to the pioneering broadcasters who called the NBA Finals in Punjabi for the very first time.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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