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Millions of Indians celebrate Diwali across the globe

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Indian Family celebrating Diwali festival with sparklers

SAN FRANCISCO (DIYA TV) — As Diwali, or Deepavali, begins to wind down, the Festival of Lights celebration marks new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

The origin of the word, which means “rows of lighted lamps,” is illustrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains as they decorate their homes and other spaces with diya lamps.

This year in Ayodhya, the rows of diya lamps stretched far and beyond as a new Guinness record was set with 300,150 lit up for five minutes.

Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press

According to the New York Times, it took thousands of volunteers to light the lamps, which were placed alongside Sarayu River and throughout the town squares.

Observed usually between October and November, the festival also marks the beginning of a the New Year for millions of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs around the world. Diwali as a whole shares a commonality — the victory of good over evil.

Messages of warm wishes were shared by many public figures, whether from high profile tech CEOs like Apple’s Tim Cook or Google’s Sundar Pichai.

Additionally, celebrities also spread their thoughts to those celebrating like actress Priyanka Chopra.

Regardless of faith, Diwali has become a national festival throughout the world.

In the U.S., landmarks such as Disneyland and Times Square have seen the streets filled with vibrant colors and shows to connect with the general public.

The U.S. Postal Service began to commemorate Diwali in 2016 with a “Forever” stamp, showcasing the diaspora in the West.

Even President Trump during this time stated that Diwali “is a special opportunity” to reflect on U.S.-Indian relations as he’ll be hosting a celebration at the White House.
“The President will be celebrating Diwali with a ceremonial lighting of the diya (lamp) in the Oval Office next Tuesday,” Deputy Assistant to the president Raj Shah said in a statement on Thursday.

Arts & Culture

Indian CEO’s meet with President Trump in London

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Indian CEOs and Trump

LONDON (Diya TV) — A number of prominent Indian CEOs from the US and the UK met with President Trump during a breakfast roundtable on his visit to London. Members of the American cabinet were also in attendance, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, as well as the president’s daughter, Ivanka.

The Punjab government announced free education for girls in government schools and colleges from Nursery school to the PhD level. They also announced free Wi-FI for 13,000 schools and all 48 government colleges.

Rayna Gokli McIntyre will be a new District Court Judge in Colorado, becoming the second South Asian member to the bench in that state.

In New Jersey, Zahid Quraishi was named a U.S. Magistrate Judge, becoming the first Asian American federal judge in that state.

And Karamjit and Karawjit Singh took danger to new heights with this coconut and melon smashing display on America’s Got Talent, all while wearing a blindfold.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump ends $5.6B GSP trade preference for India

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Trump is ending $5.6 billion worth of trade concessions for India under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences program effective this week, saying India failed to assure the U.S. that it would provide ‘equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India.

Bay Area Congressmembers Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo reintroduced a bill to save work authorization visas for H-4 holders whose spouses are on track to get a green card. Many of those eligible are Indian American women.

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education released new social studies standards, which for the first time include Sikhism. Nearly 700,000 students in Oklahoma public schools will now learn more about the Sikh community, in this effort spearheaded by the Sikh Coalition.

The Golden State Warriors played through two more injuries to rotation players to beat the Raptors in Toronto 109-104 to even the NBA Finals at a game a piece.

Diya TV’s Ravi Kapur and Jonathan Choe are on-site and will have more courtside.

And we talk to the stars of Netflix’s newest romantic comedy ‘Always Be My Maybe,’ a feature that offers a story & characters Asian Americans will find relatable from some of the most talented names in Hollywood.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Campaigning stopped in West Bengal due to violence

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West Bengal violence

KOLKATA, India (Diya TV) — For the first time in India’s electoral history, the Election Commission ordered campaigning to stop a day early in West Bengal because of violence between political factions in Kolkata.

SAALT released an overview of the growth in the South Asian demographic around America and it shows the community is increasing exponentially.

SAALT says the South Asian population in the U.S. grew a stunning 40% in seven years, from 3.5 million in 2010 to 5.4 million in 2017.

The first ever Sikh American mayor of a large city, Ravi Bhalla, was portrayed by a New Jersey-based website in a photoshopped image as an Arab dictator. Supporters of Bhalla, who is the mayor of Hoboken, are denouncing the image as racist and want the “Hudson Mile Square View” to take it down.

And the Indian government held an event at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the world’s largest film industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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