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Modi leads prayer at groundbreaking of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Modi traveled to Ayodhya to be part of the prayer service and groundbreaking of the Ram Mandir. It’s a significant victory for Modi and the majority BJP government, who ran on a platform to return a Hindu temple to this historic site, where a Muslim mosque also once stood. With both venues destroyed, India’s Supreme Court ruled late last year a Hindu temple would be allowed to be built on this specific land, with a Muslim mosque to be built nearby.

Meanwhile, in New York’s Times Square, hundreds of Ram Mandir supporters chanted “SitaRam” to celebrate the start of construction, while billboards with the image of the mandir and Ram were shown above. Down the street from the celebration in Times Square, hundreds of protesters yelled “shame,” claiming India’s government was anti-Muslim and fascist.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who has been in Congress representing a New York City district since 1993, declared victory in the Democratic primary over Suraj Patel. But Patel is not conceding yet. In a lawsuit he filed against the Board of Elections, a judge has ordered more ballots be counted since a number of mail-in ballots were deemed late. In response, Maloney’s team says her lead was at 3,762 votes, with only about 1,200 absentee ballots thrown out due to postmark problems. So it does not appear Patel has a path to victory.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to leave office

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to leave office | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The first Indian American to lead the Federal Communications Commission is stepping down. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he’s leaving on January 20th, once President-Elect Joe Biden comes into office. He started as a FCC commissioner in 2012 and was appointed to the top spot by President Trump in 2017. The FCC oversees at least one-sixth to one-third of America’s gross domestic product.

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris sent their best wishes to members of the Sikh community observing the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism. It’s the first time an incoming Presidential Administration acknowledged the birth of the Guru.

Four Indian Americans are part of the latest batch of Rhodes scholars. Swathi Srinivasan, Vijaysundaram Ramasamy, Garima Desai and Savarni Sanka are headed to the University of Oxford in England, where they plan to study and focus on a broad range of topics including climate change and COVID-19.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Neera Tanden chosen to lead OMB

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Neera Tanden chosen to lead OMB | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The CEO of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden, was selected by President-Elect Joe Biden to join his cabinet and direct the Office of Management and Budget. She would become the first-ever Indian American and South Asian to serve in the President’s cabinet. But Republicans and even some progressives are on the record saying Tanden is not the choice for this position, given some of the tough talk she has engaged with on Twitter against political rivals. Biden also announced Janet Yellen is his pick for Treasury Secretary, and selected an all-female White House communications team, with Jen Psaki serving as Press Secretary.

China is once again blaming COVID-19 on other nations. This time their scientists are pointing the finger at India, claiming the virus likely jumped from animals to humans in 2019 through contaminated water and then spread to Wuhan.

Chinese authorities also blamed Italy and the U.S. in recent months without much evidence. This latest accusation by China towards India comes as tensions continue over their shared border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India bans 43 more Chinese mobile apps

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India bans 43 more Chinese mobile apps | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — The Indian government continues its ban on Chinese apps, adding 43 new mobile apps to a growing list blocked in the world’s second largest Internet market. This time, popular shopping app AliExpress by Alibaba and Tencent backed Snack Video joined the blacklist. With the new additions, the Indian government has now banned more than 200 Chinese made apps over national security concerns.

Kash Patel, who became Chief of Staff to acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller just two weeks ago, is now in charge of the Defense Department’s transition to the Biden administration. Patel, who is in the Middle East now serving Thanksgiving meals to troops, is considered a Trump loyalist after playing a key role in helping Republicans discredit the Russia probe while working for Congressman Devin Nunes.

The India Community Center in the Bay Area celebrated its 17th Annual Banquet virtually, highlighted by a conversation with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent. Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gupta received the ICC Inspire Award and spoke of his experience on retaining his Indian heritage, while growing up, living, and working in the US.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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