Desi News

Several Indian-American kids in final teams for Odyssey of the Mind competition

Two elementary school teams from North Edison, including several Indian-Americans, have reached the world finals of the Odyssey of the Mind (OM), competition. OM is a creative problem-solving program involving students from kindergarten through college which will be held at Michigan State University starting May 22. 14 students from the MLK Elementary School in Edison, New Jersey, who made it to the finals of the Odyssey of the Mind (OM) problem-solving competition to be held starting May 22 in Michigan. Seen in photo are some members of the team, from left, from left: Carter Williams, Annika Jeena, Aksh Doshi, Jay Chavan, Riya Lakhihal, Pranavi Ganti, coach Ruth Vogel and Chaitanya Palasamudram. (Photo: courtesy organizers) The Edison Board of Education passed a unanimous resolution on Monday, April 15, congratulating the 14 students, 7 in each team, from the Martin Luther King Elementary School, wishing them well at the OM world finals…

Desi News

India’s major parties field few women in race to parliament

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) – Women running for India’s parliament are barely a blip in the world’s biggest democratic exercise, which began last week and will play out in seven rounds, with results expected on May 23. Women now make up just 11.8 percent and 12.8 percent of the total candidates nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main opposition Congress respectively, candidate lists show. Urmila Matondkar, Bollywood actress-turned-politician who recently joined India’s main opposition Congress party, gestures during her election campaign rally in Mumbai, India, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo In a country led for years by a woman, the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, both major parties have long pledged backing for laws to reserve a third of parliamentary seats for women, but the numbers of women they have nominated this year roughly match those in the 2014 election. (Graphic: Indian general elections…

Desi News

Indian-American non-profit, Gift of Life USA, holds special needs fundraising gala

Gift of Life USA is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization founded by Indian-Americans Paresh and Flora Parekh, with the aim of helping the specially-abled, celebrated its annual fundraising gala April 14, at Huntington Hilton in Long Island, N.Y. The Gala serves as a platform to support specially-abled individuals and attendees get the opportunity to meet the beneficiaries they will be supporting, and see for themselves the talents these individuals bring to the world, a press release from organizers, said. Gift of Life USA, a non-profit, held its annual Special Needs Gala and fundraiser. Seen in pictures are special needs beneficiaries with founders Paresh and Flora Parekh, sponsores, and performers. (Photo: Gift of Life USA) The range of talent was evident at the Gift of life USA Special Needs Gala 2019, which featured cerebral palsy speakers, special needs freestyle dancers, an autistic musician, and a special needs band. Celebrity cerebral…

Desi News

Indian student used “USB Killer Device” to destroy college equipment

An former Indian student at The College of St. Rose, in Albany, N.Y., admitted to damaging 66 computers at the private, co-educational college. Representative cybercrime photo Reuters/Dado Ruvic Vishwanath Akuthota, 27, pled guilty to causing damage to computers owned by The College of St. Rose, the United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and other law enforcement officials, including from the FBI,  involved in the case, announced  April 16. Akuthota admitted that on February 14, 2019, he inserted a “USB Killer” device into 66 computers, as well as numerous computer monitors and computer-enhanced podiums, owned by the College. He is a citizen of India who is in the United States on a student visa.  He has been in custody since he was arrested in North Carolina on February 22. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment…

Desi News

Indian American PAC endorses Sen. Kamala Harris for President

The Indian American IMPACT Fund (“IMPACT Fund”), a political action committee that funds Indian-origin candidates for public office, announced its endorsement April 17, of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris for President of the United States. Senator Kamala Harris speaking at Pratham’s annual gala in New York, September 28, 2018. (Courtesy: Pratham USA) “In such a critically important election, one that will shape policy and politics for generations to come, Indian Americans can’t afford to stay on the sidelines,” Raj Goyle, co-founder of IMPACT and a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives is quoted saying in the press release, adding, “That’s why IMPACT Fund is proud to be the first Indian American or Asian American political organization to endorse Senator Harris.” “This endorsement and the support of the Indian American Impact Fund and its members means so much to me,” Harris said. “Together, we will fight for an America that…

Desi News

Youthful 60-year old from India completes Boston Marathon

After he qualified for the Boston Marathon, Ramanjit Singh Oberoi came from India to participate in the event, April 15, joining some 30,000 runners, many of them with great stories to tell. Sixty year old Ramanjeet Singh Oberoi stands before a sign. He came from India and ran in the April 15 Boston Marathon. (Photo courtesy Ramanjeet Singh Oberoi) According to those who know him or have only met him, the most striking thing about Oberoi is his unbounded energy and youthful enthusiasm to try anything new. He exudes optimism backed by the belief that everything is achievable, if only one is single-minded in pursuing it. Ramanjeet Singh Oberoi, 60, from India, running in the April 15, Boston Marathon. (PHoto ourtesy Ramanjeet Singh Oberoi) He began running in marathons at the early age of 55, in 2014, when he took part in a half-marathon. Since then he has notched up…

Desi News

Ben & Jerry’s joins Turban Day in Times Square where thousands get ‘turbanized’

This April 13, thousands of visitors and residents of New York City streamed through the city’s hub andenjoyed ‘Turban Day in Times Square’ relishing the experience of having a turban wrapped around their head by enthusiastic volunteers who took the opportunity to raise awareness about Sikh faith and culture. A woman posing after a Sikh turban was tied on head at Turban Day in Times Square April 13 2019 Photo Kirit Singh, National Sikh Campaign Sikhs in the United States have borne the burden of post-9/11 hate crime and Sikh children experience continue to experience bullying in schools according to organizations that have been active around the country and engaged law enforcement to help prevent verbal and physical violence on the Sikhs. One of the worst incidents of violence was the Aug. 5, 2012 massacre at the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin by a White supremacist. And just days after…

Desi News

Justice Department, FBI officials discuss hate crime with Indian-Americans in Houston

Officials from the FBI, Dept. of Justice, Harris County District Attorney’s office and Houston Police Department, met with Indian-Americans at an event hosted by the organization, Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH), April 6. The community organization Hindus of Greater Houston, held a meeting with federal and local law enforcement officials on hate crime and how to safeguard places of worship. Seen in photo, from left, front row — Morris Grunill, Fort Bend Church; Dr. Zahra Jamal, Rice University; Rev Gregory Han, IMG –Interfaith; Jason Plotkin, Jewish representative; Shri Kedar Thakker, BAPS Mandir Admin. Back row. standing, from left — Vijay Pallod, Kim Milstead (Dept. of Justice), Harpeet Mocha (Dept. of Justice); Tara Narasimhan; Bhawna Luthra, Gopal Agarwal, Partha Krishnaswamy; Girish Naik; Sreemathy Ranga, Raj Shah. (Photo courtesy HGH) At the forum, entitled, “Understanding Hate Crimes and Protection of Places of Worship” facilitated by the United States Department of Justice Community…

Desi News

Late April In The Big Apple, Feast Of Indian Classical Fusion

For Indian music lovers and musicians alike, New York City has numerous treats lined up for the second half of April, among them, the debut album release concert of mrudangam artist and composer Rajna Swaminathan’s record, Of Agency and Abstraction, at the Rubin Museum April 26, evening. (rubinmuseum.org). Mrudangam player Rajna Swaminathan. (Photo Jaimie Milner via Rubin Museum) The album is a product of Swaminathan and her ensemble, RAJAS, a Sanskrit term meaning inner energy that compels action, creation, and change. “The ensemble embodies this spirit in their exploration of new collective possibilities in the resonances among Indian music, jazz/creative music, and other improvisational traditions,” notes the Rubin Museum in its announcement about the event. The one-and-a-half-hour performance is a one-of-a-kind experience, the museum says. The ensemble was formed in 2013, and has taken on different configurations over the years, according to Swaminathan’s website. “Though this album primarily features my…

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Sanders’ campaign escalates fight with Democrats in reprise of 2016 rifts

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Campaign advisers to Bernie Sanders escalated their attacks on a major Democratic-leaning think tank Monday, accusing the group of using corporate donations to mount a “consistent effort to belittle or demean” the independent Vermont senator while seeking to “kneecap” populist support for policies such as Medicare-for-all. Democratic Party logo on Facebook site The onslaught, coming as Sanders sits atop national 2020 polls of declared presidential candidates, was the clearest signal yet that he plans to reprise his role as a disruptive insurgent who will run against established Democratic Party institutions even as he seeks the party’s nomination. “I think this time around he wanted to make sure that people understood that he wasn’t just going to be a punching bag,” said Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, in an interview at the Mohegan Sun Pocono, where Sanders addressed members of a nurses union. “He’s comfortable having the fight…