Two Indian Americans named Truman scholars

Tuesday 19th May 2020 15:43 EDT

Two Indian American students and a Nepalese American were among the 62 named for the 2020 Truman Scholars by the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation. The Indian American Scholars selected are Nik Marda and Ashni Bhojwani, while Abrita Kuthuni is originally from Nepal. They, as well as the other scholars, were chosen from nearly 200 students as finalists – including 10 Indian Americans – named earlier in the year. The more than five dozen 2020 Truman Scholars – the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States – were selected from 55 institutions, according to a news release.

Indian American engineer charged

An Indian American engineer has been charged by prosecutors with making fraudulent applications for over $10 million loans under the US Covid-19 relief program. Shashank Rai "fraudulently pursued millions of dollars in loans intended for legitimate small businesses suffering the economic hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said after announcing the filing of charges. He faces several charges including bank fraud and making false statements to a federal agency. Rai, 30, applied for a $10 million loan from a bank under the Paycheck Protection Program claiming to have 250 employees with a monthly payroll of $4 million when there were no records of paying workers, according to documents filed in the federal court in Beaumont, Texas.

Bollywood actor Sai Gundewar dies in Los Angeles

Bollywood actor Sai Gundewar died at 42 in Los Angeles after suffering from brain cancer. He had worked in Bollywood films such as 'Rock On!!' and 'PK'. He is survived by his wife Sapana Amin. Maharashtra's Home Minister Anil Deshmukh took to social media to express his grief on the demise of the actor. He wrote in Marathi, "Actor Saiprasad Gundewar, who won the hearts of audience through popular films like PK, was defeated in his battle with cancer. With his demise, the Indian film industry has lost a talented actor. A heartfelt tribute!" As per a report, apart from doing films, Gundewar was also a participant in MTV's popular reality show 'Splitsvilla' in 2010. He had also appeared in another reality show 'Survivor'. Gundewar had worked in Salman Khan's 'Yuvvraaj' as well. The actor's last film was Saif Ali Khan's 'Bazaar'. He was also the founder of Foodizm, a health food delivery service in Mumbai. The actor was undergoing treatment for cancer in Los Angeles for the last one year.

Second season for 'A Little Late with Lilly Singh’

NBC announced that it has renewed its late-night show, “A Little Late with Lilly Singh,” for a second season. Hosted by Indo-Canadian YouTube star Lilly Singh, the show debuted its first season in September 2019, making Singh the first Indian and South Asian to front a broadcast network late-night show. The trailblazing first season included notable guests such as Indian American actor/producer Mindy Kaling, Charlize Theron, Malala Yousafzai, Jessica Alba, Tracee Ellis Ross, Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Ashley Graham, Justin Hartley, Meghan Trainor, Tony Shalhoub, Snoop Dogg, Terry Crews, Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, John Legend, RuPaul, Adam Devine, Tyra Banks and many more. NBC said the show leads all freshman programs in social engagements and is the most-viewed new broadcast series on YouTube since its premiere.

Austrian Princess married to Indian-origin chef dies

Princess Maria Galitzine of Austria, who was married to Indian-origin chef Rishi Roop Singh, passed away in Houston after suffering a "sudden cardiac aneurysm" at the age of 31, Fox News reported. Princess Maria Galitzine who lived in Houston, with husband Singh whom she had married in April 2017, leaves behind their two-year-old son, Maxim. Maria worked as an interior designer in Houston where Singh is a renowned executive chef. Maria, the daughter of Princess Maria-Anna and Prince Piotr Galitzine, who passed away on May 4 was laid to rest at the Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery in Houston four days after her death. She is also survived by her parents, Princess Maria-Anna (born Archduchess of Austria) and Prince Piotr Galitzine, a Russian aristocrat. Her maternal grandfather was Archduke Rudolf of Austria.

Pak army seeks 20% pay hike despite crunch

Pakistan’s armed forces have sought a 20% increase in the salaries of their personnel for financial year 2020-21 despite fears that the country’s economy is facing huge losses from the Covid-19 crisis. According to defence ministry’s memorandum, this increase, if effected, would cost Rs 6,367 crore to the national kitty. The memorandum, claimed that security personnel were feeling a pay crunch due to devaluation of the rupee. It noted that in 2019-20, the salary of officers up to the rank of brigadier had increased by 5%. That apart, “10% ad hoc relief was awarded to junior commissioned officers/soldiers, it added. However, it said, no increase was given to general officers, and the ad hoc relief had resulted in them paying more taxes, thereby actually seeing their pay decreasing.

54 killed in Afghan attacks

Two suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan last week have claimed at least the life of 54 people. In the first incident, militants stormed a maternity hospital in Kabul, killing 24 people, including mothers, nurses and two babies. The attack set off an hours-long shootout with police; the attack also left 16 wounded in the hospital, which is supported by international aid group Doctors Without Borders. No one claimed responsibility for the attack on the clinic in Dashti Barchi, a mostly Shiite neighborhood in Kabul. In the other incident, a suicide bomber targeted the funeral of a pro-government militia commander and former warlord in the eastern province of Nangarhar, killing 32 people and wounding 133 others. That attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.

Facebook apologises for role in 2018 Lanka unrest

Facebook has apologised for its role in the deadly communal unrest that shook Sri Lanka two years ago after an investigation found that hate speech and rumours spread on the platform may have led to violence against Muslims. The riots in early 2018 erupted as anti-Muslim anger was whipped up on social media, forcing the Sri Lankan government to impose a state of emergency and block access to Facebook. The tech giant commissioned a probe into the part it may have played, and investigators said incendiary content on Facebook may have led to violence against Muslims. “We deplore the misuse of our platform,” Facebook said in a statement. “We recognise, and apologise for, the very real human rights impacts that resulted.” At least three people were killed and 20 injured in the 2018 unrest, during which mosques and Muslim businesses were burned, mainly in the central part of the Buddhist-majority nation.

Netanyahu sworn in as Israeli PM

Benjamin Netanyahu has sworn in as Israel’s prime minister, heading a unity government in which he will rotate the leadership with his former rival, Benny Gantz, in a deal that could see the annexation of large parts of the West Bank. The coalition agreement ends a deadlock that has dragged on for more than 500 days. In that time, the country has held three back-to-back elections with neither side clinching an outright victory. The Netanyahu-Gantz deal also hints at the potential annexation of parts of the Palestinian territories this summer, stating that Netanyahu could bring Donald Trump’s “vision for peace” to the cabinet for discussion from 1 July.

Malaysia to allow mass prayers ahead of Eid

Muslim-majority Malaysia will ease a ban on mass prayers in mosques ahead of this month's Eid festival, the government said, as it gradually relaxes curbs that have helped rein in the coronavirus. The news follows last week's re-opening of many businesses in Malaysia, which has a tally of 6,819 infections and 112 deaths. It comes ahead of the Eid holiday that ends the fasting month of Ramadan, and falls on May 24 this year. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is among Malaysia's federal territories which will allow prayers by congregations limited to 30 or fewer, said Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, the religious affairs minister.

Toilet duty for social distancing violators in Jakarta

Indonesians who violate social distancing rules in Jakarta could soon find themselves forced to clean toilets to atone for their sins. Going outside without a mask can result in a 250,000 rupiah ($17) fine, while residents gathering in crowds could be forced to clean public facilities - including toilets - while wearing a vest that labels them as rule-breakers.

Four-legged robot patrols Singapore park

Singapore has employed a four-legged robot to patrol a popular park and remind people to maintain social distancing. SPOT, a robot designed by Boston Dynamics, shows off its ability to climb difficult terrain in a video shared by the official account of Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The robot delivers a prerecorded message to people in the park, reminded them to keep their distance from one another in order to contain the spread of Covid-19. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park will be home to the patrolling robot for two weeks and it will be accompanied by a member of park staff, according to local reports.

TV soap resumes filming

They stand 5 feet apart, cannot hold hands, kiss or simulate a brawl, but the cast and crew of “Neighbours” - an Australian soap opera that has been running for 35 years - returned to production in late April amid coronavirus restrictions. It has become among the first TV shows in the world to have its cast and crew return to set, if at a distance. To film the show safely, the production has put several rules in place. All cast and crew members have their temperature checked when they enter the studio. Once on set, they are divided into cordoned off shooting units, with only three actors permitted to cross between these designated zones at any time. Male performers wear no makeup and women are forgoing touch-ups. Cameras are positioned to make the cast appear as if they were standing or sitting closer to one another. There are no extras. And no touching and no physical intimacy. Instead, producers said the camera will cut away in the cliffhanging moment before a kiss or a punch.

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