The Alabama teen who won $100,000 in top US quiz show!

Indian-American Sharath Narayan defeated two other finalists to bag ‘Jeopardy! Teen tournament’, the most coveted quiz show of the country


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An Indian-American teenage boy has won $100,000 in a top US quiz show, reports PTI. Sharath Narayan, a sophomore from Madison, Alabama, won Jeopardy! Teen tournament, the most coveted quiz show of the country by defeating two other finalists Alex Fischthal and Michael Borecki, who came second and third, respectively.

Hosted by long-time host Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! attracts 23 million viewers each week and is in its 33rd season. Sharath won the game by the slimmest of margins: one dollar, a media release said.

“I’d still like to go on a trip to Europe with my family (maybe Italy or Germany), but the majority of it will probably go towards taxes and college tuition,” he was quoted as saying after winning the award.

“I’m definitely more confident since I won the tournament, and it has showed me that I can surprise myself and accomplish things that I never would have thought of,” he added.

The final of the show was taped earlier this year, but broadcast on Monday and Tuesday.

Pic courtesy: Twitter


The Portuguese PM who is of Goan Indian origin

Antonio Costa to visit India in January next year

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Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa will visit India in January next year and is likely to make a trip to Goa. Consul general of Portugal for Goa Rui Baceira told reporters recently that the Portuguese Prime Minister will be visiting India in January 2017, with Goa and Bengaluru being on his travel itinerary.

“The Portuguese Prime Minister is coming to India in January (2017). He is of Goan Indian origin. We are pleased to have him here,” Baceira told reporters on the sidelines of an Independence Day event in Panaji on August 15.

Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had in March told the state legislative assembly that he would invite Costa to Goa.

The lawyer turned politician has been PM since November 26, 2015. Previously he was minister of parliamentary affairs from 1997 to 1999, minister of justice from 1999 to 2002, minister of state and internal administration from 2005 to 2007, and mayor of Lisbon from 2007 to 2015. He was elected as secretary-general of the Socialist Party in September 2014.

Costa was born in 1961 in Lisbon, the son of writer Orlando da Costa. His father was of Goan, Portuguese and French descent. His mother was Maria Antónia Palla, a Portuguese journalist and recognised feminist activist.

Costa studied law in the 1980s in Lisbon, when he first entered politics and was elected as a Socialist deputy to the municipal council. He later practised law briefly from 1988, before entering politics full-time.

In 1987, Costa married Fernanda Maria Gonçalves Tadeu, a teacher. The couple have a son and a daughter.

Costa is an avid Benfica fan, being a frequent attendant to the games as Lisbon mayor, as opposed to Sporting Lisbon’s. He also accompanied Benfica to both Europa League finals, in 2013 and 2014.

This Sikh woman has just become Canada’s 1st woman House leader

Bardish Chagger, the 36-year-old Waterloo MP and the country’s minister of small business and tourism, was among 19 Indian-origin candidates who won in last year’s general elections

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Indo-Canadian MP Bardish Chagger has been named the new leader of the government in Canada’s House of Commons, thus becoming the first woman in the country’s history to hold the post, reports PTI.

Chagger, the 36-year-old Waterloo MP and minister of small business and tourism, was among 19 Indian-origin candidates who won in last year’s general elections.

“This is a tremendous opportunity. I have been involved in the political process for basically my whole life,” Chagger told reporters on Parliament Hill after her swearing-in. “I know what democracy should look like. Democracy should be engaging Canadians. That is the leadership of our prime minister and that’s why the whole of government approach will work for Canada,” she was quoted as saying by CBC News.

Replacing Dominic LeBlanc, she is now the first woman in Canadian history to hold the job of guiding government legislation through Parliament.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his “confidence in minister Chagger as a worthy successor”, the report said, citing a government statement.

On the first day on the job, Chagger said she “really does believe that we can all work together”. “…let’s work with the team and let’s get there,” she said.

Chagger, who was born and raised in the Waterloo region, attended the University of Waterloo where she was the president of the Young Liberals. She will retain her title as minister along with the new role.

She is one of the four Sikh Canadians inducted into Trudeau’s Cabinet besides defence minister Harjit Sajjan – a combat veteran who did three tours in Afghanistan as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, infrastructure minister Amarjeet Sohi and innovation minister Navdeep Singh Bains.

The ‘other’ Indian who bagged a silver at Rio Olympics

Rajeev Ram, a first-generation of American of Indian origin, was Venus Williams’ partner in the mixed doubles tennis category but lost the finals to fellow US mates Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock

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When Rajeev Ram won the quarter-final match to enter the mixed doubles tennis final at the Rio Olympics along with partner Venus Williams, he was in a poignant mood amidst all the celebration by US fans in the stands.

The feeling was palpable, after all he’s a first-generation American of Indian origin, and had just beaten India’s Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna. He said after the match on August 14: “I will be the most hated person in India today. I am a first generation American having been born in the US in 1984.”

In the finals, however, Ram and Williams lost to fellow Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock 7-6 (3), 6-1, 10-7, denying Williams a chance to become the first five-time champion in Olympic tennis history in the process.

Interestingly, the 32-year-old Carmel, Indiana resident – son of Raghav and Sushma Ram, who had migrated to the US from Bangalore – was supposed to be watching the Olympics on TV. But when defending men’s doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan pulled out, Ram was rushed to Rio a few days before the opening ceremony.

He was paired with Brian Baker in the doubles competition, losing in the second round.

Ram has claimed eight ATP doubles titles in his career, with several different partners. His career-high singles ranking is world no. 56, achieved in April 2016. He reached as high as world no. 20 in doubles in August 2016.

Indore-born Rajesh Agrawal appointed chair of London & Partners

The British-Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist was appointed deputy mayor of London for business in June

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London & Partners, the mayor of London’s official promotional company, has announced the appointment of Rajesh Agrawal, the deputy mayor, business and enterprise, as its new chairman to help drive tourists, events, inward investment and international students to the city.

Born and brought up in Indore, Agrawal arrived in London in 2001, and grew a two-person enterprise working from one small office into a multi-million-pound business based in London, with offices in Birmingham, France and Spain.

As an entrepreneur he founded RationalFX in 2005, and Xendpay in 2014, both companies utilising technology to reduce the cost of international money transfer for businesses and individuals. Agrawal is passionate about promoting entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for young people. He was appointed chair of Oxfam’s Enterprise Development Programme in 2015 and has been a patron of the Prince’s Trust for many years.

Agrawal, 39, an experienced international businessman and technology entrepreneur, will lead on helping London & Partners attract international trade and investment to London. He will also play an important role as an advisor and champion of London as a global city for business, including spearheading international trade visits. He will also be pivotal in helping the company promote the city as a leading destination for tourism, students, culture and major events, with the overall aim of creating jobs and growth for the capital.

Commenting on his appointment, Agrawal said: “I look forward to leading the London & Partners Board to build on the company’s successful work in promoting London as a leading destination for inward investment, tourism, higher education and culture. Having moved to London to set up my own business 15 years ago, I know how important it is to make sure that London remains open to entrepreneurs and businesses from all over the world. It is vital that we continue to shine a spotlight on London’s talent, innovation and other assets that make it the world’s leading city in which to do business.”

Since 2011, London & Partners has added £1.2 billion GVA to London’s economy while creating or supporting an additional 38,000 jobs in the capital. In addition, the company has also helped 1,244 overseas companies setup or expand in London.

London & Partners work has also contributed to the success of London as one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations, with a record 31.6 million visitors to the capital last year. Additionally, the organisation has helped to bring major cultural and sporting events to the capital such as the Lumiere festival, the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the upcoming UEFA European Champions Final and Semi-finals in 2020.

These four Indian-origin persons are among America’s top wealth advisors

They have been named on a list of 200 members who collectively manage $675 billion

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Four Indian-origin persons have been named among America’s top wealth advisors by Forbes on a list of 200 members who collectively manage $675 billion. These four Indians are Raj Sharma, Ash Chopra, Sonny Kothari, and Raj Pathak.

While Sharma and Chopra have been ranked 17th and 129th, respectively, on the 2016 Forbes ‘America’s Top Wealth Advisors’ list, Kothari has been ranked 176th. The trio work for private banking & investment group, Merrill Lynch.

Pathak, who works for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, is placed at the 184th rank.

Forbes said the 200 members on the list serves clients that range from Silicon Valley billionaires and Wall Street titans to small business owners and family fortunes.

For this man, sky is not the limit

Moon Express, co-founded by Indian-American Naveen Jain, will be the first private company to land spacecraft on moon

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In a first, the Federal Aviation Administration has given license to a private US company, co-founded by an Indian American, to launch a spacecraft and land on moon in 2017.

This breakthrough US policy decision provides authorisation to Moon Express for a maiden flight of its robotic spacecraft onto the Moon’s surface, the company said in a media release. There have been no private space missions so far beyond Earth’s orbit and only state agencies have performed outer space missions.

“The sky is not the limit for Moon Express, it is the launch pad. Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children,” Naveen Jain, co-founder and chairman of Moon Express, told PTI. “In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals, and moon rocks back to earth,” he added.

The company was co-founded in 2010 by space visionary Bob Richards, Jain and serial entrepreneur and artificial intelligence and space technology guru Barney Pell with the common vision to be at the forefront of commercial space exploration and innovation. “The Moon Express 2017 mission approval is a landmark decision by the US government and a pathfinder for private sector commercial missions beyond the Earth’s orbit,” Richards told PTI.

“We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity,” he added.

The federal interagency approval of the Moon Express 2017 lunar mission establishes an important precedent for the private sector to engage in peaceful space exploration, bringing with it monumental implications for the advancement of technology, science, research, and development, as well as commercial ventures that expand Earth’s economic sphere, the company said.

The company submitted its historic application for a 2017 commercial lunar mission to the FAA on April 8, 2016. While the licensing of ‘SpaceShip Two’ was an anticipated event, the authorisation of the Moon Express flight to the lunar surface was hailed by the Space Foundation as a significant commercial space breakthrough.

This Edinburgh toddler knows the capitals of 196 countries!

At an age when other children her age are learning to walk, two-year-old Rakshitha is busy making us feel worse about your lives 🙂

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IT ALL started during an 11-hour plane journey when Rakshitha’s father Ramesh Kumar, 33, and mother Kavitha, 30, tried to keep the two-year-old occupied by learning the capitals of India, Britain and a handful of other major world countries.

“My wife and daughters came over from India to the UK in March and on the flight we were keeping Rakshitha occupied, telling her that the capital of India was New Delhi and the place we were going to was London,” Ramesh a project manager with Royal Bank of Scotland, toldThe Mirror.

To their astonishment, she was able to memorise every capital they mentioned. Intrigued, the family bought a colourful children’s book listing 30 of the world’s better known capital cities. Within a week, angelic Rakshitha had learned all 30 off by heart. And now, she can recite the capital cities of 196 countries after just three months of learning and memorising.

When her mother or father call out the name of a country, little Rakshitha answers back with the right city. And videos uploaded to YouTube by Kavitha show Rakshitha naming capitals as though it was as easy as saying one, two, three.

At an age when other children her age are learning to walk, Rakshitha is busy making us feel worse about our lives. Oh, and she can do it under five minutes.

It’s not just capital cities Rakshitha can remember – she knows nursery rhymes and lullabies word perfect too. Ramesh told The Mirror: “Even when I sing her a lullaby and I think she’s sleeping, the next day she’ll be up and about singing it back to me.”

Pic courtesy: Centre Press

The White Hat hacker who bagged $10,080 from Twitter

Microblogging website awards Indian-origin Avinash Singh for discovering security loophole in its Vine video-sharing service

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Microblogging website Twitter awarded Avinash Singh, an Indian-origin White Hat hacker, $10,080 for discovering a security loophole in its Vine video-sharing service. The flaw enabled Singh to access the entire cache of Vine’s online code.witter in March and was awarded with $10,080, through a bug bounty startup called HackerOne, reports The Times of India.

According to a report by Hacker News website, the hacker discovered a Docker image for Vine while looking for vulnerabilities using For those unaware, Docker is an open digital platform for developers and system administrators. From code to libraries, it includes everything required to build and run applications.

The complete code for Vine was stored as part of a Docker image, used to host the site. The server was on Amazon Web Services and ideally should have been private. But, it was public and using Censys, Singh was able to discover the Docker image.

In a blog-post, Avinash Singh explained that he was able to see the entire source code of Vine, its third party keys, API keys and other information. He further added: “Even running the image without any parameters was letting me host a replica of Vine locally.”

He reported his findings to Twitter on March 31, and they fixed the issue within 5 minutes.

Recently, a Bengaluru-based hacker, Anand Prakash, claimed he received $15,000 (approximately Rs 10 lakh) from Facebook for reporting a bug that could have put the social network’s 1.6 billion users at risk.

In a blog post, Prakash wrote that on February 22, he had found a simple vulnerability that could have been used to hack into any user’s Facebook account and get access to their credit or debit card details, personal pictures and messages.

The 22-year-old, who works at Flipkart as a security engineer, describes himself as a ‘bug bounty’ hunter, and says he has earned around Rs 1.2 crore just by reporting bugs to Facebook, Twitter and a host of other US-based big technology companies.

The Indian-origin chef who will win hearts, and stomachs, at Rio

Dion Vengatass is part of the South African Olympic squad

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An Indian-origin chef will be part of South Africa’s Olympic squad and will charm the country’s athletes with his sumptuous dishes during their stay in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, reports IANS.

The South African Olympic squad of all races will be tasting cuisine of Dion Vengatass who is part of South African National Culinary Team, considered an honour for a chef. “Being part of a national culinary team is one of the greatest achievements for a chef in any country, so representing South Africa and wearing the national colours means a lot to me because I’ve always been a hardcore patriot. This is what I have worked for my entire career!” said an excited Vengatass.

Vengatass took up hotel-keeping and catering in high school after mastering the art of balancing flavours and respecting the ingredients from his grandmothers and aunts. One of his teachers, Majam, began to hone his unrefined talent to the extent that he ended up furthering his studies at the Swiss Hotel School.

“Living with my great-grandmother I was always exposed to the richness of Indian cooking. When I was young she used to let me grate onions or soak the rice for meals. When I became older she used to let me work with her spices to make curry,” Vengatass told Moneybags in an interview a few years ago.

Vengatass’ love for cooking, however, saw him undertake a self-study programme to become a chef. His role in the culinary team sees him in charge of the cold starter in the Hot Kitchen and the tapas items on the five course festive menu for the Cold Table.

Athletes are sure to love Vengatass’ speciality of a starter dish popularised by Cape Malay cuisine – poached crayfish, pressed carrot terrine, carrot mayonnaise and Malay curry sauce – which he says remind him of his childhood and Indian culinary heritage.

The 28th edition of the modern Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janereio from August 5 to 21. A total of 306 medals are on stake and more than 10, 500 players will be participating in the grand event. A total of 137 athletes will be part of Team South Africa to participate in this year’s Olympics, according to South African Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).