Category Archives: NRI

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.

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.

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).

This Indian-American teen was the centre of attraction at Democratic National Convention

18-year-old Harvard University student Sruthi Palaniappan is a big supporter of Hillary Clinton

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An 18-year-old Indian-American girl became the youngest delegate at the recently concluded Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, which nominated Hillary Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate, reports PTI.

Sruthi Palaniappan from Cedar Rapids and a student of the Harvard University is a big supporter of Clinton, the first woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major political party. Her father Palaniappan Andiappan also attended the convention as a member of the credentials committee.

Palaniappan was the centre of attraction among the media and the delegates along with Jerry Emmett, a 102-year-old delegate from Arizona who was the oldest delegate at the convention. In addition to being the youngest delegate, Palaniappan made history when she was given an opportunity to represent Iowa during roll call votes.

“I am extremely thankful for the surreal opportunity to have represented the Iowa delegation as a roll call speaker and to have been a part of the historic nomination process of our next president,” she told PTI. “Together, we have made history by electing the first woman presidential nominee of a major political party- Hillary Rodham Clinton,” Palaniappan wrote on her Facebook post.

Palaniappan said being elected as the party’s delegate was a long process. “But I’m extremely glad that I have been able to immerse myself at every step along the way and witness the political process first-hand,” she said.

Highly impressed by the electrifying speech given by President Barack Obama, Palaniappan said the American Dream is something no wall will ever contain. “President Barack Obama, thank you for gracing us with your beautifully moving words. It was simply an honour to be in your presence and witness the pure emotion that emanated from your voice.

“Obama’s legacy and efforts will live on when Clinton and her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine become the new President and Vice President of the United States,” she said.

“We really do need to unite together in order to defeat the Republican nominee (Donald Trump). If we let Donald Trump take over the presidency, really terrible things will take our county several steps back,” Palaniappan was quoted as saying by the local KCRG TV.

Neera Tanden makes a strong case for Hillary as POTUS

45-year-old Indian-American makes political debut on national stage at recently-concluded Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

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For presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, politics is all about fighting for people, not when the cameras are on but when they are off, Indian- American Neera Tanden said in her political debut on the national stage at the Democratic party convention in Philadelphia recently.

Tanden, 45, was invited by the Democratic leadership and the Clinton Campaign to address the recently concluded Democratic National Convention.

Tanden, who is currently president of the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organisation based in Washington DC, narrated her personal story to make a strong case for Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States.

“It’s truly an honour for me to address this convention.  Because frankly, I would not be here without the policies of the democratic party,” said Tanden, a close confidant of Clinton. “My parents got divorced when I was five years old. My father left for a time, and my mother had to be on welfare,” she added.

She worked hard to support me and my brother…We used lunch of vouchers at school and food stamps at the supermarket. “After we moved out of our house, a federal subsidy let us to get an apartment and stay in a town with good public schools,” she said recollecting her childhood days.

“It wasn’t easy, but we eventually got back on our feet because of the investment democrats have made in struggling families like mine,” she said amidst applause from the audience that had several thousand Democratic party delegates and party leaders in attendance.

Born in Bedford, Massachusetts to immigrant parents from India, Tanden graduated from UCLA in 1992 and received her degree from Yale Law School in 1996. She is married to Ben Edwards, an artist she met while working on the Michael Dukakis campaign.

Tanden, who is speculated as a potential cabinet appointee in Hillary’s administration, said she knows first-hand that the decisions leaders make, makes all the difference in people’s lives.

“That is why I direct public policy, and that is why I am so very proud to support Hillary Clinton. For decades, Hillary has campaigned on issues that matter to working families. Childcare, paid leave, equal pay,” the Indian-American leader said.

She waived her anonymity as rape survivor to set up maternity clinic for victims of sexual violence


Indian-origin Pavan Amara’s My Body Back Project establishes facility in association with Barts Health NHS Trust

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An Indian-origin rape survivor in the UK recently opened the country’s first maternity clinic for rape and sexual assault victims, providing them with specially-trained midwives and psychologists, reports PTI.

The Indian-origin woman has founded the My Body Back Project, which has jointly established the new maternity clinic with the Barts Health NHS Trust in London. The clinic will provide extra antenatal support with specially-trained midwives, psychologists and paediatricians.

If it proves successful, it could be rolled out across other UK hospitals as well. “They don’t have to say what happened, although they can if they want to. Whatever they feel is right for them. We will then book them an appointment and take it from there,” Pavan Amara, the founder of the My Body Back Project, said.

Amara, who was raped as a teenager, waived her anonymity as a victim when she helped set up a sexual health clinic at the Royal London Hospital for victims of sexual violence last August. With more than 800 women using the service since it was set up, talks are under way to open a similar unit in Glasgow, reports BBC.

Though the service will be integrated into a regular maternity ward at the Royal London Hospital, women will follow a different antenatal route from the moment they are referred. As well as being offered extra, longer meetings with specially-trained staff, women will be able to have more of a say as to how their birthing rooms are laid out and legal advice over their medical checks.

The clinic will also provide antenatal classes and breastfeeding advice, which has been altered for women who have experienced sexual attacks, and offer specialist gynaecological examinations and mental health support after labour.

“There might be some characteristics that come across during the birth and it’s a shame because if we had known before we could have worked with them during the birth to help them have a positive pregnancy,” Inderjeet Kaur, consultant midwife at the clinic, told BBC.

Women can also self-refer to the maternity clinic by emailing the team to make an appointment.

The Indian-origin woman’s team has already received many international emails from women who cannot use the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) but she also plans to offer women in other countries one-off appointments in the form of video calls.