Indian American teen Eesha Khare invents wondrous 20-sec charger, Google eyes bid

An 18-year-old Indian-American girl has invented a super-capacitor device that could potentially charge your cellphone in less than 20 seconds.
Eesha Khare, from Saratoga, California, was awarded the Young Scientist Award by the Intel Foundation after developing the tiny device that fits inside mobile phone batteries, that could allow them to charge within 20-30 seconds.
The so-called super-capacitor, a gizmo that can pack a lot of energy into a tiny space, charges quickly and holds its charge for a long time, NBC News reported.

Khare has been awarded USD 50,000 for developing the tiny device. She has also attracted the attention of tech giant Google for her potentially revolutionary invention.
According to Khare, her device can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared with 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries.
“My cellphone battery always dies,” she said when asked about what inspired her to work on the energy-storage technology.
Super-capacitors allowed her to focus on her interest in nanochemistry “really working at the nanoscale to make significant advances in many different fields.”
The gadget has so far only been tested on an LED light, but the good news is that it has a good chance of working successfully in other devices, like mobile phones, the report said.
Khare sees it fitting inside cellphones and the other portable electronic devices proliferating in today’s world.
“It is also flexible, so it can be used in rollup displays and clothing and fabric. It has a lot of different applications and advantages over batteries in that sense,” Khare added.

Indian-origin boy, Sathwik Karnik, wins National Geographic Bee contest

WASHINGTON: Sathwik Karnik, an Indian-origin boy from Massachusetts has won this year’s National Geographic Bee contest after gruelling rounds testing his geographic knowledge about lions in Botswana, mountain ranges in Asia and port cities in England.

To clinch this title, Karnik, 12, correctly named Chimborazo as the mountain in Ecuador that represents the farthest point from the Earth’s center.
Karnik, a native of Norfolk, south of Boston, is a 7th grader at King Philip Regional Middle School while his family hails from south India.

The national competition this time round turned out to be dominated by the Indian-Americans even as in the finals held in Washington yesterday, eight of the 10 finalists, who competed among the four million participants for the competition, were Indian-Americans.

In addition to Karnik, the third place was grabbed by Sanjeev Uppaluri, 11, fifth-grader at Fulton Sunshine Academy in Roswell, a suburb of Atlanta and the fourth place went to Virginia’s Akhil Rekulapelli, 12, seventh-grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn.

Karnik will take home the spoils of the Bee prize that include a USD 25,000 college scholarship, an all-expenses paid trip to the Galapagos Islands, and a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society, National Geographic reported.

This is the third year in a row that a member of the Karnik family has placed in the top 10 of the National Geographic Bee.
Sathwik’s brother, Karthik, took fifth place at the 2011 Bee and sixth place at the 2012 Bee.
But it is Sathwik who realised the family dream. Second-place winner and recipient of a USD 15,000 college scholarship was Illinois’ Conrad Oberhaus, 13, seventh-grader at Daniel Wright Junior High School in Lincolnshire, a suburb of Chicago.

The six other finalists, who each won USD 500, were Tuvya Bergson-Michelson of California, Pranit Nanda of Colorado, Neha Middela of Michigan, Neelam Sandhu of New Hampshire, Harish Palani of Oregon and Asha Jain of Wisconsin.
National Geographic Bee is an annual geography contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society since 1989.

Indian-Americans hail Srinivasan’s elevation as US judge

WASHINGTON: Prominent Indian-Americans today hailed the historic nomination of legal eagle Srikanth Sri Srinivasan as a judge to the country’s second highest court.
Chandigarh-born Srinivasan’s nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was unanimously approved by the Senate with 97 voting in favour.
46-year-old Srinivasan has become the first South Asian to be appointed to the top American court amid speculation that he may one day be tapped for the Supreme Court.
Congressman Ami Bera, the only serving Indian-American lawmaker in the current Congress, said he was thrilled at the unanimous confirmation of Srinivasan by the US Senate.

“I’m thrilled that the Senate confirmed Sri Srinivasan to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals today,” said Bera. He had written a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in this regard on Wednesday.
“He will be an outstanding, fair-minded judge. This is a historic moment for all Indian Americans and Asian Americans, and it’s a fitting way to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May,” Bera said.

“Sri Srinivasan made history today. As the first South Asian on the U S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Sri will offer a unique perspective and added diversity that is long overdue in our justice system,” said Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress.

“Srinivasan has a distinguished and proven record of commitment to public service, and I look forward to his contributions to the bench,” Gabbard said.

Applauding Srinivasan’s confirmation, Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), an umbrella group of 41 community organisations, said “Sri Srinivasan has the ideal set of experiences and skills for this important position.”

Noting that he “will be the first South Asian American federal appellate court judge in the history of the United States,” SAALT also commended President Barack Obama for nominating Srinivasan, and the Senate for confirming his nomination.

In a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday, a group of 21 influential US lawmakers led by Bera, had demanded confirmation of Srinivasan’s nomination to the second highest US court.

“Sri Srinivasan would be an outstanding judge for the Court of Appeals. He has worked in the US Solicitor General’s office three times – for both Republican and Democratic administrations – and argued 24 cases before the Supreme Court,” the Congressmen said in the letter.
“As members of Congress, we value the importance of having diversity on the court. Representation of Indian Americans within our judicial system is overdue,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

Sri Srinivasan on his way to be the first Indian-American in US Supreme Court

Sri Srinivasan, President Barack Obama’s latest appointment to the US Court of Appeals Circuit for the District of Columbia, may well be on his way to becoming the first Indian-American appointed to the Supreme Court.
Srinivasan was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last June, but the process for his approval has been lengthy due to numerous delays and legislative red tape.

Despite these setbacks, however, few on Capitol Hill have any doubt that Srinivasan’s confirmation is guaranteed, and there’s a good chance another promotion will be around the corner.
Born in Chandhigarh in 1967, but raised in the heart of Kansas by two parents working at the University of Kansas, Srinivasan eventually left the Midwest to pursue his bachelor’s degree at Stanford University.
He graduated in 1989 and went on to pursue and earn a prestigious J.D./MBA from the Stanford graduate schools of Law and Business in 1995. He quickly became a highly successful private lawyer, becoming a partner at O’Melveny & Meyers, a Washington, DC, law firm, by the time he was 40. He even fought a handful of very high-profile cases, including one in which he defended former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling.

The case garnered national attention, especially because it came before the Supreme Court, who eventually ruled in favor of Srinivasan’s client, an outcome that was deemed unlikely from the start.
In 2011, he was appointed to replace fellow Indian American Neal Katyal as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, a job that essentially means Srinivasan is one of a core group of lawyers who represent and stand for the federal branch of the US government in the eyes of the Supreme Court.

It is their job to – among other things – determine the legal position and opinion of the federal government in any Supreme Court cases that may involve them. It is, however, difficult to know exactly when Srinivasan may actually be named to the highest court in the country, since Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life.

There are whispers in the nation’s capitol that Ruth Bader Ginsberg may retire within the next few years, but there will be political pressure on Obama (or whoever succeeds him) to replace her with another woman, meaning Srinivasan could be in his new job for a while. Nevertheless, Srinivasan is the first Indian American to be seriously in the conversation for a Supreme Court job in the nation’s history.
The presidency of Barack Obama has been a consistently progressive one, and appointing Srinivasan to the loftiest legal job in the country would be a firm continuation of that legacy. Srinivasan, who is also an avid basketball fan and player, seems well on his way to making history and breaking more barriers for Indian Americans.

I am helpless in preventing auction of Bapu’s blood: Tushar Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on Mahatma Gandhi’s blood being auctioned in London.
Q. You can access both political and diplomatic power as being a political leader. Did you try to stop this auction? honestly if my father’s or grandfather’s blood would have been auctioned like this, I would have even gone to the international court.

A. My Blood boils as much on both counts, one that my ancestor is made into a commodity and that I am helpless in being able to prevent such acts from happening nor do I have the wherewithal to be able to participate in the auction and secure my ancestral heritage by my own efforts. Unfortunately, I have no recourse to political or diplomatic power.
Q. What is that we are going to get if we are going to auction and what would be the return and how will that be utilized? Asked by: Sanjay
A. People have seen how much such memorabilia are in demand and how much money can be made from their sale and so these kinds of auctions will keep happening more often and over and over again.
Q. It is sickening to know that such a thing is happening. Don’t you feel that we should take it up strongly as would the Britishers like a situation of the Queen/ King of England’s blood being auctioned? Asked by: AKS
A. I am sure that if anything belonging to the British throne or American leadership was ever put on sale Britain and the US would ensure that they secured it for their Nation.
Q. To be honest, there is a ‘perverse’ element to it. Why did the family members not try to stop them? Asked by: Pallabi Saha
A. Believe if I could have stopped the auction I would have using all and every ability unfortunately unless there was an act of Parliament there is nothing we can do as a family. I can lay claim to Bapu’s DNA but when a unit of his blood is auctioned I have to watch helplessly.
Q. It certainly maybe bizarre but isn’t it flattering to know that even a drop of your own (great grandfather’s blood) blood is sought after by people of the world as a gesture of love for him? Asked by: Arun Asokan
A. Today when Bapu’s blood is auctioned I will know the price of my DNA, strangely it makes me feel cheap.
Q. Isn’t it bizarre and vulgar? Asked by: Rohit
A. It is. Unfortunately it is reality.
Q. What should the Indian govt do? Asked by: yamini
A. Wake up.
Q. 21st century ideology is: Tum Mujhe Khoon do…. I will auction it! Asked by: pc aka @jpchat9
A. It is ‘Mera pyaar, meri Bhakti, meri ibadat sab bikau hai.’ Sad truth.
Q. Sir, I am no one. no one knows me. but still i would created a chaos in the media as well as i would have requested the media to this issue and ask the MEA to interfere. at least people knows you. if not political or diplomatic recourse, at least media and human rights commission. Asked by: pc
A. Once before when an auction of his personal belongings took place in New York I had carried out a very loud and sustained campaign in the media to prevent the auction all I managed to do was focus world attention on the auction and in the process I pushed up the value of the artifacts and helped the seller and the auction house make more money and so since then I have not created a media hype. Then I had also appealed to the PMO and the Government to intervene, they made shamefully lame gestures. I was happy when Vijay Mallaya bought the things in the auction and declared that he would present them to the people of India but he too did not make his promise come true and I believe that the artifacts of Bapu that Mallaya bought he has kept in his home in Montecarlo.
Q. Who has in the first place given his blood and other belongings for auction? Asked by: leena
A. The descendants of Smt Sumati Morarji. They are the family who owned the Great Eastern Shipping Company.
Q. How much is media hype to do with it as when Diana’s or Maryln Monroes clothes are auctioned it gets unwanted attention from general public thus raising interest in such type of things and subscriptions go up so what is the role of media in all of this. Asked by: Hitesh
A. I think the Media’s role is one of creating awareness and public opinion and to run genuine initiatives.
Q. Can it be challenged in the court to stop it? Asked by: yamini
A. Unless there was a law enacted by an act of parliament decalring all such artifacts as national treasures nothing can be done since these reputed auction houses ascertain the legality of ownership very meticulously.
Q. Do you feel that auctioning of physical parts be banned by all countries as it leads to immoral practice Asked by: Shailesh
A. I feel that in today’s times it also raises many more questions what if a cloning laboratory were to get its hands on Bapu’s DNA and attempt to clone the Mahatma? The time has come when a serious action needs to be taken to protect our historical heritage be it the Kohinoor, Shivaji Maharaj’s Sword, the Peacock Throne or Bapu’s DNA.
Q. Do you feel that these items when brought at auction by wealthy industrialists like Mallya are not used for public purpose but as symbol of vulgar display of show off that have such type of immaterial things at their disposal Asked by: Shailesh
A. Mallaya bought it to use it as a bargaining chip with the Government and to show off and brag to his society pals. I don’t think he has any reverence towards them.
Q. Should this type of thing could have been stopped by Indian consulate in London and could have been retrieved for bringing it to Indian museum Asked by: Manav
A. India should have used all powers in its grasp to ensure that its reputation was not besmirched internationally.
Q. Are these practices demeaning world’s civilisation and meaning that everything is material and meant for monetary exchange. Asked by: Ravi
A. Yes we have reched a stage in our civilisation where the price tag is supreme. Everything is a comodity and everything is on sale. Nothing is sacred.
Q. Do you feel that people are genuinely interested in great man’s items as his values and principle’s are not implemented in today’s age. Asked by: Ravi
A. This craze to forget his philosophy and methods and instead collect his belongings is escapism at its worst.
Q. I feel this can be taken to courts. Auction of Bapu’s blood is similar to auction any other persons body parts which is highly illegal.Something has to be done to put a stop in auctioning of human parts. Asked by: Chandra
A. Not until there is a law passed t prevent such transactions.
Q. It is of great interest that how such things get into the hands of western institutions as Indians should be more involved with it and also because western countries would always play with such type of items rather than idolizing them. Asked by: Arvind
A. For years I have been requesting the Government to attempt to create an inventory of such possessions of great people both with museums and in Public hands but the Government just drags its feet. In the mean time more and more such national heritage passes into private hands.
Q. Sir, If Mahatma was alive he would have given his blood for auction if that would have resulted in some charity. I do not see it wrong. I am sure somebody buying with treat with atmost respect. Asked by: Vijay
A. If it was being done to raise funds for a charity I would have hailed it to but I am sure the only charity this auction will be towards increasing the personal wealth of the seller.

No takers for Mahatma Gandhi’s blood at auction in London on 21/may/2013

LONDON: There were no takers for Mahatma Gandhi’s blood at an auction here on Tuesday when 36 of his belongings fetched 287,000 ( 2.5 crore). The biggest attraction was the will Gandhi left for his son, fetching 55,000 ( 46 lakh) followed by his personal shawl made from linen thread he spun himself ( 34 lakh).
The reserve price for the microscope slide containing Gandhi’s drop of blood was 10,000. But the maximum bid it received was 7,000 ( 6 lakh). It was one of the 14 items which found no bidders.

Gandhi’s four-page power of attorney, signed by him in November 1920, with various stamps of the Bank of Baroda and Bank of India as well as the seal of the sub-registrar of Ahmedabad was sold for 25,000 pounds ( 21 lakh). His prayer beads sold for 9,500 ( 8 lakh), sandals for 19,000 (Rs 16 lakh), drinking vessel for 8000 ( 7 lakh) and eating bowl for 12,000 ( 10 lakh).
Auctioneer Richard Westwood-Brookes had initially expected the whole bunch to fetch around quarter of a million pounds. Among the items were several important letters written by Gandhi – one of them written in 1937- settling off a highly controversial dispute within the Indian National Congress.
“The objects are well over 70 years old. Most of these were held by families without modern conservation technology. They have also been subject to difficult climate conditions and bad handling,” Brookes told TOI.

“The objects will require immediate careful conservation. If not conserved now, they will completely fall apart,” he said.
The Indian government had shown no interest in purchasing these objects, Brookes said. Speaking to TOI hours before the 50 objects went under the hammer, Brookes said, “I haven’t heard from the Indian government as yet. Though we did receive some phone calls from Indian government departments inquiring about the sale, no official confirmation on whether the government will bid to retain such relics has been given.”
Brookes, who is the historical documents expert for London-based auction house Mullocks, said: “In the earlier auctions involving Gandhi, the government had shown a lot more interest and have bid through private agents. This time the interest has been shown by common Indians.”

Saudi authorities refuse to accept new Indian passports

DUBAI: In fresh trouble for Indians in Saudi Arabia, the authorities there have refused to accept new passports issued by Indian diplomatic missions.

Saudi authorities have declined to transfer data from old passports to the new ones submitted by Indian expatriates for updating, saying they have not received any official information on modification.

In the old passport, the passport holder’s photo was placed on the second page, whereas the newly issued passports have photos placed on the third page.

Though the troubled Indian expatriates have obtained a letter from the Indian Consulate confirming the validity of the new passport, Saudi officials are insisting on receiving confirmation through the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Arab News reported today.

Passport holders are legal residents of the Kingdom with valid residency permits who have approached Passport Department to transfer data from their old passports to their new ones, commonly known as “naql maalumat”.

Yesterday, the Saudi passport office in Jeddah refused to update approximately 200 Indian passports for this reason.

Expatriates rushed to the consular service’s outsourcing agency and have lodged a formal complaint.

Indians in Saudi Arabia are currently facing trouble amid concerns over the ‘Nitaqat’ labour law that makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers.

Indian Embassy in Riyadh has so far received about 60,000 applications seeking issuance of Emergency Certificates to leave Saudi Arabia over fear of possible job losses after the new labour law comes into effect.

The Kingdom this month announced a three-month grace period for Indian workers, who have travelled to the country illegally, to regularise their visa status, get new jobs or to return home if they register voluntarily with the Saudi authorities during the period.

More Hindus migrating to the US than ever: Study

WASHINGTON: The number of Hindus migrating to the US every year has more than doubled in the last one decade, with an overwhelming majority of them coming from India, a new study released today said.

An average of about 30,000 Hindus were admitted each year in the 1990s, by contrast, the US admitted an estimated 70,000 Hindu immigrants in 2012, the prestigious Pew Research Center said in its latest report on religious affiliation of immigrants released today.

According to the report, the great majority of Hindu immigrants come from India and neighbouring countries with significant Hindu populations, such as Nepal and Bhutan.

The share coming from the Caribbean (or “West Indies”) has decreased significantly, dropping from an estimated 16 per cent of all Hindu immigrants to the US in 1992 to five per cent in 2012, it said.

While Christians continue to make up a majority of legal immigrants to the US, the estimated share of new legal permanent residents who are Christian declined from 68 per cent in 1992 to 61 per cent in 2012.

Over the same period, the estimated share of green card recipients who belong to religious minorities rose from approximately one-in-five (19 per cent) to one-in-four (25 per cent).

“This includes growing shares of Muslims (five per cent in 1992, 10 per cent in 2012) and Hindus (three per cent in 1992, seven per cent in 2012).

“The share of Buddhists, however, is slightly smaller (seven per cent in 1992, six per cent in 2012), while the portion of legal immigrants who are religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular) has remained relatively stable, at about 14 per cent per year,” the report said.

Notably the US government, does not keep track of the religion of new permanent residents.

As a result, the figures on religious affiliation in this report are estimates produced by combining government statistics on the birthplaces of new green card recipients over the period between 1992 and 2012 with the best available US survey data on the religious self-identification of new immigrants from each major country of origin, Pew said.

Over the past two decades, the US has admitted an estimated 12.7 million Christian immigrants.

The second-largest religious category among legal immigrants is the unaffiliated, which includes atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion.

In recent years, the share of immigrants who have no religious affiliation has held fairly stable, at about 14 per cent. Since 1992, the US has admitted an estimated 2.8 million religiously unaffiliated immigrants, it said.

Lakshmi Mittal was denied admission into Saint Xavier’s College in Calcutta for not being fluent in English

NRI steel baron LakshmiMittal on Sunday said that he was able to prove his principal wrong when he topped Saint Xavier’s College in Calcutta even though he was earlier denied admission for not being fluent in English.
Mittal, 62, the UK-based NRI billionaire who was conferred the Global Xavierian Award on Sunday in an alumni meet here, is the charmian and chief executive officer of Luxembourg headquartered world’s largest steelmaker and mining company ArcelorMittal.

Recollecting memories of his days as a student, Mittal said he was initially denied admission in the college as he could not speak English.
“I came from a Hindi medium school… the principal felt that I would not fit into an English medium college. Though I was top in my class in school and I got admission in other colleges, but I really wanted to study in St Xavier’s. So I kept on knocking his door every day and finally he gave up and I promised him that I will be a good student and which I did,” he said in an interview to NDTV.
Mittal said it was a challenge for him to prove the principal wrong and it gave him a lot of learning and helped him become a successful businessman.
“…I really dedicated myself that I have to accept this challenge and continue to work hard and focus on the studies. And this is a learning in the business life that first of all you need to have commitment, dedication and passion for what you are doing”, he said.
Mittal also ranks among the world’s top-100 wealthiest people on the Forbes’ list, featuring at 41st position with a net worth of 16.5 billion dollars.
He founded Mittal Steel Company (formerly the LNM Group) in 1976. In 2006, Mittal Steel was merged with Arcelor to form ArcelorMittal.
He is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour, and a Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award.