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‘Superwoman’, Modi, named in Time’s 30 Most Influential People Online List

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YouTube sensation Lilly Singh is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Rick Matharu

YouTube sensation Lilly Singh is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Rick Matharu

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Lilly “Superwoman” Singh and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi are the sole persons of Indian origin represented on Time magazine’s 2016 list of 30 Most Influential People on the Internet — just two years in, it’s PM Modi’s second selection in as many years.

Singh, a Canadian YouTube sensation who possesses millions of followers across multiple platforms of social media, was described by Time as a “Indo-Canadian vlogger [who] is rapidly becoming one of the biggest stars on YouTube, both on and off-screen.” Writing additionally that her “alter ego, Superwoman, is equal parts funny and motivational, which has helped her amass more than 8 million subscribers and over 1.1 billion total views.”

Singh describes herself simply on her YouTube channel, ||Superwoman||, by writing: “I make funny videos every Monday and Thursday. I rant, create sketches and sometimes even dress up as my parents!”

In an Instagram post, Singh reacted to the honor by saying, “What an honour! Thank you! Hopefully people are influenced to also wear sweat pants all day like me. Then I wouldn’t be considered lazy. I would be trendy. GOALS.”

Last month, the 27-year-old Singh released a documentary titled “A Trip to Unicorn Island,” which acted as a diary for a 27-nation world tour she embarked on. She is a scheduled participant in Mumbai’s YouTube FanFest, which will take place on Friday. The list is somewhat familiar territory for Singh — last year, she was ranked No. 8 on Forbes’  “30 under 30” among YouTube millionaires.

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Modi makes his return since last year’s inaugural rankings were released, being described as an “Internet star, boasting more than 18 million Twitter followers and over 32 million Facebook likes. And unlike some of his contemporaries, he often uses social media to break news and conduct diplomacy.”

Specifically, Time paid homage to Modi’s surprise Christmas visit to Pakistan to meet its Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. Strikingly similar to former President George W. Bush’s 2003 Thanksgiving visit to Iraq, Modi’s trip happened during the dark of night, and was announced via Twitter.

Time said it “sized up contenders by looking at their global impact on social media and their overall ability to drive news,” in creating the list. Last year’s list also included Indian-American food blogger Vani Hari.

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Pixar Partners with Khan Academy to launch online storytelling course

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Pixar Animation Studios is partnering with Khan Academy to launch the first of six free online lessons covering the art of storytelling, the course is taught by Pete Docter, Mark Andrews, and other filmmakers from the renowned Disney-owned studio.

The new series includes Pete Docter, director of “Inside Out,” “Up” and “Monsters, Inc.”; Mark Andrews, director and screenwriter of “Brave” and story supervisor on “The Incredibles”; Sanjay Patel, director of “Sanjay’s Super Team” and animator on “Ratatouille,” “Cars” and “Monsters, Inc.”; and Domee Shi, story artist on “Inside Out.”

The rest of the “Art of Storytelling” lessons will roll out through the rest of the year. The internet classes include videos, exercises and hands-on activities to guide them from an initial idea to a final storyboard.

The first of the storytelling lessons is available now at PixarInABox.org.

It’s the third season of “Pixar in a Box” on Khan Academy, which first launched on the site in 2015. Past lessons from the studio have covered simulation, color science, virtual cameras, character modeling and rendering. Disney funds the Pixar collaboration with Khan Academy.

Information from Variety contributed to this report. 

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Anish Kapoor Awarded Prestigious $1M Genesis Prize

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Genesis Prize Foundation announced this week that Anish Kapoor, the Turner Prize-winning artist, has been named its laureate for 2017. The annual prize recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to Jewish politics and culture, it comes with a $1 million cash prize.

Kapoor, whose mother is Jewish, has produced several major public works, the most recognizable of them being the bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He also designed the Holocaust Memorial at London’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue. In 2015, for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, he designed a series of Holocaust remembrance candles.

Occasionally, Kapoor’s passions have spewed over into the world of politics. Kapoor said he will put the money from the Genesis Prize towards helping the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced an estimated 12.5 million people. No specific details have been announced, but Kapoor said he will make a much more elaborate presentation in June.

“The profound impact of Anish’s work continues a long history of Jewish contribution to the arts, while his social activism reaffirms the commitment of the Jewish people to humanitarian causes,” the Genesis Prize Foundation’s chairman and cofounder, Stan Polovets, said in a statement. “We particularly admire how, in an age frequently characterized by cynicism and indifference, Anish continually advocates for the world’s disadvantaged—challenging all of us to do more to help wherever and whenever we can.”

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Indian-American museum opens in New Jersey

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A case containing artifacts related to the success of Raju Sethi, founder and president of AVS TV. PHOTO BY HILDI BORKWOSKI

A case containing artifacts related to the success of Raju Sethi, founder and president of AVS TV. PHOTO BY HILDI BORKWOSKI

MAHWAH, N.J. (Diya TV) — A new museum saluting and celebrating the experiences of Indian-Americans in the U.S. has opened at the Hindu Samaj Temple of Mahwah in New Jersey. The temple celebrated its grand opening of the new 13,800-square-foot cultural center on June 5.

Built eight years ago beneath the temple, the space previously served as a multipurpose room for church activities, but will now be utilized to document the stories and experiences of Indian immigrants. It will highlight their achievements and struggles in a variety of fields, said Kalidas Kale, a temple spokesperson.

“This is our home,” he said of the U.S., “but we still want to maintain our heritage.”

Above the entrance hangs the image of the flag of India with a human fingerprint superimposed over it, meant to signify the sense of Indian identity. The room includes a stage with large bronze statues on both sides, and includes a state-of-the-art sound system with ample lighting for musical programs.

The area will also be used to serve local seniors and has classrooms for children’s language, arts and crafts, enrichment classes, space for dance practice and recitals, and even a yoga facility.

Decorated on the walls are collages of the four Indian-American honorees who spoke at the center’s commencement: Vipp Jaswal, head of International Affairs at Fox News; Rashmee Sharma, founder of Roshni Media; Raju Sethi, founder, CEO and president of AVS; and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, a physician and CEO of Parikh Worldwide Media. All four were chosen for their contributions in news media.

Additionally, members of the temple have held discussions about the possibility of dedicating a space to preserve the experience of the Indian diaspora across the nation. The talks have recently become amplified to keep pace with the successes of Indian-Americans in society, Kale said. The Indian-American community is one of the most highly-educated groups in the country — 71 percent of the country’s 3.1 million residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to 2010 census numbers.

“In all aspects we are trying to do our best and contribute to society,” Kale said.

The temple was founded in 1996, and has a membership of approximately 2,500 families. It provides religious, cultural and social services in New Jersey and the surrounding areas.

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