iNDICA NEWS BUREAU–

 

Former US President Donald Trump was the target of an apparent assassination attempt during a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 13. The incident occurred just one day before the Republican Party was scheduled to begin its convention to formally declare Trump as its nominee for the 2024 presidential election.

Minutes into Trump’s speech, gunshots rang out from a nearby rooftop. Trump was seen grimacing and touching the right side of his face before dropping to the ground behind the podium. Secret Service agents quickly swarmed the former president, shielding him with their bodies before escorting him off stage.

Trump later stated on his social media platform Truth Social, “I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear.” He described hearing a whizzing sound and feeling the bullet rip through his skin, causing significant bleeding. Despite the injury, Trump was seen raising his fist in the air as he was led to a waiting vehicle.

The FBI has identified the gunman as Thomas Matthew Crooks, a 20-year-old resident of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. According to voter records, Crooks was a registered Republican. He allegedly positioned himself on a building less than 120 meters from the podium where Trump spoke. Secret Service agents fatally shot Crooks, who was reportedly hit in the head by snipers in Trump’s security detail. An AR-15 assault rifle was recovered at the scene.

In addition to Trump’s injury, one spectator was killed in the shooting, and two others were critically injured. The identities of these victims have not been released.

The FBI and Secret Service are investigating the incident as an attempted assassination. Kevin Rojek, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Pittsburgh field office, stated, “We do not currently have an identified motive.” The Secret Service confirmed that the shooter fired multiple shots from an “elevated position” outside the rally venue.

The assassination attempt has sparked widespread condemnation from both Republicans and Democrats. President Joe Biden spoke with Trump and said, “There’s no place for this kind of violence in America. We must unite as one nation to condemn it.” Biden also spoke with Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Butler Mayor Bob Dandoy.

Some Republicans, including Senator JD Vance, have linked the incident to political rhetoric, suggesting that characterizations of Trump as an “authoritarian fascist” may have contributed to the attack. Democrats have refuted these claims.

This attempted assassination occurred less than four months before the November 5 election, where Trump is expected to face a rematch against Biden. The incident has reignited debates over gun control and political violence in the United States.

Trump, known for his strong support of gun rights and alignment with the National Rifle Association, has not indicated any change in his stance on firearms following the attack. The incident adds to a long history of political violence in the US, including assassinations and attempts on the lives of presidents and prominent political figures.

ANI-

After multiple gunshots were heard at former President Donald Trump’s rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, US Secret Service Spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, said that protective measures have been implemented and the incident is now under active investigation.

Guglielmi confirmed that Trump is safe and more information will be released as it becomes available.”An incident occurred the evening of July 13 at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania. The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former President is safe. This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available,” the Secret Service spokesman wrote in a post on X.Ahead of the 2024 US presidential elections, a gunfire incident disrupted former President Donald Trump’s rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, on Saturday (local time), as reported by CBS News.

Following the incident, Trump was immediately escorted off stage by US Secret Service agents. He was taken away in a motorcade.

In the videos that went viral on social media, Trump could be seen bleeding from his ear. However, there was no official confirmation in this regard.

A top government official told CBS News that the former president is safe. “We have implemented protective security measures. This is being investigated further,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk wished Trump a “rapid recovery” soon after the incident took place.In a post on X, Musk wrote, “I fully endorse President Trump and hope for his rapid recovery,” sharing a video of the incident.

“Last time America had a candidate this tough was Theodore Roosevelt,” Musk added.

 

By Mayank Chhaya-

With President Joe Biden signing the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act into law, the nearly 75-year-old dispute has yet again come into sharp relief much to the chagrin of Beijing.

However, the new law’s immediate or even short-term impact remains doubtful given China’s intransigence as well as profound political rancor and uncertainties in the U.S. over presidential elections.

Notwithstanding those, there is a reference in the official White House statement that is being greeted with great hope by the Tibetan community in exile.

After signing the act into law yesterday, Biden’s made a particular reference which is bound to rile China. He said, “I share the Congress’s bipartisan commitment to advancing the human rights of Tibetans and supporting efforts to preserve their distinct linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage.”

Recognizing the distinctiveness of Tibet from the linguistic, cultural and heritage standpoints has historically been at the heart of the dispute since China has maintained that Tibet and Tibetan people have been part of China.

Quite curiously though the president continues to maintain America’s longstanding bipartisan policy that recognizes the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas of China as part of the People’s Republic of China.

There are clearly unresolvable tensions between asserting Tibet’s distinctiveness as a culture and heritage on the one hand and recognizing it to be geographically and historically part of China on the other.

Biden also called on China to “resume direct dialogue, without preconditions, with the Dalai Lama, or his representatives, to seek a settlement that resolves differences and leads to a negotiated agreement on Tibet.”

Talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s representatives have stalled since 2010. Even when the negotiations stalled 14 years ago, Beijing had shown no particular inclination to resolve the Tibetan dispute. In the interregnum, the rise of and dramatic consolidation of power by President Xi Jinping since March 14, 2013, has meant that China’s position on Tibet has become even more entrenched.

Despite that the Tibetan exile community sees hope in the new law.

“The Resolve Tibet Act cuts to the heart of China’s brutal treatment of the Tibetan people,” said Tencho Gyatso, President of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). “To Tibetans it is a statement of hope. To other countries it is a clarion call to support Tibet’s peaceful struggle for human rights and democratic freedoms. And to Beijing it is a declaration that American support for Tibet does not come with an expiration date; China must resume dialogue and find a solution that supports the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people.”

Inevitably, Beijing responded sharply to the new law. The country’s foreign ministry was quoted as saying that it “grossly interferes in China’s domestic affairs, undermines China’s interests, and sends a severely wrong signal to the ‘Tibet independence’ forces.”
“The U.S. must not implement the Act,” it said, adding, “If the U.S. continues down the wrong path, China will take resolute measures to firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.”

Gyatso said “President Biden promised his administration would stand up for the people of Tibet, “There is not a moment to lose. Experienced State Department officials like Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Zeya now have a valuable tool to elevate their calls for negotiations and fulfill the core objective of the Special Coordinator’s office: promoting substantive dialogue, without preconditions, between China and the Dalai Lama, his representatives, or democratically elected Tibetan leaders in support of a negotiated agreement on Tibet.”

However, given that the act became law barely five months before the presidential election and that too at the hands of a deeply politically embattled Biden means that at least for the foreseeable future there will not be any significant positive movement on the question of Tibet.

In the event that former President Donald Trump returns to the White House, it is not even remotely clear what position he might take, if any at all, since in his world Tibet does not figure at all.

The ICT’s expectations that in the aftermath of the new law the State Department and the White House would “vigorously champion genuine negotiation and overcome Beijing’s stalling tactics” may be belied for now.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

 

A team of researchers led by Indian-American scientist Dr. Sameer Sheth has identified a specific neural activity pattern in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who have undergone deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment.

The team aimed to determine how low-frequency brain oscillations in the theta (4-8 Hertz) to alpha (8-12 Hertz) range, which has been shown in numerous studies to play a crucial role in cognitive processes, were altered in people with severe, treatment-resistant OCD.

To achieve this, the team from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital used a novel feature of modern DBS devices: the ability to record brain activity while providing stimulation.

Unlike most studies conducted in laboratory conditions, this one was carried out in real-life situations.

Before DBS, predictable and periodic neural activity was observed. After its activation, symptomatic reactions were seen, as DBS helps patients let go of their phobias and ingrained responses, allowing them to behave more normally, the researchers noted in the study published in Nature Medicine.

“This neuropsychological biomarker can serve as a better litmus test to check on improvements in the lives of people with OCD and could be used for other debilitating conditions that stem from similar neural patterns,” said Dr. Sheth at Baylor College of Medicine.

OCD is a common and debilitating mental health disorder affecting approximately 2-3 percent of the global population. In severe cases, patients spend significant time engaging in repetitive compulsions and dwelling on intrusive thoughts.

OCD significantly impacts the health and quality of life of patients and careers. About 20-40 percent of people with severe OCD are resistant to traditional therapies.

Since the early 2000s, DBS therapy has been used to control neural activity in specific areas of the brain associated with OCD symptoms.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

 

Sridhar Vembu, CEO and Co-founder of cloud software major Zoho announced on Saturday, July 13, that the company has opened its first dedicated factory to assemble the Karuvi line of power tools. The factory located in Mathapuram village, Tenkasi district, Tamil Nadu, is close to Zoho’s office in Mathalamparai village.

Last month, Zoho invested an undisclosed amount in manufacturing startup Karuvi, aiming to create jobs in smaller towns and villages. Vembu shared on social media platform X that they have trained about 15 talented young people from surrounding villages to work in the factory, calling it “a small beginning for a big dream in rural manufacturing.”

Zoho has also invested in an aerospace startup called Yali Aerospace. These investments are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to build deep-tech expertise and manufacturing capabilities in India.

Vembu stated that Karuvi and Yali are startups innovating in their respective fields while creating jobs and bringing technical skill sets to smaller towns and villages.

Karuvi, a mechatronics startup, has launched 10 tools including drills, power saws, and angle grinders. The products are manufactured with approximately 95 percent locally sourced components. MSD Prasad, CEO of Karuvi, said they plan to expand their portfolio to at least 30 products by the end of 2025.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

 

US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act on Friday, July 12, sending a message to Beijing to peacefully resolve the Tibet issue through negotiation. The law states that American policy considers the Tibet issue to be resolved through peaceful dialogue without preconditions, in accordance with international law.

The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act, known as the Resolve Tibet Act, challenges China’s claims about Tibet’s history and mandates the State Department to counter disinformation.

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) President Tencho Gyatso responded: “The Resolve Tibet Act cuts to the heart of China’s brutal treatment of the Tibetan people. To Tibetans, it is a statement of hope. To other countries, it is a clarion call to support Tibet’s peaceful struggle for human rights and democratic freedoms. And to Beijing, it is a declaration that American support for Tibet does not come with an expiration date; China must resume dialogue and find a solution that supports the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people.”

The Act defines Tibetans as distinct people and acknowledges that Chinese policies are suppressing Tibetan religious, cultural, linguistic, and historical identity. It also stated that Chinese policies are systematically suppressing the ability of the Tibetan people to preserve their way of life.

It aligns with the Dalai Lama’s calls for genuine autonomy and international law principles of self-determination.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul expressed hope the law will “put the people of Tibet in charge of their own future.”

ICT President Gyatso urged swift action: “President Biden promised his administration would stand up for the people of Tibet. There is not a moment to lose. Experienced State Department officials like Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Zeya now have a valuable tool to elevate their calls for negotiations and fulfill the core objective of the Special Coordinator’s office: promoting substantive dialogue, without preconditions, between China and the Dalai Lama, his representatives, or democratically elected Tibetan leaders in support of a negotiated agreement on Tibet.”

The Act resulted from three years of effort by Congress members, Tibet supporters, and Tibetan Americans. Representatives Jim McGovern and Michael McCaul led the House, while Senators Jeff Merkley and Todd Young introduced the Bill in the Senate.

Rep. Jim McGovern stated: “I am thrilled. The United States once again affirms our strong support for the rights of the Tibetan people under international law, including their right to self-determination. With its bipartisan passage, we hope to restart dialogue between Tibet and China to resolve the decades-long dispute over Tibet’s autonomy and governance in keeping with US policy. The Tibetans are willing; the People’s Republic of China should come to the table.”

Rep. Michael McCaul added: “This Bill makes it clear the United States believes Tibet has its unique language, religion, and culture, and has a right to self-determination.”

Namgyal Choedup, Representative of the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration to North America, said: “The bipartisan and bicameral passage of the Tibet Bill and the signing of the bill into law by President Biden is a huge moral boost to the Tibetan people, who continues to suffer PRC’s systematic repression. This is a clear indication of the unwavering support of the US government and its people towards the just cause of the Tibetan people. This is a call to Beijing that the only solution to Tibet China dispute is through dialogue and negotiation in good faith.”

The 14th Dalai Lama, who turned 89 on July 6, is currently in the US recovering from knee surgery.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU

 

The MV Sea Change, the world’s first commercial passenger ferry powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells, is set to launch in San Francisco Bay on July 19. The zero-emission vessel will offer free rides for six months between Pier 41 and the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal.

This innovative project demonstrates the potential of fuel cell technology to combat climate change. The Sea Change emits only water vapor, a portion of which is even recaptured and used in the onboard water fountain.

California is playing a leading role in this initiative. “California is a global leader in the fight against the climate crisis, pioneering new technologies to ramp up clean energy and cut pollution — that’s why the zero-emission Sea Change is so exciting,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “I’m proud of our state’s role in advancing these innovations, and of our state’s public and private sector partners for bringing them to market and demonstrating their viability.”

A collaboration between public and private entities, including SWITCH Maritime, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Chevron New Energies, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Highway, Sportation District, and United Airlines, brought the Sea Change to life. Blue & Gold Fleet will operate the ferry service.

The 70-foot catamaran, developed in California and built in Washington, boasts an advanced hydrogen power system and can seat 75 passengers. Its arrival coincides with growing concerns about climate change, with 2024 projected to be one of the hottest years on record.

“We’re very proud that this state-of-the-art vessel was built in Washington, and we are thrilled that it will be put into operation in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “The Sea Change is a great example of Washington and California collaborating toward our shared goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a more sustainable future. I look forward to taking a ride next time I’m in San Francisco.”

U.S. Rep. Kevin Mullin of California’s 15th District said: “The Sea Change will be a national model and represents a bold milestone in the future of clean energy transportation and infrastructure.”

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman of California’s 2nd District echoed this sentiment, adding: “It should come as no surprise to see the Bay Area ferry service on the forefront of green transit innovation.”

The project is expected to benefit public health, particularly in disadvantaged communities. “Thanks to cap-and-trade dollars at work through our California Climate Investments, innovative and sustainable transportation options like the Sea Change are being developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health, particularly in California’s most vulnerable communities,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph.

Denis Mulligan, General Manager of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, expressed excitement about the project’s potential to revolutionize Bay Area water transportation. “This demonstration project provides an exciting glimpse into the clean and bright future of Bay Area water transportation,” Mulligan said.

Patrick Murphy, President of Blue & Gold Fleet, sees the Sea Change as a turning point towards cleaner transportation. “The Sea Change represents an exciting transition to carbon-neutral fuel sources, charting a new course toward a cleaner future,” Murphy stated.

Pace Ralli, CEO of SWITCH Maritime, envisions this as a catalyst for the wider adoption of hydrogen fuel in the maritime industry. “This is not just the start of service for the Sea Change, but hopefully also the start of much more active investment in the energy transition of the maritime industry in California and beyond,” Ralli said.

The MV Sea Change’s launch marks a significant step towards sustainable transportation, setting a new standard for the global maritime industry.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Nearly 6,500 adolescent girls die in childbirth in South Asia every year, UN agencies said on Friday, July 12, calling for prioritization of the health of girls and adolescents in South Asia. Experts from the agencies discussed this at a two-day regional dialogue on adolescent pregnancy jointly organized by SAARC, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (UNICEF ROSA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

At the event, officials and civil society representatives from India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka reaffirmed their commitment to prioritize health for over 2.2 million adolescent girls who give birth yearly in South Asia and to provide better opportunities to learn, set up businesses, and earn a living.

The experts noted that most of these girls were child brides with limited power over their reproductive health or lives. Ambassador Golam Sarwar, the Secretary General of SAARC, said, “The South Asia region has a long way to go. I call upon everyone to resolutely address the root causes including child marriage, access to adolescent health education, and removing social stigma in managing the teenage population of the SAARC region.”

South Asia accounts for 290 million child brides — nearly half of the world’s burden. These girls are forced to drop out of school and face stigma, rejection, violence, unemployment as well as lifelong social challenges. About 49 percent of young girls in South Asia are not in education, employment, or training – the highest in the world, the experts noted.

With poorer health coverage, adolescent mothers are also at increased risk of early death, and their babies face a significantly higher risk of death. Saima Wazed, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia, stated, “It is high time that we reverse this trend.” She stressed adolescents’ “unique physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and sexual development” needs to be given “special attention in national and international policies.”

Wazed also called for “cross-sectoral collaboration and equitable access to a variety of services,” and an increase in “investments” to tackle adolescent pregnancy and promote healthy socio-economic development. “This supports the well-being of the youth of today – who are the human capital of tomorrow,” the Regional Director said.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU –

In a strategic move to enhance American innovation and economic growth, Congressman Shri Thanedar, representing Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, has introduced the Keep STEM Graduates in America Act. This pivotal legislation aims to overhaul the H-1B visa process and significantly increase the annual visa allocation, creating a more accessible path for international STEM graduates to remain in the United States after completing their studies.

Thanedar, drawing from his personal journey as an immigrant, emphasized the crucial nature of retaining talented individuals educated in the US. He stated, “As an immigrant whose educational opportunities in the US shaped all the subsequent opportunities I received, I understand the importance of keeping our most gifted students in the country.” The Congressman further elaborated on the Bill’s objectives, saying, “By expanding the availability of H-1B visas and making the process to obtain one more simple, we take an important and tangible step towards a future where those students with the most potential to innovate will innovate in the US.”

Recognizing the challenges faced by international students, particularly the stringent deadlines governing their stay, Thanedar addressed a key issue in the current system. “Deadlines dictating a student’s stay in the country is troublesome,” he remarked. “That is precisely why I’m proposing a revision with respect to extensions.” This aspect of the Bill aims to provide graduates with more flexibility and time to secure suitable employment opportunities.

The proposed legislation has garnered support from various quarters, including the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies. “We thank Congressman Thanedar for introducing this very important bill to retain US-trained STEM graduates. About 300,000 Indian students and millions of foreign students will benefit from this Bill. It’s a crucial Bill as in the tough job market, they need more time to find appropriate opportunities to contribute to the US economy,” a spokesperson for the foundation stated, expressing gratitude for the Bill.

Proponents of the Keep STEM Graduates in America Act argue that it addresses a critical need in the US job market, particularly in the technology and science sectors. By offering international graduates extended time and increased flexibility in their job search, the Bill aims to prevent the loss of skilled talent to other countries, thereby maintaining the United States’ competitive edge in STEM fields.

Congressman Thanedar views this legislation as a step towards creating a more equitable world while simultaneously strengthening the American economy. He expressed his broader vision, stating, “This Bill is just one of many that I support because they bring us closer to a more equitable world while creating a more robust economy to the benefit of Americans and Michiganders.”

Congressman Shri Thanedar, representing Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, introduced H.R. 9023, the Keep STEM Graduates in America Act, a crucial piece of legislation encouraging promising young students to stay in the US after their studies. The Keep STEM Graduates in American Act proposes reforms to the H-1B visa process and raises the number of available visas each year to make staying in the United States more accessible for individuals capable of contributing to our industry and economy.

The Congress found that foreign students pursuing an education in technology and the sciences have significantly contributed to overall innovation and growth in the U.S. Congressman Thanedar has placed heavy emphasis on the visa process for STEM graduates, thus placing hardworking, merited students at the forefront of his efforts.

Congressman Thanedar used his personal experience to affirm the importance of this legislation: “As an immigrant whose educational opportunities in the US shaped all the subsequent opportunities I received, I understand the importance of keeping our most gifted students in the country.” Representative Thanedar explained how the Keep STEM Graduates in America Act does that, saying, “By expanding the availability of H-1B visas and making the process to obtain one more simple, we take an important and tangible step towards a future where those students with the most potential to innovate will innovate in the US.”

Congressman Thanedar acknowledges the worries and troubles associated with acquiring an H1-B visa post-graduation with tight, strict deadlines in place. “Deadlines dictating a student’s stay in the country is troublesome,” said Congressman Thanedar. “That is precisely why I’m proposing a revision with respect to extensions.”

The Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies voiced support for the legislation: “We thank Congressman Thanedar for introducing this very important bill to retain US-trained STEM graduates. About 300,000 Indian students and millions of foreign students will benefit from this bill. It’s a crucial bill as in the tough job market, they need more time to find appropriate opportunities to contribute to the US economy.”

Congressman Thanedar believes every student deserves considerable time to find employment and determine which workspace works best for them. “This bill is just one of many that I support because they bring us closer to a more equitable world while creating a more robust economy to the benefit of Americans and Michiganders.”

Ritu Jha-

India now has 125,000 engineers working on chip designs, which is 20 percent of the engineers worldwide working in the area, according to Dr. K. Srikar Reddy, consul general of India in San Francisco.

Reddy made the point at SEMICON West 2024, held July 9-12 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. SEMICON West brings together the top figures in the electronics design and manufacturing supply chain. Reddy spoke about the state of the Indian economy, and the upcoming SEMICON India summit in India, at a fireside chat with Jennifer Boger, director, the Office of Information and Communication Technologies, U.S. Department of Commerce.

The consul general said that the Indian government is working to make India a destination for high-tech manufacturing, including that of semiconductors. He pointed out that the Indian economy is driven by its 1.4 billion young people, the average age of the population being 29 years.

“We also have a strong consumer industry. Now, India has become the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones,” Reddy said, adding, “We expect that the Indian electronics market will grow and reach around $300 billion by 2026.”

The electronics sector’s production in India was worth $105 billion in 2023, including $34.3 billion for semiconductors.

“India is already strong in research and development,” Reddy said. “So we thought it is very important to develop the semiconductor ecosystem in India.”

He said that the supply chain was hit by the pandemic, increasing the waiting periods for goods. But India now boasts the presence of all the top 25 design companies in the world, including Texas Instruments, Intel, Infineon, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.

Reddy also spoke of a government scheme that let four companies set up manufacturing facilities in India.

“Micron announced last June that it has already constructed a facility in Gujarat,” he said. Involved in assembly, testing, and packaging, it is expected to be operational by the end of the year. The government has also approved a Tata Electronics fabrication unit in Dholera, Gujarat, set up in partnership with Taiwan’s PSMC.

Speaking of the upcoming SEMICON India that will take place September 11–13, 2024 at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida, Delhi, India, Reddy said the US. sees India as an investment destination, particularly for the fabrication and assembly of custom packages. He said companies should explore operations in India, with 450 companies already registered to participate, including large companies.

“We hope there will be opportunities which the U.S. companies will explore when they participate in the Semicon,” Reddy said. He argued that international firms were particularly interested after India developed the necessary infrastructure for such plants. He said developing a strong semiconductor ecosystem is critical for India’s economic growth, and that the government is supporting this industry by having various incentives and schemes to attract global players.

The involvement of major companies like Micron and Tata Electronics just demonstrates the potential and readiness of India to become a key player in the global semiconductor market, Reddy said, predicting substantial growth in the coming years.

“The SEMICON India summit will be a platform to showcase India’s capabilities and attract further investment in the semiconductor sector,” he said.

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU –

 

A 26-year-old Indian software engineer, Siddhant Vitthal Patil, is presumed drowned after falling into Avalanche Creek in Glacier National Park, Montana, during a hiking trip with friends on July 6.

Patil, who worked for Cadence Design Systems in San Jose, California, was on vacation when the incident occurred.

According to the Glacier National Park statement, Patil was hiking on the Avalanche Lake Trail when he fell off a large rock into the creek. It remains unclear whether he slipped on a wet portion of the rock or lost his balance. Witnesses reported seeing Patil resurface briefly before being swept away by the strong current into a gorge.

Despite extensive search efforts, including aerial searches by helicopter and the use of drones, Patil’s body has not been recovered. Rangers suspect that submerged obstacles such as fallen trees or rocks may be holding the body down. The water in the gorge is described as unsearchable due to its depth and turbulent whitewater conditions.

Park officials have been monitoring the area continuously and have begun recovering personal items that have washed downstream. Ground search efforts are ongoing from the gorge to the bridge on Trail of the Cedars.

Hours before the tragic incident, Patil had contacted his mother, Priti, informing her that he had been enjoying his trip with six other Indian friends for the past three days. He mentioned plans to return to San Jose in three days.

This incident marks the second drowning tragedy involving Indian expatriates in the United States within a short span. On July 7, another tragic event unfolded when Sai Surya Avinash Gadde, an Indian student at Trine University, drowned at Barberville Falls in Albany, New York.

In a separate incident at the park, 28-year-old Raju Jha from Nepal also drowned while swimming in Lake McDonald near Sprague Creek Campground on July 8. Jha, an inexperienced swimmer, was visiting from Portland, Oregon.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

As part of its expanding service network for the Government of India, VFS Global — the first outsourced visa services partner of India’s Ministry of External Affairs — has launched the Seattle Centre to manage Visa, Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), passport application, renunciation of Indian citizenship and Global Entry Programme (GEP). Additionally, VFS will operate the Bellevue centre, to extend assistance for members of the Indian community.

The Seattle centre will be equipped with world-class facilities aimed at providing an easily accessible and a superior application experience for customers and will make the application process more convenient for travellers. These services are expected to benefit the nearly half a million-strong Indian diaspora community in the consular jurisdiction of the Indian Consulate in Seattle, which covers the Nine Pacific North Western States of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.

Customers can visit https://indiainseattle.gov.in/ for the latest information on the services offered.

Prakash Gupta, Consul General of India in Seattle, said, “The opening of the Indian Consulate in Seattle is a reflection of Government of India’s strong commitment to deepen our relations with Pacific North Western states of USA and through the opening of these new visa application centres (VAC) in Seattle and Bellevue, we hope to ensure for all consular applicants a more convenient experience to adequately prepare their travel to India. Providing smooth and efficient consular services is one of our top priorities and we would welcome any feedback and suggestions on further improvement from all applicants as we commence our consular operations in the Greater Seattle Area.”

In a statement, VFS global said: “These spacious facilities equipped with modern amenities and services will have well-trained customer service representatives to assist visa applicants at every step. To enhance customer experience further, India visa and consular applicants get dedicated call-centre support from 8:30AM to 5:30PM from Monday to Friday, along with an email and Web Chatbot support for quick query resolution.”

Amit Kumar Sharma, Head – Americas, VFS Global, said, “VFS Global shares a long-standing relationship with the Government of India since 2008 and we are excited to expand our partnership further. The new centre in Seattle and Bellevue, United States of America will play a crucial role in effectively catering to the growing demand for visa and consular services to India. We are confident that these visa application centres will enhance customer experience by making the visa application process even more smooth, thereby helping us serve the travellers and Indian diaspora better.”

VFS Global has been serving the Indian government since 2008. The company provides passport, visa and consular services on behalf of the Embassy and Consulates of India located across the US, since 2020. At present, VFS Global manages 52 Passport, Visa and Consular Services Application Centres for the Indian government in 13 countries: Australia, Belgium, France, Iraq, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United States of America, and the
United Kingdom.

Ritu Jha-

Accountants must stay mentally sharp to keep their organization running smoothly, but a group of Indian American practitioners gathered recently in Fremont, California to also exercise their bodies.

With a theme Viksit Bharat, which translates to “Developed India,” the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) – San Francisco Chapter celebrated the 75th ICAI Chartered Accountants Day. It was a walkathon attended by chartered accountants, their families, government officials as well as elected officials, on June 30 at Lake Elizabeth.

Established in 1949, ICAI has played a crucial role in regulating and developing the profession of chartered accountancy in India and beyond. The ICAI San Francisco chapter was formed in 2017, and aims to generate goodwill between the accounting fraternities of the US and India.

Participants received a T-shirt and lunch boxes sponsored by local restaurant Anand Bhuvan after the two-mile run/walk.

Sudha Michel, Chairperson of the ICAI – San Francisco Chapter looked pleased to see people coming early morning to celebrate CA Day 2024 with great vigor.

“It was a pledge by the CAs of San Francisco Chapter to stand proud being Chartered Accountants, and as ‘Brand Ambassadors of ICAI’ they feel honored and enjoy the celebration,” Michel told indica. “The energy at the event was one of great happiness and gratitude.”

Michel said such events each year bring new people to connect as well. Many new first-time Chartered Accountants attended and were happy to connect with the local Chapter of ICAI, and the senior Chartered Accountants had a great time networking with peers.

(R to L)Raj Salwan, city of Fremont council member with Raj Chahal, council member city of Santa Clara.

Indian American veterinarian Raj Salwan, a Fremont city council member who is running for mayor in the November election, also attended.

 “The 75th ICAI Walkathon is a great initiative, it brings our community together,” Salwan told indica.

Salwan said that CA’s are crucial to all businesses. 

“My father always told me that chartered accountants are the most important positions you can have, especially in India, because they’re very respected,” Salway said. “All the finances, decision-making, and management decisions are based on the work of the charter accountants. We need to have more organizations like the ICAI to bring our community together and celebrate our culture, professions, and good health. We were out in the Central Park to walk and exercise for the day.”

Salwan said he also is committed to fitness, waking up at 5:30 a.m. and hitting the gym. 

“I go to the gym and spend one hour there five or six days a week. That’s been the one thing that’s most helpful to me personally.” 

He recommends starting slowly and gradually increasing physical activity. 

“People want to build Rome overnight. It is more sustainable and achievable to make small changes over a long period. If you’re a beginner, walk for 10 minutes, and then increase the time to 15, 25, 30 minutes, and then an hour to build up your stamina. If you do it once a week, then exercise two or three times a week, and then do it five times a week.”  

Salway also advocates weightlifting. 

“Weightlifting and walking are very important, especially as you get older. Walking is very low stress on your body, it is good for your joints and acts as a stress reliever too because you’re out in nature.”

He said people need to get out of the house instead of looking at TV or social media, which creates anxiety. 

“Once you do that, then look at your diet. If you consume a lot of sugar, cut down and shift to roti and carbs. You should still eat it, but a little less. Indians in general have smaller blood vessels, so we have a high risk for heart attacks. We should do whatever we can to improve our health.”

At the event, Salwan told the accountants he appreciated their work. 

“You’’re always looking at the benchmarks and guiding the ownership and the management to make sure we run a good organization. You’re very active and organized, I appreciate all the good work that you do. Let’s keep doing that, not only within your organization, but all across the Indian American community.”

Salwan says it’s time for Indian Americans to make their political power felt.

“Indian Americans contribute so much. Much of it is individual. It’s about time that we collectively started getting on the same platform and doing a lot of good work in so many different aspects of our lives, whether it’s in our professions, our neighborhoods, our children’s schools, or community, to make sure that we are a vibrant part of this community. This is our home base, and we need to create a strong identity for our future generations because that’s the only way our community will do well. I encourage all of you to do all you can to spread the word and keep doing the good work,” he added.

Salwan then more directly appealed to voters.

“I’m running for mayor of the city of Fremont in November. I’m running to be mayor for all, for every single person in Fremont. I’d encourage all of you to vote, please tell your friends and make sure that all Indian Americans vote. You don’t have to vote for me, but make sure you vote for someone. And once you start voting, the elected officials will start reaching out more to the Indian American community once they see us as a power base and they will listen to our concerns and address our issues and prevent some of these measures that come up so that we have a seat at the table.”

Santa Clara Council Member Raj Chahal, who said he walks about two miles a day to stay fit, echoed Salwan’s views and stressed the need to include more finance experts in governance. 

“It’s good to see so many people involved in the finances,” Chahal said. “Ultimately for any country, or city, the budget and finance are very important aspects. When you have good finance people around you, it makes you feel good. I wish more municipalities and governments had people who are much more well-versed in accounting and budgeting. It can make things better.” 

Earlier, while speaking at the event, Chahal said chartered accountants are a very important part of every step in business. 

“All the cities are part and parcel of business. Some of the counties and municipal governments are not doing well budget-wise and one of the reasons for that is that the people who are on the council don’t understand the budget or the council. The CAs need to step up to the level where some of you can get elected to the councils and make judicious decisions. If you are on the council, you can teach other people what a deficit is and how to calculate different ratios for the budget. Your involvement in the political process is very important.”

Chahal said he came to the U.S. in 1995. Most of his education happened in India, where he had free education through 12th grade, then earned a master’s degree in physics and an MBA in finance and marketing. 

“A person like me who made the best use of the Indian education system has the responsibility to contribute whatever we can to our country,” Chahal said.

Chahal also urged the accountants to support Salwan in his election.

“Raj Salwan has been a good friend and please, do cast your vote. If you are living in Fremont, please contribute to his election. Make sure you talk to five to ten people within Fremont to vote for him. That’s very important because it’s very hard. I was the first minority ever in the city of Santa Clara, which is a minority-majority city, to be a council member. A lot of hurdles are there. But your support, the community’s support, matters a lot. We will be proud of Salwan getting elected as the mayor, so help him out.”

 

Ritu Jha-

As the Artificial Intelligence rush intensifies, developers have been scrambling to teach machines by labeling data for them. But in two emerging AI fields, machines also are teaching themselves by recognizing patterns in data.

It’s called Deep Topological Data Analysis, or DTDA, and Self-Supervised Learning, simplified as SSL, emerging fields that hold great promise across a wide variety of applications.

That was the message from Janhavi Giri, data scientist at Intel Foundry Manufacturing and Supply Chain. Giri spoke during the session, “Smart Manufacturing  Session: Front-End Manufacturing – Optimizing Yield with AI at SEMICON West July 9-12 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Giri Deep TDA is a type of artificial intelligence that helps us make sense of complicated data by focusing on its shape and how it’s organized. It’s like teaching computers to recognize patterns and connections in the data. Think of it as looking at a scattered bunch of dots and determining whether they form a circle, a spiral, or some completely different shape.

Self-supervised Learning is a way for AI to teach itself about data without needing many examples labeled by people. It’s like trying to solve a puzzle without knowing what the completed picture should look like; you have to figure out where each piece goes based on the shapes and patterns you see.

Giri said DTDA and SSL are helpful in different but complementary ways. Deep-TDA allows computers to understand the underlying structure and shape of data. It doesn’t just look at individual data points but examines how these points are arranged in relation to one another. This can be particularly useful when dealing with complex data where the relationship between points is more informative than the raw data itself. 

Giri said SSL is advantageous because it reduces the need for large sets of labeled data, which are often expensive and time-consuming to create. Instead, it allows the AI to learn from the data itself by finding patterns and structures without explicit instructions. This is particularly helpful when there is a lot of data available, but it hasn’t been labeled by humans. 

“Implementing these methods in semiconductor manufacturing can lead to significant advancements by automatically classifying and analyzing the images for rapidly identifying defects, predicting failures and optimizing manufacturing processes,” Giri said.

Giri said the two methods help to overcome the challenge of analyzing and extracting insights from complex data such as images in absence of their labels generated by humans. However, integrating these two approaches can lead to certain challenges such as computational complexity, integration issues, interpretability, generalization and scalability. 

“Addressing these challenges requires a multidisciplinary effort, involving expertise in machine learning, data science, domain-specific knowledge, and computational resources,” Giri said.

By enabling more accurate and efficient analysis of image data, DTDA and SSL can provide significant benefits to any field where image segmentation and anomaly detection are critical. Giri said the potential applications are many: 

Healthcare Industry – Medical professionals and researchers can use these AI techniques for analyzing medical images such as MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays to detect anomalies like tumors or fractures and segment different anatomical structures for diagnosis and treatment planning.

Manufacturing Sector – Quality control engineers can apply these methods to identify defects in products or components by analyzing images from production lines, leading to improved product quality and reduced waste.

Automotive Industry – Companies developing autonomous vehicles can use these techniques for real-time image analysis to identify and segment road features, obstacles, and anomalies, enhancing navigation and safety systems.

Agriculture – Agronomists and farmers can benefit from these AI approaches to analyze aerial images of crops for detecting diseases, pests, or nutrient deficiencies, enabling targeted interventions.

Security and Surveillance – Security professionals can use image segmentation and anomaly detection to monitor video feeds for unusual activities or objects, improving safety and response times.

Retail and Inventory Management – In retail, these methods can help in managing inventory by identifying and categorizing products through image analysis, as well as detecting anomalies in shelf arrangements.

Environmental Monitoring – Scientists and conservationists can employ these AI techniques to process satellite and drone imagery for tracking changes in ecosystems, detecting environmental hazards, or monitoring wildlife populations.

Research and Academia – Researchers in various fields can use Deep TDA and Self-Supervised Learning to analyze complex datasets, uncover new insights, and advance scientific knowledge.

Financial Services – For fraud detection, these methods can help analyze transaction patterns and identify out-of-the-ordinary behaviors that may indicate fraudulent activity.

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU –

The US EB-5 program, a popular path to American Green Cards and eventual settlement in the United States has experienced a significant drop in Indian participation despite overall growth. From October 1, 2023, to May 31, 2024, EB-5 visas issued to Indian investors fell by 22 percent, with only 512 visas granted during this period.

According to Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the national trade association for the EB-5 visa program, the US Consulate in Mumbai witnessed a decline in productivity after a surge in visa processing in December 2023. The consulate processed only 50-60 visas per month, issuing just four EB-5 visas in May.

Department of State (DOS) data shows that 392 EB-5 visas for Indian applicants were processed at the Mumbai Consular Office. This suggests that 120 Indian recipients (23 percent) of EB-5 visas in FY2024 reside outside India.

Despite the decline in Indian applicants, the overall EB-5 program saw growth. IIUSA reports that 7,173 EB-5 visas were issued through consular processing between October 1, 2023, and May 31, 2024 (FY2024), a 42 percent increase from the same period in FY2023.

The EB-5 Visa remains a strategic option for Indian students aiming to study, work, and eventually settle in the United States. Immigrant Invest estimates the processing time for an EB-5 Visa for Indian citizens at five-six years, including document gathering, I-526E petition approval, and receiving a Conditional Green Card.

India continues to be a key player in the EB-5 visa category, alongside China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Korea. These countries account for nearly 92 percent of all EB-5 visa issuances till May 2024.

The program requires a minimum investment of $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the US and aims to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers.

Many Indian EB-5 investors obtain their green cards through adjustment of status (AOS) with USCIS. This suggests that the lower number of EB-5 visas issued via consular processing might not fully reflect the overall usage among Indian applicants due to the lack of AOS data.

DOS data revealed that May 2024 marked the second-highest monthly issuance rate so far in FY2024, with 1,222 EB-5 visas issued through consular processing in that month alone.

Of the 7,173 EB-5 visas issued during the first eight months of FY2024, more than 1,990 were for adjustment of status applicants, all under the unreserved category.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU –

US President Joe Biden appears to be facing a major challenge in maintaining support from Indian-American voters, according to the latest Asian American Voter Survey released on Wednesday, July 10. The bi-annual survey, which is the longest-running of its kind focused on Asian-American voters, reveals a stark 19 percentage point decline in Indian-American support for Biden compared to the 2020 election. This drop is the most pronounced among all Asian-American subgroups, potentially signaling a broader shift in voting patterns within this rapidly growing and influential electorate.

The survey findings show that only 46 percent of Indian Americans now express an intention to vote for Biden in 2024, down from 65 percent in 2020. This trend extends to the broader Asian-American community, with overall support for Biden dropping 9 percentage points to 46 percent. In contrast, former President Donald Trump has seen a slight increase in support among Asian Americans, with 31 percent indicating they might vote for him, up one percentage point from 2020.

Favorability ratings provide further insight into the shifting setting. Among Indian-Americans, Biden maintains a 55 percent favorability rating, while Trump stands at 35 percent. Interestingly, both candidates share a 42 percent unfavorability rating within this group. Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Indian-American and woman to hold the office, enjoys a 54 percent favorability rating with a 38 percent unfavorability rating. Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the United Nations, has a 33 percent favorability rating and a 46 percent unfavorability rating, with 11 percent of respondents unfamiliar with her.

The survey was conducted before the June 27 presidential debate, which some observers believe may have further impacted Biden’s standing due to concerns about his fitness for office. The timing of the survey adds an additional layer of complexity to interpreting these results and their potential implications for the upcoming election.

The significance of the Asian-American electorate cannot be overstated. This demographic has grown substantially over the past two decades, with a 15 percentage point increase in the last four years alone. Their consistently high turnout in federal elections since 2016 played a crucial role in Biden’s 2020 victory, particularly through an influx of first-time voters. Any shift in their voting patterns could have outsized effects on electoral outcomes, especially in battleground states where Asian Americans represent a sizeable share of voters.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of AAPI Data, emphasized the importance of understanding this diverse and dynamic electorate. He noted ongoing evidence of shifts within the Asian-American electorate on issues ranging from inflation to healthcare and immigration, highlighting the need for campaigns to stay attuned to the evolving priorities of this group.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated on Thursday, July 11, that betting on Russia as a long-term, reliable partner is unwise for India or any other country. He added that now that Russia has become a “junior partner” to China, Moscow would side with China in any conflict between China and India.

Sullivan, who visited India in June for a meeting with his counterpart Ajit Doval to discuss the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology, made these remarks during an MSNBC interview. He was responding to a question about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Moscow, which was closely monitored by the US government and news media. The visit coincided with the ongoing NATO summit, which has been dominated by concerns about Russia and its growing ties with China, Iran, and North Korea.

“We’ve made clear to every country in the world including India that a bet on Russia as a long-term, reliable partner is not a good bet,” Sullivan said.

He pointed out that this is especially true for India because Russia is becoming closer to China and would side with China over India in any conflict. Sullivan acknowledged that Prime Minister Modi has profound concerns about potential Chinese aggression against India, which has been evident in recent years.

The National Security Adviser outlined the Biden administration’s overall approach to India’s long-term relationship with Russia, describing it as part of a “long game”. He stated that while the US will continue to make its case, countries like India have historic relationships with Russia that won’t change dramatically overnight. Sullivan emphasized that the US is investing in democratic partners and allies worldwide, including India, which they believe will pay off in the future.

India’s long-standing ties with Russia have been an issue that the US has addressed with a mix of privately expressed misgivings and public statements of understanding. State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller mentioned that the US has privately conveyed its concerns, including a conversation within 24 hours of Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

At times, the US response has fluctuated between frustration and anger. India’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, for instance, caused considerable concern. Some US lawmakers called for sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which aims to punish Russia by threatening countries that buy significant Russian goods with secondary sanctions.

US officials have stated that India’s Russian arms acquisitions hinder interoperability between the militaries of India and the US, and there are concerns about US technology falling into Russian hands.

US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, who accompanied Sullivan on the June visit to India, addressed these issues at a news briefing upon his return. He emphasized that the US seeks to develop a deeper and stronger technological relationship with India while acknowledging the continuing military and technological ties between India and Russia.

“We have been clear which areas are affected by the continuing relationship between India and Russia militarily and technologically. I think we will take what steps we can to mitigate some of those engagements, and we have expressed some concerns, but at the same time we have confidence and trust in India and we’re seeking to advance our technology partnership even in the context of those enduring ties,” Campbell said.

Regarding the broader issue of India’s relationship with Russia, Campbell acknowledged that as great powers, the US and India have many areas of alignment but also some differences in perspectives and historical ties. “And I think in the context of our strategic partnership, I think what’s been important is our ability to share views on areas where we occasionally have disagreements, do those respectfully, and seek where possible to narrow those areas where there are differences,” Campbell stated.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Samsung Electronics said on Friday it has participated in a Series D investment round for a US biotech company as a strategic investor. 

Samsung said it is expecting to create synergy in the potential medical and digital health care sectors with Element Biosciences. 

Samsung Electronics joined other investors, including Fidelity and Foresite Capital, in the US company’s $277 million Series D round, as per reports.

The South Korean tech giant said the investment will help it explore new business opportunities in a wide range of fields, from medical devices to digital health, by combining Element Bioscience’s DNA analysis technology with its AI capabilities, medical devices and digital health technologies.

“Their products set a new industry standard and are foundational to the next wave of biological innovation,” said Samsung Vice Chairman Han Jong-hee. “We are incredibly excited about Element’s vision to make precision medicine affordable and are impressed with the team they built together.”

Founded in 2017, Element Bioscience is known for disruptive DNA sequencing and multiomics technologies for the research market. It posted $25 million in sales last year.

DNA sequencing is a technology that determines the exact sequence of nucleotides, or bases, in a DNA molecule. The sequence of the bases, often called the blueprint of life, encodes the biological information that cells use to develop and operate.

In the future, DNA sequencing data will be combined with clinical data from hospitals and everyday life data, such as sleep and exercise, to enable personalized health care.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Amid the mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to end his re-election campaign, US President Joe Biden has indicated willingness to undergo a neurological exam to address concerns about his mental fitness for office, but only if his doctors recommend it, CNN reported.

“I am not opposed. If my doctors tell me I should have another neurological exam, I’ll do it,” he said at a solo news conference Thursday at the conclusion of the NATO Summit.

He further added, “Every single day I’m surrounded by good docs. If they think there’s a problem, I promise you – or even if they don’t think it’s a problem and think I should have a neurologic exam again, I’ll do it. No one’s suggesting that right now,” as per CNN.

But, the president lamented the growing concerns about his age, “No matter what I did, no one’s gonna be satisfied.” Biden said he has had three brain health checks while in office, with the most recent one happening in February.

“I’m tested every single day on my neurological capacity – the decisions I make every day,” he said, pointing to age as a source of wisdom.

Further, Biden told reporters Thursday he’s committed to remaining in the race ahead, but acknowledged he has to make his case to detractors and American voters concerned over his fitness for office following a disastrous debate performance.

“I’m determined on running, but I think it’s important that I allay fears by seeing — letting them see me out there,” Biden said.

He cited his robust travel schedule in the days since the debate, pointing to “over 20 major events, from Wisconsin and North Carolina,” emphasizing he’s “going out to the areas where we can persuade people to move our way or people are already there”.

“I’m going to be going around making the case of the things that I think we have to finish and how we can’t afford to lose what we’ve done,” he said, citing efforts under his administration.

After the CNN debate with former US President and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on June 28, several leaders from Biden’s party have been pushing him to step down from the presidential race. Despite this, he has declared that he is staying and expressed confidence that he would defeat Trump.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

As President Joe Biden faces mounting pressure over the future of his candidacy, his campaign is quietly testing Vice President Kamala Harris’s viability against former President Donald Trump through a voter survey, New York Times reported.

“The survey, which is being conducted this week and was commissioned by the Biden campaign’s analytics team, is believed to be the first time since the debate that Mr. Biden’s aides have sought to measure how the vice president would fare at the top of the ticket. It was described by three people who are informed about it and insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information,” the NYTimes report read.

Some of Biden’s long-standing advisers are reportedly considering ways to convince him to withdraw from the race, as per the New York Times.

Many Democrats were left deeply troubled by Biden’s disastrous debate performance two weeks ago, and he has faced increasing calls from lawmakers and fund-raisers to step aside. Democratic leaders have also challenged Joe Biden to provide convincing evidence of a viable path to re-election after his debate performance, bad battleground state polling and growing concerns that he cannot defeat former Donald Trump in the November polls.

After the CNN debate with presumptive Republican nominee Trump on June 28, the Democrats leaders have been pushing Biden to step down from the presidential race. Despite this, he has declared that he is staying and expressed confidence that he would defeat his predecessor.

Recently, Biden told congressional Democrats in a letter, dated July 9, that he would continue his election bid despite mounting concerns about his mental fitness.

Further, he also stated that he will be “running this race to end”, despite private calls from Democrats to drop out. In the letter, Biden called for unity among his party, emphasizing the need for a collective effort to defeat Trump in the upcoming election.

“Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It’s time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump,” Biden stated.

On July 8, a leadership call was organized by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, where several top House Democrats urged Biden to step aside from the 2024 campaign, expressing deep concerns about his potential impact on the Democratic Party’s chances in the upcoming elections.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan on Thursday said a “bet on Russia as a long-term, reliable partner is not a good idea” for India or any other country and now that Russia has become a “junior partner” to China, Moscow will side with China in any conflict between the latter and India. 

Sullivan, who was in India in June for a meeting with his counterpart, Ajit Doval, to discuss the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology, was responding to a question during an interview on MSNBC about Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow earlier in the week – followed closely by the US government and news media as, among other things, it coincided with the ongoing NATO summit in the US that has been dominated by concerns about Russia and its growing ties with China, Iran, and North Korea.

“We’ve made clear to every country in the world including India that a bet on Russia as a long-term, reliable partner is not a good bet,” he said.

“And that’s especially true, in our view, for India because Russia is becoming closer to China. In fact, it’s becoming the junior partner to China. And in that way, they would side with China over India any day of the week. And … Prime Minister Modi, of course, has profound concerns about the potential for Chinese aggression against India. Which we have seen over recent years.”

Sullivan went on to essentially lay out what has been the Biden administration’s overall approach to India’s long-term relationship with Russia — that is part of a “long game”.

“We’ll keep making that case. But countries like India do have a historic relationship with Russia. So none of this is going to change dramatically overnight. This is playing the long game. It is making investments in democratic partners and allies around the world including countries like India and we think that that will pay off as we go forward.”

State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller said on Tuesday the US has conveyed its concerns in private conversations, including one that took place within 24 hours of Modi’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But he did not share details of this conversation.

Occasionally, the US response hovers between frustration and anger. India’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, for instance, caused considerable consternation. Some US lawmakers called for sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which seeks to punish Russia by threatening countries that buy Russian goods of a sizable value with secondary sanctions.

US officials have said India’s Russian arms acquisitions are an impediment to interoperability between the militaries of India and the US and there is fear of US technology landing up in Russian hands.

“We are seeking to develop a much deeper and stronger technological relationship between the United States and India,” said US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, who had accompanied Sullivan on the June visit to India, when asked about arms transfers at a news briefing on his return.

“We have been clear which areas are affected by the continuing relationship between India and Russia militarily and technologically. I think we will take what steps we can to mitigate some of those engagements, and we have expressed some concerns, but at the same time we have confidence and trust in India and we’re seeking to advance our partnership in technology even in the context of those enduring ties.”

On the larger issue of India’s ties with Russia, he said: “I do want to underscore that the United States and India are both great powers. We have many areas of alignment, but it is not surprising that there would be areas where we’ve had perhaps different perspectives, views, historical ties. And I think in the context of our strategic partnership, I think what’s been important is our ability to share views on areas where we occasionally have disagreements, do those respectfully, and seek where possible to narrow those areas where there are differences.”

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The European Union (EU) on Thursday accepted commitments offered by Apple over how it operates Apple Pay to end a long-running competition investigation.

“The Commission has decided to accept commitments offered by Apple. These commitments address our preliminary concerns that Apple may have illegally restricted competition for mobile wallets on iPhones,” said Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager, who heads up the EU’s competition division.

“Apple has until July 25 to implement their commitments. As of this date, developers will be able to offer a mobile wallet on the iPhone with the same ‘tap and go’ experience that so far has been reserved for Apple Pay,” she added.

In 2020, the EU formally launched an antitrust investigation related to Apple Pay. The investigation looked at the terms and conditions Apple sets for integrating Apple Pay in apps and websites and concerns around the ‘tap and go’ technology and alleged refusals of accessing Apple Pay.

In 2022, the Commission found that Apple Pay could restrict competition as it was the only option for iPhone users.

“Our preliminary finding was therefore that Apple abused its dominant position by refusing to supply the NFC technology to competing mobile wallet developers,” the Commission mentioned.

In Europe, the most widely available technology for mobile payments in stores is called ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC). This technology enables wireless communication between a mobile phone and a store’s payments terminal. It allows users to ‘tap and go’ with their mobile phone.

NFC technology was not developed by Apple. It is a standardised technology and made available for free.

Apple refused to give access to the NFC technology on the iPhone to rival wallet developers and instead reserved the use of the technology on the iPhone to its own mobile wallet solution, the Commission said.

Now, the Commission has ended the investigation and mentioned that iPhone users will be able to use their preferred mobile wallet for payments in stores.

“They will be able to do so while enjoying all the iPhone’s functionalities, including tap-and-go, Double-Click and FaceID,” it added.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

A novel nanoformulation to cure deadly brain tumours has shown promise in pre-clinical trials, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi said on July 11.

Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of cancerous brain tumour in adults, poses significant treatment challenges despite available options like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Patients diagnosed with glioblastoma typically have a life expectancy of only 12-18 months post-diagnosis.

The team developed a novel nanoformulation, namely Immunosomes, that combines a CD40 agonist antibody with the small molecule inhibitor RRX-001. The innovative approach, published in the journal Biomaterials, aims to enhance treatment efficacy for brain tumours, potentially offering new hope for improving outcomes in glioblastoma patients.

In this study, mice bearing glioblastoma treated with Immunosomes showed complete eradication of the tumour and remained tumour-free for at least three months. In addition, the treatment generated a strong host immune response to fight against brain cancer. After three months, the team re-challenged the long-term surviving mice by implanting glioblastoma cells.

Surprisingly, the mice pre-treated with Immunosomes showed near-no tumour growth, revealing that Immunosomes could generate long-lasting immune memory that can prevent future tumour recurrence without further treatment.

In addition to producing long-lasting protection against glioblastoma, treatment with Immunosomes can reduce the toxicity associated with CD40 agonist antibody, which otherwise presents a significant challenge for clinicians globally.

“We are highly motivated by these results, and are excited to translate these findings to human clinical trials with a wider range of glioblastoma patients,” said Dr Jayanta Bhattacharyya, Associate Professor, Centre for Biomedical Engineering, IIT Delhi.

By Ritu Jha-

SEMICON West 2024 got underway in San Francisco with the CEO of SEMI, Ajit Manocha, speaking about unprecedented times that point to opportunities and challenges ahead.

SEMICON West, which connects the entire extended electronics design and manufacturing supply chain, is being held from July 9-12 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, USA.

“There is one message today – unprecedented. Everything is unprecedented today. This year, and decade, all point towards unprecedented times. Sixty-four countries are going through elections this year, roughly 50% of the global population. And that’s going to change a lot of things. Unprecedented times bring in unprecedented opportunities too,” Manocha said in his keynote address at the conference.

Government and industry leaders are participating in the event hosted by SEMI, a global industry association connecting over 3,000 member companies and 1.5 million professionals worldwide across the semiconductor and electronics design and manufacturing supply chain.

Through SEMICON expositions and events, technology communities, standards, and market intelligence, the organization helps advance its members’ business growth and innovations in design, devices, equipment, materials, services, and software, enabling smarter, faster, more secure electronics.

Presentations made at the summit will focus on plans for the over $300 billion in capital expenditures for the domestic semiconductor industry announced since the enactment of the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act, an unprecedented level of investment.

Headquartered in Milpitas, California, SEMI is the global industry association serving the electronics manufacturing and design supply chain. Manocha, an industry leader, has over 40 years of experience in the semiconductor industry. Before this, Manocha was CEO at GlobalFoundries and served as vice chairman and chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

During his keynote address, Manocha turned to Artificial Intelligence to drive home his point. “We are chanting the word AI every day on the TV, among ourselves, in the industry, and boardrooms. I believe 52% of the growth will be with Gen AI by 2030. And, that will bring unprecedented challenges,” he said.

“However unprecedented opportunities are more important for our community and industry. The first wave came in the last decade, the wave of IoT, and that has brought us to roughly $550 billion this decade. Now the wave of AI is going to take us to 1 trillion in the next seven to eight years, by 2030-32.

“It took us 70 years to come to $600 billion. Now it’s going to take 7 or 8 years to reach 1 trillion, that too is unprecedented. I have been in the industry for more than four decades, I’m more used to these up-and-down cycles and, the unpredictability of life. But now it’s predictably good,” he said.

He also made some bold forecasts. “There are some downturns here and there because of the economy. And if 1 trillion is not enough for you by 2030, wait till the next wave of quantum in the next decade. Based on my calculations we are going to reach $5 trillion by 2050. It may sound like a big number, but achieving $5 trillion is possible,” the SEMI CEO said.

“When you say $1 trillion, sometimes it’s hard to comprehend whether it’s going to happen. Our last quarterly report on the total number of FAB investors coming on board shows that there will be 104 FABs coming on board between now and 2027, around the globe, especially in the Americas.

“It’s all real, not fake news as it used to be in the past. If all the FABs happened by 2027, the revenue will not be $1 trillion. That means there will be another 50 to 60 FABs between 2027 and 2030. These are unprecedented opportunities. So many FABs coming on board around the globe really means more jobs for people and more opportunities,” he said.

Manocha then turned to his area of expertise – semiconductors. “The world has realized semiconductors are the foundation for virtually everything, but more importantly it is the foundation for humanity. That’s why every country is waking up and declaring semiconductors as a strategic element for their country. It is important for national security, economic security, and more importantly, economic prosperity. That’s why it is becoming a big deal that many countries are taking up and we need it,” he said.

In a report released in June, SEMI had predicted 6% growth in 2024 and 7% in 2025 for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. The prediction was made in SEMI’s quarterly World Fab Forecast report, published Tuesday, June 18.

Manocha said, “When we have unprecedented times, unprecedented opportunities, we have unprecedented challenges also. If you look at the challenges that we are confronted with – geopolitical volatility, nobody can disagree with that bar for talent. We’re talking about millions or more people needed around the world. But that is an understatement, the need is going to be a lot more.”

“Maybe AI will help to reduce some of the burden on the need for talent. That’s probably one of the most challenging problems. And while we talk about climate, there’s one other problem for us, for the industry – the use of PFAS. PFAS is not a good material, but we use it in hundreds of steps in every part of the process of front-end, and back-end equipment manufacturing, in vacuum seals. Today we do not have a solution for PFAS. And all these things lead to supply chain disruptions. That’s what happened in 2021, the pandemic and the climate issues. We had massive chip shortages. The supply chain is an outcome of all these problems. Now it needs unprecedented actions. If you do things the same way, you will get the same results. But to deal with these unprecedented challenges and opportunities, we should take unprecedented actions and get the solutions. Otherwise, things are not going to work,” he added.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the 2024 cohort of scientists and engineers selected to join Cyclotron Road – a DOE Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The announcement was made Wednesday, July 10.

Launched in 2015, the Cyclotron Road fellowship program was the first DOE LEEP. The program provides fellows with a living stipend, research funding, entrepreneurial training in collaboration with non-profit partner Activate, and access to the multidisciplinary researchers and resources of Berkeley Lab.

This new cohort of 14 fellows adds 10 companies to the program, bringing the total number of companies advanced by Cyclotron Road fellows to 84 and the all-time number of fellows to 109.

Selected members:

Pauliina Meskanen and Nate Weger, Calectra: provides zero-carbon, low-cost industrial process heat up to 1,600°C with its patent-pending thermal storage technology.

Mert Akin, EELI Technology: develops advanced lithium extraction and purification solutions to enable sustainable and feasible lithium production from untapped domestic sources.

Carla Pinzón, Expand Power: increases access to electrification through improved power electronics.

Nikita Khlystov and Nicholas Sarai, Huminly: develops enzymes that break down plastic to enable infinite textile waste recycling.

Gabriella Dweck and Kelly Redmond, Oleo Sustainable Palm Oil Solutions: transforms wasted biomass into sustainable oil inputs.

Advait Holkar, Praio: will economically manufacture bio-derived commodity chemicals, such as aviation fuel, using synthetic protocells with a reduced carbon footprint.

Nosa Edoimioya, Reforge Robotics: creates software that helps manufacturers reduce costs by using low-cost robots instead of expensive machines for precision manufacturing.

John Slack, Rhoic: designs and makes nanomaterials that durably capture CO2 cheaper and faster.

Rakkiyappan Chandran and Hitesh Manglani, Supercarb: converts carbohydrates from waste biomass into high-performance, low-impact, and cost-competitive fibers.

Rushin Contractor, TopoLight: developing the next generation of semiconductor lasers.

“Our program supports scientists and engineers as they advance technology projects with the potential for global impact in many fields including biosciences, semiconductors, energy, and robotics,” said Todd Pray, Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer at Berkeley Lab.

“Each member of this tenth cohort is remarkably accomplished and focused on the accelerated development of their companies, their technologies, and their careers.”

In the two-year fellowship, these Cyclotron Road innovators will have access to the world-class lab facilities, multidisciplinary researchers and experts, and entrepreneurial training needed to validate, scale, and fund their ideas from prototype to production.

Cyclotron Road fellows have raised more than $1.85 billion in follow-on funding, hired more than 1,400 employees, and brought innovative products and services to market across industries including agriculture, energy, and manufacturing.

The DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) are the founding and anchor sponsors of the program.

Other partners supporting the program include the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) with the State of California, the California Energy Commission (CEC), the DOE Building Technologies Office (BTO), the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), Office of Electricity (OE), the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Activate.

2024 Cyclotron Road fellows: (top row) Mert Akin, Rakki Chandran, Rushin Contractor; (second row) Gabriella Dweck, Nosa Edoimioya, Advait Holkar, Nikita Khlystov; (third row) Hitesh Manglani, Pauliina Meskanen, Carla Pinzon; (fourth row) Kelly Redmond, Nicholas Sarai, John Slack, Nate Weger. Photo courtesy: Cyclotron Road