Marvel Comics’ Champions has broadened its focus in recent months, going from outer space to Weirdworld. The series is being relaunched in January to recruit from all of those places.
Writer Jim Zub is relaunching Champions on January 2, and will be joined by his long-time Wayward partner Steven Cummings. Their new Champions line-up is made up of 14 heroes – five founders from the previous run, but also some surprise additions.
According to Zub,
Qureshi Gupta is an East Indian boy from Delhi whose codename is Pinpoint. He loves hip hop music and eating vada. He creates teleportation portals that can take people around the world in the blink of an eye. He joined the Forums (the online chat group where young heroes stay in touch with each other that was first established in Secret Warriors) and lurked there for weeks, nervous about getting involved until he saw Ms. Marvel’s call to action.
Zub adds in an interview
“Pinpoint is an East-Indian boy, 15 years old. He’s relatively short and thin. His hair is crackling with the same green energy we see around the portal he’s summoned. His eyes have no irises when he uses his powers. His superhero outfit should include form-fitting pants and a kurta shirt with a modern cut and collar to it.”
I wanted Pinpoint’s outfit to mix Indian clothing with an iconic symbol for teleportation/focus. It’s the kind of costume a 15-year old could pull together on his own but also comfortable and not going to inhibit him in combat.
Padmasree Warrior, former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Cisco; Komal Mangtani, senior director at app-cab aggregator Uber; Neha Narkhede, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of streaming platform Confluent; and Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, CEO and founder of identity-management company Drawbrige; are in the list.
“Women don’t wait for the future. The 2018 Inaugural Top 50 Women In Technology list identifies three generations of forward-thinking technologists leading more than a dozen tech sectors across the globe,” Forbes said in its ‘America’s Top 50 Women in Tech 2018’
Warrior (58) served in executive positions at both Motorola and Cisco and is now the US CEO of the Chinese electric-autonomous-vehicle startup, NIO.
At the $138-billion Cisco Systems, she had helped the tech giant grow in influence through acquisitions. She is also on the boards of Microsoft and Spotify.
“Warrior still finds the time to mentor other women in the tech industry, stay in touch with her 1.6 million Twitter followers and follow a nightly meditation routine,” the business magazine said.
Mangtani, an alumnus of Dharmsinh Desai Institute of Technology in Gujarat, heads business intelligence at Uber. Currently, she serves on the board of nonprofit organisation Women Who Code and led Uber’s $1.2-billion donation and partnership with Girls Who Code to increase access to computer science.
Narkhede, who studied at Pune university, had as a software engineer at LinkedIn helped develop Apache Kafka — which can process the huge influx of data coming from the site in real time. The data-processing software has become the heart of Confluent, an enterprise Narkhede founded with her LinkedIn co-workers to build tools for companies using Apache Kafka, Forbes said.
The 32-year-old’s firm counts Goldman Sachs, Netflix and Uber as customers.
Forty-three-year-old Sivaramakrishnan’s company, Drawbridge, uses large-scale artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify the different devices people.
“As the number of devices people use on a daily basis — computers, laptops and smartphones — increase, advertisers need a way to show ads to a person across all their devices. Facebook and Google already offer these services to advertisers, but now they have a competitor with Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan’s Drawbridge,” Forbes added.
Indian Americans have been making strides in American politics. According to recent media sources, Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker from Hawaii in the US Congress, is considering to run for the American presidency in 2020.
On Friday, at a Medtronic conference in Los Angeles, an eminent Indian-American Dr Sampat Shivangi introduced Gabbard, 37, and said that she could be the next president of the US in 2020.
The brief statement was marked by a standing ovation, in the presence of the four-term Congresswoman from the 50th US State. Gabbard, a Democrat, who addressed the gathering, however, neither confirmed or denied that she is running for president in 2020.
Gabbard an Indian American, not Indian
Ms Gabbard was born in American Samoa to a Catholic father (Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard) and her mother, Carol Porter Gabbard, is of Caucasian descent who professes Hinduism.
Gabbard moved to Hawaii when she was two and embraced Hinduism as a teenager and is well-versed in the scriptures. If Gabbard declares her presidential bid she would be the first Hindu candidate ever from a major political party to announce to enter the race for White House.
More about Tulsi Gabbard
An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi was elected to the Hawai‘i State Legislature in 2002 when she was just 21 years old, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. A year later, she joined the Hawai‘i Army National Guard to serve Hawai‘i and our country. In 2004, Tulsi volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers, becoming the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone.
Tulsi served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and she continues her service as a Major in the Army National Guard. Tulsi’s 2005 deployment was a 12-month tour at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of this tour. – Official Bio
This incident and Mr Chau’s death brings up a couple of questions that we need to ponder:
How far will zealous missionaries go to convert isolated tribals?
Mr Chau was attempting to “convert” to Christianity, a band of highly reclusive tribals. According to a letter, which he wrote to his parents about his attempt at converting remote tribe, Mr. Chau said “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people.” A copy of the letter was obtained by DailyMail.com,
This incident has left many wondering about the role of Christian missionaries in converting ‘tribals’ who want to remain reclusive and isolated.
The Sentinelese, are extremely passionate about their culture and way of life. According to NYT, “Islanders Who Killed American Have a History of Guarding Their Isolation – The episode appeared to be a culture clash between an adventurous foreigner, who may have been trying to spread Christianity, and one of the most impenetrable communities in the world.”
While one can empathize with the faith of Christian missionaries, and their enthusiasm, many in India and elsewhere are wondering why the missionaries shouldn’t also exhibit empathy towards local cultures.
The tribal people, with their culture going back thousands of years probably have a system of faith and values that you and I don’t understand. This doesn’t give any of us a the right to intrude and enforce our religion or values to them.
Do foreign missionaries have a right to break local laws?
This incident also raises questions about legality and rights local citizen. According to media accounts and statements by local police, Mr. Chau’s visit to the island was illegal. The Instagram feeds shared by Mr. Chau before he went missing, also indicates that was aware of the risks he was taking.
“Despite knowing fully well about the illegality of the action and the hostile attitude of the Sentinelese tribesmen to the outsiders, these people collaborated with John Chau for this visit to North Sentinel Island without any permission from the authorities,” Dependra Pathak, director-general of India’s Andaman & Nicobar Police, said . (ABC)
Even officials don’t travel to North Sentinel, where people live as their ancestors did thousands of years ago, and where outsiders are seen with suspicion and attacked.
The story doesn’t end here. Chau’s family will want closure by arranging for a proper burial and funeral. However, the Indian Police are going to have a hard time getting Mr. John Chau’s body out of the island.
“It’s a difficult proposition,” said Mr. Pathak, director-general of police on India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where North Sentinel is located. “We have to see what is possible, taking utmost care of the sensitivity of the group and the legal requirements.” (NavyTimes)
More about Andamans and Sentinelese tribesmen
The Sentinelese, also known as the Sentineli and the North Sentinel Islanders, are an indigenous people who inhabit North Sentinel Island, located in the Bay of Bengal in India. As North Sentinel Island is part of the Andaman Islands, the Sentinelese are considered to be one of the Andamanese peoples. They are designated as a Scheduled Tribe. (Wikipedia)
The story sounds like that from a bygone colonial era – an adventurous white missionary goes into the wilderness and is killed by tribal using Spears, Bows and Arrows. This story seems to have been replayed in Circa 2018 in the isolated Indian islands of Andaman and Nicobar. The news is making headlines in India and in the digital world.
The local police are investigating the apparent killing of an American by an isolated island tribe off the coast of India. A statement issued by the police for the Andaman and Nicobar islands late Wednesday said the police and India’s coast guard carried out an aerial survey of Northern Sentinel Island on Tuesday.
The tribals – Sentinelese people – are highly resistant to outsiders and the government tightly restricts visits to the island. It is unclear how or when the American, John Allen Chau received permission from local authorities to visit the island.
The Police claimed that fishermen who helped Mr Chau visit the island saw a dead person being buried at the shore. The dead person appeared to be Chau. The fishermen then returned to Port Blair, the capital of the islands, and reported what happened.
John Allen Chau, 27, is believed to have paid fishermen to ferry him to North Sentinel Island, home to a 30,000-year-old tribe known to aggressively repel outsiders.
“The fishermen in the dinghies tried to warn him it’s a risky thing,” Denis Giles, an activist for the rights of tribal groups and a journalist on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was quoted saying. He said Chau, who some Christian groups have claimed was a missionary, had been trying to find ways to reach North Sentinel Island and finally succeeded on Saturday, taking a dinghy with the fishermen, then completing the rest of the journey by kayak.
Tulsi Gabbard is an American politician of the Democratic Party serving as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district since 2013. Ms Gabbard is a key Hindu-American in the US Congress ! Here is her Diwali Greeting 2018
Ms. Gabbard’s greeting comes after the recent announcement that White House breaks tradition of Diwali celebrations amid midterms
According to an IANS report
US President Donald Trump broke a 15-year tradition of holding formal Diwali celebrations at the White House this year with the festival falling amid the crucial midterm polls.
The Diwali celebration was started by former President George W. Bush in 2003 and was carried on by his successor Barack Obama.
Continuing the tradition, Trump held the celebration at the Oval Office, where he lit a traditional lamp last year.
This year, however, he is caught up in the elections, which took place on Tuesday after a whirlwind of campaigning that ended on Monday.
On Wednesday, he will be tied up dealing with the aftermath of the elections, which saw his Republican Party lose control of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his Diwali greeting issued on Wednesday hailed the contributions of Indian Americans.
“As those celebrating decorate their homes with vibrant lights, I would also like to recognize the achievements of our friends in the United States observing Diwali who make important contributions to our country on a daily basis,” said in his message. – IANS
The Me Too movement (#MeToo ) in India has grown out of the international social-media campaign against sexual harassment of women in workplace. In the past few weeks, a slew of actors, ministers, government officials and other influential super-stars have been at the receiving end of accusations of sexual harassment.
The Indian #MeToo movement has brought the topic of sex into the foreground. And it is perhaps a sign of our times that modern India has accepted an icon of sex, the former porn-star as a Bollywood icon. Karenjit Kaur Vohra, the Canadian-born Indian-American actress and model better known by her stage name Sunny Leone is active in Indian film industry.
Sunny has played roles in independent mainstream events, films and television shows. Her first mainstream appearance was in 2005, when she worked as a red carpet reporter for the MTV Video Music Awards on MTV India. In 2011, she participated in the Indian reality television series Bigg Boss. She also has hosted the Indian reality show Splitsvilla.
Ms Leone’s transformation from porn-star to mainstream Bollywood has not been universally accepted in India, where modern continues to co-exist with traditional and parochial value systems. News accounts last week described possible threats to a recent concert in the tech-city of Bengaluru where Ms Leone was staring. According to Times of India
“The pro-Kannada outfit had threatened to disrupt the event. Around 200 policemen in civil dress were deployed at the venue. The KRVYS, an offshoot of pro-Kannada organisation Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, has been opposing the event for two reasons: first, the event would spoil the culture of Bengaluru and second, Sunny Leone was playing the lead role in a multi-lingual movie Veera Mahadevi, a period drama portraying a warrior.”
Even with a few threats and protests, her concerts and public appearances seem to have a strong fan following. After a recent appearance in Bengaluru, media accounts quoted several women techies
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Chitra P, a business analyst with a leading MNC, was quoted saying: “Sunny is fabulous. She is a powerful women’s voice we have today.”
Preethi, a content writer and a fan of Sunny’s dance skills said: “The protests were uncalled for and it was not in the right taste. People must get past her previous career and see her as an artiste.”
Her fan following has also led to several endorsement deals for products ranging from condoms to Desi Ghee (link). It is a sign of our times that a generation of Indians have embraced Ms Leone’s unlikely transformation into Bollywood.