March 21st, 2011
07:00 PM ET

American teacher found dead in Japan

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/21/japan.disaster.us.death/story.taylor.anderson.family.jpg caption="Taylor Anderson, 24, had been missing since the tsunami struck earlier this month. " width=300 height=169]

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - An American woman teaching English in Japan has been found dead, her family said Monday.

Taylor Anderson, 24, had been missing since the tsunami struck earlier this month. She'd been teaching in Ishinomaki, Japan for the last three years, according to her parents.

Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi Prefecture, was hit hard by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

The disaster has killed more than 8,800 people and left close to 13,000 missing, many of them killed as a wall of water rushed in following the quake.

"We would like to thank all those whose prayers and support have carried us through this crisis. Please continue to pray for all who remain missing and for the people of Japan," her family said.

The oldest of three children, Anderson was a native of Virginia. Her parents said she loved Japan, the culture and children.

Full story

Earlier: Parents waiting for word on daughter

Related: Besecker, Clemons found in Japan

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Devna Shukla
July 8th, 2010
05:06 PM ET

Fourth of July with a lady named Gaga

Devna Shukla
AC360° Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/04/gal.gaga0704.gi.jpg caption="No matter what your personal feelings are related to her music, fashion, or politics, one thing is for sure: Lady Gaga is a woman of freedom." width=300 height=169]

The fireworks have faded and the intense heat of July has settled in. Yet days after the Fourth of July, I’m still thinking about what independence really means.

This year for Independence Day, I decided to pass up barbeques and time at the pool to go to the Lady Gaga concert in Atlantic City. Through the glitz, glamour, and fire-spewing pianos, I was excited to see what Lady Gaga was all about. No matter what your personal feelings are related to her music, fashion, or politics, one thing is for sure: Lady Gaga is a woman of freedom.

Free from judgment, inhibitions, and fear itself, Gaga’s message this Fourth of July was clear: own the freedom you have to be who you are.

While for Gaga this may mean wearing a bra to a Yankees game or speaking out against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the entire arena was energized with this contemporary pledge of independence. Each and every person in the arena was celebrating themselves and the freedom that comes with being an American.

During Lady Gaga's two-hour performance, she served as an example of an American woman who fearlessly loves her freedom – and continues to push the boundaries of it each and every day.

Follow Devna on Twitter @DevnaCNN

Filed under: Devna Shukla
October 16th, 2009
11:42 AM ET

The White House takes a cue from "The Office"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/16/art.obama.diwali.jpg caption="President Barack Obama lights a traditional oil lamp as Sri Narayanachar Digalakote, Hindu Priest from the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Maryland, chants in observance of Diwali, or the 'Festival of Lights.'"]

Devna Shukla
AC360° Staff

As a first-generation Indian American, I am inevitably faced with many interesting cultural experiences.

Growing up in a small town in the Midwest, I often felt as if I lived two parallel lives; I was an American in school and Indian at home. I was truly conflicted and felt unable to share my Indian heritage during my elementary school years, despite my attempts to share the meaning and traditions with others.

My favorite holiday? The festival of Diwali, also known as the Hindu New Year.

Diwali is such a bright, colorful holiday celebrating the epic triumph of good over evil. This holiday is filled with sweets, vibrant clothing, and spending time with families. Not being able to share this with friends and colleagues was similar to a hypothetical situation where Christmas and Chanukah were ignored at schools, department stores, and at work.