Meet Indian-born UK billionaire Mahmud Kamani who is now accused of human-trafficking

Meet Indian-born UK billionaire Mahmud Kamani who is now accused of human-trafficking

After India ban, TikTok now to leave Hong Kong

After India ban, TikTok now to leave Hong Kong

After being banned from India and talks that it would be banned in the US, TikTok said it would be exiting the Hong Kong market.

A TIkTok spokesman told Reuters that it would quit the Hong Kong market within days. The news comes at a time when Facebook and other tech companies have suspended processing government requests for user data in the region.

Hong Kong is a loss-making market but shows how TikTok and other Chinese-based companies are under-fire across the globe. In the past, Kevin Mayer, the company CEO has claimed that app’s user data is not stored in China, a claim which has been contested.

TikTok has previously claimed it doesn’t comply with China to censor the government but Indian Tiktokers like Saloni Gaur have contested that claim.

How world is uniting against China’s bullying?

Chinese President Xi Jinping has apparently decided that this is the right time to assert dominance and territorial expansionism when the global economies are reeling with the side-effects of a deadly pandemic outbreak, but instead of just rolling over, a growing number of nations are fighting back, the New York Post reported.

New Delhi raising of tariffs on Chinese goods, restricting Chinese investments and banning TikTok as well as 58 other Chinese apps from Indian phones is one of the latest in the bid to demonstrate that India, for one, is clearly not intimidated by China's growing hawk policies.

Not only this, but many Indians are also now boycotting "Made in China" products, a task made easier because online retailers like Amazon have been ordered by New Delhi to tell buyers where products are made.

The respective developments from the Indian side came in response to China's unprovoked attack against Indian border personnel at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on June 15, as a result of which the world's largest democracy had moved some 30,000 troops to the Himalayan border to counter any further provocative actions by the Communist Party regime, according to the New York Post.

Meanwhile, the people of the Philippines are up in arms over China's expansionism into areas of the South China Sea claimed by Manilla after a Philippine fishing boat sunk in its own territorial waters by increasingly predatory Chinese ships.

When anti-US President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 2016, he initially ignored popular sentiment and announced a "pivot to Beijing" on the promise of USD 24 billion in Chinese investments.

Four years later, all that has changed. With the Chinese Navy sailing ever closer to Philippine shores and few Chinese projects in progress, Duterte has reversed his earlier decision to terminate his country's Visiting Forces Agreement with the US. Given a choice between having American or Chinese naval vessels anchored in Subic Bay, the decision was pretty obvious.

In addition to this, the world has been a witness to how the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong were beaten by the city's riot police on Beijing's orders after the Asian giant passed the national security law, further restricting the privileged freedom of the semi-autonomous region, the New York Post reported.

The sight of the 7.3 million free people of Hong Kong being crushed under the heel of the Chinese Communist Party regime is one the world will not easily forget. It has already prompted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to offer British citizenship to three million Hong Kongers, not to mention take a tougher line toward China itself. Huawei, for example, can kiss its 5G business in the UK goodbye.

Now the interesting twist in the tale comes after knowing that China has also taken a toll on Australia, an island continent in the far south and also a part of the Asia Pacific.

Australia's farmers and miners are hit with trade sanctions after Canberra which suggests that the virus, which came out of China, may have come from there.

Also, to counter the recent surge in cyberattacks, Canberra has promised to recruit at least 500 cyberwarriors, bolstering the country's online defences. Meanwhile, an astonishing 94 per cent of Australians say they want to begin decoupling their economy from China's.

The same story is being repeated around the globe. From Sweden to Japan to Czechia, more and more nations are coming to understand China's mortal threat to the postwar democratic and capitalist world order.

"Xi Jinping and the Communist Party that he leads have so badly overplayed their hand that they have, in a mere six months, accomplished what Donald Trump could not in almost four years: They have unified the world against China. And communist leader Xi has only himself to blame for the brazen move," the report said.

On Wednesday, the US Congress unanimously voted to sanction China for its new security law that would effectively nullify Hong Kong's legal system and put Beijing in charge.

Trump admin says foreign students must leave US if classes go fully online

Trump admin says foreign students must leave US if classes go fully online

New York: International students in the US are panicking and universities are scrambling to make sense of a new policy announcement by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that says foreign students in the US will be forced to leave the country or transfer to another college if their universities offer only online classes this Fall.

"Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States", the first line of the July 6 statement says. Officials in the International Students Office at the University of Southern California told IANS they are still "analysing the new information" and swamped by a flood of enquiries from worried students.

According to immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta, the latest one pager policy announcement means three things: Students enrolled in US universities that are moving to an online-only education model will be barred from getting F-1 visas, they will be stopped from entering the US on F-1 visas and not allowed to maintain F-1 status in the Fall semester. ICE is now turning the screws on universities to re-open despite the coronavirus roaring back across 40 of 50 states.

"So Trump is forcing foreign students to study in unsafe conditions during Covid-19", Mehta tweeted. Fall 2020 semester begins early September in the US, immediately after Labor Day weekend. By that time, America's death toll is projected to have crossed the grim milestone of 170,000, according to at least a couple of predictive models.

The new policy incentivises in-person classes during the ongoing pandemic which has already killed 130,000 Americans. The ICE announcement comes amidst heated debate across the country on what the coming Fall school session is going to look like. A vaccine against the coronavirus will not be available until at least year end or later.

The announcement leaves the door open for "hybrid" models of online plus in-person classes as a way for students to remain in the US. It says, "Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model, that is, a mixture of online and in person classes, will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online."

Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera and a Stanford computer science faculty member described this latest development as a "lose-lose" situation for both students and universities. In a tweet, Ng termed the policy as a "horrible" one which will hurt the US, students and universities. "Pushes universities to offer in-person classes even if unsafe or no pedagogical benefit, or students to leave US amidst pandemic and risk inability to return," Ng tweeted.

"Most of my current PhD students are international. This is an unnecessary crisis" tweeted Paula Kagan, Professor at DePaul College of Science and Health. The language of the ICE statement terms the new rules as "modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester."

"The US Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings."

The Trump administration says it had allowed only a "temporary exemption" for online courses limited to the spring and summer semesters. The ICE announcement comes at a time when the US leads the world in coronavirus caseload. Covid-19 has sickened more than 2.9 million Americans and killed more than 130,000 till date. According to US Department of Commerce 2018 data, the student population contributed $45 billion to the US economy.

Nearly 390,000 foreigners received student visas in Fiscal Year 2019, according to publicly available US government data. F-1 students pursue academic coursework and M-1 nonimmigrant students attend vocational courses in the United States.

US Army is with India in a conflict

US Army is with India in a conflict

The US military "will continue to stand strong" in relationship to a conflict between India and China or anywhere else, a top White House official said on Monday, after the US Navy deployed two aircraft carriers in the South China Sea to boost its presence in the region.

"The message is clear. We're not going to stand by and let China or anyone else take the reins in terms of being the most powerful, dominant force, whether it's in that region or over here," White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News.

"And the message is clear. Our military might stands strong and will continue to stand strong, whether it's in relationship to a conflict between India and China or anywhere else," Meadows said in response to a question.

He was told that India had banned Chinese apps because Indian soldiers were killed by Chinese troops last month that asked what is the mission of the two aircraft carriers that have set sail -- the ‘Ronald Reagan’ and the ‘Nimitz’ -- and what's the America's mission.

"Our mission is to make sure that the world knows that we still have the preeminent fighting force on the face of the globe," Meadows said.

President Donald Trump has invested more in the US military, more in not only the hardware, but the men and women who serve so sacrificially each and every day, he said. "He (Trump) continues to do so," he added.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are vital to global trade.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.

Appearing on the same Fox News on Monday talk show with host Brian Kilmeade, influential Republican Senator Tom Cotton said that the US aircraft carriers are headed to the South China Sea to thwart off any Chinese misadventure against Taiwan or other countries in the region.

Rapper Kanye West running for White House

Rapper Kanye West running for White House

Rapper Kanye West, who once said that slavery for many centuries may have been a matter of 'choice,' in an Independence Day tweet, announced that he is running for the president of the United States.

One person who will be sore with West for throwing his hat in the ring is Donald Trump who was counting on the former as a prominent black supporter who could help wean away the well-entrenched African-American voter.

West famously visited the Oval Office in October 2018, sporting a red "Make America Great Again" hat and saying, "I love this guy right here," while posing with Trump. His wife and reality TV star Kim Kardashian also visited the White House as an activist pushing for criminal justice reform.

West even wrote, “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought”.

The most controversial of Wayne’s statements was about slavery when he declared: “Of course, I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will. My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved.”

If West is to launch a serious bid, it would have come late in the day, as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, where each party will formally announce its respective candidates, are set for next month.

It is unclear whether any official paperwork for an election bid has been filed on behalf of West.

The rapper has neither identified himself as a Democrat or a Republican, adding that he was “not political”.


President Trump launches fresh salvo at China over COVID-19; slams 'Chinese aggression' at Sino-India border

President Trump launches fresh salvo at China over COVID-19; slams 'Chinese aggression' at Sino-India border

China and US President Donald Trump do not seem to be on the best of terms recently. The western leader has repeatedly blamed the other country for the novel coronavirus outbreak, and in recent days the US has also backed India's move to ban Chinese apps, amongst other things.

Speaking on Thursday, July 2, Trump called it a "plague from China" that should have "never happened".

"We had just signed a brand new trade deal and the ink wasn't even dry when it came over," he said.

While being critical of China, the US has also made several statements that seem to indicate its support for India. US President Donald Trump has made a pitch for expansion of the G7 grouping by including India, Russia, Australia and South Korea. The western country also followed Germany's lead at the UN Security Council to delay a draft statement condemning the terrorist attack at the Karachi Stock Exchange.

Pakistan officials have blamed India for the attack, and the two countries had, one after the other indicated their displeasure with China's show of support by pushing back the release.

The elephant in the room however is the strained Indo-China relations that have emerged after the Galwan Valley clash. As per a Hindustan Times report, here too Trump has something to add. Stating that the US was "closely monitoring" the situation, the White House on Wednesday condemned Chinese 'aggression'.

“China’s aggressive stance along the India-China border fits with a larger a pattern of Chinese aggression in other parts of the world and these action only confirm the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party”, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany quoted Trump to say.

(With inputs from agencies)

Global COVID-19 cases near 10 million, deaths surge to over 498,000: Johns Hopkins University

Global COVID-19 cases near 10 million, deaths surge to over 498,000: Johns Hopkins University

Washington: The overall number of global COVID-19 cases was nearing 10 million, while the deaths have surged to over 498,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Sunday morning, the total number of cases stood at 9,950,945, while the fatalities increased to 498,135, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. With 2,507,930 cases and 125,511 deaths, the US continues with the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the CSSE.

Brazil comes in the second place with 1,313,667 infections and 57,070 deaths. In terms of cases, Russia ranks third (626,779), and is followed by India (508,953), the UK (311,727), Peru (275,989), Chile (267,766), Spain (248,469), Italy (240,136), Iran (220,180), Mexico (212,802), France (199,473), Pakistan (198,883), Turkey (195,883), Germany (194,458), Saudi Arabia (178,504), Bangladesh (133,978), South Africa (131,800) and Canada (104,878), the CSSE figures showed. The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (43,598), Italy (34,716), France (29,781), Spain (28,341), Mexico (26,381), India (15,685) and Iran (10,364).

US President Donald Trump says he is 'Incredibly grateful' for the ' Widespread support'

US President Donald Trump says he is 'Incredibly grateful' for the ' Widespread support'

Washington: US President Donald Trump is "Incredibly grateful" for the "widespread support" he has received from the people of India and Indian-Americans, the White House has said in response to a survey suggesting that over 50 per cent of the community members in some key battleground American states are switching over to him in the presidential election in November. White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews made the comments while responding to a question on a recent survey results that Indian-Americans, who traditionally vote for the Democratic Party, are switching towards Trump, a Republican, in the November 3 election.

Trump is seeking re-election to the White House in the November 3 presidential elections. "President Trump is incredibly grateful for the widespread support he has received from the people of India and from millions of Indian-Americans across the United States," Matthews said. According to the survey results conducted by Al Mason, co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee, more than 50 per cent of Indian-Americans in the battle ground states of Michigan, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Virginia are crossing over to support Trump.

During his more than three and half years of his presidency, Trump has made an extra effort to reach out to the Indian-American community. His close relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi - reflected in the two leaders jointly addressing massive public rallies in Houston and Ahmedabad - has helped him make deep inroads among the Indian-Americans. "He (Trump) recognises the vital role Indian-Americans play in bolstering our economy, enriching our culture, and strengthening our communities," she said. During his firsttwo years in office, President Trump led the US to its greatest economic comeback in history. "

And the unemployment rate among Indian-Americans dropped by nearly 33 per cent," Matthews said. The President continues to fight for the prosperity, health, and freedom of all Americans, including the flourishing and hardworking Indian-American community, she said, responding to a question related to the increasing popularity of Trump among the community. AlMason said while the vision of Trump is the driving force in this unprecedented outreach with the Indian-Americans and a new peak in ties with India, the entire family including the First Lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who have recently visited India with him, shown their immense respect and love for the country.

Not to overlook son Donald Trump Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle, senior advisor to Donald Trump for President, Inc. and national chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, Mason said. Former TV host-cum-attorney Guilfoyle is now considered as one of the most powerful individuals in the Trump campaign. Both Trump Jr and Guilfoyle have time and again echoed Trump's love for India and Indian-Americans which is reflected intheir remarks at various Indian-American events in New York. "Want to see America work with incredible allies like India to make the world a safer place," Don Jr said last year.

"America embodies family values, values of hardworking people, strong work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit and these values are "shared magnificently with India as well," said Guilfoyle, who believes that Indian-Americans are a crucial ally for the campaign. "I think we're so lucky as a country to have so many talented, dedicated, patriotic Indian-Americans making up the incredibly diverse fabric culturally of this country and we're lucky that they have called it their home," Guilfoyle, who has helped initiate the process, said.

As preliminary report points to human error in Karachi crash, Pak Aviation Minister reveals 262 pilots have fake licenses

As preliminary report points to human error in Karachi crash, Pak Aviation Minister reveals 262 pilots have fake licenses

When taking a flight, most of us probably think it's a given that the pilot knows his way around the control panel and has cleared all relevant exams to be allowed to take the lives of so many people into his hands. And while you'd usually be right, this was not quite the case in Pakistan until recently.

As per a CNN report, more than 30% of Pakistan's civilian pilots posses fake licenses -- having never actually taken their exams. They are thus not qualified to fly. The situation was revealed on Wednesday by the country's aviation minister.

The news comes against the backdrop of a horrifying plane crash that took place earlier this year, killing 97 people. On Wednesday, preliminary investigations revealed that the plane that crashed in a residential area near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on May 22, due to human error by the pilots and air traffic control. As per Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, there had been a lack of concentration on their part which led to the crash of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane.

Since then, there has been a crackdown on the fake license issue. While the PIA announced that it has grounded 150 pilots with "dubious licenses", one can't help but wonder how the issue had not been noticed for so long. Reportedly, some of these fake pilots had also worked with foreign carriers. The cash-strapped airlines has reportedly said that the grounding of so many pilots will affect its services.

Those pilots who get their licenses verified will be allowed back on duty, Geo News quoted the PIA spokesperson as saying.

As per the CNN report that quotes Ghulam Sarwar Khan, 262 of Pakistan's 860 active pilots did not have flying experience and had apparently paid others to take the aviation exams on their behalf. This becomes a rather frightening prospect when one looks at the sheer number of flights they must have maneuvered till date.

And according to the PIA, this is not the first time people have been made aware of this issue. Reportedly, the carrier had flagged the issue of dubious licences issued by the aviation regulator after an ATR skidded off the runway in Panjgur in November 2018. Indeed, there have been previous media reports on the same, and the PIA has fired employees in the past too for possessing fake qualifications.

It’s time to wear a mask, Bolsonaro

It’s time to wear a mask, Bolsonaro

A Brazilian federal judge on Tuesday ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to comply with local rules to wear a face mask whenever he is outdoors in the capital of Brasilia.

Judge Renato Coelho Borelli said in his ruling that Bolsonaro "has exposed other people to the contagion of a disease that has caused national commotion." Brazil's federal district requires people to wear face masks in public to help control the spread of the new coronavirus. Failure to comply carries a possible daily fine of USD 390.

Bolsonaro often appears at public events with a mask, unlike some other heads of state.