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Journey from H1B visa applicant to Green Card holder

New Delhi: H1B Visa allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

The visa holders can stay in US for three years. The duration of stay can be extended to six years.

However, getting the visa is not easy as applicants have to satisfy set of conditions.

Eligibility for H1B Visa
In order to become eligible for an H1B visa, a foreigner must satisfy the following criteria

He should hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
Must satisfy the educational qualification required for the job.
Apart from the above eligibility, the sponsor US employer must show that there is a lack of local employees for the post.

How to apply for H1B visa
The applicant should first find job in the US as an H1B visa can be applied by a sponsor employer on behalf of the employee.

After offering a job in a specialty occupation, the employer has to apply for Labour Conditions Approval (LCA). The employer has to submit LCA online.

After the approval of LCA, the employer files a petition i.e., Form I-129. This stage will take around 3-4 months.

Once it is approved, the role of employee comes into picture. The employee has to visit US Embassy in the home country.

Lottery system
Unlike Canada where the applicant’s visa application is approved based on his/her score, in the US, if H1B visa applications exceed the annual visa cap, the lottery system will be followed. In the system, applications are picked randomly.

Holding master’s degree advantageous
In the system, first, applications of master’s degree holders will be picked until the cap on the visa is met. Then applications that are not selected go back to the pool.

These applications along with applications of Bachelor’s degree holders will be picked until the annual cap on the visa is reached.

In this manner, applicants with master’s degree will get two opportunities.

In 2020, the annual cap on H1B visa is 20000.

Importance of employment to continue H1B status
It may be noted that if the employment of the visa holder ends, the person has to leave the US unless he/she is granted change of status or successful finds employer compatible with H1B status.

Green Card

After the expiry of H1B visa, the foreigner can apply for Green Card. However, it can be done by the sponsor employee.

The sponsor employee has to get PERM Labour Certification before filing Form I-140.

Finally, employee has to file I-485 to get Green Card.

Latest coronavirus vaccine update: TMC's Mahua Moitra takes jibe at Centre; says vaccine deadline to 'spice up PM Modi's speech'

TMC leader Mahua Moitra on Sunday night criticized the Centre and the ICMR over the release of COVAXIN – the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech to battle the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Taking to Twitter, Moitra said, “First time in the history of modern science that a vaccine is having to meet a deadline to spice up a PM’s Independence Day speech.”

Motra’s tweet appears at a time when the Press Information Bureau on Sunday said that no vaccine would be released by 2021, but then retracted its statement.

In its press release, it had earlier mentioned that “None of these vaccines are unlikely to be ready for mass use before 2021.”

However, interestingly, PIB has withdrawn its statement and went on to delete the statement from its press release.

Meanwhile, for the upcoming Independence Day speech, PM Modi has a number of topics to discuss ranging from the valley face-off with China, the economy, and India’s battle to eradicate the virus that has infected crores of people across the world.

Earlier, as experts cautioned against rushing the process for developing a COVID-19 vaccine after the ICMR stated it plans to launch one by August 15, the apex health research body on Saturday stressed that it is acting in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential.

The medical body said that it is supporting the candidate as it appeared to be promising and after all the approvals. ICMR said, "After intense characterization and review of all data from BBIL, ICMR is supporting the clinical development as the vaccine candidate appears to be promising. Based on in-depth scrutiny of the available data from pre-clinical studies, the Drugs Controller General of India has accorded permission to conduct phase 1 and 2 clinical trials."

In its letter to principal investigators of the 12 sites, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava noted that the clinical trial of Covaxin is one of the "top priority projects which is being monitored at the top-most level of the government".

"It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15 after completion of all clinical trials. BBIL is working expeditiously to meet the target, however, final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project," Bhargava said in the letter.

However, it is not clear how the clinical trials can be completed and the vaccine released on August 15 when the normal period for a vaccine to be approved is 12 to 18 months.

Anant Bhan, of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, questioned the timeline of the announcement.

"To my knowledge, such an accelerated development pathway has not been done EVER for any kind of vaccine, even for the ones being tried out in other countries. Even with accelerated timelines, this seems really rushed, and hence with potential risks, inadequate attention to process," Bhan wrote in a series of tweets.

Drone Wars: As China supplies 4 armed drones to Pakistan, India expresses interest in US-made drones

It looks like the India-China face-off isn’t going to end any time soon, with the Xi Jinping-led government in the process of supplying four armed drones to Pakistan, according to Hindustan Times. The same report has also added that India has reached out to the United States about its interest in medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) armed Predator-B drone.

The China-made drones are supposed to protect the China-Pakistan Economic Belt at Gwadar Port, located in Balochistan

Meanwhile, the US-made drones that India has expressed interest in collects intelligence through surveillance and reconnaissance, and also locates and destroys the target with missiles or laser-guided bombs, the report added.

Recently, an article in The New York Post by China watcher Steven W Mosher praised PM Modi for ‘not being intimidated’ by China. Mosher, author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is a New Threat to World Order observed that PM Modi has not only banned Chinese apps like TikTok but also moved troops to the Himalayan border.

PM Modi also upped the ante by first visiting Leh to bolster the troops and then sending out messages on Buddha Purnima.

As the world fights extraordinary challenges, their lasting solutions can come from the ideals of Lord Buddha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.

Addressing the Dhamma Chakra Day event, the prime minister said the eight-fold path of Lord Buddha shows the way towards the well-being of many societies and nations.

It highlights the importance of compassion and kindness, he said adding that the teachings of Lord Buddha celebrate simplicity both in thought and action.

"Today the world fights extraordinary challenges. To these challenges, lasting solutions can come from the ideals of Lord Buddha. They were relevant in the past. They are relevant in the present. And, they will remain relevant in the future," Modi said at the event.

After coronavirus, hantavirus and new strain of swine flu, China now reports cases of bubonic plague; warns of epidemic

A city in northern China on Sunday sounded an alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague was reported, according to official media.

Bayannur, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, announced a level III warning of plague prevention and control, state-run People's Daily Online reported.

The suspected bubonic plague case was reported on Saturday by a hospital in Bayannur. The local health authority announced that the warning period will continue until the end of 2020.

"At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city. The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly," the local health authority said.

On July 1, state-run Xinhua news agency said that two suspected cases of bubonic plague reported in Khovd province in western Mongolia have been confirmed by lab test results.

The confirmed cases are a 27-year-old resident and his 17-year-old brother, who are being treated at two separate hospitals in their province, it quoted a health official as saying.

The brothers ate marmot meat, the health official said, warning people not to eat marmot meat.

A total of 146 people who had contact with them have been isolated and treated at local hospitals, according to Narangerel.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that is spread by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots. It can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A couple died of bubonic plague in the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii last year after eating raw marmot meat.


’60 percent of civil servants associated with RSS run Samkalp’

New Delhi: The joint secretary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Krishna Gopal will be holding a meeting on July 17 in New Delhi. He will be addressing more than 600 candidates who have successfully passed civil services exams trained by Sampkalp (training institute).

14 Samkalp across country

RSS has 14 Samkalp across the country, three of them are in New Delhi. Among the candidates who are UPSC toppers are Tina Dabi of Delhi and Athar Aamir of Anantnag.

Prakash, the coordinator at Samkalp says the success rate of their candidates is high. He adds that Dabi and Aamir came to Samkalp after passing Union Public Service Commission’s written exam. They were trained at Samkalp for mock interviews for the final leg of UPSC examination. He further states that interview is the last and the most decisive stage of the examination, and Samkalp has the best staff to guide and train. Reported The Economic Times.

Among Samkalp’s mentors and advisers are former governors, retired IFS officers, IAS officers and retired Generals. There is a list of their well-wishers on their website.

“Now each state and cadre has civil servants who owe their success to Samkalp. In the next 10 years, we hope to have a bureaucracy that will genuinely contribute to nation-building with true Indian values and ethos. This is what we are working towards,” an RSS leader said. He and other RSS leaders did not want to be identified. The Economic Times has reported.

646 out of 1078 got coaching at Samkalp

The Economic Times further added that according Samkalp’s coordinator “60% successful candidates were associated” with the institute. Out of the total of 1,078 candidates who were short listed this year 646 got coaching at Samkalp at some stage of the examination or the other.

The coordinator also claimed that of the top 100 candidates about 76 were associated with Samkalp. He also asserted 5,000 serving bureaucrats had been coached by Samkalp in some form.

Latest coronavirus update: WHO takes a U-turn; says its office, not China first alerted it about COVID-19

The World Health Organization has updated its account of the early stages of the COVID crisis to say it was alerted by its own office in China, and not by China itself, to the first pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

The UN health body has been accused by US President Donald Trump of failing to provide the information needed to stem the pandemic and of being complacent towards Beijing, charges it denies.

On April 9, WHO published an initial timeline of its communications, partly in response to criticism of its early response to the outbreak that has now claimed more than 521,000 lives worldwide.

In that chronology, WHO had said only that the Wuhan municipal health commission in the province of Hubei had on December 31 reported cases of pneumonia. The UN health agency did not however specify who had notified it.

WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference on April 20 the first report had come from China, without specifying whether the report had been sent by Chinese authorities or another source.

But a new chronology, published this week by the Geneva-based institution, offers a more detailed version of events.

It indicates that it was the WHO office in China that on December 31 notified its regional point of contact of a case of "viral pneumonia" after having found a declaration for the media on a Wuhan health commission website on the issue.

The same day, WHO's epidemic information service picked up another news report transmitted by the international epidemiological surveillance network ProMed -- based in the United States -- about the same group of cases of pneumonia from unknown causes in Wuhan.

After which, WHO asked the Chinese authorities on two occasions, on January 1 and January 2, for information about these cases, which they provided on January 3.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a press conference on Friday that countries have 24-48 hours to officially verify an event and provide the agency with additional information about the nature or cause of an event.

Ryan added that the Chinese authorities immediately contacted WHO's as soon as the agency asked to verify the report.

US President Donald Trump has announced that his country, the main financial contributor to WHO, will cut its bridges with the institution, which he accuses of being too close to China and of having poorly managed the pandemic.

The WHO denies any complacency toward China.

Meanwhile, WHO’s emergencies chief says "we need to put up a fight now" during a peak in the current wave of the coronavirus pandemic - rather than focusing on when a second wave might come.

Dr. Michael Ryan said the world will be much better at fighting a second wave, if people can learn the lessons of fighting the first wave.

WHO officials emphasised mask-wearing, social distancing, and hygiene by individuals, along with contact-tracing and tracking of cases by health authorities as key strategies to fight the virus.

They say governments and individuals should contour their policies and behaviour based on the outbreak's status in their countries.

Ryan said the world was experiencing a "second peak in the first wave" - a situation in which the virus hasn't been suppressed enough to quell transmission to end the first one.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tests positive for COVID-19

Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but was feeling "strong and energetic".

In a tweet on Friday, Qureshi said that he had a slight fever earlier on Friday and had immediately quarantined himself at home, reports Dawn news.

"I have now tested positive for COVID-19... I feel strong and energetic. I will continue to carry on my duties from home..."

Several politicians, including members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have been diagnosed with the virus over the past few months as it continues to spread in Pakistan.

Prominent political leaders who have contracted the virus so far include National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, PPP leader Saeed Ghani and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, all of whom have recovered.

In June, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had also tested positive for the virus.

Former Balochistan governor Syed Fazal Agha, PTI Punjab MPA Shaheen Raza, Sindh Minister for Human Settlements Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, MNA Munir Khan Orakzai and PTI's Mian Jamshedud Din Kakakhel are among politicians who passed away after contracting the virus.

Pakistan, one of the worst hit South Asian countries, has so far reported 221,896 COVID-19 cases, with 4,551 deaths.


Will take action if Patanjali misleads people on Coronil, warns Maha Minister Rajendra Shingne

Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration Minister Rajendra Shingne has warned Baba Ramdev's Patanjali of strong action if the ayurvedic company misleads or creates confusion among people about their "medicine" for COVID-19.

"Coronavirus cannot be treated with Patanjali's medicine. Action will be taken if Patanjali creates confusion among people or misleads the people claiming the drug cures coronavirus (COVID-19)," said Shingne.

The FDA Minister said action will be taken with the help of the state's home department under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, if any false claims are made by producers of Coronil.

Shingne noted that the Union AYUSH Ministry, too, has clarified that Patanjali can sell Coronil but only as an immunity booster.

On Wednesday, the Union AYUSH Ministry said Patanjali can sell Coronil but only as an immunity booster and not as a cure for the virus. "AYUSH Ministry has only given permission to sell this particular formulation as immunity booster and not as a medicinal cure for COVID-19," Patanjali said in a statement.

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd said there was no disagreement now between it and the Union ministry. The company claimed that the AYUSH Ministry has "categorically agreed" that Patanjali had "appropriately worked on COVID-19 management". "Now there is no difference of opinion between AYUSH Ministry and Patanjali," it added in a statement.

(With input from Agencies)

ISRO's Mangalayan Mission manages to capture detailed image of Mars' largest moon Phobos

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) recently captured of Phobos, one of Mars’s two moons.

The image was taken on July 1, when the MOM was 7,200 kilometres from Marsh and 4,200 kilometres from Phobos, ISRO said in a statement.

Speaking of the image, ISRO said it was a composite image generated from 6 MCC frames and had been color corrected. “Phobos is largely believed to be made up of carbonaceous chondrites,” ISRO added.

The mission also known as Mangalyaan was initially meant to last six months, but subsequently ISRO had said it had enough fuel for it to last "many years." The country had on September 24, 2014 successfully placed the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft in orbit around the red planet, in its very first attempt, thus breaking into an elite club.

ISRO had launched the spacecraft on its nine-month- long odyssey on a homegrown PSLV rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5, 2013. It had escaped the earth's gravitational field on December 1, 2013.

The Rs 450-crore MOM mission aims at studying the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars).

The Mars Orbiter has five scientific instruments - Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer.

Phobos became something of pop-culture thanks to the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi flick Total Recall, as well as id software’s first-person shooting game in the 1990s, Doom.

With Agency Inputs


India-China face-off: PM Narendra Modi visits Ladakh to assess situation, interact with troops

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Leh on Friday, the first time he visited the region since the June 15 clash between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan Valley that led to the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers.

PM Modi arrived in the region to review the security situation and interact with the troops.

Earlier, 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.

“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.