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US immigration modifies H-1B cap selection process


Washington: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a final rule that will modify the H-1B cap selection process, amend current lottery procedures, and prioritize wages to protect the economic interests of US workers and better ensure the most highly skilled foreign workers benefit from the temporary employment program.

Modifying the H-1B cap selection process will incentivize employers to offer higher salaries, and/or petition for higher-skilled positions, and establish a more certain path for businesses to achieve personnel needs and remain globally competitive.

“The H-1B temporary visa program has been exploited and abused by employers primarily seeking to fill entry-level positions and reduce overall business costs,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow.

“The current H-1B random selection process makes it difficult for businesses to plan their hiring fails to leverage the program to compete for the best and brightest international workforce, and has predominately resulted in the annual influx of foreign labor placed in low-wage positions at the expense of US workers.”

This effort will only affect H-1B registrations (or petitions, if the registration process is suspended) submitted by prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. It will be implemented for both the H-1B regular cap and the H-1B advanced degree exemption, but it will not change the order of selection between the two as established by the H-1B registration final rule.

The final rule will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. DHS previously published a notice of proposed rulemaking on November 2, 2020, and carefully considered the public comments received before deciding to publish the proposed regulations as a final rule.

The final rule will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. DHS previously published a notice of proposed rulemaking on November 2, 2020, and carefully considered the public comments received before deciding to publish the proposed regulations as a final rule.




Farmers to take out tractor rally on Western Peripheral Expressway from Ghaziabad to Palwal today


SNS Web | New Delhi 
After the failed seventh round of talks with the Centre on the contentious farm laws, the agitating farmers will take out a tractor rally today in order to mark their protest.

The tractor rally will run on the Western Peripheral Expressway that starts at Ghaziabad and ends in Palwal.

The rally is being organised by Sanyuta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella of 40 farmer unions.

“The chilla & Gazipur borders are closed for traffic coming from Noida & Gaziabad to Delhi because of farmer protests. Please take alternate route for coming to Delhi via Anad Vihar, DND, Apsara, bhopra & Loni borders,” Delhi Traffic Police said in a tweet.

Those coming from Sirsa side and Beel Akbarpur towards Sonipat won’t be allowed to get on the expressway from 2 pm to 5 pm, the police said.

Expressing concern over the ongoing farmers’ protest at various Delhi borders over the recently enacted three farm laws, the Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its displeasure.

The three-member Chief Justice SA Bobde headed bench, comprising of Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian told Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, representing the Centre, “There is absolutely no improvement in the situation.”

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta submitted that the Centre is in discussion with the farmers to resolve their issues and that since “healthy talks” are going on between the farmers and Centre, it would not be advisable to take up the matters immediately.

Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal said that filing of response by the Centre may close avenues of negotiations underway between the farmers and Centre.

Venugopal added that there is a possibility that parties involved in the discussion may come to a conclusion in the near future.

The bench agreed with the submissions of both the AG and SG and said if it is told on Monday (January 11) that discussions are still underway then it would adjourn the hearing.

The eighth round of meeting between the two sides is scheduled for January 8, Friday.

 




‘Beautiful sight’: China’s internet erupts in mirth at US’s troubled democracy


China’s internet erupted in mirth at America’s troubled democracy after supporters of President Donald Trump broke into the US Capitol, comparing the chaos to the Hong Kong anti-government protests of 2019.

On Thursday morning, state media tabloid Global Times tweeted side-by-side photo comparisons of Hong Kong protesters occupying the city’s Legislative Council Complex in July 2019 with Wednesday’s Washington riots.

The latter saw hardcore Trump fans invade the US Capitol to protest the election defeat, taking selfies, scuffling with security and ransacking parts of the building.

“@SpeakerPelosi once referred to the Hong Kong riots as ‘a beautiful sight to behold’,” the Global Times said in the tweet, referring to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s June 2019 comment about Hong Kong’s mass pro-democracy demonstrations, which were mostly peaceful at that time.

“It remains yet to be seen whether she will say the same about the recent developments in Capitol Hill.”

China’s Communist Youth League also described the unrest as a “beautiful sight” on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

The hashtag “Trump supporters storm US Capitol” pinballed across Weibo on Thursday, racking up 230 million views, as users compared the global support for Hong Kong’s protesters with the outpouring of condemnation for the pro-Trump mob.

“At present, all European countries’ leaders have shown double standards and condemned it (Washington rioting),” read one Weibo comment which gained over 5,000 likes.

“I don’t know what kind of double-standard reports will be carried by Hong Kong or Taiwan media this time.”

“What happened in the Hong Kong Legislative Council last year is being repeated in the US Capitol,” wrote another user in a comment with over 4,500 likes.

While the tactics were similar, there are stark differences in the causes and motivations of the two legislature stormings.

Hong Kong protesters broke into their legislature to demand full democracy and halt an unpopular bill that was being pushed through by the city’s unelected leadership.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city is not a democracy, the cause of years of popular protests.

China has since responded with a crackdown, imposing a harsh security law on the restless city, arresting scores of critics and smothering dissent.

In contrast, those storming the US Capitol were trying to overturn the results of what has been declared a free and fair presidential election.

US President-elect Joe Biden said the US rioters were undermining democracy by trying to overturn Trump’s defeat in November’s election.

 




Protesting farmers’ deaths: Modi govt has blood on its hands, says Jakhar


 sorce  thestatemen  (Photo: IANS)

No description available.


Attacking the BJP-ruled Centre over the death of 57 farmers during the ongoing farmers’ agitation against farm laws, Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Tuesday said the Narendra Modi government has “blood on its hands”.

“The Modi government has blood on its hands,” Jakhar said while leading a march of Punjab Congressmen to the martyr memorial in Chandigarh. The participants placed 57 extinguished earthen lamps on ground to highlight the Centre’s apathy towards the loss of 57 farmer lives during the ongoing farmer agitation.

The Punjab Congress chief said this march and laying of 57 extinguished lamps by the Congress at a befitting martyr memorial in the state capital is to tell the Modi government to rise from its deep slumber and repeal the three black farm laws at the earliest.

“The sacrifice of these farmers will not go in vain. They are martyrs. Punjab and Haryana farmers have led the battle for the nation from the front. The Centre’s insensitivity towards the farmers’ cause will not last long,” Jakhar said.

The state Congress chief said the agitation has crossed way beyond 100-days with farmers being harassed and facing the bone-chilling winter months out in the open. “If the government’s intent was sacrosanct, the several rounds of talks with farmer representatives would not have remained inconclusive, “Jakhar said.

The martyr memorial in Chandigarh, he said, is a tribute to the brave soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation. Inherent in the sacrifice of farmers as well is an element of deep pride that the nation will never forget. The Centre should expeditiously clear the logjam before the situation worsens, he said.




Vaccine dry run in Delhi scheduled at 8 centres including Hindu Rao Hospital


IANS | New Del
A dry run for the Covid vaccine will be conducted at 8 sites in the national capital on Wednesday, officials said.

The dry run will be held at two hospitals under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation while six sites under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) including Maternity Mother and Child Welfare (MCW) Centre, Maternity Home (MH) and polyclinics would take part in it.

MCW Hari Nagar, Poly Clinic Madipur, MCW Bijwasan, MH Sriniwas Puri, MCW Fatehpur Beri, MCW Defence Colony (all SDMC), Bara Hindu Rao Hospital and Kasturba Hospital (both North MCD) are among the centres which would participate in the drive.

The officials also informed that around 100-200 health care workers will participate in the mock drill for the vaccine roll-out across the centres.

North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash told IANS that around 60 healthcare workers from both the MCD-run hospitals are ready for the drive.

“The hospitals (Hindu Rao and Kasturba) have converted their swine flu wards into a vaccination point. Besides, two ICU beds are also provisioned by each hospital, in case a vaccine receiver witnesses any severe adverse event during inoculation of the Covid vaccine,” he said.

“Our hospitals are fully prepared for the Corona vaccine. The North DMC will follow all the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health for the vaccine in the dry run process. Same procedure would also be adopted in the dry run of vaccination to the people, whose process is fixed for the actual vaccination,” he added.

The dry-run in Delhi began last week starting with the three sites. Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Shahdara, the Urban Primary Health Centre, Daryaganj, and Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka, were the first in the national capital to conduct the dry-run on Saturday. 25 healthcare workers from each centre had undergone the mock drive.




Conversation between Maneka Gandhi, businessman goes viral over treatment of animals


IANS | New Del
Bengaluru, Jan 6 (IANS) A 4.54 minute audio clip has surfaced on social media sites where BJP Sultanpur MP and former Union minster Maneka Gandhi allegedly threatens Bengaluru businessman, Ramalingam to book him in a sexual harassment case after a news of Ramlingam hitting stray dog with a cricket bat reaches to her.

According to the police, Ramlingam reportedly hit the dog after it bit his daughter two days ago. “This was opposed by his neighbour, Nitin and his friend Malati. This episode led to full blown arguments between residents of Crescent Road Malati. She filed complaint against Ramlingama and Ramlingam too filed case against her. We registered both complaints,” a police officer said.

In an audio clip, Maneka Gandhi purportedly threatens him by asking animal activists to file sexual harassment case against him if he attacks stray dogs or animals again.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Sub-division) M.N. Anuchet told IANS that the Highgrounds police has filed a Non-Cognizable Report (NCR) against Ramalingam as well as animal activist Malati and Nitin on January 2 itself.

“However, we have not received any formal complaint against the purported audio clip which is doing rounds and has not come to our notice. If anyone comes forward and file a complaint, we will take that case,” he said in response to a question.

IANS correspondent’s efforts to reach Ramlingam, could not be materialised as his phone was switched off.

In detailed conversations is as follows…(the veracity of the clip could not be independently verified)

Maneka Gandhi: Hello

Ramlingam: Hello…Good morning madam

Maneka: Mr Ramalingam, I have received a lot of complaints about your behaviour. Now..I am going to speak to the MLA, corporator and to the BJP establishment…do you understand?

Ramlingam: Madam….actually

Maneka (Cuts in): I don’t want goondas…I don’t want goondas in this area

Ramlingam: True madam, true..true..madam..but

Maneka (Cuts in): You will not harass…I will put sexual harassment case against you. You are harassing Malati Shah, You are harassing Nitin. You are going place to place talking nonsense. You are known as local goonda. You are jobless. Trying to get into politics, harass people through that. Do you understand? A

Ramlingam: Sorry madam

Maneka: I will cut off your entire thing with the BJP. You can not use BJP to sort out your goonda issues. Do you understand Ramlingam?

Ramlingam: No I didn’t get actually the real facts….may be if you go through real facts Madam, first go through the facts madam

Maneka: I know facts of the case and you have been taking out the bat and hitting dogs.

Ramlingam: Madam sorry, I didn’t hit the dog with the bat but pushed it that too in self protection and nothing happened to the dog.

Maneka: You did not…you took out the bat and hit a dog for no reason.

Ramlingam: No…sorry madam..dog has bit my daughter and it has chased my son also, sorry madam.. sorry madam.

Maneka: Dog did not bite your daughter…You are a liar..do you understand?

Ramlingam: No madam I have proof of dog biting my daughter and please…

Maneka: You are total liar and scoundrel….half the time you are drunk and you get the drunk people to harass the women. Now I will put the women molestation case against you.

Ramlingam (Cuts in): Madam…I am ready to give my blood test for alcohol test…you can get it checked if you want it…

Maneka: You can give blood or not.. am not interested…what am interested is that You behave yourself.

Ramlingam: Ok…ok… I will do that….

Maneka: If you hit a single animal or throw your weight around with anybody…You just watch it….I am telling you that….

Ramalingam: Madam listen to me….Nitin and Malati are leaving dogs on us….to bite….

Makeka: Nobody is leaving any dog on you to bite…do you understand it? you Scoundrel…you rascal…

Ramalingam: Madam..you are looking in a one way traffic…please look both ways (please look this case from both sides) pleas listen to me…

Maneka: There is no one way traffic….do you want me to speak to the police officer?…do you want me to speak to…

Ramalinagam: Madam…I am also animal lover…please look this case in both ways….sorry madam I expected you to..you to ..be more (impartial)…you are completely taking their side….you are listening only to them….listen to me as well….I had 40 cows…I know what animal love means…..I am a total vegetarian…

Maneka: I know you had 40 cows….did you sell those cows to a butcher?

Ramlingam: I am a total vegetarian…Nitin is ..total…total non-vegetarian…..he eats beef also..do you know about that?

Maneka: Ramalingam….will you be quiet, when am speaking to you?

Ramlingam: Ok Madam…please tell me….please carry on….

Maneka: You will not have any animals….you will not threaten people….you will not be a local goonda…and now I am informing the corporator….that you are a character living there…I will inform the police also…any instance you will go to jail….

Ramalingam: Ok madam …..ok madam…

Maneka: Alright…if you want to stay in your position….then you need to be quiet and gentle…

Ramlingam: Madam…I expect you to say the same to them (Nitin and Malati) also….I understood what you told…if it is my fault I agree…

Maneka: You damn……Listen to me…You own a dog right?……you keep the dog tied all time….that dog will be taken away from you tonight?

Ramlingam: I don’t keep my dog tied all the time…

Maneka: You keep the dog tied all the time…..You take it out only five minutes in the morning and evening that’s all…I know that….

Ramlingam: I am very sorry madam….I have kept my dog free…I allow it to roam around freely…they have given you wrong information….you are believing them….. I am very sorry….

Maneka: Yes I belive them…..I don’t believe you…

Ramlingam: I thought Maneka Gandhi madam is something….big

Maneka: I am not interested in what you think about me….Ramlingam….I don’t like goondas…I don’t like goonds in BJP.

Ramlingam: You can ask anybody…..who is goonda…who is not goonda…

Maneka: You are a goonda…

Ramlingam: Listen to me…you are a reputed person….

Maneka: You are scoundrel…

Ramlingam: Just because someone says (calls) me scoundrel…I don’t become one…

Maneka: You are …you are ….you too…

Ramlingam: Ok ….ok

Maneka: You called this …woman …to ….harass and you talk nonsense about dog..just be quiet….

Ramlingam: You just got cooked up stories….you have not the detailed story about what has happened here….Girl (Malati) doesn’t have any work in our area….no business at 9:30 at night…how did she come to our area…why did she come to our area?

Maneka: That is not your father’s area…do you understand ..you unemployed good for nothing….

Ramlingam: Ok sorry madam….

Maneka: She can any time she wants and anytime she likes…she can feed animals.. it’s not your father’s area….she comes to feed animals…she comes to feed there.


 
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‘Love Jihad’ : SC issues notice on pleas challenging UP, Uttarakhand Laws


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on the petitions challenging the laws made by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the name of ‘love jihad’ against religious conversions for the sake of marriages.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna was considering the petitions filed by Vishal Thakre & others and social activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO ‘Citizens for Justice and Peace'(CJP).


 
Also Read – Advocates Cannot Throw­away Legal Rights Of Parties By Entering Into Arrangements Contrary To Law: Supreme Court
The bench however declined to stay the provisions of the laws which require prior permission for religious conversions for marriage.

Senior Advocate Chander Uday Singh, appearing for the CJP, sought for a stay on the provisions of the law which mandate that prior permission should be obtained for religious conversions for marriage. CU Singh submitted that the provisions are ‘oppressive’ and that ‘prior permissions to marry is absolutely obnoxious’. He submitted that many innocent persons have been picked up by police on the basis of UP Ordinance alleging ‘Love Jihad’.

Also Read – Farmers Protests -‘There Are Chances Of Parties Coming To Some Sort of Understanding’, AG KK Venugopal Tells Supreme Court
The bench was not inclined to entertain the petitions and asked the petitioners to approach the respective High Courts.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the Allahabad High Court was already considering the challenge against the laws.


 
“The challenge is already pending in High Courts. Why don’t you go there? We are not saying you have a bad case. But you must approach the High Courts in the first instance instead of coming to SC directly”, CJI repeatedly said.

But the CJI changed his mind after CU Singh and Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav(appearing in the connected matter) submitted that they are challenging laws of two states, which are creating widespread problems in the society. The lawyers submitted that more states, like Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, are mulling similar laws.

When cases are pending in more than one High Courts, it is appropriate that the apex court considers the matter, Yadav submitted.

“Alright. We will issue notice”, CJI said after much persuasion by CU Singh and Yadav.

However, the CJI was not inclined to consider CU Singh’s prayer for interim relief at present saying that it required detailed hearing.


 
“You are asking for a relief which we cannot entertain under Article 32. Whether provision is arbitrary or oppressive needs to be seen. This is the problem when you come directly to the Supreme Court”, CJI remarked while ordering notice. The notice is returnable within 4 weeks.

The petitions challenge the constitutional validity of the recently passed Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.

The CJP, in its PIL filed through Advocate Tanima Kishore, has contended that the provisions of the impugned Act and Ordinance, both violate Article 21 of the Constitution as it empowers the State to suppress an individual’s personal liberty and impinge upon an individual’s right to freedom of choice and right to freedom of religion.

agency




Supreme Court gives ‘go-ahead’ to Central Vista project in 2:1 verdict


While reserving the case for judgment in early November, the apex court had said it would examine whether the project complied with land use and environmental regulations.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gives a ‘go-ahead’ to the Central Vista project in a 2:1 verdict.

“We hold that there are no infirmities in clearances given, change in land use,” a three-judge bench of the court said in a majority verdict.

The apex court pronounced judgment on various petitions challenging the re-development project of the Central Vista project.

While reserving the case for judgment in early November, the apex court had said it would examine whether the project complied with land use and environmental regulations peculiar to the area which houses the Parliament and Central Secretariat buildings.

Last month, PM Modi launched a part of the new parliament building that is to be built as a part of the Central Vista project.

The top court had told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that they ‘expected that the government will continue with paperwork’ but not ‘move forward so aggressively.’

The court said, “We expected that you will continue with paperwork etc but not move forward so aggressively that you will start construction,”

The Supreme Court further added, “Just because there is no stay that does not mean you can start construction. We did not pass any clear stay order because we thought you are prudent litigant, and you will show deference to the court. The news items in public domain show you are starting construction.”

The Central Vista Project is to refurbish and build government buildings on a 3-km stretch from the presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.

The new Parliament building, the Lok Sabha chamber will have 888 seats and the Rajya Sabha will have 384 seats. The building will be earthquake resistant and will have modern digital technology.




Boris Johnson announces ‘complete lockdown’ in UK amid rising cases of coronavirus


The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, will come into effect Wednesday, he said in a televised address.

Nearly 56 million people in England will return to a full coronavirus lockdown, possibly until mid-February, to try to cut spiralling infection rates, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, will come into effect Wednesday, he said in a televised address, after Scotland announced similar measures would come into force from midnight (0000 GMT) on Tuesday.

Some 44 million people or three-quarters of the population of England are already living under the toughest restrictions, as Britain grapples with one of the worst mortality rates from coronavirus in the world.

But they have failed to halt an upward trend in positive cases, which have been blamed on a more infectious new variant.

Johnson said that as of Monday, almost 27,000 people with Covid were in hospital — 40 percent more than at the peak of first wave of the outbreak on April last year.

Last Tuesday, more than 80,000 people tested positive in just 24 hours.

“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it’s clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out,” he said.

“In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown.”

The new measures are similar to those during the first, three-month lockdown from late March to June last year.

They include the closure of schools, working from home wherever possible, limits on leaving home, except for exercise, essential shopping and for medical supplies, and no household mixing.

A decision on whether to hold annual national exams for 16- and 18-year-olds will be made after consultations between the education secretary and qualifications bodies, said Johnson.

Shortly before Johnson’s announcement, the four chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the country had moved to the highest coronavirus level five.

That means the state-run National Health Service is at risk of being overwhelmed within 21 days if no action is taken.

Johnson said he hoped the restrictions could start to be lifted after the next school holidays in mid-February, and acknowledged the weeks ahead “will be the hardest yet”.

But he said he was encouraged by the roll-out of two Covid vaccines, including one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which could see the four most vulnerable groups inoculated in the next six weeks.

“With every jab that goes into our arms, we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people,” he added.




Agriculture Minister told us to approach Supreme Court for repeal of farm laws: Farmers’ leader


‘We urge the youth of Punjab to prepare for a long haul. We will take out a big procession on Republic Day,’ he said.

The seventh round of talks between the farmers and the Centre remained inconclusive and Agriculture minister Narendra Tomar clearly said that the laws will not be repealed.

As reported by NDTV, Sarwan Singh Pandher of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee has even told farmers to approach the Supreme Court for repeal of the laws.

“We urge the youth of Punjab to prepare for a long haul. We will take out a big procession on Republic Day,” he added.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, were present at the meeting with the representatives of 40 farmer unions at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

The eighth round of meeting between the two sides is scheduled for January 8, Friday.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who participated in the meeting, told PTI that the first hour of discussion remained focussed on the three laws. “Our demand is the repeal of the laws. We will not agree to any alternatives such as the setting of the committee,” he had said.

Earlier, at the press conference organised by the seven-member coordination committee of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint front of 40 farmer organisations that are protesting for over a month at the Delhi borders said that the farmers shall ‘peacefully and non-violently’ lead a tractor parade into Delhi and across the country on Republic Day, January 26.

The farmer leaders had also said that if the talks on January 4 do not succeed then they will organise a ‘march or parade’ from Singhu border and Shahjahanpur to Delhi. They will organise tractor and trolley rallies from January 6 to 20. On Lohri, which is on January 13, the copies of the farm laws shall be burnt and January 18 will be celebrated as Mahila Kisan Diwas to mark and honour the women protesters.





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