Trump to clamp down on H1B visas used by Indian techies

(Photo: Michael Vadon/flickr/cc)

(Photo: Michael Vadon/flickr/cc)

Washington: US President Donald Trump is expected to sign a new executive order aimed at strangulating work-visa programmes, including the H1B and L1 visas used by Indian IT professionals, as part of a larger immigration reform effort, a top White House official has said.

The executive order drafted by the Trump Administration not only strangulates H-1B and L1 visas, but also increases inspector raj and ends employment authorisation cards to spouses on such work visas, which was recently introduced by the previous Obama Administration.

The draft of the order was leaked and published by some news websites yesterday.

“I think with respect to H1Bs and other visa is part of a larger immigration reform effort that the President will continue to talk about through executive order and through working with Congress,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference.

“You’ve already seen a lot of action on immigration and I think whether it’s that or the spousal visas or other type of visas, I think there’s an overall need to look at all of these programmes. You’ll see both through executive action and through comprehensive measures a way to address immigration as a whole and the visa programme,” Spicer said.

As per the leaked draft order, Trump would reverse Obama’s extension of the duration of the optional practical training work visas, which allowed foreign students to stay in the US a bit longer after completion of their studies.

Within 90 days of the signing of the executive order, the Secretary of Homeland Security would have to review all regulations that allow foreign nationals to work in the US and determine which of those regulations violate the immigration laws or are not in the national interest of America.

It would also immediately terminate all parole policies.

The executive order will also ask the Secretaries of Labour and Homeland Security to restore the integrity of employment-based non-immigrant worker programmes and better protect US and foreign workers affected by these programmes.

The draft order seeks the administration to “consider ways to make the process of allocating visas more efficient and ensure that beneficiaries of the programmes are the best and the brightest.”

It also proposes to establish a commission or advisory committee to analyse the nation’s current immigration policies and their impact on the American society, economy, work force, and the foreign policy and national security interest of the United States.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.

Trump signed an executive order banning foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries to enter the US on Friday.


Kaabil is an intensely emotional film with all the action & entertainment oriented commercial trappings intact


Banner: Filmkraft Productions Pvt Ltd
Producer: Rakesh Roshan
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Star Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy, Sahidur Rahman, Narendra Jha, Suresh Menon, Akhilendra Mishra, Girish Kulkarni, Urvashi Rautela
Music: Rajesh Roshan

Actor – producer – director Rakesh Roshan needs no special introduction. Besides his “K” fixated titles is also very well – known both in Bollywood & outside Bollywood. So from his debut directorial venture Khudgarz till his latest offering Kaabil, Rakesh Roshan has traversed almost all the genres of filmmaking with multiple sucess till this date. No doubt he had his own share of up & downs, highs & lows and of course success & failure, but of course more directorial successes than failure. Need anything more be said on this account.

The scripted scenario of Kaabil hides the plot more than it reveals. Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) is a visually impaired man who works as a voice over artiste for a living. He meets Supriya (Yami Gautam), a visually challenged, but independent working woman, after being coaxed by a common well – wisher. Although both are initially reluctant to ever marry, they eventually start liking each other and get married. One night on their way back home after dining at a restaurant, they are interrupted by Amit Shellar (Rohit Roy), a local goon & younger brother of Madhavrao Shellar (Ronit Roy) – a well – known politician & his friend Wasim (Sahidur Rehman). Both being intoxicated behave inappropriately with the couple enraging Rohan and are involved in heated exchange of words. The next morning while Rohan is out for work, Amit & Wasim sneak into the house & gang rape Supriya. A mortified Rohan immediately calls up the police who advise him to get his wife medically examined in 24 hours to prove the assault. While Rohan & Supriya are on their way to the clinic, they are kidnapped by Shellar’s men and are held captive for 36 hours. After setting them free, they are criticised by the police & doctors for the delay in admitting Supriya. Heartbroken, they both return home. While tormented, Supriya attempts to try and live normally, but Rohan becomes silent & introspective, which breaks Supriya further. One morning, Rohan returns early from work to apologize to Supriya for not being as supportive as he should have, only to find her hanging down a fan. Later, when Rohan is brooding over losing Supriya, Madhavrao visits him and admits that his brother Amit assaulted Supriya not once but twice. He also threatens him and asks him to forget about what had happened. Rohan finds Supriya’s braille note which ascertains that the 2nd assault led to her eventual suicide. This sets off a change in Rohan’s persona. He visits the police station and implies that he will avenge his wife’s death. He formulates varied ideas and uses his voice modulating skills to fool Wasim to come to an isolated club, which was Amit & Wasim’s hang out place. When Wasim arrives, Rohan switches off the lights and gets added advantage of fighting in the dark. Rohan eventually hangs Wasim, leaving Amit’s handkerchief behind to misguide the Police. He then tricks Amit by dubbing Inspector Nalawde’s (Girish Kulkarni) voice and makes him come alone to a warehouse full of oil drums. Unlike Wasim, Amit takes off his shoes so that Rohan can’t guess his movements. But after the initial struggle Rohan knocks him down and ties him down in leaking oil to be burned alive. Madhavrao Shellar is now furious to find the real culprit. Sr. Police Officer Chaubey (Narendra Jha) who has doubts over Rohan gets him house arrested and offers Shellar to reveal the name with complete evidence in 24 hours. But before that Rohan escapes with the help of his friend Zafar (Suresh Menon) and later challenges Shellar to meet him at the top of an under construction building. Shellar tries to shoot him, but Rohan very cleverly kills him by throwing him down the building. The police with no evidence against Rohan – a visually impaired man – stand helpless. Rohan who has now taken his revenge, sets free Supriya’s ashes into the sea and bids her farewell.

This time around Rakesh Roshan is not handling the directorial helm of affairs, instead Sanjay Gupta has taken over the directorial reigns of Kaabil and although he is known more for western influences in his films, but in Kaabil, he has led emphasis heavily on emotions. Although the plot may appear conventional, Gupta & writer Vijay Kumar Mishra have totally avoided the clichés and standard techniques. In fact Kaabil never fails to involve & entertain the audiences. And some of the more deserving
credits & plaudits also goes to behind the scenes team comprising of Rajesh Roshan (music composer) Ahmed Khan (choreographer) Salim – Sulaiman (Background scorer), Sudeep Chatterjee & Ayananka Bose (cinematographer), Shyam Kaushal (action master) & Akiv Ali (editor).

Performance wise Hrithik Roshan literally lives up to his role of a visually impaired man. He proves his histrionically oriented excellent prowess brilliantly. In fact Duggu as he is more popularly known has delivered his career best performance. Yami Gautam has also delivered a par excellence act as a visually impaired woman and than as a rape victim who hangs herself to death. And than both Ronit Roy & Rohit Roy, brothers in real life, are outstanding as villainous nay antagonists. While Narendra Jha as inspector Chaubey is 1st rate. Girish Kulkarni is perfect. Suresh Menon indeed springs a pleasant surprise. Sahidur Rahman deserves a special mention. Akhilendra Mishra is good. And last but not the least Urvashi Rautela catches your sparkles in an item number.

Tail Piece: Kaabil is an intensely emotional film with all the action & entertainment oriented commercial trappings intact.

Movie Review: Raees is really, a not to be missed, entertaining film


Banner: Red Chillies Entertainment & Excel Entertainment
Producers: Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar & Gauri Khan
Director: Rahul Dholakia
Star Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sheeba Chaddha, Master Shubham Chintamani, Master Shubham Tukaram, Atul Kulkarni, Narendra Jha, Jaideep Ahlawat, Uday Tikekar, Pramod Pathak, Utkarsh Mazumdar, Loveleen Mishra, Anil Mange, Raj Arjun, Bhagwan Tiwari, Sunny Leone et al
Music: Ram Sampath

Director Rahul Dholakia’s body of work till this date borders more on realism, and ultimately proves that he is not in the least bit a hardcore commercial filmmaker. But since Raees is the 1st big ticket cinema for Rahul he emerges victorious to a certain extent by combining both the elements namely realism as well as commercialism.

The scripted scenario of Raees is set in the 1980’s period. Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) is trying to beat the system and succeed on his terms. His natural flair for entrepreneur ship and never – say – die determination while achieving his goals makes him both loved & feared. Enters Jaideep (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a cop, who vows to eliminate crime…….and Raees’ empire. In fact Raees is the fictitious story of a man named Raees, set in early 1980’s to 1990’s Gujarat, India. The film explores how Raees’ relationships & meteoric rise helped him build an entire empire from scratch, to make him the single most powerful man in the state. Less of a gangster but more of an impresario, Raees gains popularity, a cult following and most importantly the public’s trust by demonstrating entrepreneurial flair, unfettered determination to achieving his goals & ironically a heart of gold. His layered character traits encapsulate an inimitable blend of personas, making him revered, loved & feared. Always thinking ahead of the curve and using revolutionary ideas of management which were unheard of during his time, but are now doctrines for students, Raees eliminates every opposition that comes his way. However, his downfall takes place while crossing paths with the no – nonsense police officer Majumdar, whose sole reason for existence is the elimination of crime. What ensues next is a tumultuous battle between the 2, which forms a key defining element of the film’s narrative.

Director Rahul Dholakia’s Raees is indeed based on the story inspired by true events & on a real – life character, namely a gangster named Abdul Latif. That apart Rahul Dholakia depicts the power play and the cat & mouse chase between Raees & the honest cop Jaideep. A standing ovation goes to Rahul Dholakia for coming out of his comfort zone as recreating the bygone era is a Herculean task and the toughest part was to involve the present – day audience that’s clueless about the characters and ambiance of that era. And for these a left handed complement once again goes director Rahul Dholakia in tandem with his behind the scenes team comprising of Dholakia and his team of writers which included Harit Mehta, Ashish Vashi & Niraj Shukla, Ram Sampath (music composer in lieu with the background score), K. U. Mohanan (cinematographer) & Deepa Bhatia (editor).

Performance wise it is certainly an SRK film all the way and what a performance he has delivered? Its totally unbelievable and even too good to be true. In fact SRK is the scene stealer as well as the show stealer. Nawazuddin Siddiqui matches SRK step by step and delivers a mind blowing performance. Both, SRK & Nawazuddin’s performances grab your eyeballs and keeps you riveted to the screen. On the other hand Mahira Khan looks gorgeous and handles her part with confidence. But obviously one can’t say to her “Welcome to Bollywood”. Next in line bravura act comes from Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub who really sinks his teeth into a solid role and indeed leaves a lasting impression. Wheras Atul Kulkarni makes his presence felt with a committed act. And last but not the least the other actors like Sheeba Chaddha, Narendra Jha, Jaideep Ahlawat, Utkarsh Mazumdar, Pramod Pathak & Uday Tikekar are picture perfect in their respective role including Sunny Leone who sizzles in the “Laila Main Laila” number. While a special mention must also be made of the 2 child artistes namely Master Shubham Chintamani, Master Shubham Tukaram, who are indeed a suprise packect.

Tail Piece: Raees is tipped to be a sure shot hit. As far as the Box Office turnstiles is concerned, there’s no stopping Raees, an outright winner. Just don’t miss it.

SC allows Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, asks state govt to maintain law and order


New Delhi: In a major boost for those backing bull taming sport in the state, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the recent amendment in the Act made by Tamil Nadu to allow Jallikattu.

At the same time, it also allowed Centre to withdraw January 7, 2016 notification on Jallikattu.

Further, the apex court has permitted animal rights bodies, individuals to amend their pending petitions to challenge the new legislation.

However, it sent out a stern message to the state government and asked them to maintain law and order in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, bowing to demands from Opposition parties and others, Tamil Nadu government today announced a Commission of Inquiry to go into the circumstances leading to the violence during the recent pro-Jallikattu stir at the Marina and elsewhere and the alleged police excesses.

In a suo motu statement in the Assembly, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said the commission would be headed by a retired high court judge and complete the probe in three months.

He also announced withdrawal of cases against students, who had spearheaded the week-long protests earlier this month at Marina Beach here and elsewhere across the state, demanding lifting of the ban on the bull taming sport.

The protest had turned violent on January 23 when police dispersed the agitators, two days after the state promulgated and ordinance for allowing the sport.

“In continuation of protests seeking nod for bull taming sport Jallikattu, law and order problems happened in Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore on Jan 23 and other areas and a Commission of Inquiry will be set up to enquire into the reasons and circumstances for it,” Panneerselvam said.

Spelling out the terms of reference, he said the Commission will probe if the police had used appropriate force over the protesters, and if it was proportionate to the circumstances, and the damage to public and private properties.

“It will enquire if there had been excesses in police action and if it had been so, the Commission will advise on the action to be taken,” he said adding recommendations will also be made to avert such situations in the future.

The Commission will conclude its inquiry in three months and submit its report to the government.

Noting that the police cyber crime wing was looking into alleged involvement of some police personnel in illegal activities like torching incidents, he said, “At the conclusion of such probe, if the was confirmed that such police personnel indulged in such activities, stern action will be taken.”

He also announced withdrawal of cases filed against 36 students, “considering their future”.

“Legal steps will be taken immediately to fully ease out students from the cases,” he added.

Opposition parties, including the DMK, have slammed the police for lathicharging the protesters and also sought a probe into alleged police excesses.

The matter has also been taken to the Madras High Court where PILs have been filed seeking a probe, with the former issuing notice to the government for its reply.

Panneerselvam said work on setting up a temporary fish market at Nadukuppam here, hit by the violence, will be completed in one or two days.

A permanent, modern and hygiene fish market will be set up at a cost of Rs 70 lakh.


E Ahamed suffers heart attack, collapses in Parliament; critical

E Ahamed

New Delhi: Former Union Minister of State (Mos) for External Affairs and Member of Parliament E Ahamed suffered a heart attack in Parliament on Tuesday.

Ahamed collapsed in parliament soon after the budget session began. His condition is said to be critical.

He was taken to hospital from Parliament during President’s address.

He had served as Junior Foreign Minister in Dr Manmohan Singh’s government.

Ahamed, who represents Malappuram constituency in Kerala, was immediately taken out after he fell unconscious.

The 78-year-old leader has been admitted in the ICU of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in critical condition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inquired about the health of Ahamed.


BJP MLA Suresh Rana Booked For Hate Speech

Suresh Rana

Muzaffarnagar: The Uttar Pradesh police on Monday registered an FIR against controversial BJP MLA Suresh Rana for violation of the Model Code of Conduct ahead of upcoming Assembly elections.

Rana was booked on charges of inciting hatred after he said that curfew will be imposed in Kairana, Deoband and Moradabad if he is elected again next month.

Rana, an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots and the party candidate from Thana Bhawan seat in neighbouring Shamli district, had made the remarks at a gathering in his constituency on Saturday, evoking criticism from opposition.

“If I emerge as the winner (in UP polls), curfew will be imposed in Kairana, Deoband and Moradabad,” he said.

A case was registered against Rana under IPC Section 505 (Making a statement with intent to incite) and Section 125 (Promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of The Representation of the People Act for his controversial remarks, Thana Bhawan circle officer Sunil Kumar Tyagi said.

The officer said that it was found that the MLA’s statement violated the model code of conduct for elections.

Rana on Monday tried to do some damage control claiming that his remarks were meant for goons who have spread terror in the state.

“What I meant was many people have planned to leave western UP fearing the terror spread by goons and robbers.

There is no city in that region where people have not planned to move out due to the fear of these goons,” Rana said.

Curfew Will be Imposed in Kairana, Deoband and Moradabad if I win, Says BJP MLA Suresh Rana

“…when BJP forms government in UP, these goons who are part of the mafia, whose actions are feared and who forced residents to flee will have to leave the state. The residents of UP won’t leave due to fear. The goons will have to leave the state,” he added.

Kairana made headlines last year after BJP MP Hukum Singh alleged that there was exodus of Hindus and released a list of more than 300 Hindu families who had reportedly fled the town following repeated extortion threats and violent attacks.

Singh had alleged that the ruling Samajwadi Party was preventing action against anti-social elements responsible for the exodus since they happened to be its supporters.

Hitting out at Rana, SP leader Juhi Singh said, “What does he want to do by imposing a curfew, he does not seem educated even to know when a curfew is imposed”.

“One list was brought out by Hukum Singh, which was wrong. They are just telling wrong things to people so that they don’t ask them the important questions like what schemes have you brought for Kairana, for UP,” she said.

BJP leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi sought to distance from the MLA’s remarks saying “the party is not responsible if a candidate says something”.

“Modi ji and Amit Shah are saying that such statements should not be made. I don’t know in what context he (Rana) has said it but I understand that our party is contesting the UP elections on the development plank,” Joshi said.

Rana has also been booked for allegedly violating the model code of conduct after he held a public gathering and took out a road show at Hathi Karonda village in his constituency in Shamli district on Sunday without the permission of the authorities, police said.


Myanmar: Top Muslim lawyer shot dead at Yangon airport

Ko Ni, legal adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, was shot as he got into a taxi by an unknown assassin.

There were no reports on possible motives behind the murder of Ko Ni [EPA]

There were no reports on possible motives behind the murder of Ko Ni [EPA]

by Al Jazeera

A legal adviser for Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party has been shot dead outside Yangon’s international airport, in what appeared to be a rare outbreak of political violence in the commercial capital.

Police arrested a lone gunman, but a motive was unknown in the killing of 65-year-old Ko Ni on Sunday, a prominent member of Myanmar’s Muslim minority.

A taxi driver who tried to stop the gunman was also killed, according to Zaw Htay, spokesman for President Htin Kyaw.

“We have detained and are questioning the gunman to find out why he killed him, and who is behind it or paid him to do it,” Zaw Htay told Reuters.

A police official told Reuters the suspect was a 53-year-old Myanmar citizen from the central city of Mandalay.

Mourners gathered in front of the home of Ko Ni on Monday.

“This is a crime and I request you find justice,” senior party member Tin Oo told media, saying Ko Ni’s death was a loss for the whole country.

The apparent assassination comes amid heightened tensions in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where leader Aung San Aung San Suu Kyi is under pressure over a heavy-handed security operation in an area of the country’s northwest that is populated mostly by Muslims.

‘Talking to his grandson’

Ko Ni had just embraced his young grandson as he stepped out of the airport terminal on his return from Jakarta, said the lawyer’s daughter Yin Nwe Khine.

“My father was talking to his grandson. Then, I heard a gunshot. At first, I thought it was a car tyre blowing out, then I saw my father lying on the ground,” she said.

Ko Ni, an expert in constitutional law, had spoken out about the powerful role the military retains in governing Myanmar, despite handing over power to Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian administration in April.

“My father was often threatened and we were warned to be careful, but my father didn’t accept that easily. He always did what he thought was right,” said Yin Nwe Khine.

“A lot of people hate us because we have different religious beliefs, so I think that might be why it happened to him, but I don’t know the reason.”

Ko Ni had joined Minister for Information Pe Myint on the visit to Muslim-majority Indonesia, billed as an opportunity to share experiences of national reconciliation.

The delegation included several Myanmar Muslim leaders, some belonging to the mostly stateless Rohingya minority.

Yanghee Lee, the UN’s special rapporteur for Myanmar, voiced her outrage over Ko Ni’s killing, saying she had met him on her last trip to the country earlier this month, which included a visit to Rakhine.

“My deepest and most sincere condolences to the family of U Ko Ni the most prominent and respected Muslim lawyer of Myanmar,” she tweeted, calling on Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to “get to the bottom” of his death.

Quitting Congress is closed chapter, says SM Krishna

SM Krishna

Bengaluru: Refusing to budge, former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna today said quitting the Congress was a “closed chapter” even as top leaders of the party tried in vain to win him back into the fold.

Seeking to cash in on the development that stunned the Congress, the BJP too is making attempts to reach out to Krishna, stating that the party will benefit if the octogenarian decides to join it.

“…it is a closed chapter,” Krishna told reporters here when questioned about the attempts by the Congress high-command to persuade him to reverse his decision.

On his reported telephonic conversation with Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on an invite for talks with her, Krishna said, “I can speak to Sonia Gandhi anytime. My cordial relationship with her will continue.”

Taking potshots at the Congress leadership a day after his exit from the party, Krishna had yesterday said it did not need “mass leaders” but only wanted “managers” as he complained of being sidelined due to his age.

“With pain and anguish, I have decided to quit Congress,” he had stated, adding that “self-respect” was important for him, but declined to spell out the next step saying he would have to think about it.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today requested Krishna to withdraw his resignation in the interest of the party and the state.

He said, “SM Krishna has been in the Congress for a long time, about 45-46 years. He has held various positions including that of the chief minister, Central minister, party president, Governor and Assembly Speaker. He is a respected politician.

“My appeal is that he should not leave the Congress at this stage. He should withdraw his resignation in the interest of the party and the state.”

Sources say several disgruntled Congress leaders are contemplating to raise a banner of revolt against Siddaramaiah and the party’s leadership following Krishna’s resignation.

Dissidence had been simmering within the party following the chief minister’s decision to sack 14 ministers and induct 13 members into his council of ministers in June, 2016.

Another party veteran and former Karnataka Congress chief Janardhana Poojary, describing Krishna’s resignation as “a big blow and loss” to the party, lashed out at Siddaramaiah for his “arrogance”.

Meanwhile, Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said he would meet Krishna soon and invite him to the party.

He said, “SM Krishna is a senior political veteran; he has resigned from Congress’ primary membership. I wanted to meet him today, but he is going to Mandya. I will try to meet him.”

Stating that Krishna had made it clear that he was not retiring from politics, Yeddyurappa said, “It is our natural wish that he should come along with us. Let us see, what he will decide…I am ready to welcome him to the party. If he comes, it will add more strength to us,” he added.

Not wishing to comment on Yeddyurappa’s wish to meet him, Krishna said he was travelling to his native Maddur in Mandya district.


Current Accounts curbs go, ATMs to follow


New Delhi: The RBI on Monday ended all curbs on withdrawals from Current Accounts, Cash Credit Accounts and Overdraft Accounts with immediate effect.

A Reserve Bank of India notification said limits on ATM withdrawals will also go from Wednesday.

But the curbs on Savings Bank accounts across the counter will remain.

The limits were placed following the November 8 demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.


Infosys techie from Kerala murdered; Security guard nabbed

Infosys OP Rasila

Pune: A 26-year-old security guard has been apprehended in connection with the murder of a 23-year-old woman IT professional from Infosys, who was found dead last night in a conference room of the company in Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park at Hinjawadi here, police said today.

“On the basis of the CCTV footage from the company premises and other clues, we zeroed down on a security guard from Assam, who after the incident, fled and now has been held in Mumbai,” said Arun Waikar, the senior police inspector with Hinjawadi Police Station.

The suspect has been identified as Bhabhen Saikia, who was deployed as a guard at the Infosys unit, and is being brought to Pune, he said.

OP Rasila from Kerala, who was working as a system engineer with Infosys was found dead after she was allegedly strangulated with the help of a computer cord and was hit hard on the face, police said.

According to police, the incident might have taken place at around 5 PM, but police received the call around 8 PM last night.

ACP Vaishali Jadhav-Mane had told PTI last night that the techie was working in the conference room on the ninth floor of Infosys’s Phase-II campus whereas her two team mates were online from Bangalore.

“Her manager was trying to call her, but there was no response. He then called and asked a security guard to go and check, and when the security guard went to see her, the woman was found lying on the floor in an unconscious state in the conference room,” the officer had said.

An offence has been registered under the section of 302 (murder) and further investigation is on, said police adding the process of post mortem is underway.