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In touch with US, Australia govts on visa issues: India

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New Delhi, Apr 19 : Amid concerns over the US’ changed H1B visa programme, India said today it was in touch with the Trump administration and making “full assessment” of its impact on Indian professionals.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Gopal Baglay said India was also in touch with the Australian government regarding the changes in that country’s work visa programme.

“The government is in touch with the governments of the United States and Australia on these matters and is also making full assessment of impact of these recent changes, in consultation with all stakeholders,” he said.

Baglay also downplayed criticism of the government’s foreign policy vis-a-vis job creation, saying the government has facilitated expansion of workforce through its flagship programmes such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ as also by delivering large technological partnerships and enhanced Foreign Direct Investment.

“Insofar as H1-B visas are concerned, the cap has remained at 65,000 since December 2004 when the H1-B Visa Reform Act of 2004 was enacted by the US Congress,” he said.

Referring to Australia replacing its popular 457 work visa programme with another programme, he said senior Australian officials have conveyed to India that “the impact of the changes will be negligible on Indian workers, most of whom fall in high skill category.”

The MEA spokesperson recalled that the government had agreed with the government of France last year to allow Indian students at Masters level and above to extend their stay in that country for two years.

In a blow to Indian IT industry and professionals, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its “abuse” and ensure that the visas are given to the “most- skilled or highest paid” petitioners.

Acting on his ‘Buy American, Hire American’ pledge, Trump signed the order that calls for an overhaul of the programme at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, headquarters of tool-maker Snap-on Inc yesterday.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had yesterday said his government will abolish a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.

Turnbull said Australia will adopt a new ‘Australians first’ approach to skilled migration.

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Sukma: CRPF personnel killed in Naxal encounter

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Sukma, April 21: A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel lost his life in an encounter with Naxals near Kistaram camp in insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on late Friday.

The gunfight erupted when troops of 212 battalion of CRPF, 208 CoBRA, along with Chhattisgarh police were carrying out a cordon and search operation last night.

The deceased was a native of Madhya Pradesh.

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Raipur: 7-year-old sexually assaulted in school

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Chhattisgarh, April 21: In yet another case of crime against minors, a seven-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at Raipur School.

Speaking to ANI, Victim’s father said “It was her first day to the school on Wednesday. She went to the school and we wanted to meet her at the school, but we weren’t allowed to do so. While changing her clothes after she returned from school, my wife noticed blood on her private parts and she was not wearing undergarments.”

On being asked if she had reported about the incident to the teacher, the minor replied that the teacher was absent on the second day of her school.

Meanwhile, the police said that they were investigating the matter and were examining CCTV footages of the school. An FIR was lodged for the same.

The president of Child Right Commission, Prabha Dubey, said “I have spoken to the girl personally. She is saying that a ‘bhaiya’ had allegedly molested her. We asked the peon of the school about the undergarment, to which she replied that she had thrown away the undergarment since the girl had urinated on it. I will constitute a team to investigate the matter.”

In the wake of recent Unnao, Surat Kathua rape cases, Indian social media has been abuzz with the words – “rape horror”.

Massive countrywide protests are being held demanding death penalty for those accused of raping minors.

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Accused in fake facebook post on Manohar Parrikar’s health, gets bail

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Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar (File Photo)

Panaji, April 20: A city Judicial Magistrate First Class(JMFC) court on Friday granted bail to Kenneth Silveira, who was arrested by Crime Branch of Goa for posting fake information about Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s “death” on Facebook.

He was released on a personal bond of ₹10,000, reported The Hindu.

In a related development, members of civil society staged a protest outside the Goa Police headquarters here on Friday morning condemning the arrest.

Kenneth, 35, was arrested by the Crime Branch on Wednesday, a day after he put up the post on social media, on a complaint by a BJP office-bearer.

Parrikar is undergoing treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer in the US.

On Friday, a few dozen protesters rallied at the police headquarters and accused police of trying to “muzzle” free speech.

The Opposition has also criticised the police for the arrest of Silveira, who contested the 2017 by-poll in Panaji but lost to Parrikar.

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