NRI Top Stories ( Page 1 of 29 )

List View Grid View

Why is a Giant Lord Ram Deity Appearing on Times Square and Why is it Controversial? August 06, 2020 19:51

The bitter battle among Indian Americans, Hindus and Muslims erupted after the portrayal of Lord Ram and the Ram Temple on Times Square. Times Square is usually a pretty busy place with tourists thronging the place. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the place has become deserted and the New York city’s landmark saw complete silence. However, this has not prevented the bitter battle among Indian Americans, Hindus and Muslims in the area. The dispute is over the billboard that has been erected on the Times Square marking the celebration of Ayodhya temple construction in the Northern India, about 8000 miles from the Times Square. The bill boards went up on Wednesday that displayed 3D image of the Hindu god Ram and the temple. The Babri Masjid issue had run for centuries and the construction of Ram Temple is a victory for the Hindus after all these decades of long wait. But, as the bill board battle demonstrates, the conflict is far from over, both in India and the Indian Diaspora in the US. Indian American Muslims, human right groups and anti-Modi groups have asked the advertisers in the Times Square to not put up the display of the images of the temple or the deity on Wednesday. They have also urged the New York city Mayor Bill de Blasio to step in and stop the advertising. These groups have reportedly seen some success. Branded cities Network, the organization in charge of advertisements at the Nasdaq building told the battling Indian Americans that it would not put up the advertisements of Ram Temple on their bill boards. However, the Ram Temple advertisements are going to run on Disney and Clear Channel outdoors as well. According to reports, these ads cannot be blocked from displaying and the Indian Americans have been late in stopping the ads. All of this issue may be a new thing to the New Yorkers passing on their way across the Times Square and they have no idea about what is going on 8000 miles away from them. But, to Indian Americans, Hindus and Muslims, the issue is what they symbolize and is about their beliefs and emotions. This dispute in the New York city indicates that not just in the minds of Indian Muslims but also the Indian Americans are irked by the construction of the temple in India. However, to the crores of Hindus in India, the laying of foundation stone event that was done on August 5 is auspicious and marks the victory of the Hindu beliefs. Hindus of India say that Ram Rajya has begun in the country. By Gayatri Yellayi

Read More

Trump Bans Hiring of H1B Visa Holders for Federal Contracts August 05, 2020 19:14

Trump signs an executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a simple rule: Hiring Americans Only. United Nations President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order which prohibits American employers from hiring non-Americans and also bans giving priority to H1B workers instead of native people. The order aligns with the rule that federal contracting and hiring practices must be in the interest of American workers. President Trump had said that this move is the first time ever that the US has seen and his motive is simply one thing, Hiring Americans only. The order will majorly change the priorities of the federal government in the US drastically. It would force employers and contractors to hire Americans rather than foreign workers who are in the country on H1B visas. He said that he is finalizing this executive order because he does not want to see Americans being replaced again. H-1B’s must be used for the top and highly paid talent to create American jobs but not as inexpensive labor program to destroy American jobs, according to Trump. The H1-B is a non-immigrant visa that is used to allow companies in the US to hire foreign workers in specialty operations that require technical expertise and theoretical knowledge. As per a report, about 50,000 workers were hired based on the H1-B visa program. The H1-B visa is also popular among the highly skilled Indian IT professionals. The executive order signed by the President Donald Trump states that the head of each agency that enters into contracts shall assess the contractors for any impact of their foreign hiring practices or off shoring practices on the economy till now. It would also assess the efficiency of federal procurement and on the national security and will propose an action if necessary and appropriate. This assessment would improve the economy and the efficiency of federal procurement and also protects the national security of the country, according to the order issued. Notably, a few Republican senators had written to the President Trump to suspend all the new guest work visas for 60 days and some of its categories including the work visas or the H1-B visas at least till the next year or at least till the employment figures return to the normal rate or the pre-COVID rate in the country. The decision to sign the executive order by Trump comes after the request from these senators. According to a survey, more than 33 million American Americans have lost their jobs in the past two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its crisis that caused that economy’s downfall. The White House officials predict that the country’s economy is likely to go negative by 15 to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2020. By Gayatri Yellayi

Read More

No New Foreign Students For Online Classes: Trump July 25, 2020 17:37

Earlier Trump had said that all foreign students whose classes have turned online must depart the country. New international college students or foreign students who are yet to get admission into first year would not be allowed to US this fall, if their courses are already online. The announcement was issued by the President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday. Students from foreign countries who have already enrolled for spring classes and have student visas can remain in the country or come back after vacation even if their university offers digital classes only. President Donald Trump has suspended several kinds of visas for foreigners during coronavirus crisis. The policy change was announced by the Immigration and Customs enforcement. The earlier policy of deportation of foreign students to their own countries was severely criticized and the policy was taken to court by top universities including MIT and Harvard. That policy was seen by Trump to put pressure on educational institutions that were adopting a cautious approach to reopen the institutions. Trump is also eager for schools at all levels to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a sign of return to normality as has his elections scheduled in November. ICE has allowed the foreign students to stay in the country when the classes went online in March. Yet, it has discussed with universities as to what to do with the students as the colleges are again going online as the pandemic still persists. The guidance issued on Friday made it clear that new International students looking to study in America will have to enroll in a college that has at least some in person classes though their veteran peers can take only online classes. ICE had also clarified that new enrollments in the colleges by foreign students would only be permitted in the case the university applied by the student has a mixture of both online and offline courses. They can stay in the country even if the university turns the study mode completely online in the middle of the semester. This new policy is also likely to cause uproar from the universities. International students are often considered by US universities to encourage cultural diversity and also international students pay full tuition fee. However, due to the continued spread of coronavirus in the US, many institutions have opted for complete digital mode of study. We have to wait and see what this decision by Trump government would create in the coming days across Universities. Will it be widely accepted or would it be disagreed by Universities’ authorities? By Gayatri Yellayi

Read More

Dubai Hospital Waives Off 1Crore 52Lakh Bill for Telangana COVID-19 Patient July 17, 2020 14:55

A hospital in Dubai sets an example for humanity by waiving off his COVID treatment bill and was given a free ticket to Telangana and an amount worth Rs. 10,000. Odnala Rajesh is a 42-year old man from Venugumatla village of Jagityal district in Telangana and a resident of Dubai. He was admitted to a hospital in UAE due to some illness on April 23 and was also tested positive for coronavirus. Rajesh has undergone a treatment for 80 days in the hospital and was charged with a bill of 762,555 Dirhams or Rs. 1crore 52lakh. Narasimha, President of Gulf workers protection society in Dubai admitted Rajesh to the hospital heeding to his illness. He visited Rajesh in the hospital regularly during the treatment and brought the matter to the notice of Sumanth Reddy, an Indian Consulate volunteer in Dubai. Sumanth Reddy has allegedly requested Harjeet Singh of Indian Consulate in Dubai to help Rajesh. Responding to the request, Harjeet Singh wrote a letter to the hospital authorities requesting them to waive off the bill of Rajesh on humanitarian grounds. The hospital authorities had responded positively and waived the bill and also discharged the poor worker. Ashok Kotecha, a volunteer of Swaminarayan trust in Dubai provided free flight tickets to patient Rajesh and his aid Dyavara Kankaiah and also paid Rs. 10000 for their expenses. The patient and his escort were sent by Air India flight from Dubai to Hyderabad on July 14. After Rajesh reached the Hyderabad airport, Telanga NRI officer, E. Chittibabu, handed over the patient Rajesh to his family members at his village and advised him to stay in home quarantine for 14 days. By Gayatri Yellayi

Read More

Student from Indian origin gets invited to Apple WWDC-20 after developing social distancing stimulator: June 20, 2020 20:53

A student of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Dave Jha has been invited to one of the biggest tech company Apple’s developers conference also known as WWDC 2020. Dave Jha is of Indian Origin but is from California. Apple’s WWDC 2020 is a Worldwide Developer’s Conference organized by Apple. It is an event where developers can attend sessions and meet with the engineers at Apple. Apple’s WWDC 2020 event is going to be a little different than the others as it will be online because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is the first time ever that the event has gone online. Dave Jha, a student of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, US applied for the prestigious Apple WWDC scholarship. For this scholarship Dave has submitted software which he had developed himself and is very much needed in the current times. He developed a Covid-19 social distancing simulator for this scholarship. The good news is that after the submission of his simulator he got invited to this prestigious event by Apple itself. Dave Jha took to twitter to announce his excitement of being selected for the Swift Student Challenge Award and being invited to the Apple’s WWDC. He also mentioned how this is a dream come true as he has been watching those keynotes since middle school. Dave Jha is a computer science and business student who designed a social distancing simulator keeping in mind how much essential social distancing has become in these current times. He also wants to encourage the young and the old to follow social distancing. The Covid-19 simulator developed by Dave is able to toggle speed, asymptomatic conditions, social distancing, forced distancing and the number of people around us in a fun game mode. Dave Jha has also uploaded a 4 minute demo video where he demonstrates the working of the simulator and all its diverse features like enabling asymptomatic people, forced or social distancing among others. In the simulator people are demonstrated as tiny little dots. In the simulator there is also a game that lets the user of the software control the dot in order to avoid contact with other people in the simulator. Dave has been active in finding solutions in these tough times. He has been working on various projects that will help the people in these times of a pandemic. One of his main projects is also providing the scare surgical equipment’s like the PPE kits or the Personal Protective Equipment kits. This particular project is called the PPE4NYC. This projects aims in providing the PPE kits in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak. He wasable to raise 5000 dollars for his PPE project which was used in providing masks to local police and hospitals. Apart from this, Dave Jha has also been working on various projects. His main focus has always been entrepreneurship. He has also been working on several projects apart from minoring in Entrepreneurship. Apple conducts this WWDC every year. This year it is going to be a little different as it is mainly going to be virtual. It is going to start on the 22nd of June and also it is free for everyone. The expectation from this event include 100 engineering sessions and one on one developer labs that will enable developers to work on a new range of Apple devices. Apple is also expected to announce the information related to an Arm based Chip, IOS/ iPadOS 14, MAC OS 10.16, watch OS 7 and TV OS 14. This is going to be the 31st Worldwide Developers Conference. There is going to be a keynote event that’s set to take place on June 22 at 10:00AM. The event is going to be streamed directly from Apple Park and can be watched on various Apple platforms including the website, app, TV app and even YouTube. The Apple’s WWDC started happening in the year 1987 and since that this is the first time that the event is going to be virtual.By Deepika Agarwal

Read More

Indian American to become ambassador to Ethiopia: President Trump June 16, 2020 18:25

U.S President Donald Trump announced on June 15, 2020 that he intends on nominating an Indian American under his administration as the ambassador to Ethiopia. The most probable option at the moment is Geeta Pasi from New York who would likely be the ambassador if her nomination is cleared. She might become the next Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.Pasi is currently working as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the State Department. She has been working since October 2018. She is also a career Senior Foreign Service officer.She has previously served as “United States Ambassador to Chad from 2016 to 2018 and as United States Ambassador to Djibouti from 2011 to 2014.”Aside from these achievements, Pasi has also worked under the Director of Career Development and Assignments for the State Department. Her services have been used in South Asia including India. She also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 2006 to 2009. As for her degree, she earned her B.A from Duke University in 1984. She later pursued and acquired her Masters from New York University in 1986. Before her contribution to the Foreign Service, Pasi had worked as an Institutional ork.Pasi has acquired a number of accolades for her contribution from the Department of State performance award including the prestigious Matilde W. Sinclaire Language Award. She can also speak multiple languages including French, German, Hindi, Romanian, and Russian.By Somapika Datta

Read More

White House: Consuming Hydroxychloroquine Makes Donald Trump Feel"Absolutely Great" May 29, 2020 12:13

According to a top house official, with a two-week dose ofantimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, US President, Donald Trump is feeling "absolutely great”. He will continue taking a two-week dose if he is doubtful about being exposed to the virus. What is Hydroxychloroquine? It is a vaccine. Since 1946, Hydroxychloroquinesulfate has been used to treat and prevent malaria. In times now, this vaccine is being approved by US Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, childhood arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. Although the FDA hasn’t proved that it can be used for treating Coronavirus, yet it is being identified as a possible treatment for the infection. It is requested to be immediately available by the US Government. In this fight of coronavirus, Trump has called hydroxychloroquine a "game-changer" drug. On Thursday, Kayleigh McEnaney, Press Secretary of the White House asked the US President about how he felt after taking the antimalarial drug and he said, "I went to him just before coming out here and I asked him that. And he said, ''he’s feeling perfect'', he is ''feeling absolutely great'' after taking this regimen. And, he would take it again if he thought that he was exposed” Across the world, many experts didn’t find this vaccine suitable. However, one paper written by Tina HesmanSaey, an author at Sciencenews.org mentions about nearly 200 clinical trials around the world and 28 were healthcare workers, she said. This vaccine is being taken by 3000 healthcare workers at Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan. The Press Secretary says, there’s some really excellent information there about the use of prophylaxis for this. On a question being asked to McEnany, he said that a number of doctors and researchers are supporting hydroxychloroquine. He said that it is not specific to the President, they just talk about what they’ve seen in general. At the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, an infectious disease doctor, Sarah Lofgren said, they are testing hydroxychloroquine there to prevent COVID-19. She adds saying ''When used alone, we’re not seeing major issues. Out of the thousands of patients, we’re not seeing things that some people are concerned about''. She says that doctors need to be prescribing this. On hearing this, McEnanymentioned that it was always important to get a prescription from doctor if one wished to take hydroxychloroquine. Further, he said, “I think that some of the hyperbole around this drug that has been on the market for 65 years - been approved for use in three other maladies and has been approved for off-label use - when there’s a lot of hyperbole about this being unsafe - some of the things I've seen reported out there - are consequences, deterring people from being recruited into actual clinical trials," To this, she said "I have some quotes from a New York epidemiologist and others conducting trials, saying they’re having trouble recruiting people because some of the myths that are out there. So, it's important to note that this drug has been safely used by millions of people for a long time," Early this month, after Trump announced that he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against coronavirus, a number of Indian-American doctors have written to the Trump Campaign about the usefulness of this antimalaria drug in the fight against COVID-19. Some of them said that they were using this drug and it is safe for decades now. American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) president Dr Suresh Reddy said in a recent letter to Al Mason, co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee that this drug had been used by him and his friends. Mason said Trump started to take remarkable steps to respond to the coronavirus crisis. Although Trump repeatedly touted that hydroxychloroquine is a "game changer" cure for the virus, yet the FDA issued an advisory warning that the drug has not been "shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19." As of now, million doses of hydroxychloroquine have been purchased by the Trump Administration and kept in a bulk. On the grounds of humanity, India being the major manufacturers of this drug has sent several millions of doses to the US. By Neha Makhija

Read More

State and Centre in a fued surrounding quarantine for NRIs May 12, 2020 14:27

With one of the biggest repatriation process already underway, it looks like the state and central government of India are not on the same page concerning the quarantine process for the rescued NRIs. The repatriation process has initiated from May 07 and with the disagreement that both these governments have been showcasing, it is likely going to end up causing a dispute with the process.The Kerala government has clearly mentioned that the NRIs returning from outside will mandatorily have to stay in the state-run quarantine facility for 7 days irrespective of their Covid-19 infection status. On the other hand, a standard operating procedure (SOP) that has been released by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs reported that the returnees will have to give an undertaking clarifying that they are willing to undergo the institutional quarantine for a minimum of 2 weeks on their own expenses. They have also been asked to submit the results of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test that they have to undergo. This should be submitted to the Indian missions where they have particularly registered themselves.Rules for the symptomatic casesAccording to the SOP, the symptomatic patients will be immediately transferred to a medical facility and the remaining asymptomatic or the healthy individuals will be kept in quarantine facilities that are going to be arranged by the State government.If the individuals test negative for Covid-19, they will be free to go home otherwise they’ll be shifted to the medical facilities as per the requirements. Even if they are free to go home, the individuals will be under strict guidance of self monitoring for the next 14 days as well.On the contrary, the State Government has issues rules suggesting that the RT-PCR test will be conducted on them in 7 days after their arrival. The ones who test positive for the test will be immediately hospitalised while the individuals who test negative will be allowed to go home.They will be advised with home quarantine for another week as a mode of precaution.The health authorities have reported that the containment program of the State will have to be changed against the backdrop of the decision made by the Union Ministry.The authorities are planning to follow the same protocol for all the returnees from 10 other states which have been classified as the intense disease transmission zones and the ones coming around from the sea ports.“It may take at least 6 to 7 days or more for the virus to show up in the lab test. Around 30% to 40 % of people who test negative within seven days may test positive subsequently,” reported a senior official.It is also likely that a small section of the returnees might take more time to test positive for Covid-19. When questioned about the decisions, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the 7-days quarantine and containment program was decided based on the expert suggestions.By Somapika Dutta

Read More

Coronavirus Kills Two Indian American Doctors Treating Patients In The US May 11, 2020 17:58

Constantly striving to take care of patients suffering with COVID-19 killed two Indian American doctors in New Jersey. Satyender Dev Khanna was 78 years old and he worked as a surgeon. Across New Jersey, in many hospitals, he was the head of surgical departments. Priya Khanna was 43 years old and she had a double certification in internal medicine and nephrology. In the Residents at Union Hospital, she was the Chief and worked with RWJ Barnabas Health. Governor Phil Murphy described their demise as "particularly tough" and honored them for dedicating their lives for others. "Dr. Satyender Dev Khanna and Dr. Priya Khanna were father and daughter. They both dedicated their lives to helping others. This is a family dedicated to health and medicine. Our words cannot amply express our condolences," New Jersey Governor Murphy tweeted on Thursday. "Both dedicated their lives to helping others and we lost both of them to COVID-19." Satyender Dev Khanna worked for 35 years at the Clara Maass Medical Center.  where he had worked for more than 35 years. He was a "pioneering doctor" and one of the first surgeons to perform laparoscopic surgery in the state. His colleagues are recollected memories with him stating that he was a gentle and caring physician. The doctor was passionate about bicycling, and he loved biking along the Jersey Shore. Priya Khanna completed her medical training in New Jersey. With Cooper health system, in South Jersey, she finished her fellowship in nephrology. Even she worked at Clara Maass, where she died. Apart from this, she was even a Medical Director at two dialysis centers in Essex County and "took pride" in teaching the next generation of doctors. The physician who took care of Priya in the ICU was trained and taught by her. "Priya will be remembered as a caring and selfless person who put others first. And even while in the hospital, fighting her own battle, she continued to check up on her mom and dad and her family," Mr Murphy said. The entire family is dedicated to health and medicine. The other family members are Pediatricians. - Neha Makhija

Read More

Relief For NRIs Who Stuck In India- They Won't Lose NRI Status and Don't Need To File Returns May 11, 2020 15:14

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declared that NRIs don't need to file returns. It was ordered by the income tax department to make it an exception for the NRIs who are stuck in India due to lockdown. Indians who are residing abroad are not considered as a resident for tax purposes by the income tax department if they spend less than 120 days. The point to be noted is, many NRIs exceeded the limit of 120 days stay in India as per COVID-19 condition and they may have to extend for a few more days. An official from the financial ministry said that the Finance Minister received many people who are concerned about their stay in India as they need to file returns as Indian citizens. So, the minister addressed the issue of such people and extended their stay to determine their residence status. The Finance Minister confirmed that the Central Board of Direct Taxes would extend the stay of NRIs without any tax returns in India as it is unsure about when the international flight will start. This exception is applicable for the financial year 2020-21. This exception is for both the categories of NRIs who are staying back in the country from an evacuation flight or were already in the country. - Ramya

Read More

India Permits The Foreign Citizens To Travel Back their Country- For OCI and green Card Holders May 07, 2020 15:01

The Government of India passed and started allowing the foreign citizens to travel to their country. The travellers must be holding the OCI or and Green Card. Under the condition of travelers holding a visa of at least one-year duration of that foreign country and in case of medical emergency or death in the family of those Indian nationals holding six-month visas are also permitted to travel- declared by Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)They need to complete the formalities by applying to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA). The application includes the purpose and the particular details. It is mandatory to mention the departure and arrival destinations. Before the ticket book for the travelling, it includes the process where the destination country allows the person’s entry. This is clarified by SOP to MoCA as it is responsible to confirm the entry in the home country.The condition must be fulfilled by the citizens to start and land in the destination country. Confirmed by SOP stating “The conditions, if any, imposed by the destination country, will have to be fulfilled by the persons intending to travel,” the SOP reads.” Along with this confirmation it stated “The travel from India shall be on the non-scheduled commercial flights that are being arranged by MoCA for bringing back stranded Indian nationals from abroad and the cost of travel, as specified by MoCA, will be borne by such travellers.”Before boarding the flight from India, the travelers must undergo the thermal screening as per the health protocol and the health check process is handled by MoCA. The thermal screening results COVID-19 negative, only then the person is allowed to board the flight. While traveling, everyone needs to follow the health protocol that includes wearing the mask, sanitizing hands, and environmental hygiene. Staff, crew and passengers, everyone must strictly follow this health protocol while the flight is on board.By Ramya C

Read More

Indian-American psychiatrist fined over opiod violations May 01, 2020 17:57

An Indian-American psychiatrist was recently fines with $145,000 for prescribing excess dosage of opiod medication, as per the reports from the Justice department. The accused, Prakash Bhatia, who practised pain control medication San Diego area in California was ready to pay the fine following the threat from the Drug Enforcement Agency to begin an investigation into whether or not he prescribed opiods to his patients in an improper way in violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Robert Brewer, the federal prosecutor for Southern California further stated saying, “Overprescribing opioids to patients who need treatment for their pain has contributed to the opioid epidemic in this country.” The US has been facing an epidemic with the drug abuse from the illegal use of the medications that should only be prescribed with a doctor’s prescription and not otherwise. As per the released government statistics, over 15,000 people have died because of drug overdose in 2018. The prosecutors have reported that Bhatia prescribed medications like hydromorphone, morphine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl and oxymorphone to his patients without any legitimate need of the same. He had also prescribed those said medicines along with anti-depressants including benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants which further deteriorate the abuse and cause even worse implications of the condition. By Somapika Dutta

Read More