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NRI Corner 3
<b>Indian among two charged in NY with trying to aid Hezbollah</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Two men, including an Indian, were on Tuesday charged in New York with attempting to provide weapons to the Lebanese Hezbollah organisation, designated by Washington as a terrorist group.

They had already supplied a pistol, a pick-up truck and a box of ammunition to the FBI agent, whom they thought to be a Hezbollah member, the prosecutors say. <b>Patrick Nayyar, 45, an Indian citizen living illegally in the United States</b>, and Conrad Mulholland, 43, were charged by federal prosecutors with agreeing to supply an FBI undercover agent with guns, ammunition, vehicles,  bulletproof vests and night vision goggles.

Mulholland remains at large, the prosecutor's office said.

They had already supplied a pistol, a pick-up truck and a box of ammunition to the FBI agent, whom they thought to be a Hezbollah member, the prosecutors say.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Kerala Christians are helping Hezbollah, interesting.
<b>The new lobbyists vying for US attention</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Oct 27 2009, 07:49 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Oct 27 2009, 07:49 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indian among two charged in NY with trying to aid Hezbollah</b><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Two men, including an Indian, were on Tuesday charged in New York with attempting to provide weapons to the Lebanese Hezbollah organisation, designated by Washington as a terrorist group.

They had already supplied a pistol, a pick-up truck and a box of ammunition to the FBI agent, whom they thought to be a Hezbollah member, the prosecutors say. <b>Patrick Nayyar, 45, an Indian citizen living illegally in the United States</b>, and Conrad Mulholland, 43, were charged by federal prosecutors with agreeing to supply an FBI undercover agent with guns, ammunition, vehicles,  bulletproof vests and night vision goggles.

Mulholland remains at large, the prosecutor's office said.

They had already supplied a pistol, a pick-up truck and a box of ammunition to the FBI agent, whom they thought to be a Hezbollah member, the prosecutors say.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Kerala Christians are helping Hezbollah, interesting.

Mudy, That type of spelling is Punjabi like O.P. Nayyar and not Kerala. And in end he might turn up to be Pakjabi!
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Oct 29 2009, 09:51 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Oct 29 2009, 09:51 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The new lobbyists vying for US attention</b>

This is BS. The good prof is pulling wool over the starry eyes of Indian American eyes. Those conditons enhance the Adminstration's control over the k-L bill and provide a palsuible exit clause. The Admin cant sell the bill to India, if it had persisted with the same old policy of shoving money down TSP ignoring India interests. So only those conditions that enhance the Admin's stand were allowed and not because of Ind-Am lobby.

I have told many Ind-Am political types to go after mainstream issues and not get bogged down in the India US dynamic which is hostage to US-TSP and PRC ties if they want to further Ind-Am causes in US.
<b>Beware The Reverse Brain Drain To India And China</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I spent Columbus Day in Sunnyvale, fittingly, meeting with a roomful of new arrivals. Well, relatively new. They were Indians living in Silicon Valley. The event was organized by the Think India Foundation, a think-tank that seeks to solve problems which Indians face. When introducing the topic of skilled immigration, the discussion moderator, Sand Hill Group founder M.R. Rangaswami asked the obvious question.<b> How many planned to return to India? I was shocked to see more than three-quarters of the audience raise their hands</b>.
[url="http://www.hindustantimes.com/Tharoor-tweets-against-Govt-s-new-visa-rule/H1-Article1-491199.aspx"]Tharoor tweets against Govt’s new visa rule[/url]

I thought this jerk works for MEA.
Do rules rule?

By: Capt(Retd) M Kumar | Monday , 28 Dec '09 19:34:51 PM Reply | Forward

Whether visa rules will help to apprehend culprits or not but for sure, these will repulse law abiding foreigners. If u read criticism raised by Shashi thru this angle, u may feel that he is not too wrong as Krishna and some critiques are making it out to be.

Jai Hind!

my comments as published in Indian Express

<img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' /> New Delhi, January 8

Hailing the ‘great contribution’ made by the Indian diaspora in changing India’s image abroad, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced that his government was taking steps to see that overseas Indians were able to cast ballots in the next Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2014.

“I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India. We are working on this issue and I sincerely hope that they will get a chance to vote by the time of the next regular general elections,’’ he said formally inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at the Vigyan Bhavan here.

“So far, the draft of the bill in the Rajya Sabha says that you will have to come back to India to cast your vote. Unless that draft is changed, it won’t be a real gift for the pravasis,” Tharoor said.

He indicated that it was too early to celebrate because most NRIs would not be able to travel back to the country to vote.

Even as he congratulated the government for piloting the bill, Tharoor said in a lighter vein that he had mooted the same idea far before the Prime Minister.

“In the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2003, I had proposed this as a pravasi and had been unanimously shouted down,” he said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/NRI-voting...95739.aspx <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Big Grin' />
Quote:Exclusive Interview with a US Hindu soldier at the warfront in Afghanistan

Hindu Voice UK, 24 January 2010

Namaste Vignesh and welcome to Hindu Voice. Vignesh, what made you join the US army? Usually Hindu children are encouraged to take up careers like Medicine, IT, Accountancy and Law.

I had always wanted to be a soldier. Even as a young child, I was fascinated by all things military, so naturally I followed up on my aspirations as an adult. I prefer to work in a field that I like, not just something I can make money in, which is why I didn't get into Medicine, Law or Engineering.

Were you born in the US?

I was born in India. Tamil Nadu to be specific. We moved to the US when I was around 10 years old.

What was the training like?

Initial training, which is known as basic training was hard for me. Just coming from a civilian background and adjusting to a military lifestyle is a hard thing to do. Physically and mentally, it was very stressful in the beginning. But I kept my focus and trained the extra mile to achieve a high standard of training. Meditation and some yoga techniques helped to keep me in focus. But it seems like nothing now, considering all the hardships that I have endured since then.

What was your parent’s reaction?

My parents were hesitant just like anyone's parents would be, joining the army at a time of war, but they never disapproved my decision and supported me 100%, and I really appreciate them for that.

What unit are you in and your position in the army?

I am in the 4th Infantry Division, which is based in Ft. Carson, Colorado and my rank is PFC or Private First Class.

Are there other Hindus in the US army?

There are other Hindus in the army, but I think they could all be counted with just both my hands. Plus most of them are in very civilian like jobs like medics or cooks for example. When I was in basic training one of the sergeant’s in charge told me that I was the only Hindu he ever met during his service in the US Military so I would say Hindus are very underrepresented in the military compared to our presence in the general population.

Has Hinduism played a part in inspiring you?

Yes the Gita inspires me a lot. Every time I get down on morale coming back from a 7 day mission to a combat outpost or just anything in general, I just have to read a few verses and it gives me all the moral and spiritual strength I need to sustain me.

Being a Hindu does it conflict with being involved in war?

I don’t think there is any conflict with being in a war when its your duty to fight as soldier and serve your country. And that’s clearly stated in the Bhagwad Gita. I was given a choice to serve either in Iraq or Afghanistan and I chose the latter because that’s where the action really was and it also gave me an opportunity to visit an ancient part of India from the times of Gandhari of the Mahabharata upto the days of the brave Shahyia dynasty. And later on the Marathas had hoisted the saffron flag at Attock . So With that background in mind I do not feel that I violate any tenets of my dharma by being in this war.

So far have you had any close calls?

Yes quite a few times actually but the worst incident happened soon after I got here. I had just finished using a washroom and came out, less than three minutes later that washroom took a direct mortar hit from the Taliban. I am certain that if I had been there I would have died upon impact so I am thankful to be still alive.

How does it feel to be in Kandahar the ancient Hindu city once known as Gandhara where according to Hindu tradition Gandhari from the Mahabharata was from?

Well part of me feels happy to be here. I was to be sent to Iraq actually but volunteered for Afghanistan when by chance they were asking for volunteers at Ft. Carson which made a few of my buddies think I was crazy because Afghanistan is a lot more dangerous than Iraq. So after all that I am glad to be here in this ancient city but at the same time it’s depressing to see the poverty of this once prosperous city mentioned in the Mahabharata. There are almost no Hindu landmarks left around here or at least none that I came across so far so it’s a bit depressing. It’s like we were never there.

There was a Hindu community there, but they were persecuted under the Taliban and many had to leave. Have you met any Hindus still there?

Sorry to say I haven’t met any Afghan Hindus yet. One of the reasons I volunteered for Afghanistan was to get a shot at the people responsible for persecuting them so it’s a bit disappointing to not have met any of the Afghan Hindus. I did meet a Pakistani man who identified himself as a Kalasha Kafir & gave his address in Pakistan to me; we did not have the time to talk much.

Have you been to any of the Hindu pilgrimage sites in Afghanistan?

Not yet and may not have the chance to because most of these sites seem to be around Kabul like the Asamai mountain & temple whereas I am near Kandahar.

What’s the feeling to be in armed combat with a ruthless and a very dangerous adversary?

It’s very stressful when you are on patrol and you always have to be very alert because the enemy uses guerilla tactics and can strike at any time. The combat capabilities of the Taliban are not very good out in the open which is why they use hit & run tactics and IED’s. The hardest part is the fact that very often you can’t tell them apart from the civilian population which puts both the civilians and the coalition forces in danger.

Have you spoken to the local Afghans and what are they like when they see US Army soldiers especially an Indian one?

I haven’t spoken much with the locals because of the language barrier. I am fluent in Tamil but understand only basic Hindi, some of the locals here know some Urdu because of Bollywood. As for the people themselves, the local kids are always curious about the soldiers which can be dangerous because the Taliban can strike at anytime but I do enjoy interacting with them. The Afghan police & army on the other hand are a different story as many of them always seem to be high on hashish which creates trust issues with the coalition troops.

What would you say to other US Hindus who maybe considering joining the US Army?

I would advise them to start training some of the basic stuff like running & ruck marches on their own before they join because it would make basic training easier. The Army is not for everyone so they would need to think closely before they sign up because you can’t quit when you want like in civilian jobs. I also want to take this opportunity to talk about the racism issue which I see used by Hindus to avoid the army. In my experience so far I didn’t see any overt racism & I think any racism you face will not be much different from what you see in everyday civilian life. So any Hindu who wants to join should keep that in mind when people keep exaggerating about the racism issue.

How is your interaction with your officers and other soldiers and are you like a family?

It’s very good so far and we are very close, almost like family. I think when you face the situations we face on a daily basis where people’s lives depend on our trust & closeness to each other, it’s inevitable that we become like a family.

Do they know you are a Hindu & have they asked anything about Hinduism?

Yes they do know that I am a Hindu and Tamil. I haven’t faced any questions about Hinduism so far but did get to talk about Slumdog Millionaire to some buddies and why I hated that movie as a Hindu. I was expecting questions about the Tamil Tigers actually similar to when Prince Philip asked Hindu priests whether they were Tamil Tigers but thankfully nothing like that so far.

What are your future plans in the US army?

To be honest I haven’t decided anything firmly yet. I may try out for the Special Operations Force (SOF) when I come back from Afghanistan in May just for the challenge even if I don’t make it into the SOF.

<img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' /> [size="4"][color="#0000FF"]HOUSTON: A part of southwest Houston, Texas, home to a large number of South Asians, including Indians, has been officially renamed Mahatma Gandhi district to honour the leader on his 141st birth year.

An ethnic conclave, Hillcroft was renamed this month, fulfilling the seven-year long demand of over 100,000 strong Indian-American population living in the Greater Houston area.

City Mayor Annise Parker announced the change of name along with Consul General of India in Houston, Sanjiv Arora.

[url="http://business.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/jan/25/slide-show-1-h-1b-visa-holders-being-deported-from-port-of-landing.htm"]H-1B visa-holders being deported from port of landing![/url]
Quote:George Joseph in New York

Several Indians who arrived with an H-1B visa at Newark and John F Kennedy airports were deported based on a new rule, immigration attorneys and activists have reported.

The new rule stipulates that those who arrive on a work visa should 'arrive at the place of work'.

The rule could seal the fate of thousands of Indians who have applied for Green Card too.

It could bring an end to consultation, termed by some as 'body-shopping'. Airport deportations have frightened those on work visas and many have canceled their travel plans, too.

"The airport deportations," Morley Nair, an immigration attorney based in Philadelphia, "have sent shockwaves through the H-1B community. H-1B employers, employees and their attorneys alike are flabbergasted by this brazen act of official highhandedness where individuals arriving on H-1B visas were singled out even before their primary immigration inspection, put through sham questioning, forced into making coercive statements, issued expedited removal orders, and sent back."
[url="http://www.telegraphindia.com//1100131/jsp/nation/story_120"]UK student visa halt in north India[/url]
Quote:New Delhi, Jan. 30: Britain has temporarily suspended accepting visa applications from north India, suspecting “abuse” of the system because of an unprecedented spurt in student-visa seekers from that region.

The UK Border Agency, which enforces Britain’s immigration and customs regulations, has instructed its visa-application centres in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Jalandhar to stop accepting applications for student visas from Monday.

The sudden spike in the number of student-visa applications at the three centres led the British high commission to suspect that not all the applicants were genuine students.

The three centres had received about 1,000 student-visa applications from October to December 2007. This number increased to 1,800 in the same period in 2008 and climbed to 13,500 in the corresponding period last year.

“Some applicants are trying to abuse the visa procedure to get entry into the UK for purpose other than studies. We cannot allow this to happen,” Chris Dix, the regional director of the UK Border Agency, said.

Dix said certain education agents in north India were misleading students by telling them they could enter the UK for other purposes by using a student visa.

Sources said the attacks on Indians in Australia could have discouraged Indians from going to that country and prompted them to look towards Britain. Indians, particularly from the northern states, had migrated to Australia in large numbers in the last three years.

Richard Stagg, the UK’s high commissioner to India, said: “Some applicants are attempting to abuse our visa processes and we will not let that happen. This temporary measure is designed to protect genuine students, professional agents and good education providers from anyone who is not currently playing by the rules.”

“The temporary suspension will allow the UK Border Agency to continue to scrutinise applications thoroughly and to manage the visa process efficiently for all our customers in north India,” Dix said. He promised to review the suspension in a month’s time.

Visa application centres in western and southern India will, however, continue their operations as usual.
Quote:H-1B Visa Beef May End Up in Supreme Court

By: Roy Mark


The Programmers Guild and other litigants fighting a 2008 Department of Homeland Security decision to extend from 12 months to 29 months the amount of time mathematics, engineering, science or technology students are allowed to work after graduation under an optional practical training program say it amounts to little more than a back-door attempt to circumvent the H-1B visa cap.

H-1B visa opponents have turned to the Supreme Court in a last-ditch effort to overturn a 2008 Department of Homeland Security decision that the Programmers Guild, the Immigration Reform Law Institute and others claim is a back-door circumvention of the H-1B visa cap.

In a Nov. 13 filing, the coalition asked the Supreme Court to hear the case after a U.S. District Court in New Jersey and the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia both rejected the original lawsuit. The Supreme Court is not obligated to hear the case.

The DHS decision under the former Bush administration extended from 12 months to 29 months the amount of time STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students are allowed to work after graduation under the OPT (Optional Practical Training) program. The IRLI claims the decision allows unlimited numbers of foreign students to work as candidate H-1B workers, directly competing with qualified Americans.

The Court of Appeals held that American STEM workers do not have the standing to challenge the regulation because they are not within the zone of interests of the foreign student visa provision.

The feds plan to increase H-1B-related site inspections. Click here to read more.

In seeking a Supreme Court hearing, the IRLI said the relevant question before the court is "whether American [STEM] workers can challenge changes to U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations which allow aliens in those fields to work in the United States for an extended period of time after graduation as 'foreign students.'"

The IRLI claims immigration law is clear that student visas are for students to come to the United States solely and temporarily for study. The DHS, the IRLI said, "invented its own guest worker program to circumvent the annual H-1B visa cap." The filing also claims the DHS chose to extend the time foreign students could stay in the United States as an "emergency measure to prevent American citizens from weighing in."

Employers can now use the OPT program to train foreign students for two-and-a-half years, rather than invest in our own domestic IT labor force, charged John Miano, an attorney and advocate for programmers working with IRLI. Miano added that these are not jobs that Americans won't do or cannot be trained to do.

Rather, the lawsuit claims, they are desirable computer programming and engineering jobs that are being denied to U.S. workers with the complicity of the federal government
Feds Plan Increased H-1B Site Inspection

Quote:Following nationwide arrests earlier in 2009 involving fraud and abuse in the H-1B visa program, the new director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service promises a substantial increase in site visits to third parties employing H-1B workers.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to beef up its fraud and compliance assessment of the nation's H-1B visa program, including increasing site visits from a little more than [color="#FF0000"]5,000 in 2008 to 25,000 in 2010[/color].

In a Nov. 10 letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas said the agency will use the increased site inspections to determine "whether the location of employment actually exists and if a beneficiary is employed at the location specified, performing the duties as described and paid the salary as identified in the [H-1B] petition."

Grassley's office released Mayorkas' letter Nov. 17.

A favorite of American technology companies, the H-1B program is a temporary work visa program allowing American companies and universities to employ foreign guest workers who have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree in a job category that is considered by USCIS to be a "specialty occupation." The idea is to help companies hire foreign guest workers on a temporary basis when there is not a sufficient qualified American work force to meet those needs.

Grassley, a longtime critic of the H-1B program, had written Mayorkas in September complaining of "substantial fraud and program violations by employers who bring in H-1B visa holders and then outsource them to other work sites."

The Iowa senator's concern over fraud and abuse in the H-1B visa program grew in February when raids conducted by the Department of Justice resulted in 11 arrests across seven states. According to the DOJ, the scheme involved hiring college-educated foreign workers to ostensibly fill high-tech jobs in Iowa when, in fact, the workers were sent to the East and West coasts while being paid the lower prevailing Iowan wage rate.

Those arrests were preceded by a separate incident in late 2008 when four men were charged with producing documents falsely stating that H-1B visa applicants had a job with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when, in fact, according to the charges, they did not. Richard Schwartz, a now former Massachusetts employee, signed the documents and is charged with one count of visa fraud, which brings penalties of up to five years in prison time and a $250,000 fine.

"If employers are hiring visa holders without actual jobs lined up, American workers are losing out," Grassley said in September when he sent his letter to Mayorkas. "Employers must be held accountable, and should be required to submit contracts and itineraries to prove that a job exists. Simply having them attest that they are complying with the law isn't good enough."

In the Iowa arrests, Vision Systems Group and VenturiSoft, both incorporated in New Jersey, allegedly used mail drops in Coon Rapids and Clive, Iowa, as part of the scam.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker said at a Feb. 12 press conference that the indictments were "just the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to U.S. visa fraud. "This is an enforcement effort that points to a significant vulnerability in our visa process, and we're trying to close these loopholes and to take away the incentive to conduct these fraudulent schemes," Whitaker said.

An October 2008 USCIS report found that the H-1B program has more than a 20 percent violation rate. The fraud identified in the report included jobs not being located where employers claimed, H-1B visa holders not being paid the prevailing wage, forged documents, fraudulent degrees and "shell businesses."
[url="http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/UK-Hindu-wins-right-to-open-cremation/articleshow/5558722.cms"]UK Hindu wins right to open cremation[/url]
Quote:NEW DELHI: An elderly man of Indian descent on Wednesday won the right to be cremated on a traditional funeral pyre in Britain, after a ruling by the Court of Appeal in London.

Mr Davender Ghai, who moved to Britain from Kenya in 1958 and is the founder of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society, was refused a permit for an open-air cremation site in Northumberland, northeast England, in 2006, according to AFP.

The 71-year-old lost a challenge to the decision at the high court in London last May, but on Wednesday the Appeal Court said Mr Ghai’s wishes could be accommodated within existing legislation. Mr Ghai welcomed the ruling, although he said his court battle had drained him “physically, mentally and financially.”

“Now if I go tomorrow I will go peacefully, because I know that I will have a good send-off. Everyone should live and die according to their own religion,” he told reporters outside the court.

Britain’s Cremation Act of 1902, which covers the disposal by burning of dead bodies in crematoria, does not cover funeral pyres. The government, named as an interested party in the case, argued during the case that “others in the community would be upset and offended... and would find it abhorrent that human remains were being burned in this way.”

But Mr Ghai’s lawyers argued that denying him the right to an open-air pyre conflicts with human rights legislation which protects, among other rights, the right to freedom of religious belief.

Judge David Neuberger asked Mr Ghai’s lawyer what his client wanted and was told the funeral pyre should be made of wood and be open to the sky, but it could be surrounded by walls and the pyre covered with a roof with an opening.

“It seems to us that Mr Ghai’s religious and personal beliefs as to how his remains should be cremated once he dies can be accommodated within current cremation legislation,” said Neuberger, who led a three-judge panel.

A spokesman for Newcastle City Council, which rejected Mr Ghai’s initial application, said it now wants the home office to clarify guidelines on cremations.

“The Court of Appeal’s judgment, which is of national importance, advised that buildings of open-air design can fall within the definition of crematoria under the terms of the Cremation Act 1902,” it said.
[url="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_ala_university_shooting;_ylt=AjJ2j5bInaZNifhU7.Kgkj.p_aF4;_ylu=X3oDMTNmYWkwc2luBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMjEzL3VzX2FsYV91bml2ZXJzaXR5X3Nob290aW5nBGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDMgRwb3MDMgRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3JpZXMEc2xrAzNkZWFkM2h1cnRpbg--"]3 dead, 3 hurt in Alabama campus shooting[/url]
Quote:University spokesman Ray Garner said the three killed were Gopi K. Podila, the chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, and two other faculty members, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson.

Two others are in critical condition, and a third who was wounded was upgraded to fair condition. The injured were identified as department members Luis Cruz-Vera and Joseph Leahy and staffer Stephanie Monticello. Their specific conditions were not released.
[color="#FF0000"]There is something missing here. How could it happen if it was not preplanned? I don't think anybody can carry gun on campus. On the dead body of 3 colleagues, she will undergo treatment for Paranoid Psychosis as is very clear from her past behavior.[/color][size="4"][/size]
[quote name='Capt M Kumar' date='13 February 2010 - 11:49 AM' timestamp='1266041505' post='104175']

[color="#FF0000"]There is something missing here. How could it happen if it was not preplanned? I don't think anybody can carry gun on campus. On the dead body of 3 colleagues, she will undergo treatment for Paranoid Psychosis as is very clear from her past behavior.[/color][size="4"][/size]


In 1986, she killed her own brother with shot gun. She was suspect in pipe bomb case in 1993. She is fanatic supporter of Obama. Something seriously wrong with her but how she managed to get job?

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