Premium processing of US H-1B visas resumes

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommenced processing H-1B visas five months after it had suspended the services temporarily to manage the rush of new petitions. The premium processing of the H-1B work visas will be in all categories but subject to the limit set by the Congress.

The upper limit set for FY 2018 is 65,000 H-1B visas. In addition, work has also begun on the annual 20,000 petitions to hire employees with a US higher educational degree. This service is only available for the pending request and not new submissions.

USCIS takes 15 days to clear the visa under premium processing. According to the Times of India, “If the 15-calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application,” the USCIS said.

The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows US companies to employ foreign workers possessing theoretical or technical expertise in speciality occupations. The visa is popular among the Indian IT professionals as technology companies use it to hire employees each year.

Sources: NDTV, TOI

Sharif absent at court hearing

Nawaz Sharif, the ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan failed to appear before the court on a hearing of corruption cases against him. According to the TOI, he was in London taking care of his ailing wife hence couldn’t come before the court.

The accountability court is hearing the corruption cases filed against Sharif after the Supreme Court on July 28 and was disqualified in the Panama Papers scandal.

The court had summoned Sharif, his daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hasan and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar for the first hearing on September 19.

Sharif’s political advisor, Asif Kirmani  was present in the court on his behalf.”I informed the court that my leader (Sharif) was in London along with the entire family due to illness of wife,” he said. Sharif’s wife is undergoing cancer treatment in London.

The court accepted the plea and the case was adjourned till September 26. Fresh summons to be issued for Sharif’s family to appear on the next hearing ordered court.

According to the SC, the accountability judge should resolve the case with in six months.

Sources: TOI, Hindu

Iraqi forces attack last IS stronghold along Syria border

As per reports Iraqi forces have launched an operation to recapture the last stronghold of Islamic State in the western desert of the country.

According to the information conveyed by a military source to BBC, soldiers, Anbar provincial police and Sunni Arab tribal fighters, had started advancing on the town of Ana on Tuesday morning after being initially set back by many booby traps.Ana is a Iraqi town located 90km (55 miles) from the Syrian border. It is one of three Iraqi towns in the Euphrates river valley held by IS who still have control over a great part of the neighboring Syrian province of Deir al-Zour. Here too the IS is facing retaliation from the Syrian pro-government forces and a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.

Reportedly, the Iraqi forces had help from US-led coalition air strikes and military advisers on the ground to carry out the attack. Shortly after the commencement of the operation the coalition warplanes succeed in destroying an explosives-packed car driven by a suicide bomber.

Following the completion of this operation, the troops will target Rawa, 12km (7.5 miles) to the north, and then al-Qaim, the last town before the border with Syria.

The Ana attack is the latest of a series of blows suffered by the IS in Iraq recently, with the government declaring that the second city of Mosul had been recaptured in July.

Sources: BBC, Business Standard

Hurricane Maria intesifies into category 5 storm

Hurricane Maria has now been classified as rare category 5 hurricane in Caribbean. It is now moving towards US. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico after devastating Dominica. According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) the center of the storm is ‘potentially catastrophic’ and is located 72km east- southeast of Dominica.

Maria will be the most powerful Hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 85 years. The last time a category 4 swept this territory was in 1932. Only last week it avoided contact with Hurricane Irma that reached a category 5 status. It was considered as the most powerful Atlantic storm ever witnessed. The governor of Puerto Rico has warned and said, “It is time to seek refuge with a family member, friend or head to a shelter”.

The Hurricane is also expected to hit the island of St. Croix, which also escaped from Irima on September 6. According to predictions Maria will be the worst storm to hit St. Croix since 1989.

Hurricane Maria is the 13 th named Atlantic storm of the year, seventh hurricane of this season and fourth major hurricane to be classified as category 3 or higher. This is after Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Jose.

News Source: Indian Express, Reuters 

Image Source: Newsheads

Refugees suspected for London attacks

Two refugees from Iraq and a native of Syria are suspected behind the London subway attack which killed at least 30 people. Ironically both the suspects were fostered by a couple who were once honored for the charitable work by Queen Elizabeth.

One suspect has been named by the local media as Yahyah Farroukh (21). He was arrested late night on Saturday in Hounslow area of west London by undercover police. He worked at Aladdins fried chicken joint for nine months in Hounslow.

Suleman Sarwar, one of the owners of Aladdins fried chicken joint told the Sun, “(Farroukh) never mentioned anything about ISIS. He seemed very westernised. He was into American rap music and wore western clothes like jeans and T-shirts.”

The 18-year-old other suspect was arrested in Dover (departure point for ferries to France). He is suspected to have planting the crude device which went off on the train in the Parsons Green station.

News Source- The New York Post

 

 

Amidst tension with North Korea, USA flies powerful warplanes

The USA military flew advanced bombers and stealth jets over the Korean Peninsula and near Japan in drills with South Korean and Japanese warplanes on Monday, three days after North Korea fired a missile over Japan.

The United States often sends powerful military aircraft in a show of force in times of heightened animosities with North Korea. The North launched its latest missile as it protested against tough new U.N. sanctions over its sixth nuclear test on September 3.

The U.S. warplanes also conducted formation training with Japanese fighter jets over waters near the southern island of Kyushu, according to the Pacific Command. Since Kim Jong-un took power in North Korea in late 2011, his nation has tested weapons at a torrid pace. The country flight-tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. Its nuclear test in September was its most powerful to date.

South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo told lawmakers on Monday that it is “not proper” to reintroduce U.S. nuclear weapons. He previously said the idea should be “deeply considered” by the allies, inflaming already-heated debate on the issue.

Meanwhile, China’s Communist Party newspaper on Monday criticised the United States for demanding that Beijing put more pressure on North Korea to rein in its weapons programs. China accounts for about 90% of North Korea’s trade and sends largely free crude oil shipments to the North.

Terror and politics to join hands in Pakistan

Terror and politics seem to be joining hands in Pakistan as, Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed‘s political party Jammat-ud-Dawah will contest 2018 general elections as a political outfit, according to reports from the party soon after their candidate finished third in a crucial by-poll.

In the previous month, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, a front for the Lashkar-e- Taiba terrorist group that was involved in the heinous 2008 Mumbai attack, announced that it was launching the Milli Muslim League.

Sheikh Yaqoob, a JuD-backed candidate who was humbly defeated by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif‘s wife Kulsoom Nawaz from a parliamentary seat that fell vacant after Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court due to corruption charges. Yaqoob said the new front “will field candidates in every constituency in the country in next year’s election.”

Yaqoob also wanted to contest Sunday’s election from Milli Muslim League, launched just before the NA-120 by-poll, but could not do so as the Election Commission of Pakistan is yet to register it as a political party.

Yaqoob was placed in 2012 on a US Treasury sanctions list of those designated as leaders of international terrorist organizations.

“We have got a very good response in NA-120. It was our first election and people have welcomed us,” said Yaqoob, who contested as an independent candidate.

Sources-

  1. TOI-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hafiz-saeeds-jud-to-contest-2018-general-elections-in-pakistan/articleshow/60732475.cms
  2. INDIA TV- http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/world-will-contest-all-seats-in-2018-general-elections-says-hafiz-saeed-s-jud-as-its-candidate-finishes-third-in-pakistan-bypoll-401999

 

Image Source-

 

  1. FINANCIAL EXPRESS- http://images.financialexpress.com/2017/09/Hafiz-Saeed-l-ani.jpg