Washington: International students in the US have crossed the one-million mark, an increase of 7% over the previous year, and one in every six of them is an Indian. The rate of growth of Indian students - for the third straight year - at almost 25% in 2015-16 is the highest among the top 25 places of origin for scholars in America. In all, 170,000 students from India are studying in the US, making up 16% of the total international students. A majority of them study at the graduate level. In 2015-16, the breakdown was: 11.6% undergraduate; 61.4% graduate; 1.5% others; 25.5% OPT (Optional Practical Training). Last year, these students contributed $5 billion to the American economy. In absolute numbers, China remains the largest sender of international students to the US, with a 31.5% share in all international enrolment. Students from the top three senders - China, India, and Saudi Arabia - now represent approximately 53% of all international student enrolment. In all, 10,43,839 foreign candidates, representing 5% of the US' total higher education student population, contribute nearly $36 billion to the US economy, says the department of commerce.
Citing India as example, Pakistan senator calls for demonetization
ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani Opposition party lawmaker has submitted resolution in the Senate appealing to withdraw 1000 and 5000 rupee notes from circulation in the country to deal with corruption. Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's example, Senator Osman Saifullah Khan of the Pakistan Peoples Party submitted the resolution that read, "The house urges the government to take steps to withdraw from circulation as legal tender the high denomination Rs 5000 and 1000 notes so as to reduce illicit money flows, encourage the use of bank accounts, and reduce the size of undocumented economy." Speaking at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Khan said this is the only way people will compelled to use banking channels. However, Committee Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwalla underlined the need for taking the views of all stakeholders. Khan cited India as an example, and added that the world over such notes were being discouraged.
52 killed in IS bombing of Pak shrine
KARACHI: A remote Sufi shrine in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province was attacked by a suicide bombing claimed by Islamic State, with doctors and rescuers estimating the death toll to touch 52. The third major terrorist attack in the province in a little over three months, the attack occurred when as many as 600 worshippers were at Dargah Shah Noorani in Khuzdar district's Hub area, frequented by Iranian nationals. Security forces have established a cordon around the site of the blast and were scrambling to carry out emergency services. Additional reinforcements and 45 army ambulances were also dispatched to the scene, with support from Sindh Rangers, reports said. The army's media wing added that the helicopter evacuation of the injured will soon be attempted as there is no airstrip nearby to land larger aircraft.
Afghan parliament sacks three Ministers
KABUL: Afghanistan Parliament has sacked their Minister of Foreign Affairs and two of his cabinet colleagues citing poor performance. Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Public Works Minister Mahmood Baligh and Social Services Minister Nasreen Oryakhel, all failed to win confidence votes in the parliament and were declared to have been dismissed by the Speaker. All three were sent off for their lack of performance and failure to spend all allocated budgetary funds on time, in accordance with provisions in the Afghan Constitution which gives parliament the power to sack Ministers. Fourteen other Ministers are due to face similar confidence votes. At a time when the Taliban insurgency is threatening security across Afghanistan, the move creates further confusion for the national unity government which has been trapped in infighting ever since it was set up in 2014.
Bangladesh arrests killer of secular blogger
DHAKA: A prime suspect in the brutal murders of a secular blogger and a publisher in Bangladesh, Khairul Islam alias Fahim, leader of intelligence wing of the outlawed Ansar al-Islam, has been arrested from the national capital. Khairul, 24, was arrested from Kamlapur Rail Station area in Dhaka as informed by Masudur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner of the Detective Branch of Police. He is believed to be involved in the murders of Jagriti Prakashani published Faisal Arefin Dipan and secular activist Niladri Chatterjee Niloy. Joint Commissioner Detective Branch of Police Abdul Baten said Khairul admitted his involvement in the killings during primary interrogation. Baten said that the leader had joined the group in 2013 and met its senior leader Sayed Ziaul Haque next year. He began collecting information about the deceased and provided it to the outfit's Askari section to carry out the killings. "Seeing CCTV footage, Khairul has identified four people involved in blogger and secular writer Avijit's killing and we are analysing the information," Baten said.
Taiwan set to legalize same-sex marriages, a first in Asia
TAIPEI: Lawmakers in Taiwan are currently working on three bills in support of marriage equality, one of which is already listed for review and could be passed within months. Taiwan's first female head of state, President Tsai Ing-wen, has also given prominent support to same-sex marriage. Gay and lesbian relationships found wide acceptance in the 1990s as said by Jens Damm, associate professor in the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Studies at Chang Jung University. She added that the elite became in favour of a kind of gender equality, however, same-sex marriage still had to overcome traditional perceptions of gender roles and the strong pressure on children to marry and have kids. A notable exception among Asian and Middle Eastern countries, where at least 20 countries continue to ban same-sex intercourse.
6 killed in Taliban attack on German consulate
Mazar-i-Sharif (Afghanistan): The death toll from a Taliban truck bombing at the German consulate in Afghanistan's Mazar-i-Sharif city rose to six, with more than 100 others wounded in a major militant assault. The Taliban said the bombing, which tore a massive crater in the road and overturned cars, was a “revenge attack” for US air strikes this month in the volatile province of Kunduz that left 32 civilians dead. The explosion, followed by sporadic gunfire, reverberated across the usually tranquil northern city, shearing off the facades of nearby buildings and blowing out windows several miles away. The city's hospitals received bodies of six civilians, including two killed by bullets. At least 128 others were wounded, some of them critically.
Now, no non-Islamic holidays in Saudi schools
Riyadh,: Saudi Education Ministry has warned international schools from marking non-Islamic occasions, such as Christmas and New Year, the media reported. The ban includes forbidding those schools from providing holidays on such occasions or changing the dates of exams to suit them, Xinhua news agency reported. The ministry directed all schools to stick to the academic calendars for exams and holidays. The ministry warned of legal steps against violated schools that could reach to termination of the license. Saudi Arabia is a Sunni-conservative state that follows Islamic rules in all walks of life.
China's first woman pilot killed in accident
BEIJING: China's first woman pilot of a J-10 fighter jet has died in a flying accident, an official media report said. Yu Xu, 30, who was born in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, was a member of the August 1 aerobatics team of the People's Liberation Army Air Force. She was one of few female pilots who could fly domestically-made fighter jets, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported, citing a report by Sichuan Communist Youth League. Yu's plane plunged to the ground after an unspecified accident, and she was unable to eject in time. The incident occurred in Hebei province, the day after China's air force day. Reports said Yu was flying with a male pilot, who was able to eject but was injured. Yu applied to become a pilot in the air force in 2005 and four years later, became one of China's first 16 female pilots of fighter jets, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.
Muslim teacher told to hang herself with headscarf in US
Washington: A 24-year-old Muslim school teacher in the US was told to hang herself with her headscarf in a handwritten anonymous note which said the scarf “isn’t allowed any more.” Mairah Teli, a teacher at Dacula High School in Gwinnett County, located outside Atlanta in Georgia, posted a picture of the note on her Facebook page last week. “Mrs Teli, your head scarf isn’t allowed any more. Why don’t you tie it around your neck and hang yourself with it,” the note scribbled in black ink said, signed “America!”, the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “As a Muslim, I wear a headscarf as a practice of my faith. I want to share this to raise awareness about the reality and climate of our community. Spreading hate isn’t going to “make America great again,” she wrote on her Facebook page. Sloan Roach, a spokeswoman for the Gwinnett County Schools, said in a statement that school officials are working to find out who wrote the note.
Russian minister detained over alleged $2 million bribe
MOSCOW: A long-serving Russian minister has been detained over an alleged $2 million bribe in an investigation of the most senior government official to face charges in years, investigators said. Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained after he allegedly received a $2 million bribe in a sting set by the FSB, the KGB's main successor agency, the Investigative Committee said in a statement. The investigators said Ulyukayev took the bribe for giving the green light to state-controlled oil giant Rosneft to take part in bidding for another oil company. Ulyukayev, who held the post since 2013 and worked in the government since 2000, is a known liberal figure who has spoken against an increasing government presence in the Russian economy. He has opposed Rosneft's bidding for Bashneft, saying it was wrong for a state-owned company to take part in the privatization drive. President Vladimir Putin had defended the deal, saying that because Rosneft has minority foreign investors, the sale was not simply a transfer of assets from one part of the state to another.