A US-based software engineer, whose name was listed in the Green Card backlog, died suddenly and as a result, his pregnant wife has been rendered out of status resulting in her inevitable return to India, a report said. Shiva Chalapathi Raju, who was based in North Carolina, died last week. Since the family was in line for Green Card, Raju’s death would mean that his wife, Bobby Sowjanya, has been rendered out of status. Raju had been working with Oracle as a developer client. He had also worked for Wipro and British Petroleum. The Indian Green Card backlog community took to Twitter to raise the issue. Many expressed outrage at Senator Dick Durbin’s opposition to Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act 2019.
Indian-origin IS suspect’s sister stalking journo
The 32-year-old sister of an Indian-origin Islamic State terror group suspect was given a restraining order preventing her from contact with a UK journalist after a court was told that she had become “obsessed” with him. Konika Dhar, the sister of British Muslim convert Siddhartha Dhar who was dubbed “Jihadi Sid” by the UK media after featuring in IS videos, was said to have sent Sunday Times reporter Richard Kerbaj and his ex-girlfriend with inappropriate messages after he interviewed her in 2015.
Demand to sack Pak UN envoy
Women Action Forum (WAF), a women’s rights organisation in Pakistan, has moved the Sindh high court for the removal of the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, terming his re-appointment “illegal, unlawful and liable to be struck down”. Akram had replaced Maleeha Lodhi shortly after PM Imran Khan’s speech at the UNGA. Akram had served on the same post from 2002 to 2008. WAF filed a petition in the court mentioning allegations of domestic abuse against the diplomat. In 2003, US had asked Pakistan to waive Akram’s diplomatic immunity so that he could be prosecuted under US law on assault charges after allegations that he had beaten a woman at his New York residence in December 2002.
Dhaka court grants bail to Muhammad Yunus
A court in Bangladesh's capital granted bail to micro-credit pioneer and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus over the firing of three employees by Grameen Communications, where he is chairman. Acting chairman of the 3rd Labor Court in Dhaka, Zakia Parveen, granted the bail when Yunus appeared before the court. The country's high court had set a Nov 7 deadline last month for him to appear in person. It had asked authorities not to arrest or harass Yunus before the deadline. Court official Wasiur Rahman said the court granted bail of 10,000 takas ($120) in bonds in each of the three cases. Defense lawyer Mustafizur Rahman Khan said Yunus would not be required to appear in person before the court until any indictments are handed down. The labor court had earlier issued an arrest warrant for Yunus after he failed to appear because he was abroad.
Bangladesh opposition stalwart jailed
A Bangladesh opposition leader was jailed in absentia for three years for threatening the prime minister in what his party said was another example of government critics being muzzled. Thousands of opposition activists have been arrested under the rule of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has tightened her grip on power since being re-elected in December. Giasuddin Quader Chowdhury, a vice-chairman of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was found guilty of making statements "conducive to public mischief" and "criminal conspiracy", the court said. The charges arose from a speech he gave at a rally in 2018 when he said Hasina's fate would be "worse" than that of her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Governors of all Nepal provinces sacked
Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has sacked the governors of all seven provinces at the recommendation of the government, his office said. The president relieved the governors from their posts in accordance with the constitutional provisions at the recommendation of the council of ministers, the president’s office said. A cabinet meeting held earlier had recommended to the president to relieve the governors from their posts. The province chiefs were appointed two years ago by then Sher Bahadur Deuba government.
Tourists can now buy liquor in Dubai
Dubai has loosened its liquor laws to allow tourists to purchase alcohol in state-controlled stores, previously only accessible to licence-holding residents, as the UAE saw the first drop in alcohol sales by volume in a decade. The new laws, which also let visitors to skyscraper-studded Dubai obtain liquor permits themselves for the first time, come amid a widening economic downturn affecting this oil-rich nation on the Arabian Peninsula. The new procedure on alcohol permits allows tourists to obtain one for free at either African & Eastern or MMI stores after showing their passports and signing a pledge that they aren’t Muslim and will follow local law. A longtime critic of Dubai’s legal system says the new laws can mislead tourists about Dubai’s still-stringent laws on drinking.
US grounds fleet Chinese-made drones
The US Department of the Interior has grounded its fleet of Chinese-made drones as it conducts a review of the program. Nick Goodwin, an Interior Department spokesman, did not reveal the reason for the decision but it comes amid US security concerns over Chinese electronics. Goodwin said the review had been ordered by Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt. "Until this review is completed, the Secretary has directed that drones manufactured in China or made from Chinese components be grounded," he said. According to sources, the Interior Department has a fleet of 810 drones, almost all built by Chinese companies.
Hong Kong in recession
Hong Kong slid into recession for the first time in a decade in the third quarter, weighed down by increasingly violent anti-government protests and the protracted US-China trade war. Five months of protests have battered the Chinese-ruled city’s retail and tourism sector, and there is no sign of the demonstrations abating. Police tightened security ahead of more potential clashes. The city’s economy shrank 3.2% in July-September from the preceding period, contracting for a second straight quarter and meeting the technical definition of a recession, according to government data. From a year earlier, gross domestic product contracted 2.9%. The readings were the weakest for the Asian financial hub since the global financial crisis in 2008/2009.
Baby without a face born
Portugal has suspended an obstetrician suspected of negligence after a baby was born without a face. The baby, Rodrigo, was born on October 7 without a nose, eyes or part of his skull but the deformities were only discovered during his delivery at a hospital in Setubal, about 40km south of Lisbon. Portugal’s Medical Council unanimously voted to suspend Dr Artur Carvalho from practising for six months. The obstetrician has six other complaints against him, dating back to 2013. Caravalho had followed the pregnancy of Rodrigo’s mother in a clinic where he performed three ultrasounds but didn’t report any oddity. The parents were alerted to a possible anomaly after they requested a further ultrasound test in the sixth month of the pregnancy, but were reassured by the doctor.
ISIS names Al-Baghdadi's successor
Terror group Islamic State (ISIS) has announced the appointment of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi as the new leader of the outfit. Al-Quraishi, which could be a pseudonym, would be succeeding dreaded terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a raid by the special US forces last week. The ISIS statement confirmed the demise of Al-Baghdadi. The group mourned the death of their leader, calling it a setback for the movement to establish the global caliphate. "We mourn you… commander of the faithful,” Abu Hamza al-Quraishi, the spokesperson of the jihadist group, was reported as saying.
Smoking ban in Austrian bars, eateries
A ban on smoking in Austrian bars and restaurants took effect last week, making it one of the last European countries to stub out the habit in indoor public places after years of protracted debate and protests. Parliamentarians approved the ban in July in a bid to rid Austria of its status as the “ashtray of Europe”. Only the far-right Freedom Party opposed the measure. A quarter of the country’s 8.8 million inhabitants smoke, exceeding the European average of 18%, but calls for bans dated back more than a decade.
Malawi court junks wigs & gowns
Malawi’s constitutional court has suspended its requirement that lawyers and judges wear traditional white wigs and black robes in the courtroom as a heatwave sweeps the nation. Temperatures in some parts of the country have hit 45°C last week, the country’s Department of Meteorological Services said. Chikosa Silungwe, a lawyer, said the heat was making the court’s work challenging.
Iraqi protesters attack Iranian consulate
Iraqi security forces shot dead three protesters and wounded 19 during an attack on the Iranian consulate in the Shia holy city of Karbala in Iraq, police officials said. The anti-government protests which have been fuelled by local grievances and mainly directed at political elites have also posed a challenge to Iran. More than 250 people have been killed so far since the protests first erupted last month. Tehran has been a staunch ally of Iraq and closely backs both its Shia-led government. The anti-government protests have often turned violent, with security forces opening fire and protesters torching government buildings and headquarters of Iran-backed militias. The increasingly violent crackdown in Iraq has raised fears of a backlash by Iran and its allies.
Pak cleric mulls ways to oust Imran
Pakistan’s firebrand cleric-cum-politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman convened an all-party conference to discuss the future course of action as the 48-hour deadline he set for PM Imran Khan to resign expired without him stepping down. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader, who is leading a huge protest dubbed as ‘Azadi March’, said the movement to oust the prime minister “will continue to move ahead and will never be on the back foot”. Rehman’s call for the protest has been supported by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Qaumi Watan Party, National Party and Awami National Party. Rehman accuses Khan of bad governance and demands the government follow radical Islamic laws. Khan has ignored the protesters' demands. Rehman's radical religious schools have provided men for both the Afghan Taliban militant group and the anti-government Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Rehman has come under attack by human rights activists who have criticized his fiery speeches as well as his refusal to allow women at his protest march. Even women journalists were barred from the rallies until an outcry forced him to relent. Meanwhile, the Lahore high court has accepted for hearing a petition demanding action against Rehman for “challenging the writ of government, delivering hate, provocative and seditious speeches against the state”, the report said.