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  • GC_Geek
    07-08 06:30 PM
    I havent read the thread entirely, but a friend of mine came across similar issue as your husband's previous GC denail.. my friend handled it with FMLA as my friend was away from his job for a long period for his father cancer treatment in India.
    I am just throwing this idea, you may want to mention this with your lawyer.

    also if you want to know more about this FMLA thingy.. Pl PM me.
    BTW, I wish you all the best in this critical time, my prayers are with your family...

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  • Macaca
    12-21 10:53 AM
    Bush boxed in his congressional foes (,1,2311328.story) Democrats took the Hill but were stymied by a steadfast president By Janet Hook | LA Times, Dec 21, 2007

    WASHINGTON � Just over a year ago, a chastened President Bush acknowledged that his party had taken a "thumping" in the congressional elections, and he greeted the new Democratic majority at the weakest point of his presidency.

    But since then, Democrats in Congress have taken a thumping of their own as Bush has curbed their budget demands, blocked a cherished children's health initiative, stalled the drive to withdraw troops from Iraq and stymied all efforts to raise taxes.

    Rather than turn tail for his last two years in the White House, Bush has used every remaining weapon in his depleted arsenal -- the veto, executive orders, the loyalty of Republicans in Congress -- to keep Democrats from getting their way.He has struck a combative pose, dashing hopes that he would be more accommodating in the wake of his party's drubbing in the 2006 midterm voting.

    Bush's own second-term domestic agenda is a shambles: His ambitions to overhaul Social Security and immigration law are dead; plans to update his signature education program have foundered; few other initiatives are waiting in the wings.

    But on a host of foreign and domestic policy issues, backed by a remarkably disciplined Republican Party in the House and Senate, Bush has been able to confound Democrats. It has been a source of great frustration to the party that came to power with sky-high expectations and the belief it had a mandate for change. And it is a vivid reminder of how much clout even a weakened president can have -- especially one as single-minded as Bush.

    "We have custody of Congress, but we don't have control," said Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village). "Bush has shown, time and again, that he's a very stubborn guy. November 2006 didn't change that."

    Many Republicans have been surprised and impressed with Bush's continuing power -- even when he has used it to ends they disagreed with.

    "At the beginning of the year, most of us viewed the president as having less control over the process than ever," said Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.), a moderate who voted against Bush on healthcare, the budget and other issues. "But this year, he realized more goals than in a lot of the years when he had Republicans controlling Congress."

    At a news conference Thursday after Congress adjourned for the year, Bush had kind words for much of Congress' work and did not gloat over his success in keeping Democrats' ambitions in check.

    "What ended up happening was good for the country," he said.

    Democrats blamed this year's congressional gridlock on Bush, but his inflexibility on key issues was just one factor.

    Republican lawmakers showed scant interest in compromise. Democrats were riven by internal divisions. And Bush did little to unite rather than divide the factions on Capitol Hill. He did not much resemble the kind of politician he was as governor of Texas, when he forged a strong relationship with the Democratic lieutenant governor.

    Immediately after the 2006 election, it looked as if Bush might offer Democrats an olive branch and set a more bipartisan tone. He let go controversial Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. He called incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) at home on Christmas. After years of ignoring congressional Democrats, he began inviting them by the dozen to the White House to hear them out.

    But the honeymoon did not last long. Democrats were furious when, after an election they believed was a mandate to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, Bush in January announced a buildup. A few weeks later, he went around Congress and issued an executive order giving the White House greater control over the rules and policies issued by regulatory agencies. White House meetings with Democrats turned partisan -- and then petered out. Bush repeatedly reached for the bluntest of presidential tools -- the veto.

    His first veto this year nixed a war spending bill that included a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq. Democrats' promise to press the issue all year lost steam after testimony in September from the top commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, instilled confidence in Republicans whose commitment to the war had grown shaky. Without more GOP defections, Democrats in the Senate were powerless to undercut Bush's war policy.

    Bush also wielded his veto power to great effect on domestic issues.

    He blocked Democratic efforts to expand stem cell research, a popular bill that had broad bipartisan support. The failed effort to override that veto provided a window onto a dynamic that was key to Bush's source of strength throughout the year: Many moderate Republicans parted ways with the president on the stem cell override vote -- as they later did on his veto of the children's health bill -- but there were enough conservatives who agreed with him to sustain his vetoes.

    Bush issued a barrage of veto threats to curb Democrats' domestic spending plans -- an effort that helped him regain some favor among fiscal conservatives who had lambasted him for allowing the Republican-controlled Congress to jack up spending to record levels.

    "Fiscal conservatives can see the president getting stronger on spending this year than in the previous six years," said Brian Riedl, a budget expert at the Heritage Foundation.

    Democrats had wanted to add $22 billion to Bush's funding request. But he drew a line in the sand and guarded it for months. He vetoed a bill packed with spending for education, health and other popular programs. The final budget approved this week adhered to his overall spending limit -- and dropped riders on abortion and other issues he objected to. And it included the money for the Iraq war with no strings attached.

    Bush also held the line against Democrats' efforts to raise taxes, which they proposed to offset the costs of new health spending, energy programs and a middle-class tax break. Faced with Bush's veto, Democrats could not enact taxes on such inviting targets as cigarettes, wealthy hedge-fund managers and big oil companies.

    Bush's Republican allies were almost giddy with their unexpected success.

    "Who would have thought a year ago that Democrats would have come down to the president's budget number, that we would be ending the year by funding the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that we could complete the year without raising taxes on the American people?" said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "And all despite having a Democrat majority in Congress."

    Heading into the 2008 elections, Democrats will have to keep their supporters from becoming demoralized over not being able to deliver more with their majority.

    "It's hard for them to understand, and it's even harder for us to live with," said Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.).

    But Democrats are trying to turn their tribulations into a campaign issue by telling voters that the party will not really have a working majority until they expand their Senate caucus from the current 51 to 60 -- the number they need to block GOP filibusters and other stalling tactics.

    The tag line on a fundraising pitch by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: "51 seats is not enough. Help us turn our country around."

    Acknowledging that GOP victories this year consisted simply of blocking Democrats, some Republicans say they will have to develop a more positive agenda to build a successful political brand. Said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), "The product we're selling is negative."

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  • qplearn
    11-14 10:09 PM
    As far as I know, almost every telecast of his has some representative of FAIR, numbersUSA or some other crony organisation like the programmers guild as his guest. And he presents their "research" as if they are winners of the nobel prize in economics.

    And who told you SKIL is killed and numbersUSA killed it ? In fact they are quaking in their boots at the thought of congress passing some large scale immigration relief measure like SKIL during the lame duck session. Take a look at their site for the latest "action item". Sad part is many of their friends in congress have either lost their job or are licking their wounds.

    The SKIL was actually killed last time in the house, and Lou was/is a big friend of theirs. Lou has given them more publicity than anyone would ever have, and they used it to contact house members.

    And I did not mean that SKIL is killed for good obviously. If they've lost most friends our SKIL bill should sail in the lame duck session, and I don't have any problems with that :) Let's see what happens ....

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  • mariner5555
    04-09 07:29 AM
    We've met with a lot of law makers and their aids, and really the housing down turn is not an argument for GC that is productive to use. If I get 30 minutes with a law maker's aid, each minute is valuable I can muster many more compelling arguments in that time.

    So to answer your question: yes IV has considered this, but only for about 2 seconds. It is something that is not worth raising with law makers or media.

    o.k. ..Thanks.
    In that case, I honestly don't know why a lawmaker would care much about faster GC processing. if I was a lawmaker and someone comes to me complaining about USCIS - I would think in my mind "hey that is the system with it". I would think the lawmaker would be thinking about other things (like having fun :-)) ..or taking care of the lobbyists who give them donations.
    ..I guess the only other hope would be if other countries in europe start giving super fast blue cards and the talent starts to go there. unless there is urgency the system will never change. even the namechecks were relaxed because of lawsuits.
    I guess the only silver lining is that I will continue to rent (become richer ;-) and have fun while watching the home prices go down and down)


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  • gcisadawg
    01-06 05:45 PM
    Refugee New,

    The focus has totally shifted from "Israeli occupation of Palestine" to "Terrorism". WHY? Blame it of Arafat, his successors and now Hamas.

    See how other Arab countries are treating Palestinian Refugees.

    You can not blame everything on Jewish media. There is no point in you and me jumping up and down. The people that needs to realize should realize and focus on a workable solution.

    Mumbai terrorism was discussed at length but you did not see the same level of discussion for LTTE's war with SLA. LTTE shares religion, language and ethnicity with lots of Indians but you DID NOT see the board discussing about that war a lot. What does that mean? It is people's nature to care only about things that impact them. There are so many stuffs that happens in world that doesn't impact all.

    This is another example of Middle east getting much more media attention than war between LTTE and SLA. With all the media attention and world opinion favoring Palestine until 10 years ago, they should have gotten their own state long ago.

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  • Administrator2
    01-08 04:09 PM
    Thanks Refugee_New, for your response, understanding and maturity.

    Lets keep all discussions civil regardless of how we feel about the subject. Thats a request for everyone.

    Admin, I have responded to your message. Also please understand that it was my response to his PM using very harsh and abusive language.


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  • unitednations
    08-02 06:35 PM
    Welcome back and Thanks very much for your valuable suggestions.

    I have an important question for you and would request your suggestion:

    Here's my situation: I am working for my current employer from last 6 years. My I-485 has been filed last week through my employer's attorney. My EB3 I-140 approved and I am on 9th year of h1-B. My H1-B expires in January next year. I have 3 other dependants on H4.

    Now my current employer is trying to either fire me off or reduce my work hours to about 8 hrs / week.

    What would be my best option to take decision?

    1. Should I :
    a. Stay home untill the expiry of 6 months and invoke AC21 after that? or
    b. transfer my H1-B to some other employer and start working on H1-B and just wait for 6 months to invoke AC21?

    2. Can my current employer reduce my hours legally? Meaning if they have to alter my H1-B to 8 hrs per week what will happen to my H1-B? Can i still able to transfer my H1-B to new emploer to work for 40Hrs/week if I want to?

    The problem is- if they can't reduce my hours legally, I may be fired. And, if I get fired, they will revoke my H1-B on the same day but won't revoke my I-140 untill 6 months.

    What do you suggest to help both me and my employer?

    Thanks a lot for your valuabale suggestion and helping me out.

    Once 485 is filed then you are authorized to stay in USA. If you want to work then you can use EAD; if you want to go in/out of USA then you need advance parole.

    At the same time you can have h-1b.

    Both things allow you to stay here.

    Now; once 485 is filed; you do not need to comply with the terms and conditions of your non immigrant status. However; you shouldn't start working with another employer until you have EAD.

    Technically; you could sit at home and do nothing; as long as you have intent to work with the employer until 485 is pending for more then six months and employer doesn't pull the plug before 180 days then you would be fine.

    You could try to convert the h-1b to part time or transfer to another company.

    I only know of one case where person was doing future base employment and invoked ac21 at his local office interview (law says you can do this) and stated he was going to work with someone else.

    USCIS adjudicator asked for a letter from the company that they had intent to hire him up until the 485 had been pending for more then six months. Company would not give the letter and his case was denied.

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  • gclabor07
    08-05 11:48 AM

    Here are my thoughts on this based on my personal experience.

    USCIS should allow porting of dates not just based on approved I-140, but also based on approved LC.

    I applied in EB3 category back in 2003. My labor was stuck in BEC and my career wasn't progressing. So I decided to switch my employers and start the process all over again. Just before I left my previous LC was approved. I wish that process should have allowed me to port the PD of my first labor because PD is decided when you file LC and not when you file I-140. So right now I've EB2 with 2007 PD. I missed the July 07 bus as well.

    Was this fair? perhaps not. Am I having heartburn, not really. I'm happy that I made the switch and moved to the new employer with a better career path.


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  • pitha
    02-21 04:06 PM
    He is not questioned, ridiculed or targeted because he is a nobody. His viewership is not in millions but in hundred thousands. 762,000 to be precise. With such viewership numbers nobody targets him because its not worth it. Even "SpongeBob SquarePants" a carton show on Nickelodeon manages to get higher viewership than Lou Dobbs even though "SpongeBob SquarePants" is targeted at children.

    we are targeting him because he is saying things which are inaccurate if not ludicrous regarding immigration. He is similar to tancredo. Did anybody know there was a xenophobe called tancredo before he started riling against CIR. Lou Dobbs and Tancredo realized they have stuck gold with there diatribe against immigration and they are riding this xenophobic wave for it full worth.

    Wonder why he is not questioned, ridiculed or targetted by other TV standups or show masters. The truth is, Dobbs has a following - people who would like to hear again and again what they want to hear and CNN knows it. Even if he is spilling BS, at some point, repetetion may make it sound like " oh, there is something in what he says" attitude, mainly because of familiarity by that repetetion itself. Maybe he will end up a Congressman or a clown instead, the fact is, he can elicit attention of a few millions -by his talk show and write-ups. From McCain to Romney, Sen. Clinton to Bush, if people see the quick policy/face changes among the politicians and compare with some stray ---- like Dobbs saying (barking) the same thing over and over again, there is a chance that he might end up scoring more in popularity than the president.

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  • unitednations
    08-02 02:41 PM
    My case is intent-to-hire for 485, so my attorney just took 3 paystubs and 1 w2 for filing. Is that ok?

    It is a common thing that attornies ask for.

    1) it doesn't help in ability to pay for i-140 unless you are working with the company.

    2) it hurts more then helps and you have to be really careful in future base cases by showing current financial information.

    If in your current job; you are making $100,000 but the job offer or labor cert from 140 employer is for $70,000 then it doesn't look reasonable and they will assess your intention of why you would take such a job offer. (note: i saw this in a denial decision; it wasn't primary reason for denial; uscis just pointed it out to sort of say that they know what the person/company is trying to do).


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  • walking_dude
    09-29 03:47 PM
    Please read my post. I wrote 'contribute' and not vote! I know LPRs cannot vote, but they can certainly contribute to election campaigns. Assuming USCIS uses even 100,000 of available visas and taking the conservative estimate of 50,000 (50%) of them to be adults, there will be at least 200,000 new EB LPRs between now and 2012. These EB immigrants can definitely help shape the future of their future country of citizenship through their contributions.

    And why should I pray? If this country doesn't need me, I'll move over to some other that better respects me. And whom should I pray for? Mcain - author of CIR 2007 -who doesn't care either way?

    I would rather have Durbin send me back in a year rather than have McCain waste 4 more years trying to sell CIR to extreme right-wing-nuts who form the base of Repub party,and Hispanic voters. And get the resulting medley passed through a Dem congress. It will be another repeatition of CIR 2007, which was incidently authored by McCain.

    I would rather have the issue resolved one-way or another fast in a year or two rather than waste 4 more years for something which I might never see in this life.

    And you think majority of those ppl will get Voting rights by 2012....forget it...Most of the ppl here are lucky to get tehir GreeN Card by 2012....

    There is no reasoin for him to pander future voters......He will be most likely agnostic to EB issues, however, as noted..if Durbin is his Immigration advisor..then we are pray for the best...

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  • Macaca
    12-23 11:04 AM
    'D' in Democrats means Do-Nothing ( BUSH, REPUBLICANS GET THEIR WAY ON MOST ISSUES DESPITE VOTERS' MANDATE TO CHANGE DIRECTION Mercury News Editorial, 12/23/2007

    When the Democrats won control of Congress a year ago, they promised bold new leadership. Things would change, they said. They had a mandate.

    But they didn't have the votes to stand up to veto threats by Bush and filibusters by Senate Republicans. They didn't have the bold new leadership, either. A year later, Congress is lamer than the lame-duck president.

    On the Democrats' No. 1 issue, the war in Iraq, it's been a year of defeat and surrender. They were going to "bring the troops home." Instead, President Bush sent more troops to Iraq. The "surge," coupled with a new counter-insurgency strategy, has led to a sharp decline in military and civilian deaths. All attempts to link war funding to a withdrawal timetable fizzled. Giving up completely, Congress passed $70 billion in no-strings war funding before the Christmas recess.

    Democratic leaders blame their impotence on Bush's obstinacy. Bush didn't compromise. He didn't have to.

    Democrats talked about limiting the excesses of the Patriot Act, banning cruel CIA interrogation tactics and closing the Guant�namo Bay internment camp. Didn't happen.

    Instead, Congress authorized warrantless surveillance for six months by passing the Protect America Act before the August recess. Democrats were forced to push discussion on making the surveillance rules permanent into January. Bush will likely win this one, too.

    After months of wrangling, Congress approved an omnibus budget bill that gave Bush the spending levels he wanted.

    Promising fiscal discipline, the Democrats vowed to pay for any tax cuts with tax increases elsewhere or spending cuts. That "pay as you go pledge" was put aside to pass a popular bill protecting 23 million middle- and upper-middle-class taxpayers from paying $2,000 extra under the alternative minimum tax. Since the tax was originally designed to prevent the super-rich from using tax shelters, conservative Democrats tried to close tax shelters used by super-rich hedge-fund managers to cover the $50 million revenue loss. They lost.

    Congress made baby steps toward fiscal discipline by trimming "earmarks" for pet projects by 25 percent from 2006, estimates Taxpayers for Common Sense. But legislators OK'd more than $15 billion for more than 11,000 pork-barrel projects.

    President Bush didn't win them all: Social Security reform went nowhere, reauthorization of No Child Left Behind was postponed to 2008 and he couldn't rally enough Republicans to pass a complex and controversial immigration bill.

    But this wasn't supposed to be his year. The triumphant Democrats made big promises a year ago, but delivered modest results. Democrats increased the minimum wage, enacted the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations into law and expanded student loans.

    Most notable was the energy bill, which included the first increase in fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks in 32 years.

    However, Democrats dropped plans to repeal tax breaks for oil companies and require more use of alternative energy. Bush insisted. Congress caved.

    On other issues, Congress acted and Bush vetoed. Congress expanded health insurance for children and approved federal funding for stem cell research, but couldn't overcome Bush's "no" vote.

    Stymied repeatedly, Congress saw its approval ratings fall to record lows. When you're less popular than George W. Bush, you're pretty darned unpopular.

    "I don't approve of Congress, because we haven't . . . been effective in ending the war in Iraq," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco told reporters in response to the polls. "And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disapprove of Congress as well."

    2008 will be a year of partisan politics. No doubt Republicans will run against the do-nothing Congress. That could backfire. Democrats will tell voters that if they want Democratic policies - and most people tell pollsters they do - they need to put a Democrat in the White House in 2008.

    For the next 11 months we can expect more of the same from the lame duck and lamer Congress.


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  • Rolling_Flood
    07-14 08:24 AM
    send the damn letter, nothing happens, and then come back here and vent your frustration again. as you said, buddy, HARD LUCK indeed !!

    I cannot believe the nerve that you EB-3 India guys have. You are begging for a GC based on your length of wait!!! laughable at best...........go wait a decade or so more, then come back here and start this useless BS again.

    one good thing happens for the EB-2 folks, and the EB-3 community cannot stomach it. pure freaking jealousy.

    fine, then why are we working so hard to remove the per country limit? That was set by law too!!!

    We can't pick only those options that would favor us. Sometimes changes bring hard-luck.

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  • learning01
    05-24 12:44 PM
    can you tell me why nurses and physio-therapists are brought on H1B visas, and once they are employed their GCs are applied straight away and UNDER NO quota.

    You seem to be liking one or part of Lou's argument. You are only seeing the trees. My friend, start to see the forest. The big picture of Lou.


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  • pthoko
    07-11 10:10 AM

    wait for UN's reply

    but I think it is better to be honest on the G328 form and not lie as it mentions in coconut sized letters that we r mentioning the facts and signing the forms. Later on they will have all the rights to ask proof documents thru RFE for paystubs,w2 etc, after that we cannot lie anymore and might land in further mess. we submit all the H1/L1 approvals at the time of 485 filing..they can just enter the case# and get the whole history of the case...

    AFAIK..I don't think yours is a violation of status, you were eligible to work on L1 until 2006 and also eligible to work on H1 since Oct 2005. In a H1 scenario,if I extend my H1 with current employer until next July, meanwhile find another employer and file a H1 with new employer until next July, after 4 months with new employer, you change your mind and want to go back to old can work with old employer until July as long as the old employer does not cancel your old H1..

    * i140 stage,only the companies financial records r checked,you even need not be employed with them when you r filing the i140.
    * 1st time stamping in Canada/Mexico for H1b is not possible I think as it has to be done in home country,unless you have a US Masters.

    btw...I have a question, does your H1b approval have an i94 attached with it...? hopefully ..yes..

    YES my H1B approval had an I-94 attached with it. Same no: as my L1 I-94.


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  • JunRN
    06-06 09:31 PM
    I felt the same way before. I said to myself I wouldn't buy a house until I get my GC. That was until a builder offered me a nice offer. I was renting a two bedroom apartment for $1200 as I have a family with 3 small kids.

    The builder offered me a 2,600 sq. ft., 4 bed-room home at $1450 per month, including taxes and insurance, fixed for 30 years. I guessed that the $250 difference from rent is nothing compared to the benefit of owning a home. The interest part of my first monthly amortization is about $800, $400 go to principal, and $250 go to taxes and insurance.


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  • greenguru
    04-08 02:17 AM
    I was discussing the same with a friend of mine...

    what will be done next is ...

    Have 49 employees and start a sister concern ( New firm ) after that ..

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  • Macaca
    05-01 05:43 PM
    China’s Political Reformers Strike Back ( By Elizabeth C. Economy | Council on Foreign Relations

    Over the past year, the world has watched with growing dismay as China’s leaders have orchestrated a relentless attack on political and cultural openness in their country. Ai Weiwei. Liu Xiaobo. Teng Biao. Gao Zhisheng. Zuo Xiao Zu Zhou. China has rounded up its artists, writers, lawyers and musicians, releasing some, and then arresting more. The result? The country wounds itself deeply by depriving itself of some of its greatest thinkers, most creative forces, and most determined seekers of justice.

    Premier Wen Jiabao, who has begun to sound like a broken record, clearly recognizes this. He once again gently stepped into the fray, stating at a meeting in mid-April, “We must create conditions for people to speak the truth.” Yet this time he has some back-up—and from a rather surprising place: the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, People’s Daily.

    A few days ago, People’s Daily ran an editorial with a number of striking statements, including:

    “Only in the midst of competition will the value of ideas be shown, and only through practice can they be tested…”
    “…it is inevitable that various values and ideas, traditional and modern, foreign and homegrown, will collide and clash.”
    “Because we serve the people, if we have faults, we do not fear the people criticizing them and pointing them out…”
    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (quoting Voltaire)
    “Seven mouths and eight tongues are not frightening, but most frightening is when not a crow or sparrow can be heard.” (quoting Deng Xiaoping)

    What is behind this fresh salvo from the reform flank? Chinese media professionals—particularly ones who have retired—have often been at the forefront of calling for greater political openness. We’ll have to wait to see whether any other media support the People’s Daily or whether the bold editorial staff is simply sacked.

    The Chinese frequently, and correctly, remind us that the path of political reform will be decided by the Chinese themselves. The People’s Daily editorial, however, reminds us that the real question is: which Chinese?

    Where China Outpaces America ( By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF | New York Times

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  • Macaca
    12-27 07:04 PM
    2010: India's undeclared year of Africa ( By RAJIV BHATIA | The Hindu

    An objective evaluation of changing contours of our engagement with Africa, especially in light of significant developments in 2010, might interest Africa watchers and others.

    Conceptual richness and consistency appear to characterise recent interactions, although their impact may still take a while to be felt tangibly.


    If the period from our Independence to the end of the 1980s was marked by India's close involvement with Africa in political affairs, peacekeeping, training, culture and education, the 1990s turned out to be a lost decade. That was the time when policy makers were busy trying to re-adapt India's foreign policy to the post-Cold War world. Subsequently, the Africans' unhappiness with their neglect by India, China's rapidly growing profile on the continent, and the enhanced dynamism of India Inc. combined to initiate a renewal of India-Africa relations. The Government's three initiatives, namely the ‘Focus Africa Programme' under Exim policy for 2002-07, the ‘Techno-Economic Approach for Africa and India Movement' or TEAM-9 programme, launched in 2004 to upgrade economic relations with West Africa, and the Pan-African e-Network started in 2007, helped in sending the signal that India had not vacated space in Africa for others.

    In this backdrop, the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in 2008 represented a veritable high point, showcasing a new, vibrant India as well as its reinvigorated Africa policy. The following year was a relative disappointment. But, developments during 2010 seem to have put India's engagement with Africa on a fast track.


    India played host to at least eight high-level African dignitaries, one each from the Seychelles, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia. Visits by presidents, prime ministers and other VIPs throughout the year demonstrated that Africa was keen to expand political and development cooperation with India. Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique, endorsed India's approach towards Africa, expressing readiness “to raise the (bilateral relationship) to a strategic partnership.” Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, chose to accord high importance to economic issues. Following a productive meeting of the joint commission, the two sides decided, “to infuse the close political relationship with greater economic content.” The visit by South African President Jacob Zuma helped in re-defining the bilateral agenda and re-launching the joint CEOs Forum.

    Happily, Indian leaders found time to visit Africa in 2010. Vice-President Hamid Ansari's three-country tour covering Zambia, Malawi and Botswana was a notable success. Given his credentials, he was able to evoke old memories of deep political and emotional affinity as well as highlight mutuality of interests and the need for expansion of economic cooperation, thus lending a contemporary character to age-old ties. That he backed it with the announcement of credits and grants (for the three countries) amounting to about $200 million, in addition to credit lines valued at $60 million that were operational prior to the visit, showed India's new strength. This was on display again as the Government agreed to arrange major lines of credits for others: $705 million for Ethiopia for sugar and power sector development and $500 million for Mozambique for infrastructure, agriculture and energy projects.

    The decision by the IAFS to set aside $5.4 billion for lines of credit and $500 million for human resource development during a five-year period means that now nearly $1 billion a year is available for cooperation with Africa. Utilising India's new financial muscle, an ambitious expansion of training programmes for the benefit of Africans is being attempted at present.

    External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna got a direct feel of issues and personalities on his visit to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Mozambique. As these are all Indian Ocean countries, the strategic dimension of cooperation, especially relating to piracy, terrorism and changing foreign maritime presence, received considerable attention during his discussions. Later the minister, talking to a group of African journalists visiting India, emphasised that our relationship with Africa had “transformed”, with the two sides becoming “development partners looking out for each other's interests and well-being.”

    Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma undertook visits to South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. He was instrumental in facilitating and moulding business-to-business dialogues in all the countries visited, with the help of organisations such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). For business level exchanges, however, the most significant event in the year was CII-Exim Bank Conclave, held in Delhi in March. About 1,000 delegates attended it, half of whom were from various African countries.

    Bilateral trade

    Bilateral India-Africa trade, which stood at about $1 billion in 2001, has now reached the $40 billion mark. It is an encouraging growth. Figures about India's investments in Africa are confusing, but by taking an average of the figures of cumulative investments released by the Reserve Bank, the CII and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one could place a value of $50 billion on them.

    Three other highlights need to be mentioned here. First, India hosted a meeting of top officials of Africa's Regional Economic Communities (RECs). A first of its kind, the meeting was attended by six of the eight RECs, namely Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and United Nations Association/Arab Maghreb Union (UNA/AMU). It gave them the opportunity to interact with numerous Ministries and business enterprises. Coverage of areas viz stock exchanges, small industry, food processing, infrastructure, IT and telecommunications was quite wide. The visitors expressed “gratitude” to India for the initiative “to recognise the regional dimension of Africa's development.”

    Second, top officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) undertook visits to Kampala and Addis Ababa in order to carry forward India's dialogue with the African Union (AU) for nurturing ties at the continental level. On the sidelines of its 15th Summit in Kampala in July, Jean Ping, Chairman of the African Union Commission (AUC), expressed immense satisfaction at the model of engagement created by India, adding that it was “the most unique and preferred of Africa's partnerships.” In plain language, he seemed to confirm the view that among many suitors of Africa, both old and new, the two most active are China and India. Ping was also happy with “the determined pace at which implementation (of IAFS decisions) has been undertaken.” However, this might have been more credible had the two sides announced, by now, the venue and timing of the second IAFS.

    Third, a boost to our Africa diplomacy came with the announcement of the Hermes Prize for Innovation 2010 for India's Pan-African e-Network project. The prize was given by the European Institute of Creative Strategies and Innovation, a prestigious think tank. It called the project as “the most ambitious programme of distance education and tele-medicine in Africa ever undertaken.”\

    A few tips

    While moving determinedly to strengthen relations with Africa, the Government needs to do more. African diplomats still speak of the deficit in India's political visibility. Therefore, our President and Prime Minister should find time to visit Africa in 2011. More visits by Mr. Krishna would be helpful. Implementation of the first IAFS decisions, though improving, needs to be speeded up. India Inc. should be more active. In preparing for the second IAFS, South Block should draw from outside expertise. The civil society's potential to strengthen people-to-people relations should be tapped optimally. By according higher attention to Africa, the media could serve as a valuable bridge of mutual understanding.

    Finally, India should declare and celebrate 2011 as its Africa Year.

    The author is former High Commissioner to South Africa, Lesotho and Kenya

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    09-29 12:36 PM
    After watching the debate the other day between Obama and McCain at the Ole Miss, I felt McCain was more truthful and talking from his mind. All these days I was hoping Obama was really going to make that "change", but after watching the debate, clearly it was McCain who, I personally feel, won the debate.

    Obama's speech was more like a prepared one. He was stumbling a lot, maybe he was nervous, I don't know. But McCain was cool all along, although he was not prepared for the debate...he changed his schedule in the very last minute.

    I am positive if he wins he would definitely do something about the broken Immigration System. Remember he has a daughter adopted from Bangladesh...of course, which has no connection with Immigration, but he seems to be the 'nice' guy.


    04-08 02:54 PM
    Who said that if you buy a house today you will lose 100k this year and the in the next?. Where does it say so?. How did you come up with that figure?. Which fruit picker earning 20k bought a house worth 500k without a down payment?. Giving analogies and examples are fine, but try to make it more realistic. You are accusing somebody of misleading people, but look at what you are saying. Don’t try to scare people.

    This might not be the right time to buy a house. After a couple of years when things start to look bright, then again you will come up with an excuse to not buy a house. Looks like you and alberto pinto might want to spend the rest of your lives in an apartment. That is fine too if that is what you guys want.

    Keeping this thread alive has become Mr Pinto’s mission, it doesn’t matter if the person who opened this thread has already made a decision and moved on...
    I am sorry, the housing will fall by 99K every year and not 100K. So you can predict how much the housing will fall and not us. If you can predict that housing will not fall down why shouldn't I. 100K is just a round figure. It can be 60K or 160K per year.
    You asked for which fruit picker. Here is one---And before you accuse me of making up the story here is the link Google and you will find more such cases.
    "Despite making only $14,000 a year, strawberry picker Alberto Ramirez managed to buy his own slice of the American Dream. But his Hollister home came with a hefty price tag - $720,000.

    A year and a half later, Ramirez has defaulted on his loan, and he's hoping to sell the house before it's repossessed. And according to many housing advocates and civil rights groups, Ramirez is not alone. As mortgage foreclosures rise, many minorities are suffering.

    Brown said the language barrier (Ramirez, a native Spanish speaker, is not fluent in English, and spoke to the Free Lance through a translator) can also play a big role.

    "When you go into Washington Mutual ... you can't always get someone to speak your language," she said.

    "The real estate boom covered a multitude of sins," Simmons said. "Once the market started depreciating, the rug was pulled back to show the rot underneath.""

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