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Changes in new Visa Waiver Program: US

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Washington: United States decided to start putting restrictions and implementing changes on US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) for citizens of 38 foreign countries.

Starting from Thursday, nationals of the VWP partner countries are required to get a visa ahead of their trip to the US if they “have travelled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011,” said a statement by the US state department.

Limited exceptions exist for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country, Xinhua reported.

In addition, nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of the above-mentioned four countries are no longer eligible for the VWP programme.

Despite the new restrictions, the US secretary of homeland security may still “waive these restrictions” on a “case-by-case basis” for individuals who traveled to the four countries as journalists, or on behalf of humanitarian agencies on official duty, or on behalf of international organisations, regional organisations and provincial or local governments, or for legitimate business-related purposes, according to the statement.

The VWP currently permits visa-free travel for 20 million visitors each year to the US for citizens of 38 programme partner countries.

After the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015, which killed at least 130 people and injured over 300 others, US lawmakers and government officials worried that the current VWP, which allows citizens from partner countries to enter the US for as long as 90 days without a visa, could pose a security threat to homeland security.(IANS)

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Apple to shut its last Watch-exclusive store in May

Apple's shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by more than 32 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016 to eight million

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Apple Watch Nike+ smartwatch. Flickr

Apple will shut down its last of the three Apple Watch-exclusive stores — located in Tokyo — it built when it launched the wearable in 2015.

On May 13, the last Apple Watch-exclusive store will close its doors. Twitter user Shotaro Akiba has shared a photo on the microblogging platform showing the department store’s announcement, Engadget reported on Sunday.

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Many apps pulled out of the watchOS. VOA

Apple had shut down the other two stores in London and Paris last year. According to 9to5mac website, the shop held a sale in which it was selling the remaining Apple Watch Edition inventory for as little as $700.

These 18-karat gold watches were sold for at least $10,000 and as much as $17,000 when they first became available, the report said.

Earlier this month, high-profile applications, including Instagram, Amazon, Google Maps and Twitter, pulled out their apps from the WatchOS. Driven by Apple Watch Series 3 shipments, the Cupertino-headquartered giant shipped a record 18 million Watch devices in 2017 — an increase of 54 per cent compared to the previous year.

Also Read: Apple working on gold variant of iPhone X: Report

“The Series 3 was the key growth driver, as total shipments of the latest version of Apple’s Watch were just under nine million, making up nearly half of all shipments in 2017,” Singapore-based market research firm Canalys said.

Apple’s shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by more than 32 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016 to eight million — the highest-ever number of shipments in a single quarter for any wearable vendor. IANS

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