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US sends 18 more Indian students back

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Hyderabad: Eighteen more Indian students from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh returned Hyderabad on Saturday after being deported by the American authorities.

The students, who had gone to the US to join various universities, were sent back from New York airport after cancelling their visas. They returned to Hyderabad airport by three different airlines.

They complained of interrogation and ill-treatment by the officials of US Customs and Border Protection at John F Kennedy Airport International Airport, though all their documents were valid.

The students said they were detained for several hours without drinking water and food.

One of the students said though it was freezing temperature, the officials did not heed to their request to switch off the fans. He said the officers carrying guns subjected them to interrogation.

They said the officials threatened to bar their entry into the US for five years if they fail to withdraw and return home.

The students claimed that no reason was given for not sending them back though they gave the satisfactory reply to all the questions asked and despite possessing all valid documents.

“One officer said he was doing this on the boss’ order,” said a student, who did not wish to be named.

Another student who had gone to join Northwestern Polytechnic University, California said the officers told him that there is a problem with his visa. “They asked me if I bought the visa,” he said.

The student was told that if he wanted he could apply again for admission into another university and come back.

Students, who had taken admissions in other universities, were also sent back. The officials were not convinced when students pointed out that the institutions were not blacklisted by the US authorities.

This is the latest in a series of incidents in recent months in which students from the two Telugu states were sent back either after landing in the US or from destinations en route like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

About 90 students, who had left after completing all formalities including admission letters from the universities, were sent back during last three to four months.

As many as 14 students, who had taken admission at two California universities, were sent back from San Francisco on December 19. The next day Air India stopped another batch of 15 students from boarding the San Francisco flight at Hyderabad airport.

With their dreams of getting higher education in the US shattered and their parents suffering huge financial loss, they have urged the government of India to intervene and save their future.(IANS)

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Yellowstone National Park: A magnificent place to explore

America’s first national park – Yellowstone. It's also the first national park in the world, established by Congress in 1872, even before the National Park Service was set up.

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Yellowstone National Park: A magnificent place to explore
More than half the world's geysers are in Yellowstone National Park. VOA

January 2, 2018: When you think about America’s national parks, what probably comes to mind first is America’s first national park – Yellowstone. It’s also the first national park in the world, established by Congress in 1872, even before the National Park Service was set up.

Yellowstone sits on an active volcano, the source of the more than 10,000 geothermal features in the park, including more than half the world’s geysers. National Parks traveler Mikah Meyer made sure he caught the eruption of the best-known of its 500 geysers – Old Faithful, which shoots a column of superheated water up to 42 meters into the air, every 60 to 110 minutes.

“They have geysers that range from Old Faithful to these geysers that are basically holes in the ground that give a glimpse into what the bubbling boiling earth underneath is like.”

And some of what bubbles up is mud. Mikah describes these ‘mudpots’ as a witch’s cauldron. “They look like some sort of witch’s concoction because you’re just walking along this boardwalk and suddenly to your left and your right you’ve got these giant mud pools that are bubbling up in random spots, and so it really is a place where you can see the earth’s underbelly.”

The thousands of steam vents in Yellowstone give off a powerful sulfur odor.
The thousands of steam vents in Yellowstone give off a powerful sulfur odor. VOA

He noted a constant feature of the park — steam. “Anywhere you are in the park it always seems like somewhere in your 360° view you’ll see some steam rising out of the ground.” These fumaroles, or steam vents, are the hottest hydrothermal features in the park, with temperatures as high as 138°Celsius.

Yellowstone is also home to thermophile microbes, which thrive in the hot springs. Trillions of these microorganisms are grouped together, so they appear as masses of color. Since different types of thermophiles live at different temperatures within a hot spring, they produce what looks like a rainbow in the water.

Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone's largest hot spring. It's about 112.8 meters across and more than 37 meters deep.
Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone’s largest hot spring. It’s about 112.8 meters across and more than 37 meters deep. VOA

And it’s not just hot water shooting up… Yellowstone also has 350 identified waterfalls that tumble down more than 4 1/2 meters. The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is the tallest cascade in the park. At 94 meters, it’s twice as high as Niagara Falls.

An abundance of wildlife

Many of the more than 4 million visitors to Yellowstone each year come to see one of the symbols of the American West. Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times, and the park’s herd of 4,000 to 5,000 animals represents the last-known wild bison population in the world.

Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone's largest hot spring. It's about 112.8 meters across and more than 37 meters deep.
Grand Prismatic Spring is Yellowstone’s largest hot spring. It’s about 112.8 meters across and more than 37 meters deep. VOA

Mikah said they really catch visitors’ eyes. “I have this video of what I call a Yellowstone traffic jam which is basically anytime there’s any sort of animal on the side of the road, everyone seems to stop their car and take pictures or pull over and it’s an instant traffic jam!”

But bison aren’t the only iconic animals in the park. Yellowstone is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states, including predators like grey wolves and bears, and large herbivores, like big horn sheep, elk and moose.

Two decades ago, 41 wild gray wolves from Canada and northwest Montana were released in Yellowstone National Park to start a recovery effort. Today, the park is home to more than 100 animals in eleven packs. (NPS/Jim Peaco)
Two decades ago, 41 wild gray wolves from Canada and northwest Montana were released in Yellowstone National Park to start a recovery effort. Today, the park is home to more than 100 animals in eleven packs. (NPS/Jim Peaco). VOA

There are nearly 300 species of birds, 16 species of fish, five species of amphibians, and six species of reptiles.

But the main draw remains the regular eruption of Old Faithful. “If you’re on the hunt for geysers,” Mikah concludes, “you really can’t do much better than Yellowstone National Park.” (VOA)