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Indian-American groups to campaign on immigration issues


New York: Indian-American groups have called for a campaign on immigration issues affecting the Indian diaspora including use of H-1B visa by technology companies from India and growing backlog of family visas.

The call was made at an immigration seminar organised by Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-New York), South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) and the Kerala Centre in Elmont, New York recently.

Grass-root actions were also required to support President Barack Obama’s executive actions that were announced in November 2014, participants said.

While immigration reform holistically seems to be stalled, Obama’s executive actions are designed in a piecemeal manner aimed at improving the overall immigration law system.

The participants also hoped that extreme backlogs for Indian nationals in many visa classifications may be reduced in some fair manner.

These backlogs have resulted in families being separated for long periods of time despite one of the major tenets underlying US immigration law being family unity.

H-1B non-immigrant professional and specialty occupation work visas continue to be scrutinized heavily by such agencies as the US Homeland Security, State, and Labour departments, the seminar noted.

Additionally, many of the largest users of the H-1B visa are very significant technology companies from India, the seminar noted.

Grassroots efforts should be made to help the government understand that India is not the only user of these technology visas, it suggested.

Attempts to avert a form of reverse discrimination should be undertaken soonest, the participants suggested.

Among other issues raised was India’s exclusion from Treaty Investment and Treaty Trader category for the immigration visa purpose.

It is not clear why Bangladesh and Pakistan and Sri Lanka all have E visas but India does not, the participants noted.

It was resolved that GOPIO and other community groups must campaign on these issues.

“It is important for the Indian American community to take up such issues with Obama administration and elected officials and make them aware of importance of such issues for the country as a whole,” said GOPIO’s Founder President Thomas Abraham.

The panelists were attorneys Michael Phulwani and David Nachman of NPZ Law Group and Anand Ahuja. Abraham moderated the discussion.


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Did You Hear about the New Species of Spiders Named After Leonardo DiCaprio, Bernie Sanders and Barrack Obama?

The new species of spiders have been named in honor of leaders and artists who promoted sensible approaches for a better world

Did you hear about the Bernie Sanders spider? (representational image) Pixabay

Vermont, September 30, 2017 : What if we tell you that a team of researchers has recognized and named 15 new species of spiders in the Caribbean after your favorite stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders?

Not in Hollywood, Washington, DC or Vermont – but you might now be able to catch a glimpse of Spintharus davidattenboroughi, S. barackobamai, S, michelleobamaae, S. berniesandersi, S. davidbowiei along with S. leonardodicaprioi on the Caribbean islands and some other southern spots.

Ingi Agnarsson, expert of spiders and professor of biology at University of Vermont, who led the new study revealed the rationale behind the undergraduate study and on choosing the intriguing names. “(We) wanted to honor people who stood up for both human rights and warned about climate change—leaders and artists who promoted sensible approaches for a better world”, he said.

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The Smiley-Faced Spider

Popularly recognized as a global hotspot for biodiversity, there continues to be several species in the Caribbean that are outside the spectrum of research and study. This includes the ‘smiley faced’ spider in the genus Spintharus- named for a smiley face pattern on their abdomens.

Previously recognized as one widespread species, researchers from the UVM discovered that there exist many more endemic species within the genus, 15 of which have been recognized in the research.

These samples were collected from Florida, South Carolina, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, the Lesser Antilles and Columbia.

Each team member got to decide names for the new species of spiders. Alongside naming them after friends and family members, many species have been named after distinguished figures.

“We all named the Bernie Sanders spider together,” said Lily Sargeant, one of the students who worked on the project. “We all have tremendous respect for Bernie. He presents a feeling of hope.”

Some of the other names include,

Spintharus davidbowiei

Named after the great artist David Bowie, who passed away in 2016. His music will continue to inspire generations and the authors decided to honor his legacy by naming a spider in his name.

Spintharus barackobamai