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The founding father of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew dies at 91

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father and first prime minister of Singapore, who transformed the tiny island outpost into a global trade and financial centre, died on Monday aged 91, in Singapore General Hospital.

Lee was the Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 until 1990. He remained the dominant personality and driving force in what he called a First World oasis in a Third World region.

Efficient, unsentimental, incorrupt, inventive, forward-looking and pragmatic this is how the nation saw him.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply saddened” by Mr Lee’s death . US President Barack Obama described him as a “giant of history”. The Chinese foreign ministry called him “a uniquely influential statesman in Asia”.

“We are ideology-free,” Lee said in an interview with The New York Times in 2007, stating what had become, in effect, Singapore’s ideology. “Does it work? If it works, let’s try it. If it’s fine, let’s continue it. If it doesn’t work, toss it out, try another one.”

Lee’s leadership was at times criticized for suppressing freedom, but the formula succeeded. With low level of corruption and high efficiency Singapore became an international business and financial center.

A lifetime of building and contribution:

In 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia, ever since then Lee started his never ending struggle to overcome the nation’s lack of natural resources.

In one of his interview in 2007 he said, “To begin with, we don’t have the ingredients of a nation, the elementary factors: a homogeneous population, common language, common culture and common destiny. So, history is a long time. I’ve done my bit.”

Lee’s ‘Singapore Model’ had been admired and studied by leaders in Asia, including in China.

Born in 16th Sept, 1923, to a fourth-generation middle-class Chinese family, Lee was also called as Harry Lee. He earned a law degree in 1949 from Cambridge University. After serving as prime minister from 1959 to 1990, Lee was followed by two handpicked successors, Goh Chok Tong and Lee’s eldest son, Lee Hsien Loong, who, groomed for the job, has been prime minister since 2004.

In one of his interview with The Time, 2010 he said, “I’m not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honorable purpose,” he said. “I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial.”

Reaching 87 also, Lee maintained a strict diet to keep him fit, but the signs of age didn’t abandon him.

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)