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Nani Surprises with Jersey Teaser January 12, 2019 10:39

Natural Star Nani has been shattered with the debacles of Krishnarjuna Yuddham and Devadas. The actor is busy with the shoot of his next film titled Jersey which is an action packed sports drama that will be high on emotions. Gowtam Tinnanuri is the director and Shraddha Srinath played the heroine. The shoot of Jersey will be wrapped up by next month and the first teaser of the film has been out. The teaser looks promising and is laced with a strong emotional content. The film narrates about the story of Arjun, a 36-year-old cricketer who struggles to make his impact. With a bunch disappointing him, Arjun ends up hitting the ball out of the court which forms the rest of the story. Anirudh's music is a treat and the cinematography work looks good. Produced by Sithara Entertainments, Jersey releases during April this year.    

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F2 - Fun and Frustration Movie Review, Rating, Story, Cast & Crew January 12, 2019 10:13

F2: Fun and Frustration as the title reveals is all about the story of Venky (Venkatesh) and Varun Yadav (Varun Tej). Venky gets married to Haarika (Tamannaah) and Varun choses to get married to Haarika's sister Honey (Mehreen). Despite of Venky warning Varun, he decides to get married to Honey. Soon the duo gets frustrated and fly to Europe. The rest of F2 is all about the decisions taken by Haarika and Honey and how they manage to end up clearing all the hurdles. Watch F2 to know about the rest.

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Watch: UAE Man Locks up Indian Football Fans in Cage Before Match January 12, 2019 09:29

A video purportedly showing a man locking up supporters of the Indian football team in a birdcage ahead of a crucial match with the United Arab Emirates is doing rounds on the internet, prompting the UAE authorities to arrest several persons, reports said Friday. India lost the match against the hosts UAE 2-0 in the AFC Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. In the viral video, the man was seen sitting and talking to several workers locked up in a birdcage, brandishing a stick. He asks them who do they support between India and UAE, Khaleej Times reported. شاهد: إماراتي يحبس هنود في أقفاص لإجبارهم على تشجيع منتخب بلاده !https://t.co/fI2GHzDylJ pic.twitter.com/PvpxUnJx6m — مزمز فيديو (@mzmzvideo) January 10, 2019 According to the report, upon replying that they support India, he tells them that's not good since they live in the UAE and should support it. After knocking on the wiring, he asks them again and they reply they support the UAE and he then lets them out of the cage. In the UAE, penalties for violation of the various provisions of the law include jail terms from six months to over 10 years, and fines from 50,000 to 2 million dirhams (USD 13,611 to USD 5.44 lakh), the report said. "The video allegedly shows a man who locked up several men of Asian nationality in a bird cage. They were supposed to cheer for the UAE national team in their match against India in the AFC Asian Cup," the UAE's Attorney General office said in a statement. "Legal action was taken, with reports submitted to the prosecutor's office. A warrant was issued for the man who made the video, and he was detained and brought in for questioning. Not only is the act a criminal offense punishable by law in the UAE, it does not reflect the values of tolerance and respect. Discrimination is not acceptable, as we believe in equality of opportunity and meritocracy," the statement said. A statement has been released from the UAE Attorney General's office after an offensive video went viral on social media. In the meantime, the owner of the viral video posted another clip on YouTube, saying he had done the entire "skit" as a joke. "These men are my workers, one of whom I've known for 22 years. I live with my men on this farm, we eat from the same plate. I did not beat them, nor did I truly 'lock' them up," he said, adding that this is the 'Year of Tolerance'. He requested people to understand his intentions. Gulf News reported that the Sharjah Police arrested several men after videos went viral, reflecting a picture of intolerable football fanaticism. -Sowmya Sangam

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NRIs Can Now Cast Their Vote in 2019 Indian General Elections January 12, 2019 07:54

In a piece of good news for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), you can now be able to vote in the 2019 Indian general elections. Through the official website of the Election Commission of India, an NRI can register as a voter . In the website, if you click on the button titled 'Enroll as NRI voter', it takes you to a form that needs to be filled and submitted to register as a voter in the 2019 general elections. About 31 million NRIs around the world will be benefited, who are unable to cast their vote since they are no longer a resident of India. In the form, there is a list of guidelines that need to be adhered to. The form clearly states that Indians who have acquired citizenships of other countries will not be eligible. This provision has come about after a bill to amend the electoral law to allow NRIs to vote came up before the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament earlier this year. Related Content: Bill Granting Voting Rights to NRIs Blocked in Rajya Sabha Overseas Indians are currently free to cast their votes if they are physically present in the constituencies where they are registered. An official announcement on this has not been made by the authorities yet. The tenure of Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance will end on May 26, 2019, and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be held sometime around April and May. -Sowmya Sangam

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Over 5,000 Register for Indian Diaspora Conclave January 12, 2019 07:14

More than 5,000 people have been registered to take part in this year's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) or Indian diaspora conclave to be held in Varanasi from January 21 to 23, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said on Friday. Briefing the media, Singh said while in the last PBD held in Bengaluru in 2016 only 500 people had registered till the time of a media briefing like the one on Friday, this time over 5,000 people have already registered for the event. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will kick off the conclave with Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth as the chief guest. Related Content: PM Modi Invites Indians Living Abroad to Attend Kumbh Mela, R-Day Indian origin Members of Parliament Kanwaljit Bakshi of New Zealand and Himanshu Gulati of Norway a will be the guests of honor. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman will be conferred on 30 individuals for their achievements and accomplishments in different fields, according to Singh. After the end of the event on January 23, the participants will be taken to Prayagraj on January 24 where they will take part in the Kumbh Mela. From there, they will be brought in special trains to New Delhi where they will witness the Republic Day on January 26, he added. -Sowmya Sangam

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Trump's H-1B Visa War Is Crippling American Firms January 12, 2019 06:47

When president Donald Trump started going after the H-1B visa, the most sought visa by Indian IT professionals, headlines suggested trying times for Indian companies had begun, but the reality, though, is that American companies are suffering. Recently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) extended its intermission of premium processing for H-1B petitions up to February 2019. This programme hurries the visa processing time from the usual six-odd months to 15 days on payment of a fee of $1,225 (around Rs 86,000). The ban applies to new H-1B applicants as well as existing ones in waiting line for renewals or for switching of jobs. Read: Tulsi Gabbard Announces 2020 Presidential Bid Blind, an anonymous social network for working professionals, on its app surveyed tech employees, asking them, "Have you been negatively affected by the suspension of H-1B premium processing?" The U.S.-based company surveyed more than 10,500 users in the 10-day period starting December 16, 2018. eBay, Paypal Worst Hits All in all, about one in four respondents from tech giants such as Uber, Amazon, and Microsoft among others, answered in the affirmative. Paypal and eBay were the worst hit, with over half their employees feeling the heat after premium processing was stalled. "Many companies in the tech industry depend on H-1B visas to hire tens of thousands of employees each year," Blind's recent report said. With tensions prevailing, Indian Information Technology (IT) companies have begun reducing dependency on H-1B visas, which let foreign workers live and work in the U.S. for up to six years. Rather, nine of the top 10 companies filing Labour Condition Applications (LCAs) - a requirement for H-1B visa applications - were American in 2018. "In fact, last year, four of the top 10 employers for approved H-1B visa applicants were U.S. tech companies," Blind said. Ultimately, the industry is plagued by a talent crunch. Less than 1 percent of all U.S. jobs go to foreign workers but more than 12 percent of the tech jobs do. -Sowmya Sangam

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H-1B Visa Changes to Bring Relief to Indian IT Professionals January 12, 2019 05:36

In a much relief to Indian IT professionals in the United States, president Donald Trump on Friday assured H-1B visa holders that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty to stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship". Trump in a tweet on Friday said that his administration is planning an overhaul of U.S. policies on H-1B visa and will encourage talented and highly-skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S. H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2019 Trump's tweet came as good news for Indian Information Technology (IT) professionals, who currently have to wait for nearly a decade to get a Green Card or permanent legal residency. Trump administration in the first two years of the time period, made it tough for the H-1B visa holders over their overstay, extension, and issuing of a new visa to them. The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows the U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Related Content: Many Indians Victims of Gun Violence in U.S. Are Telangana Descents The major announcement by Trump, who has been talking about a merit-based immigration system to cut down overall immigration to the U.S., comes as part of his known preference to attract and retain the best talent in the U.S. Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers that the U.S. should "endeavor to select the very best" among the applicants under the H-1B foreign work visa programme. The number of H-1B petitions routinely exceeds the statutory cap, and among that pool of petitions, we should endeavor to select the very best for the privilege of coming to the U.S. for work, the Homeland Security Secretary said. The Trump administration, she said, has stepped up its measures to detect employment-based visa fraud and abuse, but certain non-immigrant visa programs need reform in order to protect American workers better. In November, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had proposed major changes in the H-1B application process which it said is aimed at granting this visa to the most skilled and highest paid foreign workers. Related Content: Foreign Students Should Stay on to Help American Firms Grow: Trump Under the proposed rule, companies seeking foreign workers on H-1B visa under the Congressional mandated annual caps - would first have to electronically register with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. Little Hope Seen "We see some hope. President Sir we would be very happy if you can clear the humongous Green Card backlog. You will become the undisputed leader for 1 million citizens in making," Jyotsna Sharma tweeted. "I have been here for 12 years. I came under j1 visa and then, through my scientific contributions, I earned a H1B visa. My green card process is pending for 4 years, and I have several coworkers, in similar situation. We are not criminals. We followed the rules. Help us!" one Ronald Herrera said. "Thanks a ton for giving a hope and assurance, legal immigrants are contributing to US economy (billion dollar companies, universities, real estate etc.,) and yet waiting for decades on certainty. #MAGA #legalimmigration #H1B," Indian techie Manofjoy tweeted. However, former Obama administration official Leon Fresco, who has been working among H-1B visa holders for the past two years cautioned against too much hope. "Dont get hopes up folks, as we know what has been said about DACA and actually done to DACA recipients, but if something helpful happens, be pleasantly shocked," he tweeted. great article here on the latest H-1B news. Dont get hopes up folks, as we know what has been said about DACA and actually done to DACA recipients, but if something helpful happens, be pleasantly shocked. https://t.co/mFiRLVsljw — Leon Fresco (@FrescoLeon) January 11, 2019 -Sowmya Sangam

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Tulsi Gabbard Announces 2020 Presidential Bid January 12, 2019 04:50

The first Hindu lawmaker in the United States Congress Tulsi Gabbard has said she is running for the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Gabbard, a four-time Democratic lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii, told CNN Friday: "I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week". More than 12 Democratic leaders including an Indian-origin Senator from California Kamala Harris are expected to announce their White House run to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020. Related Content: Kamala Harris to Decide on 2020 Presidential Bid Soon The Iraq war veteran has become the first-ever Hindu to be running for the presidency in the U.S. Gabbard, 37, who converted to Hinduism early in her life, is highly popular among Indian-Americans and is the second woman after Senator Elizabeth Warren to enter the presidential race from the Democratic party. If elected, she would be the youngest ever and first woman President of the United States. She would also be the first non-Christian and first Hindu to occupy the top post. However, at this point of time, American political pundits do not give her much chance. Hindus make up less than one percent of the American population, an overwhelming majority of whom are either from India or are people of Indian origin. Gabbard, a co-Chair of the powerful House India Caucus, was recently re-elected for the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii for the fourth consecutive term. A winner of the primary elections beginning early 2020 would be finally nominated by the Democratic party in its convention later that summer to challenge the Republican candidate in the November 2020 elections. President Trump has announced to seek his re-election. The winner of the Democratic primary would be pitted against him. Gabbard, who supported Senator Bernie Sanders against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, told the CNN that there are a lot of reasons for her to take this decision. "There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve," she said. She listed access to health care, criminal justice reform and climate change as key issues. "There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace. I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth when we make our announcement," Gabbard said. Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden has also expressed his interest in the 2020 bid. Rania Batrice, who was a deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and is now a top aide to Gabbard, will be her campaign manager, CNN reported. The 2020 presidential primary cycle is scheduled to commence from the Iowa Caucuses on February 3, 2020, followed by the New Hampshire Primary on February 11, Nevada caucus of February 15 and South Carolina on February 22. Among other Democrats expected to run for the 2020 primaries include Senators Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tim Kaine. -Sowmya Sangam

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Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul Suspended Over Sexist Comments January 11, 2019 13:05

Indian cricketers KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya have been suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in relation to Hardik's problematic comments on women on celebrity talk show Koffee With Karan.  The duo had appeared on an episode of the show which aired on January 6, and have drawn public ire after Hardik made sexist, misogynistic and racist comments on the show. While KL Rahul does not seem to have made such statements himself on the episode, he did not counter Hardik either. The duo has been omitted from the line-up for the opening One Day International in Sydney, Australia. This development comes even as an inquiry into their comments is pending. BCCI's Committee of Administrators (CoA) had recommended a two-ODI match ban for the players earlier and referred the matter to BCCI's legal cell. However, as the legal cell refused to term their problematic comments and behavior on the show as a violation of the code of conduct, CoA member Diana Edulji recommended that they are suspended pending further investigation into the issue. "It is imperative that players be put under suspension till the further course of action is decided for this misconduct as was done in case of (BCCI) CEO (Rahul Johri) when he was sent on leave on sexual harassment matter," Diana responded to the legal cell, reports PTI. Hardik and Rahul were not only criticized heavily on social media but also earned the disapproval of their captain Virat Kohli, who on Friday, denounced the statements made by them on Koffee With Karan, which is hosted by filmmaker-producer Karan Johar. Terming the comments as "inappropriate", the 30-year-old skipper said the belief in the dressing room is completely different from the individual comments of the two young players. "We as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers do not support such views," Kohli said ahead of the first ODI against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). "The two concerned players have realized what has gone wrong and they have understood the magnitude of what has happened," he said. Hardik had boasted about seeing multiple women on Koffee With Karan and his parent's pride in the same while being degrading towards women. He also made culturally appropriative comments like he was from “Black culture” which is why he liked to concentrate on how women moved in nightclubs rather than asking their names. Hardik has since issued a statement on Twitter, where he said, "After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologize to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way. Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone's sentiments. Respect." However, neither social media users nor the BCCI thought that his 'apology' was enough.  -Sowmya Sangam

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Social Media, Tech Giants to Fight New IT Regulations January 11, 2019 13:00

The technology and social media giants globally are setting up to fight sweeping new rules put forward by the Indian authorities that would necessitate them to actively regulate content in one of the world's biggest Internet markets, according to sources. The ministry of Information Technology proposed the rules on Christmas Eve that would compel platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook-owned WhatsApp remove unlawful content, such as anything that affected the "sovereignty and integrity of India". The rules proposed that this had to be done in 24 hours. The proposal, which caught many executives of holidaying industry off guard, is open for public comment until January 31. It will be and so adopted as law, with or without changes. The move comes ahead of India's general elections due by May and amid rising concerns that activists could misuse social media, particularly the WhatsApp messaging service, to circulate fake news and influence voters. The civil rights activists and industry executives say the rules smack of censorship and could be used by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government to increase surveillance and crack down on dissent. Social media companies have drawn-out battled efforts by governments around the world to hold them accountable for what users post on their platforms. The United States and India lobby groups, representing Facebook and other companies, have sought legal opinions from law firms on the impact of the federal proposal, and have started working on drafting objections to be filed with the IT ministry, four sources in the sector said. "The companies can't take this lying down. We are all concerned, it's fundamental to how these platforms are governed," said an executive at a global social media company. In India, an estimation of half a billion people has access to the Internet. Facebook has about 300 million users in the country and WhatsApp has more than 200 million. Tens of millions of Indians use Twitter. The new rules, the sources said, would put the privacy of users at risk and raise costs by requiring onerous round-the-clock monitoring of online content. Mozilla Corp, an internet firm said earlier this week the proposal was a "blunt and disproportionate" solution to the problem of harmful content online, and one which could lead to over-censorship and "chill free expression". The IT ministry has said the proposal was aimed at only making social media safer. "This is not an effort to curb freedom of speech, or (impose) censorship," Gopalakrishnan S., a joint secretary at India's IT ministry said on Saturday when the ministry ran a #SaferSocialMedia campaign on Twitter. Facebook and WhatsApp declined to comment. A Twitter spokesperson said the company continues to engage with the IT Ministry and civil society on the proposed rules. "This will be like a sword hanging on technology companies," said Nikhil Narendran, a partner specializing in technology law at Indian law firm Trilegal. Nevertheless, the proposal would further strain relations between India and global technology firms. They have been at odds since last year due to federal proposals requiring them to store more user data locally to better assist legal probes. The new rules, called "intermediary guidelines", also propose requiring companies with more than 5 million users in India to have a local office and a nodal officer for "24×7 coordination with law enforcement". When asked by a government agency or through a court order, companies should within 24 hours "remove or disable access" to "unlawful" content, they stipulate. The rules also mandate companies to reveal the origin of a message when asked, which if implemented would deal a blow to WhatsApp which boasts of end-to-end encryption to protect the privacy of the user. WhatsApp has battled criticism after fake messages about child kidnap gangs on its platform sparked mob lynchings in India earlier this year. "You have created a monster, you should have the ability to control the monster," a senior government official said, referring to WhatsApp. "We remain flexible in principle (to suggestions), but we definitely want them to be more accountable, especially the big companies," the official said. -Sowmya Sangam

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