Motorcycles loaded at Kasargod led to fire mishap on board Mangaluru - Thiru’puram train; supervisor suspended

News Network
January 17, 2021

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Kasaragod, Jan 17: A major calamity was averted following the timely detection of a fire in Malabar Express which was moving from Mangaluru to Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. 

According to sources, the train (No 06630) which left Mangaluru on Saturday evening met with the mishap at Edava on Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram border area by Sunday morning. 

The fire broke out from the parcel van close to the engine and a gatekeeper who spotted the smoke alerted the authorities and the fire was swiftly put out.

A commercial supervisor of Kasargod railway station, Narayan Naik, was placed under suspension after a preliminary enquiry found that the fire originated from two motorcycles improperly loaded from Kasargod. A detailed probe into the incident was also on, railway sources said.

The incident took place by around 7.35 am. After the train left Paravur station in Kollam district and was proceeding towards Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram, a gate keeper near the Edava station noticed the smoke and alerted the Varkala station authorities. 

The message was immediately passed on the loco pilot of the train and the train was stopped and loco pilot and guard tried to extinguish the fire. Fire and Rescue Services personnel too joined and the fire was put out before spreading.

Passengers who got panicked and remained off the coaches while the fire fighting was going on. Passengers said that burning smell was persisting for some time and they were under the impression that it would be from outside. After safety inspections, the train resumed the journey to Thiruvananthapuram.

Railway sources said that there were not much luggage in the parcel van as most luggage were already offloaded at stations prior to Paravur. Estimation of loss to property was being determined.

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Agencies
February 25,2021

Joe Biden revokes Donald Trump-era ban on issuance of green cards | World  News – India TV

Washington, Feb 25: President Joe Biden has lifted a freeze on green cards issued by his predecessor during the pandemic that lawyers said was blocking most legal immigration to the United States.

Former President Donald Trump last spring halted the issuance of green cards until the end of 2020 in the name of protecting the coronavirus-wracked job market a reason that Trump gave to achieve many of the cuts to legal immigration that had eluded him before the pandemic.

Trump on December 31 extended those orders until the end of March.

Trump had deemed immigrants a risk to the US labour market and blocked their entry to the United States in issuing Proclamation 10014 and Proclamation 10052.

Biden stated in his proclamation on Wednesday that shutting the door on legal immigrants does not advance the interests of the United States".

To the contrary, it harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world," Biden stated in his proclamation.

Most immigrant visas were blocked by the orders, according to immigration lawyers.

As many as 120,000 family-based preference visas were lost largely because of the pandemic-related freeze in the 2020 budget year, according to the American Immigrant Lawyers Association. Immigrants could not bring over family members unless they were US citizens applying for visas for their spouses or children under the age of 21.

It also barred entry to immigrants with employment-based visas unless they were considered beneficial to the national interest such as health care professionals.

And it slammed the door on thousands of visa lottery winners who were randomly chosen from a pool of about 14 million applicants to be given green cards that would let them live permanently in the United States.

The blocked visas add to a growing backlog that has reached 437,000 for family-based visas alone, said California immigration lawyer Curtis Morrison, who represented thousands of people blocked by the freeze.

I'm thrilled for my clients who are now in a position that they can now enter the US," he said. But that backlog will take years if the administration does not take ambitious measures."

A federal judge last year issued a ruling that all but lifted Proclamation 10052 by allowing temporary foreign workers to enter the United States if their employers are members of the US Chamber of Commerce or several other large organisations that represent much of the US economy.

But Proclamation 10014 continued to block thousands of immigrants.

Immigration lawyers said they were surprised Biden did not immediately lift the freeze like he did with Trump's travel ban imposed against people from mostly Muslim-majority countries. As a result, some immigrants blocked by the travel ban found they still could not come to the United States because of the freeze.

Biden's actions come only days after thousands of visa lottery winners at risk of having their visas expire won a court order that put their visas on hold by the judge in the case. Now they will be allowed to use their visas to enter the country.

The United States makes available up to 55,000 visas a year for immigrants whose nationalities are under-represented in the US population. The visas must be used within six months of being obtained.

Meanwhile, Biden has proposed legislation that would limit presidential authority to issue future bans against immigrants.

The president has not said whether there will be any redress for visa lottery winners who lost out because of the pandemic-era policies. But he is calling for the US to increase the number of diversity visas available via the lottery each year from 55,000 to 80,000.

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Agencies
February 23,2021

Organisations in India projecting 7.7% salary increase in 2021: Survey |  Business Standard News

New Delhi, Feb 23: Companies in India are likely to offer a 7.7 per cent salary increase in 2021, one of the highest among the BRIC nations, and higher than the average actual increase of 6.1 per cent in 2020, says a survey.

Global professional services firm Aon Plc on Tuesday released insights from its latest Salary Increase Survey in India, as per which 88 per cent of the surveyed companies reported that they intend to increase salaries in 2021, as compared to 75 per cent companies in 2020, reflecting positive business sentiment.

The study, that analysed data across 1,200 companies from more than 20 industries noted that while salary increments indicate strong recovery, the Code of Wages could be a gamechanger.

"We expect the increment dynamics for 2021 to play out over a longer period of time given the uncertainty and potential impact of forthcoming changes," Nitin Sethi, partner and Chief Executive Officer of Aon's performance and rewards business in India, said.

The proposed definition of wages under the new Labor Codes could lead to additional compensation budgeting in the form of higher provisioning for Benefit plans like gratuity, leave encashment and provident fund, Sethi noted.

"We expect organisations to review their compensation budgets in the second half of the year once the exact financial impact of the Labor Codes is known. It is also possible that some of the salary increments may not translate into higher cash-in-hand for employees if organisations choose to pay higher provident fund contributions on the new definition of Wages," he said.

As per the survey, sectors with the highest projected increases include, e-commerce and venture capital, hi-tech/information technology, ITeS, life sciences. On the contrary, sectors with the lowest projected increases include hospitality/restaurants, real estate/infrastructure, engineering services.

It further noted that attrition has been one of the lowest in the last few years at 12.8 per cent, which talks about the maturity of India Inc and also lesser opportunity for people to move as they preferred to wait and watch.

Despite a tough 2020 with stringent lockdowns, India continues to project the highest salary increases among the BRIC nations, the survey noted.

"The highest-paying sectors in 2021 continue to be the ones from last year – information technology, information technology-enabled services, life sciences, e-commerce and fast-moving consumer goods," said Roopank Chaudhary, a partner in Aon's human capital business in India.

Chaudhary further noted that "It's notable that the sectors that were adversely impacted by Covid-19, such as retail, hospitality and real estate, are projecting healthy increases in the range of 5-6 per cent. Such numbers reflect their intent to stay relevant and to control attrition, which had increased for these industries last year." 

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News Network
February 26,2021

Kozhikode, Feb 26: A large haul of explosives - more than 100 gelatin sticks and 350 detonators - were seized from a train passenger in Kerala at the Kozhikode Railway Station, officials said.

The Railway Protection Force or the RPF seized the explosives from a woman passenger of the Chennai-Mangaluru Express.

Ramani, who is a native of Tamil Nadu, has been taken into custody; the explosives were kept under the seats. She admitted bringing gelatin sticks for the use of digging well, sources said.

Police, however, said they're probing the incident from all angles. 

The state elections are due to be held in Kerala in April-May.

More details are awaited. 

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