Good news for expats! UAE opens citizenship to scientists, doctors, artists, authors

News Network
January 30, 2021

Dubai, Jan 30: The UAE has adopted law amendments that allow granting Emirati citizenship to investors, specialised talents and professionals.

The professionals include scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, authors and their families.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the new law on Saturday.

"The new directives aim to attract talents that contribute to our development journey," he tweeted.

The UAE Cabinet, local Emiri courts and executive councils will nominate those eligible for the citizenship "under clear criteria set for each category", he explained.

"The law allows receivers of the UAE passport to keep their existing citizenship."

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News Network
September 23,2021

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Bengaluru, Sep 23: A delegation of Catholic bishops of Karnataka, led by Archbishop of Bangalore Reverend Peter Machado, met Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to voice their opinion over a proposed law to ban religious conversions in the state.

They also spoke about a host of other topics, including inclusion of representatives of Christian managements in committees formed to implement the new National Education Policy (NEP).

In a statement issued here on Thursday said Machado said they had expressed displeasure over recent allegations against the community, terming it “malicious” and “untrue”. The Archbishop of Bangalore Archdiocese highlighted that hundreds of schools, colleges, and hospitals were operated under the aegis of each bishop. “There are about a lakh students but none have been advised to get converted to Christianity. Some minor events might have taken place which have been blown out of proportion now,” he added.

While speaking about the need for an anti-conversion Bill in the Assembly, Hosadurga BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekhar had recently claimed that religious conversions were “rampant” across the state. The MLA had also said 15,000 to 20,000 people, including his own mother, were converted to Christianity in his constituency.

Responding to this, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had said the state government was considering bringing in a law to regulate religious conversion. “The issue (of religious conversions) has come to the government’s notice. Converting people from one religion to another by inducing them is a punishable offence. We will keep a strict vigil on such activities. There is a wide network working on religious conversions across the country,” Jnanendra had said in his reply in the Assembly.

When asked about the same, Machado said, “Someone is trying to malign us. While the issue is being debated in the Assembly, we have reminded people not to do such things. It is not right if someone approaches people, hands over the book and a cross, and converts them. We, too, have a conscience and moral responsibility. We are not forcing anyone.”

In a memorandum submitted to the CM on Wednesday said the bishops noted that such a law would lead to “unnecessary communal issues and unrest” with many more controversial statements and reactions made following the same.

The memorandum also noted the need to include representation from Christian managements in the NEP implementation committees. “Even though thousands of educational institutions are being managed by members from the community, we would like to bring to your notice that there is no Christian representation in various committees formed to implement NEP,” the letter read.

The bishops also urged Bommai to establish a Christian Development Board under the government to ensure their welfare and address demands made by the community on various fronts.

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News Network
September 19,2021

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Bengaluru, Sept 19: Hallegere Shankar, the aggrieved editor of a Kannada newspaper has held his deceased wife responsible for his family tragedy, wherein four members committed suicide and allowed a child to starve to death. 

In an eight-page police complaint on Saturday, Hallegere Shankar stated that his wife, Bharathi, 51, was the root cause of endless disputes in the family. He alleged that she didn’t allow their daughters to live with their husbands, thereby wrecking their marital lives. 

On Friday evening, Shankar’s wife, daughters Sinchana, 34, Sindhurani, 31, and son Madhusagar, 25, were found hanging in the family’s home in Thigalarapalya, off Magadi Road. Sindhurani’s nine-month-old baby boy was found dead on a bed, apparently starved to death. Sinchana’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter was rescued from a state of near-starvation. 

Police suspect that the three women killed themselves on September 13 and Madhusagar ended his life two days later because his body was not as decomposed as the other three corpses. 

In the complaint, Shankar made several allegations against his family members but laid the most blame on his deceased wife. 

He stated that she often egged their daughters to stay away from their husbands. Whenever the daughters complained of petty issues in their marital lives, Bharathi supported them instead of counselling them. Both Sinchana and Sindhurani had been living with their parents for the past one and a half years. Twenty days ago, Sindhurani allegedly consumed some pills and later filed a police complaint against her husband, Srikanth. Sinchana had similar fights with her husband Praveen Kumar. 

A fight for Rs 10 lakh

Madhusagar wanted to open a bar in Ittamadu and had spent lakhs on setting up the business. He got the excise licence and had asked for his father’s signature on some papers. Shankar refused, resulting in another fight. 

On September 12, Shankar had a heated argument with his family over two issues. He had asked his wife and son to give him Rs 10 lakh for building an ashram. They said no. All the money was in his wife’s custody, and she gave it to him whenever needed. 

The same day, Bharathi and Sindhurani quarrelled with Shankar over holding the sacramental ear-piercing ceremony for the infant. Fed up with these issues, Shankar left home in a huff and returned on Friday evening only to discover the deaths. 

After his father left home, Madhusagar tried calling him and texted him, promising to pay Rs 10 lakh but Shankar chose not to respond. 

All the five bodies were handed over to the family on Saturday after the post mortem at Victoria Hospital. The last rites were performed at the Sumanahalli crematorium. 

While police are waiting for autopsy reports, a senior officer quoted doctors as saying that the nine-month-old baby had starved to death. 

IAS/IPS dreams

Shankar’s deceased daughters, Sinchana and Sindhurani, had been preparing for UPSC exams and aspired to get into IAS/IPS, police sources say. 

Sinchana was an MBA graduate while Sindhurani had studied engineering. Their brother, Madhusagar, also an engineer, worked for a nationalised bank. 

Police are checking the text messages and phone calls of the four deceased persons and questioning the relatives to verify Shankar’s allegations. 

Investigators questioned Shankar’s sons-in-law, Kumar and Srikanth, about when and why their wives left them and what they had done to bring them back. 

Surviving child stable 

Sinchana and Kumar’s daughter, rescued from a state of near-starvation, is recovering in a hospital. Kumar was horrified to learn that the child went without food for days. Madhusagar, who the police believe took his life two days later, had fed something to the child. The child may not have eaten anything after he also ended his life. 

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News Network
September 15,2021

New Delhi, Sept 15: After its recent withdrawal from the Afghanistan, the United States has hinted that it has been in talks with the government of India for using airfields in India as “staging areas” for carrying out aerial surveillance and launching attacks on terrorists in Pak-Afghan region.

President Joe Biden’s administration is “deeply engaged” with New Delhi, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said, testifying before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives – the lower house of the American Congress.

He was responding to Republican Party’s Representative Mark E Green, who asked if the Biden Administration had reached out to New Delhi for using “over-the-horizon” capabilities from “staging areas” in north-west India for neutralising potential threats to the United States in and around Afghanistan, in view of the collusion between the Taliban and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

 “We are deeply engaged with India across the board,” Blinken replied to Green.

He, however, did not share the details of the discussion between the two governments on the US launching drones from India for keeping watch on terrorist infrastructures in Afghanistan.

“With regard to any specifics about over-the-horizon capabilities and the plans we put in place or continue to put in place, I would rather take that up in a different setting,” Blinken replied to Green.

The Taliban of late returned to power in Afghanistan through a swift military campaign across the country taking advantage of the withdrawal of the US troops.

Biden and other senior officials of his administration in Washington DC repeatedly stated over the past few weeks that the US had sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to neutralise the threat posed by Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda – the objectives, which had been achieved over the past two decades.

Though terrorism continued to remain a threat and spread around the world, the US no longer required to deploy a large number of soldiers overseas to combat the menace as it had now developed the “over-the-horizon” capabilities of carrying out aerial surveillance and launch drones to eliminate such threats, they argued, justifying the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

But what may limit the US' capabilities of launching drone attacks on the terrorists and terror infrastructures in the region is the fact that some of the airbases it had earlier used for the purpose are no longer available to it after its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The nearest airbases the US can use are in Qatar, Kuwait and other countries in the Gulf and far away from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region where the targets may be located – a fact Green pointed out while asking Blinken about the Biden Administration’s discussion with New Delhi.

New Delhi did not officially make any comment on Green’s query or the reply given by Blinken.

The Commander of the US Special Operations Command, General Richard D Clarke, had visited New Delhi in July and held a meeting with the Indian Army chief Gen M M Naravane.

Admiral John C Aquilino, Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, also visited New Delhi and held a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, just about 10 days after the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan.

India is a “major defence partner” of the US and the two nations had inked a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, creating a framework to support each other's aircraft, ships and personnel with logistics, fuel and spares.

They also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018 and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) in 2020 to enable the exchange of geospatial information between the two countries. 

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