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Showing posts from March, 2017

H-1B Visa Abuse; Flynn's Immunity Request; Muslim NATO's Pakistani Commander

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Why is H-1B visa abuse in the news? Why are Indian companies under suspicion as the chief abusers? Why does the lion's share of H-1B visas goes to Indians? Are H-1B visa holders replacing higher-paid ($95,000+ per year) American tech workers at significantly lower pay ($60,000 per year)? What proposals are under discussion to control this abuse?



How has President Trump performed in his first two months since inauguration? Why has he lost the key battles for Muslim ban and Obamacare repeal/replace?

Why is President Trump's ex NSA General Michael Flynn seeking immunity from prosecution before offering testimony in the investigation of Trump campaign's Russia links? Did he do something that could lead to his criminal prosecution without immunity? What possible impact would Flynn's testimony have on the Trump presidency?

What are the objectives of the Saudi coalition force variously described as "Muslim NATO" or "anti-Shia" alliance? What signal does th…

Nielsen: Pakistan Consumer Confidence Highest Since 2008

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Consumer confidence index in Pakistan jumped five point from the prior quarter to reach 106 in Q4/2016, according to Nielsen’s global survey of consumer confidence for 63 countries released recently.


Here's an excerpt of Nielsen's report Africa/Middle East region that includes Pakistan:

"Consumer confidence in the Africa/Middle East region declined in the fourth quarter, falling four points to 83, the lowest level in more than three years. Confidence was highest in United Arab Emirates, which held steady from the third quarter at 108. Pakistan was the only country where consumer confidence moved in a positive direction, rising five points from the third quarter to 106, the highest score for the country since it was added to the survey in 2008."

The share of Pakistani respondents worried about job security dropped to 21%.  51% of Pakistanis said they are optimistic about better job opportunities in the next 12 months, according to the survey.

“The findings of the cons…

H1B Visa Abuse: What Do Software Engineers Earn in India and Pakistan?

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A segment of CBS 60 Minutes, top rated American newsmagazine on television, has recently brought sharp focus on H1B visa abuse. It alleges that the H1B visas are being misused by Indian body shops to bring low-cost Indian software engineers to the United States to replace higher-paid American workers.

H1B Visa Abuse:

The visa category was originally intended to help fill gaps in the high-tech workforce with highly skilled employees from abroad in situations where there aren’t enough Americans. Instead, it has given rise to body shops that bring in workers from overseas, mainly from India, to replace higher-paid American workers.

Recent examples of the firing of American IT workers and their replacement by Indian workers at UC San Francisco and Walt Disney and Co have received a lot of media attention. What has particularly incensed the American public is the practice of forcing the American workers to train their replacements.

Labor Cost Savings:

A loophole in H-1B legislation that US c…

World Happiness Report 2017: Pakistan Tops South Asia

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World Happiness Report 2017 ranks Pakistan (score 5.269) at 80, well ahead of the rest of South Asia.

The latest world happiness report released on March 20, 2017 ranks Bhutan (score 5.011) at 97, Nepal (4.962) at 99, Bangladesh (4.608) at 110, Sri Lanka (4.44) at 120, India (4.315) at 122 and Afghanistan (3.794) at 141 among 155 nations surveyed.



Norway (7.537) has the highest score that combines economic, health and polling data compiled by economists that are averaged over three years from 2014 to 2016. Denmark (7.522) ranks second followed by Iceland (7.504), Switzerland (7.494) and Finland (7.469) making the top 5.


At the bottom are Sub-Saharan African nations of Tanzania (3.349) at 153, Burundi (2.905) at 154 and Central African Republic (2.693) at 155. War-torn Syria (3.462) is at 152.

World Happiness Report 2017 offers the following rationale for its annual happiness measurement exercise:

"The first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN H…

Trump Slump in Tourism; Corruption in South Asia; Imran Khan on PSL Final

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How does President Trump's latest travel ban on citizens of 6 Muslim nations differ from his earlier executive order blocked by courts? Will the new order face similar block? What is the economic impact of Trump's travel ban on US travel and tourism industry? Will it lead to increased trade deficit and job losses?

What does the latest Transparency International's Asia survey say about the prevalence of bribery in India and Pakistan? Which countries are the best and the worst? Who are the biggest victims of such bribery? The rich or the poor?

Why is Imran Khan critical of the successful Pakistan Super League final in Lahore, Pakistan? Why did he denigrate foreign players who came to Pakistan to play the final? Does his language border on racism? What did PMLN's Javed Lateef say about PTI's Murad Saeed and his sisters that so enraged Murad Saeed and Imran Khan? Is such verbal and physical abuse justified for parliamentarians?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Aza…

Proliferation of Cyber Warfare Capabilities in South Asia

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Recent reports of Russian hacks of the American Democratic Party's election campaign staff to influence the outcome of US elections have brought international cyber espionage in sharp focus once again. How many nations have such capabilities? What are their names? Are India and Pakistan among them?

Pakistan is believed to be among a couple of dozen nations with serious cyber espionage capabilities. This belief has been strengthened among the cyber security community since Operation Arachnophobia is suspected to have originated in Pakistan.

Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage:

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius frequently writes about the activities of intelligence agencies and often cites "anonymous" intelligence sources to buttress his opinions. He is also a novelist who draws upon his knowledge to write spy thrillers.

Ignatius's 2011 fiction "Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage" features a computer science professor Dr. Omar who teaches at a Pakistani univ…

Transparency International Says India Most Corrupt in Asia

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A Transparency International (TI) study of 16 Asian countries, including India and Pakistan, has found that India has the highest bribery rate.  69% of survey respondents in India said they have paid a bribe, given a gift or done a favor to receive government services like education and health care. Vietnam follows with 65%, Thailand 41% and Pakistan 40%. China reported a much lower 26%.



The Transparency International study released in March 2017 is part of a regional series for the Global Corruption Barometer.  22,000 people participated in the survey to answer questions about their recent experiences with corruption in 16 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific region.

The study found that Japan has the lowest incidence of bribery at 0.2 per cent. South Korea and Australia recorded 3% each, Hong Kong 2% and Taiwan 6%. While 46% to 60% of Indians say they paid bribes for various public services, including in public schools and hospitals and for getting IDs, voter cards and perm…

Trump Slump: Muslim Travel Ban Hurting US Tourism Industry

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U.S. President Donald Trump's revised travel ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority countries will not reduce its impact on tourism, according to Taleb Rifai,  the head of UN World Tourism Organization. "People don't go to places where they don't feel welcome," he added.

Reports indicate that foreign travelers from many non-Muslim majority countries have also been met with hostility by US officials upon arrival in the United States.

Mem Fox, author of children's books advocating tolerance and acceptance, was detained by U.S. immigration officials as she arrived in America to give a talk about the importance of tolerance and acceptance, the Washington Post reported.  She said "the manner in which we were interrogated — in public view about really private information — was terrible. It was the insolence that was beyond mind-boggling.”

Hopper, an app which uses data to predict and analyze airfares, says that its research indicates that searches for flights t…