Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-28 11:12 PM
    A pair of gloves

    A young man wanted to purchase a gift for his new sweetie for Valentine's Day. As they had not been very long, it was very difficult decision. After careful consideration he decided a good gift would be a pair of gloves. Accompanied by his sister, he went to the store and bought the gloves. His sister purchased a pair of panties at the same time.

    The clerk carefully wrapped both items but in the process got them mixed up. The sister was handed the gloves and the young man got the panties.

    The young man mailed his Valentine's Day gift with the following note:

    "This special Valentines Day gift was chosen because I noticed you are in the habit of not wearing any when we go out in the evenings.

    These are a lovely shade, the lady I bought them from showed me the pair she had been wearing for the past three weeks and they were hardly soiled. I had her try yours on for me and they looked quite lovely.

    I wish I was there to put them on you for the first time; no doubt, other hands will come into contact with them before I have a chance to see you again.

    Just think how many times I'll be kissing them in the future. I hope you'll wear them Friday night for me.

    Love, Cuddle Bear

    p.s. The sales lady says the latest style is to wear them folded down with just a little fur showing."

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  • damialok
    03-27 03:55 PM
    All good points, As always with Real Estate, its Location, Location and Location. So the decision to buy a home depends on where you are. My analysis was more towards the Bay Area market where prices have held steady except in periphery markets and neighborhoods which had lot of new construction. Demographics here are dual incomes, steady jobs, limited housing/new construction and strong tech sector(due to the global nature).

    One thing I believe is that, Mortgage rates are probably at the lowest we will see for a while. If you time it right, maybe you can go another 50 basis points lower but generally its quite low.

    Now, is the price of a home lowest? New home owners GENERALLY dont consider the price of the home but rather the MONTHLY payments. How much will it cost me monthly to own this home? And this is what drives the price of a home. So the price partially depends on the mortgage rate, type of mortgage(5-1 ARM, 30 year, 40 year etc).

    Finally another major thing to consider is the loan process. With the recent changes, its got much tougher. My company almost has a freeze on new loans and except for refi the rest is frozen. Tighter conditions like

    DTI ratio less than 35%
    LTV ratio not more than 90%
    For Pre-approval you need to show atleast 10% in liquid assets.

    will certainly slow down things even further.

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  • xyzgc
    01-03 05:56 PM

    Will you accept responsibility of Gujrat Massacre first ?
    and hand over all those to International Criminal Court..

    Will you accept responsibility of Babri Mosque demolation?

    India and media continues to talk about proof but why that proof is not share with UN, Interpoo ? Why so hush hush...I am sure you know that both sided dont even truct opposite umpires in cricket match...and you think Pakistan government will just believe on Indian word that 'they have proof"..

    point is...Pakistanis and Pakistani state is not responsible for Mubmai attacks. We have suffered on hands of these extremist just like you have.. we had 60+ suicide bombings, hundreds of civilians killed, Marriot Blast...

    point is...India and Indians are not responsible for Babri Mosque demolations or Gujrat Massacre..you have suffered enough like us.

    War is not solution...you will be naive to think that Pakistan will not retaliate..in matter of minutes..both sides will loose many able folks during war..and that is what terrorists want..

    Need of hour is to condem these acts in any way shape or form in Pakistan, India, Kashmir etc..and work together to weed these elements out..

    I have many close Indian friends and believe me, from deep of my heart, I dont mean any harm whatsoever..and I am sure they dont mean harm to me as well.

    I wish both sides can site on table, have chai or lasse and start talks on following items:

    1. How to curb terrorism in India and Pakistan and Afghanistan..
    I have no doubt that if both sides do this, we can weed these nuts
    2. We must somehow find some solution to Kashmir ...it fuels nuts all around the world. It bogs down Pakistan and India and stops any cooperation.
    I am Kashmiri..and it doesnot matter who fires ...in Indian Adminstred Kashmir or Pakistani Adminstred Kashmir, my people get killed..
    If UK can live with Germany and France after bitter WWII ..we sure can...
    3. I am for Open Visas...so both sides can travel freely..As India develops its economy further, it can outsource many activities to 30 M Pakistani youth
    4. Lets excahnge prisoners ..those are poor people rotting in jails for no reasons..and even if there is some stupid reason, ask Presidents to pardon them...

    You work in US and know every issue needs compromise, discussion and then something gets done..

    You are a Kashmiri muslim.
    Will you accept the responsibility of making hundreds of thousands Kashimiri pandits homeless? Will you accept the responsibility for the Godhra attack?
    Do you have a time machine that can take you back to 1600 A.D and stop the evil islamic barbarics from pillaging our land? Can you? Or you need a proof for that as well to interpol?

    1. To curb terrorism, Pakistan must destroy all the terror camps. Its not doing it, its not handing over any terrorists, what's the point of having cup of chai and talking non-sense?

    2. You are a Kashmiri. Tell us, what is a possible solution? India will not hand over the remainder of the Kashmir because part of the Kashmir is already occupied by Pakistan. Period. Now, do you have a solution?

    3. You are open for open visas. What good will it do except for terrorists to come in freely and legally?

    4. By exchanging prisoners you mean hand over the terrorists, right. Hand over Afzal and Kasam and the other butchers. And ask president to pardon them.
    Sorry, won't happen.

    What else?

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  • ita
    01-03 11:10 PM
    But doing circles doesn't make it any less complex...one long post or may be few more (if one had something new to say ) would be any day better than doing circles. Anyways suit yourself if you are getting a kick out of it.

    Thank you.

    I try to avoid long posts, as well as obviously silly ones. I also pick and choose sometimes.
    Otherwise it takes up a lot of time.

    Let me try to sum up my logic, and my beliefs. I'll try to be brief.

    1) There are militants running around in Pakistan that want to provoke India into a conflict with Pakistan. These are the same people who blew up Marriot in Islamabad, and killed Benazir, and tried to kill Musharraf twice.
    2) If they succeed in starting an India/Pakistan 'cricket match', that would provide them with relief, and give them more room and more chances to grow.
    3) If they don't succeed, they will probably try again, and again, until they DO succeed, which would be a disaster. And therefore, it is absolutely necessary that Pakistan investigates and gets to the bottom of Bombay.
    Unfortunately, in Pakistan, I am seeing denial. That is not good.
    4) Steps that convert the situation into an India-Pakistan cricket match must be avoided. In the past, India and Pakistan have tried to score points against each other, and supported insurgencies and tried to destabilize the other country. Some of that probably goes on today as well. So, this childish and silly cricket match should stop.

    So, that probably sums up what I think. I don't know if I contradict myself anywhere; maybe I do. But its a very complex situation, with no easy answers.


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  • Refugee_New
    01-06 12:30 PM
    Now the killing has gone mad. Apart from killing the innocent civilians, crazy war mongers started bombing schools and killing innocent school kids. Today two schools were bombed and more than 40 children have been massacred.

    Its sad to see school children being brutally killed by missles and tanks. I don't understand how people could blow up innocent kids, women and men under the name of self-defence?

    This world has gone crazy and there's no one questioning about this in-human atrocities committed against fellow human being.

    Lets us pray for those who are going thru this hardship, and for an immediate end to this war crime.

    How many more innocent civilians including children they are planning to kill?. All these so called peace loving nations blocking the UN from making a cease-fire resolution. Looks like so called freedom lovers want more innocent lives.

    When Mumbai was attacked by terrorists, whole world was united and supported the victim(India). Now the same world is against the victim and encouraging more killing by not stopping the attrocities.

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  • bharol
    01-06 11:26 PM
    Exactly, its about how many people care about the issue. If terrorists kill innocent civilians, first thing they'll say is "Islamic Terrorism". Don't tell me media around the world didn't use this term. Anything and everything blamed on religion and people following the religion.

    There is a reason for that. The organizations which claim responsibility for such attacks have names like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Deccan Mujahiddin... Now I don't have to explain the meanings of their names. Then they say they are doing Jihad!

    Why would somebody not call them Islamic terrorists?

    Now that does not mean all followers of Islam are Islamic-terrorists.


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  • sanju
    12-17 05:34 PM
    the mumbai incident was a terrible one. the guilty must be punished to the fullest extent, be it people from any background doing it in the name of religion.

    In the same way the people in this forum should have been angry/troubled over the killings in orissa where innocent christians were beaten, raped, killed, burned alive, home destroyed and chased from the homes to the jungles just because of their faith. this sort of crimes against christians is taking place throughout many parts of India. I am sure this will not go unpunished on the people who did/do these terrible things. the punishment may be delayed, but I am 100% sure it's going to be devastating on the people. mark my words. 'Coz I believe there is a God above, who watches and at the appointed time the punishment will come.

    But the bible also says that God is forgiving. The Bible says the following:
    "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John; chap 1 verse 9)

    Also it says in the book of John (chapter 3 verse 16):
    "For God so loved the world (mankind) that he gave his son Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice (for the sins of mankind), that whoever believes in Him (and repent), shall not perish but have eternal life".

    Look, your intensions may be good and I respect that, but one cannot solve one problem by creating another problem of equal magnitude.

    Isn't "religion" the reason why folks are fighting? I do not mean to offend anyone, but I think all religious books have been doctored by the kings who were in power during the last two centuries. Bible, Geeta, Quran, or for that matter any religious book of any organized religion - they are all doctored from its original version. Why? Because the purpose of these books is? Guess what? To oragnize the religion. Their primary purpose is not spirituality. Because if the sole purpose was spirituality, no one will have fought each other in the name of religion for thousands of years.

    I guess the question I would ask is - WWJD ie. What Would Jesus Do? If you asked Jesus that are you the only son of god, WWJD? I can tell you with 100% surety that he will say - we are all sons and daughters of God. But con artists have doctored the holy book to suit their meaning and interpretation. Anyways, I do not mean to have a philisophical debate here with you being the "protector" of Jesus, why? Because Jesus or Allah or for that matter any great soul doesn't need any protection from anyone. Just as a cartoon cannot damage Allah, any discussion about any faith cannot damage the GOD. But too often we want to be seen as if "God is on MY side" because I follow CORRECT religion, and everyone else is against my team of "ME & GOD". And thats just the most absurd thing mankind could come up with in the form of organized religion. But the truth is, thats the most common view most humans take, everyone is protecting their "GOD", which actually sounds like a joke. Does god need any protection??? I mean give me a break.

    Please don't bring one flawed system to replace another flawed system.

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  • gchopes
    06-24 10:33 PM
    Why are be debating 3 - 4 years rent vs own? As the subject indicates "long" term prospects of buying a home..we of all the ppl should know the meaning of the word "long" based on our "long" wait for PD (which I think should be renamed to retrogress date because I see nothing priority about it)..the point being lets debate 10 years rent vs own..as against 3-4...I think over a 10 year timeline the buyers would come out ahead of the renters..maybe not in CA but in other states that's quite likely..


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  • miguy
    08-08 06:25 PM
    Actually; I didn't think it was courageous at all. I had to practice what I preach.

    One of the reasons they ask for tax returns, w2's is they want to assess your intentions; if tax returns, etc. , is out of line with offered wage then it can make them think that it is not believable you will be doing that job once greencard gets approved.

    Once 485 is filed; you are in a period of authorized stay. At that point; you can sit around and do nothing; switch jobs, etc.; However; to keep working you need to have authorization (ie., EAD card if you don't hold H-1b).

    I didn't prepare my personal tax returns on purpose because uscis could have assessed my intentions differently. When I asked him why he wanted to see the tax returns for 2005 and 2006; even though I have unrestricted employment and I can do nothing if I please; he responded it was to assess intention. Since he saw I was self employed; if my tax returns were out of line with the offered job I was going to take upon greencard approval then they may not believe it.

    Now; I didn't give him any financial data for 2005 and 2006. Although this is legal; if I was going to port to self employment then he could have assessed whether I was going to become a public charge or how I was living in 2005 and 2006. I had all my financial documents (ie., bank balances, brokerage account); just in case he went down this road.

    he didn't but just in case he wanted to; I was ready for it.

    Hi Unitednations,
    I have a little problem. I am a canadian citizen on H1b and used to commute across the border everyday. I work for Ford and every year during christmas we get a week long vacation. My contracting company does not pay me for the xmas break. So, I filed for unemployment compensation in michigan for that week - reason - temporary layoff (as a Canadian Citizen you can collect unemployment from michigan......thats what my US citizen colleagues do every year........Does this mean I was out of status for that week?....Can this cause my I-485 to get rejected? (I have done it twice in 5 years)

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  • HawaldarNaik
    12-26 07:48 PM
    I like Amma's post, pretty good, well thought out and i stand corrected, in my earlier remarks. Good Post Amma indeed...


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  • mariner5555
    04-14 03:09 PM
    You will never learn. Anyways, if you read my earlier posts you would know that I have said that people who most people who live in apartments would be having valid reasons. I have also said that if I were in CA. I would be living in an apartment too. I am never against renting or living in an apartment, but I am against renting when it makes perfect sense to buy and when the time is right (which of course is NOT NOW).

    My counter arguments are for people who were scaring people into not buying a house when things are conducive for them. Note, when I say conducive it means all things considered as in the time is right, they have a good job, have found a very good deal in a location having a very good school and they have found something which has an extra room when their elderly parents visit them.
    I can say the same about you. let me clarify too ..and let me stop this since I (and I guess you) have better things to do
    my arguments were for people who are being pressurised to buy as if in 3 months prices will go sky high. or for those who are saying that owning a (big)house = better life ..(both are incorrect from a different angle ..so look for your own angle ..for eg you need space ..(u get space but maintenance is more).
    if you have atleast a GC, good savings / or super pay, find a good deal (good location with less commute time) and you need the space ..then buy a house.
    there is an excess of supply and v.low demand (compared to past) ..so if you can wait for some time to get a correct place then wait (and maybe keep looking / doing research etc) ..the worst thing you can do on a EAD (and in uncertain times) is rush and buy just because somebody told you to do that. the bottom line is ..this was a massive massive bubble ..something that has never occured on this scale ..and housing will be down for a long long time ..so it makes sense to wait for a GC atleast.

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  • unitednations
    03-25 02:54 PM
    I heard from the grapevine that UNITEDNATIONS will be the next USCIS chief - so folks better behave with him or he wil report ya all :D :D :D :D

    My first order is greencards for everyone then next time people will see me would be at my funeral after the anti immigrants knocked me and obama off.:D


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  • gc_on_demand
    09-30 04:45 PM
    If Obama becomes president can he restore the faith of high-skilled immigrant who play by the books and still have to wait for decades to get their Green Card.

    After graduating with a Electrical engg degree from a top school in India, I got a job with a world leading semiconductor company. I first came to USA almost 12 years ago on a business trip as part of a multinational chip design effort for high end Telecommunication market. I was very impressed with the group of professionals I worked with. I felt the work environment stimulated the creativity in me and brought the best out of me. After the short trip I went back to my home country but that visit left a lasting impression on me and I felt USA would be the place I can further my professional abilities. Couple of years later, I came to USA for my Masters to embark on that journey. Even though I graduated when the US economy was in recession (2001), my unique skill set was much sought after and hence I got a job with a R&D startup division of a popular Japanese company. Working with a great group of professionals brought out the creativity in me. I currently have 10 US patents. The sailing was smooth until I started my Green Card process. The outdated immigration system and the long wait in the limbo state has been impacting my professional and personal life. I am starting to doubt that my American dream is slipping away day by day. I hope if Obama becomes the president he would restore some credibility to my faith in the immigration system. But if Sen. Durbin is driving Obama's immigration policy then I fear even more long waits for high-skilled immigrants because of Sen. Durbin's aggressive stance against H1B's. Mean while I have started to look at immigrant friendly countries like Australia and Canada as my possible future destination.

    Obama has mentioned many times on the campaign trail that "his education" is the reason why he has risen to where he is now. I feel Obama is a person who values higher education and high-skilled professional and I do have great faith in Obama's skills, I hope he takes a strong stance on the need to reform the high-skilled immigration system.

    Many have been looking at the high-skilled immigrants through a narrow pin hole, even Sen Durbin has been swayed by such critics. NFAP report shows that almost 50% of the private venture backed companies started between 1995 and 2005 are founded by immigrants. Guess what Sen. Durbin and high-skilled immigrant critics majority of those immigrants would've taken the route of H1 -> GreenCard -> US citizen. The companies started by those immigrants employ thousands of Americans and millions in tax revenue. Then why is America so hostile towards the same high-skilled immigration system which in the long run benefits America. Why are Sen. Durbin so short sighted on the high-skilled immigration system? Hope Obama can look at the high-skilled immigration system with a long term perspective and persuade his colleagues in Congress to enact a legislation to fix this broken system.

    Here is the link to the NFAP report which I talked about

    http://www.nfap.com/researchactivities/studies/immigrant_entreprenuers_professionals_november_200 6.pdf

    I 100% agree with you. We are highly skilled educated people. Legally came to USA , earned Master or higher degree in field of STEM. Working hard and paying taxes , having amerincan babies but still cannot make USA as our permanant home.

    It is very riskey to buy a house without having green card. Not that we will not find job if we loose current one but not sure where we end up getting job. and given housing market condition ,we will be end up loosing money if we sell house.

    I have seen CIR debates for 06 - 07 , Senator Durbin was against H1b people. Even current H1b laws are very strick. After living in USA for 10-12 years if you loose job becasue of given environment and if you cannot find second soon it is possible that you may loose your legal status.

    I love to see OBAMA as next president of USA. Even I am not citizen of this country but my children are. And as a responsible parent of them I wish Senator OBAMA become next president of USA. when I hear speech of Senator OBAMA & Biden I feel security of my children.

    I wish Senator OBAMA will restore my trust in American Dream. Would it be appropriate if I have to move out of here along with my USA citizen children to another country ?

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  • adusumilli
    08-06 07:38 AM
    see this pisses me off. why does a guy who studied using India government money and complaining that US govt. is not doing anything for him. First he should go back to India a pay back his dues he got from studying in IIT.


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  • GCapplicant
    07-13 09:53 AM
    The EB3 situation is really bad...I have the calling part too...and its stressful to see EB3I not having any good hopes though.

    I am in signing this letter.

    its worth a try.Atleast they will come know there is Eb3 stuck for many years beacause of the backlog.the old applications have not been considered at all.

    I request even EB2 to support this cause and help.

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  • Macaca
    12-27 06:43 PM
    Climate change leaves Assam tea growers in hot water
    Rising temperatures reducing yields and altering distinctive flavour of India's most popular drink (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/26/climate-change-assam-tea)
    By Amarjyoti Borah | The Guardian

    Climate change is affecting the cultivation of Assam tea, with rising temperatures reducing yields and altering the distinctive flavour of India's most popular drink, researchers say.

    High hills and abundant rainfall make the north-eastern state of Assam an ideal place to grow tea, with 850 gardens over 320,000 hectares (593,000 acres) producing the majority of the country's harvest. But in the last 60 years, rainfall has fallen by more than a fifth and minimum temperature has risen by a degree to 19.5C.

    "This is clearly climate change, and it is bound to have major impact on the tea industry," said Debakanta Handique, a climate scientist in Assam.

    The Tea Board of India said it had recorded a steady decline in tea production in recent years. In 2007, Assam produced 512,000 tonnes of tea. By 2008 this had declined to 487,000 tonnes, with estimated production in 2009 down again to 445,000. A further decrease is expected this year.

    Mridul Hazarika, director of Tocklai Tea Research, the oldest tea research station in the world, said rainfall and minimum temperature were two of the most important factors affecting both quality and quantity of harvests.

    "The decline has been taking place although there has been an increase in the area of tea cultivation as new gardens have come up, and many gardens have added new areas for tea plantation. This is an indication of the seriousness of the threat," said Hazarika. Efficient rainwater harvesting and new breeds of tea plants were needed to reverse the trend.

    "Changes have already been observed in the flavour, but it is not possible to blame only climate change for this," he said. "Other factors like the fertilisers used and cultivation methods might also be partly responsible."

    The changing taste of Assam tea is a serious concern for growers. Sudipta Nayan Goswami, an Assam-based planter, said subtle changes had already been observed: "The flavour has changed from what it was before. The creamy and strong flavour is no more."

    "There is a huge demand for Assam tea abroad, and this is due to its strong, bright flavour. The changes will sharply hamper the demand for this variety of tea abroad."


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  • adusumilli
    08-06 07:38 AM
    see this pisses me off. why does a guy who studied using India government money and complaining that US govt. is not doing anything for him. First he should go back to India a pay back his dues he got from studying in IIT.

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  • dontcareanymore
    08-07 05:21 PM
    Now worst thing is that Lion can not change his job profile till he gets the green card. He will be forced to act like a monkey so that it matches with his monkey job profile mentioned in his PERM application. All he can hope for is to invoke AC21 after couple of years to join a new zoo, that too on a similar job profile. :D:D Gurus what are the Lion's options at this point of time?? :D:D:

    Irony is that if our Lion stays in USA on monkey visa for couple of years, and finally goes back to India, his Lion skills will be obsolete, and Indian zoo's will not entertain a Lion acting like a monkey. Our poor Lion is totally doomed. :D:D

    Or better yet ; Go to a Desi Zoo in US and they will be happy to process Lion visa even for a Monkey :):)

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  • nojoke
    04-07 04:54 PM
    In early 2000 when the stock market was going crazy, every pundit worth his salt was proclaiming at the top of their voice to buy stock. And then the whole thing collapsed.

    In the same time period, not many experts recommend buying a house. I remember in 2002 a community near my work was selling town homes for around 200,000 and there were no buyers. Today (after correction) those same houses are still selling at around 450,000.

    I 100% agree with you that this is a good time to buy. I know many people are saying that the market would crash another 20%. But the fact is that you can negotiate 10-15% from the advertised price. And there are enough homes in the bank-repo and short sale categories where the prices are 20-30% below the price mentioned in zillow.

    Having owned a town home for the last 2.5 years, I can very confidently say that the yard work and house cleaning etc. etc. are not such a big deal. Actually we mow our lawn with a manual push mower (may not be practical if you have more than 10 cents to mow) and clean the snow using a $10 snow shovel. Who said a little exercise is bad for you? I have also helped my single family friends in their yard work and never thought working outside is such a bad thing.

    But there is a risk. And house is big ticket item, you have move cautiously.

    Your reasoning is flawed. Lot of people made money in the dot com boom era selling stocks. Just like you, lot of them said during the midway of crash that the stocks had fallen and is very attractive to buy and is a buying opportunity bla bla. Many fell victims. All those stocks became worthless.

    We are in the middle/start of the correction. Housing takes a long time to correct, unlike stocks. It took 6 years for the last real estate crash(1989) to bottom out. No way it is attractive to buy at this time.

    08-05 02:15 PM
    You are probably talking about a thin % of peoples - this is a lame argument for most of the Eb3 folks who can and want to port to Eb2 legally.

    Let me give you my case. I was eligible for both EB2 and EB3 when my GC labor was filed - my employer filed it in EB3 because the queue is longer and i remain with them for longer duration. I had about 390 days of H clock left so arguing with that employer and finding another one was also not an option because for getting H extension beyond 6 yrs needs the GC labor to be more than 365 days old.

    By the way I've seen the horrors of Labor Sub , I've suffered BEC cold storages for years,now I'm struggling with my Eb3 140 for 15 months at NSC and after all that if i port to EB2 and get my 485 quickly - what Problem you have or what's wrong in that ?

    Good points, but let me put a counter argument. Two people , one is named SunnySurya and the other is named Mr XYZ. Both came to the USA at the same time in 1999. The difference was SunnySurya came here for his masters and the other guy came here through shady means.

    Mr XYZ was able to file his green card in 2002 in EB3 category based on his shady arrangements with his employer, whereas Mr SunnySurya continued to do right and socially acceptable things i.e. studied, got a job and then after several years this big company filled his green card in EB2 category in 2006.

    On the other hand after strugling for several years Mr. XYZ has collected enough years on his resume to be elligible for EB2. Now he want to port his PD

    SunnySurya's PD is 2006 and Mr. XYZ PD is 2002. Now if Mr. XYZ want to stand in EB2 line, I wonder what problems SunnySurya can have???:confused:

    12-30 06:23 PM
    India-China Relations: It’s the economy, and no one’s stupid (http://idsa.in/system/files/IB_IndiaChinaRelations.pdf) By Joe Thomas Karackattu | Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

    The recent visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao clearly had a productive focus - SinoIndian economic ties have been re-enforced, and there has been an effort to re-balance the trading relationship. This Brief uses irony to communicate five propositions (i.e. the intended meaning of these five statements is the opposite of what is stated), that can be found in several discourses on Sino-Indian ties. It evaluates these propositions in the light of the tangible and intangible gains from Premier Wen Jiabao’s second official visit to India.

    1. Obama’s visit had more substance for India

    How do you weigh a visit by a foreign Head of State or Government – one that prods a relationship in an incremental way versus one that promises a turnaround from a low baseline? The political and strategic dimension of the India-US partnership received an immense boost with Obama’s visit, and so did the economy. However, with Wen Jiaobao’s visit, India and China have prepared the ground for what hopefully shapes up to be a balanced economic and a healthy political partnership. If Premier Wen has second-placed talk of India and China being rivals – surely the political gains are waiting to be realized. Incidentally, the MoUs signed during Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit are worth $16 billion (against $10 billion worth of agreements signed during the Obama visit).

    Re-balancing of the Indian deficit (roughly USD 20 billion) from its trade with China has been promised through enhanced trade facilitation in the pharma and IT/Engineering sectors, a proposed CEO’s forum, more openness to Indian agro products, greater presence in Chinese trade fairs, and the desire for a strategic economic partnership. The present focus on infrastructure financing in India through Chinese banks is demonstrative of a ‘win-win’ situation for both sides. China’s consumer price index (CPI) 1 , a key measure of inflation, hit a two-year high of 5.1 per cent year-on-year in November 2010. Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC; the equivalent of the RBI in India) raised banks’ reserve requirement ratio (the deposits mandated to be withheld) for the sixth time in 2010 as a sterilization measure to prevent excess money supply from adding to inflation. Under such circumstances, Chinese banks have been foraying into lending operations elsewhere as well (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s (ICBC) commercial property loan in summer 2010 to a group led by private-equity firm, the Carlyle Group, in the United States is a case in point)

    Policy Focus: The push for horizontal investments from China i.e. market seeking FDI through local production seems to have received less attention. This is an area which needs to be explored fully to address employment generation in India, and for Chinese firms to have a visible household presence in India (similar to Korean and Japanese consumer durables, for instance).

    2. China has not changed. It cannot be trusted. Politically, there seems to be no progress on resolving the border dispute, and in the economic sphere there seems to be an in-built incongruence in the growth trajectories of the two countries.

    The 1962 war was the reflection of the variance in India and China’s diplomatic, ideological and political approach to bilateral ties and international affairs. Those were the years running up to the Sino-Soviet split, the US engagement in Korea, Taiwan, and the second Indochina war (all involving China), and the domestic misfortune of the Great Leap forward. China had real and perceived fears of India’s oscillation between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, today China is placed in different circumstances, both as a political power and as an economic power. It is now more deeply entrenched in the economic architecture of the world. China’s concern to develop its Western regions coupled with diminishing incentives to foreign investors on the East Coast implies a patient and consistent effort at domestic restructuring in China. The stimulus measures and other construction projects need to be absorbed, the idea of “soft infrastructure” over “hard infrastructure” i.e. transparency and corruption-control has to be pushed through, and inequity needs to be tackled both between cities and rural areas, and between provinces in China. That is a long-drawn process of reforming social security and healthcare in China, apart from administrative reforms relating to land and labour rights (hukou system).

    Intuitively, the prospects of relying on Europe and the United States as consumer markets for China over the long term are dicey (imagine how long an economy growing at 8 to 10 per cent could rely on markets that grow at between 2 and 3 per cent?). The present incongruence in the growth trajectories of India and China is ascribed to the market-first approach in China versus the business-first approach in India’s liberalization of its economy. Almost as a visible consequence, China is a larger trading nation even as the private sector there is yet to benefit from lenient financial intermediation (the State plays a big role even today). India on the other hand has a promising private sector and vibrant secondary markets even as its integration into the international economy is hindered by relatively higher tariff barriers in the country. The absence of overlap in the key growthdrivers of both countries (Industry versus Services in China and India, respectively) actually presents the most important reason for India to work with China, and for China to work with India.

    The economic imperatives for China to engage with the larger Asian region are borne out by the trends in consumption expenditures in this region. China presently is mired in the need to revive consumption expenditure internally, in order to offset the export-dependent economic engine of its growth. The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010, the flagship annual statistical data book of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), indicates the role that Asia stands to play as an alternate consumer market in the long term. The resilience of the middle class in Asia during the 2008-09 recession is highlighted by an estimated USD 4.3 trillion in annual expenditures during the crisis (ADB 2010). This was nearly a third of the private consumption in OECD countries, and is projected to account for 43 per cent of the worldwide consumption in 2030.

    Policy Focus: India and China have a real chance of promoting mutual economic growth and development if their economic ties are not ‘securitized’, and the issue of tariff (from India’s side) and non-tariff barriers (China’s side) and protectionism (both countries) is addressed. The CEO’s forum, for one, could initiate linkages with Chinese Universities to develop internship programmes drawing on China’s younger generation of graduates to visit Indian companies desirous of expanding operations in China.

    As for border talks, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Premier Zhou Enlai agreed in the past to have mid-level bureaucrats handle talks for mediating the border issues (Hoffmann 1990: 32). Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Wen Jiabao have reached an understanding to have foreign ministers of the two countries deal with the vexed problem. Certainly, the level of engagement has been upgraded specifically vis-�-vis the border issue.

    Another important point to note is that, as per the Pew Research Centre’s Global Attitudes Project (October 2010), in 2009 46 per cent of Indians expressed a positive view of China, compared with just 34 per cent in 2010. The Chinese Ambassador to India may think that the fragility in India-China relations emerges from over-reaction to issues concerning China in India. However, the same report qualifies that only 3 per cent of Indians surveyed consider China as the greatest threat for India, whereas, despite a sanctioned media, more Chinese have negative opinion on India (only about one-third of Chinese respondents (32 per cent) have a favourable opinion).

    So where does the fragility come from? Does it arise from the ‘looseness’ of a democratic apparatus to shape public opinion? But Chinese public opinion is negative despite the regimented approach to the dissemination of information. Clearly, even if it is not the final word, these perceptions reveal how both countries need to do more to genuinely take forward the elationship at the level of ordinary citizens. The leadership in both countries has to find ways to shape debates within their countries to soft-land negotiated outcomes, if there is a genuine and concerted effort to resolve the border issue, and other contentious issues that may arise.

    Policy Focus: There is a need to cultivate individual perceptions of the other, at the level of citizens. This exercise could be executed at the level of greater tourist facilitation measures or exposure to popular culture through mass media. More Indian television programmes, dubbed in Chinese, should be promoted in China (currently only a few such programmes are broadcast in China). Surprisingly, Chinese programming (similar to NHK, DW-Asia or Russia Today) is not even on offer on most satellite networks in India. Events such as the ‘Festival of India in China’ or the ‘Festival of China in India’ should be promoted on a wider scale to involve citizen participation beyond the diplomatic corps.

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