From India’s skewed sex ratio to Trump’s H-1B visa plan, top news for today | india-news | Hindustan Times
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From India’s skewed sex ratio to Trump’s H-1B visa plan, top news for today

In case you missed today’s top stories, here is a low-down.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2017 10:51 IST
HT Correspondent
US President Donald Trump.
US President Donald Trump.(Reuters Photo)

Nepal president to hold talks with PM, President today

Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari will hold talks with the Indian leadership, including with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an effort to expand cooperation between the two neighbours amid differences over provisions in the Nepal’s Constitution about representation for the Madhesis. Vice-president Hamid Ansari, External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, home minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitley will also call on the Nepal president. President Bhandari will attend a business event organised by industry chambers CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM.

Read analysis related to the visit here.

Delhi’s Ola, Uber cab drivers defy strike diktat from unions, but may join march later

A strike called by over a dozen transport unions on Tuesday, did not have much impact in the morning rush hours as most drivers of cab aggregators Ola and Uber chose to defy the protest this time. Unlike their two-week long protest in February which affected thousands of commuters, office goers didn’t have to suffer much on Tuesday morning as cabs on mobile apps were mostly available in the morning peak hours. Some cab drivers HT spoke to said they will join the protest around noon after working in the first half, while others said they had no time to join the protest.

Read the full story here.

Buy American, Hire American: Donald Trump to seek changes in the H-1B visa programme

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday will sign an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to a temporary visa programme used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill high-skilled jobs. Two senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters at the White House said Trump will also use the “buy American and hire American” order to seek changes in government procurement practices to increase the purchase of American products in federal contracts.

Read the full story here.

US NSA McMaster tells Pakistan leaders to confront ‘terror in all forms’

US National Security Adviser HR McMaster has told Pakistan’s top civil and military leaders to “confront terrorism in all its forms”, a day after he hinted the Trump administration could take a tougher stance on Islamabad’s efforts to counter militant groups. McMaster arrived in Pakistan on Monday for an unannounced visit after travelling to Afghanistan, where he told the media that Pakistan should target militant groups “less selectively” and stop using “proxies that engage in violence”.

Read the full story here.

India’s skewed sex ratio to worsen further, says a government report

As India’s proportion of youth in the total population falls, the sex ratio will dip to 898 girls for 1,000 boys in 2031 from 939 in 2011, a new government study has projected. Quoting data from the Census and World Bank, a ministry of statistics and programme report said the negative aspect of youth in India was that the sex ratio among them has been consistently decreasing since 1991. “The reduction in sex ratio of youth is found to be much more than that of the overall population. It has come down to 939 in 2011 from 961 in 1971 and is projected to decline further to 904 in 2021 and to 898 by 2031,” the report titled youth in India said.

Constitution bench to hear WhatsApp privacy policy debate

A Constitution Bench of five Supreme Court judges will decide whether a larger bench of judges should hear a petition which argues that a 2016 policy of instant messaging app WhatsApp to give Facebook access to information and personal details of its users is a violation of privacy and free speech. Having at first meant to hear the case during the summer vacation, Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar advanced the date for the Constitution Bench hearing to today, saying it is a “serious issue”. The case is based on a petition by two young students to challenge the contract between the two Internet giants to provide access to calls, photographs, texts, videos and documents shared by users despite the fact that privacy is guaranteed by WhatsApp.

70% of India’s small, mid-sized firms yet to start GST preparations

About 70% of the country’s small and mid-sized firms are yet to begin preparations to get synced with the goods and services tax (GST) structure even as the country prepares to roll out the biggest indirect tax reform from July 1. Consulting major KPMG and the Federation of Small Medium Enterprises (FISME) said that while large companies are ready to move to the new tax structure, small ones, especially those in the unorganised sector, are battling against time. Sources said many small entities may not be “ready” by July 1 for the GST rollout, leading to disruption in their businesses and payment cycles. This could even result in “some job losses” in the initial phase.

Read the full story here.

North Korea accuses US of creating situation for nuclear war

North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador has accused the United States of turning the Korean Peninsula into “the world’s biggest hotspot” and creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment.” Kim In Ryong told a news conference that “if the US dares opt for a military action,” North Korea “is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US”. He said the Trump administration’s deployment of the Carl Vinson nuclear carrier task group to waters off the Korean Peninsula again “proves the US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario.”

Read the full story here.

IPL 2017: Gujarat Lions seek to bounce back in IPL match against RCB

Struggling to find form after three losses in four matches, Gujarat Lions would look to make the home advantage count when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in their IPL match at Rajkot today. After a dream debut last season where they finished third, the Lions lost back to back games, against Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad, before registering their first win by beating Rising Pune Supergiant. The Suresh Raina-led side suffered a six-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians and they are now at seventh spot, just above bottom-placed RCB.

Opinion: Despite PM Modi’s popularity, Odisha still a long shot for the BJP

Following its impressive show in the panchayat elections in February, the BJP is confident about capturing the state of Odisha in 2019. But it has some way to go. The Congress still has strong grassroots support, the BJP’s state leaders have not secured broad acceptance and the party’s network of workers is not as strong as the ruling Biju Janata Dal’s.

Read the full column here.