Tag: US Immigration

Steve Jobs-inspired campus to open in April

Apple announced on Wednesday that it will begin moving employees into a 2.9 million-square-foot facility, the plans for which had been presented by the late co-founder Steve Jobs in his last public event in 2011, in April, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The facility’s plans were presented by Jobs during a city council meeting in Cupertino, California, where Apple is headquartered. According to the report, the spaceship-shaped building and tree-filled park will serve as the new campus for the tech giant. Further, the new campus has a new 1,000-seat auditorium which will be named in honour of the co-founder as the Steve Jobs Theatre. The building, the report added, cost Apple $5 billion and faced cost delays.

The new 175-acre Apple Park will be open to employees from April, while the construction of buildings and parklands is scheduled to continue through the year, the US tech giant announced.

In a press statement on its official website, Apple said that the process of moving more than 12,000 people will take over six months.

“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The campus’ ring-shaped, 2.8 million-square-foot main building is clad entirely in the world’s largest panels of curved glass.

“Steve invested so much of his energy creating and supporting vital, creative environments. We have approached the design, engineering and making of our new campus with the same Steve jobs enthusiasm and design principles that characterise our products,” said Jonathan Ive, chief design officer, Apple.

Apple Park will include a visitors centre with an Apple Store and cafe open to the public, a 100,000-square-foot fitness centre for Apple employees and development facilities and the Steve Jobs Theatre.

The Park has been designed in collaboration with “Foster + Partners” and it replaces five million-square-feet of asphalt and concrete with grassy fields and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees, and is powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.


Grammy 2017: Chance the Rapper wins again

Chance the Rapper won the Grammy for best rap album on Sunday night, something that he was not expecting at all.

“I didn’t think we were gonna win this one,” Chance said while accepting the gold saxophone for his album “Coloring Book”.

“It’s another one, baby!” the 23-year-old musician yelled to the crowd after thanking his team, his family and friends in his acceptance speech.

This was Chance’s third win at the award show. Earlier in the show, the “Blessings” rapper accepted the award for best new artist. Before the show began, he also got the Grammys 2017 for best rap performance for his hit track “No Problem”.

“Coloring Book” made headlines when it was first released back in May by becoming the first album to make it into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 based entirely on streams.

The other nominations in the category included the Kanye West’s “The Life Of Pablo”, Drake’s “Views”, De La Soul’s ” …And The Anonymous Nobody”, DJ Khaled’s “Major Key” and Schoolboy Q’s “Blank Face LP”.

The award show, honouring the best of music around the world, is taking place at the Staples Centre here.

How undocumented immigrants negotiate a place for themselves in the US

Once undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers arrive on American soil, they run the risk of being stopped by law enforcement officials who are charged with investigating their status. A Feb. 17 memo released by the Department of Homeland Security reveals how great this risk will be under President Donald Trump.

The department is planning to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents and has widened the scope of immigrants who are a priority for deportation. It also calls for an expansion of the 287(g) program that designates law enforcement officers as immigration officers, which poses a series of questions that are as of yet unanswered. What kind of training will they receive? Will they speak more languages than English? What are their competencies in areas such as cross cultural communications?

My research has indicated that many, if not most, encounters between noncitizens and police focus solely on the violation or crime, rather than immigration status. But accusations about arresting officers violating noncitizens’ rights through, for example, excessive force and abuse have raised questions about who is targeted, and why some migrants are arrested and others let go.

The stakes are extremely high for immigrants – especially at the borders and during traffic stops. Officers exercise discretion as to how to treat each case. The risk now is that officers’ decisions are being informed by a White House that claims undocumented people and asylum seekers are unwanted because they are criminals or terrorists. Research shows that exposure to anti-immigration laws can easily trigger negative racial attitudes within the population and among officers of the law. As the research of historian of ideas Marc Angenot has suggested, the social discourse is modified by proclamations coming from powerful voices, such as governments. So a version of reality that describes vulnerable migrants as criminals can affect what is said about migrants, and thus affect how an officer will choose to enforce the law.

Following up on my recent book, “Undocumented Immigrants in an Era of Arbitrary Law,” I’m focusing my new research on how language is at play during “first encounters” between migrants and officials in the US I’m interviewing officers and officials on the front lines to learn how language and communications affect whether and how they will enforce federal immigration rules, statutes and regulations.

From translating to interpreting

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented migrants in the US, including those living in mixed-status households. This suggests that officers will have to make tough choices about enforcement. Language, among many other factors, can play an important role in these decisions. Most undocumented migrants speak Spanish, but even in a single language there are issues of accents, intonations and inflection. A Spanish speaker trained in Spain may have great difficulty understanding a Cuban speaker, for example, and given how crucial are these first encounters, the resulting misunderstandings could be very damaging.

When a person with a viable asylum claim enters the US, or when an undocumented person is stopped by a police officer, the first challenge that the migrant faces is to simply make him or herself understood in English. In some cases, the officer has foreign language training, which can help. But even if there is adequate linguistic skill, US Immigration communication issues are more than just the rendering of one language into another.

An immigration lawyer I interviewed indicated to me: “There is a cultural barrier. For instance, Guatemalans tend to be very deferential, so they do not want to answer any question directly. Many of their answers begin with: ‘Thank God that…’ and then just continue along beginning at a point that is two years before anything happened. [Even] for a translator it’s very difficult, because they want to just go all over the place, and the answer has nothing to do with the question.”

In such a situation, the officer has to fill in a lot of the missing details in order to understand key facts.

The hesitations of this Guatemalan immigrant may be interpreted as the logical unfolding of a complex intercultural interaction. Or, they could be seen as evidence that he is nervous because he is harboring criminal intentions. This is where the transmission of information moves from translation to interpretation, from a purely linguistic act to a kind of negotiation.

Donald Trump calls China the ‘grand champions’ of currency manipulation

President Donald Trump declared China the “grand champions” of currency manipulation on Thursday, just hours after his new Treasury secretary pledged a more methodical approach to analysing Beijing’s foreign exchange practices.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said he has not “held back” in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency, despite not acting on a campaign promise to declare it a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

“Well they, I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

During his presidential campaign Trump frequently accused China of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports cheaper, “stealing” American manufacturing jobs.

But Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday he was not ready to pass judgement on China’s currency practices.

Asked if the US Treasury was planning to name China a currency manipulator any time soon, Mnuchin said he would follow its normal process of analysing the currency practices of major US trading partners.

The Treasury is required to publish a report on these practices on April 15 and October 15 each year.

“We have a process within Treasury where we go through and look at currency manipulation across the board. We’ll go through that process. We’ll do that as we have in the past,” Mnuchin said in his first Donald Trump televised interview since formally taking over the department last week. “We’re not making any judgements until we go continue that process.”

A formal declaration that China or any other country manipulates its currency requires the US Treasury to seek negotiations to resolve the situation, a process that could end in punitive tariffs on the offender’s goods.

The US Treasury designated Taiwan and South Korea as currency manipulators in 1988, the year that Congress enacted the currency review law. China was the last country to get the designation, in 1994.

The current situation is complicated because China’s central bank has spent billions of dollars in foreign exchange reserves in the past year to prop up the yuan to counter capital outflows.

The International Monetary Fund said last year that the yuan’s value was broadly in line with its economic fundamentals. The US Treasury also said in its last currency report in October that its view of China’s external imbalances had improved somewhat.

Trump’s pronouncements about the yuan could also complicate matters for Mnuchin as he prepares for his first meeting next month with his Group of 20 finance minister counterparts in Baden, Germany.

Govt yet to take unanimous stand on Apple demands

There is still no unanimity within the government over Apple Inc’s demand for various incentives to make iPhones in the country.

While the demand may be well received by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the finance ministry is yet to make up its mind on the issue.

“DIPP is favourably considering Apple Inc proposal for incentives this time. But these are yet to be considered by the finance ministry,” a government official said. The Cupertino-based tech giant is asking for tax concessions, including lower import and manufacturing duties, as well as relaxation in domestic sourcing norms to make iPhones in India, which were rejected by the finance ministry.

Apple also wants to open its own stores in India.

Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year with regard to the company’s plan to enter the Indian manufacturing and retail space.

Tesla Might Setup Battery Factory in India

After PM Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Tesla Motors factory in Silicon Valley, California last month, speculations regarding Tesla setting up shop in India have cropped up. The primary focus of Mr. Modi’s visit was Tesla’s Powerwall battery packs. The visit was carried out with an objective of procuring off-grid electric power technology for India. Tesla has been on a lookout for quite sometime now and also presented a possibility of setting-up a car manufacturing facility in China. The American electric carmaker has plans of building a car battery plant in India. Tesla’s electric cars use lithium ion batteries, which are also seen in cell phones. A manufacturing facility of such batteries will be called a “Gigafactory”.

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla said “Given high local demand, a Gigafactory in India would probably make sense in the long term.”

Responding to the speculations of Tesla’s expansion to China, Elon Musk said tweeted and clarified that it will be three to four years before the company might start building the facility in China. This move will then correspond with the launch of Tesla Motors Model 3, which is expected to be company’s electric car for the mass-market.

Tesla has made great strides with its work in electric car technologies. Recently, Tesla’s Model S, which costs around Rs. 60 lakh, got a software update and now features an Autopilot function, which helps the car drive almost autonomously.

Fis Set New Mortgage Rules For Core Sector

Financial institutions have decided to enter into mortgage agreements for infrastructure financing where they will have the right to sell the security in case of a default with the permission of the high court. This has been objected to by the borrowers.

The financial institutions have decided to insist on mortgages, termed English Mortgage, which allow the mortgagee to sell or concur in selling the mortgaged property without the intervention of the court on default by the mortgagor in payment.

This would ensure that the financiers can enforce the security more effectively without litigation. In addition, the pending of a winding-up petition before courts does not affect the mortgagee’s right of private sale outside courts by way of public auction.

Such power is absent in case of the alternative to the English Mortgage_the Equitable Mortgage_which is by way of deposit of title deeds. In case of the English mortgage, the mortgagee is only required to serve a notice in writing on the mortgagor and the default would have had to be in payment of principal for a period of three months etc.

The financial institutions assist infrastructure projects on a non recourse basis and they have been asking for security in three forms viz. a first mortgage and charge on all the company’s immovable and movable properties both present and future, assignment of all rights, titles and interests of the project company in all project documents and pledge of promoters shares.

The institutions and the project sponsors have been at loggerheads on the above issue with the latter expressing a preference for creation of mortgage by way of deposit of title Fixed-Rate Mortgage deeds because of the high stamp duty payable at the time of creation of security for English Mortgage.

The issue was discussed at the inter institutions meeting where it was decided that in the states where the stamp duty, surcharges and registration fees are high, the FIs could try to persuade the state government for granting relaxations. It was also decided that for the purpose of payment of stamp duty the project company would be required to maintain a stamp duty reserve.

However in states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh the documents in respect of properties situated in the state are required to be compulsorily lodged with the registration authorities and hence the English Mortgage in respect of properties from such states cannot be created at Mumbai.