News in Numbers | US bids to raise H-1B visa holder’s minimum salary to $100,000
In other news, police in Bengaluru make four arrests in the Kammanahalli molestation case
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What is it? The minimum salary of a H-1B visa holder, according to a bill backing key changes in the H1-B visa programme that has been re-introduced in the US Congress by two lawmakers.
Why is it important? By increasing the wage limit in line with the average American salary, the bill seeks to remove the profit incentive, reduce misuse of the H-1B provision to hire cheap labour from other countries and ensure that workers from abroad are outsourced only when companies find it tough to find talent from among the existing workforce. President-elect Donald Trump, who has been vocal about protecting local jobs, has listed immigration reform among five executive actions he intends to carry out on his first day in office.
Tell me more: Indians have been the highest recipients of the H-1B visas in FY13 and FY14, which allows them to work full-time for at least six years in the US. Besides increasing the minimum salary, the bill also looks to eliminate the Master’s degree exemption.
What is it? The higher probability of developing dementia if you live 50 metres from high traffic roads, compared to those living 300 meters, according to a study.
Why is it important? The study indicates that air pollutants that can enter the brain through the bloodstream can cause neurological problems. The risk of developing dementia was down to 4% if people lived 50-100 metres from a heavy-traffic area and 2% if they lived within 101-200 metres. Researchers also suggest that 11% of people with dementia living within 50 metres of a major road could be due to traffic. Globally, about 47.5 million people are estimated to have dementia while in India, there are about 4.1 million people with dementia.
Tell me more: The study by researchers in Canada studied records of over 6.5 million Ontario residents aged 20 to 85, recorded 243,611 cases of dementia between 2001 and 2012 and mapped their residents from major roads using postal codes.
What is it? The number of arrests made by the Bengaluru police in a molestation case where a woman was groped and assaulted by two men in a residential area (Kammanahalli) in the city in the early hours of January 1.
Why is it important? The CCTV footage came to light after the victim’s neighbour handed over the video to the police even as reports of multiple incidents of sexual attacks on women at MG Road and Brigade Road (two popular shopping hubs in the city) on New Year’s eve had sparked outrage and renewed the debate on women’s safety. Though the viral video footage of the Kammanahalli has prompted quick action in the case, data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that just one of every 100 sexual assault cases in Karnataka ended in conviction in 2015.
Tell me more: Of the four arrested, two of them work as delivery boys, one with a courier company while the other is a student. The men had been stalking the victim for a few days and had been waiting for her near her place of residence on the first day of the year.
Rs 5,000 crore
What is it? The amount Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has sought from the Finance Ministry to decongest city roads.
Why is it important? Urban congestion, heavy traffic and vehicles moving at a snail’s pace is an everyday affair in India’s metros, which is also becoming the case in tier-II cities. According to Numbeo, a website that collects global statistics of different cities, Kolkata (rank 1), Mumbai (2), Delhi (13), Bengaluru (21) and Pune (23) figure among the top 25 cities in its Traffic Index 2016 Mid-Year (of 160 cities listed), indicating worst traffic conditions. For instance, the average time needed for one to reach their destination in Kolkata is 71.05 minutes while in Mumbai, it is 65.45 minutes.
Tell me more: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has approved 102 projects worth Rs 11,000 crore to deal with traffic jams and road accidents so far.
What is it? The percentage by which the price of Bitcoin fell in six hours (from about $1,150 at 2 am ET to $887 around 8 am) on Thursday.
Why is it important? The slide comes after the digital currency hit a three-year high on Wednesday and fell short of its all-time record prices on some exchanges, indicating increased volatility. The fall was so quick that at one time, it lost over $3 billion in market value in 40 minutes. This seems to be due to the strengthening of Chinese yuan against the dollar, given that most of the bitcoin trading takes place in China (three of the largest exchanges are located in China).
Tell me more: Bitcoin, the world’s largest and oldest of cryptocurrencies, was created by an unknown person in 2009. It can be used to make transactions without the need for bankers or other intermediaries and is used as an anonymous way of moving money across the world.
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