Thursday Morning News Brief, October 26

Thursday morning brief Oct 26 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
The US made it more difficult to renew non-immigrant visas, popular among Indian IT professionals. Under the previous policy, if a person was once found to be eligible for a work visa, they would usually be considered for extension of their visa. Now, during every extension, they need to prove to the federal authorities that they are still eligible. The new directive came even as external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of H-1B visas with visiting US secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
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BJP is heading for a record sixth win in Gujarat assembly polls, according to an opinion poll conducted by Times Now-VMR. In the 182-member assembly, the opinion poll gives BJP 118-134 seats compared to 115 seats won by the party in the 2012 polls. Congress, which had won 61 seats in the last assembly polls, is expected to finish a poor second with 49-61 seats.
After the fall of Raqqa last week, several countries, including India, are gearing up to counter the threat of return of foreign terrorist fighters. Counter-terrorism officials say several IS fighters of Indian origin, who had travelled to Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan before or after 2014, will now try to return to India. The number of Indians in the terror outfit might be a miniscule, as compared to the number of fighters from the UK, France, Belgium or Russia, but they are highly trained.
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The Centre is exploring options for mobile number verification, apart from Aadhaar linkage. “We are ready to explore other options. We are looking at whether a ration card, or a driver’s license, or some other authentication document can be used. No final call has been taken on the matter though,” an official source said. The government faced criticism for forcing people to link their Aadhaar numbers with their mobile connection, thereby creating scope for privacy invasion.
Lack of infrastructure of the Indian airports is threatening the country’s aviation growth. Only three airports – Chennai, Bengaluru and Trivandrum – can handle four more flights an hour this winter while all other big airports remain choked in terms of runway capacity. Given the slot crunch, the ministry has asked all airlines to move some of their flights in red eye hours (prior to 5 am) to make room for regional connectivity flights during the early morning hours.
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