nedeľa, 3. júla 2011

fruitcake cookies

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  • Decadent Eggless Cookie Bars


  • gc_aspirant_prasad
    09-26 10:02 AM
    I dont consider myself pessimist just a realist. Take a long hard ( cold) look at the facts, try to read in between the lines you will end up being concerned & discouraged just like Chanduv23 and some others on the forum.
    If they really wanted to post a sign of encouragement, they would talk about STEM perhaps ?




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  • Kitchen: Fruitcake Cookies


  • akred
    04-07 03:09 PM
    Let me guess, you work at a R&D facility, right? May be, looking for the best way to fit in your individual situation. No offense meant, however, I would request IV and its membership to have a bigger perspective in dealing whit this bill. Otherwise, 500,000 people will be systematically purged from US. And that includes most people waiting for their green cards.

    For sure, this bill is bad. However I do think that the H1B program should have some way of making a distinction between what is essentially a market access issue for foreign companies and a means for domestic companies to hire foreign talent.




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  • Fruitcake Cookies: Ingredients


  • NKR
    08-06 02:14 PM
    Ok, Soni, the person with a heavy Phd head gives me a red, he/she could not argue reasonably in the form and so gives a red in private... so much for her/his phd




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  • Fruitcake Cookies « Bohol


  • Macaca
    05-01 05:56 PM
    In growing Chinese dominance, a wake-up call for America (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-growing-chinese-dominance-a-wake-up-call-for-america/2011/04/27/AF7i3zGF_story.html) By Arvind Subramanian | The Washington Post

    The world’s two economic superpowers will meet soon for the third installment of their Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Beyond the specifics, the real issue for the United States and the world is China’s looming economic dominance. President Obama’s State of the Union address, after President Hu Jintao’s visit in January, showed the level of anxiety that policymakers feel about China as a potential rival and perhaps a threat, with growing economic, military and political power, including its bankrolling of American debt. But judging from the reaction to the president’s speech, that threat is not viewed as imminent. The same was said, some pointed out, of the rise of Russia and Japan, 40 and 20 years ago, respectively, and those threats turned out to be false alarms.

    But what if the threat is actually greater than policymakers suppose?

    According to the International Monetary Fund, for example, total U.S. gross domestic product in 2010 was $14.7 trillion, more than twice China’s $5.8 trillion, making the average American about 11 times more affluent than the average Chinese. Goldman Sachs does not forecast the Chinese economy overtaking that of the United States until 2025 at the earliest. Americans also draw satisfaction from their unmatched strengths of an open society, an entrepreneurial culture, and world-class universities and research institutions.

    But these beliefs may be overly sanguine. The underlying numbers that contribute to them are a little misleading because they are based on converting the value of goods and services around the world into dollars at market exchange rates.

    It has long been recognized that using the market exchange rate to value goods and services is misleading about the real costs of living in different countries. Several goods and services that are not traded across borders (medical care, retail services, construction, etc.) are cheaper in poorer countries because labor is abundant. Using the market exchange rate to compare living standards across countries understates the benefits that citizens in poor countries enjoy from having access to these goods and services. Estimates of purchasing power parity take account of these differing costs and are an alternative, and for some purposes a better, way of computing and comparing standards of living and economic output across countries.

    My calculations (explained in greater detail on the Peterson Institute Web site) show that the Chinese economy in 2010, adjusted for purchasing power, was worth about $14.8 trillion, surpassing that of the United States. And, on this basis, the average American is “only” four times as wealthy as the average Chinese, not 11 times as rich, as the conventional numbers suggest.

    The different approaches to valuing economic output and resources are not just of theoretical interest. They have real-world significance, especially in the balance of power and economic dominance. The conventional numbers would suggest that the United States has three times the capability of China to mobilize real military resources in the event of a conflict. The numbers based on purchasing-power parity suggest that conventional estimates considerably exaggerate U.S. capability. To the extent that the service of soldiers and other domestically produced goods and services constitute real military resources, the purchasing-power parity numbers must also be taken into account.

    The economic advantage China is gaining will only widen in the future because China’s gross domestic product growth rate will be substantially and consistently greater than that of the United States for the near future. By 2030, I expect the Chinese economy to be twice as large as that of the United States (in purchasing-power parity dollars).

    Moreover, China’s lead will not be confined to GDP. China is already the world’s largest exporter of goods. By 2030, China’s trade volume will be twice that of the United States. And, of course, China is also a net creditor to the United States.

    The combination of economic size, trade and creditor status will confer on China a kind of economic dominance that the United States enjoyed for about five to six decades after World War II and that Britain enjoyed at the peak of empire in the late 19th century.

    This will matter in two important ways. America’s ability to influence China will be seriously diminished, which is already evident in China’s unwillingness to change its exchange rate policy despite U.S. urging. And the open trading and financial system that the United States fashioned after World War II will be increasingly China’s to sustain or undermine.

    The new numbers, the underlying realities they represent and the future they portend must serve as a wake-up call for America to get its fiscal house in order and quickly find new sources of economic dynamism if it is not to cede its preeminence to a rising, perhaps already risen, China.

    Arvind Subramanian is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute and the author of a forthcoming book on China’s economic dominance


    America vs China: A reality check (http://businessstandard.com/india/news/arvind-subramanian-america-vs-chinareality-check/434188/) By Arvind Subramanian | Business Standard
    The Chinese Are Coming! (http://the-diplomat.com/2011/05/01/the-chinese-are-coming/) By Douglas H. Paal | The Diploma
    Do American Students Study Too Hard?
    A new documentary argues that kids these days memorize too many facts. Go figure. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703655404576292752313629990.html)
    By JAMES FREEMAN | Wall Street Journal
    Eyeing the White House After Service in China (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/us/politics/01huntsman.html) By MICHAEL WINES | New York Times


    At Microsoft, future growth rides on research, innovation (http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article1983686.ece) By G. ANANTHAKRISHNAN | Hindu
    Financial crisis? What financial crisis? (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/financial-crisis-what-financial-crisis/2011/04/26/AFhB2oNF_story.html) By Steven Pearlstein | The Washington Post
    The free-trade trade (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-free-trade-trade/2011/04/28/AF3TsXNF_story.html) The Washington Post Editorial
    Running in the red: How the U.S., on the road to surplus, detoured to massive debt (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/running-in-the-red-how-the-us-on-the-road-to-surplus-detoured-to-massive-debt/2011/04/28/AFFU7rNF_story.html) By Lori Montgomery | The Washington Post



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  • Arjun
    07-14 08:42 PM
    Still better abolish Eb1/ Eb2/ Eb3 when there is no EBx in H1 then why EBx in GC? come on guys stratification on EB is reality along with preference order set by CIS. What is stopping eb3 guys from moving to eb2?

    you know what it takes to do that. Just think, if you were in eb3 and had applied in 2001 and now suggested to start all over again. It is very easy to say go change your category.




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  • cookie and fruitcake by


  • nixstor
    11-12 08:26 PM
    Amen, brother/sister! Where are these half million people? 500,000 divided by 50 states makes for 10000 in each state (on an average; although I doubt that Alaska and Hawaii have that many, while states like NY, CA, NJ, IL, FL, TX, PA must beat the mean for sure, but still). 6500 ain't enough!


    Ha haa.. I tell you what.. It could be either of these

    1) Its not their preference RIGHT NOW, It will become their preference after some time 2 yrs, 3yrs

    2) They are complacent with what they do RIGHT NOW. H1B worker life style in their native country compared to life style in America. Yeaa.. I am happpy happpy.. 2 or 3 yrs

    3) They live on a day to day basis. Why bother about tommorow?

    4) Whatever! some one will do some thing. If some thing were to happen it will happen.

    Its the last one that I hate, c mon folks.. wake up and do something for your self. I feel that most of the people in these forums have already spent enough time (on avg 3.5 yrs??) waiting and the people not on here are the ones who havent spent that considerable wait of 3 to 4 yrs. Most of the people I see every day are in group 4. They consider IV forums as a great resource to get suggestions for their situation, nothing more unfortunately.



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  • Macaca
    07-08 06:54 PM
    In approving another h-4 visa; they askd h-1b person why they didn't get paid for three month when they entered USA. Company president along with h-1b beneficiary said that he had to climitize himself and then it took a while to get the social security number. Once he got it then he got paid. Visa officer laughed at the explanation and gave the h-4 visa. Six months later; company gets a DOL audit request for possible h-1b violations. DOL officer said that consulate sent them notification that there was h-1b violations.

    Must an H-1B alien be working at all times? (http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=a62bec897643f010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCR D&vgnextchannel=1847c9ee2f82b010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1 RCRD)

    As long as the employer/employee relationship exists, an H-1B alien is still in status. An H-1B alien may work in full or part-time employment and remain in status. An H-1B alien may also be on vacation, sick/maternity/paternity leave, on strike, or otherwise inactive without affecting his or her status.




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  • a fruit cake. The cookies


  • gveerab
    03-23 02:35 AM
    First sounded funny, then it made helluva sense.

    I suggest to go ahead and buy. I bought a townhome in California. I have been working here from last 8 yrs and thought enough is enough and bought the house.

    if you have plan to stay here for more than 5 yrs you should not wait.



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  • sc3
    07-14 04:23 PM
    I hope not. We dont seem to be open to another point of view. All of a sudden when the shoe is now on the other foot there is a lot of heart burn. Look up the March 2008 visa bulletin.

    EB2 ROW was Current
    EB3 ROW was Jan 1, 2005
    and EB2-India was a big U

    Effectively EB3ROW got preference over EB2-I which was a mistake to negate the category preference. This has been corrected now and I welcome the change.
    Where was all this heart burn at that time. All of a sudden when EB2-I moves ahead I hear voices of 'injustice', fair play and demands for visa number handovers. Sorry aint gonna happen.


    The reason for this was not because of EB3ROW getting preference, it was because USCIS illegally used up entire year's quota before the congress actually authorized them to. Stop making false claims about EB3ROW getting preference over Eb2-I




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  • an annual Fruitcake haiku


  • jkays94
    10-03 12:49 PM
    Its a pity when it is obvious through numerous congressional debates who the culprits are in blocking EB friendly legislation. Here we are again with the EB recapture bill and who again is blocking it? The New York times identifies them by name and nowhere does it mention Durbin. Its thus is beyond comprehension when unfounded future claims of doom, apprehension and fear are spread without the basis and contrary to facts presently before us. Instead one needs to be more concerned about the possible reelection of the two below and several of their sidekicks:

    Jeff Sessions (R)
    Steve King (R)

    A House bill that could recapture an estimated 550,000 lost visas, sponsored by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, has been moving slowly through the committee process despite the best efforts of members like Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, to sabotage it with ridiculously restrictive amendments.

    In the Senate, Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, is insisting that a visa-recapturing amendment be added to a bill reauthorizing E-Verify, the federal database program to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants. For this, he has endured an onslaught of criticism from nativist groups and colleagues, like Jeff Sessions of Alabama. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/opinion/03fri2.html?ex=1380772800&en=282e9836144364be&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink)



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  • waitnwatch
    05-24 02:18 PM
    WaitNwatch,

    No. How about you:can you show a study and correlation between outsourcing and salary stagnation ?

    Let's be honest and realistic, do you believe that by bringing more workers, how long that would prevent companies from offshoring jobs ? It is true that by not bringing more workers, companies would be more willing to offshore. In my view, companies will offshore regardless in the future. With or without cheaper labor here, they will be tempted to go overseas since the savings are significant, am I right ? At that time is when people has legitimate concerns to control the numbers of newcomers.


    Your logic is getting a little simplistic here. I will try to explain the best I can and this is my last post on the topic. Here are a few points. Try to link them together and you will get a sense of the whole logic.
    (1) Companies outsource because of cheap labor.
    (2) Companies also look elsewhere when there is a shortage.
    (3) There are areas other than high tech (e.g. science, mathematics, biotechnology) that need people from outside (including fresh US university graduates).
    (4) Other countries will catch up with the US if cutting edge companies donot find enough STEM people.
    (5) These other countries with more logical immigration policies will attract talent and the companies will move there.
    (4) Graduates in STEM need to get H1B after their practical training.
    (5) US does not produce enough STEM graduates and cannot entice foreign students if there are no H1B's available when they enter the job market.
    (6) Outsourcing of top science jobs are not only lost jobs but also cause collateral damage and reduce other jobs dependent on that job.
    (7) Without the supply of high quality graduates the companies lose their cutting edge and start cost cutting instead of innovating.

    There is a national research council report which may be available from the National Academy of Sciences. Foreign STEM's are desperately needed and non-availability of H1B visas means fewer students will come as they are uncertain of getting a H1B. Here is an Indian example: The IIT graduate will go to Bangalore and earn enough from day 1 to own a nice apartment, have a chauffeur and a maid. On the other hand you want him to come to the US to work 6 years on a Ph.D getting a student stipend and no guarantee to stay and work. If you think this top brain will come you should be living in the world of Peter Pan.




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  • a fruit cake. The cookies


  • panky72
    08-09 02:00 AM
    Just ignore those useless weeds (who don�t know what �joke� means), not only in this thread, even in real life also.

    They will neither be happy themselves nor like others having fun as well.

    I am giving you green.

    :)Thanks nogc_noproblem. BTW where do you find so many funny jokes:D



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  • Macaca
    02-13 09:45 AM
    When House Changed Rules for Travel, He Lobbied for the Lobbyists (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021201293_2.html)

    By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
    Tuesday, February 13, 2007; Page A19

    Loopholes in laws and regulations sometimes seem to appear by magic, and often no one wants to claim to be the magician. But one man actually wants credit for a couple of big loopholes in the new ethics rules the House passed last month: John H. Graham IV.

    Graham is the president of an organization that could exist only in Washington -- the American Society of Association Executives. In other words, he is the chief lobbyist for lobbyists.

    His organization represents 22,000 association executives, from large groups such as the American Medical Association and small ones such as the Barbershop Harmony Society. When any of them are in danger of losing access to lawmakers, Graham, 57, is supposed to intervene.

    Which is what he did -- proudly -- as soon as he learned that Democratic leaders wanted to ban travel provided by lobbyists and the entities that employ them. Graham dispatched his own lobbyists and several of his most sympathetic allies to meet with House staffers. Eventually they poked two gigantic holes in the proposed prohibition.

    The first opened the way for lobbyists to pay for short trips -- one day as far as the Midwest and two days to the West Coast. The second permits colleges to provide travel to lawmakers without restriction, even though they lobby in Washington a lot. (See the next item.)

    Ethics advocates were disappointed. "The better policy is no privately financed travel," said Meredith McGehee of the Campaign Legal Center.

    But Graham was unabashed. Golf trips to Scotland should be nixed, he said, but not visits to taxpayer-funded programs or to industry-backed seminars. "We didn't want a total ban on travel," Graham said. "We were on top of it from the very beginning."

    In fact, he and his lobbyists started their campaign a year ago after then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) first suggested a travel ban. That effort failed partly because of Graham's enterprise.

    After the Democratic victory in last year's midterm elections, Graham's lobbyists -- Senior Vice President Jim Clarke and contract lobbyist James W. Rock -- targeted the staff of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and then met with aides to Democratic House leaders Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and James E. Clyburn (S.C.).

    After one such meeting, Graham learned that the ban would prevent lawmakers from taking trips to colleges to give commencement addresses. He quickly asked the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities to join the crusade.

    Graham also recruited other groups with sterling reputations, including the American Heart Association, the YMCA of the USA and the American Cancer Society. They went as a group from office to office on Capitol Hill and made the case that brief trips could not be mistaken for boondoggles, especially when white-hat interests like themselves were footing the bill.

    The result: Graham has become Mr. Loophole, winning the exemptions and on track to getting them in the Senate as well.




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  • Fruitcake cookies, Nov. 2010


  • gimme_GC2006
    03-25 06:28 PM
    Sometimes you listen to your heart and take a decision
    Sometimes you listen to your brain and take a decision.

    I believe this situation should warrant you to listen to your brain and hire a good attorney.
    Dont go by your hunch (or heart). Again a friendly advice because there is just too much at stake.

    Good luck no matter what you decide.

    The more and more I visit this thread, I am feeling I should have went with Attorney.

    So I will stay away until I further hear from AO :confused:

    Thanks to all of you who wished me



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  • Macaca
    12-30 05:50 PM
    India-China relations today have to evolve in a substantially altered environment. In the current era comprehensive national power is a factor of economic growth and potential. In this China is way ahead of the rest and forging ahead rapidly. The excuse that India�s economic growth story started 13 years later and hence only two decades old and hence catch up with China soon, does not carry conviction. China has in these last three decades gone way ahead of India and the rest of the world. Today, China is four and a half times richer than India and the difference shows. Whether in domestic infrastructure, or international reach and goodwill, or in its ability to project power far from its borders, this lead is impressive. Yet, such asymmetries can be overcome through alliances and partnerships. Possibility of conflict can be reduced through developing interconnectivity and trade and commercial interdependence. In both areas substantive progress has been achieved by New Delhi.

    The real truth is that India has to get its act together, not merely in catching up in GDP growth, but in translating this in to core national power that can impact on the region and the world. Present strategy then has now to be based on consolidating our immediate neighbourhood and developing selective major power relationships that will translate in time to global influence and political strength. This is the real meaning of �balance� in strategic relationships and has to be pursued with great patience and foresight, but with single minded zeal.

    There are serious obstacles along the way. Our strategic culture of not looking beyond the immediate future precludes effective long term planning. Delhi has always defined its strategic interests in vague principles and ideological terms and not through practical achievable time bound objectives. This needs to change.

    Beyond our neighbourhood we have to develop closer ties with major powers such as the US, Australia, Japan and Korea, key democracies with shared values. This will call for a clear break with our past practice of non-alignment and solidarity among the weak. India, as a strong power in its own right, has the responsibility to assume today the leadership of the medium powers and an alignment with the strong.

    Yet, our bilateral relationship with China has to be firmly grounded in a cooperative, constructive and comprehensive relationship. That is again critically important to develop balance, particularly with China, long imbued with the sense of Middle Kingdom. Even as China begins to adjust to a reality of equal and sovereign powers, New Delhi has to exploit openings that may emerge. China�s incursion in to India�s strategic space, should be met not by lamenting over this fact, but through calm and carefully constructed counter measures in China�s periphery.

    CONCLUSIONS

    Many options may not indeed be feasible at the present time. For example nothing can reduce the utter dependency of Pakistan as a client state of Beijing, to which it has surrendered its sovereignty. But, this does not apply to its other neighbours, such as Myanmar, Nepal or Bangladesh or other Southeast Asian countries.

    This brings us back to the larger issue of bilateral relations between India and China. Lack of knowledge of the �other� breeds mistrust and leads to fear. We need first to bridge the enormous divide and gap in mutual perceptions. This can be brought about mainly by a very much enhanced people to people contact, knowledge of each other�s cultures and history. Not just tourists and visitors, but scholars and young people must enormously increase their contacts in sports, cultural activities and through education in each other�s countries. India needs to match the capabilities of Beijing�s Confucius Centres. There is an enormous amount to learn from each other and without giving up our basic advantages of a more intimate knowledge of the global language, we can continue to enhance our knowledge of each other

    Next is in the areas of trade and commerce. As China�s living standards rise the pay and perquisites of its workers will have to rise in commensurate manner to ensure social stability and its competitive manufacturing advantage will diminish. Instead of Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines benefiting from this development, India is better poised to exploit this advantage. Some simple but fundamental changes to labour laws and ways of doing business in India will have to change and could make all the difference.

    The final factor in achieving a balance is in the area of military capability and deterrence. It is not the most critical issue today to develop a dominance in military capability. For, force today is of diminishing value, except where it serves the purpose of deterring the intention of another to cause you harm. Therefore, an asymmetric but effective deterrence utilizing select capabilities can achieve greater dividends. Such a deterrence potential has to be developed not only in a strategic sense, but also in tactical capabilities. This will have to be in areas of advanced scientific areas; such as in space, under sea warfare capabilities, maritime surface attack, cyber defence and rapidly deployed special forces.

    Indeed, India and China has lived close to each other throughout history, as different civilizations, with distinct identities and simultaneously as leading global powers. Yet, it has no history of either permanent animosity or of conflict. That is a lesson from history that we need to replicate. It may be argued that in the intensely globalizing world and diminishing distance there is today a fundamental difference. Yet, our civilizational experience has also taught us to settle our differences through carefully balancing each other�s concerns and interests and through that process ensuring a peaceful strategic environment in Asia and the world.




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  • Macaca
    12-28 07:29 PM
    Flashy Office Space, Advertising India�s Allure (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/business/global/28sizzle.html) By VIKAS BAJAJ | New York Times

    A massive futuristic office complex is rising from a patch of spare, arid land here near the southern Indian city of Chennai. Six butterfly-shaped buildings dock like spacecraft to two long metal-latticed terminals.

    About 12,000 people already work at the campus, being built by India�s largest technology company, Tata Consultancy Services. It eventually will have space for 24,000 of Tata�s nearly 180,000 employees.

    Meanwhile Infosys, one of Tata�s biggest competitors, has added a corporate campus for 15,000 employees with buildings that resemble the Parthenon, the Coliseum and the Louvre�s glass pyramid. Infosys plans to build an additional 10 million square feet of custom office space by mid-2012, at various sites, adding 25,000 workers to its current 122,000.

    It is all part of a construction spree by India�s outsourcing companies, which are growing at a breakneck pace after the lull caused by the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

    But the building boom is about more than making room for more workers.

    The outsourcing giants, which include Wipro and others, hope that architectural sizzle can help them compete for the nation�s top software programmers, while also burnishing their reputations with overseas clients and prospective customers.

    In this nation where world-class high-tech companies co-exist with urban slums and rural poverty, employers like Tata, Infosys and Wipro have set out to create avant-garde, environmentally smart corporate sanctuaries.

    And even if some architects and critics complain about the wisdom and taste of the efforts, the executives behind the building boom say their ambitious projects put a modern face on Indian business.

    T. V. Mohandas Pai, a director at Infosys, which has 15 campuses around India, said his company�s eclectic mix of designs from all over the world reflected this nation�s inclusive sensibility. �One singular thing is monotonous,� he said. �In India, we are a colorful people.�

    Like China a decade earlier, India appears to be at that phase of economic development where buildings are meant to help advertise the nation�s arrival on the world stage. But unlike China, where the government and state-owned corporations took the lead, private companies in India have headed the charge � not the government, which struggles to execute even basic construction projects.

    And within India�s business world, technology companies have been more adventurous than others, perhaps because of their outsize financial success and their need to hire tens of thousands of workers to write software for foreign clients. State and federal governments are aiding the effort by offering these companies generous tax incentives and choice pieces of real estate to build big campuses.

    Competition for employees is intense, because while India produces about 500,000 engineers every year, most colleges provide such poor education that the industry says that just a quarter of graduates are employable. But among those most qualified � typically graduates of elite places like the Indian Institutes of Technology and Birla Institute of Technology and Science � as many as 18 percent leave for other jobs every year. The outsourcing companies see lavish, environmentally friendly campuses as a way to help attract and retain the best and brightest workers.

    With their manicured lawns, power generators and lakes, the campuses are a noticeable improvement on most engineering colleges, which suffer from India�s standard infrastructure deficiencies � blackouts, water shortages and poor maintenance.

    �I prefer a big campus,� said Aditya Mathur, a software engineer, 23, who joined Wipro a year ago, and now works at a four-year-old office in Gurgaon, south of New Delhi, as a software tester. �The facilities are better in a big campus.�

    Tata Consultancy Services � or T.C.S., as the company is known � is spending $200 million on its Siruseri campus and has hired the Uruguayan-born Canadian architect Carlos A. Ott, who designed the opera house on the Place de la Bastille in Paris. The company is also building big campuses in Ahemdabad, Pune, Calcutta and Hyderabad.

    But some critics say that too many of the industry�s new complexes are intended to make a big splash without much thought of how they will function and fit into the local surroundings.

    �It is a haphazard reaching for something that will quickly make a statement about the place being world class,� said Himanshu Burte, an architecture critic who writes frequently for Indian newspapers.

    But Rahul Mehrotra, a prominent architect who has designed an office building for Hewlett-Packard in Bangalore, the city at the heart of India�s technology industry, argued that rather than being outr�, too many Indian tech campuses had a hackneyed feel, evoking the sprawling suburban campuses of Silicon Valley or American companies like Google and Apple.

    �The architecture in these cases symbolizes the fact that these are places of outsourcing, not cutting-edge research,� said Mr. Mehrotra, who lives in Mumbai and Boston.

    Mr. Pai of Infosys said he was unconcerned about such criticism. He said the people who mattered to the company � employees and customers � raved about its buildings, particularly those that resembled landmarks like the Coliseum at its new campus in the city of Mysore. �They like the fact that it�s so diverse,� he said.

    Infosys probably set the standard for ambitious corporate campuses in India more than a decade ago. Many other companies grew helter-skelter wherever they could find space. But Infosys started building large complexes, beginning with its first campus on the southern edge of Bangalore, its home city, in 1995, just a few years after India started to open its economy to the rest of the world.

    That first campus, which, after many expansions, can now accommodate 24,000 people, was considered cutting-edge for creating an ordered oasis of lawns and lakes in the midst of the urban chaos that envelops most commercial areas in India. The complex also established the company�s quirky style � with a glass pyramid for an auditorium and a building that resembles a washing machine � and helped set a benchmark for big campuses in the technology industry.

    Mr. Pai, who determined the overall layout of the campuses with the company�s chairman, N. R. Narayana Murthy, said Infosys was determined to make every new campus �better than our last campus.�

    Their rules include the tenet that no two buildings should look alike. Another audacious goal is that every campus should become a �carbon sink� in the next five years. In other words, trees, lakes and other natural features should absorb more carbon than is generated by the campus.

    Some other firms, like Wipro, tend to be more understated, opting for standard-looking office buildings. But even these companies have trademark causes. Wipro prides itself on minimizing the use of power and, especially, water. It recycles water and creates lakes to harvest the rain. At one of its campuses in Bangalore, a training center appears to float on one of these reservoirs.

    T.C.S., based in Mumbai, has long had significant operations in and around Chennai, the city formerly known as Madras, which is on the Bay of Bengal. But N. Chandrasekaran, chief executive of T.C.S., said the company previously had too many buildings arbitrarily sprinkled around that region.

    The new Siruseri campus, 18 miles south of Chennai, is meant to help consolidate some of those outposts and give employees a sense of place and pride of ownership. �We had multiple buildings and we felt that we should have a campus where employees will feel empowerment, will feel good about working,� he said �and at the same time we have a place to host clients.�

    For at least some employees, the plan seems to be succeeding.

    Deenathajalan Sugumar, who works in production support, recently moved to the new T.C.S. campus in Siruseri from a smaller building in Chennai. He gushed about the campus, even though he now commutes by a company bus for more than an hour every day, more than double his previous travel time.

    �It�s my home,� Mr. Sugumar, 24, said. �It�s my company.�


    The Outsourcing Battle (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/12/28/business/global/20101228-sizzle-ss.html) New York Times



    more...

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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:32 PM
    Commercial Venture

    Turning SKS into a commercial venture allowed the firm to tap an unlimited pool of funds from private investors. That, in turn, let the company grow and reduce rates, Akula says.

    �Interest rates have come down over time,� he says. �Because it works, she comes back year after year,� he says of his customers.

    His autobiography, �A Fistful of Rice� (Harvard Business Review Press, 2010), provides a glimpse of the expansion drive.

    Akula, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant, studied McDonald�s Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc. in 2005 to learn about their speedy training of unskilled workers. He devised a two-month course to train as many as 1,000 new loan officers a month.

    �I now had one goal for SKS; to grow, grow, grow as fast as we could,� he writes. �We could practice microfinance in a way that would serve more poor people than anyone had ever thought possible.�

    Akula says the commercial model of microfinance isn�t the only way.

    Returning to �Roots�

    �It�s an important complement to other forms of finance,� he says. New microfinance companies don�t spend time to build trust, Akula says. �As an industry, we need to go back to our roots,� he says.

    The Reserve Bank is scheduled to report on the industry in January. The finance ministry is planning new rules.

    Sequoia Capital�s Chadha says he�s concerned about �regulatory uncertainty� created by the state ordinance and prefers federal regulation. Nationwide rules would prevent individual states from damaging credit discipline by waiving loans, Microfinance Institutions� Prasad says.

    �It is no different than needing good regulation for stock investing or starting a manufacturing facility,� SKS investor Khosla says.

    �People, Not Profit�

    From Yunus�s perspective, it�s essential that the industry move away from seeking maximum profits and get back to focusing on the poor.

    �If not, you are not helping poor people�s lives,� he says. �You are not patient. You are not restrained. You don�t have empathy for the people. You are just using them to make money. That�s what blinds you when you are in the profit-making world. We need to see the people, not profit.�

    Any such changes would be too late for Atthili Padma and Shivalingam, a young couple in Andhra Pradesh�s cotton-farming village of Chennampalli.

    Padma, a 22-year-old mother of two, walked out of her house on Oct. 7 with her 18-month-old son and 4-year-old daughter, according to Maruthi Prasad, a superintendent at the police station in Shankarampet.

    Padma�s Death

    Instead of heading to her parents� house as she often did, she walked 2 kilometers in the opposite direction. She came to an old Hindu temple where villagers worship Lord Shiva, the god of destruction. Padma continued until she stood in front of a well once used to irrigate crops, her father-in-law, Pochaiah, says. There, with no one to dissuade her, she jumped into the well with her children.

    The day before she died, Padma had visited her parents after arguing with her husband over loans they couldn�t repay, according to Mangamma, the couple�s neighbor.

    Their marriage five years ago was arranged by their parents and the couple had become close and hadn�t fought before that day, Mangamma says. The loans totaled 20,000 rupees, Pochaiah says.

    Padma�s death is recorded as a microfinance-related suicide in the list by the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty.

    �Sad Day for Microfinance�

    Police arrested Padma�s husband, Shivalingam, on Oct. 13 for allegedly abetting Padma�s suicide. They also alleged that he�d harassed her to provide money to marry him, which is illegal in India, according to Narayana, a constable at the Shankarampet police station.

    Police made two further arrests on Nov. 8: Share Microfin managers Sriram Raghavender, 27, and Polapalli Kumaraswami, 22, also for allegedly abetting the suicide, according to superintendent Prasad. The two managers and Shivalingam have been released on bail and are awaiting a court hearing, Prasad says.

    Advocates and investors such as Khosla say microfinance -- when it works correctly -- is the best way to give the rural poor a shot at better lives.

    The tragedies in India present the worst possible outcome, says Cashpor�s Gibbons, whose Nov. 15 speech opened a morning session of the annual Microfinance India Summit in New Delhi.

    �This is a sad day for microfinance,� said Gibbons, who has promoted the movement for the past two decades.

    �Often people asked me, �What are you doing here?�� he told the audience. �I�ve been always proud to say, �I�m doing microfinance.� Now, when people ask, I feel embarrassed. I feel like hiding somewhere.�




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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:31 PM
    Suicides in India Revealing How Men Made a Mess of Microcredit (http://washpost.bloomberg.com/Story?docId=1376-LE3PZI1A1I4H01-0F7HGVAGBBTBG4G4S2I5PL8TJ5) By Yoolim Lee and Ruth David | Bloomberg

    Tanda Srinivas was lounging in the yard of his two-room house in the southern Indian village of Mondrai shortly after noon on Oct. 28 when his wife, Shobha, burst out of the door covered in flames and screaming for help.

    The 30-year-old mother of two boys had poured 2 liters of kerosene on herself and lit a match. The couple had argued bitterly the day before over how they would repay multiple loans, including those from microlenders who had lent small sums to dozens of villagers, says Venkateshwarlu Masram, a doctor who called for the ambulance.

    Shobha, head of several groups of women borrowers, was being pressured to pay interest on her 12,000 rupee ($265) loan. Lenders also were demanding that she cover for the other women, even though the state had restricted microfinance activities two weeks earlier, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its February issue.

    When Srinivas, 35, tried to snuff out the flames with a blanket, his polyester clothes caught fire. Within three days, both parents were dead, leaving their sons orphans.

    Now, on this November morning, the boys� ailing 70-year-old grandfather and blind grandmother say they are caring for Aravind, 10, and Upender, 13, in the farming village where many men earn a living gathering palm extract to make alcoholic beverages.

    None of the boys� relatives can support them full time, says their 60-year-old grandmother, Saiamma, breaking into tears.

    India�s Microlending Hub

    The horrific scene in Mondrai, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the city of Warangal, has played out in dozens of ways across Andhra Pradesh, India�s fifth-largest state by area and the site of about a third of the country�s $5.3 billion in microfinance loans as of Sept. 30.

    More than 70 people committed suicide in the state from March 1 to Nov. 19 to escape payments or end the agonies their debt had triggered, according to the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, a government agency that compiled the data on the microfinance-related deaths from police and press reports.

    Andhra Pradesh, where three-quarters of the 76 million people live in rural areas, suffered a total of 14,364 suicide cases in the first nine months of 2010, according to state police.

    A growing number of microfinance-related deaths spurred the state to clamp down on collection practices in mid-October, says Reddy Subrahmanyam, principal secretary for rural development.

    �Every life is important,� he says.

    Perverse Turn

    On Nov. 8, police arrested two managers of lender Share Microfin Ltd. on allegations of abetting another suicide, this one of a 22-year-old mother. Share Microfin didn�t respond to requests for comment on this story.

    As India struggles to provide decent education, health care and jobs to millions still locked in poverty, microlending -- the loaning of small sums to the world�s neediest people to help them earn a living -- has taken a perverse turn.

    Microcredit has become �Walmartized� by unrestrained selling of cheap products to the poor, says Malcolm Harper, chairman of ratings company Micro-Credit Ratings International Ltd. in Gurgaon, India.

    �Selling debt is like selling drugs,� says Harper, 75, the author of more than 20 books on microfinance and other topics. �Selling debt to illiterate women in Andhra Pradesh, you�ve got to be a lot more responsible.�

    Opposite Effect

    K. Venkat Narayana, an economics professor at Kakatiya University in Warangal, has studied how microfinance lenders persuaded groups of women to borrow.

    �Microfinance was supposed to empower women,� he says. �Microfinance guys reversed the social and economic progress, and these women ended up becoming slaves.�

    India�s booming microlending industry is part of a global phenomenon that began as a charitable movement but now attracts private capital seeking growth and high returns.

    Banco Compartamos SA, a former nonprofit that�s now the largest lender to Mexico�s working poor, raised about $467 million in its 2007 initial public offering. The August IPO of SKS Microfinance Ltd., India�s biggest microlender, drew further attention to the industry.

    SKS began operating in 1998 as a nongovernmental organization led by Vikram Akula, 42, an Indian-American with a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

    The company raised 16.3 billion rupees by selling 16.8 million shares at 985 rupees each. SKS shares peaked at 1,404.85 rupees on Sept. 15. As of Dec. 28, they�d fallen to 652.85 rupees.

    Andhra Pradesh Crisis

    On Oct. 15, the government of Andhra Pradesh imposed restrictions that bar microlenders� collection agents from visiting borrowers and required companies to get local authorities� approval for new loans. The rules have crippled lending and repayments. Loan collection levels in the state have dropped to less than 20 percent from 98 percent previously, according to an industry group.

    The upheaval in Andhra Pradesh is a long way from the vision of Muhammad Yunus.

    The former economics professor won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his pioneering work in Bangladesh providing small sums to entrepreneurs too poor to get bank loans.

    Yunus, 70, discovered more than three decades ago that when you lend money to women in poverty, they can begin to earn a living, and most of them will pay you back.

    Yunus started the Grameen Bank Project in 1976 to extend banking services to the poor. Since then, it has lent $9.87 billion and recovered $8.76 billion; 97 percent of its 8.33 million borrowers are female.

    �Wrong Direction�

    Yunus says he�s not against making a profit. But he denounces firms that seek windfalls and pervert the original intent of microfinance: helping the poor.

    The rule of thumb for a loan should be the cost of funds plus 10 percent, he says.

    �Commercialization is the wrong direction,� Yunus says, speaking in a telephone interview from Bangladesh�s capital of Dhaka. �An initial public offering is the triggering point for making a lot of money personally as well as for the company and shareholders.�

    David Gibbons, chairman of Cashpor Micro Credit, a nonprofit microlender to the poorest women in India�s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, says public, for-profit lenders face a conflict.

    �They have to decide between the interests of their customers and interests of their investors,� he says.




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  • alterego
    07-14 04:32 AM
    Why are you so worried about this initiative. Do you think an official at USCIS will read a letter and change the process in one day. If you think so then i wish you had written a letter during the letter campaign, we needed someone with your 'positive' attitude. I have sent letters to everybodies uncle and this is my 8th year waiting in EB3 and 12th year in US. Give us a chance to express our thoughts and wallow in our black hole.

    We as EB3 feel that we got a raw deal due to a change in the intrepretation of a law. There is nothing wrong in sending a letter to express our opinion.

    You can send a letter to thank USCIS for helping EB2 and the fact that you have an MS and that makes you great etc...(isnt this what every other post says, disregarding the fact that EB3's have people from top US universities too, there top universities around the world. I guess that you guys or the USCIS thinks that 5yrs consultancy at desi bodyshop with manufactured resume = 2yrs MS at Yale). Nothing against you, let us post a simple letter and get on with our miserable lives.



    That is exactly it. This letter sounds desperate. Not exactly a recipe for success. Merely a shot in the wind, with no plan, and it is directed at someone with no power to legislate. Additionally, a few people mention they want to make him aware of this situation. Don't you think as someone who sets the PDs monthly he is aware of it already? He testified in front of congress recently about it.
    Getting the interpretation of the law changed is not going to happen especially after they changed their interpretation recently with congressional input.
    It is entirely up to the employer (except EB1OR and EB2NIW which are self petitioned) to file in a particular category. It should be based on the job description. If someone feels their job was EB2 qualified but their employer filed only in EB3, then they could consider moving jobs. Once the 140 is processed, the law allows a retention of PD across EB categories which to my mind is fairly generous.
    This letter cannot achieve anything, it in no way helps with the visa recapture. That is the only thing that helps everyone EB2, EB3 and EB3ROW. Visa recapture has a moral argument that is stronger ie. the Gov't agency involved did not process efficiently and wasted numbers while there were immense backlogs and it was the intent of congress to approve 140K visas a year in EB immigration so lets redress this...........
    This letter is certain to cause a distraction for all and lead to internecine warfare between EB categories. EB2I will most likely have a retrogression again in the Oct, bulletin and we will be back to the old scenario.

    Additionally, after 7 pages, I have not seen a single post explain to me how either spillover method ie previous vertical or newer horizontal spillover will help EB3I. Either way has to go through the gate of Eb2I and C. One can argue that since they had the wrong interpretation of spillover for nearly 2 yrs, those visas should be redirected in favor of EB2 I and C.
    Ultimately this is not the type of solution we need to our issue. We need to overall pie to be bigger.




    ArkBird
    01-06 05:26 PM
    Tomplate,
    I am not angry or anything. I am just sitting quitely, surfing net and enjoying my evening coffee.

    But i was so shocked when i read about school bombing and innocent school kids being murdered within seconds.

    If you have kids then you will realize how hard it is to loose kids. Kids are innocent and wonderful thing, but these murderers are not sparing even kids.

    So called peace loving nations and so called peace loving leaders and sitting and watching this massacre quitely. Thats what hurts me most.


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    niklshah
    07-14 08:49 AM
    send the damn letter, nothing happens, and then come back here and vent your frustration again. as you said, buddy, HARD LUCK indeed !!

    I cannot believe the nerve that you EB-3 India guys have. You are begging for a GC based on your length of wait!!! laughable at best...........go wait a decade or so more, then come back here and start this useless BS again.

    one good thing happens for the EB-2 folks, and the EB-3 community cannot stomach it. pure freaking jealousy.

    guys this rolling flood guy does not look like any of us in queue of green card..he is just here to put some oil in stupid fire started here...Beware of him.....



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