Human trafficking racket with Sri Lankan links busted in Telangana

Using an original job visa or work permit paper, the gang used to prepare a photo copy of the same.With special software, a visit visa (incorporating details of the woman passenger concerned) was then created, which looked like the original one.The woman passengers were then accommodated in hotels and ‘classes’ were conducted to familiarise them with the travel documents, police said. Presenting the visit visas, the women used to board the flights to Kuwait. After landing there, they submitted the job visa and would come out of the airport.“Members of the gang colluded with a policeman to secure the mandatory Police Clearance Certificate for each of the woman passenger,” the police officer said.The constable in question, who earlier worked with a police station in Cyberabad, had allegedly arranged the PCCs though the women did not reside originally in Cyberabad area. “Most of these women do not get proper jobs there and end up working for lesser wages and get exploited,” the police said. The special teams, which caught the gang, stumbled upon evidence suggesting the complicity of a police constable in the racket. Members of the gang then instructed the women to conceal the job visa or work permit papers (looking like the original one) before boarding the flight. They are also verifying reports that some members of the staff at the Immigration counter in the airport too have direct or indirect links with the racketeers. A gang trafficking women — mostly from the two Telugu States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana — to Kuwait via other Indian cities and Sri Lanka, has been busted by Telangana police, The Hindu newspaper reported.The gang made the international airport at Shamshabad as its main base but was trafficking people from other major international airports of the country. “Involvement of these persons is being probed further,” a top police officer familiar with the busting of the racket said, unwilling to be quoted.Members of the trafficking gang approached women intending to take up domestic or housekeeping jobs in Gulf countries. They lured them with baits of job visas and collected money from each woman. Investigators also noticed that if the woman fails the mandatory physical fitness test for Kuwait visa, the gang flies them to Sri Lanka where the required certificates are arranged by the gang’s associates.From there, they are flown to Kuwait. The police had already picked up more than 10 persons in connection with the racket.Majority of the victims were from East Godavari, Krishna and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Talks carry on but no deal yet in UAW strike against GM

DETROIT — Talks continued into the night but there was no end to the strike against General Motors.The walkout by upward of 49,000 United Auto Workers members has brought to a standstill more than 50 factories and parts warehouses in the union’s first strike against the No. 1 U.S. automaker in over a decade.Workers left factories and formed picket lines shortly after midnight Monday in the dispute over a new four-year contract. The union’s top negotiator said in a letter to the company that the strike could have been averted had the company made its latest offer sooner.The letter dated Sunday suggests that the company and union are not as far apart as the rhetoric leading up to the strike had indicated. Negotiations continued Monday in Detroit after breaking off during the weekend.But union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the two sides have come to terms on only 2% of the contract.“We’ve got 98% to go,” he said Monday.Asked about the possibility of federal mediation, President Donald Trump, said it’s possible if the company and union want it.“Hopefully they’ll be able to work out the GM strike quickly,” Trump said before leaving the White House for New Mexico. “Hopefully, they’re going to work it out quickly and solidly.”Wall Street did not like seeing the union picketers. GM shares closed Monday down 4.2 per cent to $37.21.On the picket line Monday at GM’s transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio, workers who said they have been with the company for more than 30 years were concerned for younger colleagues who are making less money under GM’s two-tier wage scale and have fewer benefits.Paul Kane, from South Lyon, Michigan, a 42-year GM employee, said much of what the union is fighting for will not affect him.“It’s not right when you’re working next to someone, doing the same job and they’re making a lot more money,” he said. “They should be the making the same as me. They’ve got families to support.”Kane said GM workers gave up pay raises and made other concessions to keep GM afloat during its 2009 trip through bankruptcy protection.“Now it’s their turn to pay us back,” he said. “That was the promise they gave.”UAW Vice-President Terry Dittes told GM that the company’s latest offer might have made it possible to reach an agreement if it had come earlier.“We are disappointed that the company waited until just two hours before the contract expired to make what we regard as its first serious offer,” Dittes wrote in the letter to Scott Sandefur, GM’s vice-president of labour relations.There are many important items left in the talks, including wage increases, pay for new hires, job security, profit sharing and treatment of temporary workers, Dittes wrote.“We are willing to meet as frequently, and for as long as it takes, to reach an agreement that treats our members fairly,” the letter said.GM issued a statement saying it wants to reach a deal that builds a strong future for workers and the business.The automaker said Sunday that it offered pay raises and $7 billion worth of U.S. factory investments resulting in 5,400 new positions, a minority of which would be filled by existing employees. GM would not give a precise number. The company also said it offered higher profit sharing, “nationally leading” health benefits and an $8,000 payment to each worker upon ratification.Before the talks broke off, GM offered new products to replace work at two of four U.S. factories that it intends to close.The company pledged to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The person was not authorized to disclose details of the negotiations.The automaker also offered to open an electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where it has a huge factory that has already stopped making cars and will be closed. The new factory would be in addition to a proposal to make electric vehicles for a company called Workhorse, the person said.It’s unclear how many workers the two plants would employ. The closures, especially of the Ohio plant, have become issues in the 2020 presidential campaign. President Donald Trump has consistently criticized the company and demanded that Lordstown be reopened.Kristin Dziczek, vice-president of labour and industry for the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think-tank , said the letter and resumption of contract talks are encouraging signs. “It makes me think that both sides are probably closer than it might have seemed before,” she said.But both Dziczek and Art Wheaton, an auto industry expert at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, say GM left out key details when it made part of its offer public, and working out those details could make the strike last longer.“I think GM kind of sabotaged some of the negotiations by going immediately to the public,” Wheaton said. “It really distorts the offer.”The strike shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the U.S., as well as 22 parts-distribution warehouses. It’s the first national strike by the union since a two-day walkout in 2007 that had little impact on the company.Workers at Fiat Chrysler and Ford continued working under contract extensions. Any agreement reached with GM will serve as a template for talks with the other two companies.___Associated Press Writer John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio, contributed to this report.Tom Krisher And Mike Householder, The Associated Press read more