Manila birth control law takes effect

Updated 17 January 2013
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Manila birth control law takes effect

MANILA: A controversial birth control law came into effect in the Philippines yesterday after more than a decade of bitter opposition from the Catholic church.
Supporters say the measures will help moderate the nation’s rapid population growth, reduce poverty and bring down high maternal mortality.
But Catholic groups have shifted their battle to the courts, questioning the law’s constitutionality.
The government also has to go through “consultations” with various stakeholders including international and local medical and religious groups, said Hazel Chua, an official at the Health Department’s family planning unit.
“It has a lot of broad strokes in it that need a lot of guidelines. It will take a lot of time before (the law) will go down to the ground,” she told AFP.
One provision of the law, legalizing post-abortion medical care, is still undergoing special study since abortion remains illegal in the Philippines, Chua added.
President Benigno Aquino signed the bill into law last month in the face of strong lobbying by the church.
The church is now relying on lay groups that have filed petitions with the Supreme Court to challenge the law, said Roy Lagarde, a spokesman for the country’s Catholic bishops.
But the legislation’s chief author Congressman Edcel Lagman said he was confident it would not be struck down.
“We have long expected that the opposition will go to the Supreme Court. We have prepared for this eventuality,” he told AFP.


With 10-year visa, UAE could be new land of opportunity for Indians

Routine day at Dubai International Airport. AN photo
Updated 23 May 2018
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With 10-year visa, UAE could be new land of opportunity for Indians

  • The ruler of Dubai changed rules to allow foreign investors to fully own companies
  • The Indian banking sector is far more developed in terms of product, technology and the caliber of professionals

NEW DELHI: Indians are likely to “flood” the UAE once its recently announced residency visa rules for students and highly qualified professionals come into place, experts said Tuesday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and the prime minister of the UAE, announced on Sunday a 10-year visa for investors, scientists, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as their families.
 As part of the changes, students will get five-year visas and “exceptional” graduates will be eligible for a 10-year visa.  Students currently have to apply to renew their visa each year.
The ruler of Dubai also changed rules to allow foreign investors to fully own companies. So far companies have been required to have a local partner who would hold the majority stake.
 The changes are expected to kick in during the third quarter of this year.
 “The UAE has always welcomed, and always will, innovators and business leaders,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted as he announced the new rules.
 The UAE, with its proximity to India, high salaries and low taxes, has always been a magnet for Indians. It is home to about 2.6 million Indians who make up roughly 30 percent of the country’s population, according to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. These numbers are expected to shoot up once the new rules apply.
 “Indians are always looking at new work opportunities anywhere in the world,” said Aradhana Mahna, managing director of Manya Education, a study abroad solutions provider in Delhi.  While the US and the UK have historically been avenues for Indian students looking to study abroad, the number of students applying to those countries have undergone a “sharp decline” since the election of US President Donald Trump — who made protectionist comments during his campaign days and since taking office — and since the UK decided to split with the European Union, Mahna said.
 “Dubai is close to home and that has always made it a preferred destination for Indians. Especially now with the US going down, it will be flooded by Indians,” she added.
Mukesh Bhasin, partner at Career Connect, an executive search firm that focuses on banking, financial services and the insurance sector (BFSI), agreed that the new rules would go a long way in attracting Indian talent.
 “The Indian banking sector is far more developed in terms of product, technology and the caliber of professionals,” he said. “The encouraging visa regime will lead to a lot of interest from Indian BFSI professionals toward Middle East opportunities given the already-existing tax benefits and international-quality lifestyle.”
 Since the collapse in 2008 of Lehman Brothers, most developed markets, including neighboring Singapore and Hong Kong, have cut back on the number of people they are hiring from abroad for their domestic operations. This includes a slowdown in foreign transfers for Indian employees of multinational banks, said Bhasin.