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Old 12-18-2013   #21
Madhu
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Default Where is the Desi Tom Wolfe when you need him?

Omar:

Maidgate is the desi Bonfire of the Vanities:

Quote:
Wolfe deliberately set out to make The Bonfire of the Vanities capture the essence of New York City in the 1980s. Wall Street in the 1980s was newly resurgent after almost the whole of the 1970s had been bad for stocks. The excesses of Wall Street were at the forefront of the popular imagination, captured in films like Oliver Stone's Wall Street and in non-fiction books like Liar's Poker, Den of Thieves, and Barbarians at the Gate.
Beneath Wall Street's success, the city was a hot-bed of racial and cultural tension. Homelessness and crime in the city were growing. Several high-profile racial incidents polarized the city, particularly two black men who were murdered in white neighborhoods: Willie Turks, who was murdered in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn in 1982 and Michael Griffith in Howard Beach, Queens, in 1986. In another episode that became a subject of much media attention, Bernhard Goetz became something of a folk-hero in the city for shooting a group of black men who tried to rob him in the subway.
Burton B. Roberts, a Bronx judge known for his no-nonsense imperious handling of cases in his courtroom, became the model for the character of Myron Kovitsky in the book.[1]
1. Class (not caste, non-desis, get this straight for a change).
2. Diplomatic ineptitude, Indian and American.
3. Corruption (A desi fiddling with visa paperwork? Say it ain't so).
4. Cops treating an upper or middle class person like they treat the poor or minorities? Hey, the upper and middle class only care about police behavior when it affects them, okay? Everyone else is going to get treated like cattle, that's the Homeland Security-ization of America!
5. Election season in India.
6. Indian politicians thinking, "hey, this might get the unhappy electorate off our backs for a change. Don't look at us, look at them!"
7. Desi thin-skinnedness: "we will give them such a slap on their faces, they will never know what stings!"
8. Cable news screws up everything everywhere, you know?

And so on. I will know that the American Desi community has reached full maturity when it can satirize its own faults as well as others. And there are plenty of faults on both sides. Oh, wait, we are so beyond that. You know someone like Anna John will have a field day with this....

Maybe I should try and write the novel....haha, like I could stick to anything for that long with my ADHD....

Journalists read this site sometimes, amiright? Please use my Bonfire of the Vanities line. Please....
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Last edited by Madhu; 12-18-2013 at 03:29 AM. Reason: cleaning up my usual misspellings
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Old 12-18-2013   #22
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If by 'maidgate' it means he case of Devyani Khobargade the Indian Deputy Consul, then in so far as the case of the Deputy Counsel in NY is concerned , it is not so much for breaking of law, as it is for the 'handling' of the case, where the lady diplomat was p[ublicly handcuffed, strip searched and jailed with common criminals.

On the issue of breaking US law, there are US diplomats in India who have same sex 'companions' and that is against the Indian law.

Should India arrest them?

What would the US reaction be?

The US is notorious for 'saving' US citizens on foreign land who have broken local laws.

Take the case of Raymond Davis, the former United States Army soldier, private security firm employee, and contractor with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who killed two Pakistanis. The US asserted that Davis was protected under the principle of diplomatic immunity due to his role as an "administrative and technical official" attached to the Lahore consulate.The U.S. government claimed that Davis was protected under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and demanded he be released from custody immediately. President Barack Obama asked Pakistan not to prosecute Davis and recognize him as a diplomat, stating, "There's a broader principle at stake that I think we have to uphold."

In the case of Devyani, she was a genuine consular diplomat.

Consular staff have lower diplomatic immunity, but are to be treated with dignity as per the Vienna Convention on Consular Staff.

May see:
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/13121...a-returns-kind

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/i...w/27488890.cms

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...a-83c921795618

Last edited by Ray; 12-18-2013 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 12-18-2013   #23
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Default No one looks good in this incident

You are correct Ray, US policing has ugly aspects to it that the poor and less connected are very aware of but others don't see.

Same too with the treatment of poorer migrant Indians abroad at the hands of well-to-do Indians which sometimes raises the ire of locals back home in India but often doesn't.

What you may not realize from a distance is that there is a certain amount of corruption among the Indian community living in the US that goes down very badly with long term Indian Americans. We are aware of this behavior and it is not pleasant to watch. It very much hurts some people living abroad, just as much as the bad treatment of Indians in, say, the Gulf. Some people justify anything. Perhaps this is overly coloring our perception.

But you are correct that this was handled badly and India has a complaint. But Indians are not the only people arrested for this, Saudi diplomats and others have been arrested too for abusing domestic help stateside but their cases did not get as much attention.

I just don't see how two wrongs make a right or how ###-for-tat diplomacy makes the situation any better. There are other ways to show displeasure and mete out punishment for ignoring diplomatic protocol. Others are watching both the US and India and likely making a negative judgement.
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Old 12-18-2013   #24
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There are many aspects of maid-gate. Obviously she doesnt have any "right" to keep a maid while breaking local laws...in this case the law specifying what wages a maid should be paid. But the outrage seems more about:
1. The public arrest, strip search and imprisonment. Hardly standard practice for middle-class and above in India and not for Mafia chieftains, friends of Dick Cheney or senior bankers in the US either, so why was that done to her? My initial guess was that it was just standard NY Marshals douchebaggery, not India-specific. The police culture in the US being what it is (which is, in MANY ways, far superior to police culture in Pakistan or India, but that distinction may not be the first thought in the mind of an educated Indian, since our police douchebaggery is very class conscious and no diplomat would be treated like this in INdia or Pakistan unless express orders were given to the police to behave in this way)
2. Which brings us to the second cause of the outrage: the widespread belief that "this couldnt happen unless the state department wanted it to happen"..i.e. it is a deliberate insult.

I have no idea if it was deliberate or not. My guess would be "probably not"..at least not meant to be specially insulting. The State department may have felt the need to have her arrested because their quiet complaint (apparently sent in September to India) had not had any effect. Another cross-cultural misunderstanding perhaps? In this case the state department may have forgotten how fast things are processed in India?
But the dominant feeling among Indians on my timelines seems to be that "this was deliberate and meant to be insulting". Even if they are wrong, that is not a perception that will be very helpful to the US image in India.
The most interesting aspect could be what a friend from Mumbai has raised. He believes MANY diplomats from third world countries have maids (or semi-slaves) kept on lower wages in the same manner. And this may cause many of them to lose their maids. Oh the humanity!
I personally think the diplomat should have been charged once quiet messaging had not worked. But the public arrest and especially the strip search, were gratuitously insulting and unnecessary. And if they are standard part of american police culture, then that culture too needs to be looked at again...
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Old 12-18-2013   #25
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Maid-gate:

I don't know much about this case. There doesn't seem to be much in the American press. So these comments will be general. Also I don't know any NYPD guys or whoever arrested her.

As far as publicly arresting somebody, that isn't unusual. You pick them where it is most convenient and if they don't like it, tough. As far as a strip search goes, that would depend mostly upon the procedures in place at the facility she was booked into. I would hope such a facility wouldn't make an exception because of somebody's status. Then of course perhaps they had discretion and chose to exercise it because she ticked them off. Also I've read that diplomats in NY severely abuse their privileges so there might be a bit of payback involved when one does a crime they can get hooked up for.

Judging by the bail, this isn't a little crime. They are taking this seriously. Lastly, it seems to me that Americans get ticked off when somebody enslaves somebody else, especially when the enslaver is a guest in the country.

If that makes American cops d--------s, so be it.
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Old 12-19-2013   #26
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Old 12-19-2013   #27
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The above gives the gist of the case.

The interesting issue is that while the maid was paid an appalling salary by US standards, then how is it that she will support her husband and two children the the US.

The US vets visa applications very stringently.

How come this passed muster wherein the family will surely not be able to sustain itself and will be a burden on the US?

*****************

The diplomat was subjected to also 'cavity' search.

Is wage dispute a 'grave' crime in the US?

Do those, who are not even diplomats, but are US citizens who employ the illegal Mexicans down south, subjected to these indignities?

Last edited by Ray; 12-19-2013 at 03:43 AM.
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Old 12-19-2013   #28
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Report: Some at U.S. diplomatic posts earn less than $1 a day

The report from the department's Office of the Inspector General looked at how the U.S. pays more than 51,000 local, non-American employees in about 170 missions. In addition to the hardship caused to the workers because of inadequate pay, the report found that the U.S. is losing staff to other higher-paying employers and may not be able to fill vacancies with qualified people.............................

The report says the hardest-hit local employees are those at the lowest levels, and quotes some employees as saying they make less than $1 a day.

Some U.S. missions are in impoverished parts of the world where low salaries are common, and there is a wide range in pay depending on what jobs are performed and where. But the report sets out a stark picture of the richest country in the world paying some of the lowest salaries.

"Twenty-seven missions presented compelling arguments that their lower-grade employees fall short of minimal living standards," the report said......

"These arguments included accounts of LE [locally employed] staff: removing children from school, cutting back to one meal a day, sending children to sell water or little cakes or toiletries on the streets ... employees depending on salary advances and defaulting on loans in order to cover basic expenses ... [pay]grades 1 to 3 earning less than $1.00 per day."

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS...ef=werecommend

****************

May see this also

http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=821486

Last edited by Ray; 12-19-2013 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 12-19-2013   #29
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Ray:

The time line you cited sounds like a defense attorney's slant on things. Maybe its true. Maybe not. The criminal complaint will be the interesting thing and important thing to read. It is really the only thing that matters.

The 'diplomat' became a 'prisoner' the second she was arrested. If the jail's procedures require a cavity search during processing, then that is what will be done. She was a prisoner, not a diplomat-prisoner.

At the risk of being inflammatory, what caste is the maid and what caste is the diplomat? Who is higher in the caste pecking order?
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Old 12-19-2013   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
Ray:

The time line you cited sounds like a defense attorney's slant on things. Maybe its true. Maybe not. The criminal complaint will be the interesting thing and important thing to read. It is really the only thing that matters.

The 'diplomat' became a 'prisoner' the second she was arrested. If the jail's procedures require a cavity search during processing, then that is what will be done. She was a prisoner, not a diplomat-prisoner.

At the risk of being inflammatory, what caste is the maid and what caste is the diplomat? Who is higher in the caste pecking order?
This is what the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states:


Quote:
Article 40 of Vienna Convention speaks of 'protection of consular officers'.

It says that the receiving State shall treat consular officers with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on their person, freedom or dignity.

Also, Article 41 of the convention says that consular officers are not liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority.

It further says that consular officers cannot be imprisoned or be subjected to any other form of restriction on their personal freedom, unless there is a judicial order.

In case, a consular officer is arrested, he/she should appear before the competent authorities and should be conducted with the 'respect due to him by reason of his official position', says the Convention.

Article 43 says that consular officers and consular employees shall not be amenable to the jurisdiction of the judicial or administrative authorities of the receiving State in respect of acts performed in the exercise of consular functions.
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Old 12-19-2013   #31
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I would add that the US diplomats have been accorded facilities beyond the Convention. This includes the consular staff.

Further, the Indian Govt has allowed US diplomatic staff to being their "companions' into the country. Companions here mean same sex 'married' people.

Sec 377 of the Indian Penal Code declares homosexuality a criminal offence.

There is a clamour that these diplomatic staff have broken Indian Laws and so they must be prosecuted under Indian Laws since they have broken Indian Laws.

Further, the Indian staff in the US Embassy and the Consulates, which are taken to be sovereign US territory, are paid less than US rates of pay.

Why are the US diplomats not being subjected to the same treatment as Ms Khobragade when they are blatantly flouting US laws?

In India it is felt that the US has double standards.

*****************************

Quote:
At the risk of being inflammatory, what caste is the maid and what caste is the diplomat? Who is higher in the caste pecking order?
No, you are not being inflammatory.

It is just that you feel caste is a big deal in India, To be frank it is not as is imputed by foreigners.

However, to answer your question.

Both are SCHEDULED CASTE!

Therefore the idea that high caste vs low caste is at play is not there.

It also shows that caste does not play any major role in India, unlike what is popularly felt abroad, as the whole nation is inflamed, debunking that caste plays a role in asking for justice and fairplay.

Last edited by Ray; 12-19-2013 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 12-19-2013   #32
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Default Class not caste, carl

Hey carl, I was having this conversation the other day with a friend when discussing this case.

To look at everything in India through the lens of caste for India is the equivalent of using terrorism to understand everything about Muslim societies.

Corruption, connections, class privilege, regionalism, gender, language dominance and caste, among all the other myriad motivators of human behavior, matter too. It's not that caste doesn't have an importance but the world is rapidly changing and with the migration of people from rural to urban areas and the rise of NGO activists of all types with that migration comes a very complicated and dizzying perspective of change.

I can assure, those with more money lord it over those with less caste or no caste. A sense of privilege is complicated business. Why this mistake seems to keep occuring in American media of either a left or right variety is a surprise to me....

Sorry for the lecture but you know me
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Old 12-19-2013   #33
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Default Allegations of visa fraud are a serious business

Breath in Deep: http://epaper.dnaindia.com/story.asp...&wintype=popup

There are a lot of allegations being thrown around and the reports vary depending on which source you look at, so I would be very careful. Both the diplomat and maid have reasons to put things the way each one does.

As for "Indian" opinion, if you look at the comments to many of the articles, you will find at least half of the commenters complaining about the behavior of Indian officials and they are sympathetic to the US case.

It may be that the Indian government is reacting this way because the case hits too close to home, especially with the victory of the Aam Aadmi party and others like it.

In addition, the practice of law in the US is different than in India so that is probably another reason for the misperception. Basically, I see a badly handled affair being egged on by various parties for personal benefit.

It is hard to get at the truth with the poor reporting, too.
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Last edited by Madhu; 12-19-2013 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Added last sentence
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Old 12-19-2013   #34
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Default Allegations of visa or immigration fraud are generally taken very seriously in the US

Quote:
In a highly unusual move for a federal prosecutor, US Attorney Preet Bharara issued a lengthy statement on Wednesday explaining the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade and saying she was accorded courtesies most other defendants wouldn't get.

Here's the full statement:

There has been much misinformation and factual inaccuracy in the reporting on the charges against Devyani Khobragade. It is important to correct these inaccuracies because they are misleading people and creating an inflammatory atmosphere on an unfounded basis. Although I am quite limited in my role as a prosecutor in what I can say, which in many ways constrains my ability here to explain the case to the extent I would like, I can nevertheless make sure the public record is clearer than it has been thus far.

First, Ms. Khobragade was charged based on conduct, as is alleged in the Complaint, that shows she clearly tried to evade U.S. law designed to protect from exploitation the domestic employees of diplomats and consular officers. Not only did she try to evade the law, but as further alleged, she caused the victim and her spouse to attest to false documents and be a part of her scheme to lie to U.S. government officials. So it is alleged not merely that she sought to evade the law, but that she affirmatively created false documents and went ahead with lying to the U.S. government about what she was doing. One wonders whether any government would not take action regarding false documents being submitted to it in order to bring immigrants into the country. One wonders even more pointedly whether any government would not take action regarding that alleged conduct where the purpose of the scheme was to unfairly treat a domestic worker in ways that violate the law. And one wonders why there is so much outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse?

Second, as the alleged conduct of Ms. Khobragade makes clear, there can be no plausible claim that this case was somehow unexpected or an injustice. Indeed, the law is clearly set forth on the State Department website. Further, there have been other public cases in the United States involving other countries, and some involving India, where the mistreatment of domestic workers by diplomats or consular officers was charged criminally, and there have been civil suits as well. In fact, the Indian government itself has been aware of this legal issue, and that its diplomats and consular officers were at risk of violating the law. The question then may be asked: Is it for U.S. prosecutors to look the other way, ignore the law and the civil rights of victims (again, here an Indian national), or is it the responsibility of the diplomats and consular officers and their government to make sure the law is observed?

Third, Ms. Khobragade, the Deputy General Consul for Political, Economic, Commercial and Women's Affairs, is alleged to have treated this victim illegally in numerous ways by paying her far below minimum wage, despite her child care responsibilities and many household duties, such that it was not a legal wage. The victim is also alleged to have worked far more than the 40 hours per week she was contracted to work, and which exceeded the maximum hour limit set forth in the visa application. Ms. Khobragade, as the Complaint charges, created a second contract that was not to be revealed to the U.S. government, that changed the amount to be paid to far below minimum wage, deleted the required language protecting the victim from other forms of exploitation and abuse, and also deleted language that stated that Ms. Khobragade agreed to "abide by all Federal, state, and local laws in the U.S." As the Complaint states, these are only "in part" the facts, and there are other facts regarding the treatment of the victim - that were not consistent with the law or the representations made by Ms. Khobragade -- that caused this Office and the State Department, to take legal action.
No handcuffs according to one account. I would be very careful of stories from both sides....

http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/de...bharara-460476

Once again, if I can find the comments to the articles in the Indian papers, I will show you that "India" has varying opinions. Those that are the target of corrupt Indian officials may have a more nuance view of the situation than the upper classes which seem especially rattled by this case. I would encourage reading the comments to the Indian papers, you will find a mix of opinion where interpretation will vary depending on how you look at the comments.
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Last edited by Madhu; 12-19-2013 at 12:55 PM. Reason: added last sentence
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Old 12-19-2013   #35
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Default "as the whole nation is inflamed"

What evidence supports this grand assertion? Portions of the electorate are inflamed, the media is inflamed, the political class is inflamed, some middle class commenters appear inflamed, but I have seen a lot of complaints too against the type of person the diplomat is supposed to represent.

The vast majority of people in India likely have never even heard of this case, I bet or it is of a peripheral concern.

But what evidence supports either claim, yours or mine? Hard evidence?
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Old 12-19-2013   #36
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Default American diplomats

If American diplomats are not behaving according to local law, then the local law is responsible. But if the cases is only enforced when there is some largely political point to make, then it is not the rule of law.

A difference between some countries and legal systems.
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Old 12-19-2013   #37
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Default What's really going on?

I am sure the anger is real and even deserved but what is really going on in terms of the public way all of this is being handled? Or, like the Italian fisherman case or the Advancort case, is their a sense that a certain kind of sovereignty must be asserted?

Like most scandals that hit the public eye, the situation is often more complicated than initial narratives show.

None of which makes me happy about a certain kind of policing in the States, I am just wondering about grandstanding for political effect?


Quote:
New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Led by an anti-corruption activist, a new political party that claims to champion ordinary Indian voters made a startling electoral debut in the capital New Delhi in regional Legislative Assembly polls, emerging as the second-most powerful grouping in results announced Sunday.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which in Hindi means the Common Man's Party, won 28 of the 70 boroughs in the state of New Delhi in regional Legislative Assembly elections held on December 4, results posted on the website of the nation's poll watchdog showed.
Headed by a former tax official, Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP was formed on November 26, 2012, taking up its election symbol -- the broom -- only a few months ago.
Kejriwal -- who won a Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as Asia's Nobel Prize, in 2006 -- fought the elections himself, defeating New Delhi's three-time chief minister Sheila Dik#### by more than 22,000 votes in a poll that drew more than 11 million voters.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/09/world/...lection-party/
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Old 12-19-2013   #38
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Default Bet this looks good domestically given the political situation and election season

Quote:
India has taken a muscular stand in summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell, stripping US diplomats of identification cards that give them diplomatic benefits, and removing security barriers outside the US embassy in New Delhi.
Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/world/devya...ce=ref_article

Because removing security barriers and creating an unsafe situation for people that have nothing to do with the original case, thereby punishing the wrong party, is a good way to handle things. I am sure other nations are looking at this and thinking, "what an impressive muscular show."

The average Indian is probably, "so, when are you going to be this zealous about bad police treatment at home in India?"

None of which excuses any alleged bad behavior by the Americans.

Are there any adults left out there, any decent public officials on any side? Of course there are but what a depressing spectacle of incompetence by multiple parties.
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Old 12-19-2013   #39
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Quote:
If American diplomats are not behaving according to local law, then the local law is responsible.
This is a valid point.

The Indian Govt rolls over and plays dead all the time.

It sudden waking up does indicate that the ruling political party, which is down in the dumps and has lost four State election wants to project that it has suddenly developed courage to assert itself!

Where were they when China and Pakistan heaped the indignities?

The removing of special privilege to the US and its Embassy and Consulate staff or removing barriers should have been done long ago, so that there was a level playing field for all, since most countries are under the threat of terrorism.

There is hardly any positive movement from either side of 'strategic partnership' beyond the cosmetic.

Therefore, according special privileges not accorded to other nation is pointless.

Last edited by Ray; 12-19-2013 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 12-19-2013   #40
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This is a valid issue that requires attention

Article 47
EXEMPTION FROM WORK PERMITS

1. Members of the consular post shall, with respect to services rendered for the sending State, be exempt from any obligations in regard to work permits imposed by the laws and regulations of the receiving State concerning the employment of foreign labour.

2. Members of the private staff of consular officers and of consular employees shall, if they do not carry on any other gainful occupation in the receiving State, be exempt from the obligations referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

http://www.mfa.gov.tr/data/Kutuphane...rRelations.pdf


The maid was on an official passport.

Her demand was also to get her a normal passport.
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