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Elderly parents of migrants left in limbo over visa changes

Elderly overseas parents desperate to join their children in New Zealand say the government is sweeping their plight under the carpet after failing to announce what it will do about the residence parent category.

Passport stamp visa for travel concept background, New Zealand. Photo: 123RF The previous government froze the residence category that allowed parents to join their children in October 2016 while it was reviewed. In September last year, Immigration New Zealand said work was continuing on the review, and recommendations were expected to be reported to the minister of immigration by the end of the year.

Scottish farmer David Kerr and wife Julia Kerr said they had been waiting two-and-a-half years to find out if they could join their two daughters and five grandchildren in Sumner, Christchurch. They have written to the government saying they were desperate to know their future. “We have no other children and are missing being with them full time,” they said in an email.

“At the time of closing the door to the parent category, we thought we were probably near the top of the pile, so you can see how frustrated and sad we are feeling. “Also, time is ticking on and no one knows how many more years of active retirement we have.” “I do fully understand we have no rights to come to New Zealand but I just feel the government maybe should just tell us what’s going on … just keep us informed somehow,” Mr Kerr said.

New Zealand citizen Carole Barker said her mother Norah Cheetham, 83, who is in England, is in good health but needed to spend her twilight years with her only daughter. “Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe the anguish this embargo is causing to these trapped in the void,” she said. “It seems to us that this ‘shadowy’ group of predominately elderly people are being pushed ‘under the carpet’ and ignored.

“[It] is not exactly what we expected from a caring, ‘family-focused’ coalition government.”

An Immigration New Zealand spokesperson said it was currently processing more than 300 applications for parent category visas lodged before the review was announced.

“We are not, however, currently selecting new expressions of interest to apply for a parent category visa, and no decision has been made about when selections may restart,” the spokesperson said.

Apple sold fewer than 1 million iPhones in India in the first half of 2018: report

Apple has traditionally had trouble with sales in India. While the company started manufacturing iPhones in the country to lower the price locally, it seems that it has a long road ahead of it, according to a report from Bloomberg: it’s sold fewer than a million devices in the first half of 2018.

Bloomberg reports that three Apple sales executives left the company as it restructures its operations there. It only has a 2 percent marketshare in India, and in 2017, it sold 3.2 million iPhones, according to a report by Counterpoint Research.

But those sales appear to have slowed: the same report estimates that Apple has moved “fewer than a million devices,” and even with strong sales, it’ll have trouble catching up to last year’s numbers.

India is the world’s third largest market for smartphones, but its high tariffs — adding between 15 to 20 percent to the price — has pushed consumers towards cheaper alternatives, like Samsung. Earlier this summer, Apple began to build the iPhone 6S and the iPhone SE in the country — a tactic that the company hopes will help reduce the price of its phones. But it’ll take a while before Apple’s operations there get up and running at full capacity, and in the meantime, Apple is lagging further behind its competitors.

India could be a huge opportunity for Apple, and CEO Tim Cook has indicated that it’s going to move aggressively into the country. The country has expanded its 4G network and has a growing middle class, which could mean that more people will be willing adopt Apple’s products.

Despite those low sales numbers, however, Cook said in May that the company’s revenue from India has grown, setting a record for the first half of 2018.

Updated July 15th 2018, 2:50PM: An earlier headline accidentally omitted “in India.” We regret the error.

Twitter suspended Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks’ accounts

Twitter has suspended two prominent accounts linked to the 2016 hack on the Democratic National Committee, Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks. The move comes after the Justice Department handed down 12 indictments against 12 Russian intelligence agents, which specifically named the accounts as part of the country’s propaganda efforts during the 2016 presidential election.

A Twitter spokesperson told the San Diego Union Tribute that the accounts were suspended for being “connected to a network of accounts previously suspended for operating in violation of our rules.” The Justice Department indictments allege that both accounts acted as fronts for agents in Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), and were responsible for conducting cyberattacks against state election boards, secretaries of state, election software providers, and the Democratic National Committee, in an effort to gather information and leak damaging information during the election. In June 2016, Guccifer 2.0 pointed its followers to DC Leaks, which had released e-mails stolen from the DNC earlier that year.

It’s not clear which network of accounts Twitter is referencing: a company spokesperson declined to comment beyond its previously released statement.

In the last year, Twitter has been under the microscope after it announced that it had banned hundreds of Russian-linked accounts during the election, exposing nearly 700,000 people to propaganda.

Earlier this year, Twitter introduced new rules and suspended additional accounts in an effort to cut down on automated spam and bots, and significantly upped its efforts to suspend accounts responsible for malicious activity.

The accounts have been unused for over a year and a half: and while both accounts had been suspended in the past, those suspensions were only temporary, seemingly for posting personal information, which violates Twitters Terms of Service.