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US urges Iran to help locate former FBI agent

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Washington: The US has reiterated a call asking for Iran’s help in finding a retired agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and raised the bounty for his whereabouts.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s appeal on Monday came on the eighth anniversary of Robert Levinson’s disappearance, who Washington said went missing on Iran’s Kish Island during a business trip, as per reported.

“We ask the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to work cooperatively with us on the investigation into Robert Levinson’s disappearance…,” Kerry said in a statement.

Describing Levinson as “one of the longest held US citizens in history”, the top American envoy said: “We remain committed to the safe return of Levinson to his family and appreciate the support and assistance from our international partners.”

He announced that the FBI had increased its reward fivefold to $5 million for information leading to Levinson’s safe return.

Press reports said Levinson was paid by the US Central Intelligence Agency to gather intelligence inside Iran, while Tehran has repeatedly denied that it is holding the American.

Kerry had raised the case of Levinson and other missing Americans directly with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif “on several occasions” when they met time and again in recent months over Tehran’s nuclear programme, State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters on Monday.

The other Americans allegedly held in Iran are Amir Hekmati, a former Marine, Saeed Abedini, a pastor, and Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter.

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Training for expert H-1B occupations, US announces $150 million.

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The US will make investments $150 million in training for center-to-excessive-expert H-1B occupations in key sectors, together with in info expertise which employs tens of hundreds of Indian professionals.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables US firms to make use of overseas employees in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical experience.

The expertise firms rely upon it to rent tens of hundreds of staff annually from international locations like India and China.

According to the Department of Labor, outstanding amongst these sectors are info expertise, cybersecurity, superior manufacturing, transportation, whereby the H-1B One Workforce grant programme could be used to upskill the current workforce and practice a brand new technology of employees to develop the long run workforce.

The corona virus pandemic has not solely prompted disruptions within the labour market, but additionally compelled many training and training suppliers and employers to rethink easy methods to ship training, the division mentioned in an announcement.

In this grant programme, the division’s Employment and Training Administration has got down to streamline funding and sources to encourage a extra built-in workforce system that can push the candidates to supply an revolutionary combine of training methods, leveraging revolutionary modes of training supply, together with on-line, distance and different expertise-enabled studying.

Through native public-personal partnerships, the grantees will deploy training to supply people of their communities with expertise essential to advance profession pathways to employment in center-to-excessive-expert H-1B occupations inside key trade sectors.

The training fashions will embody a broad vary of classroom and on-the-job training, customized training, incumbent employee training, registered apprenticeship programme and trade-recognized apprenticeship programme.

“The US Department of Labor is challenging communities to think as ‘One Workforce’,” Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch mentioned.

“In the current job environment, it is critical that local organizations work as one, instead of independent parts of a process. Our goal is to create seamless community partnerships to build career pathways for local job seekers to enter middle-to-high-skilled occupations in the cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and transportation sectors,” he mentioned.

Public-private partnerships will leverage sources throughout federal, state and native funding streams in addition to from the personal sector to help training, employment companies and supportive companies to maximize entry to employment alternatives, the official assertion mentioned.

These partnerships will work towards a coordinated strategy to getting ready a talented workforce inside an financial area. All candidates should exhibit that they’re leveraging at the least 25 per cent of the grant funds requested, it added.

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