Trump signs new travel ban order; Higher pay alone won’t retain talent; Footballer who has saved lives of four opponents

1 Trump signs new travel ban order (BBC) President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order placing a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations. Iraq – which was covered in the previous seven-nation order – has been removed from the new one after agreeing to additional visa vetting measures.

The directive, which includes a 120-day ban on all refugees, takes effect on 16 March. The previous order, which was blocked by a federal court, sparked confusion at airports and mass protests. The new order was unveiled by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

In justifying the refugee ban, Mr Sessions said there are more than 300 refugees under investigation for potential terror offences. But no further details were given. Citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the other six countries on the original 27 January order, will once more be subject to a 90-day travel ban.

Iraq has been taken off the banned list because its government has boosted visa screening and data sharing, White House officials said. The new directive says refugees already approved by the State Department can enter the US. It also lifts an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees.

Green Card holders (legal permanent residents of the US) from the named countries will not be affected. The new order does not give priority to religious minorities, unlike the previous directive. Critics of the Trump administration had argued that this was an unlawful policy showing preference to Christian refugees.

2 Higher wages alone won’t retain talent (Sam Chan in Straits Times) As technological innovation in Asia gathers pace, firms will race to secure top talent who have multiple skill sets to fit niche roles, driving demand and wages for these professionals higher.

The gig economy is also becoming a bigger feature here as more organisations reward high-calibre talent for the unique skills they bring to specific projects, even if on only a contract basis. Of all the companies considered in a survey, 68 per cent are using contractors, mostly in the technology and business support industries.

More companies are adopting strategies such as annual leave, medical benefits and completion bonuses to attract more professional contract workers, said the consultancy. As the contract market matures, employees have come to see contract work as a way to achieve better work-life balance and pick up new skill sets – all while earning a decent amount.

In an age of high staff turnover and vast opportunities for skilled workers, wages have become an insufficient incentive in talent attraction and retention, according to recruitment consultancy Michael Page. It noted that other factors, such as career progression, training, work-life balance and corporate values, are also rapidly becoming “pull” factors for an increasing number of employees.

3 Footballer who has saved lives of four opponents (Dominic Fifield in The Guardian) Little more than a week on and Francis Koné can recall the incident vividly. “The opposition goalkeeper was still, lying on his back, and I could see the whites of his eyes. He was either unconscious or worse. So I planted one foot across his chest to keep his left arm tightly in and tried to force my fingers into his mouth.

“I eventually prised his teeth apart and pulled the tongue back. It was slippery with the saliva and at some point he actually bit me, the jaws clamping back down. It was all over in a few seconds, and when the goalkeeper actually tried to say something I knew he was going to be fine. That’s when I got up and walked away.”

Koné boasts no formal medical training but he does have experience. Aside from his remarkable transformation from a target of racist abuse to potential lifesaver, it is just as staggering to acknowledge that the incident two Saturdays ago was the fourth occasion over an eight-year professional career, spent at clubs in six countries, when he has prevented a team-mate or opponent swallowing their tongue.

Not all have been on the pitch. In Thailand, where he had arrived as an 18-year-old seeking opportunities with PTT Rayong and Muangthong United, a team-mate collapsed after suffering a head injury in the gym. “I had to pull his tongue from his throat that day, and was bitten too,” he said.

“The second time was back in Africa, where I’d played for Togo and had been asked by a friend to turn out in an exhibition game before going back to my club, Al-Mussanah, in Oman. The third time [again in Africa] was only two years ago.”

Koné, who qualifies for Togo through his mother but was born in Bondoukou in the north of Ivory Coast and raised outside Abidjan, the economic capital of the country, has endured hardships aplenty in pursuing his football career. He spent his childhood fishing for crabs and washing cars to earn enough to buy boots, then excelled leading the line in a side who won the semi-professional third division.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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