How to pick a safe helmet

On May 31, 2011, in Advice, People, by Hyderabad ACS

It’s important to remember to wear a helmet when you ride your bike. Helmets are the only protection you have for your head if you’re in an accident.

Use these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help you choose the best option.

Select a style:

  • Full coverage: These helmets provide the most protection, shielding your head, face and eyes. They reduce wind noise and provide ventilation for when it’s warm outside.
  • Three-quarter style helmets: These cover the top, side and back of your head but not your face.
  • Half helmets: These cover the top of your head and provide the least protection.

Look for the DOT sticker or ISI safety code:

If you are purchasing a helmet in the U.S. look for a DOT sticker on the back of the helmet to make sure the helmet meets all the safety standards the U.S. law requires. Helmets without the sticker will not protect you in a crash.

While in India pay attention to the Government of India  Standard Specification code ISI 4151.

Check for proper fit:

  • The helmet should fit snuggly on your head and not wiggle around.
  • It shouldn’t tilt back on your head.
  • After fastening chin straps, make sure the helmet can’t roll forward off your head.

If you’re in a crash, the liner in your helmet that absorbs impact will be permanently damaged and you’ll need to replace your helmet.

Find more tips for selecting a helmet and being safe on your motorcycle

Report a lost or stolen U.S. passport immediately. To replace your lost or stolen U.S. passport, submit the following forms in person:

 -Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport, and

-Form DS-64: Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport

The local Foreigners Regional Registration Office will also require a First Information Report (Police certificate) issued by a local police station in the area where the passport was lost of stolen. The FIR is a requirement by the Indian Government to issue an exit permit or re-instate legal status in India.

 The information you provide on Form DS-64: Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport will be entered in our Consular Lost/Stolen Passport System.

Once a passport is reported lost or stolen, it cannot be re-validated. If you recover the passport after you have reported it lost or stolen, please submit it to us. We will cancel it and it will be destroyed.

Last year, parents abducted nearly 2,000 children to or from the United States.  That’s 40 children taken from their homes and from their loved ones each week.  Abductions traumatize children, their parents, friends, and family.  International Parental Child Abduction is a painful scourge for so many, and it is something that deeply concerns me.

At the State Department, we are committed to preventing child abduction and to helping the children and families caught up in these very complex situations.  Our dedicated staff in the Office of Children’s Issues works everyday to support families and children at risk.  We help parents access the tools available to prevent international abductions, such as our Passport Issuance Alert Program.

When an abduction does occur however, we work with parents to identify the appropriate response and find the resources that can help bring their children home.  In 2010, for example, we helped more than 575 children return to their homes and families, both in the United States and in countries around the world. 

This work extends beyond individual families.  So, we are encouraging foreign governments to join us as parties to The Hague Convention on Child Abduction.  Today we are treaty partners with 68 countries, and we want that number to grow.  This convention is a necessary tool for resolving these difficult cases and giving more children the opportunity to come home.

On this National Missing Children’s Day, let’s continue to stand up, speak out, and do our part to keep our must vulnerable citizens safe.  And let’s help children around the world come home.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Video Remarks for National Missing Children’s Day

Security Procedures at the Embassy or Consulate

On May 25, 2011, in Advice, Services, by Hyderabad ACS

When you come to the Embassy or Consulate, the first thing you do is go through our security procedures. These procedures are very similar to those in an airport. Our guards make every effort to screen visitors as quickly and politely as possible. You can help make the process easier and faster by not bringing any prohibited items with you. These include:

  • Luggage, suitcases, or backpacks
  • Electrical, electronic, or battery-operated items – including CELL PHONES, MP3 PLAYERS, cameras, computers, video games, or electric toys
  • Firearms and edged weapons, including toy weapons
  • Explosives
  • Chemical agents, liquids, and gasses
  • Any other items that are primarily weapons by design and/or use

You will be denied entry to the Consular section if you arrive with any of these items. The security staff may prohibit other items. The Consulate General cannot store prohibited items. Prohibited items brought by a visitor must be disposed of prior to entry. We recommend that you leave them at home, with a friend, or locked in your car.

Note: Consular Report of Birth Abroad applicants may carry a diaper bag and one bottle of formula for the child.

Older Americans Month: Connecting the Community

On May 24, 2011, in Advice, Travel, by Hyderabad ACS

Greetings,

I am pleased to join millions of our older citizens as they celebrate Older Americans Month.  The theme of this year’s celebration, “Older Americans:  Connecting the Community,” recognizes the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of our communities.  Their shared histories, diverse experiences, and wealth of knowledge have made our culture, economy, and local character what they are today.  The theme also highlights the many ways technology is helping older Americans live longer, healthier, and more engaged lives.

One of the primary responsibilities of the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is to ensure the safety and welfare of our fellow citizens overseas.  An estimated five million Americans live overseas and another 65 million travel abroad annually, and these numbers continue to increase.  This includes a growing community of older Americans who are retiring to another country, cruising the world’s oceans, or taking an educational excursion abroad as part of a lifelong learning tour.  From Washington, we help prepare you to travel by providing important information about every country in the world and warning you of the international financial scams that may target you as you travel.  When you travel or live overseas, consular personnel at U.S. embassies, consulates, and consular agencies will advise and help you with important tasks such as replacing a passport or obtaining federal benefits, and will provide guidance and support during a crisis.

As we celebrate Older Americans Month, we encourage our fellow Americans in this growing part of our community to prepare well for their travel abroad.  We want your trips or overseas retirement to be as enjoyable as you wish them to be.  With that in mind, we hope you will find our travel advice for older Americans and information on retiring abroad useful.  We wish all older Americans, as well as all those who love and support them, a happy Older Americans Month and safe and enjoyable travels.

Sincerely,
Janice L. Jacobs
Assistant Secretary
Consular Affairs

Unfortunately, you cannot renew your U.S. driver’s license at the U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad. Please contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in the State where the license was issued. A list of links connecting to each state’s Department of Transportation can be found at http://www.statelocalgov.net/50states-public-works.cfm

Thinking About Adoption?

On May 20, 2011, in Advice, Kids, Services, by Hyderabad ACS

Each year, thousands of Americans adopt a child from overseas. The process of adopting a child from another country, however, can be difficult. That’s where the Department of State’s adoption website comes in. This website aims to provide what you need to know about the adoption process.

How does the adoption process work? Who can adopt? Where do Americans adopt from? Learn the answers and more at http://adoption.state.gov

Young India Never Tires

On May 18, 2011, in People, Services, by Hyderabad ACS

Cross-posted from Dipnote. Anne Lee Seshadri is the American Center Director in New Delhi. She admits to napping from 3:00 – 4:00 a.m.

When I told my daughter I wasn’t coming home on Saturday night, she was admittedly confused. “What are you going to do in the office all night?,” she asked. “Well, sweetie, we thought it would be a nice idea to keep our library open all night so the students can prepare for their exams.” She looked dubious. Well, so was I. We conceived the idea on a lark — the American Library in New Delhi, the largest public access library in the State Department, had been growing by leaps and bounds, and we were overrun with university students. How to continually and creatively engage them is what keeps our American Center and Library staff occupied. During university exams, and in the sizzle of a Delhi May, we decided to stay open from 11:00 a.m. Saturday until 6:00 a.m. Sunday.

A healthy crowd stayed on until early evening, but I felt sure it would taper off when the novelty faded. At 11:00 p.m., there was a rush on our pizza, timed just before the Metro closed so students could then leave if they chose…Except they didn’t. There were 88 of us! At 1:00 a.m., I’m called to the gate, where three more earnest young men stand, holding out their cell phones. “Ma’am, we got your SMS, we’ve come from Haryana (an outlying area an hour away). We came to see what was happening.” Fast forward to 2:00 a.m., and the mood was almost jubilant. For one thing, there was an honest to goodness American at the reference desk who appeared to be in it for the long haul. There was a lucky draw and quizzes…and lots of coffee. At 3:00 a.m., the staff got creative and started thinking of new giveaway ideas. Prize for the oldest member? A grizzly 65-year-old pops up from behind a desk to receive his T-shirt and the students applaud. Newest female member? A shy 19-year-old admits she took membership that day, just to study in the library all night. Who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin? OK, maybe a little late for that, but points for anyone with an educated guess.

By 6:00 a.m., they had all survived, and more than that, they had actually studied! Somewhere in the dark hours of the night, the American Library raised its coolness quotient. And when young India thinks you’re cool, well, the possibilities are endless. That’s worth staying up all night for.

You can stay in touch with the American Center in New Delhi on Facebook and Twitter.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver remarks on May 17 at the opening of the Secretary’s Global Diaspora Forum, at the Department of State. This three-day event, organized by the Secretary of State’s Global Partnership Initiative in collaboration with USAID and the Migration Policy Institute, brings together over 300 leaders from diaspora communities across the country to discuss and collaborate on projects related to development and diplomacy with their countries of origin. Watch the Secretary’s remarks live at approximately 10:30 a.m. (08.00 p.m. IST) on www.state.gov and here on DipNote.

Remarks as prepared by Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on May 13, 2011.

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak at CSIS today. It is a pleasure to be introduced by my distinguished predecessor and friend Ambassador Rick Inderfurth. I’m pleased to see that as the new Wadhwani Chair of U.S.-India Policy Studies, Rick and his team have dug right in, playing a vital role celebrating the successes and highlighting the challenges in U.S.-India relations today. CSIS provides policymakers with an exceptional array of commentary and analysis on a daily basis and I’m thrilled that they have added such an important India thinker to the CSIS team.

I heard that Rick, in the course he taught on South Asia Politics at the George Washington University, began each semester with a certain quotation by the great statesman and former Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles. Bowles noted upon his return to the United States in 1969 after serving as Ambassador to India for the previous two years, that engaging with India was in the United States’ national interest, and that India would have a “big impact on the world.” Some 42 years later, Bowles’ sentiments are truer today than ever.

Continue reading »