International news: senator attempts to block overseas staff talks

The US Senate majority leader Trent Lott has attempted to block the debate on a Bill which would increase the number of highly-skilled foreign workers employed in the country. The Bill would increase the cap on special H-1B visas, which allow skilled workers from overseas into the US, from 115,000 to 195,000. If Congress takes no action on the issue the cap will fall to 107,500 in 2001 and then to 65,000 in 2002.

Employees may be holding £7bn of bonds

Personnel professionals in the US have been instructed to encourage employees at their organisations to redeem more than $7bn worth of US Savings Bonds – the traditional way to save money in the US. Mack Stamper, the US treasury’s manager of labour and national associations, said many workers could unknowingly be holding bonds that were bought for them as presents when they were born 30 to 40 years ago.

Alternative transport day helps save energy

Employees were encouraged to travel to work by alternative means last week as part of a Europe-wide alternative transport day. Car sharing and other energy-saving measures were promoted on 22 September, which has been designated every year as a day promoting transport methods other than the car. Participating cities piloted car sharing schemes, new public transport routes and other pollution-busting transport policies.

Knowledge management focus for joint venture

Spanish e-commerce company Terra Networks has joined with HR software company Meta4 to produce interactive HR software focusing on knowledge management. The joint venture will design, develop and maintain customised corporate portals that include facilities for business-to-business transactions. The new venture will be launched initially in Spain and Latin America, where both companies are market leaders.

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