CA December 18 & 19
KYRGYZ PRESIDENT TO ARRIVE IN DELHI ON FOUR-DAY VISIT TODAY
President of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev is arriving in Delhi this afternoon on a four day state visit to India. President Atambayev is leading a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and business leaders. This is his first visit to India as President.President Atambayev will be accorded ceremonial reception on Tuesday morning. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral discussions with the visiting President and host a lunch for him.
DEPARTMENT OF TELECOM TO LAUNCH PORTAL ON MOBILE RADIATION: MANOJ SINHA
Department of Telecom will launch a portal ‘Tarang Sanchar’ that will help users get checked the radiation level of mobile towers and transmitters across the country in a month. Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters in Jaipur that status of the towers will be available on the portal which will be launched in a month.
He said, those who want to get the radiation level checked of towers will be done by the government and they will be informed. Telecom Secretary JS Deepak said, a fee of five thousand rupees will be charged for the test to be conducted by the government.Mr Sinha further said that permissible limit for the radiation in India is ten times less than those in other countries.
RAJIV JAIN NAMED NEXT DIRECTOR OF IB, AK DHASMANA TO HEAD RAW
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Rajiv Jain as the Director of Intelligence Bureau and AK Dhasmana, as Secretary Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) for a period of two years.Mr. Jain, an IPS officer of 1980 batch of Jharkhand cadre, is currently working as Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau. Mr. Dhasmana, a 1981 batch IPS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, is posted as Special Secretary in the R&AW.
LT GEN BIPIN RAWAT TO BE NEXT INDIAN ARMY CHIEF; B.S DHANOA TO BE IAF CHIEF
The Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Bipin Rawat will be the new Chief of Army Staff, while Air Marshal BS Dhanoa, the next Chief of Air Staff. They will take charge in the afternoon of 31st of this month. Lt. Gen Rawat will replace General Dalbir Singh. Lt. Gen has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China, and in the North-East.
PM LAUNCHES MAJOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, ADDRESSES RALLY IN KANPUR
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the country’s first ever Indian Institute of Skills in Kanpur today.The Institute has been conceptualized by Mr. Modi during his visit to Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education. The institute is opened by the Skill Development Ministry in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore.
UNION MINISTER VIJAY GOEL INAUGURATES CONFERENCE ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Vijay Goel today inaugurated the Conference on Youth Development in Delhi.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Goel emphasized on the efficiency of youth and how it can be utilised for the development of the country. He urged youth to perform to the best of their ability in various sectors like community development, education, social justice and entrepreneurship among others.The Youth Development conference was organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and National Yuva Kendra Sangathan.
NAVY CHIEF REACHES TOKYO ON FIVE-DAY VISIT TO JAPAN
Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba has reached Tokyo on a five-day visit to Japan. The visit is aimed at consolidating the existing Maritime Cooperation initiatives as well as exploring new avenues. During the visit, Admiral Lanba will hold discussions with Chief of Staff, Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, Minister of State for Defence and other Senior dignitaries and Naval Officers.
An official release said, defence cooperation between India and Japan is robust and is primarily focused towards Maritime Cooperation. Bilateral defence cooperation was institutionalized with commencement of the India-Japan Comprehensive Security Dialogue which was initiated in 2001.
US NAVY’S UNDERWATER DRONE SEIZED IN SOUTH CHINA SEA
China’s Navy seized an Underwater drone of US Navy from northwest of Subic Bay of South China Sea on 15 December 2016
The unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) drone that the Chinese Navy has seized had to return to USNS Bowditch (an oceanographic survey ship)
The UUV (unmanned underwater vehicle) is a sovereign immune vessel of the United States
The drone is used to collect oceanographic data, including salinity, temperature and clarity of the water
The UUV drone was conducting lawful military survey in the South China Sea, as per US Navy official
DAVID FRIEDMAN- AMERICA’S AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL
Donald Trump has chosen David Friedman as America’s next ambassador to Israel
The 57-year-old lawyer is strongly critical of the long-held US goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
He also supports Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank, which the Obama administration considers an obstacle to peace
Friedman is looking forward to work from the US Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem
1 YEAR EXTENSION TO PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has given one year extension to the Peacekeeping mission (United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS))of South Sudan extended till 15 December 2017
The UN adopted Resolution 2326 (2016) unanimously
The Peacekeeping mission aims at ending the political crisis of South Sudan which started in December 2013, when the President of South Sudan accused his vice president of an attempted military coup
South Sudan attained independence from Sudan in 2011 with a strong support from The US
SAVITA VAIDHYANATHAN NEW MAYOR OF CUPERTINO
An Indian-American woman (for the first time) has been elected as the new Mayor of the key Californian city of Cupertino, globally known for its Apple headquarters
SavitaVaidhyanathan, an MBAwho sworn in last week in a ceremony
Savita is the first Indian-American Mayor of Cupertino, which according to Forbes is one of the most educated small towns in the country with local public schools ranking highly
EIGHT NEW SATELLITES LAUNCHED BY NASA
The NASA launched eight mini-satellites as part Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS)
To improve hurricane forecasting
Launched by aerospace company Orbital ATK onboard of Pegasus rocket
Fired at height of 12km
Each of the micro-satellite of CYGNSS weighs just 64 pounds (32kg) and has 5-foot wingspan
Placed into the orbit 500km above earth’s surface
GPS navigation receivers to frequently measure the surface roughness of oceans
It will allow scientists to calculate wind speed and storm intensity
CHINA LAUNCHED ITS SATELLITE GROUND STATION
China launched its first fully-owned overseas satellite ground station near the North Pole known as China Remote Sensing Satellite North Pole Ground Station
To collect satellite data anywhere on the Earth at fastest speed in the world
Located about 200 kms north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden
Covering frequencies from 26.5 to 40 GHz
Download speed of 6 Gigabits (billions of bits) per second, fastest in the world
FIRST CLONED GOAT IN MONGOLIA REGION
World’s first cloned goat bearing superfine Cashmere wool born in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Cloning is scientific process of creating genetically identical copies of biological matter
Cashmere wool is obtained from Cashmere goats and few other types of goat
Fibre obtained from cloned goat is less than 13.8 micrometres thick
It is much finer than the 15.8 micrometres of the famous Erlang Mountain goats in Inner Mongolia
4 AGREEMENTS SIGNED BETWEEN INDIA AND TAJIKISTAN
India and Tajikistan signed four agreements in areas including on double taxation avoidance, money laundering and counter-terrorism
Signed between PM Narendra Modi and President of Tajikistan EmomaliRahmon in New Delhi
- MoU on Broadcasting in Exchange of Audio Visual Programs
- MoU for cooperation in the exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and financing of terrorism
- Protocol amending the Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income
- Both countries affirmed to resolve to work for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN General Assembly
Tajikistan support India’s bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council
Tajikistan invited India to invest in four free economic zones that have come up in the country for the modernisation of the Varzob-1 Hydropower Station
LARGEST ICE RINK IN THE WORLD INAUGURATED IN PARIS
A skating space of 2,700-square-meter has opened at the Grand Palais in Paris, France
Inaugurated at the third edition of the ‘Grand Palais des Glaces’ festival featuring skating stunts and acrobatics
It is the world’s largest non-permanent indoor ice rink
Remain open until January 2, 2017
NMDC INVESTS RS 1,222 CRORE TO SET UP NAGARNAR STEEL PLANT
State-run iron ore miner NMDCBSE -1.92 % has invested Rs 1,222.65 crore till September 2016 to set up a 3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) integrated steel plant in Nagarnar in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.
The plant is expected to start trial production by mid-2017.
The company has completed capital expenditure of Rs 1,434.55 crore till September 2016, of which Rs 1,222.65 crore has been invested in Nagarnar steel plant, Rs 17.39 crore on pallet plant at Donimalai, Rs 75 crore in doubling of KK lines, Rs 7.21 crore on Kumarswamy Mine and Rs 4.76 crore in Bailadilla Deposits, the company said in a corporate presentation here.
NMDC has carried out pioneering exploration activity for developing iron ore mines in Karnataka in various regions like Kudremukh, Donimalai, Bababudan, Kumaraswamy and Ramandurg, it added.
2016 PROVES TO BE AN ‘BUMPY’ RIDE FOR AUTOMAKERS
The Indian auto industry is yet again looking forward to a new year with renewed optimism amid challenges of new regulations after a bumpy ride in 2016.
Despite beginning the year with a bang — with 108 product launches and unveilings at the biennial Auto Expo in February — the industry found that its wish for a third consecutive year of growth was not going to be a cruise.
Far from a smooth drive, 2016 turned out to be a journey with major speed breakers and blind corners as the industry became the favourite whipping boy in the fight against pollution.
EMBARRASSED, UPSET OVER HANDFUL OF EMPLOYEES: SHIKHA SHARMA
“Embarrassed and upset” over the conduct of a handful of employees bringing the organisation into disrepute, Axis BankBSE -0.91 % MD and CEO Shikha Sharma today said the bank has hired KPMG to conduct a forensic audit for enhanced due diligence and building more safeguards.
Assuring that the fundamentals of the bank is on a “solid footing’, Sharma said in a letter to Axis Bank customers that the bank is tracking sudden surge in account activity and have ‘proactively identified potentially suspicious accounts”.
“The recent media reports around the conduct of a few of our employees have left me embarrassed and upset. We have fallen short of your expectations because a handful of people did not follow our fully compliant and robust processes. We have taken the toughest action against such employees and we will do so in every case of divergence from our Code of Conduct.
UNITECH SALES BOOKINGS UP 29% TO RS 678 CRORE IN APR-SEP
Realty firm UnitechBSE -3.52 %’s sales bookings increased by 29 per cent to Rs 678 crore during the first six months of this fiscal mainly on the back of higher sales in the commercial segment.
The Gurgaon-based developer had sold properties worth Rs 524 crore in the April-September period of last fiscal, according to a company presentation.
In terms of volume, sales bookings rose to 2.5 million sq ft in the first half of this fiscal from Rs 0.9 million sq ft in the year-ago period.
Out of total sales bookings, the non-residential segment contributed 2.15 million sq ft area worth Rs 539 crore, while housing segment accounted for merely 0.35 million sq ft at Rs 139 crore. Gurgaon contributed to 88 per cent of the sales in value terms.
CCI CLEARS ABBOTT-ST JUDE DEAL SUBJECT TO ‘VOLUNTARY REMEDIES’
Competition Commission has approved pharma major Abbott Laboratories’ proposed acquisition of heart device-maker St Jude Medical Inc, subject to certain “voluntary remedies”.
Both the companies have presence in India.
For the deal, worth around USD 25 billion, both firms had entered into an agreement in April.
In a tweet, Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it has approved the “proposed combination between St Jude Medical and Abbott Laboratories; subject to voluntary remedies”.
Details about the voluntary remedies could not be immediately ascertained.
Abbott is a global healthcare company that researches, develops, manufactures and sells a diversified range of healthcare products.
CENTRE WILL GO BY STATE’S DECISION ON DABOLIM AIRPORT: CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER ASHOK GAJAPATHI RAJU
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today said that Centre would be guided by the State government in deciding whether the existing Dabolim airport in the coastal state will continue after commissioning of new greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa.
“If the state government wants Dabolim airport to remain functional then it will continue. I would say Centre would be guided by the state in this regard,” Raju told reporters at Dabolim airport here where he was present for art gallery inauguration.
On continuing with Indian Navy managed Dabolim airport as a civil facility (airport), Raju said it is for everyone to decide locally. “In some states they would like to have exclusive airports (for civil operations) because they (airports) also start giving returns in future,” he said.
CENTRE POSITIVE TOWARDS REQUEST FOR INFLIGHT WI-FI: ASHOK GAJAPATHI RAJU
The Centre is positively considering request made by airline companies to provide inflight Wi-Fi services, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said but refrained from giving any timeline as to when such clearance would be given.
“The piece of legislation has to be amended. The Parliament has to do that to make this possible,” Raju told reporters at Dabolim airport today while responding to a question on Wi-Fi facility on the aircrafts.
“Aircrafts within India do not have Wi-Fi and there is a demand for it. So the thinking is there. We (Civil Aviation Ministry) are working on positive and negative aspects of it,” he said.
OIL & GAS COMPANIES TO TURN CASH FLOW POSITIVE IN 2017
International analyst firm Wood Mackenzie’ global corporate outlook for 2017 forecasts the oil and gas industry to turn cash flow positive for the first time since the downturn, if OPEC production cuts drive oil prices above $55 per barrel.
Tom Ellacott, senior vice president of corporate analysis research at Wood Mackenzie, said: “Most oil and gas companies will start 2017 on a firmer footing, having halved cash flow break evens to survive the past two years. Further evidence of a cautious, U-shaped recovery in investment should emerge.”
In 2017, according to the firm, strengthening finances will still be a top priority for oil companies. Capital discipline, cost reduction and deleveraging will frame corporate strategies in 2017. But 2016 will prove to be the low point in the investment cycle, with confidence boosted by OPEC’s decision to cut production.
US-based companies will respond first to rising prices, the report said. Emboldened by a Trump administration committed to exploiting domestic oil and gas resources, US L48 operators have three core competitive advantages: access to capital; cost-advantaged portfolios; and flexibility to scale back spend sharply if prices stay low.
According to Wood Mackenzie’s analysis the US Independents could increase investment by over 25% if oil prices average above $50 per barrel. But spend for the bigger players will continue to trend down – total investment by the Majors will fall by around 8% as recent capital-intensive projects wind down.
“More companies will strive to adapt by positioning portfolios lower down the cost curve. The hot oil plays are US tight oil, with the Permian Basin to the fore, and Brazil pre-salt. Both have materiality and development break evens which are among the lowest globally. Renewables exposure will continue to build, though scarce capital and improving returns from upstream suggest small steps in 2017 rather than transformational moves,” the analysis firm said in a statement.
RENAULT PLANS TO BRING VOLUME-DRIVER MODELS IN INDIA
Chasing volumes in India, French car major Renault plans to launch more products in the high selling sub-four meter category even as it prepares to get past 5 per cent market share by the end of 2017.
The company, which currently sells five models in the country including SUV Duster and hatchback Kwid, plans more ‘Made in India’ products and to introduce one new car each year as parts of its “product development strategy”.
“In India most of the cars — over 70 per cent are less than 4 meters. The weight of mini segment where we have Kwid is 25 per cent. So we have a large space to make our portfolio,” Renault India Operations Country CEO and Managing Director Sumit Sawhney told PTI.
With 4-meter plus SUV segment, where the company has Duster, remaining in slow lane, it is the sub-4 meter SUVs and sedans which are bringing in volumes for the industry, he added.
“So clearly we have to bring vehicles in segments where we are not present and segments which can bring volume to us. This is what the strategy is. That’s how there will be one new car coming every year,” Sawhney said.
When asked if the company is planning to introduce a compact SUV anytime soon in the country to take on Maruti’s high selling Vitara Brezza, Sawhney said: “I would not confirm anything right now.
GOVT TO REVIEW STATUS OF 72 COAL MINES
The government over the next few days will examine the status of 72 coal blocks allocated either through allotment or auction route to companies like NTPC BSE 0.19 %, JSW Steel BSE -1.01 %, Hindalco BSE -0.56 % and SAIL BSE -0.10 %.
“…it has been been decided to hold a meeting under the Chairmanship of Joint Secretary and Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal to review the status of 72 coal mines,” an official said.
The meeting is scheduled to be held on December 21 and December 26, the official added.
The status 35 coal blocks in the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh allocated to the companies like Hindalco Industries BSE -0.56 %, Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd, NTPC, Steel Authority of India BSE -0.10 % Ltd (SAIL), JSW Steel will be reviewed on December 21, the official said.
While the status of remaining coal blocks in states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha allocated to companies like Reliance Cement, UltraTechBSE -2.21 % Cementa and GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Ltd will be examined on December 26, the official added.
The government had informed Parliament last month that it has so far generated a revenue of approximately Rs 2,779 crore from the auction and allotment of 83 coal blocks.
SAIL IN TALKS WITH JAPAN’S NIPPON STEEL, KOBE FOR TIE-UPS
Steel Authority of IndiaBSE -0.10 % is in talks with Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp and Kobe Steel for potential technical agreements to help the firm expand its global footprint, SAILBSE -0.10 %’s chairman told Reuters.
SAIL — which has been in the red for six quarters — may also consider buying troubled domestic steel firm assets if offered a “cheaper price”, Prakash Kumar Singh said in his first official response to a government proposal that state steel, power and shipping firms take over assets of indebted private companies.
India’s biggest state-owned steel producer has already held an initial round of talks with Japan’s top steelmakers, Singh said, adding that the steel produced through the tie-ups could be sold to India’s defence sector.
“The defence sector is using a lot of steel. So for all those grades, there is continuous improvement in R&D. And for penetrating these markets also – Japan and Europe – we need to understand their technologies, their uses. Therefore these tie-ups will be handy,” Singh said.
SAIL already supplies steel to the Indian navy and army, primarily for battle tanks.
Separately, the Indian company is in talks with two European steelmakers for similar partnerships, Singh said, without giving any specifics as the discussions were in initial stages.
SAIL is also ironing out details with the world’s biggest steel producer, ArcelorMittal, for a proposed 60 billion rupees ($884.36 million) joint venture, Singh said.
“It will be difficult to give a time frame. But we are quite confident that we can sort it out.”
IHCL SHAREHOLDERS TO VOTE FOR CYRUS MISTRY’S OUSTER
Shareholders of Indian Hotels will on Tuesday, vote on a resolution to remove ousted Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry from its board. Tata Sons, promoter of the Tata group companies, holds 28.01% of the paid-up equity share capital of Indian Hotels, which operates the Taj chain of luxury hotels. Indian Hotels had last month told the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that it has received a requisition from Tata Sons to convene an extraordinary general meeting to remove Mistry from the company’s board.
Last week, it said it has received Mistry`s representation and circulated it among all the company members, ahead of Tuesday’s EGM at Walchand Hirachand Hall in Mumbai. According to information provided to the BSE, the promoter and promoter group companies hold 38.65% stake in Indian Hotels.“They will get a majority to boot Cyrus Mistry out. About 38% is significant and LIC is another key shareholder,“ said an industry insider familiar with the developments. Indian Hotels had been showing signs of a turnaround under managing director Rakesh Sarna while some of the other group companies are still in the red.
“The interesting aspect is why he is getting voted out,“ said Krishnamurthy Subramanian, associate professor at ISB. “It’s an ego clash and not good governance. With 38%, all you need is some majority and that’s “airly possible.By looking at what happened with Nirmalya Kumar, it is clear that all of Mistry’s men would be feeling nervous about their positions.“
RAILWAYS PLANS SEPARATE AGENCY FOR FARE CHANGES
The railway ministry will soon seek Cabinet approval for setting up an independent agency to recommend passenger and freight fares, a move that could depoliticise the thorny matter of revising rates.
According to a top official, the proposal will be sent to the Cabinet this week and approval could come as early as next week. Once approved, this will count as the second most important step, after the merger of the rail budget with the Union Budget, toward reforming the national transporter that’s been losing Rs 33,000 crore every year in passenger fare subsidies.
The proposed Railway Development Authority of India will consist of a chairman and four members independent of the railways. The ministry has already received comments from various ministries and the Niti Aayog.
The official said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has already discussed the proposal with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and they were supportive of such an agency.
“The proposed authority would be free to recommend fares and freight rates. It would rationalise the entire fare structure for the railways. It would be a big transformational change for the organisation. We will keep rationalising fare as per the market demand,” Prabhu recently told ET.
ZENITH BAGS PARLE’S MEDIA MANDATE
Biscuits and confectionery manufacturer Parle Products has appointed Public is Groupe-owned Zenith IndiaBSE -4.48 % as its media agency following a multi-agency pitch.
The exact size of the account could not be ascertained but industry estimates put it at about Rs 300 crore. The account was earlier with Havas Media.
“Zenith understands the pulse of Indian consumers,” said Mayank Shah, category head at Parle Products.
“Their passion for the job, innovative thinking and strong play in consumer insights, digital, technology, content and analytics makes them the right partner for us.”
Known for its mass market Parle-G biscuits, Parle Products had last month entered the premium category with the launch of brand Frigberg.
The Mumbai-based company also sells biscuits and candies under brands such as Monaco, Krack Jack, Hide & Seek, Milano, Mango Bite and Melody. Zenith India handles the media mandate of companies such Nestle, Micromax, LVMH Group, Toyota, Jabong and H&M.
ET AWARDS FOR CORPORATE EXCELLENCE: HOPE WINS TOP HONOURS
Hope. Aplomb. Humour. CEOs use them to build their stories. Politicians wield them to display their invincibility and correctness. These elements played out in full on a glittering winter evening of the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence 2016 as the men who make laws and those who create wealth tried to look beyond the temporary disruption of demonetisation.
For them, the government’s biggest policy gamble — unfolding even as the world is haunted by the spectres of protectionism and negativism — could change the milieu that let tax dodgers thrive, unleash fresh funds to bankroll growth, and throw up new opportunities.
Whether their dreams and assertions are shared by the multitude of Indians far from the Trident Hotel will soon be tested in the electoral theatres of UP and Punjab. But for the lieutenants of PM Narendra Modi and the best of India Inc, there was no looking back: it wasn’t about losing a battle, but winning the war.
As senior union ministers Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal, flanked by their entourage of officials and security, walked across the South Mumbai hotel lobby and business tycoons stepped out of their Bentleys and BMWs on Saturday evening, belying the calm waves of the Arabian Sea there was a palpable curiosity in the audience comprising CEOs, senior bankers and top-notch lawyers about how they defend and take on the turbulence of demonetisation.
MALLS CREATING SELFIE ZONES TO INCREASE FOOTFALL
For malls across India, it’s touch-up time to be selfieready. The country’s selfie-obsession is driving mall owners to invest in making selfie-friendly zones where people can take their own photos on mobile phones.
A year ago, Rajneesh Mahajan,executive director of Inorbit Malls, was astonished to see the craze among shopaholics to click selfies with a heart-shaped bonsai plant. What started as a nursery store’s marketing move to place such plants on every floor escalated into a selfie festival.
What more could he ask for? In just about a day’s time, the company saw a 30% jump in social media engagement and mobile app download.
“That’s when I thought, we have got to do more of this,” said Mahajan, still surprised by the incident, “and make shoppers our brand ambassadors to spread our word.”
Now, Inorbit Malls in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are undergoing renovations. “We did some research and found that this even helps in driving footfalls and showcase brands,” he said at the South India Retail Summit in Bengaluru last week.
Similar stories were told by others, too. Select CityWalk in Delhi and Forum Malls in the South are leaving no stones unturned to give their consumers an environment for a perfect selfie, a phenomena which has flooded over 28 crore posts on social media platform Instagram worldwide.
“This (create selfie spots) is in fact now a part of our pitch to architects for the design,” said Suresh Singaravelu, executive director of retail at Prestige Estates ProjectsBSE -1.05 %, which owns South India Forum malls and Bengaluru’s UB City luxury mall.
Last year alone, 24 billion selfies were uploaded to Google Photos, according to a blogpost by the company. That boils down to more than three selfies for every human being on the planet.
Tapping into this opportunity, Delhi’s Select CityWalk has spent about Rs 1.5-2 crore, which is 15-20% of its annual marketing budget, to create temporary selfie booths. A selfie lover himself, Executive Director Yogeshwar Sharma often sees fitness freaks taking snaps around these booths before they hit the gym on the top floor at 7 in the morning.
“We will increase our investments on this by 10% next year,” said Sharma. “It helps us in driving footfalls in creating fun memories and offer something beyond shopping.” Select CityWalk is one of the top 10 checked-in places online along with Taj Mahal and Golden Temple, he claimed. “The credit goes to this, udoubtedly.”
IIT MADRAS GROUP DEVELOPS ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM FOR COMMUNICATION DURING DISASTERS
One of the first things to get affected during natural disasters and accidents is the communication network. In a country where over a billion use mobile phones, providing mobile connectivity during a disaster, at least for emergency usage, is a priority.
In this context, an IIT Madras team is developing a low-cost communication system that can enable rescue workers to communicate with a locally established centre and, through this centre, to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in Delhi.
The plan is also to enable citizens within the reach of this system to communicate essential messages, such as “I am safe” or basic information – name, age, gender, etc, of persons discovered. The whole system is compatible with basic model mobile phones, as most users in India do not own smart phones. The system, named DISANET, allows basic services such as voice, text and video communications to be exchanged within this network of rescue workers, Master Operation Centre and the NDMA.
The design has four subsystems — WiFi, a satellite link, single-carrier GSM and LTE (Long Term Evolution) which is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals. The compact system can be easily transported in trucks to the site of the Master Operation Centre within a few hours of the disaster. The wireless system should provide coverage over an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometres.
PSLV-C 37 SCHEDULED FOR LAUNCH ON JANUARY 27
The next PSLV-C37, that will put into orbit a record number of 83 satellites, is being scheduled for launch on January 27, said PSLV Project Director B. Jayakumar.
Sharing the dais with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K Sivan, who was in the city to receive the 100th nozzle for a PSLV rocket from city-based Resins and Allied Productions (RAP), Mr. Jayakumar said that six PSLVs had been launched in 2016.
The next PSLV-C37, that will put into orbit a record number of 83 satellites, is being scheduled for launch on January 27, said PSLV Project Director B. Jayakumar.
Sharing the dais with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K Sivan, who was in the city to receive the 100th nozzle for a PSLV rocket from city-based Resins and Allied Productions (RAP), Mr. Jayakumar said that six PSLVs had been launched in 2016.
HEAD OF UN NUCLEAR WATCHDOG SAYS IRAN SHOWING COMMITMENT TO DEAL
Iran has shown commitment to the deal on its nuclear programme agreed with world powers, the head of the United Nations atomic energy watchdog said on Sunday, following complaints by Tehran over what it calls a U.S. violation of the accord. The White House said on Thursday that a bill extending U.S. sanctions against Iran for 10 years would become law without President Barak Obama’s signature, adding this would not affect overall implementation of the nuclear agreement.
“We are satisfied with the implementation of the (agreement) and hope that this process will continue,” IAEA director general Yukiya Amano was quoted as telling reporters in Tehran by the IRNA news agency. “Iran has been committed to its engagement so far and this is important,” Amano was quoted as saying after meeting Iran’s nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi. Under the 2015 deal, Iran curbed its nuclear fuel production activities in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
RESEARCHERS FIND ROADS SHATTER EARTH’S SURFACE INTO 600,000 FRAGMENTS
Earth’s surface is shattered by roads into over 600,000 fragments – more than half of which are smaller that one square kilometre – severely reducing the ability of ecosystems to function effectively, a new study has found.\
The researchers from the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Germany used a dataset of 36 million kilometres of roads across the landscapes of the earth. They are dividing them into more than 600,000 pieces that are not directly affected by roads.
Of these remaining roadless areas only seven per cent are larger than 100 square kilometres. The largest tracts are to be found in the tundra and the boreal forests of North America and Eurasia, as well as some tropical areas of Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Only nine per cent of these areas undisturbed by roads are protected.
Roads introduce many problems to nature. For instance, they interrupt gene flow in animal populations,facilitate the spread of pests and diseases, and increase soil erosion and the contamination of rivers and wetlands.
Then there is the free movement of people made possible by road development in previously remote areas, which has opened these areas up to severe problems such as illegal logging, poaching and deforestation.
Most importantly, roads trigger the construction of further roads and the subsequent conversion of natural landscapes, a phenomenon the study labels “contagious development.”
“Our global map provides guidance on the location of the most valuable roadless areas,” said Pierre Ibisch, from the Eberswalde University. In many cases they represent remaining tracks of extensive functional ecosystems, and are of key significance to ecological processes, such as regulating the hydrological cycle and the climate,” said Ibisch.
The researchers used a large data base generated through crowd-sourcing platform to produce a global map for roadless. “Our figures overestimate roadless areas, and we know many of the areas have already gone or been reduced in size,” said Monika Hoffmann from Eberswalde University.
“All roads affect the environment in some shape or form including timber extraction tracks and minor dirt roads, and the impacts can be felt far beyond the road edge,” said Nuria Selva, from the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poland.
“The area most severely affected is within a one kilometre band on either side of a road,” said Selva.
GOVERNMENT TO SOFT LAUNCH MALWARE CLEANING SYSTEM FROM DECEMBER 20
Botnet is a network of malicious softwares that can steal information, take control of device function and carry out cyber attacks like Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) that prevent access of websites. Government has earmarked Rs 100 crore for setting up this facility. The project was expected to be launched in 2014.
When contacted, Kumar said, “From December 20, Indian CERT will start informing internet service providers about infected systems. They will have to synchronise their system to meet the requirement of Botnet and malware cleaning centre. ISPs will then alert their customers about infection in their PC or mobile and recommend them downloading of software from website of BotNet centre to remove malwares.”
The software will be available for free from the BotNet centre, he said. The new system will do away need of installing anti-virus software in PC and mobile phones. “We are expecting that from around December 26 complete system will be operational
DIGITAL PAYMENT START-UPS UNAWARE OF HIGH SECURITY RISKS:FIREEYE
“While India is rapidly embracing a cashless consumer economy, payment technologies are growing in adoption faster than awareness of the risks involved,” Vishak Raman, Senior Regional Director for India and SAARC, told IANS.
“Many of these are running as startups without sufficient attention to security. The rapid shift to digital transactions will greatly increase our collective exposure to cyber security threats — essentially fraud and theft,” Raman added.
In a first, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday registered a complaint against 15 people for allegedly claiming fraudulent refunds worth Rs 6.15 lakh from the leading payment gateway paytm.
“When coupled with its ill-preparedness to combat potential risks associated with cashless transactions and pushing hundreds of millions of citizens’ private information into the digital space, India stands quite vulnerable,” the FireEye executive cautioned.
The sophisticated, financially-motivated espionage actor groups focusing on critical systems and maturing businesses will be prevalent in 2017 as these enterprises are often vulnerable to compromise
NASA PLANS TO SEARCH FOR ‘STAR WARS’ PLANETS
Some of the planets discovered around stars in our own galaxy may be very similar to the ‘Star Wars’ exoplanets like arid Tatooine, watery Scarif and even frozen Hoth, according to NASA scientists.
Sifting through data on the more than 3,400 confirmed alien worlds, scientists applied sophisticated computer modelling techniques to tease out the colours, light, sunrise and sunsets we might encounter if we could pay them a visit.
Some of these distant worlds are even stranger than those that populate the latest Star Wars film, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” “Others are eerily like the fictional planets from a galaxy far, far away,” researchers said.
A real planet in our galaxy reminded scientists so much of Luke Skywalker’s home planet, they named it “Tatooine.” Officially called Kepler-16b, the Saturn-sized planet is about 200 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. The reality of its two suns was so startling, George Lucas himself agreed to the astronomers’ nickname for the planet.
“This was the first honest-to-goodness real planetary system where you would see the double sunset as two suns,” said Laurance Doyle, an astrophysicist with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, who discovered the planet using NASA’s Kepler space telescope.
GERMANY TO FINE FACEBOOK MORE THAN $5,22,575 OVER FAKE NEWS POSTS
A day after Facebook said it was stepping up efforts against fake news and hoaxes, Germany announced a new law that will empower it to fine the social media giant 500,000 euros ($522,575) for every problematic post that does not vanish within 24 hours.
“After years of asking, cajoling and threatening the US social network to work faster to tackle fake news and hate speech, Berlin made clear it is no longer interested in self-regulation,” a report in Irish Times said on Sunday.
“Facebook did not use the chance to regulate complaint management properly,” Thomas Oppermann, the Bundestag floor leader of Germany’s ruling Social Democrats (SPD), was quoted as saying.
THIS VOICE-CONTROLLED SMART LAMP CAN PLAY MUSIC, ORDER PIZZA
GE has built a new voice controlled, LED `smart’ lamp that can listen and talk to you, just like the way Amazon Echo does. In fact, GE says it comes with almost everything the Echo offers -only with the added benefit of lighting.
The lamp is powered by Alexa, Amazon voice controlled technology that’s behind all Echo products.Amazon opened up the technology to third party developers in 2015 through a program called Alexa Voice Service. GE took advantage of it, making this the first lighting device to embed Alexa’s voice technology.
Users can tell the lamp to play music, order pizza, or give the latest news, all through voice commands.It also comes with its own speaker, but it’s not as powerful as the Echo’s, which makes it closer to the smaller Echo Dot. GE says the device isn’t meant to compete with the Echo, but provide another option to customers, helping expand the broader voice controlled device ecosystem.
By stripping out the real brain behind the Echo, and giving others access to it, Amazon has let anyone build their own hardware product powered by Alexa, paving the way for the Alexa ecosystem to become the go-to platform for voice-controlled devices.
HIMACHAL: FIRST CYBER CRIME POLICE STATION OPENS IN SHIMLA
In Himachal Pradesh, the first Cyber Crime Police Station has been opened at state police headquarter in Shimla. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh inaugurated this Police Station through video conferencing from his office.
According to Deputy Inspector General CID and Cyber Crime Vinod Kumar Dhawan, the main objective of this police station is to deal with increasing crime based on misuse of information technology by the High tech criminals.
INDIAN NAVY CHIEF ON FIVE-DAY VISIT TO JAPAN – US-INDIA-JAPAN COALITION IN THE MAKING
Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is on a five-day visit to Japan during which he will explore new avenues of cooperation with the country which has emerged as a close partner of India in recent years, both on the nuclear energy front as well as military. The visit also comes at a time when India, Japan and the US are preparing for their next edition of the Malabar exercise which will focus on submarine hunting amid increasing forays by the Chinese underwater vessels in the Indian Ocean.
INDIAN SPECIAL FORCES GEAR UP, ARMY TO MOVE A PROPOSAL SEEKING BETTER WEAPONS
The Army is moving a classified proposal worth around Rs 300 crore to buy new assault rifles, sniper rifles, general pupose machine guns and light weight rocket launchers and night vision devices at a key Defence Ministry meeting planned next week, senior Army sources told Mail Today
The proposal has been prepared by the Additional Director General
The Army is moving a classified proposal worth around Rs 300 crore
The Special Forces are also keen on getting new assault rifles
GRSE LAUNCHES INDIAN NAVY’S EIGHTH LANDING CRAFT UTILITY
Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) launched Indian Navy’s eighth landing craft utility (LCU), an amphibious ship, on Friday.
It is the last vessel in a series of eight ships of LCU MK-IV project designed and built by GRSE for the Navy, marking a significant milestone in the annals of the Indigenous Warship design and construction programme of India, Indian Defense ministry announced Friday.
Dubbed ‘LCU-L58’, the ship displacing 830 Tons, can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations for landing troops ashore, humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations and evacuation of personnel from distant islands.
L58 is armed with two CRN 91 naval guns, two heavy machine guns, four medium machine guns and portable air defence system. All 8 LCU vessels have almost 90% of their components indigenous. They are deployed for maritime security of Lakshadweep Islands in Arabian Sea and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal.
ECONOMY: INDIA CONTINUES TO BE THE FASTEST-GROWING LARGE ECONOMY BEATING CHINA: EIU
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research and analysis division of The Economist Group in its global economic outlook in December said that India continues to be the fastest-growing large economy beating China.
Tweeting the highlights of the session, Director of Global Forecasting at the EIU Joseph Lake said, “India remains fastest-growing large economy, beating China. Iran looks good. Strong showing from Africa: Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda.”
The group however slashed India’s economic growth forecast from 7.3 percent to 6.5 percent in 2016-17 because of cash shortage from “botched implementation of demonetization.”
It however, said that India remains fastest growing large economy in world as growth will accelerate after liquidity shortage eases and public investment ramps up. The group also warned that the health of the Chinese economy remains the biggest risk to the global economy, saying, “That growth in China will lurch down from 6.2 percent in 2017 to 4.2 percent in 2018.”
“This kind of shift is unprecedented in modern China and will come at a time when the global economy is uniquely unprepared to react. Consequently, 2018 will be a year of anxiety around the world, characterised by volatility in real economies and financial markets,” said the group.
It warned that the collapse of the Chinese economy, which has become increasingly reliant on credit to sustain its rapid expansion, will have ripple effects around the world.
“Worst-hit will be those countries that depend on exporting commodities to China, such as Australia, Chile and Mongolia.”
“Next will be countries that have deep and broad trading relationships with China, such as South Korea and Taiwan. The rest of the world will feel a chill through declines in equity prices and in consumer and business confidence,” it said.
In a series of tweets, Lake said, “Iran looks good. Strong showing from Africa: Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda.”
“Venezuela from bad to worse (Maduro clings on til Dec election), UK + Italy weak spots in Europe, Syria a shameful situation for the world.”
“Brazil economy contracted by more than 7% in 2015-16. We cut our 2017 growth forecast to 0.5% (1%) following poor recent data. No bounce.”
The group also predicted that copper and iron prices will surge.
“Overall Modest improvement in global growth from 2.2% in 2016 to 2.5% in 2017. End to recession in Russia and Brazil. Unspectacular OECD
RUSSIAN MARINES, INDIAN COMMANDOS PREPARING FOR ANTI-PIRACY STAGE OF NAVY DRILLS
MOSCOW — Indian Special Forces and Russian Pacific Fleet Marines have discussed the actions for the upcoming anti-piracy stage of the joint Russian-Indian naval exercises, Indra Navy 2016, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry’s Eastern Military District Vladimir Matveev said Sunday.
“Today [Sunday], at the headquarters of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy in the city of Visakhapatnam, a joint meeting of representatives of the Indian Special Forces Command and the Command of the [Russian[ Pacific Fleet Marine units took place.
During the meeting the sides discussed the issues of the upcoming search operation under the framework of the upcoming anti-piracy stage of the active phase of the Indra Navy 2016 exercise,” Matveev said.
He added that the sides exchanged their experience regarding operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Indra Navy 2016 drills are being held in the Bay of Bengal through December 14-21.
This year, some 500 servicemen are set to be engaged in the drills, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
‘AGNI-1P’ THE NEW ‘P’ KILLER MISSILE
India is developing a new short range ballistic missile to replace its first generation Pakistan focused ballistics missiles Prithvi and Agni-I developed in the 1980s.
As per media reports, this latest generation missile dubbed the Agni-1P (Does the P in the missile’s nomenclature signify Pakistan?) will have a range from 300-700 km.
The two stage solid fueled missile will feature advanced technologies later developed for the Agni-III, Agni-IV and Agni-V ballistic missiles including composite rocket motor, electro-mechanical actuators and ring laser gyroscope based inertial navigation systems.
These technologies will enable a more lighter missile with improved Circular Error Probability (CEP), than the older ones.
India’s ballistic missile program began in 1980s under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMD).
INDIAN NAVY CHIEF ADMIRAL SUNIL LANBA VISITS JAPAN TO EXPAND MARITIME RELATIONS
To consolidate and expand the maritime relation between New Delhi and Tokyo, India’s Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is on a five-day visit to Japan, reported The Economic Times.
During the visit, Admiral Lanba will hold discussions with the Japanese Navy chief, the Defence Minister and the Chief of Joint Staff besides other senior officials and dignitaries.
Defence cooperation between India and Japan is primarily focused towards maritime cooperation, the statement said.
The Navy is waiting for the government’s approval to purchase 12 US-2i amphibious aircraft from Japanese aircraft maker ShinMaywa for Rs 10,000 crore.
LUX GOLDEN ROSE AWARDS 2016: KATRINA KAIF WINS ‘MOST DESIRABLE DIVA’AWARD
Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif won the ‘Most Desirable Diva’ award at the Lux Golden Rose awards that were held in Mumbai on November 13.
The award list was finally out today which carried lots of surprises, a report by india.com has said.
The award function was hosted by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
The red carpet of the show was star studded with Bollywood beauties like eepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Jacqueline Fernandez, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Dharmila Tagore, Sridevi, and some more gracing the occasion.
Among men in the industry, those who were in show were filmmaker Karan Johar as well as actors like Arjun Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, and Sushant Singh Rajput, among others, who also enthrall on stage!
MYRTLEWOOD CATCHES THE EYE
Myrtlewood and Supreme Regime caught the eye when the horses were exercised here on Sunday (Dec. 18).The Ministerian (S.S.Rathore) 55, 600/41. Easy. 2/y/o’s Sedgefield/Saffron (Daman), Fair Warning (S.Amit) 55.5, 60/40.5. Pair level. Jack Frost (P.Naidu) 55, 600/41. Moved freely. Abu Al bukhoosh (Roushan), Romantic Warrior (S.Sunil) 52, 600/39. They moved level freely. Dusk N Dawn (Baria) 54, 600/40. Moved freely. Gran Paradiso (Nazil) 53, 600/39. Moved well. 2/y/o Patagonia (K.Kadam), Etihaad (Shahrukh) 57, 600/42. Former better. Forest Fire (Oza) 54, 600/39. Moved freely.Themis (rb), Indian Serenade (rb) 1-25, 1,000/1-9, 600/41.5. Pair easy. Khayyam (K.Kadam) 1-21, 1,000/1-6.5, 600/39. Moved attractively. Nifty (Parmar) 1-24, 1,000/1-9, 800/54, 600/41. Moved freely. Nelsons Blood (Parmar), Logic (K.Kadam) 1-24, 1,000/1-8.5, 800/54, 600/40. They moved level freely. Trevelyan (Neeraj), Yanna Rascala (Trevor) 1-24, 1,000/1-9, 800/55, 600/41.5. They were easy. Arabian Storm (Trevor), Jubilant (Parmar) 1-22, 1,000/1-7, 800/54, 600/40. Pair moved level freely. Lincoln (Neeraj), Zenon (Kharadi) 1-23, 1,000/1-8, 800/53, 600/40. Former superior.
LAKSHMANAN, MONICA WIN ELITE SECTIONS
G.Lakshmanan emerged the top name in long distance running winning the third edition of Tata Steel Kolkata 25k run, where he set a new course record in the men’s elite section. Monica Athare also kept the favourite tag intact winning the women’s elite section of the run, which was flagged off by Boris Becker.Lakshmanan, who had previously won the Indian men’s category of the Delhi half-marathon earlier in the month, clocked 1:17.16s to ensure the top spot while Srinu Bugatha (1:17.18) and A.B. Baliappa (1:17.24) took the next two places. Interestingly, all three bettered the previous course record of 1:19.39 set by Nitinder Singh Rawat in the first edition of the 25k run.
However, the woman’s record set by Sudha Singh (1:27.31s) stood unchallenged as the winner of the category, Monica Athare, could only perfect a timing of 1:34.15s for the gold. Jyoti Gawte (1:35.34) and Monika Raut 1:35.37 had the next best timings completing the podium positions.
RONALDO FIRES REAL TO TITLE
Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick as Real Madrid survived a colossal scare to beat Japan’s Kashima Antlers 4-2 and win the Club World Cup on SundayA Gaku Shibasaki double threatened one of football’s greatest shocks after Karim Benzema had given Real an early lead here. But Ronaldo equalised from the penalty spot before pouncing twice in extra time to give the Spanish giant its second world title in three years and fifth in total.