Rahul Gandhi denied permission to visit violence-hit Saharanpur Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday left for strife-torn Saharanpur, but district authorities said he would be stopped at the border.Party sources said Rahul left for Shabbirpur village, the centre of the caste violence in the district, by road on Saturday morning after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi.ADGP (Law and Order) Aditya Misra, who is camping in Saharanpur in view of the tense situation there, said the police have requested Mr. Gandhi to cancel his visit to avoid any “confusion and provocation“.”If he still comes to the town, he will be stopped at the border and requested to return. But if he does not, legal action under Section 144 of CrPC, which prohibits an assembly of more than four people in an area, will be taken,” he said.If not permitted to visit the victims in the affected area, Mr. Gandhi would court arrest, the Congress sources said.The ADGP said normality was returning and things were improving fast.Senior Congress leader P L Punia said over the phone that party men were awaiting Mr. Gandhi in the district.Also Read “We want the administration to allow him to meet the victims of the violence,” he said.Mr. Gandhi is being accompanied by AICC general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradsh affairs Ghulam Nabi Azad, and State Congress chief Raj Babbar.“They cannot suppress the voice of the poor, Dalits and Adivasis of this country. Mr. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party will continue to speak,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.“Nobody will be able to stop Mr. Gandhi from reaching out to the victims of the violence, which have been perpetrated at the instance of BJP gundas,” he added.Saharanpur witnessed widespread caste-based violence this month.Violence first broke out about 40 days ago following a procession to mark Ambedkar Jayanti. On May 5, a person was killed and 15 people were injured in communal clashes.About a dozen police vehicles were set ablaze and 12 policemen injured on May 9.On May 23, One person was shot dead and two were wounded, following which the government suspended the SSP and district magistrate and transferred the divisional commissioner and the deputy inspector general of police.The Centre has sent 400 anti-riot police personnel to Saharanpur to help the State restore peace in the region.
The Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Thane police has allegedly caught red-handed a private detective and his wife, while accepting ₹1 crore extortion money from an IAS officer, who was sent on leave earlier this year pending an inquiry for alleged corruption, police said on Friday. According to the police, the couple, arrested on Thursday from Dombivali in neighbouring Thane district, had threatened to defame the IAS officer, Radheshyam Mopalwar, using recordings of his purported phone conversations. Satish Mangle, who works as a private detective, and his wife Shraddha had allegedly demanded ₹7 crore from the IAS officer for not releasing those tapes and also to retract their allegations of corruption against him which were made earlier.
A passenger train mowed down five elephants on Saturday night, triggering a blame game between the Assam forest department and Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).The engine of the train derailed due to the impact at 9.40 p.m. The section was restored after the engine was put back on track almost five hours later.Forest officials said the drivers of the 15611 Guwahati-Silchar Fast Passenger train ignored flashlight signals and ran into a herd of elephants crossing the track in central Assam’s Hojai district. They said the spot between Hawaipur and Lamshakhan stations, some 180 km east of Guwahati, is a notified elephant corridor.Railway officials claimed the section where the elephants were crossing was not a notified elephant corridor and that a 30 kph speed restriction had been imposed on all trains based on inputs from the Forest Department.Three calves dead“Five elephants, including three calves, reportedly died due to the impact. The loco pilots said the calves did not move from the track and the adult elephants began surrounding them when the accident happened,” an officer of the Lumding Railway Division said.“Our people are trying their best to prevent elephant casualties, but the railways seem to be taking such incidents lightly. I cannot fault our department as the railways had been informed about the movement of elephants and forest guards had tried to warn the drivers with flashlights,” Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said on Sunday.A railway line passes through 13% of the elephant corridors in the Northeast, primarily Assam. Though the NFR said Saturday’s tragedy did not happen in one of them, forest officials said they submitted a list of 19 places along railway tracks where elephants have been moving across tracks constantly in Lumding, Hojai and Lanka forest ranges.Saturday’s accident site falls under the Lanka forest range, the area’s wildlife officials said. According to the NFR, incidents of elephant crossings have increased sharply in the recent past and trains have been slowed down whenever the Forest Department shared information on herd movement.Coordination is crucial“It is only because of the close coordination between field level officials of the forest and railway departments that 200 incidents have been prevented this year alone,” NFR spokesperson Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.The NFR is keen on mitigating elephant mortality on railway tracks but at the same time safety of train movements has to be ensured, he added.Green activists say encroachment and habitat destruction have forced elephants to stray out of traditional routes for food. One such diversion in December last year saw five wild elephants being knocked down by a speeding train near a tea estate in north-central Assam’s Sonitpur district. Data provided by the Wildlife Division of Assam’s Forest Department say electrocution, train-hit and attack by villagers killed 40 elephants in 2017. Despite the mortality, elephant population in Assam rose from 5,246 in 2002 to 5,719 last year.
Dalit man killed in Gujarat for owning horseA 21-year-old Dalit man was allegedly murdered in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district after he bought a horse a few months ago and rode it in the village. Pradeep Rathod’s family has alleged that his keeping a horse was not liked by people from upper castes, who had threatened him.
About 200 children, who will become voters taking part in the country’s democratic process after a few years, have called upon the political parties to include their crucial issues in the manifestos for the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly election. Their charter of demands is the outcome of a series of seven workshops organised at divisional headquarters under the ‘Dasham’ initiative.‘Cell for children’The children’s demands included construction of toilets in schools, free distribution of sanitary pads, power supply in villages, mandatory holding of ‘Baal Sabha’ in village panchayats and improvement in Anganwadi centre services. “All political parties should establish separate cells for children,” stated the charter.At the ‘Dasham’ event here earlier this week, Rajasthan Assembly Deputy Speaker Rao Rajendra Singh and State Women’s Commission chairperson Suman Sharma (BJP), Mahesh Sharma (Congress), Sanjay Madhav (CPI-M), Nisha Siddhu (CPI), T.P. Sharma (Aam Aadmi Party) and Shailendra Awasthi (Samajwadi Party) interacted with the children.The event was an initiative of Rajasthan Right to Education Forum, Girls Not Brides — Rajasthan, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and Baal Suraksha Network. Resource Institute for Human Rights spokesperson Vijay Goyal said though the children below 18 years were not allowed to vote, they should be heard in their capacity as “future voters”.Children below 18 years comprise 41% of the State’s population. If the teenagers till the age of 19 years are included in this population, the figures touch 49.6%, requiring special steps for their development by the government. The participants said the children could not become responsible citizens without an effective intervention for their healthy growth.Parties’ assuranceWhile the political leaders assured the gathering that they would try to get children’s issues included in the manifestos of their respective parties, the children from different districts, including the hearing- and speech-impaired students of schools and colleges, raised the issues which were affecting their natural growth.‘No school or hospital’Amira Khatoon, 17, from Jodhpur, said her village had no school or hospital and the people often died before getting to hospital in case of emergency. Kundan Kunwar from Udaipur said children in the rural families, who did not know anything about career choices, were lagging behind in the competition.The young boys and girls also challenged the traditions of educational opportunities being denied to the girls and the children forced into unwanted marriages at the tender age. The demands of specially abled children pertained to an easy access to public places and the availability of interpreters. .
A nine-day-old boy died on Tuesday at a government hospital in Darbhanga district of Bihar allegedly after being bitten by rats. The district administration has ordered a probe.The infant was admitted to the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit of the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital on Monday. “When we reached the hospital early in the morning, no nurse or doctor was around… we found that rats had bitten the baby’s hands and legs at several places… we immediately informed the authorities who told us that the baby was dead,” Phuran Chaupal, the father told local journalists in Darbhanga. His inconsolable wife Neelam Chaupal too blamed negligent hospital doctors and nurses for the death of her child.The hospital authorities said when the baby was admitted he was in a serious condition. “We admit that the hospital is infested with rats which we cannot control but there were no signs of rat bites on the baby’s body”, said a doctor posted at the hospital. However, the grieving parents later met senior district official Kashi Prasad Mahto and demanded action against the hospital authorities for their ‘negligence.’ Mr. Mahto ordered a probe into the incident.
Archaeologists have unearthed artefacts believed to be 2,300-year-old while carrying out excavation at the Asurgarh Fort in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.A nine member team of Archaeological Survey of India led by Dibishada B. Garnayak, Superintending Archaeologist, Excavation Branch-IV, Bhubaneswar, excavated the items dating from Mauryan to Kushan period.“The present archaeological work reveals a number of brick structures. Wedge shaped bricks are also noticed in the circular structures. Most of the structures have terracotta tiles with groves and hole for socketing,” said Mr. Garnayak.“The Asurgarh people during that time probably used stone rubbles and tile fragments for flooring their houses and the streets. Besides, silver punch marked coins, silver and copper toe ring and ear rings, beads of carnelian, jasper, beryl, garnet, agate and coral have been found,” he said, adding that some of the artefacts were as old as 2,300 year.Glass banglesOther discovered artefacts include, glass bangle pieces of different designs and colours, sling balls, pestle, iron equipment like small wheel, ring, and arrow head.“The findings of coral beads and imperial variety of silver punch mark coins strongly indicates about long distant trade and association of hinterland people with seafaring people,” pointed out Mr. Garnayak.It is believed that the fort is surrounded by moat on its northern, eastern and southern sides. “Close to the western rampart, the river Sandul flows to the north thereby forming a natural moat on the western side of the fort. On the eastern side of the fort there is an extensive lake. The fort had four wide gates in four cardinal directions and at each gate was installed one guardian deity. These guardian deities are named as Ganga at the eastern gate, Kalapat at the western, Vaishnavi at the northern and Dokri at the southern gate,” he said.
Senior RJD leader Mohd Ali Ashraf Fatmi on Wednesday resigned from the primary membership of the party alleging that he was hurt by the rough and rude manner in which Tejashwi Yadav reacted to his desire to contest elections from Madhubani Lok Sabha seat. Mr. Fatmi made the move a day after he resigned from all posts he held in the RJD, including in its parliamentary board, and said he would wait till April 18 for the party’s decision on the seat from where the ‘Mahagathbandhan’s’ fledgling outfit Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) has fielded its candidate. “Tejashwi spoke to me on Tuesday and told me that I was being suspended from the party for a period of six years,” he said.
With a list of partners that reads like a Who’s Who of technology companies, the Smithsonian Institution today formally announced a new program to dramatically improve the ability of scientists to remotely track the movements of wild animals—perhaps over their whole lives. While still lacking a business plan and definite funding, Partners in the Sky has nonetheless set four goals for the new research and conservation effort, which will rely on industry support, says Peter Leimgruber, a conservation biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia. Already, researchers seeking to follow animals as they move through the environment have made much progress. Radio collars and other tracking devices are shrinking and lasting longer on more compact power supplies. Some tracking efforts make use of satellites for uploading data; others set up networks of transmitters in forests or other natural areas to pick up signals from tagged individuals. But scientists are still unable to track most of the 6000 or so species that migrate, because most are too small to carry even the small 3- to 5-gram devices now available, Leimgruber says. Furthermore, the devices now available can be unreliable and expensive, with limited opportunities to transmit the data.When Leimgruber first showed a radio collar for elephants to Allan McArtor, chairman of jetliner-maker Airbus Americas Inc., the aerospace executive was not impressed. The satellite radios “were big bulges the size of a volleyball,” McArtor recalls. He thought, “our aerospace industry deals with these technologies all the time. There’s got to be a better way.” So a year ago, McArtor brought together engineers from about 15 aerospace and other companies and convinced them to pitch in their expertise. Now, Partners in the Sky includes Airbus, Intel, Iridium Communications Inc., Joubeh, Lockheed Martin, Michael Goldfarb Associates, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins, and United Airlines. Students from Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory also have funding to try their hand at improving tracking technology.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)There are other initiatives to improve tracking devices. “What makes us a bit different is the diversity of industry partners that we are bringing to this,” Leimgruber says. “We’re hoping to really propel this [field] forward.”The first goal is to tweak existing tracking technology to make devices more reliable, cheaper, and longer lasting, so that researchers can follow many individuals, perhaps over their entire lifetimes. Another goal is to build a 1-gram tag that can be used on birds and amphibians too tiny to be outfitted safely with existing devices. With United Airlines, researchers will look into putting antennae and receivers on commercial airplanes that could relay data back to researchers; by using planes, which are closer to the ground than satellites, researchers could reduce the transmission energy costs for the tags. Finally, the partnership seeks to improve the use of these data with better database and analysis tools.The industry partners have already contributed in kind and monetary support approaching $200,000, Leimgruber says. But “we need to have funding to go further,” says Peter Marra, an ornithologist at SCBI who hopes much of that support will come from the industry partners. In an interview with ScienceInsider, McArtor was noncommittal. “We got it going,” he says. “We will help them with fundraising, and we have some engineering resources that will stay close to the project, but it will be a Smithsonian project going forward.”
If cells could talk, they’d have quite a story to tell: Their life history would include what molecules they’d seen passing by, which signals they’d sent to neighbors, and how they’d grown and changed. Researchers haven’t quite given cells a voice, but they have now furnished them with a memory of sorts—one that’s designed to record bits of their life history over the span of several weeks. The new method uses strands of DNA to store the data in a way that scientists can then read. Eventually, it could turn cells into environmental sensors, enabling them to report on their exposure to particular chemicals, among other applications.“They’ve done a really exceptional job turning DNA into readable, writable memory inside living cells,” says Ahmad Khalil, a biomedical engineer at Boston University who was not involved in the new work. “I think it’s a very cool new direction for synthetic biology to take.”In the past, researchers have turned cells into simple sensors by switching on or off the production of proteins in response to a stimulus. But each switch could record only one simple piece of information—whether the cell had been exposed to the stimulus—not the duration or magnitude of this exposure. And if the cell died, the information—encoded in a protein—would be lost.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“We wanted a system that would be easier to scale up to collect more than one piece of information,” says synthetic biologist Timothy Lu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “So we started out, as engineers, thinking about what an ideal memory system would look like.”Lu’s team settled on a biological program that rewrites a living cell’s DNA when the cell senses a signal—from a flash of light to the presence of a chemical. Once the DNA is altered, the information remains embedded in the genetic material even if the cell dies. By sequencing the genes of a population of cells that all contain the program, researchers can determine the magnitude and duration of the signal: The more cells have the genetic mutation, the stronger or longer the signal was.The approach, dubbed Synthetic Cellular Recorders Integrating Biological Events (SCRIBE), relies on retrons—which make up a genetic system found naturally in some bacteria that produces single-stranded DNA that the bacteria normally use to alter their host. Lu’s team started with bacterial cells and inserted a retron that would be turned on—producing the unique DNA—only in response to a specific stimulus like a chemical. While the cell is in the process of copying its genetic material, the new DNA would then replace a nearly identical existing gene segment in the cell, changing it slightly. Lu tested SCRIBE on cells that he engineered to sense light, as well as others that responded to a common biological reagent. In one instance, he made the memory especially easy to read by engineering the cells to mutate an antibiotic resistance gene in response to light. When cells were then grown in the presence of the antibiotic, the researchers could immediately see which cells contained the new gene. The results were confirmed by sequencing the bacteria’s genomes. But SCRIBE, described online today in Science, could be designed to sense other stimuli and cause any desired genetic mutation in return.“There are a bunch of potential applications of this system,” Lu says. “One is being able to do long-term recording of a cell’s environment.” For example, he says, living cells could be left in an area of water for a week, then collected. Sequencing the DNA from the cells could then reveal whether the cells had been exposed to certain bacteria or toxins in the water. SCRIBE could also be a boon to basic researchers, Lu adds. “During development, as you go from a single cell to a multicellular organism, each cell encounters different cues,” he says. SCRIBE could let researchers record what each cell encountered to shape its fate.“What’s neat about this strategy is that you have a lot more diversity and flexibility than other methods to give cells memory,” Khalil says. Because scientists can choose the stimulus—or multiple different stimuli—that they want the cell to record, as well as what gene change they want to use as a marker, the possibilities for applications are wide, he says.
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The proposed Outward Direct Investment (ODI) policy may contain provisions to make it easy for many Indian firms, envisioning ambitious plans to transform themselves into multi-national companies (MNC), to go global and expand.Approval requirements and other norms would be simplified in a manner that would encourage ‘internationalisation’ of Indian companies. However, sources, privy to the developments, also said the ODI policy was expected to tighten regulations to prevent round-tripping structures, where funds are routed by India-based companies into a newly formed or existing overseas subsidiary and then brought back to India to circumvent regulations here. They said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Finance Ministry (tax department) were concerned about such structures.Read it at The Hindu Related Items
The Indian digital gaming industry is growing rapidly, with behemoths like Alibaba backed-Paytm, Tencent, Youzu and Nazara investing in it. One of the top five countries for mobile gaming in the world, the industry is already worth over $890 million. And with the demand for games on an upward curve, the country now has more than 250 game development companies, up from a mere 25 in 2010, with at least two startups coming up every month.Read it at Forbes Related Items
BP India plans to invest more than $2 billion in its upstream ventures in the Indian market over the next few years, said Sashi Mukundan, BP Group’s regional president and head of India.Over the next decade, Mukundan said, he expects 10% of BP’s global earnings to come from India as the British oil and gas firm bets on the country’s growing energy demand and plans to invest in cutting-edge renewable and alternate energy technologies.Read it at Live Mint Related Items
A tragic break in the search for an Indian American family from Southern California, who went missing seven days ago as they returned home from a spring break vacation in Oregon, occurred April 12, as the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office announced it had found items believed to belong to the family.An April 12 press statement from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office lists Sandeep Thottapilly, 41; Soumya Thottapilly, 38; Siddhant Thottapilly, 12; and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, as victims in the search and rescue operation which began April 6. The family was driving a maroon Honda Pilot.Read it at India West Related Items
American companies are the biggest leasers of commercial office space in India, occupying about 45 per cent of the grade ‘A’ space, as they continue to expand operations leveraging the low costs and highly-skilled resource base in the country.“The long-term average shows that companies from the US lease 40-45 per cent of the grade ‘A’ office space in India. This is followed by domestic companies, which account for 35 per cent of the office real estate absorption,” Ashutosh Limaye, Head of Research & REIS at JLL India, told BusinessLine.Read it at The Hindu Related Items
A 57-year-old Indian-origin Singaporean woman was jailed today for up to three years for her role in the largest and most extensive bribery and fraud conspiracy in the history of the United States Navy, according to media reports. Gursharan Kaur Sharon Rachael, a former lead contract specialist with the US Navy and based in Singapore, had the responsibility of managing ship husbanding contracts worth millions of dollars, with duties such as drafting contract requirements, including negotiating and evaluating bids.Read it at NDTV Related Items
In India, U.S. companies dominate the internet. Facebook’s WhatsApp is the most popular app on phones. Virtually every smartphone runs on Google’s Android system. YouTube is the favorite video platform and Amazon is the No. 2 online retailer.For some Indian political leaders, it is as if their nation — which was ruled by Britain for a century until 1947 — is being conquered by colonial powers all over again.And they are determined to stop it.“As a country, we have to all grow up and say that, you know, enough of this,” Vinit Goenka, a railways official who works on technology policy for India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, said at a conference last week.In recent months, regulators and ministers across India’s government have declared their intention to impose tough new rules on the technology industry. Collectively, the regulations would end the free rein that U.S. tech giants have long enjoyed in this country of 1.3 billion people, which is the world’s fastest-growing market for new internet users.The proposals include European-style limits on what big internet companies can do with users’ personal data, a requirement that tech firms store certain sensitive data about Indians only within the country, and restrictions on the ability of foreign-owned e-commerce companies to undercut local businesses on price.The policy changes unfolding in India would be the latest to crimp the power — and profits — of U.S. tech companies, and they may well contribute to the fracturing of the global internet.In May, Europe put into effect a sweeping new privacy law that gives Europeans more control over what information is being collected on them. In the United States, California just passed a privacy law that gives state residents more protections than Americans at large.As India sets the new rules of the game, it is seeking inspiration from China. Although India does not want to go as far as China, which has cut off its internet from the global one, officials admire Beijing’s tight control over citizens’ data and how it has nurtured homegrown internet giants like Alibaba and Baidu by limiting foreign competition. At the same time, regulators do not want to push out the U.S. internet services that hundreds of millions of Indians depend on.For Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, India’s moves would curb a lucrative business avenue — especially after so many of them were blocked in China. India had become the companies’ next frontier for growth.Salman Waris, an expert in international technology law at TechLegis in New Delhi, said India was trying to establish strong data protections for its citizens, as Europe did, while giving the government the right to obtain private information as it sees fit, much as China does. Foreign tech companies will have little choice but to go along.“Everyone is going to fall in line and do what is necessary,” Waris said. “These companies have to do it in China and Europe, and they will do it here.”India’s new policies are still a work in progress, with competing government agencies jousting with foreign and domestic lobbyists and policy advocates to shape them.But new restrictions are definitely coming, said officials and industry executives involved in the process. The country’s Supreme Court declared last summer that Indians have a fundamental right to privacy and pushed parliament to pass a data privacy law. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP party have embraced an India-first economic nationalism to address weak job growth before elections next year. Law enforcement authorities are also demanding more legal tools to extract private customer data from WhatsApp, Facebook and financial firms.“We don’t want to build walls, but at the same time, we explicitly recognize and appreciate that data is a strategic asset,” said Aruna Sundararajan, the nation’s secretary of telecommunications, who has been deeply involved in the policy discussions. “There is a strong feeling in many quarters that the reason that India has not been able to develop a Tencent or Baidu or Alibaba is because we have not been nuanced in our policies.”The Indian government, which sees data as vital to a whole new generation of technologies such as artificial intelligence, appears particularly determined to reel in Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging service.Officials were furious after the Cambridge Analytica scandal this year revealed that Facebook had shared private information on 87 million users, including 560,000 Indians, with a political consulting firm that had sought to influence Indian elections.More recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has demanded that WhatsApp create a way to track and stop mass messages, such as a series of false items about child kidnappers that led to the murder of two dozen innocent people by angry mobs.WhatsApp has refused, saying that building such technology would break the encryption that keeps messages private. The government, for its part, is holding up a new Indian payments service from WhatsApp until it complies with local laws, including a new rule that requires financial data to be stored only in India.More broadly, the Indian government says it wants to ensure that Indian and foreign companies have to follow the same rules on taxes, data storage, security, pricing and cooperation with law enforcement.For example, Indian travel agencies complain that current tax laws allow foreign services such as Booking.com to avoid collecting hotel taxes, which can run as high as 28 percent of the room price. The disparity, they say, gives foreign firms a price advantage.“It’s not about protectionism. It’s about saying if 10 laws apply to me, the 10 laws should also apply to someone else operating in India,” said Rameesh Kailasam, chief executive of IndiaTech.org, a newly formed lobbying group that represents local investors and startups, including MakeMyTrip and the ride-hailing company Ola.In a statement, Booking.com said it made a “full effort” to comply with Indian tax laws.The big U.S. technology companies are trying to fend off or dilute the regulations behind closed doors. Many consider the topic so sensitive that they refused to discuss it on the record.In private, the companies say that the proposals would raise their costs, dampen their ability to use Indian data to improve services and dissuade investments like Walmart’s recent $16 billion deal to buy control of Flipkart, the country’s leading online retailer.They also warned that India has fewer legal protections than the United States against government searches and data requests, so private data stored in the country could more easily end up in the hands of the police.The issue may become a topic in trade and economic discussions between the United States and Indian governments scheduled for the fall.Mukesh Aghi, the chief executive of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a policy group whose board includes top executives at Cisco, Adobe, and Mastercard, said India risked hurting its own economy by imposing stringent rules on foreign tech companies. Forcing data to be stored in India, for example, could prompt similar rules from the United States, which would hurt India’s big outsourcing companies.India also needs multinational companies to build its tech economy, he said.“It requires deep pockets. It requires world-class technologies. It requires a global supply chain,” said Aghi. “These companies are creating jobs.”Ajay Sawhney, the information technology secretary, who is helping to draft the regulations, said the government was keeping an open mind as it developed the final rules.“Our framework will be fair to all stakeholders,” he said. “We deeply appreciate the value that the tech companies and their platforms bring to our country.”© New York Times 2018 Related Items
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