"The Bihar plunge into the election was haphazard, it was like jumping into fire,'' says Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM). "But Uttar Pradesh has been a more organised affair.'' Owaisi has just got back to Delhi after spending the better part of the last two months campaigning in the heat and dust of UP. For someone who knows every nook and corner of Hyderabad like the back of his hand, UP is comparatively a geographical stranger. But contesting in 38 Assembly seats has been a good debut, he believes. "The Bihar plunge into the election was haphazard, it was like jumping into fire,'' says Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM). "But Uttar Pradesh has been a more organised affair.''

"I made life hell for secular parties. Congress leaders were cursing me because without any effort, I could mobilise up to 5,000 people for each one of my public meetings. What is important is that 90 percent of that crowd was youth in the age group of 18 to 25,'' says Owaisi. File photo of Asaduddin Owaisi. AFPFile photo of Asaduddin Owaisi. AFP Owaisi knows that is precisely the reason why he is branded an 'Amit Shah ka aadmi' who has made forays into Bihar and UP only to take away a part of the Muslim vote and thereby help the BJP in a closely-contested fight.

"Take the example of Amaravati or Solapur municipal corporation in Maharashtra. In both the cities, the BJP secured a majority in the 23 February election,'' points out Owaisi. "The Congress blames us for splitting the Muslim vote but the reality is that the Hindu vote of the Congress has moved over to the BJP.'' Owaisi on many occasions has also pointed out that his party never contested in Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana where too the Congress suffered humiliating losses. "This is a feudal mindset,'' he points out. What he means is that the Congress bosses think that the AIMIM is just a Hyderabad party that should not dare spread its wings beyond the city.

News source: http://www.firstpost.com


Published in Politics
Friday, 03 March 2017 10:49

Amazon typo knocked websites offline


Amazon has said that a simple typo was the cause of several several high-profile websites and services being knocked offline earlier in the week.

Hours of problems struck services like Q&A forum Quora, and Giphy, an image hosting service. The sites rely on hosting provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) - a cloud computing provider. A typo made during a routine debugging of the AWS billing system caused the failure. "Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended," Amazon said in an online statement. The error required a full restart that "took longer than expected". Around 150,000 websites and services rely on AWS. Among those affected by the failure was - somewhat ironically - Down Detector, a service that tracks downtime at major websites. Amazon, which is the world's largest provider of cloud services, says it is now making changes to help prevent a similar incident occurring in the future.


Published in Technology


Well that's not the whole story. Not this time.
If you're a parent, a letter home from school is common.
But today, Simon Chiu, the president of Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California, wrote to parents to share some "monumental news".
In 2012, he began, the school invested $15,000 in a cool new app that was being used incessantly by Andrew and Natalie Eggers, two siblings who attended the school.
Their father Barry was a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, a local investment firm. After seeing how excited his children were to be using the app, and learning that their friends were as obsessed as they were, he decided to get involved. It was, of course, Snapchat.
He met with co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who today are multi-millionnaires thanks to their company's incredible stock market debut, but back then were working out of a dorm room at Stanford.
Mr Eggers was suitably impressed, and so Lightspeed led a $500,000 investment round - Snapchat's first.

'Investment matured'
The firm invested $485,000, but Mr Eggers also convinced Saint Francis High School to throw in $15,000 from a school development fund set up in the 1990s.
In what must go down as one of the understatements of the year, Mr Chiu's letter on Thursday continued: "The school's investment in Snap has matured and given us a significant boost as we continue our work towards realising the bold vision and goals."
One of those goals is to make education at Saint Francis - a private, Catholic school where tuition costs $17,000 a year - more affordable to more people in the surrounding community.
So how much did the school earn? It's hard to say exactly right now. It sold many of its shares on Thursday at the $17 opening price. That raised a cool $24m.
It kept hold of a third - and at the close of play on Thursday, Snap's stock was up by 44%. A great little earner - with perhaps a lot more still to come.
In a blog post about the deal, Mr Eggers wrote: "While I've enjoyed Snap's journey with my partners as an early investor, I have the unexpected bonus of sharing the experience with my children.
"It's been amazing for us to watch how far Evan and Bobby and Snap have come since that kitchen table conversation between my daughter and me… and how much they've already changed how we communicate today."

News source: bbc

Published in Technology


Factual entertainment channel Sony BBC Earth will debut in India on March 6, 2017 at 8 pm, with a promise of 19 hours of original content per week. The channel is a JV between BBC Worldwide and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN). BBC Earth is present in 39 other markets across the globe, but this will be the first time the channel is being launched through a partnership. While SPN will have majority holding of 74% in the JV, BBC Worldwide will hold the remaining 26%. Both companies are said to be investing in the channel as per their shareholding ratios.

Published in Entertainment & Arts


Actor Shekhar Suman, who will soon be seen making a comeback in Sanjay Dutt's 'Bhoomi', recently took to his Twitter handle to take a dig at a particular "cocained actress" and the recent failure of her film. While not revealing the name of the star he was referring to, the actor posted, "One cocained actress was carrying the burden of her non existent stardom. She has fallen flat on her face n how. Guess this is poetic justice." Much to his surprise, several Twitter followers hit back at Shekhar and began trolling him for his comment.

Published in Entertainment & Arts


In India, there is a common saying, which many families brag about, "Hum khate-peete khandan se hain,"meaning they belong to a family where there is abundance of food and beverages. The underlying meaning is also that if the family members, as well as the children, are overweight, it's because of good food. The saying evokes a sense of pride from belonging to a well-to-do family and living a good standard of life, as well as aspiring others to follow suit. Perhaps this attitude is what has led the country to be known as the obesity capital of the world, and that's definitely not something we should take pride in.The shocking fact is majority of the population are unaware of the dangerous ill-effects of being obese. It's not just about the physical expansion which is caused by obesity, this lifestyle disease paves the way for diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, liver failure, and many others. In a survey done by a leading hospital in New Delhi, it found that around 80.7 per cent of people residing in Delhi-NCR region were suffering from obesity - though 78.5 per cent continued to consider themselves as having normal weight.

Obesity is a condition which is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30. BMI is calculated by taking a person's weight in kilograms, divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2)". The range between 25 to 30 is considered as 'overweight'.

Alarming Facts about Obesity

1. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4A), a Government health survey, has found that the number of overweight men in the country has doubled over the past decade. In case of women, one in five women is now overweight.

2. While maximum cases of obesity affect urban upper and middle class families, the rural population has also showed a significant number - 14.3 per cent men were found to be obese.

3. Since India is a developing country, one may assume that malnutrition is one of the major factors causing death. But in reality, it is obesity that is affecting and causing dangerous diseases among millions.

4. Childhood obesity is also on the rise globally. Even children, as little as under the age of five, were found to be suffering from obesity. A WHO report states that the number of obese and overweight children under five has nearly doubled since 1990 to 10.3 million. There are various factors involved - no physical activity, junk food, sugary drinks, etc.

News source: NDTV

Published in Health


National Family Health Survey reveals that India’s health indicators shows a considerable improvement over the last decade, according to the National Family Health Survey, the Times of India reported. The Survey found that there is a decline in infant mortality, better sex ration and wider vaccine coverage.

The population rate is also showing a positive change and there is also an increase in the number of institutional deliveries.

“The results show that if we invest and design good programs in health, results will follow,” Health Secretary CK Mishra said, the English daily reported.

According to the survey, Haryana projected a commendable change in its sex ratio at birth. During the 2005-06 survey (NFHS3), 762 females were born per 1,000 males in the state and now, in 2014-15 survey, the ratio improved to 836 females per 1,000 males.

However, the sex ratio at birth improved marginally nationally with 919 females born against 1,000 male.

India’s total fertility ratio also declined to 2.2 from 2.7 over last ten years, including closer to the replacement level of 2.1. From NFHS1 to NHFS4, the level declined by 1.2 children per woman and the data shows Uttar Pradesh showcased maximum decline in TFR, which dropped from 2.7 to 1.1 in last eight years.

The survey shows a significant decline in the infant mortality rate as if fell down from 57 per 1,000 lives birth in the third phase to 41 in the fourth phase. There has been a dramatic growth of 40 percentage points from 38.7% in NFHS 3 to 78.9% in NFHS 4 in the institutional deliveries. The immunization coverage across the country also improved to almost 70% of fully immunized children at present from 44% in 2005-06.

Furthermore, percentage of under-weight children declined from 42.5% to 35.7% in eight years and the country recorded a 10 percentage point decline in stunting from 48 per cent during the third phase of the survey to 38.4 in the fourth round.

News source: The American Bazar

Published in Health
Thursday, 02 March 2017 12:19

Honda stops selling this car model in India


Japanese carmaker Honda has stopped selling its multi purpose vehicle (MPV) Mobilio in India due to poor demand and it will decide within the next two months whether to bring a new version of the model or not. Honda Cars India, the company's wholly owned-subsidiary, has stopped manufacturing the vehicle and exhausted the stocks.
Last month it did not sell even a single unit of the MPV.
"There are new safety regulations coming from this year. The current Mobilio does not conform to regulations. So in order to continue to sell the vehicle we need to put in lot of investment or modification of the model," Honda Cars India President and CEO Yoichiro Ueno told PTI.
The sales volume of the vehicle is also not large so the company is now studying as how much investment is necessary to make it compliant with the norms, he added.
Launched in July 2014 in India, Honda had sold a total of 40,789 units of the Mobilio in the country. The company is now evaluating whether to launch new version of the vehicle, which is already available in Indonesia, to India or not.
"Maybe we will compare. If the investment is too much and it's too bad and (if) we have to increases the price of the vehicle significantly, in that scenario it will be very difficult to continue (the Mobilio brand)," Ueno said.
When asked by when the company would be able to come to a decision regarding the vehicle, he said: "In another 1-2 months, we can finalise."
Ueno further said: "We are studying the regulations as what kind of modifications are necessary. If the price increases significantly it would be difficult."
Mobilio was developed at Honda's R&D facility in Bangkok exclusively for the Asian markets with India and Indonesia among key targets. Priced between Rs 6.49 lakh and Rs 10.86 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) at the time of launch, Mobilio competed with the likes of Maruti Ertiga, Renault Lodgy in the affordable MPV segment below Toyota Innova.
As per the Indian government's roadmap for vehicular safety, new models will have to comply with full frontal impact and offset frontal impact from October this year. Existing models will have time till October 1, 2019. For pedestrian protection, the deadline for new models would kick in from October 2018 and for existing models the deadline is October 1, 2020.

News source: Business Today

Published in Business


Indian auto shares rose on robust February sales growth of some automakers, which are returning to normalcy from the red since Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetised high currency notes on November 8.

Tata Motors was up 3.4% while Bajaj Auto gained 2%, Hero MotoCorp 1.8% and Eicher Motors 0.4% in the Mumbai market whose benchmark Sensex rose as much as 0.55% to 29,145.62 in intra-day trade.

Tata Motors sales grew 2% with passenger vehicle rising 12% on overwhelming response to its new crossover Hexa as well as the sustained demand for the Tiago.

Bajaj Auto sales were up marginally on tepid domestic demand but exports were up 15.6%.

Hero MotoCorp sales were down 4.8% but it is picking up as remonetisation gains momentum and consumers recover from the cash crunch.

Maruti Suzuki loses small car magic, as Tata and Renault catch up
In January, Indian automobile sales were down 4.7% even though passenger vehicles were up 14.4%, according to data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The demonetisation drive has dented consumer demand as Indians faced problems in withdrawing new currency notes from banks and ATMs.

The industry produced a total 21,086,185 vehicles including passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, three wheelers, two wheelers and quadricycles in April-January 2017 as against 19,882,485 in April-January 2016, registering a growth of 6.05% over the same period last year.

During April-January, sales of passenger vehicles grew by 9.2% while commercial vehicles were up 3.03% and 2-wheelers 8.3%. But three-wheeler sales dipped 1.1%.

News source: Hindustan Times

Published in Business


(CNN)New York's legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel has hosted kings, queens, presidents and movie stars -- but for the next three years, not even royalty will be able to reserve a room here.

The 86-year-old hotel, bought by China's Ambang Insurance Group in 2014 for $1.95 billion, closed its doors on February 28, 2017 for a major renovation project that will reportedly see many of its 1,400 rooms turned into apartments.

Published in Travel
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