Jammu: The 23rd batch of 2,723 Amarnath pilgrims on Wednesday left Bhagwati Nagar base camp here to undertake the annual pilgrimage in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
The pilgrims, including 626 women, five children and 141 sadhus (saints), left for the Valley in a fleet of 100 vehicles under tight security cover in the early hours, they said.
They are expected to reach the twin base camps of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district later in the day, the officials added.
The yatra, which started from the traditional 36-km Pahalgam route and shorter 14-km Baltal route on July 1, was progressing smoothly and so far 2,96,302 pilgrims have offered their prayers at the 3,880-metre high holy cave, housing the naturally formed ice-shivling, they said.
Of the latest batch, the officials said, 1,476 pilgrims, including including 220 women, one child and 141 sadhus, are heading for Pahalgam base camp, while the rest of 1,247, including 406 women and four children, would perform the yatra from Baltal track.
The yatra, which is scheduled to end on August 15 coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival, had crossed the last year’s figure of 2.85 lakh on the 22nd day of the yatra Monday evening.
As many as 3,52,771 pilgrims had performed the yatra in 2015, 3,20,490 pilgrims in 2016 and 2,60,003 yatris in 2017.
New Delhi: Aiming to come close to its rivals like Amazon Prime and Hotstar in India, American video streaming giant Netflix on Wednesday unveiled a mobile subscription plan for India at Rs 199 per month.
The plan will enable users to view content in standard definition (SD) on one smartphone or tablet at a time.
This is Netflix’s fourth Indian plan, in addition to the existing basic, standard and premium plans which are priced between Rs 499 and Rs 799.
“Our members in India watch more on their mobiles than members any other country in the world — and they love to download our shows and films. We believe this new plan will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit people who like to watch on their smartphones and tablets — both on the go and at home,” Ajay Arora, Director, Product Innovation, Netflix, told reporters here.
“Indian consumers watch on the go. And you can’t beat that freedom.”
According to a FICCI-EY 2019 report, Indians spend 30 per cent of their phone time and over 70 per cent of their mobile data on entertainment.
“Our goal is to get Netflix on as many devices as we can. Today, Netflix is present on 1700 plus device models,” Nigel Baptiste, Director of Partner Engagement, Netflix said.
Netflix is investing heavily in Indian films and series across all genres and for all generations, including much-loved hits like Sacred Games, Chopsticks and Mighty Little Bheem.
According to the company, thirteen new films and nine new original series are already in the pipeline.
The company began testing the mobile-only subscription service in few countries in March.
Beijing: Without naming “Quad” – the informal grouping of the US, Japan, Australia and India in Beijing’s backyard, China’s white paper on defence released on Wednesday said competition in the Asia-Pacific is bringing uncertainties to regional security.
The Chinese Defence Ministry issued the white paper outlining plans to build a high-tech Army and chided the US for “undermining the global strategic stability”.
“The world economic and strategic centre continues to shift towards the Asia-Pacific. The region has become a focus of major country competition, bringing uncertainties to regional security,” said the white paper titled “China’s National Defence in the New Era”.
“Asia-Pacific countries are increasingly aware that they are members of a community with a shared destiny. Addressing differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation has become a preferred policy option for regional countries, making the region a stable part of the global landscape,” the document said.
What China calls Asia-Pacific has increasingly been referred to as “Indo-Pacific” by the US where it wants India, Japan and Australia to form a bloc to counter the flexing of muscles by Beijing in the region.
Known as “Quad”. the idea of the bloc was floated by Japan in 2007 but India had refused to be a part of it, fearing the move could anger Beijing.
However, with Beijing pursuing an aggressive policy in the international waters, the four countries have begun talks again but these have not been formalized yet.
Beijing sees the potential grouping with suspicion and has dismissed it as “sea foam”.
New Delhi: Congress MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and K Suresh on Wednesday gave adjournment motion notices in the Lok Sabha over different issues.
Chowdhury has given the notice over “killing of tribals across the nation”.
K Suresh has given notice in the lower house seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply on US President Donald Trump’s remark on Kashmir.
Earlier, India on Tuesday categorically denied that the Prime Minister had sought the US President’s mediation on Kashmir.
“I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by Prime Minister Modi,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the Parliament after the Opposition sought a clarification from the Prime Minister over Trump’s claim.
London: Quentin Tarantino has teased that a third “Kill Bill” movie is still a possibility and he has talked about the same with the series star, Uma Thurman.
The original “Kill Bill” was released in 2003, which was followed by “Kill Bill Volume 2” the next year.
“Uma and I have talked about it recently, frankly, to tell you the truth, I have thought about it a little further. We were talking about it literally last week.”If any of my movies were going to spring from my other movies, it would be a third ‘Kill Bill’,” Tarantino said during ‘Happy Sad Confused’ podcast, when quizzed about the potential third part.
The director is currently awaiting the release of his ninth film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.
Washington: As US government regulators act tough on tech giants over privacy violations and antitrust activities, Amazon and Facebook spent the maximum in lobbying – around $4 million each – in the second quarter (Q2) this year.
The antitrust regulators in the US are scrutinising Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google’s parent company Alphabet over biased market practices and data privacy violations.
“Facebook and Amazon each notched a quarterly sum above $4 million for the first time ever in the three-month period from April to June,” Politico reported on Tuesday.
Facebook spent $4.1 million on lobbying activity while Amazon shelled out just over $4 million.
Google shelled out $2.94 million on lobbying in the second quarter. Apple spent $1.81 million on federal lobbying while Twitter spent around $440,000.
Microsoft spent $2.7 million on lobbying activity for the quarter.
Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook faced two US House hearings on anti-trust issues and Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency ‘Libra’ this month.
The House Committee on Judiciary discussed antitrust issues while the Senate Banking Committee deliberated upon Facebook’s digital currency ‘Libra’ that is slated to arrive in 2020.
Amazon is often criticized for undercutting competition on price.
“Facebook and Google have struggled with questions around privacy, free speech and election interference. Amazon and Apple meanwhile have grown so large and powerful, some lawmakers say they have become monopolies that need to be split up,” said CNET in a recent report.
Facebook has reached a whopping $5 billion settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the Cambridge Analytica privacy violations.
Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, according to the European Commission.
The European Union’s antitrust regulators in March fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.
New Delhi: A 34-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly making a fake website of Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan and cheating nearly 100 people by promising them jobs under the central government scheme, police said on Wednesday.
Delhi police arrested Prasenjit Chatterjee from North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on Tuesday.
A case under various sections of IPC and IT Act was registered by the cyber crime unit on a complaint of Hari Sewak Sharma, vigilance officer, common service centre, Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY), regarding the fraudulent government website, police said.
During investigation, it was found the accused had created a website similar to the official website https://www.pmgdisha.in under the URL link http://wbpmgdisha.in, claiming that it’s the official website of the Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan for West Bengal, they added.
He cheated nearly 100 people by asking money from them to register them under the scheme for teaching jobs. After police received the complaint, the website was blocked.
Based on an investigation, the accused was identified and arrested by a team led by Inspector Bhanu Pratap of the cyber crime unit.
His laptop computer and a hard disk have been seized, police said.
Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan aims to make six crore rural households digitally literate.
Bhubaneswar: At least four workers are feared trapped while nine have been injured in a landslide at an open cast mine of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Odisha’s Talcher, said an official on Wednesday.
“Labourers working in the night shift at Bharatpur open cast mine in Talcher Coalfields of MCL came under a dump slide due to a strata failure,” said an MCL statement.
The accident occurred between 11 p.m.-11.30 p.m. on Tuesday when a portion of earth broke loose trapping 13 workers and machinery at work, it said.
The fellow labourers and rescue teams immediately swung into action and rescued nine workers, who were shifted to the company’s Central Hospital at Talcher for treatment of minor injuries. Rescue operation is underway to recover four missing workers.
MCL’s Director (Technical/Operations) and Director (Personnel) have rushed to Talcher to oversee the rescue operations.
Meanwhile, tension has erupted in the area following the incident. The district administration has deployed adequate security personnel to avoid any untoward incident.
Sathupalli: The police have filed an FIR under provisions of Telangana State Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1997 against three engineering students for allegedly thrashing their fellow student at an engineering college here.
It was said that three students in third year engineering at Mother Teresa Institute of Technology and Science (MITS), located at Sanketika Nagar on the outskirts of Sathupalli town, have beaten up their junior of second year.
According to the sources, the victim, Shiva Nagesh of Peddapalli has reportedly posted some objectionable comments on social media app Messenger against some senior students few days back. It led to war of words on the social media site for some time.
Later the senior students identified Nagesh and beaten him up on Monday evening when he was coming back to college from his home town after a holiday. The seniors taken him into an isolated building on the outskirts and thrashed him severely, added sources.
When contacted authorities at the college said after learning about the incident they have got hold of one of the accused, Shaik Afridi and handed over him to the police. The parents of the victim were informed about the incident.
One of the friends of the victim has filmed the incident on his mobile phone and it went viral on social media. Based on the complaint by the victim police booked case against Afridi, Sai Kiran and Ravi Teja.
Sathupalli Inspector of Police T Suresh told Telangana Today that following complaint by the victim they have booked a case under Sections 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of IPC along with provisions of Prohibition of Ragging Act.
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