Amazon said to have paid $90 million to acquire maker of Blink Security cameras

Amazon plans to use the chips Blink have for their in-house devices
Image Source: AP Images Inc. has acquired the maker of Blink security cameras for $90 million (Rs 580 crores), in a secret bet on the startup’s energy-efficient chips, as reported by Reuters.

The foundation and the price tag of the deal highlights how Amazon is vying to sell more than just the next big camera. Amazon is venturing into using the exclusive Blink chips, which could extend the battery life of gadgets and lower the cost of production. The online retailer is looking to work on its Cloud Cam and then tap into its Echo speakers using the Blink chips.

The in-house devices that Amazon develops are done with a view of building strong relationships with its customers. Both, the Cloud Cam and the Echo Speakers require power source through plug-ins.

The technology developed at Blink enables their cameras to work for 2 years at a stretch using just one pair of AA lithium batteries. This acquisition could give birth to a generation of gadgets that are heavy on direct current, thereby increasing the portability of the gadgets.

The deal so far hasn’t gathered significant attention. The camera producer declared its takeover by Amazon with inadequate details of interest in a December 21 blog entry.

Examiners have seen Blink as a component of the retailer’s technique for Amazon Key, another program where customers can set up a smart lock and reconnaissance camera so deliveries can be done by slipping bundles inside their homes when they are away. Amazon additionally observes opportunity in the surveillance camera market as home innovation extends.

Sources: NDTV, Indian Express

Public facing problems in the PEDL scheme

The Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) has claimed that its ‘PEDL’ scheme has become a huge success, within just two months of its launch. To substantiate its claim, it has been observed that over 800 cycles were made available at different locations at various places in the city. Regardless of the development, the public has been facing many issues while accessing the cycles.

The Pune Mirror on Sunday did a small test drive and discovered a lot of problems while accessing the cycles, ranging from missing cycles to malfunctions making them unavailable. Some vehicles just refused to get unlocked and others showed that they are already being used by someone else when they were just still at a station. Additionally, there was the problem of users being shown that there was insufficient balance to pay for the ride when they actually did.

As an answer to these problems, the authorities claimed that these were only temporary, and that they were working towards their resolution. An official told the Mirror, “We introduced these cycles based on public response, which is huge. Hence, with PMC’s help, we are expanding across the city. We cannot deny some glitches, but we are tackling them as they arise. Earlier, we were using cycles from another company, which were free — now, we are only introducing the paid ones, as they create less issues.”

Massive protest in Allahabad leads to the murder of a law student

Kasgunj is a city in whereas the district headquarters of this lies in the Uttar Pradesh. In olden times of the Mughal and the British it was known as  ‘Tanay’ or ‘Khasganj’. In one of the book ‘Imperial Gazetteer of India Vol. XV’ written by  William Wilson Hunter in the year 1908 said that the  Kasganj district came in the hands of James V. Gardner  who was first the employ of the Marathas and later served the British later has said to be died in  Chhaoni, Kasganj. It is said that before him it was in the hands of his father  Colonel William Linnaeus Gardner who was said to have built his estate there after retiring from army and died in July,1835. The location of Kasgunj is  27.82°N 78.65°E. the average elevation of the place is 177 meters i.e. 580 feet. It is situated on the banks of river Kali which is in close proximity with the Himalayan foothills located in  Doab between the holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna with fertile soil.  The climate is moderate in winters and hot, dry and humid in summers. According to the last data of the 2011 census the population is 101,241 out of which there are 53,507 males and 47,734 females.

On Monday morning 12th February,2018 a 24 years old boy died in the hospital. It was said that he was thrashed by a group of men in a restaurant in Allahabad. The identity was revealed to be Dilip Saroj who was said to have gone in coma after being attacked by bricks and iron rods on Saturday. It seems an outrage has been triggered since his videos have been widely shared on social media which was shoot by a passed by. How ironic is this that they had time to shoot his video, but they could not make efforts to save him. This also tells us the negligence of the police and this also lead to the suspension of some police officers.  Akash Kulhary told“Munna Singh Chauhan, a waiter seen attacking Saroj on his head with a rod in a video, has been arrested. Restaurant owner Amit Upadhyay has been detained too. Three more accused, including a railway ticket checker named Vijay Shankar of Sultanpur, are at large.” In all this if we believe the reports the victim was said to have gone to Kalika restaurant for dinner with his friends. When after placing the order they sat on the stairs where they had an argument with Shankar who was also having dinner with his friends. This was when Saroj and his friends hit Shankar and his friends with chairs and the men were also attacked by the waiter Munna. In another statement Kulhary said “Shankar and his aides then attacked Saroj with rods and bricks.” After this incident former UP Chief Minister  Akhilesh Yadav hit on Yogi government saying that this murder proves that law and order condition in the state has worsened.

There was a massive protest in the state which leads to students shouting out slogans on the streets of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. They also stopped busses throwing stones and setting them on fire. Roitgear police were also called to control the large number of students form Allahabad University who protested who protested outside the offices of the police officers. In the video which was shoot by passer-by of Saroj where he was seen lying on the steps of the restaurant and what could be heard by the witness in the video was that “The police will show up only after he is dead.” We also came across the suspension of policemen because they were said to be patrolling in their cars just 100 meters away from the site. The police were unexplainable and it seems they are yet to contact the people who made the video. But it seems at the same time they have already contacted the waiter of the  restaurant and got his statement as mentioned.

Swedish Charlotte Kalla wins maiden gold at Winter Olympics in skiathlon

The first gold medal in Pyeongchang 2018 was won by the Swedish Charlotte Kalla in the women’s skiathlon. Kalla finished the race in 40 minutes, 44.9 seconds while Norway’s Marit Bjorgen was second. While, Finnish Krista Parmakoski
Incidentally, Norwegian Bjorgen still remains as the most decorated woman in the Winter Olympics, with a cumulative 11 medals. She is very close to making the world record that is held by her countrywoman, Ole Einar Bjorndalen for 13 medals.
With the exception of Parmakoski, both other women were present on the winner’s podium at Sochi in 2014.
The skiathlon is a 15 km long cross country event that is mass skiing. The athletes are needed to use a different technique from the mid-point. A pit stop in the middle of the race requires them to change their gear and switch to free technique from classic.
Reportedly, Charlotte gained a considerable amount of lead at the 12.5 km stretch and maintained the gap throughout. “I was quite nervous today and the Olympics is something I have focused on for a long, long time, ” Kalla said. “On the finish line I did not want to look back and just focused on keeping pushing.”
SOURCES: BBC, Eurosport

Karnataka elections 2018: Rahul Gandhi on a four day state visit

Rahul Gandhi, the newly elected Congress party President, is on a four day election campaign in Karnataka. This began on Saturday, February 10, and is his first state to go to polls as party President. A senior party member stated that this is a semifinal, do or die election that could shape the face of the party before 2019.

A Times of India repot mentioned that Rahul spoke about the administrative work done by the Karnataka state government headed by Siddharamaiah. He expressed displeasure about the Rafale deal given by Narendra Modi to an industrial acquaintance. This deal was given to Bengaluru’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) during Congress regime.

He also spoke about the failure of BJP to deliver their promises and their lack of recognition given to the underprivileged classes in society. He opined that Siddharamaiah focuses on the future of the state, and does not delve in the past during elections, like his opposition.

News 18 informed that the campaign commenced in Bellary. Sonia Gandhi began her first rally there after taking charge as party President 19 years ago. Congress, under SM Krishna won the polls after major debacles, which included the invincible nature of the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

After Bellary, Rahul will be visiting Hospet, Huligemma temple, and Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah. His four day visit will end at Anubhava Mantapa in Bidar district.

Indian Railways to fire 13,000 employees on ‘unauthorized leaves’

Over 13,000 Group C & D employees of the Indian Railways are likely to face termination of services for remaining absent from duty for a long time without authorization. A massive drive has been launched, in this regard, on the orders of Railway minister Piyush Goyal.

The Railways has started disciplinary activity under the rules to fire administrations against long haul non-attendants in various railway foundations to improve performance of the association and lift the spirit of true and determined workers.

The massive drive launched by the head of the Railway Department has discovered that more than 13,000 out of total 13 lakh workforce were absent from service for quite a while without authorization or prior permission.

Further, it has instructed all the officers and supervisors to remove these employees from their roles after following due process. One of the largest employers in the world, the Indian Railways is likely to see the loss of about 1 percent of its total workforce due to the drive launched on the orders of Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal.

Long term capital gain tax: Not a gain to the middle classes

In 2004, when UPA government was in power, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scrapped LTCG (Long term capital gain) Tax. The idea was to open attractive investment avenues for the middle-class. In 2018, NDA government has decided to reintroduce LTCG into the tax structure.

LTGC is a tax levied on investors who invest in long term assets like equity, mutual funds, etc. The move to scrap out the tax was to make investment in capital assets more viable and attractive. This was because from a long time Fixed Deposit was a sole form of investments for middle classes. For them, a low rate of interest was a safer choice than taking risks.

According to a report by The Indian Express, this policy brought asset growth of mutual funds from Rs. 3.26 crore in 2007 to Rs. 21.27 crore in 2017. This means that a substantial number of people invested in mutual funds.

Now with the change in stance by the Finance Ministry, a tax of 10 per cent would be levied on capital gains (LTCG) which would accrue gains amounting to Rs 1 lakh or more for the investor, starting April 1, 2018.

Taxpayers around the country are expressing their displeasure with the financial policies in this Budget 2018. Vikram Waman Karve, an Ex-Naval officer and a vocal blogger, mentioned in a tweet that, “LTCG Tax has created tremendous negative sentiment in Stock Market and also a perception that Budget 2018 is an Anti-MiddleClass Budget. There is a feeling that BJP hasn’t handled the Economy well.”

This negative sentiment towards the budget amongst the middle classes has also to do with other policy changes in terms of standard deductions, health insurance and the likes.

Another affectee Nitin Shrotri mentioned in a tweet about the immediate impacts of the new tax. Expressing his disappointment, the auto professional tweeted, “Looking at the fall in sensex I have no courage to check my MF portfolio, @arunjaitley, Please do rethink seriously on LTCG tax.”

The tax is likely to bring down the capital market in its pursuit for increase central government’s revenue.

“I think the government wants to find more avenues to generate more revenues. Definitely, the move is disappointing. This is slightly regressive in my view, especially when investments in equity are picking up, and they should not have done it at this point in time, ” Jitendra Gohil, head of equity research with Credit Suisse Wealth Management India mentioned in an interview to Livemint.

Considering the immediate impact of the Finance Ministry’s decision, there has been slight ups and downs in the stock exchange. For the middle classes, the move may make equity a less likeable option for investments.


Livemint, Indian Express