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Since he took office, US President Donald Trump has been speaking about cracking down on illegal immigrants. Taking this same thought a step further, the US has changed rules for visa applicants.

As per these changes, those seeking US' visa will have to submit details of their social media accounts, which they have been using for the last five years.

Here's all about it.

Want visa for US? You'll have to submit social-media details

Want visa for US? You'll have to submit social-media details
Want visa for US? You'll have to submit social-media details

It all started after Trump signed an order in 2017

The new changes in visa application aren't completely out of the blue. In 2017, Trump had signed an executive order to "extremely assess" applications.

A year later, in March 2018, the State Department had said it would start screening social media profiles of all visa applicants, including those seeking travel visa.

Only those on diplomatic visits will be exempted from this scrutiny.

New changes will impact 14 million travelers

Previously, only those who had traveled to countries controlled by terrorist groups were supposed to furnish their social media details. As a result, some 65,000 applicants went through an extra layer of scrutiny.

But the proposed changes will impact 14 million people. Applicants will also have to submit their telephone numbers and travel history.

The new rule will take off from this month.

So, how will these changes work? Let's answer your queries

Applicants will have to submit social media details in E-forms D-160 and D-260.

"The forms have a drop-down menu, requiring applicants to list the username or handle against the social media platforms, which they have used during the five years preceding the application date," explained Emily Neumann, partner at immigration law firm Reddy & Neumann.

Notably, they won't be asked to submit their passwords.

Currently, the list includes major social media platforms

As of now, the drop-down menu covers social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. More platforms will be added in the future.

Notably, applicants can write they don't use social media if that is the case.

A State Department official underlined that those "lying" about their social media accounts, will have to face "serious immigration consequences".

This move will keep a check on terrorism, said official

"As we've seen around the world in recent years, social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity. This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits," the official added.

Earlier, ACLU had slammed the new changes

The changes prompted a plethora of reactions.

In 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union had objected to the law. The organization had claimed these changes will put visa-seekers at the mercy of officials.

"There is a real risk that social media vetting will unfairly target immigrants and travelers from Muslim-majority countries for discriminatory visa denials, without doing anything to protect national security," ACLU had said.

Expert believes visa applications will now get delayed

Meanwhile, Rajiv S. Khanna, managing partner at Immigration.com, said new layer will delay the entire process.

"Already, consulates enjoy plenary powers in visa decisions. We cannot challenge visa denials unless egregious and obvious illegality can be demonstrated," he said.

Separately, New York-based immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta said, "People's views could be held against them even if they are consistent with free speech and expression."

A customer from Noida ordered the newly launched OnePlus 7 Pro on Amazon, but when his order was delivered to him, he found out that the box contained a brick instead. He had ordered the base variant of OnePlus 7 Pro which is priced at Rs. 48,999. The phone was not delivered on the day of the delivery, which was on Friday, May 24, 2019. The General Manager of OnePlus, Vikas Agarwal said that the team is looking into the matter currently.

Top Tech News Today: Redmi Note 7S, OnePlus 7 Pro As Brick, Oppo Reno Launch, Huawei Banned & More!

Top Tech News Today: Redmi Note 7S, OnePlus 7 Pro As Brick, Oppo Reno Launch, Huawei Banned & More!
Top Tech News Today: Redmi Note 7S, OnePlus 7 Pro As Brick, Oppo Reno Launch, Huawei Banned & More!

Redmi Note 7S is Now Official

Xiaomi has recently launched Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro, and now the brand is planning to launch a Redmi Note 7S. This phone will come with a 48 MP camera, highlighting the moto 48MP for everyone. The phone will come with a 6.3-inch FHD+ display and a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both sides. Also, the display will have a water drop notch and a 13 MP selfie camera. Redmi Note 7S will have a Qualcomm SD 660 processor too. 

Oppo Reno Series Will Be Exclusive on Flipkart

Oppo is all set to launch its Oppo Reno and Oppo Reno 10X Zoom edition on May 28th in India. News is that the phone will be available for sale on the popular e-commerce platform, Flipkart. A teaser was shared on Flipkart which made the whole thing official. There is a page on the Flipkart mobile app, which lists Oppo Reno phones under the ‘Latest Launches’ and below that is a button underneath which says, ‘Notify Me’. 

Google Suspends Services For Huawei

The US Government has finalised the decision of putting Huawei in the blacklist for several reasons, including bribing officials. Google services for Huawei will be stopped immediately and all future smartphones will not have any Google services like  Google Play Store, Google apps, Gmail, YouTube and more. Transfer of hardware, software or any other technical services with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd will be cancelled by Google.

For all the details, go here!

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Specs Leaked

Samsung is planning to bring changes to the Galaxy Note 10 series, which includes phones like Galaxy Note 10, Note 10e, Note 10 Pro and Note 10 as well. Apparently, the company is planning to bring in a 19:9 panel, instead of the Galaxy Note 9’s 18:5:9 aspect ratio. Also, the Galaxy Note 10 will be “the optimization and perfection” of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 9. Samsung is also planning to introduce a bezel-less display, which infers that the a punch hole display will be present.

Tokenisation has become one of the preferred methods of card payments in Western countries. Now, it comes to India.
The economy grew at a 7.2% rate, but RBI estimated a growth of 7.4%. msnTarGet.com

Indian Economy Is World’s Fastest Growing; Again Beats China In Annual Growth At 7.2%

Indian Economy Is World’s Fastest Growing - Debit/Credit Card Frauds Will Be Stopped Using ‘Tokens’
Indian Economy Is World’s Fastest Growing - Debit/Credit Card Frauds Will Be Stopped Using ‘Tokens’
India has reached new levels today in the economy field, and this is something to be very proud of! Indian economy has bagged the title of ‘Fastest Growing Economy’ and this is not the first time – although it is a tad bit lower than what RBI suggested. soas.in

RBI estimated growth in the current economy of about 7.4% in the current fiscal year that ends in March (2018-19), but the economy grew at a 7.2% which is also worth appreciation. 6.75% growth was recorded in last year, 2017-18. mobask.com

Private Consumption and Indian Economy

S .C. Garg, the secretary of economic affairs praised the growth of the Indian economy, saying that it is a very advance GDP growth numbers for 2018-19. He also remarked that India remains the fastest growing major economy globally. Fun2Ind.com

The chief economist at rating agency Crisil D.K. Joshi said that improvement in private consumption and a stable election outcome will play an important role in sustaining the upswing in overall investments. He also said, “Private consumption was a sore spot with its growth slipping a new to 6.4% from 6.6% as farm incomes and rural wage growth remained weak. The real agriculture GDP growth was strong at 3.8% from 4.5% suggesting farmers are realizing less from their produce.” msnTarGet.com

Reports in Detail

As per reports, the manufacturing sector is estimated to grow by 8.3% in 2018-19, which is more as compared to last year’s 5.7% while farm sector will grow by 3.8% as compared to last year’s 3.4%. Construction field is set to grow at 8.9% compared to last year’s 5.7%. Financial, real estate and insurance segment was at 6.6% and is expected to grow up to 6.8% this year. MobAsk.com

As per D.K. Joshi, the service sectors, which contributed to a large part of India’s growth, have been giving poorer results since several quarters in the past, which is a cause of worry.

On the other hand, growth in government final expenditure is estimated to be at 9.2% compared to 10.9% of last year. “Pick-up in investment is largely government spending from outside the budgeted expenditure, likely from PSU’s and state governments. Private investment has to substitute for this investment for the run-up to be sustainable.” soas.in

Conclusively, economic growth of China is expected to be slower than usual and India will again be the fastest growing major economy globally. Fun2Ind.com

Debit/Credit Card Frauds Will Be Stopped Using ‘Tokens’; RBI Allows ‘Tokenisation’ Of Card Payments

In a major innovation related to card payments, which includes both debit and credit cards, Reserve Bank of India has allowed ‘Tokenisation’ of card payments. soas.in

How will it stop frauds? And how does this work?

Keep reading to find out more!

‘Tokenisation’ of Card Payments: The Need

Generally, consumers save their debit or credit card details with any service provider,  to make payments smooth, and easy. Often, this is a mandatory requirement as well. MobAsk.com

For instance, say Paytm, Amazon or Flipkart. Users save their cards details with these service providers for future payments, and the payment is often done with a PIN or password or sometimes just the CVV number. MsnTarGet.com

However, in case any such service provider/website/app gets hacked, then users’ card details can be compromised, and data stolen.

To avoid this scenario, RBI has now allowed ‘Tokenisation’ of card payments, which will avoid such frauds/data theft.

‘Tokenisation’ Of Card Payments: How Does This Work?

‘Tokenisation’ works on the principle of a virtual card, which is also called tokens here. Fun2Ind.com

In this system, instead of saving the actual card details: name, card numbers, expiry date etc, the user will be able to generate a unique ‘token’ or a virtual card for a specific service.

Whenever the consumer is required to make a payment, they can use the token, and an additional authentication PIN to finalize the payment. MsnTarGet.com

Now, this unique token will have three aspects:

  • Card details
  • The token requester (for example Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm) and
  • Identified device (example being your mobile phone or tablet/laptop)
Each such tokens would be unique for a service, and the same token cannot be used elsewhere, which provides better security.

Risks Reduced In Card Payments

Such tokens mask the actual debit/credit card details and help the consumer to protect them. Such unique tokens can be applied to:
  • Contactless transactions (Near Field Communication/Magnetic Secure Transmission based transactions)
  • In-app payments
  • QR code-based payments and more.
Moreover, the end user can also limit the amount of money transacted in every token, specific to that service. soas.in

However, the only drawback is that the card issuer and the service provider will be required to appoint a third party to implement this tokenisation system. Having said that, the card issuing company will have the responsibility to ensure safety and security of this whole process. Mobask.com

RBI is expected to issue more guidelines and regulations for this new concept of card payments, which has become quite popular in Western countries.

We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

7th Pay Commission: Here is good news for nearly 1 crore employees and pensioners of the central and state government. These employees may soon get three per cent dearness allowance from January 1, 2019, Praygraj based AG Office Brotherhood and ex-Assistant Secretary-General of All India Audit and Accounts Association, Harishankar Tiwari told Zeebiz Online today. According to the calculations made on the basis of Consumer Price Index, the DA has been set to move closer to three per cent. This is the first time after the implementation of 7th pay commission on January 1, 2016, when dearness allowance may increase by 3 per cent.

7th Pay Commission: First time! Government employees' dearness allowance to touch this level

7th Pay Commission: First time! Government employees' dearness allowance to touch this level
According to experts calculating DA, dearness allowance may stay at 3% or more from 2019. If the consumer price index of December month rises to 6 per cent, then the employees may get up to 4 per cent DA.

If there is a deficit of 26 points in the consumer price index, then the DA will be 2 per cent. But the likelihood of such a decrease in the Consumer Price Index is unlikely. It is believed that employees can get DA closer to 3%.

What is DA or Dearness Allowance

Dearness Allowance is such money which is given to improve the living condition of the government employees of the country, keeping inflation in mind.

Only India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the countries in the world where government employees are given such allowance. This money is given so that even amid rising inflation, the level of employee's living condition doesn't worsen because of lack of money. DA is given to government employees, public sector enterprises' employees and pensioners.
What 7th Pay Commission said

As per the 7th Pay Commission report, the Dearness Allowance (DA) is paid to Central Government employees "to adjust the cost of living and to protect their Basic Pay from erosion in the real value on account of inflation."

Presently, DA is based on the All India Consumer Price Index (Industrial Workers). 

The 7th pay panel had decided to continue with the formula for DA calculation adopted by the VI CPC. 

"The VI CPC had recommended that the National Statistical Commission may be asked to explore the possibility of a specific survey covering government employees exclusively, so as to construct a consumption basked representative of government employees and formulate a separate index. This has, however, not been done," the report said.

"Keeping in mind that the present formulation of DA has worked well over the years, and there are no demands for its alteration, the Commission recommends the continuance of the existing formula and methodology for calculating the Dearness Allowance," it added. 

When you choose to fly, then every airlines provide this facility to choose your own berth, and check which seats are vacant. Often, to choose the best seats, passengers are asked to even pay extra amount.

Now, Indian Railways will soon launch a similar service, and it shall be free. How will this work? And what are its advantages?

Keep reading to find out more on msnTarGet.com!

Rail Passengers Can Soon Choose Their Own Berths In Trains; And It Would Be Free!

Rail Passengers Can Soon Choose Their Own Berths In Trains; And It Would Be Free!
Rail Passengers Can Soon Choose Their Own Berths In Trains; And It Would Be Free!

Indian Rail Will Allow Passengers To Choose Berths

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has asked Railway officials to enable a system, wherein any rail passenger can view vacant seats, and then choose the one which he or she desires.

This would be based on the airlines model.

An unnamed Rail official said, “Just like airlines, Railways is planning to enable passengers to see the status of seats by making the reservation charts public.”

As per reports coming in, the vacant berths would be colored differently so that the passenger can make an informed decision.

How Will It Work?

This is a possible process:
  • Passenger logs into IRCTC website/app to book a ticket.
  • While completing the transaction, a new window will pop-up wherein the passenger can view all vacant seats in a train, based on coaches. Hence, vacant seats in coach B1, coach B2 and so on.
  • Depending on the preferences, the passenger can book a berth, and confirm it.

Note here, that lower berths would be still reserved for senior citizens and women, under this new system.

Another option can be, that once the ticket has been booked, the passenger can use the PNR number to select the best berth, by opening a dedicated portal meant for this facility. This is again, based on airlines’ current system.

Selection Shall Be Free

Unlike airlines, which charge extra for selecting the best seats, this facility to choose berth in trains shall be free as of now MsnTarGet.com.

Based on the age and sex of the passenger, the available seats would be displayed, under different colors. However in order to implement this, Railways will need to display the reservation status of the entire train, which may take up time.

Earlier, Indian Railways had announced that ticket checkers would be enabled with hand-held devices to give real-time information about vacant berths to passengers.

We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

An old RBI rule will come into force after January 1st, 2019 and you should be prepared. A  very big change is about to hit the Indian banking sector, as a particular type of cheques faces permanent ban after January 1st, 2019. But no need to panic – We will tell you exactly what you should do now.

Indian Rupee is now slowly but gradually emerging as a strong alternative to the Dollar. The Indian Rupees has been under pressure since some time now, as the value of the dollar is increasing, so are import costs and cost of raw petroleum. From the low of Rs 63.27 in July, USD to INR conversion touched Rs 74.59 in October, and entire India was worried.

Your Cheques Can Be Permanently Banned After January 1, 2019: This Is What You Should Do

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Non-CTS Cheques Will Be Banned

December 31st is the last day of using Non-CTS cheques for account holders of all banks including SBI (State Bank of India), HDFC, Punjab National Bank, ICICI, Bank of Baroda and others. Non-CTS cheques have been banned by RBI starting January 1, while these cheques will be invalid for customers of SBI from December 12.

RBI had issued a notice about three months ago, stating that Non-CTS cheques will be regarded as invalid starting January 1. Following this, HDFC had sent out a circular to notice its customers regarding discontinuation of separate sessions for clearance of non-CTS cheques. Similarly, the Punjab National Bank informed their customers to replace their non-CTS compliant cheques.

What is CTS?

CTS is the abbreviation of Cheque Truncated System, which in simple terms means stopping the physical transport of cheques midway. Instead, an electronic image is generated for transmission of the amount, thus truncating the journey of the cheque by the Clearing House.

Why are Non-CTS cheques banned?

RBI’s procedural guidelines stated that cheque clearing systems involved physical movement of the cheque from one bank to another thus elongating the overall process of encashing the cheques at each stage of the clearing cycle. Also, as per a restrictive clause in the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, the cheques were required to be presented at the drawee branch for clearing.

The RBI says, “With suitable amendments to The Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act, 1881, The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and The Bankers’ Book Evidence (BBE) Act, 1891, the legal framework was put in place for the introduction of cheque truncation and e-cheques in India.”

What steps are to be taken now?

SBI customers should encash any Non-CTS cheques before December 12, customers of other banks can encash before December 31.
Every account holder must deposit their non-CTS cheques and cheque books in their respective branch and get new cheque leaves or books as per the new CTS 2010 standard. Remember, the new cheque books are free of cost.
In the years to come, keeping in mind the cost overheads, banks will probably ban the usage of cheques altogether. It looks like banks have taken a progressive step forward with the goal of digital, cashless India in mind.

All Cheques Will Be Banned In India?

Last year around the same time, we had reported a possibility: Cheques can be altogether banned in India, under Digital India push.
However, cheques are still pretty much active in India, and an important financial tool as well.

Dollar Discarded: Now Shop In Dubai Using Indian Rupees; Iran Will Sell Oil Using Rupee Payment

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The value of the dollar has now come down, but still, it is hovering around the Rs 70-Rs72 mark, which is indeed alarming. So, what is the solution then?

Omitting dollar in business transactions, and relying on INR does seem to be a feasible solution. And two very important updates have come in regarding this.

Welcome to the new age of a strong Rupees!

Shop in Dubai Using INR

This week, UAE and India signed a very crucial currency swap agreement, amounting to Dh2 billion or 35 billion Indian rupees, which will not only help these two countries to build their ties, but also make Rupees stronger.

UAE’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with Sushma Swaraj, India’s Minister of External Affairs in Abu Dhabi and announced this mega cooperation.

As part of this currency exchange program, Indians can now shop in Dubai using INR: Hence, there is no need to convert currency into dollars or dirham to do shopping in Dubai anymore.

Also Read: Fly To Dubai From Mumbai Underwater – High-Speed Rail Planned To Exchange Water, Oil

Indian Embassy in Dubai said, “The bilateral currency swap agreement between India and UAE is expected to reduce the dependency on hard currencies like US dollar,”

This move will make trading between UAE and India more seamless, easy, and also remove the high transaction cost pertaining to USD conversion, and avoid the volatility of the forex market.

India and UAE’s bilateral ties stand at $54 billion, and non-oil trade is $34 billion. While Indians pumped in $6.6 billion into UAE as FDI last year, UAE’s FDI into India was $5.8 billion.

We can expect the trade ties between India and UAE to grow further, after this currency exchange agreement.

Iran Will Accept INR For Oil Payments

Meanwhile, within 24 hours after the currency swap between UAE and India was announced, India has scored another major win for INR in the Middle East.

India and Iran have now signed a pact, based on which, Iran will accept payments for oil purchased by India in INR.

This is a major news, because till now, India paid to Iran using euros, and a strong dollar against Rupees meant huge overheads.

Now on, India can pay for the oil directly into the UCO Bank account of the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC). 
India is right now Iran’s 2nd largest purchaser of crude oil after China and purchases 1.25 million tonne or 15 million tonne in a year (300,000 barrels a day).

Iran is World’s 3rd largest supplier of crude oil after Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and India is the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, as it meets 80% of its oil needs via imports.

We are consulting with financial experts, and trying to understand whether this trade of oil via INR will lead to cheaper oil prices in India or not.

We will keep you updated. Do you think that cheques are losing its relevance in this age of mobile wallets and UPI? Do share your opinions by commenting right here!

Railways have always been Indians’ preferred mode of transport and the credit goes to Indian Railways. Indian Railways has always strived to deliver the best possible service to its loyal customers.

Be it reducing the ticket prices or spending a 600 crore budget on improving rail coaches or announcing interesting offers to passengers who book their tickets online, Indian Railways is constantly bringing about a change for the betterment of trains and comfort of passengers. So what is new?

Indian Railway Expands Women’s Quota In AC Trains; Will Use Solar Energy To Save Money

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More Reserved Seats for Women

Indian Railways has always been gender sensitive and this goes on to prove it. As per the new notice issued, there are six sleeper class berths for female passengers, irrespective of age, group or individual travel. A circular issued on November 30 specified that the new quota is in addition to the previous quota of four lower berths set aside per coach for senior citizens, pregnant women and women above 45 years of age.

Trains That Will Offer This Benefit

Passengers who will travel 3AC class of all Rajdhani, Duranto and other fully air-conditioned trains except the Garib Rath Express will be able to avail this facility.

Indian Railways Embrace Solar Power To Save Money

Maintaining an innovative approach, Indian Railways plans to set up solar power plants of 30 gigawatts (GW) capacity to optimize the energy utilized by railways.

Reports state that under the first phase, 10 GW energy is planned to be generated that will help the railways lower their energy bill by Rs 30,000 crore each year.

“It has been decided that there is a potential to set up 30 GW solar power [plants] in which we will be having solar panels along the tracks and unutilized land. In the first phase, we will be going for only 10 GW and the formalities for the same are being worked out. Solar Energy Corporation of India (SEC) will most likely be tasked to issue the tender.”

51,000 hectares of vacant land is available as of now but the project will be carried out only on the patches suitable for it.

Presently, Indian Railways is awaiting the No Objection Certificate from various states out of which some states have already granted them the NOC.

While Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan have given their NOCs, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala have refused to do the same.

As the Indian Railways strives for the comfort of passengers and takes a huge step towards an improved economy through this solar power plant initiative, we can rest assured that a better tomorrow is on the horizon.

India’s heaviest satellite till date: GSAT-11 has been successfully launched by ISRO at Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana at 2.07 a.m. IST.

This launch of 5,854-kg satellite from a remote European spaceport in faraway South America is a new chapter for communication and Internet industry in India.

Because very soon, entire India will be able to get blazing fast Internet speed upto 100 Gbps.

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GSAT-11: India’s Heaviest Satellite Till Date

Arianespace’s Ariane-5 rocket successfully lifted India’s heaviest satellite: GSAT-11, along with South Korean geo satellite Geo-Kompsat-2A, and scripted a new chapter for all Indians.

29 minutes after the launch, the satellite GSAT-11 separated from the rocket, and was successfully placed in the orbit.

To avoid a collision, the Korean satellite was released after a gap of 4 minutes.

ISRO Tweeted the launch:

100 Gbps Internet Coming Soon: But How?

ISRO had planned to launch total of 4 satellites, which are mainly communications satellite, based on Ka, Ku bands.

These satellites are: GSAT-19, GSTA-20, GSAT-11 and GSAT-29.

Out of them, GSAT-19 was launched earlier this year; GSAT-11 was launched today; GSAT-29 was launched last month, and now, GSAT-20 is the only remaining satellite in this series.

Once these 4 satellites are in the orbit, they can give a combined throughput of 100 Gbps to entire India; and rural areas, interiors will get more coverage and better speeds.

Isro chairman Sivan said, “Six days after the successful launch (on November 29) of India’s first hyperpectral imaging satellite, today’s launch of the country’s heaviest satellite Gsat-11 is a major milestone for the country. This satellite has been designed in most innovative ways by Isro centres and the credit for its success goes to Team Isro.”

Interesting Features About GSAT-11 Satellite

Weighing 5,854-kg, GSAT-11 is India’s heaviest satellite till date. Before this, GSAT-17, weighing 3,477 kg was the heaviest, followed by GSAT-29 with 3,423 kgs.GSAT-11 is also India’s most powerful communication transponder, as it is powered with 40 more transponders, 32 in the Ku band and eight in the Ka band.

Now, internet services in remote parts of North East, and Jammu & Kashmir will improve, as along with GSAT-11, GSAT-29 will provide a comprehensive coverage.

ISRO Chairman said, “It will meet most of the requirements of providing broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible village panchayats under BharatNet which is part of the Digital India initiative.”

Indeed a proud moment for entire India. We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

Make In India, engine-less train: Train18 has successfully conducted its test run, and breached 180 km/hour speed.

This way, it has become India’s fastest train now, beating Gatimaan Express, which pulled off 160 km/hr speed.

How fast can Train18 go? Where will it make its debut, and when? Keep reading to find out more!
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Train18 Test Run Is Successful

Costing Rs 100 crore, Train18 is India’s first engine-less train, fully manufactured in India. As we reported earlier, its test runs were planned since last one month, and now, exciting details are coming in.

During its recent test run between Kota Junction and Kurlasi station, Train18 crossed the crucial 180 km/hr mark, and stunned everyone.

As per experts, the train can easily cruise past 200 km/hr speed as well, considering it gets favorable tracks.

Watch Water Bottle Test of Train 18

Railway Minister Piyush Goel shared the water bottle test of Train18 during the same test run at Kota-Sawai Madhopur section.

Checkout the video:


It was indeed an exciting experience, as Train18 navigated curves and bends during the 113 km stretch from Kota to Kurlasi – three major tests at one degree curve at 150 kmph, and two degree curve at 140 and 150 kmph were successful.

During its earlier test run at Kota, Train18 had crossed 130 km/hr speed, and then during its test run at Moradabad, this train breached 160 km/hr speed.

As per the initial plans, Train18 will replace Shatabdi Express, in major routes.

Debut Of Train18?

Some senior Railways officials have indicated that Train18 may make its debut on the crucial Delhi-Varanasi route, on December 25th, which is Christmas as well as late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary.

The Railway official stated, “Christmas Day also happens to be the birthday of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and it would be a tribute to the great statesman of the country if we manage to launch the next-generation train on that day,”

As per the tentative plan, Train18 will leave Delhi at 6 AM, and reach Varanasi at 2 PM; then the return journey will start at 2.30 PM, and reach Delhi by 10.30 PM.

Currently, it takes more than 15 hours to reach Varanasi from Delhi via any express train.

We will keep you updated as more details come in.

Quora, the strongly knit community of experts and intellectuals have been hacked. More than 100 million users’ data have been breached, and exposed.

Quora has admitted this massive security failure, and have suggested what should you do now, if you are a Quora user.
Quora Hacked, 100 Million Users’ Data Exposed – This Is What You Should Do Now
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Quora Hacked: The Numbers

9 year old Quora is considered World’s 2nd best portal for finding real time answers to any query or subject – second only to Wikipedia in terms of scale and volume.

More than 300 million or 30 crore users visit Quora every month, asking questions and answering questions.

However, on November 30th, ‘a malicious third party’ gained illegal access to one of the servers maintained by Quora, and stole huge amounts of data.

This has been confirmed by Adam D’Angelo, who is the CEO of Quora.

He said, “We’re very sorry for any concern or inconvenience this may cause.”

Approximately 100 million users’ data was compromised in this data breach, which is a first for Quora.

Which Data Was Stolen?

As per Quora’s internal investigations, the following information and data may have been stolen:

Encrypted passwords, account information (name, email id), data imported from linked networks like Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook
Public information: Questions posted, answers given, comments, upvotes
Non-Public information: Direct messages, downvotes, answer requests etc.

What Next?

The users who have been impacted in this data breach are being gradually communicated by the Quora team regarding this data breach, and being informed about this hack.

Besides, Quora team is proactively resetting their passwords as well, and once these users login to Quora, they will be prompted to change the password.

And finally, Quora is re-evaluating their security measures, and ensuring that such data breach doesn’t happen again. A leading digital forensics and security firm has been hired by Quora to find out the culprits. Hence, it is believed that legal action shall be taken against them.

What Should You Do Now?

First and foremost, if you are a Quora user, then changing password right this moment makes sense.

Besides, in case you have used the same password of Quora on other logins, and portals, then we will suggest that you change those passwords as well.

Hathway has introduced a new Set-Top Box (STB) based on Android TV platform in India at a price of Rs 2,999. The all-new STB from Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited comes pre-installed with Google Play Store which means that you can install various content apps such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video to watch the content. For launching this Android TV-based STB, Hathway has directly teamed up with the search giant Google itself. Notably, this STB from Hathway comes after the interesting Hathway Ultra Smart Hub, which was a hybrid cable box. Coming to the new launch, Hathway revealed the price of the product, but it did not reveal in which markets it’s going to be made available. The product is aptly named as Hathway Playbox.

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Hathway Playbox to Come With Netflix and YouTube

The Hathway Playbox will avail Netflix, YouTube and Google Play services for the users and will give direct access for the same on the Playbox remote itself. Hathway has also claimed that subscribers will be able to enjoy a wide range of India-specific and international content with a single click. Further, the FTTH and cable provider company has also said that in the coming days it would roll out a consumer promotion campaign and will bring on board many OTT apps which would be either India specific or global OTT apps.

Hathway Playbox Allows Users to Stream Android Games

The new Hathway Playbox will also cater to gamers as well. With the Hathway Playbox, players will be able to stream Android games on their TV screens, and they will also have the option of adding other participants to the gameplay. The set top box will also allow the users to stream all the Google Play content onto the bigger screen easily.
Rajan Gupta, Managing Director of Hathway, said about this new launch, “One of the strengths of Hathway Play box is our cooperation with some of the most popular play-services. In addition to Google Play and YouTube, we are delighted that Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service will be available in Hathway Play Box at launch and that our customers can easily access their content via the button on the remote control.”
Also, Head of Android, Chrome & Play Business Development, Pranab Mookken talked about this new product, “We are pleased to be working with Hathway and look forward to leveraging their extensive broadband and cable network to enable more exciting and useful Android TV experiences for consumers.”

Ultra Smart Hub: Pairing Play Services and Liner TV

Hathway has also launched the first cable hybrid box in India by the name of Hathway Ultra Smart Hub. This cable hybrid box will pair the linear TV with Play Services in HDR quality. The subscribers will be able to enjoy the Ultra Smart Hub with an easy to use interface with Play Services. Further, the users can also customise their Smart Hub using the apps which they download from the Play store.

Hathway Playbox: Pricing and Availability

Hathway also announced the price of its first-ever STB as Rs 2,999. The STB will be available for purchase in the next couple of weeks, as mentioned by the company.

Rumor is, Google Hangouts, the instant messaging app which replaced Google Chat and Google+ messenger is now set to make its exit from the vast world of chatting platforms. Here’s how the scene unfolded:
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A Brief History

It was 2005 when Google started the messaging app Google Chat or Google Talk which was soon followed by Google+ messenger. Google chat platform was one of the first widely appreciated instant messaging apps and it helped put away the troubles of SMSing. Soon enough, other prominent apps like Facebook and Whatsapp gained more popularity, and Google chat platforms took a backseat. Hangouts, a mobile app similar to the aforementioned apps, was introduced in 2013 replacing all the other chat platforms.

Hangouts Classic to shut down in 2020?

According to a report published by 9to5Google, the Hangouts app, which was already losing popularity, will shut down sometime in 2020. Signs that the journey of Hangouts has come to an end showed when Google stopped updating the app from about a year ago.

The article quotes, ‘According to a source familiar with the product’s internal roadmap, Google Hangouts for consumers will be shutting down sometime in 2020. That’s not surprising at all since Google essentially ceased development on the app more than a year ago.’

On the other hand, Scott Johnson, Director of Product Management at Google, slammed the news saying that the faithful fans of Hangouts will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat (team communication app) and Hangouts meet (video meetings platform). He further went on to explain in his tweet that Hangouts Classic, that is the current Hangouts app, is being shut down but users will be ‘migrated’ to Chat and Meet.

Scott tweeted:

Future of Hangouts

Does this mean Hangouts will not be available for us to use after 2020? Absolutely not. Although Google has stopped updating the app, Hangouts users will soon be able to access their favorite app as it will be integrated into Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. As of now, these two apps are being used exclusively by G Suite Customers, but Google intends to shut down Hangouts classic only after the successful migration of customers to Hangouts Chat and Meet.

How will we be affected?

Hangouts is truly a great app for people without cell phones and sim cards. But presently, there is hardly anyone without cell phones and sim cards, therefore, making the app quite unnecessary. Also, the loyal users of Hangouts will still be able to use the app, but the transition date is not yet confirmed.

For all those living under a rock, drones are aerial vehicles that do not require a pilot. The news is that drones are now legal in India from December 1. While initially used in wars, they have a newfound use in the delivery service sector and taxis as well. India becomes one of the few countries in the world, which has its own drone policy.

Let’s see how this will actually affect us:

Indians Can Legally Fly Drones Now – What Are The Possibilities?

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Deliveries made easier!

How long does it take for something you ordered to reach you? Online shopping portals promise us a 3 to 4 day delivery. But drones can actually deliver your package to you in just a few hours! Amazon is working on its drone delivery techniques and can assure a delivery within 3 to 4 hours only instead of days.

What can a drone deliver?

A drone can carry an amount of less than 250 grams up to a whopping 150 kilograms as well! From a shirt you want to wear to that big event to small upright piano that you’ve always wanted, a drone has got it all covered. Drones will also be used for delivering food. You don’t have to worry if a pizza you ordered will be cold by the time it reaches your doorstep. Another advantage that can be highlighted is that there’s not much traffic in the air and thus, your food will definitely reach you steaming and delicious!

Drones replace taxis!

Soon enough, Ola and Uber will be launching their own drone taxis! Science, technology and of course our government has now made it possible for a person to travel short distances through a drone. What with the traffic making it tedious for us to go even the shortest distances without stopping for a red light, this is indeed a relief!

Who can drive a drone?

Driving a drone is not as difficult as it seems. Anyone who is a class 10th pass can drive a drone given that he is a licensed driver. Just like cars and bikes require a licensed driver, drones do too.

It does come with a few limitations: A drone cannot be flown close to the airports, military and government building and campsites. But keeping a glass half full approach, we can definitely say that drones are surely coming to our rescue!



What else can we do with drones? Share your ideas and opinions right here!

H-1B Visa Made Easier For US Degree Holders; Trump’s New Proposal Makes It Hard For India
Under the proposed changes, US Degree holders will get 16% more chance in getting H-1B visa.
President Trump has made few important proposals to the existing process of H-1B visa allocation in the US. Under the new proposals, a foreigner with US Degree will have more chance to get an H-1B visa, which means that US educational system can also get a boost now as more and more foreigners will now opt for a US degree.

At the same time, this can be a bad decision for Indian IT firms, and candidates with higher degrees and higher income will be selected first. No doubt this will benefit tech firms in the US, but Indian IT firms can suffer.

US Degree Will Have More Importance 

Under the current ‘lottery’ system for granting H-1B visa, a cap of 65,000 visas exist in a year. However, a smaller cap of 20,000 H-1B visas exists for those who have a US degree.

Currently, US degree holders are exempted from the cap of 65,000 visas, and thus, chances are less for them, because they are fighting the 20,000 cap.

But from now on, the process will be reversed. 

Now, both US and non-US degree holders will compete in the same 65,000 visa cap, and if the US degree holder misses out, he/she may try again for the 20,000 H-1B visa cap.

This means, that a foreigner with a US degree will now have 16% more chance to get an H-1B visa, compared to the current process.

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, “This is likely to increase the number of foreign workers with a master’s or higher degree from a US institution of higher education to be selected for an H-1B cap number. As such the proposed rule will introduce a more meritorious selection of beneficiaries,”

The proposals have been sent to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which authorizes H-1B visa allocation process.

H-1B visas new rules (Easier For US Degree Holders) All that has changed, how it may impact Indian IT companies (Trump’s Proposal Hard For India)

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H-1B visas new rules: All that has changed, not changed and how it may impact Indian IT companies

The US government has proposed major changes to the H-1B application process. These rules are open for comments starting today, December 3. Here's all that the new US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed rules will change, not change as well as their impact on Indian IT companies.

​1. Whats's new: Sponsoring employers to register online prior to submission of H-1B applications

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a notice of proposed rule making that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period. However, this online registration requirement may be deferred if it cannot be.

​2. What's new: Order of the regular lottery and Master's cap lottery swapped

The H1-B visa has a numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Under the proposed rule, the USCIS plans to reverse the order by which it selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption. This is likely to increase the number of foreign workers with a master’s or higher degree from a US institution of higher education to be selected for an H-1B cap number. Currently, in years when the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption are both reached within the first five days that H-1B cap petitions may be filed, the advanced degree exemption is selected prior to the H-1B cap. 

3. What's new: Full H-1B applications to be filed only if selected in lottery.

4. What's new: Increase chances of those with Master's degree to get H-1B visa

This proposed change would increase the chances that beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a US institution of higher education would be selected under the H-1B cap and that H-1B visas would be awarded to the most-skilled and highest-paid beneficiaries. The proposed process is expected to result in an estimated increase of up to 16% (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a US institution of higher education.

5. What remains same: The annual quota for initial H-1B visa allotments remain unchanged at 85,000.

6. Impact: Electronic registration to reduce overall costs for petitioners

USCIS expects that shifting to electronic registration would reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process for USCIS. The proposed rule would help alleviate massive administrative burdens on USCIS since the agency would no longer need to physically receive and handle hundreds of thousands of H-1B petitions and supporting documentation before conducting the cap selection process.

7. ​Impact: reduce wait times for cap selection

This would help reduce wait times for cap selection notifications. The proposed rule also limits the filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions to the beneficiary named on the original selected registration, which would protect the integrity of this registration system.

8. Impact: Make it tougher for mid-sized IT companies to get H-1B visas

The reversal in lottery order is likely to impact mid-sized Indian IT companies. As most of its employees do not have advanced degrees from the US.

9. ​Impact: Nasscom raises concerns over US govt latest proposal on H1-B visas

"There is not much time between now and when the next H-1B lottery season opens in April 2019. Companies have already begun assessing their needs and planning their submissions for next year, so we are concerned about the uncertainties that could arise as the government seeks to implement another major change in the H-1B process during that timeframe," Nasscom said in a statement.

10. ​Impact: This action could put US jobs at risk

The Nasscom statemwnt added, "To the extent US policy makes it more difficult and costlier for global IT service companies to provide their expertise in the US, it will weaken the US companies that depend on them to help fill their skills gaps. Contrary to what is intended, this action could put US jobs at risk and create pressure to send more IT work abroad, rather than performing it in the US." 

11. Impact: New waiting list likely to be created

USCIS may create a waiting list so that additional cases could be filed if the quota is not reached, say due to petition rejections or withdrawals.

USCIS has asked the public to comment on these proposals starting from December 3rd and will be allocated a month for the same. If approved, these changes get will come into effect for 2020, whose lottery prices will start from April 2019.

US Will Get More Leeway In Rejecting Candidates?

Besides this major change in the lottery process, US President Trump has also suggested that candidates applying for H-1B visa should now apply electronically, in advance. As per analysts, this move will help USCIS to screen candidates based on their educational degrees, qualifications, salaries etc, and make the rejection process easier.

This electronic process will no doubt make the process of applying H-1B easier as now, anyone can apply via a portal (if approved). But this will give more leeway and more power to the USCIS in deciding who will work in the US. 

David H Nachman, managing attorney at NPZ Law Group said, “The implementation of the pre-registration program along with the new information requested in Form ETA 9035 [Labour Certification form], which came into effect from November 19, has the potential for abuse because the ‘fair and random H-1B lottery’ may be relegated to a closely guided and criteria-driven process,” 

Rejection of H-1B visa applications has already increased by 42%, and once these two rules come into force, it is expected that the rejections will only increase, especially for non-US degree holders, applying for a work visa in the US.

We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

There’s no denying that the Office suite of apps is Microsoft’s most important product, even more critical for the success of the company than Windows. That’s because many people already use alternatives to Windows, including Mac and Chrome OS. Even iOS and Android count as Windows 10 alternatives.

Microsoft Office apps are getting new icons

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But regardless of your operating system preferences, Microsoft Office is still the best productivity suite out there. And Office works across platforms, as it’s available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Microsoft is always looking to improve the Office apps, even if it means just minor visual alterations. To that end, for the first time in five years, the Office icons are changing, and we already have a preview of what they’ll look like.

The Office apps icons are easily recognizable across platforms, especially if you’ve been a long-time user. The last time Microsoft updated them was five years ago, but a refresh is due. As you can see in the following presentation video, Microsoft is going for simplicity with its new icon designs, as well as a focus on collaboration:

The icons still maintain their personality, and you’ll quickly be able to recognize Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps in any list of computer or mobile applications. The letters that Microsoft uses for its Office apps are still there, but the background has been changed to something simpler — geometric shapes associated with the apps.
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Microsoft’s goal here is to focus on the content rather than a specific format and highlight the collaborative nature of Office apps. That’s why the Word app loses the document outline in favor of shapes that suggest lines of text. Similar changes affect the Excel and PowerPoint icons.

“Our design solution was to de-couple the letter and the symbol from the icons, essentially creating two panels (one for the letter and one for the symbol) that we can pair or separate,” Microsoft’s Jon Friedman wrote on Medium. “This allows us to maintain familiarity while still emphasizing simplicity when inside the app.”
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Icon design updates are also coming to other apps, including OneDrive, Outlook Mobile, and Skype. The new icons will be rolled out to users in the coming months, starting with mobile and web apps.

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Satish Kumar

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