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Minister flies Air India Express to gauge plight of passengers
Report dated 18/11/2012 @ 10:01 PM
Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugopal joined a queue of passengers unannounced, and waited his turn to board the Air India Express flight to Dubai. Airline and airport staff in Kochi were mortified and offered to check him through the VIP entrance but he refused.
Once on board the minister interacted with co-passengers who told of their experiences due to cancelled flights, about 200 of which have been cancelled by the state carrier during the past four months.
As a consequence, Gulf NRIs have launched campaigns against Air India's attitude regarding its operations to and from the region.
The minister said killing off the public sector airline would not be an ideal solution and there will be a thorough investigation of the airline's various sections within a few months, as it is their responsibility to strengthen Air India and solve the problems.
Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray has died
Report dated 18/11/2012 @ 9:58 PM
Bal Thackeray who catapulted the Shiv Sena to power in Maharashtra in the 1990s has died at age 86, at his Mumbai home in suburban Bandra, after being critically ill for some days.
Dr Jalil Parkar who treated Thackeray said he suffered cardiac arrest and could not be revived.
Thackeray who started out as a cartoonist alongside R K Laxman in the 1950s founded the Shiv Sena in 1966 on the plank of job security for the sons of Maharashtra, which translated into attacks on South Indians, whom he blamed for taking away job opportunities from the locals. Later his politics also centred around the Hindu identity and anti-Congressism. He initially concentrated on the metropolis but later spread his politics throughout the state and joined up with the BJP to remain its longest ally, sharing the saffron agenda.
Thackeray later relegated himself to the background and anointed son Uddhav as his successor.
Thackeray had been suffering with respiratory problems and pancreatic disease. He is survived by sons Jaidev and Uddhav. His nephew Raj split from the family and founded his own Maharashtra Navnirman Sena some six years ago after a succession row.
Security in Mumbai has been stepped up in the wake of Thackeray's death.
India is world's second in keeping tabs on netizens !
Report dated 16/11/2012 @ 10:36 PM
According to Google data, India ranks second to the US globally, in keeping tabs on its netizens. A transparency report by Google lists requests it received from governments across the world to access information on users of its services.
The report said India made 2319 requests involving 3467 users in 2012, compared with the US's 7969 requests and 1566 requests from Brazil.
The Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore made the observation that though India is a large country with a significant number of internet users, this data is an indicator of growing surveillance as India lacks a general privacy law that helps set guidelines for such user requests, despite privacy being a constitutional right.
India also sends requests to take down content that it finds defamatory and against national security.
30 million Indian kids own personal cell phones
Report dated 13/11/2012 @ 3:17 PM
According to a recent research report conducted by Ericsson, of the 69 million children under age 18, residing in urban cities, 30 million have a personal handset and 11 million share it with one of their family members, while 28 million have no access. The research has branded them Generation Z, born between 1994 and 2004.
The research says the time spent by Generation Z on mobile phones rivals that spent watching television and is expected to surpass it in the near future. In cities such as Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, Gen Z children access the internet via their phones or smartphones to update status on Facebook, tweet and stream videos.
The research findings suggest the Gen Z market segment is brand loyal, with specific requirements like service, support and internet speeds. Communication patterns of this segment are expected to be a major deciding factor in the future offerings of telecom service providers and handset manufacturers.
Smart phones used to cheat in MD / MS examinations
Report dated 13/11/2012 @ 3:12 PM
A gang of 15, led by P Guirivi Reddy, used the latest technology to leak the MD/MS entrance examination question papers from the PGIMER, Chandigarh.
Reddy and his gang used mobile apps to deliver pictures of the question papers in hi-res to subject experts in Patna and Hyderabad, who solved the questions then mailed the answers to touts in a hotel in Chandigarh, who in turn dictated the answers to beneficiaries in the exam halls.
Seven women were arrested at the examination halls who were carrying smart phones with the latest data transfer applications, had set their phones on camera stand-by mode and opened the pictures of the question paper when they got it. Within seconds the pictures were automatically transferred to a folder that could be accessed with a specific user name and password. The beneficiaries leave their cell phones blue tooth option 'on' and listen to the answers through micro ear-phones.
A CBI official said they are trying to locate the internet protocol addresses of the laptops that would help them ascertain the exact location of the accused.