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#* Govt likely to announce One Rank One Pension today
The Narendra Modi government on Saturday will announce its decision to implement the one rank, one pension scheme (OROP) for former servicemen but the veterans have said they cannot trust its stance and will not accept a unilateral decision.
Sources told Hindustan Times that Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah will brief party spokespersons about OROP at 3pm and defence minister Manohar Parikkar will announce the scheme during a press conference.
The Centre is desperate to end the deadlock that has seen ex-servicemen stay away from government functions and some sitting on a hunger strike as the dates for the all-important Bihar assembly elections is likely to be announced soon.
The OROP, expected to benefit three million pensioners, will guarantee equal pension to military personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of the date of retirement.
The government is expected to announce its decision to remove disparities in pensions of veterans by effecting a revision every five years. But the veterans, who have been holding protests across the country for 82 days now, want the pension to be reworked every two years.
After protracted negotiations with ex-servicemen failed to iron out differences, government sources on Friday said necessary orders would be issued soon for the implementation of the one rank, one pension scheme from July 1, 2014. The veterans want April 1, 2014, as the kick-off date.
New pensions would be fixed with 2013 as the base year and "discrepancy between the present and previous pensioners" settled every five years, sources said.
The plan, however, has angered the veterans who accused the government of turning the "accepted definition of OROP" on its head.
"We still can't trust the government. If our concerns are not met then our dharna will continue," former servicemen Uday Singh told ANI.
Col Rajeev (retd) added, "If any decision is taken without taking us into confidence, then it will not be accepted."
On Friday, Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), who heads the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, had said the government would be implementing one rank, five pensions and threatened to intensify the stir.
"We reject this unilateral attempt to implement OROP. The move smacks of arrogance. We will not settle for anything less than pension revision every two years," said Maj Singh.
Sources said the government would constitute a single-member judicial committee to look into various aspects of OROP including inter-services matters. It will submit its report in six months.
The government's calculations show that the annual payout towards implementing OROP would be in the range of Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore, with the figures spiralling upwards in the coming years. Also, sources said, arrears would amount to anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore.
While widows will get arrears in lump-sum, others will be paid in four half-yearly installments. Army personnel who have taken voluntary retirement will not be covered under OROP.
#* Forensic test proves recovered skull was of Sheena Bora
Mumbai police have received the report of the skull-photo or craniofacial superimposition test — a forensic anthropology test — which confirmed that the skull recovered from the outskirts of Gagode Budruk village in Raigad district was that of Sheena Bora.
The result came on Friday, a day before Indrani Mukerjea, alleged to be the main conspirator to have killed her daughter Sheena, along with her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyamwar Rai, would be produced before an additional chief metropolitan magistrate court.
While it remains unclear if police will seek an extension of custody, sources said that Khar police intends to finish the investigation within a period of 30 days, and file a charge sheet within the stipulated period of 90 days.A positive craniofacial superimposition test is a crucial piece of evidence and, if the DNA test turns out to be positive as well, it will help build a watertight case against the accused, said police sources. The skull-photo test is a forensic procedure where photographs or video shoots of a person are compared with the recovered skull.
Officials had recovered skull, bones and teeth of what was alleged to be Sheena’s remains.
Indrani’s culpability in the murder, sources said, was further established after a fake Hotmail account in Sheena’s name was found during investigations. The account was created by the same employee of Indrani who had forged Sheena’s signature, whose statement has been recorded.
Indrani used the fake account to impersonate Sheena, and to remain in touch with Peter Mukerjea, Mikhail and Vidhie for almost two years from 2012 to 2014, said police sources.
#* European migrant crisis: Austria and Germany offer to accept refugees from Hungary
Migrants gesture on a bus bound for Austria and Germany, next to the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary, September 5, 2015. Hungary’s government said it would deliver around 100 buses to pick up migrants in Budapest and another 1,200 striding down the main highway to Vienna. Long lines of buses packed with migrants left Budapest bound for Austria on Saturday as Hungary gave in to determined crowds, including many Syrian refugees, who had set out on foot for western Europe in defiance of a right-wing government vowing to stem their tide. (Source: Reuters) After misery, delivery. Hundreds of migrants, exhausted after breaking away from police and marching for hours toward Western Europe, boarded buses provided by Hungary’s government as Austria in the early-morning hours said it and Germany would let them in. Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann announced the decision early Saturday after speaking with Angela Merkel, his German counterpart — not long after Hungary’s surprise nighttime move to provide buses for the weary travelers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
#* Playlist: 10 best songs by late music composer Aadesh Shrivastava
Music director Aadesh Shrivastava died early on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. The composer-singer was hospitalized for over 40 days after a third relapse of blood cancer and is survived by wife and singer Vijeta Pandit and their two sons.
Aadesh began his journey in the tinsel town with Saif Ali’s Haatho Mein Aa Gaya Jo Kal back in 1994. He leaves behind a legacy of unforgettable music, with films like Chalte Chalte, Baabul, Baghban, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and chart busters like Kya ada kya jalwe tere Paro, Haathon mein aa gaya jo kal, Sona sona, Shava shava, Gustakhiyaan, Gur nalon ishq mitha, Mora Piya among others, to his credit.
His last film was John Abraham, Anil Kapoor, Shruti Haasan, Nana Patekar-starrer Welcome Back that hit theatres on Friday.
Read: Thank you for the melodies, Aadesh Shrivastava
As we remember him and his music, here’s a small list of some of the most popular songs by the composer.
#* Several Users Unable to Send and Receive MMS Since Hangouts 4.0 Update
Google Hangouts received a fairly large update last month that brought the company's own Material Design philosophy to the app. Hangouts 4.0 for Android was also touted to make the messaging app "sleeker and simpler to use".
Now, several users are reporting an issue in sending and receiving MMS messages on the Hangouts app since updating to version 4.0. The Hangouts Help Forum now includes over 300 users complaining about the same issue. Google has acknowledged the issue and is now investigating it.
The forum includes several similar complaints about Hangouts app. The first user who reported the issue, Ashley Pelz, on August 11 said, "My hangouts just upgraded today and ever since I have not been able to send any MMS messages. I've tried photos and groups texts, neither work. Please help!"
Google's community manager, Chris replied saying, "Thanks for bringing this to our attention and especially for providing bug reports to help with troubleshooting--we appreciate it! I've relayed the issue to the team and they're currently investigating."
Some users on the forum have also suggested some workarounds to resolve the issue including an option to downgrade to app version 3.3 after which the Hangouts app allows to send and receive MMS. We can expect Google to roll out an update soon to fix the MMS issue on the Hangouts app.
To recall, the Hangouts 4.0 app update, apart from adding Material design, brought new floating Compose button at bottom right corner of the screen. Some of the other changes included streamlined contacts page meant to allow users to find contacts faster. On Hangout 4.0, sharing emojis, gif images, and user location was also made easier. One of the biggest highlights touted by Google was that the new version consumed less battery than before.
#* Argentina welcomes Syrian refugees, eases entrance through program begun last year
Argentina’s cabinet chief said on Friday that the South American nation is willing to welcome more Syrian refugees fleeing their country’s civil war. Anibal Fernandez said that the government eased the entrance of Syrians through a program begun last year, but he didn’t specify how many of the refugees had arrived so far. He said the Syrians will be welcomed through the country’s tradition of helping out during humanitarian crises.
“When you do something like this, it’s a very honest act that springs from affection and solidarity,” Fernandez said. He said he had been troubled this week by the image of a dead 3-year-old Syrian boy on a Turkish beach. The photograph has drawn the world’s attention to a wave of migration fueled by war and deprivation. Since civil war broke out in their country in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have sought refuge abroad, the largest number from any crisis in almost 25 years, the United Nations has said. Juan Pablo Terminiello, legal associate at Argentina’s office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, estimates that the South American country so far has welcomed less than 100 Syrian refugees. Leaders of the Syrian-Lebanese community, with an estimated 4 million people in Argentina, have asked authorities to speed up procedures so more of the refugees can enter the country. Neighboring Uruguay welcomed 42 Syrian refugees who arrived in October 2014. Under former President Jose Mujica, Uruguay initially agreed to receive a total of 120 Syrian refugees. Current Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa has said that a second group of seven families will arrive later this year. He has rejected criticism by some Uruguayans who believe their country should not accept more refugees.
#* Political storm hits Jammu and Kashmir after Omar Abdullah accuses Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of spying on him
A major political storm has hit Jammu and Kashmir after the former chief minister Omar Abdullah accused the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government of spying on him.
Omar was referring to the quizzing of a journalist who had gone to interview him at his residence in Srinagar. She, according to Omar, was asked several questions by a cop from the CID branch of Jammu and Kashmir.
Visibly angry, former chief minister took to Twitter and spewed his angst against the Mufti government.
"Mufti Govt brazenly spying on me. A journalist interviewing me for a national daily just got stopped right outside my gate by CID person… She was asked who she was & what the purpose of her visit was! Seriously guys if you want to know just ask me, I couldn't care less if U do," Omar tweeted.Omar also lampooned the government for "unleashing apparatchiks" to spy on him. "Dear Mufti Sahab if you & your apparatchiks want to know what I'm up to pick up the phone & ask me. Please don't accost people outside my gate," he said.
The ruling People's Democratic Party was quick to react and give it back to Omar in the same coin. "Basically one of his (Omar's) workers was there and he was not allowed to go inside. He asked this lady (journalist) who are you and how you were allowed and I was not. Then the lady said a CID guy had asked her questions," said Wahid ur Rehman Para, PDP spokesman and political analyst to J&K chief minister.
Para also mocked at the claims that Omar was being spied by the government. "Even if you do spying you don't do this way. He is a Z-plus protected person and he is the ex-chief minister. He is vulnerable and police are worried about who is who and what is going on. They also frisk there and that is the security concern," he said.
#* Bomb scare on 6 international flights in Delhi and Bengaluru a hoax, no threat found: CISF
The aviation authorities late on Friday night received bomb threat calls for as many as six international flights in Delhi and Bengaluru. However, the call was found to be a hoax following a thorough search by security personnel.
The Bengaluru police have also identified the caller, and is likely to question him soon.Confirming that the call was a hoax, CISF said that no bomb was found on any of the flights, and that they were cleared.
Earlier, one call was received at the Gurgaon call centre of GMR, which runs the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital, late on Friday night. The caller threatened that there were bombs on three international flights - flight number 9W078 to Hong Kong, flight no CX694 also to Hong Kong and flight no LX147 to Zurich.The first two flights to Hong Kong had departed while the flight to Zurick was on taxiway when the call was received. The two flights were called back and the departure of the third flight was aborted.
Meanwhile, there was a threat call to three flights in Bengaluru – Air France, Lufthansa and Haj Flights.
Reports said that it was the same caller who made threat calls to Delhi and Bengaluru flights.
"The Bomb Threat Assessment Committee declared threat as specific at 2 am. Both the Jet Airways and Cathay flights were called back and taken to isolation bay after landing under emergency conditions. Swiss Air flight which was on-ground was also sent to isolation bay," sources said. PTI said that the emergency was called off at 2:40 AM. "Jet Airways flight 9W078, which departed from Delhi at 0127 hrs for Hong Kong, returned to Delhi due to security reasons. The aircraft with 194 guests and 12 crew on board landed safely in Delhi at 0224 hrs."All guests and crew disembarked without any incident and were taken to the airport terminal. Safety of our guests is our number one priority. We regret the inconvenience caused to the guests," said a statement issued by the airline.
Some Air India flights from Delhi airport were delayed due to bomb threat call last evening. "Call was made to Air India control room at 9 PM yesterday. Though the threat was non-specific, as a precaution some flights were checked. The caller has been traced," said PTI. Services at Delhi airport are normal and all flights are landing and departing on time.
#* ONGC buys 15 per cent stake in Rosneft's Vankor oil field for $1.35 bn
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has bought a 15 per cent stake in Russia's second- largest oil field from Rosneft for about $1.35 billion.
ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of the state explorer, signed agreements in Moscow to buy 15 per cent stake in Vankorneft, the developer of the Vankor oil and gas condensate field in Turukhansky district of Krasnoyak Territory in Russia.
The field, which has recoverable reserves of 2.5 billion barrels, will give OVL 3.3 million tonnes per annum of oil production.
OVL in a statement said it "has signed definitive agreements to acquire up to 15 per cent shares in CSJC Vankorneft, a company organised under the law of Russian Federation which is the owner of Vankor Field and North Vankor licence."
Rosneft, Russia's national oil company, holds 100 per cent stake in Vankorneft. The acquisition is subject to relevant board, government and regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by 2016-mid, it said.
While both OVL and Rosneft did not give value of the deal, a source privy to the transaction said OVL will pay $1.268 billion.
This will be the fourth biggest acquisition by OVL. It had in 2013 paid $4.125 billion for a 16 per cent stake in Mozambique's offshore Rovuma Area 1, which holds as much as 75 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves.
In 2009, it had bought Russia-focused Imperial Energy for $2.1 billion. Prior to that, it had in 2001 paid $1.7 billion for a 20 per cent interest in the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field off Russia's far eastern coast.
The source said OVL can borrow money from its parent ONGC or go the market for financing the acquisition. "It can be a mix of both."
"Vankor is Rosneft's (and Russia's) second largest field by production and accounts for 4 per cent of Russian production. The daily production from the field is around 442,000 barrels per day of crude oil on an average with OVL's share of daily oil production at about 66,000," OVL said.
The agreement to buy stake in Vankor was signed by the Chairman of Rosneft Management Board Igor Sechin and OVL Managing Director Narendra Verma in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East.
Upon completion of the deal, OVL will have two seats on the board of Vankorneft, Rosneft said.
Rosneft, whose stake in the project will come down to 85 per cent, will however keep full control of the general infrastructure of Vankor cluster, including oil pipeline Vankor-Purpe.
#* Samsung to make new Gear S2 smartwatch available to competition to boost sales
Samsung Electronics would make its next smartwatch technology available to its competitors who also use Google Inc's mobile platform Android, hoping to increase its share of the market, which is now dominated by Apple Inc.
Samsung launched its new watch on Monday. The Gear S2 comes with mobile payment technology just like Apple's Watch. The company, however, did not give a price tag for the watch.
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The watch will be available as of October, the South Korean tech major said on Thursday at an event in Berlin tied to the IFA, Europe's largest consumer electronics trade show.
"We are leading the way in this segment," said Younghee Lee, Samsung's global marketing head for mobile. "But we realise we can't do it alone."
Making the new smartwatches compatible with smartphones made by competitors could help boost sales for Samsung, which saw its market share shrink sharply following the launch of arch rival Apple's Apple Watch.
Apple Watch captured a 75 per cent global smartwatch market share, followed by Samsung with an 8 per cent share.
Worldwide smartwatch shipments grew to 5 million in the second quarter of this year from 1 million in the same period last year, according to data of research firm Strategy Analytics.