Saturday, 16 April 2016

Intel plans to cut thousands of jobs: Report

Intel Corp is planning to cut thousands of jobs this spring, including reducing headcount in some business units by double-digit percentages, news website Oregonlive said, citing sources inside the company familiar with the plan.

The job cuts at the world's largest chipmaker this year will be considerably larger than the more than 1,100 US jobs eliminated last year, Oregonlive said.

Intel is also looking to consolidate some operations and close some smaller outposts after a series of acquisitions Oregonlive said on Friday.

The job cuts, which could also include top executive roles, could begin soon after the company reports its first-quarter results on Tuesday, Oregonlive said.

Intel, which had 107,300 employees as of December 26, declined to comment

The company had said in 2014 it planned to reduce its global workforce by about 5%, or more than 5,000 positions, as it struggled with falling personal-computer sales and shifted focus to faster-growing areas.

Last week Intel said two senior executives would leave.

Vijay Mallya's business model could be at fault: Jaitley

SHINGTON: Questioning the "business model" of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines for Vijay Mallya's mounting woes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the airline sector as such is doing well in India with many carriers making good profits.

Mallya, the owner of Kingfisher Airlines and many other companies that owe over Rs 9,000 crore of dues to lenders, is currently in London, defying Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons.

"I am not giving a final opinion on it. It could be attributed to the business model of a particular company," Jaitley yesterday said here in response to a question on Mallya, on which he refused to be directly dragged into.

"As far as the recoveries are concerned, in this (Mallya) case, banks are taking all possible steps. And whether there have been violations of some penal provisions, the investigating agencies are looking at it," he said.

A non-bailable warrant has been issued against Mallya after he refused to return to India to appear before the ED on three different occasions on investigations related to a money laundering case against him.

Jaitley's remarks came on a day when the External Affairs Ministry suspended Mallya's diplomatic for four weeks and threatened to revoke it if he fails to respond within a week on why his passport should not be impounded.

"I do not think it (Mallya's case) had anything to do with the government because a lot of his cases were also locked up in courts. When he was in India, I understand from the banking sector that almost every recovery, every step, was challenged in court.

"So he used the legal process till the date of his departure and then he had to abandon that," the minister said.

A member of Parliament, under the existing law, could lose his membership if one becomes an "adjudged insolvent", for which the bankruptcy law is necessary, he said.

"Generally, if you are not paying, that is different from the legal language in the constitution. There has to be a system under which you are adjudicated and judged as a declared insolvent and that only happens if you have an insolvency law in place. That's what the parliamentary committee is looking at not in his context but independent of that," he said, hoping that this case may help early passage of the law.

Responding to a question, Jaitley said the airlines sector in India is not suffering that much, unlike several other sectors like steel and power.

"If you look at other airline companies in India, most of them have turned around and are making (profits). Jet is now making profit. Indigo has made huge profits throughout. Spice Jet is making profits. Go Air is making profits," Jaitley said.

Jaitley said his own understanding of the NPA (non- performing asset) situation is that most of it is related to business failure in certain specific sectors of the industry.

"If you analyse the quantum of NPAs, they represent about five or six sectors - steel, power, somewhat in textiles, highways, infrastructure, there are a few of them in sugar. In addition to these there are individual companies that have done badly," he said.

Some loans might have been given without adequate due diligence principles, he acknowledged.

"Airlines problem is not sectoral, for the simple reason that most of the other airlines lasted the challenging period, turned around and are making profits. In steel, across the board sector was suffering, highways is a sector where everybody was suffering.

"These are all sectoral reasons, sectors where you have to address the sector, where the sector would revive and the bad loans become performing loans," he said.

Jaitley said banks and other investigating agencies would act independently and take their own decision.

"The banks have to take a prudent decision based on their banking. The government did not ask the banks to sanction the loan. The banks (even if it is a government-owned) would have to take a decision" based on their commercial considerations, he said in response to a question.

The Finance Minister is currently on a week-long tour of the US primarily to attend the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Can't pay Rs 53,000 to rent 2,765 sqm house: Priyanka Gandhi

NEW DELHI: The late PM Rajiv Gandhi's and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra proved to be a tough negotiator 14 years ago, getting the Vajpayee government to pare down the monthly rent to her sprawling 2,765.18 sqm house in Lutyens' Delhi from Rs 53,421 to a mere Rs 8,888. She said it was "beyond her capacity to pay the high amount".

At present, Priyanka pays Rs 31,300 for her type VI government accommodation at 35, Lodhi Estate. She and three other "private citizens", including former Punjab DGP KPS Gill, All India Anti-Terrorist Front chief M S Bitta and Punjab Kesari editor Ashwani Kumar, were provided accommodation by the government on security grounds. Gill and Bitta are believed to be paying around the same amount as Priyanka while Kumar vacated his house in 2012.

Priyanka wrote to the government in May 7, 2002 that Rs 53,421 was "too high" an amount and "beyond her paying capacity". She informed the government that she had been "occupying the bungalow on the request of the SPG and that a large part of the bungalow was occupied by SPG itself" and not by her family. She said she was staying in a general pool house not out of choice or voluntarily but because of security considerations. She requested that she may "continue to pay rent at the earlier rate of Rs 28,451 per month, instead of the increased rate of Rs 53,421 per month", according to file notings from the ministry of urban development's directorate of estates. Other protectees also raised similar concerns.

In fact, the four people continued to pay the old rate despite the increase in rent, with Priyanka notching up outstanding dues of Rs 3.76 lakh up to January 31, 2004. 

The note for the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation on July 8, 2003 - accessed under RTI by Noida resident Dev Ashish Bhattacharya - reasoned that "the matter has been reviewed keeping in view the facts that security protectees are not unauthorised occupants and allotments have been made to them as per policy of the government. It has been felt that the security protectees, including SPG protectees, may be charged special licence fee in respect of the government accommodation provided to them as they are private persons and they cannot afford to pay the market rates of licence fees".

The special licence fee was revised to Rs 8,888 per month from July 24, 2003, for Priyanka, and the rent for other protectees also brought down. In case of Gill, it was brought down from Rs 60,741 to Rs 10,715, for Bitta from Rs 55,536 to Rs 10,203, and for Kumar from Rs 50,311 to Rs 8,555.

The house was allotted to Priyanka, a private citizen, on the recommendations of the SPG, cabinet secretariat and the home ministry in 1997.

The directorate of estates said 35, Lodhi Estate was allotted on February 21, 1997, on payment of market rent of Rs 19,900 per month. The rent has since been revised periodically. The directorate of estates said the market rent for the property is Rs 81,865 per month. To put this in perspective, a house one-tenth the size of Priyanka's bungalow in the tony Jor Bagh commands a monthly rent of Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh at present. There are no houses of this size available in the heart of Delhi for private citizens.

Suspect in Delhi's serial dog killing arrested in Lucknow

MUMBAI: The Green Park Metro serial dog killer suspect has now been arrested and has been sent to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi for a medical examination. This arrest comes after Humane Society International/India (HSI/Inda) and Fauna Police, on March 19, had announced a reward for information leading to identification of the perpetrator. The organizations had then received a call and worked with the Delhi Police to track down the accused in Lucknow. The suspect is now under custody and HSI/India has demanded jail time and psychiatric intervention for the alleged dog killer.

On March 15, 2016, the CCTV camera of a store located opposite the Green Park Metro captured a horrific act of cruelty. A man was luring puppies and dogs with bits of food only to grab them to stab and hack them. The video showed the young unidentified male luring and then stabbing a puppy multiple times before ripping the dog into two. Dogs who approached the man were also stabbed and grievously injured. A similar incident is reported to have occurred in the Gautham Nagar neighborhood of New Delhi where dogs were seen with stab wounds. Fauna Police volunteers suspect that it is the same person.

N G Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India says; "The CCTV footage of the brutal stabbing of the puppies had shocked the nation. We have been working with Fauna Police to ensure the suspect is caught. We thank the Delhi Police for taking up the matter with such seriousness and making such headway in the case. We are delighted that the suspect has been arrested. We hope that there will be a speedy trial and he will be convicted soon"

The arrest of the Green Park Metro serial dog killer suspect comes only two days after the successful arrest of alleged dog rapist in Kerala. In the recent past, HSI/India has come across many animal abuse/cruelty issues through videos, posts and articles on Facebook, Twitter and print media. HSI/India offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country with an aim to hold animal abusers accountable for their crimes and thus establish deterrence to prevent future cases of animal cruelty.

Anyone with questions about this case is requested to call the Abhinav Srihan of Fauna Police at +91 9212111116.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Thailand's PM says women in skimpy dress are like unwrapped candy

BANGKOK: Thailand's prime minister has some advice for his country's young women: Don't dress too revealingly, or you will be shunned like a piece of toffee without its wrapper.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha offered the observation Tuesday to reporters as Thais prepared to kick off their traditional New Year celebration, known as Songkran. The holiday comes at the hottest time of the year and is best known for the enthusiastic splashing of water upon friends and strangers alike, a practice that sometimes takes on a sexual edge.

Thailand's military government already had announced that it would try to discourage lewd behavior and dress as inappropriate for the country's culture.

Prayuth qualified his own advice, saying that some nicely wrapped candy will stay on the shelf for years no matter what.

Maruti Baleno automatic Zeta variant launched at Rs. 7.47 lakhs

India's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki has added another automatic variant to the Baleno lineup.

Baleno's Zeta variant now gets a CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) automatic unit, priced at Rs. 7.47 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), and comes loaded with all the features and equipment that are currently offered on the manual Zeta variant. Previously, Baleno was offered with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) only as an option on the Delta variant and it lacked features like the alloy wheels, front fog lamps etc.

In terms of features, the Zeta variant of the Baleno comes equipped with 16 inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, auto headlamps, chrome door handles, auto dimming IRVM, height-adjustable driver's seat, keyless entry with push button start, illumination for the glovebox, leather wrapped steering wheel and a MID with a colour TFT screen.

It misses out on projector headlamps, reverse parking camera and a SmartPlay infotainment system that the top-end Alpha variant gets. Talking about the new variant, R.S. Kalsi, executive director (marketing & sales), Maruti Suzuki India Limited, said, "Baleno has rapidly found success to become a popular premium hatchback owing to its design, technology and performance. The automatic option - Continuous Variable Transmission - offered on the Delta variant has been much appreciated by the customers. We are now offering CVT on the Zeta variant as well, to popularize two pedal technologies."

The Baleno Zeta is powered by the same 1.2-litre K-Series as its manual counterpart. Power figures also remain same at 84PS/115Nm of torque. In the hatchback segment, the new Maruti Suzuki Zeta faces competition from the likes of the Honda Jazz, the Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo are the other hatchbacks in this segment that offer an automatic variant.

Delhi girl among 3 who say they were raped at Murthal

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Police have added gang rape charges to the FIR in the infamous Murthal case in which women are believed to have been raped during the Jat quota stir violence. The charges have been added after three women have stated that they were raped in Murthal near Delhi during the peak of the violence in February.

Of the three, two women sent anonymous letters with details of the rapes that took place between February 21 and 22. Senior lawyer Anupam Gupta, who is assisting the Punjab and Haryana high court as amicus curiae in the case, has said that he has an audio recording of the third girl from East Delhi. He has, however, not shared the evidence with the court for now.

One letter, sent by an Australian NRI, has been circulating on social media. The other, received by the Farida bad police, is from a girl living in a hostel who was allegedly raped while crossing NH-1.

This is the first time the cops have admitted to the seriousness of the alleged crimes committed at Murthal. Mamta Singh, IGP (south range) and special investigation team head, submitted a status report before the Punjab and Haryana HC on Monday saying Section 376 (D) (gang rape) of the IPC has been added to the existing FIR. The initial FIR of molestation was registered on March 30 on a complaint by Delhi resident Bobby Joshi who was at Murthal during the time the rapes are believed to have taken place. The high court had taken suo motu cognisance of newspaper reports which said that at least 10 women were raped at the spot that day.

The NRI survivor's letter is already viral on social media, where she mentions that she had reached the Delhi airport from Australia on February 21 and was travelling on NH 1 when she was allegedly raped. The police have requested a foreign regional registration officer in Delhi to provide details of NRIs arriving from Australia during that time.

The other survivor had posted an anonymous letter from Mathura Road in Faridabad on March 5. Police officials are examining call records of the area to identify a number that may be common with the travellers who were at Murthal on February 21 and 22. The Faridabad survivor has stated that she is a final-year student of a degree course and was on way to her home with her father on the day she was raped.

Adjourning the hearing for May 4, the court has asked for May 4, the court has asked the SIT to submit a status report on the probes. A bench headed by Justice S S Saron also clarified that the SIT would work independently.

Gupta on Monday turned down the SIT's request to share video and audio tapes related to the alleged rapes for the time being. "Their (police's) move is from complete denial to acknowledgement. I don't have much faith in Haryana police and there is danger of subversion of justice," he said.

In her report, SIT head and IPS officer Mamta Singh has stated that 161 travelers who were in Murthal on the day have been identified.