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  • Referring to the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last month, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday that the “trend of killing all opposition is dangerous” and is bringing disrepute to the country. It added that “there is no respect for liberal values and opinions”. The division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Vibha Kankanvadi was hearing petitions filed by relatives of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, urging the court to monitor the probes into their deaths. “Will more people be targeted? There is no respect for liberal values and opinions. People are increasingly being targeted for their liberal principles… Not just thinkers, but any person or organisation that believes in liberal principles can be targeted. It’s like if there is some opposition to me, I must have that person eliminated,” said Justice Dharmadhikari. “This trend of killing all opposition is dangerous. This is giving a bad reputation to the country,” the bench said.
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  • Chennai/Hyderabad: Cyclone Vardah, pressing a twist speed of 90 kmph, will make a landfall between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh on Monday, the MeT authorities stated, cautioning individuals not to wander excessively near the shoreline.    Both the state governments are on high ready as the serious cyclonic tempest is required to make landfall on Monday evening.    The Tamil Nadu government has reported an occasion for every single instructive foundation in four beach front areas of the state.    The Regional Meteorological Center said Cyclone Vardah lay focused at 330 km east of Chennai at 1430 hours on Sunday.    What's more, it will move westwards before making landfall between north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh drifts on Monday evening.    The Met authorities said downpours will begin on Sunday night and progressively increment tomorrow in the northern areas of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram.    Substantial to overwhelming downpours likely lash these locale on Monday, PTI cited climate official S Balachandran as saying.    Solid winds could blast upto 80-90 kmph, he included.    Anglers has been requested that not wander into the ocean for the following 48 hours.    Boss Minister O Panneerselvam led a survey meeting of Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority and requested that the military be on standby.    Every single instructive foundation in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur and beach front taluks of Villupuram will stay shut on Monday.    "They ought to make essential strides for guaranteeing the security of their understudies particularly lodging detainees and their water and sustenance necessities," the report cited an official discharge as saying.    In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu checked on the state's readiness through a video chat with top authorities.    He guided them to be ready and embrace vital safeguard and help endeavors in perspective of the violent wind danger.    Sustenance and other fundamental products ought to be kept prepared in sufficient amounts, he said.    "Find a way to forestall loss of lives and to limit harms to yields and properties," Naidu told the authorities.    The Tamil Nadu government has likewise asked private foundations in these areas to permit their staff benefit occasion or work from home.    The central priest has educated to allot senior IAS officers to screen violent wind related works as a team with locale gatherers, the discharge said.    "Game plans to be made for clearing individuals in low lying and powerless zones.    "Help focuses to be kept in status alongside essential sustenance, water and different courses of action.    "Armed force, Navy, Air-constrain and Coast Guard have been cautioned to be on standby for sending as and when essential," it said.    The administration has additionally requested that individuals stay inside amid the substantial downpours, stock satisfactory nourishment, meds and drinking water and utilize them sensibly.    NDRF, SDRF, Fire and Rescue administrations office faculty have as of now been pre-situated and should be quickly used wherever important for safeguard and alleviation operations, the official discharge said.    Groups will be conveyed with sufficient gear like power saws and transportation for expelling fallen trees and reestablishing activity, it said.    Wellbeing office has been made a request to take measures to sort out exceptional camps and to pre-position generators, crisis supplies, meds and oxygen chambers in Government healing facilities.    All crisis measures have been set up in Andhra Pradesh, authorities said.    Three groups of NDRF staff have been kept prepared in Nellore region of Andhra Pradesh as overwhelming to substantial rain running up to 17 cm is normal tomorrow.    Chittoor and Kadapa areas are additionally anticipated that would get overwhelming precipitation while Anantapuramu and Prakasam regions too will get direct rain.    Four senior IAS authorities have been deputed to Nellore, Chittoor, Kadapa and Prakasam locale to regulate save and help operations.    In the mean time, Puducherry government has announced tomorrow an occasion for every single instructive organization in Puducherry and Karaikal areas because of substantial downpours and squally climate gauge under the effect of twister.    Declaring this, Chief Minister V.Narayanasamy said in a discharge that overwhelming downpours have been figure combined with cyclonic tempest in the Union Territory tomorrow.    He spoke to the general population of Puducherry to remain safe and obtain their necessities ahead of time.    The whole organization has been equipped to ascend to any exigency and toll free telephones 1070 and 1079 can be reached for any help and crisis, he said.
  • Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday hit out at restriction parties for arranging Jallikattu style dissents to request extraordinary class status for the state and said they were wanting to make aggravations.    Naidu took solid exemption to the resistance parties looking at the issue of Special Category Status (SCS) guaranteed to Andhra Pradesh to the Jallikattu crusade in neighboring Tamil Nadu.    "A few gatherings are attempting to incite individuals and make aggravations however we won't permit this. We will be firm," he told correspondents.    Mainstream on-screen character and Jana Sena boss Pawan Kalyan hosts reported his get-together will bolster the adolescents in the event that they arrange a noiseless challenge in Visakhapatnam on January 26.    "On the off chance that adolescent of Andhra Pradesh are wanting to do a noiseless dissent at R.K. Shoreline, Jana Sena will bolster them," he tweeted.    Restriction pioneer and YSR Congress Party President Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on Monday said he would welcome any such dissent.    "Any program or occasion requesting uncommon status is welcome. I ask for all supporters particularly adolescents to approach, support and make these occasions a major achievement," he tweeted.    In a progression of tweets, the performing artist said young people ought to raise their voice gently. He said this was the best way to accomplish the guaranteed SCS in Andhra Pradesh.    The restriction parties and different gatherings have blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for selling out the state by backtracking from its survey guarantee of concurring SCS.    They additionally focused on the decision Telugu Desam Party for "trading off" on the issue.    Pawan Kalyan, who had been focusing on the BJP and TDP for a considerable length of time, proceeded with his assaults.    "The muscle called boldness and the qualities - sense of pride, honesty and responsibility are inadequate in the political class of Andhra Pradesh," he tweeted.    "We cherish Gandhi, we revere Ambedkar, we salute Sardar Patel, we regard our Constitution yet not the snooty administration of north India. In the event that they continue embarrassing individuals of south India and harming their sense of pride... we know how to cut down their pomposity.    "Does the north Indian political elites know what number of dialects are there in the South? For them we are all Madrasis," Pawan included.    The Congress has said it was prepared to hold hands with any gathering to accomplish SCS.    The Prathekya Hoda Sadhana Samithi, which is battling for SCS, has requested that the Telugu performer take in a lesson from the Jallikattu dissent and take a lead in accomplishing SCS.
  • Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday said thanks to the focal government for supporting extraordinary help for the state.    Creating an impression in the state get together, he expressed gratitude toward Prime Minister Narendra Modi for favoring the uncommon help with subsidizing remotely supported tasks and the water system segment of the Polavaram extend.    The Chief Minister additionally expressed gratitude toward focal priests M. Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and Uma Bharati.    Naidu told the house that the Modi government had acknowledged the express government's request to give lawful sacredness to uncommon help measures.    The union bureau on Wednesday affirmed the exceptional help reported a year ago in lieu of the guaranteed unique class status.    Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is a partner of the Modi government, asserted that the resistance attempted to incite individuals for the sake of unique class status.    He said Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, while declaring the uncommon help, had made it clear that the state would get similar advantages which it would have with the unique status.    Naidu said the Polavaram venture would be the remainder of the greatest water system extends in the state and would make Andhra Pradesh green and prosperous.
  • ndhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's bureau quality has now expanded to 26.    AMARAVATI, ANDHRA PRADESH:    HIGHLIGHTS    Boss Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's child Nara Lokesh joins Andhra bureau    4 YSRC MLAs who exchanged sides and six others were additionally drafted    Bhuma Akhila Priya, 28, is the most youthful individual from Mr Naidu's bureau    Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's child Nara Lokesh, four administrators of the restriction YSRC who changed reliability to the decision TDP-BJP coalition, and six others were enlisted today into the Andhra Pradesh bureau. This is the main redesign of the state committee since the administration was shaped on June 8, 2014. Senator ESL Narasimhan regulated the pledge of office and mystery to the new priests. The bureau's quality has now expanded to 26.    Nara Lokesh was chosen to the state administrative chamber under the MLAs' standard a month ago. The 34-year-old graduate from Stanford Business School is the general secretary of TDP. Mr Lokesh's mom Bhuvaneswari and spouse Brahmini were available amid the service.    At 28, Bhuma Akhila Priya has turned into the most youthful individual from Mr Naidu's bureau. Her dad, Bhuma Nagi Reddy, who likewise exchanged sides, passed on a month ago.    TDP pioneer and state unit president K Kala Venkata, who had prior filled in as home priest in the NT Rama Rao government in joined Andhra Pradesh, was drafted into the bureau while his sister-in-law Kimidi Mrinalini was dropped.    TDP politburo part S Chandramohan Reddy, Pithani Satyanarayana, who had stopped Congress to join TDP, Kalva Srinivasulu and Kothapalli Samuel Jawahar, among others, have bureau compartments too.    Since February 2016, 21 out of the 67 MLAs of the YSRC have traversed to the TDP.    Not long after the bureau rejig, Bojjala Gopala Krishna Reddy, one of the five dropped clergymen, surrendered from the state gathering. The veteran Telugu Desam Party or TDP pioneer from Chittoor sent his abdication to Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao and Mr Naidu.    The YSRC had affirmed that they were offered clerical billets. In addition, Mr Reddy, Palle Raghunatha Reddy, Kimidi Mrinalini, Peethala Sujatha and Ravela Kishore Babu were dropped from the bureau.
  • Former Bigg Boss contestantKirik Keerthi, while returning from Mysuru to Bengaluru, was stopped by a group of miscreants and they try to even assault him for no reason. The local people intervened and stopped miscreants from assaulting Kirik Keerthi. A case has been registered withJnanabaharathi police.   Kirik Keerthi is now making his Sandalwood debut as a hero in the movie directed by Om Prakash Rao.  
  • It is a great paradox that in the land of Kamasutra, people remain ignorant of the intricacies of sex. Lack of knowledge on the subject has made road side business of dispensing of potency herbs a lucrative business often operated by the highly suspect desi sex doctors. Anyone who has traversed the central and north Indian States is bound to come across huge wall writings in the name of such doctors who claim to cure sex diseases and enhance potency. There are groups of nomadic people also who move from town to town selling the potency enhancing and ‘weakness’ controlling herbs. The desi doctors usually set up shop by the side of a busy road with the bottled herbs on display. This shop also has on display, large sized photos of famous wrestlers, boxers and body-builders meant to attract the attention of passers-by.   “My medicine will make you like Dara Singh,” asserts a ‘doctor’ at Ambedkar Chowk in Adilabad to a curious youth. “You take this and it will be the end of your agony,” he adds, and quotes a price for a small piece of root. Talking to The Hindu on conditions of anonymity, the ‘sex specialist’ says he has young and middle aged men seeking advice and medicine for premature ejaculation and nightfall, sex related diseases and of course increase in sex potential. “Women also seek our advice mostly to control white discharge,” he points out. “We guarantee positive results to our clients. Our knowledge of herbs is based on the knowledge passed on to us through our forefathers,” the doctor claims when asked about the potency of the herbs on display.
  • US President Donald Trump has accused his predecessor Barack Obama of being responsible for the leaks within his administration and the sizable, angry town-hall crowds Republicans have faced across the country.Trump was asked in an interview on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" if he believed Obama was responsible for the town-hall protests against Republicans this month."It turns out his organisation seems to do a lot of these organising to some of the protests that these Republicans are seeing around the country against you. Do you believe President Obama is behind it and if he is, is that a violation of the so-called unsaid Presidents' code?" Trump was asked."No, I think he is behind it. I also think it is politics, that's the way it is," Trump said in the interview, a clip of which was released Monday night.Trump then discussed the leaks that have disrupted his first month in office."You never know what's exactly happening behind the scenes. You know, you're probably right or possibly right, but you never know," Trump said in another preview clip of the interview."No, I think that President Obama is behind it because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, which are really serious because they are very bad in terms of national security. But I also understand that is politics. In terms of him being behind things, that's politics. And it will probably continue."Trump, however, did not offer any evidence for his claim.Earlier this month, Trump told Fox News that reports of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were caused by leaks from "Obama people".Trump's administration has been beset by leaks within his administration to the media, and he has continually railed against those doing the leaks and against the media since taking office. He has said the leaks are damaging to national security.
  • US President Donald Trump has accused his predecessor Barack Obama of being responsible for the leaks within his administration and the sizable, angry town-hall crowds Republicans have faced across the country.Trump was asked in an interview on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" if he believed Obama was responsible for the town-hall protests against Republicans this month."It turns out his organisation seems to do a lot of these organising to some of the protests that these Republicans are seeing around the country against you. Do you believe President Obama is behind it and if he is, is that a violation of the so-called unsaid Presidents' code?" Trump was asked."No, I think he is behind it. I also think it is politics, that's the way it is," Trump said in the interview, a clip of which was released Monday night.Trump then discussed the leaks that have disrupted his first month in office."You never know what's exactly happening behind the scenes. You know, you're probably right or possibly right, but you never know," Trump said in another preview clip of the interview."No, I think that President Obama is behind it because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, which are really serious because they are very bad in terms of national security. But I also understand that is politics. In terms of him being behind things, that's politics. And it will probably continue."Trump, however, did not offer any evidence for his claim.Earlier this month, Trump told Fox News that reports of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were caused by leaks from "Obama people".Trump's administration has been beset by leaks within his administration to the media, and he has continually railed against those doing the leaks and against the media since taking office. He has said the leaks are damaging to national security.
  • The spurt in hate crime in the USA, especially after the shooting down of City Techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in a restaurant inKansas City recently, President Donald Trump has come in for severe criticism globally holding him responsible for such gory incidents.Reacting sharply to the killing of Srinivas, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded an answer from the President as what measures were being taken by his Administration to prevent such incidents. Holding him and his policies responsible for triggering of such racist crimes against the minorities, she said the President was answerable to the families of the victims as to what steps his administration would take to halt such dastardly incidents. Hillary Clinton also conveyed her sympathies to the family members of Srinivas over their bereavement. Meanwhile, confusion and concern reigned supreme among hundreds of families in both the Telugu States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, whose children were either studying or working presently in the United States. After the recent incidents where in Telugu techies have been killed in the US, the families of NRIs here in the State are a worried lot. Many parents even sounded to their children to think about returning back to the country, while at the same time advising them to take necessary steps to avoid from getting targeted for no rhyme or reason. The need for all the NRI associations, especially the Telugu associations, to come together and jointly formulate required steps for the safety and protection of the NRIs in the USA
  • Family members, relatives, friends and people from different walks of life bid a tearful adieu to Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in the US on February 22 in a suspected hate crime.His last rites were performed at the cremation ground in Jubilee Hills here on Tuesday.K. Madhusudhana Sastry performed the last rites of his son as some of the mourners including the techie's friends were seen carrying placards with slogans like "down with racism".Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Muralidhar Rao, other leaders from the BJP, TRS and other parties, and actor couple Jeevitha and Rajasekhar paid their last respects.The body was brought from Kuchibhotla's house in Bachupally, on the city's outskirts.As his final journey began, the engineer's parents were inconsolable while his wife Sunayana Dumala, who arrived with the mortal remains on Monday night, broke down as she had his last glimpse.The body was brought by a cargo flight while Sunayana, her brother, sister-in-law and another relative reached by a passenger flight.Mourners poured in at his residence through the night and Tuesday morning to pay their last respects.Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and Alok Madasani was injured when Adam W. Purinton, a white man who earlier served in the US Navy, shot them at the Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas state, on February 22.Purinton got into an argument with the two and hurled racial slurs. He yelled "get out of my country", "terrorist" before shooting them.Kuchibhotla of Hyderabad and his colleague Madasani from Warangal district in Telangana were working as aviation programme managers at Garmin, an MNC.
  • In a bid to upgrade the current long-term evolution (LTE) mobile communication services across India, Samsung on Tuesday announced its innovative "I&G (Infill & Growth) Project" for Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd that will help expand both the current network capacity as well as network coverage.The project will extend Jio services in rural areas by expanding its reach to over 90 per cent of the population and enable seamless indoor and outdoor coverage in dense urban areas."We successfully achieved 100 million subscribers in 170 days and are committed to bring game-changing digital experiences to India with superior ecosystems, mobile content, all-IP networks and ongoing process innovations," Jyotindra Thacker, President of Reliance Jio Infocomm, told IANS here."It was possible because we introduced a truly effective LTE service, Pan-India. We are committed to bringing game-changing digital experiences to India with superior ecosystems, mobile content, all-IP networks and ongoing process innovations," Thacker added.Samsung previously provided the LTE core, base stations and solutions required for VoLTE services, as well as deployment services for establishing a nationwide network for Jio.The two companies have successfully established the world's largest greenfield LTE network."The massive deployment of over a million cells across India is especially remarkable. We will strive to create new paradigms for LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G by closely cooperating with Jio as a unified workforce," added Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics.Samsung has also enabled Jio to offer a superior service to its users by providing professional solutions such as Samsung VoLTE, Quality Monitoring and Analysis (VoMA) and Cognitive Traffic Monitoring and Optimiser.The relationship between Jio and Samsung goes back to 2012 when the two companies signed a turn-key agreement covering the entire scope of network, ranging from equipment to establishment and maintenance services."As Jio's end-to-end LTE solutions partner, it is a great pleasure for Samsung to contribute to Jio's tremendous success," Kim added.Jio was India's first operator to introduce free-of-charge High-Definition calls (VoLTE).
  • Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju here on Tuesday inaugurated the country's first integrated heliport.The country's first heliport, located at Rohini locality in north west Delhi, has been built by state-owned chopper operator Pawan Hans.The heliport, erected over an area of 25 acres, has come up with an investment of Rs 100 crore.It sports a terminal building, four hangars and nine parking bays, along with a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility.
  • As it aims to become one of the top three smartphone players globally, India will once again be a key market for Nokia, a top company executive has said.The company, once the undisputed leader of the mobile phone space, now operates through HMD Global and unveiled the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3 and a revamped version of the iconic Nokia 3310 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) here."By June, these products will be launched globally and India will serve as a key market for us again. Our attempt is to source 100 per cent from the country because of tax benefits," Ajey Mehta, Vice President-India for HMD Global India Ltd., told IANS on the sidelines of the annual event."We will make sure that we have a renewed presence in 250 cities and towns before we make new products available."Our core strength is offline but we will also go online to reach a wider audience. However, online and offline product ranges will be different," he said, adding that a focus on core experience, design, quality and a pure Android experience will drive the bid to be among the top three smartphone players worldwide."The market has been cluttered with undifferentiated products and there is fatigue being observed. People are looking for fresh offerings which we aim to provide. We will aim to become the people's brand and have a presence in flagship brands as well as in the low-price segment," Mehta stressed.Mobile handset shipments touched 265 million in 2016 with feature phones making up about 59 per cent of the overall market.According to Mehta, feature phones are big business in India and the company can't ignore it."We will have to be innovative in the feature phone segment but we will have to win in the smartphone space too. We are working with our partners like Foxconn to supply both smartphones and feature phones from our India manufacturing unit," Mehta said.The Nokia factory at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu is one of the largest manufacturing facilities for mobile phones in the world.Nokia 6 features a 5.5-inch full-HD screen and is crafted from a single block of 6000 series aluminium. The device will be available in four colours -- matte black, silver, tempered blue and copper.Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 mobile platform and Qualcomm Adreno 505 graphics processor, Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch IPS HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass.Thin, light and durable, the $52 (less than Rs 4,000) Nokia 3310 delivers 22-hour talk-time and a month-long stand-by. The device is available in four colours -- Warm Red and Yellow, both with a gloss finish, and Dark Blue and Grey, both with a matte finish."We will stick to the core values of Nokia like reliability, consistency, simplicity, human touch, trust... but implement them in a more modern way so that it is appealing to the new consumers. We need to get the best from the past and target new consumers," Mehta told IANS.Nokia announced last year that it had licensed Finnish company HMD Global to produce Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.HMD has reached agreements with both Microsoft and Nokia for the use of the Nokia brand and some design rights. HMD is planning to spend some 400 million euros to market the Nokia brand for the next three years.
  •  Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra seemed to have some fun while interviewing Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston along with model Chrissy Teigen at the backstage of the 89th Academy Awards here.Priyanka took to Twitter to share a video,in which she, along with Teigen and "Live With Kelly" host Kelly Ripa, is seen having a funny conversation backstage of the event on February 26 night. They talk about hall pass, something of a tradition in the US where a husband or a wife allows the partner to go bachelor/spinster for a few days. As they are seen having a conversation, they bring in Aniston and ask her about her hall pass. Priyanka captioned the video: "This was too much fun. Chrissy Teigen, Kelly Ripa, Jennifer Aniston. Backstage shenanigans."Izn the video, Priyanka is seen sporting the body-hugging gown by designer label "Ralph & Russo". The gown was done with geometric details with a structured bodice. She paired her gown with towering ivory heels, and accessorised the look with the bare minimum, drawing complete focus to the dress. Aniston too looked ravishing in a black sequined gown with a thigh-high slit and a plunging neck line. On the work front, Priyanka will be seen alongside Dwayne Bravo and Zac Efron in "Baywatch" film. 
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented from July 1 as all states have agreed on the implementation date, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Tuesday."GST should be implemented by July 1. All states have agreed (on the date)," Das told reporters here.The government plans to get the GST Council's approval on iGST (integrated GST), cGST (central GST) and sGST (state GST) drafts at its March 4-5 meeting before the second half of the budget session of Parliament begins on March 9.The draft compensation bill has already been approved in the Council's February 18 meeting.The draft laws passed by the Council will have to be passed by Parliament. Simultaneously, sGST will have to be passed by state legislatures.The four bills form the enabling laws under the GST constitutional amendment.Another step remaining is to slot all the commodities under the GST tax slabs: 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent. Each item has to be fitted under a particular slab. After the March 4-5 meeting, GST officers will do the slotting.
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has hailed the heroism of American Ian Grillot who was injured while trying to stop a gunman who killed an Indian in a hate crime.Grillot suffered bullet wounds and is in hospital during the shooting in a Kansas bar last week."India salutes the heroism of Ian Grillot! Best wishes for a speedy recovery," Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Monday night.Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and his colleague Alok Madasani was injured when Adam W. Purinton, formerly of the US Navy, shot them at the Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas state, on February 22.Purinton reportedly got into an argument with the two and hurled racial slurs. He yelled "get out of my country" before shooting them. Grillot, 24, who tried to save the Indians, was hit by a bullet that pierced his hand and then lodged in his chest. 
  •  The demand for point of sale (POS) devices -- which saw a spurt after demonetisation as people and merchants opted for cashless transactions -- could be dented by the mandate to make them Aadhaar-enabled as this will push up costs and increase security risks, industry players said."One of the biggest challenges in making the POS machines Aadhaar-enabled is the high cost of adoption as well verifying its reliability. Tampering and skimming threats for merchants and processors of card data are on the rise," Ravi Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director, India Transact Services, told IANS.India Transact imports POS machines -- also known as payment or credit card machines -- from Europe and supplies them to Syndicate Bank, Bank of India, Reliance Retail and PVR Cinemas, among others.According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mandate, all POS machines acquired after January 1 this year had to be enabled for Aadhaar-based biometric authentication. The date was was later extended to June 30 because the rate of deployment slowed down due to a drop in the supply of such Aadhaar-enabled devices. "Fingerprint authentication per se is not secure. It is about the levels and forms of encryption that companies implementing the solution follow. It is important that fingerprint data is encrypted at the source of the scanning device and remains encrypted all the way through till it reaches the card-issuing authorities," ePaisa Co-founder Siddharth Arora told IANS.ePaisa will start manufacturing POS devices this year and plans to reach a million merchants by 2018."If somebody is able to capture the biometric data, which is easily done, they can very easily impersonate me," Manish Patel, Founder, Mswipe Technologies, which supplies POS terminals to 165,000 merchants, told IANS.Apart from the increased security vulnerability to the person's biometrics, another deterrent to the digital mode would be the increased costs of the additional hardware."The costs of POS machines will go up. Currently, each terminal costs Rs 6,000. With the additional hardware, it will mean Rs 3,000-3,500 extra per terminal, which is 50 per cent increase in costs," Patel said."This is not technically a difficult task but rather a very expensive one. We need to attach a biometric reader to the currently available POS machines and simultaneously make changes in application," Goyal said.They feared that ultimately the merchants will have to bear the cost and they may pass this on to the customer.The demand for POS machines saw a steep rise just after demonetisation. At the peak of demonetisation, the government had floated a tender through Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to acquire one million POS machines, but so far has been unable to procure any. Mswipe alleged that the tender was floated but the government failed to buy any POS terminals because of the cost factor. Corporation Bank said it placed an order for 10,000 devices immediately after demonetisation was announced November 8."We have approximately 30,000 POS machines. An order for about 10,000 additional POS machines was placed after demonetisation for immediate use," Eknath Baliga, Manger, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS. "Our sales shot up by 300 per cent in November and December compared with the previous year," India Transact Services said.The total value of financial transactions done by the debit and credit cards issued by at POS terminals was at Rs 51,883.68 crore while the number of transactions stood at approximately 23 lakh in October 2016.About 15 lakh POS terminals were deployed by the banks in October. But as cash returns to the system again, the demand for POS machines is tapering and these additional directives can prove a further deterrent to POS machines, the industry said, adding that there was no clarity on the revenue model in the Aadhaar-enabled payment system (AEPS)."There is no revenue model defined for AEPS payments against the card-based payment system where MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) is a source of revenue. The reliability of AEPS infrastructure for mass payment is yet to be proven," Goyal said.A typical transaction uses a payment instrument like a card, which is secured by a PIN (personal identification number). When a PIN gets captured on a terminal, there are payment card industry standards for the security of transactions. While RBI is calling for biometric enablement, it is not clear if the transaction is going to be carried out by a PIN and biometrics would be the second level of authentication, or if the biometric credentials are going to be used to identify the person with no second factor of authentication. "If the thumb impression alone will authorise a transaction, it will be a disaster. It has to be backed by a PIN. There are proven technologies to copy your fingerprint, like cloning," Patel said."A second factor of authentication is must. Else anyone can do a transaction in my name and I will not be able to dispute it," he said.If by adopting these new measures, security against data theft can be ensured only then would both merchants and customers be assured that their hard-earned money is safe, he added.