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HP polls: As counting nears, BJP and Cong both claim victory
Shimla, Dec 17: With less than a day to go before the counting of votes begins in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, both ruling Congress and the opposition BJP are claiming victory. While the Congress dismissed the exit poll [...]
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Admiral Lanba says Navy is aiming at doubling aircraft fleet to 500 in next decade
Hyderabad, Dec 16: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba on Saturday said the aviation arm of the Indian Navy will double its aircraft fleet in the coming decade to nearly 500. "We have a naval air wing, which [...]
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UIDAI temporarily bars Airtel's Aadhaar-based SIM verification
Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients by Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank has been temporarily barred by the UIDAI, said a PTI report. Amid allegation that Bharti [...]
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Kejriwal says not enough done for women security since Nirbhaya
New Delhi, Dec 16: Recalling the infamous 2012 December 16 gangrape incident, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday lamented that not enough has been towards bolstering the security of women, but asserted that his government would soon install CCTV cameras across [...]
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Himachal Pradesh elections counting: Elaborate security arrangement in place
Dec 18 Shimla, Dec 16: Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful counting of votes on Monday for all 68 assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh that went to polls on November 9, an official said today. Counting [...]
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Luxury: By land or by air
The Autocar India office sits below the flight path of helicopters landing in Mumbai’s racecourse. The traffic of Bell, Eurocopter and Agusta helicopters increase by late afternoon making their last sortie of the day before sundown stops chopper operations. I’ve often wondered who are these people in the choppers and where are they coming from? I don’t understand the point of private helicopters in India. Yes, they are great for defence, during natural calamities, for rescue missions, for connecting oil rigs and for politicians to tour the country during elections. There are few landing places for private helicopters in Indian cities. Mumbai, I know has only two – the Juhu aerodrome and the helipad at the racecourse. There is a helipad at the Raj Bhavan and a Navy helipad at Colaba but they are out of bounds for private citizens. So even if you are India’s richest person, you still have to drive the last few kilometres to your home after landing at the racecourse. Private aircrafts, I can understand. Time is precious, and an aircraft is a fast and comfortable way to criss-cross the country or the world. Helicopters are slow in comparison and have limited range; they do need less space to land and take-off though. Is the helicopter just an ego toy or a productivity machine? Since most helicopter flights operate around a 500km radius, wouldn’t a car do the job as efficiently? Yes, there obviously would be a time and money penalty, but what about comfort and convenience? We decide to find out. And there’s only one way to do that – the Autocar India way. No conjectures, no guesses, no assumptions, but hard facts and quantifiable data. For that, we needed two things, a car, and a helicopter. We tackle the easy part first. Which car do we pit against the flying machine? Helicopters are known as go-anywhere vehicles not restricted by airports or airstrips. So the car too has to be a go-anywhere vehicle, and that pointed to an SUV. With their strong engines, four-wheel drive, high ground clearance and rugged build quality, SUVs promise to take you where lesser cars fear to tread. Since a chopper owner will be a high-net individual, this SUV had to be luxurious too. We turned to the SUV that had we had driven down to India from Ingolstadt – the Audi Q7. But this one is powered by a petrol engine. The Audi Q7 40 TFSI, with its Quattro system and a 252hp motor, is requisitioned for the test. Now comes the difficult part. Where do we get our hands on a helicopter? Bell and Eurocopter have no media vehicles like car manufacturers to loan us. And there are no helicopter owners in our social circles. There is only one thing we can do – charter a helicopter. Yes, it is going to be expensive, but we spare no expenses when it comes to bringing our readers a good story. I recruit the help of my two colleagues, Gavin and Nikhil. The plan is simple. Gavin will fly to Pawna Lake from Mumbai while Nikhil will drive the Audi Q7. Pawna Lake, 120km from Mumbai is a popular site for weekend tourists from Mumbai and Pune. Ringing the lake are some sprawling properties of the rich and famous. One of these properties has a helipad and the owner has given us access to it. The stage is set for the battle. D-Day. It’s nine in the morning. Nikhil gets into the Q7 and points its nose towards Pawna. Gavin has the office driver to chauffeur him to the helipad at the racecourse. The chopper is scheduled to arrive at ten, and Gavin doesn’t want to be late. The match is on. The chopper is already waiting when Gavin arrives. It’s a Bell 206 L3 single-engine, light-utility helicopter that can carry five passengers. In the cockpit, along with the pilot, is a flight engineer. Like in every aircraft, a chopper has to be signed off by a service engineer every time, before it can take-off. Our commercial flights don’t carry an engineer along because there are engineers at the airports they land, to sign-off the aircraft. But there are no engineers at our destination, so the engineer is on-board to certify the Bell is safe to take-off after it lands at Pawna. Just imagine getting your car signed-off by a trained engineer every time you start the engine. No wonder this 1992 model is as good as new. If we followed the stringent maintenance schedule that flying machines follow, our cars would last us a lifetime without once stalling on the road. While the pilot and Gavin are ready to fly, there is a hiccup. Mumbai Air Traffic Control has asked the chopper to wait since there are other aircrafts nearby. There is no option but to wait for ATC clearance. Meanwhile, Nikhil in the Audi Q7 has already reached the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine is refined, the eight-speed automatic gearbox is intuitive, and he is making good time. The 75-litre tank gives the big SUV a range of over 500km and it can easily make the run [...]
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Spy pic supposedly shows Datsun Go Cross
An image of the supposed production version of the Go Cross has surfaced online. The lone spy pic is said to have been clicked in Indonesia, a market where the Go Cross will make its official global debut, shortly. Going by the photo, the Go Cross looks like a derivative of the Go+ rather than an all-new model. The car in the photo has black cladding all around and also features silver finish on the front and rear bumpers, differentiating it from the standard car. A roof spoiler adds some distinction to the rear end while this version’s roof rack is expected to carry up to 30kg of luggage. If this is, indeed, the production car, the execution is vastly toned down from the original Go Cross concept that was displayed at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. The cross-hatch is expected to share much of its cabin design with the Go and Go+ models. However, like the Go+, the Go Cross will be a seven-seater. In Indonesia, the Go Cross will be powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, petrol engine developing 68hp and 104Nm of peak torque. The motor will come mated to a five-speed manual, as standard – although a CVT automatic will also be on offer as an optional extra. Braking duties are carried out by ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear, with ABS as standard, along with EBD and brake-assist. In terms of equipment, the Go Cross will be offered with a manual AC, a 6.9-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system (with USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity), power windows with an auto up/down function, electrically adjustable wind mirrors (with manual folding) and a rear wiper. The leaked image also reveals that the model gets rear parking sensors. Datsun is expected to bring the Go Cross to India in 2018, where it will rival the likes of cross-hatches like the Mahindra KUV100 NXT and Maruti CelerioX as well as compact SUVs like the Maruti Vitara Brezza, Tata’s recently launched Nexon and the refreshed Ford EcoSport. Also see: Datsun Redigo AMT to launch in January 2018 Datsun rolls out 100,000th car in India IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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Assam: Two NDFB militants gunned down
Haflong (Assam), Dec 16: Two National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militants were killed in an encounter with security forces and a kidnapped person rescued in Assam's Dima Hasao district today, police said. Acting on specific information, an operation [...]
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Suhaib Ilyasi convicted for wife's murder
New Delhi, Dec 16: A Delhi court on Saturday convicted former television serial producer Suhaib Ilyasi for stabbing to death his wife Anju 17 years ago. The order was passed by Additional Sessions Judge S K Malhotra. Suhaib was guilty on the [...]
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Jharkhand coal scam:  Former CM Madhu Koda sentenced to 3-year in prison
The special CBI court in Delhi on Saturday sentenced three years imprisonment to former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda and imposed fine of Rs 25 lakh in coal scam case. He was convicted in a case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of [...]
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Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress president, slams PM Modi for taking India back to medieval tim
Rahul Gandhi has formally taken over as Congress president today. The party's Central Election Authority president Mullapally Ramachandran has handed over the Certificate of Election to Rahul Gandhi in the presence of his mother Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh. [...]
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PM Modi's Rs 90000 cr boost for northeast roads, Mizoram to be gateway to southeast Asia
PM Modi, who earlier today visited Mizoram, said BJP government's Act East Policy would soon make the state the gateway to the South East Asian countries. [...]
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Foreign tourists injured in road accident, 2 others dead
Incident took place on Agra-Jaipur national highway. The tourists' car was hit by another one which turned turtle [...]
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DIY generation: True Calling
After a successful launch and run, Nadkarni decided to move on and launch Hullo, Inc. [...]
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DIY generation: Advice in Action
Coming across women, who are financially proactive and run their household, is what provoked him to ask everyone he met what they had learned from life. [...]
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DIY generation: Web of Security
Curious from a young age, Arora would play with electronic toys, then proceed to find out how they worked. [...]
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Petra Kvitova looks on positive side after 'rollercoaster year'
The 27-year old two-time Wimbledon champion defied expectations in returning to competition despite suffering serious wounds to her playing left hand as she fought off a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov in December 2016. [...]
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Surgery on cards, Sania Mirza to miss Australian Open
Sania is suffering from a condition called jumper's knee in her right leg. It is defined as a painful condition of the knee caused by inflammation or small tears in the tendon of the patella. She won the 2016 Australian Open women's doubles title with Martina Hingis before announcing their split in August. [...]
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Ranji Trophy semi-final: Favourites Karnataka face Vidarbha
Karnataka, playing a semi tie after a gap of two seasons, have been the in-form team with captain R Vinay Kumar leading from the front. Vidarbha on the other hand, are playing in the semi-finals for the first time. But they are not sure of Umesh's availability on this momentous occasion as the fast bowler is reportedly still in doubt. [...]
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Vijay Diwas: Heroes of Indo-Pakistan war of 1971
Today India is celebrating Vijay Diwas to commemorate armed forces victory over Pakistan in 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. The Indian armed forces fought the war in alliance with Bangladesh Mukti Bahini. The I971 Indo-Pak War for Liberation of Bangladesh is a [...]
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Constitutional values are under attack since 2014, says Sonia Gandhi in her farewell speech
Outgoing President of Congress party Sonia Gandhi delivered an emotional speech after his son, Rahul Gandhi, took over the reigns of the party at AICC headquarters in New Delhi. Also, as an opposition party leader Sonia Gandhi launched a veiled attack [...]
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Gujarat elections: Re-polling at 6 polling stations in 4 constituencies
Re-polling to be will be held at six polling stations in Vadgam, Viramgam, Daskroi and Savli constituencies on Sunday, where first phase polling was held on December 9 in Gujarat. The Election Commission has ordered for the repolling as presiding officers [...]
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Rebuilding Congress to challenge Modi- a big task for Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi took over as Congress president today from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who led India's oldest party for 19 years. For him, getting elected as the Congress president is easy, but leading the party hands-on and getting accepted [...]
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Aadhaar Bill: SC notice to Centre on Jairam Ramesh's plea
New Delhi, Dec 15: The Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre on a plea by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh challenging the government's decision to treat Aadhaar bill as a money bill and pass it during the budget session last [...]
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Royal Enfield Classic 500 Limited Edition sold out
Royal Enfield had announced an online sale of 15 limited-edition 'Stealth Black' Classic 500 motorcycles that were part of National Security Guards’ motorcycle expedition ‘Fight Against Terror’. This sale received interest from more than 2,000 buyers who stood an opportunity to purchase one of the 15 bikes. All 15 of of these motorcycles were sold out within 15 seconds of going on sale at 12pm on December 13, 2017. Priced at Rs 1.90 lakh (ex-showroom), these motorcycles are decorated with unique NSG insignia and the entire proceeds from the sale will go to Prerna – a not-for-profit initiative supported by NSG for differently-abled children. The Classic 500s on sale were part of NSG's 40-day motorcycle expedition in which the Black Cat NSG Commandos covered over 8,000km, across India. They did this to spread the message of citizens' awareness of their collective responsibility toward fighting terror. These limited-edition motorcycles are based on the matte-black Classic 500 that was launched, back in September. It has a matte-black finish on the body and the exhaust, along with black-spoke wheels. Powering it will be the same 499cc single-cylinder engine that makes 27.2hp and 41.3Nm of peak torque, mated to a five-speed transmission. The 15 buyers who managed to reserve their limited-edition Stealth Black 500 motorcycles will be handed over their respective purchases at a local dealership on the payment of the full amount. Also see: In conversation with Siddhartha Lal, CEO, Royal Enfield 2017 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, Continental GT twin revealed [...]
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From Edinburgh's tram to Boston's Big Dig: readers' urban white elephants
Our list of ill-conceived civic expenditure, topped by Toronto’s costly subway stop, spurred Guardian Cities readers to share suggestions for more … Colin Horgan’s roundup of urban white elephants prompted many Guardian Cities readers to suggest some he might have missed, revealing a veritable herd of the things the world over – including some perhaps prejudged. Call them calves.You forgot some other great white elephants: Montreal's Olympic Stadium that literally falls apart....Mirabel Airport built for billions just outside Montreal to replace Dorval Airport, 30 years later Dorval is still the hub and Mirable handles cargo and charters....Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing....The stadiums that South Africa and Brazil built for the World Cup that sit empty or have 15,000 attend matches in 80,000 seat caverns....Glendale Arena in Arizona which hosts a hockey team no one goes to see and costs $25 million a year to subsidize....Darlington Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario which makes (when it actually works) power they sell at a loss...Key Arena in Seattle renovated for the Sonics who promptly moved and left empty....Linate & Mapensa Airports in Milan splitting the traffic so Milan isn't a global hub despite being a global business centre....Athens Olympic artificial kayaking river....a whole herd of white elephants inhabit cities all over the world.... Related: The $3.35bn subway station – and other urban white elephants Sri Lanka’s Mattala airport comes to mind. At a cost of $209 million — most of which coming from China — Sri Lankan government of the day thought building an airport where nobody would fly in was a good idea. The result, it’s the emptiest airport in the world, according to Forbes.Edinburgh's £1billion tram line.Originally supposed to be a network of 3 lines covering most parts of the city, for a total cost of £350million.Ended up being 1/2 of one line, 6 years overdue and costing £1billion.You can add any olympic games anywhere in the world to this list of expensive white elephants.No mention of the Big Dig in Boston? I thought that was the gold standard for transportation projects going over budget.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_DigIn Sydney, the state government has just announced that it will knock down two sports stadiums (each of which is used about once a week) and replace them with two sports stadiums (each of which will be used about once a week) in the same locations as where they are now. And the cost of this stupid switcheroo? Just a mere TWO BILLION DOLLARS! You could have four Hotels of Doom for that amount and throw in a Bridge to Nowhere with the change.Bilbao's Zubizurri bridge designed by Calatrava is also one of his "oeuvre". Famously, he failed to take into account rain (!) which makes the walkway of the bridge very slippery. Dozens of people broke their legs on it.His railway station in New York is widely considered a disaster.The Scottish Parliament building. A hideouts mess of a thing that was years late and enormously over budget.Library of Birmingham anyone? 188 million to build, 2 million a year to run, half the staff dismissed after 18 months of being open to cut costs and opening hours slashed by half. Plus the charitable trust set up to help fund it by Lord Whitby had to be closed down as no one wanted to contribute...Thank god the Garden Bridge was scrapped! Continue reading... [...]
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Modi to open Tuirial hydro project in Mizoram tomorrow
New Delhi, Dec 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Tuirial Hydroelectric Power Project in Mizoram to the nation tomorrow, the power ministry said. Mizoram Governor Nirbhay Sharma, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla and several ministers as well as [...]
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\"Siddaramaiah spending crores on PR, not development,\" BJP MLA Ashwath Narayan
Eyes set on Karnataka assembly elections 2018, the BJP in the state is going all out to criticise the Siddaramaiah government. While B S Yeddyurappa is touring the state with Parivarthana Yatra appealing the people of Karnataka to vote for change, [...]
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