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Monika Bulaj’s photograph of Afghan schoolgirls back in class following the fall of the TalibanDozens of young girls are hunched over their books, white headscarves glowing in the dim light, chasing an education, maybe one day even a degree and a job. One is standing up, glancing out of shot towards a teacher, or perhaps just caught up in her dreams.The image, The Hidden Light of Afghanistan, was captured by Polish photographer Monika Bulaj as part of the Aftermath Project, which aims to document the complicated, messy realities of life in the wake of conflict. Bulaj’s subjects are the Afghans the west claims it went to war for in 2001 – all the women shut out from education and work by the Taliban, children whose lives were suffocated by the narrow strictures of extremism. Continue reading... [...]
Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that he does not see the possibility of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh being held together. However, he stated that the government is in favour of holding simultaneous [...]
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The capital’s citizens are caught in the middle again as the Taliban responds to increased US military pressure in its rural heartlandsEven six years ago, the words rang hollow. The Taliban’s “momentum has been reversed”, the UK’s General Adrian Bradshaw insisted to a room of incredulous journalists at the Nato headquarters in Kabul.Violence was rising across Afghanistan, slowly yet undeniably. But the US and its allies had a war to end, a 2014 deadline for their departure, and a withdrawal under way; reality took second place to the schedule set by Washington. Continue reading... [...]
Big-screen musical tells story of welder Arunachalam Muruganantham, who became a pioneer for menstrual healthMenstruation isn’t the most obvious topic for a blockbuster, but the story of how a lower-caste man from a village in India dropped out of school at 14 and became the unlikely champion of menstrual health in the subcontinent has become the subject of a Bollywood film released this week. Related: 'Silly and regressive': Indian firms introduce period days The community thought I was a pervert. They wanted an exorcism because they thought I was possessed by demons Continue reading... [...]
With stressful days round the corner for students appearing for board exams, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has penned a book detailing '25 mantras' to help students treat examinations as a cause for celebration and not despair. External Affairs Minister [...]
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally in Bengaluru on Sunday which will conclude the party's 90-day Nava Nirman Parivarthan yatra across poll-bound Karnataka. The yatra was led by its state unit president and former Chief [...]
Mercedes has taken the wraps off its all-new A-Class hatchback ahead of its world premiere at the upcoming Geneva motor show 2018.
The new A-Class will once again be offered exclusively in five-door form It will be the first of up to eight new compact models that are under development and due by the end of 2020.
These include successor models to the existing B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA as well as a trio of new models: an A-Class saloon, an SUV model set to be called the GLB and the all-electric EQ A previewed at the Frankfurt motor show last September.
Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche said at the car's reveal: "The A-Class has been a big driver of change at Mercedes. This last version is not a car that gives much of an impression of entry-level. It's a grown-up A-Class that fully embraces our vision of luxury."
The car is is based on a modified version of the outgoing model’s MFA platform and features a 30mm longer wheelbase and 14mm wider front track. The new Mercedes hatch, which has the internal codename W177, is also claimed to offer vastly improved levels of refinement. This is thanks to improvements in the rigidity of its body structure, altered axle mountings and more comprehensive sound-deadening measures. There are also enhanced aerodynamics: Mercedes-Benz claims a class- leading drag coefficient of 0.25 for the new A-Class.
The styling of Merc’s new entry-level model, initially previewed by the Concept A saloon at last year’s Shanghai motor show, draws heavily on the look of the recently unveiled CLS, most notably at the front. The two cars share what has been dubbed a ‘predator face’, with an AMG-inspired grille and angular headlights that extend back into the front wings, giving it a distinctly more aggressive air.
The newly designed headlights can be specified with optional Multibeam LED technology with adaptive high-beam assist plus, as well as individual city and motorway lighting functions and cornering lights.
New LED rear lights help to make the tailgate aperture of the A-Class 20mm wider than that of the outgoing model. Larger wheelhouses also allow Mercedes to offer 19in wheels as an option on non-AMG models for the first time.
The adoption of the larger platform has led to an incremental increase in the car’s external dimensions. Length is up by 120mm at 4419mm, width increases by 16mm to 1796mm and height extends by 2mm to 1440mm.
The increases have enabled Mercedes to improve the overall practicality of the A-Class. The rear door apertures are larger to ease entry to the back seats, and the boot’s capacity is 29 litres bigger than the old model’s at a nominal 370 litres.
It’s inside where Mercedes has concentrated much of its efforts on the new A-Class. The cabin receives a distinctive dashboard-mounted black panel display and switchgear similar to that first introduced on the S-class. The so-called widescreen cockpit comes in three themes: Classic, Sport and Discreet.
As standard, there are two 7.0in displays, an analogue instrument cluster and the first touchscreen infotainment system to be offered in a Mercedes model. Alternatively, customers can specify the car with twin 7.0in digital displays.
To unlock the full potential of its connectivity functions, the A-Class needs to be equipped with the optional extended version of the widescreen cockpit display, which features twin 10.3in screens, with a digital instrument display and touchscreen infotainment.
In this specification, it has a wi-fi hotspot and can also be optionally fitted with high-definition navigation with live traffic updates and car-to-X communication with map updates, a head-up display unit, traffic sign assist, augmented reality navigation and a Burmester sound system, among other functions.
The highlight of the MBUX connectivity system is an advanced optional speech recognition system designed to work along similar lines to Amazon’s Alexa voice service. It permits users to provide spoken commands through a “Hey, Mercedes” function that has been developed to recognise conversational language rather than specifically worded commands.
The new A-Class will be available with the choice of three four-cylinder engines in the international markets.
The A200 petrol is a heavily updated version of the Renault-Nissan-produced 1.4-litre unit delivering 157hp.
The more powerful A250 uses Mercedes’ recently updated 2.0-litre petrol engine, with 218hp. As the performance leader of the launch range, it is claimed to have a 0-100kph time of 6.2sec and a governed 250kph top speed.
Two more petrol models are expected later: an entry-level unit sitting below the A200 and a mid-range A-Class falling between the A200 and A250.
The sole diesel choice from the outset of sales is the A180d, which uses a 1.5-litre unit also produced by Renault-Nissan and delivering 112hp.
The A200 is equipped as [...]
What is it?
There’s an adventurer inside every one of us. For some, this may mean switching on National Geographic, while there are those who prefer to put on their hiking boots and head out for adrenaline-pumping thrills, and the Trailhawk is this kind of on an adventurer. Every model that Jeep builds must have a Trail Rated or Trailhawk (as they are called) version; one that displays better off-road ability than the regular model and comes out on top in tests in five specific areas – traction, water fording, manoeuvrability, articulation and ground clearance. Jeeps are pretty handy off-road, but for the Trailhawks to earn their wings, the cars get modifications like higher ground clearance, low-range 4x4 gearboxes and additional skid plates.
The Compass Trailhawk comes with Jeep’s Active Drive Low 4x4 system, which is basically a system with a low range and a ratio of 20:1, a rear locking differential and an additional Rock setting on Jeep's Selec Terrain system. It also gets hill descent control as standard. Ride height has been cranked up a further 20mm and the car gets differently profiled front and rear bumpers, giving it better approach and departure angles that stand at 30.3 degrees (approach), 24.4 degrees (breakover) and 33.6 degrees (departure). The regular Compass Limited variants measurements stand at 16.8, 22.9 and 31.7 respectively. The Compass Trailhawk also gets underside skid plates, all-season tyres and all-weather floor mats too.
Of course, the Trailhawk isn’t just a mountain-dwelling creature and it lives among us in the city too. And to remind us of its true nature, it also has the signature red recovery hooks, a black anti-glare bonnet decal, unique alloy wheels and the Trailhawk and Trail Rated badging.
What’s it like on the outside?
For the uninitiated, this might just be a regular Compass, but for those even slightly inclined towards anything automotive, it will be no tough task to tell this variant apart. The black bonnet decal, the red tow hooks and the badging are the right amount of deco to set it apart and give it that butch off-road appeal. Sure, some might still want more, like massive cladding all around, a winch to bolt onto the bumper, jerry cans for the body, perhaps a ladder over its tailgate, and even massive fog lamps sprouting from the roof. This would not only scream off-road but also take it from being an adventurer to, well, Bear Grylls. But bearing in mind this Compass will live in the city too, it's best left where it’s at.
What’s it like on the inside?
Trailhawk versions come with interiors trim and spec differences as well. The car we drove had Trailhawk logos embroidered on the seats, red trim bits around the cabin and an 8.4-inch touchscreen system; the current variants in India get a 5.0 or a 7.0-inch screen. The Trailhawk specifications for India are still not known, however, it will get additional buttons on the four-wheel-drive selector to select four-wheel-drive low, hill descent and the Rock mode setting too.
The rest of it is similar to the regular Compass, and that is a good thing. At first glance, the insides do appear plain, but as you look and poke around you’ll see that it has a quality feel to it, thanks to the generous helpings of soft-touch materials, the beautifully stitched seats and the well-damped switches. Space on the inside is the same; so, while the front is just fine, the rear still isn’t class leading and sitting three abreast will be uncomfortable. The backrest too may feel upright for some. Boot space stands at 438 litres, and what’s nice is that the SUV gets a full-size spare under the boot floor.
What’s it like to drive?
For our Trailhawk experience, Jeep had chalked out a drive through a Tasmanian forest trail. But between that and our hotel in Hobart, lay about 35km of some excellent paved twisty Australian roads, perfect to check this Jeep's road manners. I’m happy to report that the Trailhawk behaves pretty much the same, the 20mm ride height increase hasn’t really affected the handling – perhaps a back to back will bring out the differences but, out here on its own, the Trailhawk handled itself really well. Just like the regular Compass, there is body roll but it’s far from sloppy. The steering is nice, direct and well-weighted. The gearbox, however, doesn’t blend in with the rest of the sporty character. The nine-speed torque converter feels like a typical slush 'box. Put your foot down at low revs, and there is a rise in revs but not a corresponding increase in speed and gear changes are slow to complete. Off-road, however, it works just fine; in fact, compared to a dual-clutch auto, the more fluid shifts of a torque converter make for a smoother drive, and with no clutch plate to damage, it’s probably the better setup to have.
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As the Indian Under-19 cricket team lifted the World Cup trophy after thrashing Australia by eight wickets in the final on Saturday, the families of the winners said that they could not be more proud of the team for their emphatic victory. [...]
Manjot Kalra scored a famous ton as India dispatched Australia by eight wickets to win the 2018 Under-19 World Cup at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand on Saturday. [...]
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