New Zealand Mosque Attacker Faces “Unprecedented” Sentence

Suspected attacker Brenton Tarrant at the New Zealand mosque attacks faces an “unprecedented” sentence which prevents him from ever applying for release, but could yet escape terror charges, legal experts said on Monday.

The 28-year-old Australian has been charged with one initial count of murder over the mass shootings that killed 50 people in the southern city of Christchurch and faces life in prison.

In New Zealand, being found guilty of murder usually comes with a minimum of 10 years in jail before possible parole.

But legal experts said Tarrant’s alleged crimes were so extreme they could warrant the heaviest sentence imposed by a judge in the South Pacific nation since the abolition of the death penalty in 1961.

“He may be sentenced to imprisonment without parole. There is a very significant possibility,” criminal lawyer Simon Cullen told AFP, adding that such a sentence would be “unprecedented”.

“This would seem to be… the type of situation that may well attract consideration of that type of sentence.”

The longest-ever murder sentence imposed in New Zealand was in 2001 when a judge sentenced William Bell to life imprisonment with a 30-year minimum term for a triple murder.

University of Auckland criminal procedure expert Bill Hodge said despite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelling the massacre an act of terrorism —  prosecutors may shy away from terror charges.

The Terrorism Suppression Act was only introduced in 2002, after the US 9/11 attacks and is untested in the courts.

“We haven’t used our terrorism laws previously and the laws are designed to inhibit or prosecute those involved with groups and financing and publications and the like,” Hodge told AFP.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to use statues that have not been used previously when the Crimes Act — murder, attempted murder, manslaughter — are perfectly functional and well-understood.”

Hodge said charging Tarrant under terrorism laws risked extending the appeals process.

“It has not been tested in the appeal procedure. Appeals courts point out where the problems might be.”

While 50 people were killed in the rampage, police have so far charged Tarrant with one count of murder.

This is not unusual in New Zealand, with the first alleged offence used as a “holding” charge as police carry out their investigation, Cullen added.

Meanwhile, experts said the charges faced by an 18-year-old, whose name was suppressed by a court Monday, for distributing Tarrant’s livestream video of the deadly shooting were also breaking new ground.

The teenager was charged with two counts for sharing the livestream of the attack and for making “objectionable” online publications about one of the mosques.

The teenager is so far not believed by police to be directly involved in his attacks.

Hodge said the law is commonly used to prosecute people accused of sharing pornography and child pornography.  “I’m not aware of using it for terrorism-related subjects. It’s unusual… when it is used for sharing something which is a news event,” he said.

Lok Sabha Polls: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik To Contest From Two Seats In The State

Odisha CM and Biju Janta Dal (BJD) President Naveen Patnaik will contest from two seats in Lok Sabha Assembly Polls, one being Bijepur and the other his home turf Hinjili.

Patnaik on Monday announced the first list of BJD candidates for nine of the 21 Lok Sabha and 54 of the 147 assembly seats in the state.

The chief minister said he will contest the state polls from Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in west Odisha’s Bargarh district.

Simultaneous polling will be held in Odisha for the 21 Lok Sabha seats and the 147 assembly constituencies in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.

Elections in Hinjili and Bijepur will be held in the second phase of polling on April 18.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief’s announcement came a day after he had hinted at contesting the upcoming assembly election also from a constituency in west Odisha.

“Leaders as well as farmers, women and students from western Odisha have requested that I stand from an assembly constituency in western Odisha .. I am considering the proposal very seriously,” Patnaik had said on Sunday.

Patnaik’s move assumes significance in the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 

(BJP) impressive performance in western Odisha in the 2017 panchayat elections.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s back-to-back visits to the region in a bid to bolster his party’s poll prospects has further mounted pressure on the ruling BJD.

Patnaik represents the Hinjili assembly seat in south Odisha and has been winning successive assembly elections since 2000.

While four Lok Sabha and 28 assembly segments are going to polls on April 11, voting will be held for five parliamentary and 35 assembly seats in the second phase on April 18.

Huawei To Unveil P30, P30 Pro, Will Have OLED Panels By Samsung

Huawei will reveal the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro in Paris on March 26, 2019. A latest report has emerged prior to the launch revealing that the company’s upcoming flagships will feature OLED panels manufactured by Samsung Display. 

According to a Weibo post, Huawei has signed a contract with Samsung to manufacture OLED screen panels. For those unaware, the Chinese mobile maker used OLED display supplied by BOE and LG display for Huawei Mate 20 Pro. However, within months after the launch, Huawei Mate 20 Pro users reported issues of screen bleeding in the handset.

Meanwhile, ‘Sunrise’ colour variant of Huawei P30 Pro was leaked recently. The color model revealed by the website WinFuture will be fourth colour version after Black, Ice White and the Twilight/Aurora variants. The Sunrise colour variant of Huawei P30 Pro is seen flaunting a gradient design at the back with red tone getting darker towards the lower end. 

The leaked render image also showed the quad-lens camera at the back of the smartphone. However, the handset lacks 3.5mm headphone jack as per the images. 

The Huawei P30 Pro smartphone has also passed the benchmark listing website, AnTuTu. Listed under model number VOG-L29, the device scored 286,152 points. According to it, the handset will be powered by HiSilicon Kirin 980 Processor  and will run on Android Pie based operating system. 

To come with super zoom capabilities 

Previous rumours suggest that the smartphone will come with a screen resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and may pack 8GB RAM with 256GB internal storage. The company has been teasing the zoom capabilities of the device through various videos and images. It is expected that the Huawei P30 Pro may come with a four camera setup and this time the fourth sensor is ToF 3D sensor.

WhatsApp Likely To Come Up With 5 New Updates, Reverse Image Search And More

The most popular instant messaging app, WhatsApp has over 1.3 billion users worldwide. It comes with a challenge though, which is to face the spread of fake news, misinformation, incorrect or violence-inciting news on the platform. 

WhatsApp has been trying to combat fake news by restricting forwarded messages, as well as released commercials to educate the masses about the news that is shared on the platform. There is another feature that could help them tackle fake news. WhatsApp is about to integrate a reverse image search system via Google Images, to verify the authenticity of the image that you may have received in a message, for instance. 

Additionally, in order to expand its user base, WhatsApp is known to launch new features from time to time. Let’s take a look at the new features that the Facebook-owned app is going to release in the coming months.

Reverse image search

According to a report by a WABetainfo, WhatsApp beta 2.19.73 update for Android has been spotted with a ‘Search image’ feature which will take a user to Google in order to search for similar images as the one which a user may have received in a WhatsApp chat. WABetaInfo mentions that the new feature isn’t yet available, though the screenshots do suggest it is being tested on Android at the moment. The feature might use Google APIs to operate, it will also need to upload the image to Google from the WhatsApp chat as well.

This feature will be very useful because it can help us to understand if news is fake: when you receive an image, you can try to search it on the Web using this feature, so you can discover if it’s fake by reading info on the Web related to that image.

Dark Mode

A bunch of apps today offer dark-mode which is primarily a theme with dark colours and dim lighting. Not only does this help in using the app at night, but it also helps to conserve battery life of your device. We are expecting this feature to hit WhatsApp soon.

3D Touch Action

Exclusive to iPhone users, this feature is speculated to let you to secretly read someone’s status without intimidating them. The feature is said to be already available to WhatsApp beta users and should be rolled out end users soon enough.

Private Replies

A long-awaited feature, private replies was recently introduced for Android users. This feature is expected to finally reach iOS devices. With this feature, users can privately reply to a person in a group chat.

Audio Picker

A new update should introduce a revamped audio picker for WhatsApp. This will allow users to play the audio file before sending it to their contacts. Apart from that, all audio and music files stored on your phone will also be listed in the app for you to send and at a time you will be able to send 30 audio files in one go.

Amidst Indians’ Anger Over Masood Azhar Blacklisting, Xiaomi Makes Its Largest Investment In India

The market view and the societal boycott story are clashing. Amidst orotests of Indians on Twittee to #BoycottChineseProducts after China’s blocking if the UN Security Council’s move to blacklist Masood Azhar, Xiaomi which turns out to be India’s largest smartphone manufacturer made its biggest investment in India so far of ₹35 billion.

Xiaomi’s total investment of ₹35 billion consists of two fusions from Xiaomi Singapore. One, from January, of ₹15 billion and another in March on ₹29 billion.

This is the largest investment made by Xiaomi in the four years that it’s been operating in India. Since then, not only has the company’s revenue grown steadily but so has its market share. So much so, that it overtook Samsung in 2018 with a market share of 28.9%, according  to the International Data Corporation.

But, according to industry executives who spoke to the Economic Times, Xiaomi is looking to expand into other sectors.

This doesn’t come as surprise since Manu Kumar Jain, the CEO of Xiaomi, hinted at launching many more product categories in India as early as last year, his only concern being customising those products for the Indian market.

Jain also hinted that Xiaomi will only foray into areas where stringent regulations wouldn’t apply. Rather than bring in products like drones, he said he would focus on more lenient sectors like electric cycles.

Since the company is also primarily reliant on online platforms for the sale of its smartphones, the investment will also be used to strengthen the company’s offline model in India by creating more stores around the country. Xiaomi currently has 26 exclusive stores and few hundred stores through its franchise partners.

India a key market for Xiaomi as the demand back home is shrinking. And diversifying into new segments would mean that Xiaomi will be able to launch products with higher margins.

Samasung Galaxy S9 March To Come With New Galaxy S10- Like Selfie Feature

Smartphone giant Samsung has released a new software update for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Also, it brings along a new selfie feature that was introduced on the Galaxy S10 lineup. 

As Samsung notes in the changelog, once the update is installed, the Galaxy S9 will take selfies with a narrower field of view (FOV). The front camera’s rated FOV is 80 degrees, but the update makes the device take selfies with a 68-degree FOV by default and adds a button to switch between 68-degree FOV and 80-degree FOV.

Narrow selfies for your lonesome, wider ones for group shots

This might seem like an odd move, but it actually makes sense. Samsung’s flagship phones have always had a wider field of view than phones from other manufacturers, and while that has always been an advantage with group selfies, it can be overkill if you’re just taking selfies of yourself. So now, by default, the front camera will take photos with a narrower FOV, but you can switch to the full 80-degree FOV if you want to accommodate more people (or more of the background against which you’re taking a selfie).

Samsung was quite active last year in bringing new camera features from the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 to older flagships as well as more affordable Galaxies, and we can expect the same to happen with some of the camera features introduced on the Galaxy S10. The company will likely release a similar update for the Galaxy Note 9, but it remains to be seen just how soon that will happen.

Other camera improvements also included

The new Galaxy S9 and S9+ update is currently available in Germany and comes with software version G960FXXU2CSC8 and G965FXXU2CSC8 respectively. The update also adds other camera improvements, such as faster switching between camera modes. It also brings improved stability for Wi-Fi and Samsung’s Messages, Contacts and Video Editor apps. The March 2019 security patch is included as well.

You can check if the update is available for you by going into the Software update menu of the Settings app on your phone and tapping Download updates manually. Samsung doesn’t seem to be rolling out the update over Smart Switch yet, but once that happens, you should also be able to find the firmware for the new software in our firmware database for a manual upgrade.

OnePlus 7 Latest Leak Before Next Launch, Suggests Radical Design Change

Amidst OnePlus’ preparations of its next flagship smartphone launch, leaks continue coming in. The recent leak says about a radical design change for the OnePlus 7 

OnePlus could adopt the gradient colour design for all OnePlus 7 models. OnePlus has offered different colours for its smartphones but mostly as special and limited editions. According to a leak by comparison website Tiger Mobiles, OnePlus 7 is seen in three gradient finishes. There’s one with black and mustard yellow combination, and another in purple and black combination similar to OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple.

The interesting variant here is the cyan and grey combination of OnePlus 7. It looks different and quite appealing for a gradient finish as well. What we can also expect from OnePlus 7 is a proper glass back body. While this would be a big change for OnePlus, it’s not something new in the industry. Gradient colour design is pretty popular on smartphones from Honor, Oppo and Vivo. Even Xiaomi jumped on the bandwagon with the recently launched Redmi Note 7 series.

In addition to new colours, OnePlus 7 may receive a facelift too with no notch cutout. The smartphone is expected to feature an edge-to-edge display with no presence of the notch. OnePlus is also rumoured to opt for the sliding camera mechanism on the OnePlus 7. Another feature we’ve seen on phones like Oppo F11 Pro and Vivo V15 Pro.

OnePlus 7 is looking to be a major upgrade in terms of design, but the smartphone will most likely launch with expected specifications. OnePlus 7 is expected to be powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of built-in storage.

The phone is rumoured to house a triple-camera setup featuring 48-megapixel, 20-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensors. It could sport a 16-megapixel selfie camera. Leaks suggest a 4,000mAh battery with a big 44W fast charger on the OnePlus 7. On the software front, the smartphone will most likely launch with OxygenOS 9 based on Android 9.0 Pie.

Google Pay Seeks To Avail Market Share Through Kirana Stores

Google Pay is seeking to roll out something new for smaller offline retailers or kirana stores. While Google had announced its plans of joining the point-of-sale providers to onboard retail merchants, it is now piloting transactions based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to be made by consumers while making offline purchases, according to two people aware of the matter.

“It will bring the convenience of card payments onto the smart phone–the only thing required here will be, instead of the card swipe, customers will have to share the mobile number at the billing counter,” said a top payment executive aware of the matter. Consumers will get a ‘collect’ request on their Google Pay application and make the payment by inserting the UPI PIN.

Having emerged as one of the top three payment applications on UPI thanks to P2P and bill payments, Google’s offline strategy is designed to create an ecosystem of payment solutions for Indian consumers. For the technology giant, which is aiming to connect the Next Billion Users to the internet, India is a key market. By leveraging payments, the company is targeting a big chunk of the consumer-retail interface.

“There are small-scale pilots that are being run across retail stores in the country. As of now there are no banner advertisements that are being done, only early adopters can test the product,” said one of the persons cited above. “The rollout will happen over the next few months.”

Google has much of the backend in place for such an exercise.

“The plan is to also run localised promotional campaigns for consumers in that area,” said one of the persons. “They have geo-tagged shops and can easily identify consumers in the surrounding area as well thereby offering targeted marketing campaigns.”

Google’s plans are similar to the offline strategy of PhonePe, which is using MapMyIndia to target offline stores and promote UPI payments.

“Our vision is to enable fast, seamless, and secure payments for our users anywhere, at any time, whether they are paying other users, buying products or services online, recharging mobile balance, paying for utilities or shopping at a retail outlet,” said Ambarish Kenghe, director, product management, Google Pay. “The offline ecosystem forms an important part of our objective to provide a seamless experience to users transacting with Google Pay.”

After ecommerce payments, the next battle is widely expected to be fought on the offline payments front. Paytm, with its expansive network of merchants using Paytm QR, is expected to be challenged by Google Pay, Reliance Jio and PhonePe.

“All eyes are on Reliance Jio, especially after what happened in telecom. What Jio wants to do in digital payments is being keenly observed by others,” said a payments industry expert. “Offline is the next big thing which will create the ultimate winner in the Indian payments ecosystem.”

With its own integrated billing and payments offering for small merchants, Jio could disrupt offline payments.

PhonePe chief executive officer Sameer Nigam has told ET that the company has partnered with MapMyIndia to track retail merchants in the country and create an engagement platform for users with local kirana stores. Similar to Google Pay, PhonePe is also listing local merchants on its application.

“The best part is for Google is that the India fintech strategy is not defined by revenues. It is more about creating that experience for the consumers and enhance stickiness,” said the expert.

Europe’s Deutsche Bank In Talks Of Merger With Commerzbank

Europe’s once- dominant financial institution, Deutsche Bank have agreed to begin merger talks with Commerzbank being backed by the government after throwing in the towel on years of failed turnaround efforts. 

By bowing to officials’ desire to forge a durable German lender with global reach out of two troubled firms, Deutsche Bank’s leaders are hardly putting their woes behind them – massive job cuts, political turbulence, a weakening European economy, US probes into its dealings with Donald Trump and a herculean integration, not to mention skeptical clients and investors, lie ahead if they reach a deal.

“I have consistently stressed that consolidation in the German and European banking sector is an important topic for us,” Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing said in a letter to employees. “We have to assess how we want to play a part in shaping it.” 

The companies confirmed the move to deeper discussions in statements on Sunday, capping months of speculation and behind-the-scenes talks with the finance ministry. Both firms have struggled to restore revenue growth after deep cuts to their investment banking units. An economic slowdown that has pushed back expectations for higher interest rates has added urgency to the situation.