Singapore Open: PV Sindhu Makes It To Semifinals

PV Sindhu surviving a battle made it to the semifinals on Friday but Saina Nehwal was thoroughly outplayed in her straight-game quarterfinal loss on a mixed day for India at the Singapore Open badminton tournament. 

Rio Games silver-winner Sindhu defeated world No.18 and 2017 BWF World Junior Championship bronze-medallist Cai Yanyan of China 21-13, 17-21, 21-14 to set up a meeting with former world champion Nozomi Okuhara. 

It is Sindhu’s second semifinal of the season, following a last-four finish at the India Open last month. 

The second-seeded Okuhara, hailing from Japan, didn’t break much sweat on her way to a 21-8, 21-13 win over sixth seed Saina, a bronze-medallist at the London Olympics.

Sindhu broke off at 5-5 in the opening game to earn the bragging rights but her Chinese rival came back strongly in the second game, opening up a lead of 11-6 at the break. 

The Indian fought back superbly to narrow the lead to 15-16 before Cai marched ahead to take the match to the decider. 

In the third game, Sindhu once again found her bearings and surged to a lead of 11-5 before the interval. The Indian continued to move ahead and closed out the match comfortably in the end.

In contrast, Saina, who had defeated Okuhara in their last three meetings and also enjoyed a 9-4 advantage ahead of this clash, fell apart against the Japanese in a lop-sided clash. 

Okuhara jumped to a 9-0 lead, a gap which Saina failed to breach, collecting only eight points in the first game. 

In the second, Saina rose to 4-0 but Okuhara clawed back at 6-6 and then turned the tables, reaching 11-8 at the breather. 

The Japanese then moved ahead at 12-11 and didn’t look back.

Hillary Clinton On Julian Assange’s Arrest: ‘He Needs To Answer For What He Has Done’

The former secretary of state (USA) Hillary Clinton said on the arrest of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange that he needs to “answer for what he has done”. Clinton mentioned about Assange while speaking at an event on Thursday with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Assange was arrested earlier Thursday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and the US has charged him with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer at the Pentagon.

WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers during the 2016 election season hurt Clinton’s presidential campaign.

US President Donald Trump, Clinton’s Republican opponent, frequently showered praise on Assange during the final weeks of the campaign and cheered on the release of damaging emails from Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta.

Assange was arrested after Ecuador revoked the political asylum that had kept him holed up at the embassy for nearly seven years. The US is seeking Assange’s extradition.

Clinton said on Thursday, “The bottom line is that he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it has been charged.”

In a tongue-in-cheek nod to Trump’s travel ban on citizens from Muslim-majority nations, Clinton added, “I do think it’s a little ironic that he’s the only foreigner this administration would welcome to the United States.”

SC Seeks Donor Details From Political Prties, Dismisses Plea For Stay On Electoral Bonds

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea for interim stay on electoral bonds. It directed the political parties to furnish details of money received through electoral bonds and identity of the donors by May 30. The details have to be submitted in a sealed cover as directed by the top court. 

The court said the Election Commission of India will keep the record of the money received through electoral bonds by the political parties.

The Supreme Court also directed the finance ministry to reduce window of purchasing electoral bonds from 10 days to five days in April-May. The court further said it would examine in detail the changes made in law and ensure that balance does not tilt in favour of any party.

The ruling came on a petition challenging the validity of electoral bonds, which allows anonymous donations to political parties. The government on Thursday had told the court that it is not necessary for voters to know the identity of contributors.

This is an interim direction with the top court stating that time is not sufficient to have a detailed hearing on the matter. The Supreme Court, however, observed that the contentions submitted by both parties give rise to weighty issues and have a tremendous bearing on the sanctity of the electoral process.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was hearing the plea filed by the CPI(M) and Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-governmental organisation. The bench concluded the hearing on Thursday and reserved its order on the plea.

The NGO, which has challenged the validity of the scheme, has sought interim relief, including that either the issuance of electoral bonds must be stopped or the names of the donors made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.

The CPI(M) in its petition claimed that the non-disclosure clause would add to the woes of Indian democracy. A bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra issued a notice to the government in the case in October last year.

On Thursday, the government had also seemed to suggest that such transparency in election funding was impractical. Attorney general KK Venugopal said donors would be victimised if their details are made public.

He had added that this was against the right to privacy asserted by the nine-judge bench judgment in the Puttuswamy case. The central argument of the government’s top law officer was that the main purpose of electoral bonds was to curb the use of black money in elections.

Earlier, the AG argued that in the absence of state funding of elections, private contributions were the only source for political funding.

The Election Commission informed the bench that it has received information from political parties on how much donations they have received in the form of bonds and handed over details to the court.

The Election Commission and the central government have submitted their divergent views on the issue in writing to the court. The government has justified the bonds, saying it will promote transparency in political funding and according to the commission, the changes made in the law would have “serious repercussions”, making election funding opaque, and, further, making Indian elections vulnerable to foreign interference.

Electoral bonds were introduced after changes in the Finance Act 2017 as well as related amendments in the Income Tax Act, the Reserve Bank of India Act, and the Representation of People Act. Individuals, as well as foreign companies, can buy electoral bonds.

When the bonds were announced in 2017, the poll body differed with the Centre’s view that their introduction would make the process transparent.

The government notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 on January 2, 2018. As per provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive electoral bonds.

Electoral bonds shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with authorised bank.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the biggest beneficiary of the electoral bond scheme in 2017-18, receiving bonds worth around Rs 210 crore of the Rs 215 crore issued. As per the audit and income tax reports submitted by the party to the Election Commission, it earned Rs 210 crore through electoral bonds.

The Congress, which earned Rs 199 crore as income in 2017-18, got only Rs 5 crore in donations from electoral bonds.

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi Moves Contempt Petition Against Rahul Gandhi’s Statement On Rafale Deal

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi moved a criminal contempt petition in the Supreme Court on Friday against Congress chief 

Rahul Gandhi for saying ‘chowkidar chor hai’ for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for Ms. Lekhi, said Mr. Gandhi deliberately misinterpreted the recent judgment of the Supreme Court dismissing certain preliminary objections raised by the government. Mr. Gandhi purposefully gave a coloured interpretation to the judgment in order to personally attack Mr. Modi.

Mr. Rohatgi said the Congress president was widely quoted on national television and in newspapers.

Chief Justice Gogoi agreed to hear the contempt petition on Monday (April 15).

On April 10, a Bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi declared the court’s unanimous support for freedom of Press in a democracy. The Supreme Court had refused the government’s plea to keep the Rafale jets’ purchase documents a secret.

The court dismissed preliminary objections raised by the government against petitions seeking a review of the December 14, 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court, which upheld the 36 Rafale jets’ deal.

The government had claimed that the reviews were based on secret Rafale documents unauthorisedly removed from the Ministry of Defence and leaked to the media. Mr. Venugopal had argued that “stolen” documents came under the protection of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). They were not admissible in evidence in a court of law. Claiming privilege, the government had wanted the court to ignore the documents, even if they were found to be germane to the Rafale case, and dismiss the review petitions at a preliminary stage.

Student Of The Year 2 Trailer Out: Tiger Shroff, Ananya Panday, Tara Sutaria To Feature

Karan Johar has again come up with a fresh batch of star kids in his next. The trailer of Student Of The Year 2 is out now with somewhat similar vibes of 2012. The other film had launched Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra in Bollywood.

Seven years later, we have the second film in the Student Of The Year franchise. Taking on the baton from the earlier batch of ‘students’ are Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday.

Karan Johar took to Twitter to release the trailer of Student Of The Year 2, a film that is strikingly similar to its predecessor, or so the three-minute trailer would have you believe.

Student Of The Year 2 is directed by Punit Malhotra and produced under Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions banner. There is a strong hangover of the previous film in the trailer. The difference? While there were two guys vying for the attention of one girl in the first film, the sequel has two girls fighting for one guy.

Ananya Panday and Tara Sutaria are both in love with Tiger Shroff, and Tiger Shroff is lusting after the Student Of The Year trophy. In between, there is heartbreak, fights and expulsion to deal with. Will Student Of The Year 2 be better than the first film? Guess we will have to wait till May 10 to find out.

OnePlus 7 Latest Case Renders Reveal 3.5mm Headphone Jack

OnePlus 6T is the first smartphone from OnePlus to debut without a 3.5mm audio jack. The case renders of the company’s flagship phone has revealed that it will not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

However, fresh case renders of OnePlus 7 shows that it features a cutout for 3.5mm audio jack on its bottom edge.

A recent leak had revealed that the OnePlus 7 series will include as many as three smartphones such as OnePlus 7, OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G. The detailed specs of these phones are unavailable. However, it appears that the OP7 Pro and OP7 Pro 5G could be powered by the Snapdragon 855 and the only difference between them could be that the Pro model could be featuring X50 5G modem to carry support for 5G networks. There is no confirmation on whether the OnePlus 7 phone will be also powered by Snapdragon 855 or a less powerful SoC. The OP7 model could be cheaper than its Pro siblings.

The newly surfaced case images may belong to the OnePlus 7 smartphone, and not the Pro/Pro 5G versions. The top edge of the phone has a rectangular cutout for the pop-up selfie. The other round-shaped cutout on the same edge could be for the microphone.

The rear design of the new case is different from the previously spotted ones which features cutouts for a SIM card slot, a USB-C por and an external speaker. The new images show the bottom edge features cutouts for an external speaker, a 3.5mm audio ack and USB-C. There is a large vertical cutout on the case for the smartphone’s triple camera setup. There is a possibility that non-Pro edition of the upcoming OnePlus 7 smartphone may retain the 3.5mm audio jack, while its Pro edition may lack it.

It is speculated that the OnePlus 7 Pro could be coming with a notch-less and curved OLED screen of 6.67 inches. If this rumor is true, the OnePlus 7 may feature a flat display. The Snapdragon 855 mobile platform will be powering the smartphone along with 8 GB of RAM. The Android 9 Pie OS comes loaded on the device. It may come with a triple camera module that includes a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 main sensor, a 16-megapixel secondary lens and an 8-megapixel third sensor. The handset has an internal storage of 256 GB.

It is advisable to digest the speculations on the cheaper OnePlus 7 phone with 3.5mm audio jack and wait for further leaks to confirm on its existence.

Google Pixel 4, 4 XL To Arrive This Year, Codenames Revealed

Rumors about Google’s upcoming premium flagships are more to be witnessed these days. The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are arriving this year. 

A new report suggests two working codenames for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.

On Thursday, a commit, was posted to the AOSP that resolved an issue with the SELinux policy, as per 9to5Google. The commit’s developer explains the fix by providing a list of internal files, which includes two unknown device codenames. These two codenames were found in the latest Beta of the Google app, clearly marked as follows.

The Pixel 4 is codenamed “coral” but the Pixel 4 XL is interestingly codenamed “flame”. Google has always codenamed its hardware products after marine animals and “flame” would be the first time Google breaks from the naming convention. Perhaps this is indicative of some kind of feature that the 4 XL would be capable of, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point.

We’ve previously seen benchmarks for a device codenamed “coral” and we are surer now that this is early Pixel 4 hardware. As per those benchmarks, we expect the Pixel 4 to run a Snapdragon 855 and we’d finally see an overdue bump of RAM from 4GB to 6GB.

Not much else is known about the Pixel 4 duo at this point, but we should hear more as we slowly approach the imminent launch of Google’s mid-range Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 10.5 Gettibg Android Pie Update With One UI

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 10.5 had arrived last August with Android 8.1 Oreo. It is now going to get the Android Pie update. 

The update carries build number T835XXU2BSD1 and is currently only rolling out to the LTE model (SM-T835) in France. It brings in features like App Actions and Slices to this slate along with Samsung’s latest custom skin – One UI.

This update also bumps up the Android security patch level on the Galaxy Tab S4 10.5 to March 1, 2019 instead of the latest April patch. Apart from that, it brings Digital Wellbeing and Dark Mode in Settings.

The Galaxy Tab S4 10.5 is the third Samsung device to get Pie update this week. Earlier the Galaxy J6 and Galaxy J8 also got the latest version of Android.

Acer Announces New TravelMate P6 Series Notebook, Claims 20 Hour Battery Life

Acer has announced latest TravelMate P6 Series Notebook which will come in an ultra- thin form factor with long battery life and up to 24GB RAM. The company said the laptop is designed for professionals on the go and has features like biometric fingerprint authentication, and up to 20 hours of battery life.

The TravelMate P6 weighs only 1.1 kg and is only 0.6 inches or 16.6 mm in thickness. Acer says the laptop also meets the MIL-STD 810G military standards for durability. It comes with biometric fingerprint authentication and an IR camera with Windows Hello.

TravelMate P6 Specifications

The TravelMate P614-51 comes with a 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display with up to 170-degree wide viewing angles. The laptop’s design also includes a 180-degree hinge design, enabling it to lay flat for sharing the display with others. It sports a premium quality magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis

The laptop has a full-sized and back-lit keyboard. The P6 also comes with damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass NBT touchpad, which supports precise gesture controls and swiping. Acer says the Corning Gorilla Glass is tougher, more resistant to scratches, and easier to clean.

The new laptops run Windows 10 Pro and comes with up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processors and up to 24GB DDR4 memory. For graphics, Acer is offering up to NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics. Maximum onboard storage on the laptop is 1TB Gen 3 x4 PCIe SSD.

On the battery front, Asus has promised 20 hours of battery life and said that the notebook can also be charged up to 50 percent in less than 45 minutes.

For business professionals, TravelMate P614-51 is Skype-certified and the company claims the laptop will support crystal-clear videoconferencing via a four-mic array. For security purposes, when the webcam is not in use, the camera shutter can be closed as well.

The new Asus notebook also includes an integrated Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 chip which supports hardware-based protection for passwords and encryption keys.

Connectivity options on the TravelMate P6 include support for eSim-enabled 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO technology and Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports for faster data transfers. Customers will be able to connect a cable from the USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port to a Thunderbolt 3-enabled device and get four times the data and twice the video bandwidth and there’s support for up to 8K displays as well.  The laptop also has a MicroSD card and smart card readers along with NFC (Near Field Communication).

Acer is also providing an optional Acer USB Type-C Dock II, which expands the workspace via a USB Type-C port. This dock also provides USB 3.1 Type A and Type C, DisplayPort, HDMI, audio in/out options and support for up to three 4K displays.

Acer TravelMate P61451 price

The new Acer notebook will be available in North America in June, starting at $1,149.99. It will launch in Europea, Middle East and Asia in June, starting at EUR 1,249. The laptop will come to China in May, starting at RMB 9,999. Converting the US price to INR is around Rs 79,000 plus for the new Acer laptop.