NSA Ajit Doval Gets Higher Post, Will Hold Cabinet Rank

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has been re-appointed to the top post in the Prime Minister’s Office with an upgrade. He will hold the rank of a Cabinet Minister.

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabint has approved the appointment of Shri Ajit Doval, IPS (Retired) as National Security Adviser with effect from 31.05.2019. His appointment will be co-terminus with the term of the Prime Minister or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” a government order issued on Monday said.

“During the term of his office, he will be assigned the rank of Cabinet Minister in the Table of Precedence,” the brief order said.

Doval was PM Narendra Modi’s first choice to advise him on security when he first assumed office in May 2014.

As NSA, Doval has been seen as a major influence on the government’s security policy, right from its handling of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to dealing with Pakistan and China as well as deepening India’s relationship with Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The elevation places him on par with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, with who he had worked closely to work on India’s foreign policy during the NDA government’s previous term, helping forge stronger ties with the US, end the military standoff with China at Doklam and embark on an ambitious outreach to West Asia. Jaishankar was then India’s foreign secretary.

A 1968-batch Kerala cadre IPS officer, Doval was the first police officer to be awarded the second-highest peacetime gallantry award for his role in Operation Black Thunder-II launched to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in 1988.

Upendra Kushwaha Warns BJP Of Nitish Kumar, Says Betraying Alliance Is His Old Habit

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief and former BJP ally Upendra Kushwaha on Sunday said betraying alliance partners is Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar’s old habit and warned the saffron party to be ready for ‘Dhokha number 2’.

“I want to tell BJP people that Nitish Kumar has been known for disrespecting the people’s mandate. Betraying people’s mandate and alliance partners are his old habits…BJP people should be ready to witness ‘Dhokha number 2’,” Kushwaha told reporters here.

Kushwaha further said that there is nobody who has not been cheated by Kumar.

Kumar had severed ties with the BJP in June 2013 and joined hands with the RJD and Congress to form Grand Alliance in Bihar which won the last state elections. He later entered into an alliance with the BJP, after snapping ties with the RJD and Congress in Bihar in July 2017.

Kushwaha’s remark comes a day after Kumar inducted eight JD(U) MLAs in Bihar cabinet and left out his ally, the BJP, fuelling speculation of a rift between the two parties.

However, senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi brushed aside the speculation, saying that there was no dispute over the cabinet expansion.

The cabinet expansion came two days after the JD(U) chief decided that his party won’t join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government because it was offered just one seat.

Priyanka Chopra Reveals Her Political Ambition To Be A PM, Husband Nick As President

Priyanka Chopra is hoping to conquer yet another benchmark. The 36-year-old actress told as reported by Metro and several international sites, that she has political ambitions both for herself and for her husband of less than a year, Nick Jonas and Priyanka, who counts UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador among the many hats she wears, has her eye on the top job: Prime Minister of India. And Nick Jonas for President, please – country not specified but since Nick is American, we’ll take the White House for granted. “I would love to run for prime minister of India. I would love Nick to run for president,” Priyanka Chopra told.

Priyanka Chopra added a disclaimer – she doesn’t “like the things associated with politics.” So why even consider running for Prime Minister/President then? “I know that both of us really want to make a change. Never say never,” Priyanka said. Asked why she thinks Nick Jonas, 26, would suit the position, Priyanka said, “He’s not afraid to use the word (feminist) and I love that.”

While Nick Jonas has displayed no political streak at all, Priyanka Chopra met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin a couple of years ago. Priyanka and Nick also invited PM Modi to the wedding reception they held in New Delhi last year. Other than her photo-ops PM Modi, Priyanka has so far shown no particular bent towards a political party. She certainly wouldn’t be the first film star to make it in politics, in the grand tradition of MGR, NTR, Jayalalithaa, Sunil Dutt and many more.

In her own sphere, Priyanka Chopra is at the top of her game. After a superhit Bollywood career, she forged new worlds in American TV with a headlining role on Quanticoand in Hollywood, where she has film credits such as Baywatchand Isn’t It Romantic?Priyanka is also a producer, singer and tech investor. She is a name to reckon with at international showbiz events such as the Oscarsand Met Gala, and was recently at the Cannes Film Festival.

There isn’t much that Priyanka Chopra can’t do. So, Prime Minister – why not?

OnePlus 7 Sale To Begin From Tomorrow

It has been a few weeks since OnePlus unveiled its OnePlus 7 series smartphones in India and the devices have already managed to create a lot of hype among smartphone buyers. The OnePlus 7 Pro is this year’s biggest offering from the company while the regular OnePlus 7 has been positioned as an affordable flagship phone – the position that OnePlus has been enjoying for a long time. The OnePlus 7 Pro has been on sale for a while now and starting tomorrow, the OnePlus 7 will also be on the shelves.

Yes, OnePlus will finally put the OnePlus 7 on the shelves from June 4 and all the variants will go on sale. The company will put up both the variants of the OnePlus 7 on sale – the 6GB RAM model as well as the high-end one with 8GB RAM. Customers will also be able to choose between both the available colours – Mirror Grey and Red. The base version starts from Rs 32,999 while the top-end variant with 8GB RAM will sell for Rs 37,999.

OnePlus 7 specifications at a glance

Display: The OnePlus 7 retains the 6.4-inch Optic AMOLED Full HD+ display from the OnePlus 6T. It also retains the waterdrop notch on the top.

Chipset: It gets the same Snapdragon 855 chipset that the OnePlus 7 Pro uses.

Storage: You can get it in two storage variants – 128GB and 256GB. The OnePlus 7 also uses the faster UFS 3.0 storage from the OnePlus 7 Pro.

RAM: One can choose between 6GB and 8GB RAM.

Rear Camera: The OnePlus 7 gets a dual camera setup. The primary unit uses a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor with F1.7 aperture while the secondary camera gets a 5-megapixel depth camera.

Front Camera: At the front, there’s a 16-megapixel camera for selfies.

Battery: The OnePlus 7 retains the 3700mAh unit from the OnePlus 6T. it also gets the 20W Fast Charge.

Should you buy the  OnePlus 7?

The OnePlus 7 joins the OnePlus 7 Pro as OnePlus’ flagship lineup for 2019. Starting at Rs 32,999, it is almost Rs 16,000 cheaper than the base variant of the OnePlus 7 Pro. However, you get all the essential features from the OnePlus 7 Pro – the Snapdragon 855 chipset, UFS 3.0 storage and the 48-megapixel Sony camera.

If you want to get the flagship OnePlus experience without spending close to Rs 50,000, the OnePlus 7 is a wise choice. You get similar performance to the OnePlus 7 Pro for a much lower price. The OnePlus 7 Pro only makes sense if you want a more premium user experience in addition to the fast performance.

OPPO And Xiaomi Now Working On Under- Display Front Cameras

Over the last year, we have come across many different attempts by smartphone manufacturers creatively trying out new ways to expand the display size without actually making smartphones bigger. From pop- up selfie cameras to sliders to flipping cameras, there have been multiple concepts aimed towards higher screen-to-body ratios.

Last year, Honor introduced the hole punch display design with the View20 followed by Samsung’s Infinity-O display on the Galaxy A8s which was further popularized with the Galaxy S10 series. Now, OPPO and Xiaomi are touting independent concept for a perfectly bezel-less smartphone display with the selfie camera completely veiled under a fully functional display.

Unlike the hole punch displays that we’ve seen in the past, there is no cheeky cutout for the selfie camera. Based on the prototype shown off by OPPO’s Twitter handle, the front camera hides away under the active pixels on the display. In the past, OPPO has tried out different ways to deal with the selfie camera, including a slider on the Find X as well as the side-pivoted pop-up on the OPPO Reno.

OPPO’s VP Brian Shen also posted the same video on Weibo, stating that it is very difficult for under-screen cameras to produce the same quality of images compared to cameras outside of the display. “However, the realization of new technology is developed to perfection,” he added. There was, however, no announcement about the possible availability of the display on an OPPO smartphone.

Xiaomi tries to steal OPPO’s thunder

In the meantime, Xiaomi tried to steal the limelight from OPPO by showing off its own concept of the under-display camera minutes after OPPO did. This is a display prototype Xiaomi has attached to the Mi 9. While Xiaomi’s co-founder Lin Bin noted on Weibo that new display technology coming soon, he did not reveal when. Meanwhile, Xiaomi also shared an infographic on its Weibo handle decoding the working of this new innovative and “ultimate shocking” technology.

Firstly, when taking a selfie, the area of the display above the front camera turns transparent, allowing the light to pass to the sensor. The area of the display has “low reflection and high permeability” to make sure that bright light falling upon the display does not hinder the formation of the image on the sensor. As seen from the video above, the screen fills up space above the selfie camera when pictures are not being taken with it.

Xiaomi notes that this display technology is their “independent intellectual property,” hinting that their display technology could be different from the one exhibited by OPPO.

Besides acting as a display, the area of the screen above the selfie camera sensor also acts as a lens. The infographic also confirms that the technology for the display will be AMOLED and also that the switching of the display does not make any sound. We’re not sure whether this area will respond to touch but that does not recede our excitement about it.

Update: You can now read the English version of the infographic as shared by senior Xiaomi VP Wang Xiang.

Perfect substitute for mechanical parts?

The advent of this under-display camera technology is certainly very exciting and should help smartphone manufacturers finally move forward from mechanical parts. Despite the claims of perfection by these companies, we desire to check out selfies and how do they differ in terms of quality from usual selfie cameras. For now, there isn’t much information so we’d have to sit patiently and watch for the upcoming development from the companies.

Apple To Split iTunes Into Three Apps For Mac- Music, Podcasts And TV

Fresh evidence pertaining to the impending death of iTunes has emerged ahead of WWDC 2019. While the writing has been on the wall for quite some time now, two pieces of evidence have emerged over the past few days adding fuel to the fire. Apple has quietly scrubbed the official Facebook and Instagram pages for iTunes clean and is asking users to follow Apple TV accounts. It was earlier reported that Apple is planning to split iTunes into three apps for Mac – Music, Podcasts, and TV.

As noticed by a user on Reddit, the Facebook and Instagram pages of iTunes have been completely wiped clean. The Facebook account has been migrated to the tech company’s Apple TV page and the Instagram account is instructing users to follow the @AppleTV page instead. Additionally, as noted by developer Craig Hockenberry on Twitter, Apple has started redirecting the URL itunes.apple.com to Apple Music’s homepage.

iTunes, which was announced back in 2001, brought about a sea change in the music industry. The launch of the iTunes Store in 2003, which provided a simple and hassle-free method to purchase music legally, helped curb the spread of music piracy via peer-to-peer file sharing websites like Napster. As of late, streaming services like Spotify and Apple’s own Apple Music have taken over the music industry and the relevance of a software like iTunes – with its focus on paid downloads and CD ripping – has greatly diminished over the years.

A report by Bloomberg claims iTunes will be superseded by three separate applications for music, TV, and podcasts. 9to5Mac claimed last month that the new Music application will be based on the iTunes source code and will incorporate certain legacy features of the iconic multimedia app. Bloomberg’s report also asserts Apple is pushing towards hardware independence – bolstering the iPad Pro’s software in order to make it a better PC replacement and making the Apple Watch less reliant on the iPhone.

The five-day Worldwide Developer Conference will begin today with the main keynote taking place at 10am PDT in the US (10:30pm IST). The live stream can be accessed via Safari on any iOS or MacOS device or through Edge browser in Windows. Apple is expected to announce iOS 13, macOS 10.15, and watchOS 6.

Vistara Airlines To Launch International Flights In 2019 Second Half

Full service carrier Vistara, which has been serving the Indian skies for more than four years, plans to launch international services in the second half of this year.

A joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines, Vistara might also look at starting medium and long-haul flights, depending on approvals, amid the grounding of Jet Airways.

“We see India as a growing market. We are here for the long term,” Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of airlines’ grouping IATA on Sunday.

Without providing specific details, he said the airline plans to start international operations in the second half of 2019.

It had planned to launch overseas flights in the first half of this year.

Currently, Vistara has more than 22 planes and operates around 850 flights every week.

Last month, the carrier announced it would take on lease four Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft and two A320 neo planes.

In 2018, Vistara placed its order for purchased and leased aircraft totalling 50 from the Airbus A320neo family, including A321neos.

These would be for domestic as well as short and medium-haul international operations, with deliveries scheduled between 2019 and 2023.

Further, the carrier has bought six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that are scheduled to be delivered between 2020 and 2021. These would operate long-haul international operations.

Thng said, Vistara can start short-haul flights but would need more time for long-haul ones.

“If we do get the necessary rights, we do have a plan in place on how do we plan to operationalise it but I will not be able to share too much detail,” he said.

According to him, the airline would look at options to deploy the right type of aircraft provided it gets the necessary flying rights.

When asked about possibility of advancing deliveries of planes, Thng did not offer any comment. He said the airline is always talking to aircraft manufacturers on various issues.

The grounding of Jet Airways in April has resulted in significant capacity reduction in the domestic market.

India’s Manufacturing Sector Grows At Quickest Speed In Three Months In May: PMI

India’s manufacturing sector has shown its expansion at its fastest speed in three months in May ok improved output and new orders, suggests a private business survey also indicating a pick up in hiring.

The survey found increased optimism about manufacturing activity over the coming year, probably helped as Prime Minister Narendra Modi scored a dramatic election victory on a mandate of business-friendly policies and a tough stand on national security.

Almost 70% of responses were collected after exit polls showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party would return to power for a second term.

The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index increased to 52.7 in May from April’s eight-month low of 51.8, remaining above the 50-mark threshold that separates growth from contraction for a 22nd straight month.

“A revival in new order growth promoted a faster upturn in manufacturing production, as Indian firms sought to replenish inventories utilised in May to fulfill strengthening demand,” Pollyanna De Lima, principal economist at IHS Markit, said in a release.

The new business orders sub-index, which tracks overall demand, rose as foreign demand increased at the fastest pace in three months. Output also grew at the strongest rate since February.

That led firms to increase the pace of hiring from the previous month when headcount was barely changed.

“To assist with higher output needs, and benefit from relatively muted cost inflation, companies stepped up hiring and input purchasing,” De Lima said.

“Goods producers were also able to charge competitive prices due to negligible increases in their cost burdens, meaning not only higher sales in the domestic market, but also greater overseas demand.”

Although input costs increased at a stronger pace in May, manufacturers did not pass on those pressures to customers and instead trimmed prices for the first time since December. The output prices sub index dropped to 49.9 from 50.8.

That will help keep retail inflation muted and well below the Reserve Bank of India’s 4% target, increasing the likelihood of an interest rate cut at the next policy review on June 6.

If the central bank cuts rates this week, as expected, it would mark the third consecutive easing in as many meetings.

Jet Airway’s Former Partners, Rivals Struggle To Fill Lucrative Capacity Gap Left By Collapsed Airlines

Jet Airways’ former partners and rivals are launching replacement routes and looking for new codeshare partners as they struggle to fill a lucrative gap left by the collapse of one of the important international airline.

Jet, which halted operations on April 17 after running out of cash, had a market share of around 12 percent on international flights to and from India in 2018, according to government statistics, outstripping even Air India.

In Jet’s absence, cash-strapped Air India is the only carrier that operates widebody jets capable of non-stop flights to Europe and the United States, although the Vistara joint venture owned by Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines Ltd has 6 Boeing Co 787s on order due for delivery from next year.

With international airfares spiking by up to 36 percent in May and June according to data from travel portal Yatra. com, Jet’s former partners, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines Inc, have been among the first to announce new Indian routes to replace ones previously flown by Jet.

“People still want to travel. Foreign carriers are changing their networks and putting more into India if they can,” Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Director General Andrew Herdman said on the sidelines of an airline industry conference in Seoul.

KLM and sister carrier Air France will boost their capacity in India by 25 percent in the upcoming winter season through the use of bigger planes, higher frequencies and a new Bangalore-Amsterdam route from October.

In October, Virgin Atlantic will launch Mumbai-London, while Delta will fly from Mumbai to New York from December, in a sign it will take months to replace Jet’s non-stop capacity.

“I think you’ll see in the next four or five months most of the (domestic) capacity will be taken up,” said SpiceJet Ltd Chairman Ajay Singh. “As far as international is concerned, that may take a little longer as Jet was flying a significant number of widebody aircraft which are tougher for carriers in India to add at such a rapid pace.”

Other airlines, like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, will need the central government to loosen bilateral restrictions that cap flights at current levels. Singh said that was unlikely due to India’s policy of trying to develop its own hubs.

The capacity gap in the Middle East means fares in that market are expected to remain higher for longer than on some domestic and other routes, low-cost carrier IndiGo’s Chief Financial Officer Rohit Philip told analysts on May 27.

IndiGo has a codeshare agreement with Turkish, and days after Jet stopped flying SpiceJet signed a codeshare agreement with Emirates. Neither Indian carrier has widebodies.

Airbus SE Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer said new technology, such as a longer-range version of the A321neo, could help IndiGo launch non-stop flights to Europe without taking the costlier and riskier decision to add widebodies to its fleet.

“I think you are going to see some widebody capacity going into India to replace Jet’s and you are going to see some narrowbodies picking up that market,” he told reporters.

Other former Jet partners are in talks with carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet about new codeshare relationships.

Qantas Airways Ltd does not fly to India itself but it had used Jet to boost its reach beyond Singapore to Indian destinations and wants a new partner for the large market, CEO Alan Joyce said.

“They were a big partner and we were carrying a lot of traffic on them,” he said. “We have been approached by just about every major Indian carrier because they know there is a lot of traffic that we can provide them. We have had dialogue in the last few days with four different carriers about possible agreements.”