Exclusive Shopping for Airtel Thanks customers with Future Group

Two days of Privileged Early Access for all Airtel Thanks customers on all Super Deals during Big Bazaar Sabse Saste 5 din 2020

  • On January 20 and 21, all Airtel Thanks customers get early access to India’s biggest shopping bonanza ahead of the event’s official launch on Jan 22
  • Airtel Thanks customers can access the benefit across 376 Big Bazaar, FBB & Hypercity stores in 162 cities            

If you are an Airtel Thanks customer then get ready to enjoy India’s Biggest Shopping Bonanza ahead of everyone else. Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) has partnered with Future Group to add to the wide range of exciting exclusive benefits it offers to customers as part of its Airtel Thanks program.   

Under the partnership, all Airtel Thanks customers – Postpaid and Prepaid Mobile, Home Broadband – are eligible for two days of early access on all the super deals during the upcoming Big Bazaar Sabse Sasta 5 Din, which is amongst India’s biggest shopping bonanzas.

The Big Bazaar Sabse Saste 5 Din will be held from 22nd Jan, 2019 till 26th Jan, 2019. However, all Airtel Thanks customers will be able to access all the exciting deals across millions of SKUs two days ahead of the official dates.

  • Early Access – Airtel Thanks customers will be able to enjoy the shopping bonanza on January 20 and January 21, before it opens for all shoppers.
  • Fast Billing – Airtel Thanks customers can enjoy smooth shopping experience with access to fast billing by booking their preferred slot.
  • Cashback – Download Future Pay App and get a cashback of Rs. 100 Cashback* (for 1st time Future Pay app download & registration only)

How can Airtel Thanks customers get the early access to the Big Bazaar offer

  • Go to Airtel Thanks App
  • Click on ‘Discover Airtel Thanks’
  • Click on ‘Big Bazaar – Sabse Saste 5 din’
  • Show this ‘PASS’ at the billing counter/cashier at Big Bazaar

How can Airtel Thanks customers access Fast Billing?

  • Visit Fill personal details, planned date, time and store location.  Date to shop, preferred time slot.
  • Customers will receive a confirmation on slot booking via SMS/email. Present this at the Customer Service Desk/Kiosk at Store.

Airtel Thanks is part of Airtel’s strategy of serving loyal customers with exclusive rewards. The new program is tiered in its offering – Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each tier opens a whole new set of benefits for Airtel customers. The benefits are powered by Airtel’s strong partnerships, which go from premium content brands like Amazon Prime, ZEE5, Airtel Xstream to Wynk music, device brands and many more.

Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer – Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel Thanks continues to grow through solid partnerships as we bring incredible benefits to loyal Airtel customers. We are delighted to collaborate with Future Group and bring an exclusive shopping experience to our customers ahead of everyone else.”


DoE’s Group A & B employees’ June salary deferred to July

Excess expenditure over and above the limit of one-third of the provisions in the vote-on-account by the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) has forced the Finance ministry to defer the salaries of Group A and B employees in the Department of Expenditures for the month of June till provisions are made for them in the full Budget in July.

“It has been found that booking of excess expenditure over and above 1/3rd of the provision in Vote-on-Account by PFMS has resulted in paucity of funds. In order to keep the expenditure within the ceilings of Vote-on-Account, Secretary (Expenditure) has decided that expenditure for payment of salaries for June, 2019 of only Group ‘C’ employees posted in the office of CGA and office of PFMS be booked,” said an office memorandum of the Department of Expenditure of 17-18th June. The Controller General of Accounts (CGA) is part of the DoE.

“Payment of salaries in respect of Group A and B officers may be made after full Budget provisions are made available by Parliament”, the memorandum said.

On February 1, the Government sought Vote on Account for Rs 34.17 lakh crore expenditure for April-July 2019. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had pegged an aggregate gross expenditure for 2019-20 at over Rs 97.43 lakh crore in the interim Budget and sought Parliament’s approval for meeting the expenditure, which is likely to be incurred during April to July 2019.

“Aggregate gross expenditure for 2019-20 is estimated at Rs 97,43,039.70 crore. Against this requirement, the amount asked for ‘on Account’, is Rs 34,17,295.38 crore,” said the Vote on Account 2019-20 tabled in Parliament.

As part of the Vote on Account, the government had sought Rs 65,366.83 crore for Department of Food and Public Distribution for meeting the food subsidy to FCI and others, state governments on decentralised food procurement under NFSA for the year 2019-20.

Vote on account is an interim permission to spend money as against a full Budget which is an elaborate financial statement of expenditure and receipts.

The Constitution says that no money can be withdrawn by the government from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law. Vote on account is the permission to withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund of India in that period, usually two months. An outgoing government presents only an interim Budget or seeks a vote on account. It leaves it to the next government to present the full Budget.

Former Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had launched the mandatory use of PFMS for all Central sector schemes to ensure that the benefits of the various government schemes reach the last mile.

FMS helps in complete tracking of funds but would also ensure just in time transfer of funds. It implemets Just-In-Time releases of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) funds under the Central Sector schemes like MGNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), National Rural Drinking Water Mission , Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) among others.


Facebook shutting down group video chat app Bonfire

Facebook has decided to shut down a clone of the main Group video chat app called “Houseparty”, which is a virtual hangout for its users in a group.

According to The Verge on Friday, the clone app called “Bonfire” which Facebook began testing in 2017, will stop working this month.

“In May, we’ll be ending support for the Bonfire tests. We’ll incorporate elements of what we learned into other current and future products,” Facebook said in a statement.

The app began testing in Denmark in the fall of 2017.

The main app “Houseparty” is a synchronous Group video chat in which participants would open it up to see who else was already online and hang out with them online.

Facebook has been adding Group video chat features to its other platforms like Instagram and Messenger.



Don’t link us with Sri Lankan group; Tamil Nadu outfit

A senior leader of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) on Tuesday dubbed as “media terrorism” a report linking it with a similar Sri Lankan group which has been blamed for the suicide bombings that killed 310 people in the island nation.

“Just because we have the word Thowheed in our name, a media report linked our organisation with the outfit suspected to have carried out the Easter Sunday carnage,” said Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath Vice President B. Abdul Rahman.

“The word Thowheed in Arabic means one god or monotheism. Even people can have it as their name. Ours is a social welfare organisation with about 10 lakh disciplined members,” Rahman told IANS.

“Over 30,000 of our members helped people of all faiths during the Chennai floods in 2015. Similarly, during the floods in Kerala, our members went there and helped people there. We hold the largest number of blood donation camps,” Rahman added.

Linking his group with the Sri Lankan outfit National Thowheed Jamaath, which Colombo has said was involved in the bombing of churches and hotels, “is nothing but media terrorism”, he said.

According to Rahman, the TNTJ preaches true Islamic principles and practices.

“We preached against dowry system as non-Islamic practice. Now a large number of families follow that,” he said.

“Suicide has no place in Islam. Before a Muslim’s body is buried, a prayer is held. As per true Islamic principle, a Muslim has no right to take his own life.

“If anyone commits suicide, then the last prayer before his burial cannot be done is the true Islamic principle. A person who commits suicide will go to hell,” Rahman said.

According to Rahman, the TNTJ is opposed to Wahhabism – an hardline Islamic doctrine.

He said TNTJ’s links with the Thowheed Jamaath in Sri Lanka pertained only to social service and preaching of Islamic principles.



Sri Lankan outfit National Thowheed Jamath blamed for bombings

The government on Monday blamed a Sri Lankan Muslim outfit for the horrific serial bombings which killed 290 people in the country on Easter Sunday and said the attacks were “a colossal intelligence failure”.

The National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) carried out the eight explosions across three cities in Sri Lanka, also injuring over 500 people, the government told the media.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said: “National Thowheed Jamath was involved. It is a local organisation. We don’t know whether they are linked to outsiders. All those arrested are locals.”

Senaratne, who was addressing the media along with other Ministers, called the well-planned attacks a “colossal intelligence failure” and stated that despite receiving prior information, the attacks could not be prevented, media reports said.

The Minister said that on April 4, international intelligence agencies — which he did not identify — had warned of these attacks and even mentioned that the targets would be churches and tourist destinations.

The Inspector General of Police was informed of this on April 9, and even names of suspected terrorists were given to him, Senaratne said.

He said the country’s Security Council wanted to meet on Sunday but it did not happen as President Maithripala Sirirsena was overseas.

“As a government, we apologize to families and other institutions. The problem is that even when we met the Prime Minister at the Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister was also in the dark,” he said.

“He had seen this circular only when we did. He was left out of Security Council meetings.”

Two Sri Lankan Ministers, Mano Ganesan and Harin Fernando, also stated on Twitter that the government had prior information about an impending attack.

Calling for the resignation of the Inspector General of Police, Senaratne said: “This morning (Monday) the President, the Prime Minister and State Defence Minister met for the first time. We need a unified political leadership today to overcome this situation and we will take every action to eradicate terrorism from our country.”

Sri Lanka has been plagued in recent times by an unseemly conflict between the President and the Prime Minister.




Pakistan to upgrade group of banned outfits to ‘high risk’

Pakistan has decided to upgrade a group of banned outfits, including the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), to the “high risk” category and start monitoring and re-examining their activities to comply with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The Paris-based global watchdog against financial crimes had expressed dissatisfaction over considering these entities as low to medium risk and said Pakistan did “not demonstrate a proper understanding of the terror financing risks posed by the JeM, Islamic State (IS), Al Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Haqqani Network, and persons affiliated with the Taliban”, Dawn news reported on Saturday.

All these groups have now been described as “high-risk” entities and would be subject to greater scrutiny by all agencies and institutions of the country, starting from their registration to operations and from their fund collection to bank accounts and issuance of suspicious transactions, information sharing and so on, an informed official said on Friday.

The institutions include the Federal Investigation Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan, National Counter-Terrorism Authority, Financial Monitoring Unit, among others.

He said these decisions were taken at a meeting of the general council on FATF led by Finance Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan as part of a series of meetings to comply with the watchdog’s obligations.

Khan had led the Pakistani delegation to Paris during the February 18-22 meetings of the FATF plenary and its group reviews.

The institutions would complete this exercise within two weeks so as to present a compliance report to a delegation of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group, a regional associate of the FATF, slated to visit Islamabad on March 24, Dawn quoted the official as saying.

The delegation would review Pakistan’s performance on the basis of Islamabad’s fresh exercise and submit its assessment report to the FATF headquarters.

The FATF would then make a fresh review of Pakistan’s current progress and whether the country should be moved out of the “grey list” it imposed last year or be downgraded to the “black list” having serious financial and economic repercussions in case of serious shortcomings.



Dhoni joins Sachin, Sourav, Dravid in elite group

Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has become only the fourth Indian batsman to complete 13,000 runs in List A cricket. Dhoni has amassed 13,054 runs in 412 List A matches at an average of 50.79.

The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman has joined an elite club, comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.

Dhoni achieved the milestone during the first One-Day International (ODI) against Australia when he scored a gritty half-century to power India to a six-wicket victory.

Former England star Graham Gooch is at the top of the list with 22,211 runs in List A cricket.

Apart from this, Dhoni’s unbeaten 141-run partnership with Kedar Jadhav is the second highest fifth-wicket stand by India against Australia at home. This was also the second best partnership for any wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here.

The highest stand was put up by Shaun Marsh and Shane Watson of Australia when they produced a 145-run opening partnership in 2009.



Sikh group helps Kashmiri students travel back to their home

Sikh non-profit organization Khalsa Aid has sent nearly 300 Kashmiri students from various places back to their home state following fear among them in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.

Khalsa Aid volunteers said on Thursday that the last batch of students from the region were sent on specially arranged vehicles with security till Jammu so that they could travel further ahead to their respective native places.

Around 250 students from Kashmir Valley had gathered in Mohali town in Punjab, adjoining Chandigarh in the past week.

“Most of them were fearing a backlash while some had experienced harassment. At some places, the Kashmiri students were asked to vacate their paying guest (PG) accommodations and had gathered at a gurdwara in Mohali,” one volunteer said.

Kashmiri students residing in PG accommodations in Mullana village in Haryana’s Ambala district, around 75 km from here, were told to leave on February 16. Following this, some of them arrived in Mohali while others took refuge in the Mararishi Markandeshwar (Deemed) University hostels.

Some Kashmiri students arrived in Mohali from Dehradun and adjoining areas.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that there were around 4,000 Kashmiri students studying in institutions in Punjab and their safety would be ensured.



Musk-founded AI group not to release software on ‘fake news’ fears

Elon Musk-founded non-profit Artificial Intelligence (AI) research group OpenAI has decided not to reveal its new AI software in detail, fearing the AI-based model can be misused by bad actors in creating real-looking fake news.

Dubbed as “GPT2”, the AI-based automated text generator can produce fake news articles and abusive posts after being fed with a few pieces of data.

“We’ve trained a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text and performs rudimentary reading comprehension, machine translation, question answering and summarization – “all without task-specific training,” OpenAI said in a blog post late on Thursday.

Trained on a data set of eight million web pages, “GPT2” can adapt to the style and the content of the text you feed it.

OpenAI said the AI model is so good and the risk of malicious use is so high that it is not releasing the full research to the public.

However, the non-profit has created a smaller model that lets researchers experiment with the algorithm to see what kind of text it can generate and what other sorts of tasks it can perform.

“We can imagine the application of these models for malicious purposes, including the following: Generate misleading news articles, impersonate others online, automate the production of abusive or faked content to post on social media and automate the production of spam/phishing content,” said OpenAI.

Today, malicious actors – some of which are political in nature – have already begun to target the shared online commons, using things like “robotic tools, fake accounts and dedicated teams to troll individuals with hateful commentary or smears that make them afraid to speak, or difficult to be heard or believed”.

OpenAI further said that we should consider how research into the generation of synthetic images, videos, audio and text may further combine to unlock new as-yet-unanticipated capabilities for these bad actors.

Musk, who is the staunch critic of AI and co-founded OpenAI in 2016, stepped down from its board in 2018.

OpenAI said governments should consider expanding or commencing initiatives to more systematically monitor the societal impact and diffusion of AI technologies.

Musk-founded AI group not to release software on 'fake news' fears



ED files money laundering case against Pakistani terror group

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday registered a case against Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), a Pakistani terror group, for their involvement in money laundering through various hawala channels.

A senior ED official said that the case was registered under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in September 2018. 

The financial probe agency will try to establish money trail and to identify proceeds of crime that are suspected to be generated out of the criminal activities from the accused.

On September 26, 2018, the NIA has arrested Mohammad Salman from south Delhi’s Nizamuddin area who was in regular touch with a Dubai-based Pakistani national, who in turn was connected with the deputy chief of FIF, a front-end organisation of proscribed terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

According to the NIA case, Salman was alleged to have received funds from FIF operators through hawala channels.

The NIA in its FIR claimed that the accused and other persons reportedly received money illegally from various people in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates and these funds were utilised to carry out terrorist activities and to create unrest in India.

The agency has recovered and seized cash amounting to Rs 1.56 lakh, Nepali currency worth Rs 43,000, 14 mobiles phones, five pen drives and other incriminating documents.

Besides Salman, the NIA has also arrested FIF hawala conduit Mohammad Salim aka Mama, a resident of central Delhi’s Daryaganj, and Srinagar-based hawala courier Sajjad Abdul Wani.

According to the NIA, FIF is a Lahore-based organisation established by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and acts as a front for the LeT.

It was founded in 1990 by Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.



Tesla acquires battery technology group Maxwell for $218 mn

Electric car maker Tesla has acquired US-based energy storage company Maxwell Technologies in an all-stock deal valued at $218 million, a deal aimed at helping the electric automaker improve its batteries and lower costs as more competitors enter the market.

According to the report, the offer will value each of Maxwell’s 45.9 million shares at $4.75. The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

“We believe this transaction is in the best interests of Maxwell stockholders and offers investors the opportunity to participate in Tesla’s mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy,” Franz Fink, CEO and President, Maxwell, was quoted as saying by TechCrunch on Monday.

Maxwell Technologies’ primary focus has been on ultracapacitors — energy storage devices that can charge and discharge rapidly, perform at a wide range of temperatures and have high power density and long operational life.

In December, the company sold its high-voltage battery product line to Renaissance Investment Foundation for $55.1 million in cash and up to $15 million in potential future milestone payments.

The company says that Maxwell’s dry electrode technology — used to make the ultracapacitors — which can be applied to batteries of varying chemistries, boosts performance and is more cost-effective than the more commonly used wet electrode technology.

That application could give Tesla a boost in an increasingly competitive electric vehicle market, the report said.

A number of automakers are introducing, or have introduced, electric vehicles in the past several months, including the Jaguar I-PACE, Audi e-tron SUV, Kia e-Niro and the Hyundai Kona.

“We are always looking for potential acquisitions that make sense for the business and support Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement to TechCrunch.

Tesla acquires battery technology group Maxwell for $218 mn



Davis Cup; India lose to Italy 1-3 in World Group qualifier tie

India lost their Davis Cup World Group Qualifier tie 1-3 to Italy after Andreas Seppi defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the reverse singles here on Saturday.

After the high of doubles pair Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan getting the better of Simone Bolelli and Matteo Berettini and making it 2-1 earlier in the day, Prajnesh was outplayed 6-1, 6-4 in an 62 minutes.

On the first day, Ramkumar Ramanathan lost to Seppi while Prajnesh was beaten in the second singles rubber by Berrettini.

Italy will now play in the World Group Finals while India will be relegated to the Zonals.