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  1. NEW DELHI: An explosion at an illegal firecracker factory in eastern India killed seven workers and injured nine others in the hours before Thursday's Diwali festival, officials said. Firework use hits a peak across India during the Hindu festival but New Delhi authorities have tried to restrict sales to tackle mounting pollution. The explosion late Wednesday completely destroyed the makeshift structure after fire touched off the gunpowder and chemical stocks used to make the fireworks in Balasore district of Odisha state, said district magistrate Pramod Kumar Das. He told AFP several of the injured workers are in a critical condition after the "huge" explosion. Diwali, the festival of lights, is traditionally celebrated by lighting lamps but has metamorphosed into a grand show of fireworks, sparking pollution and controversy. Explosions often occur in the thousands of illegal backyard and underground workshops that spring up during the festive season. Last month, nine people were killed in neighbouring Jharkhand state after their workshop was gutted by fire. India's firecracker industry, worth nearly one billion dollars a year, is the second largest in the world after China. The country's Supreme Court this month temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers in New Delhi because of the air pollution threat. The ruling came after the capital last year suffered its worst air pollution in nearly two decades, which experts blamed on Diwali fireworks and stubble-burning in farming regions around the city. Police have arrested more than two dozen people in New Delhi over the illegal sale of firecrackers since the October 9 court order and have seized more than one tonne of firecrackers.
  2. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promised India a new century of "strategic partnership" on Wednesday, accusing its Asian rival China of undermining international order. Photo: AFP file WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promised India a new century of "strategic partnership" on Wednesday, accusing its Asian rival China of undermining international order. Setting the stage for an upbeat visit next week to Delhi, Washington´s top diplomat drew an explicit comparison between China and the world´s "two greatest democracies." Washington and India have been building stronger ties for some time, but Tillerson made one of the clearest cases yet for the "shared values" underpinning the relationship. As such, the speech also amounted to a warning to great power rival China that Washington will build regional alliances to counter its ever-growing power. "The United States and India are increasingly global partners with growing strategic convergence," he said. "Indians and Americans don´t just share an affinity for democracy. We share a vision of the future," he said, projecting the relationship into the next 100 years. Promising greater prosperity and security in a "free and open Indo-Pacific," Tillerson did push India to open up its borders to more regional and US trade. But his harshest words were for China, the Asian economic behemoth and the nearest rival to India´s huge population and the United States´ still world-leading economy. "China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules-based order," Tillerson chided. "China´s provocative actions in the South China Sea directly challenge the international law and norms that the United States and India both stand for," he said. Last month, the chief of India´s army warned that China had been "testing our limits" in a recent border stand-off and warned that Delhi's forces must be ready for conflict. India and China went to war in 1962 over the state of Arunachal Pradesh and China has maintained better ties with Delhi´s foe Pakistan. Tillerson did not directly address August´s stand-off on the Doklam plateau in the Himalayas, which is claimed by both China and Bhutan, an ally of India. 'Greatest democracies' But he vowed that Washington "won't shrink from China's challenges to the rules-based order, or where China subverts the sovereignty of neighbouring countries." And he approvingly cited US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' declaration "that the world's two greatest democracies should have the two greatest militaries." Tillerson noted the Indian navy is now flying the American P-8 surveillance aircraft alongside its US comrades and promised to help to develop a carrier-borne strike force. Tillerson was speaking to guests of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He is due in New Delhi next week for talks with Indian leaders.
  3. There is a reason why every other startup in the world loves to call their startup the #UberofSomething. This is because when it all comes down to brass tacks, the startup company valuation Uber tops the charts, leading by huge margins. The current total valuation of the on-demand Taxi booking company is estimated to be around $ 68 Billion as of 2017. Then China's Didi Chuxing came in with a total valuation of $50 Billion with another On - Demand Taxi booking company. Now, you may be thinking, why are we talking about foreign startups like Uber and Didi Chuxing. Well, it is because these days before starting another company, we need to reflect on our Indian startups as well and and work on crucial things that we are surely missing. It could be innovation that might be missing and a copy paste culture could be that one culprit which leads us down the wrong path or one where we just eventually become average in everything. In India, the unicorn-ship or one can say the Olympic torch relay is spearheaded by Flipkart with an approximate valuation of $ 11.6 Billion. © The News Minute We are lagging by the huge margin and in the number of startups as well. Young and even smaller countries like Estonia are making their mark in innovation, then why not us? Why are we not competent enough in providing something more than services and create service startups that are not on par with the world-class market leaders? Why are we not able excite early customers and introduce more innovative products for them in the market. Maybe it is time to self-reflect and win everyone's trust back in India and make India the market leader again. Now, the question that arises is whether should we tighten the game like China and save our OlaCabs and Flipkart against Uber and Amazon or should we keep learning from the healthy competition they are keeping us in. Philosophically and with a futuristic vision, one may favor the latter but then that will also sprout the favorable results only if we are not cheated. Mission and vision should be one for the nation. Total valuation: 35.45 B against $ 738 B of total 217 unicorn companies all over the world. 1. Flipkart Total valuation: $11.6 B © PriceFixR Flipkart, an eCommerce marketplace was founded in October 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (no relation) and is competing against the market leader Amazon. Will Flipkart thrive against such a fierce competitor? Only time will tell. © NDTV Profit Left to Right: Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal © cbinsights 2. Snapdeal Total valuation: $7 B © YourStory Snapdeal is again an eCommerce marketplace which was started by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal in February 2010. Once considered as the top e-commerce website, they are now struggling against Flipkart and Amazon. Also, at one point Flipkart were in talks to buy Snapdeal but the latter refused the offer and decided to stand strong alone. © Livemint Left to Right: Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal © cbinsights 3. One97 Communications (operates as Paytm) Total valuation: $5.7 B © Mi Shoppe Paytm, as we are all aware of, partially due to demonetization, is a fintech sector company which facilitates users to make cashless digital transactions through a digital wallet. The company was founded in August 2010 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma. The name Paytm has been derived from "Payment Through Mobile." © Tech in Asia Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma © cbinsights 4. Olacabs Total valuation: $3.65 B © Tanay Sai Ola is one of the first major, Indian on-demand taxi booking service companies that has made to the list of unicorns. Ola Cabs was founded on 3 December 2010 by Bhavish Aggarwal, and Ankit Bhati and is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka. © Letsintern Olacabs founder Ankit Bhatia © cbinsights 5. ReNew Power Ventures Total valuation: $2 B © CleanTechnica ReNew Power Ventures is a renewable energy company headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana. The company was founded 6 years ago in 2011 by Sumant Sinha. ReNew Power Ventures is an Independent Power Producer (IPP) of clean energy with an installed capacity of more than 1000 MegaWatt. It's power plant span across the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, © Livemint ReNew Power Ventures founder Sumant Sinha © cbinsights 6. Hike Total valuation: $1.4 B © Wikipedia Hike is a cross-platform instant messaging service for smartphones that uses the internet for communication. The company was launched 4 years ago in December 2012 by Kavin Bharti. Its major competitor includes Whatsapp and WeChat. Its valuation touched to $ 1.4 B when it received $175 million dollars in funding from the Chinese internet firm Tencent and manufacturing giant Foxconn. Now, this was the time when entrepreneurs and investors were scratching their heads due to the downfall in the industry and here on the other hand, Hike surprised everybody by raising a huge round of funding. A round of funding that made it a unicorn company. © BW Disrupt Hike messenger founder Kavin Mittal © cbinsights 7. Shopclues Total valuation: $1.1 B © Owler Shopclues is another major Indian eCommerce marketplace that is competing against the likes of Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong and more. The company was founded in California's Silicon Valley in 2011 by Radhika Aggarwal, Sandeep Aggarwal, and Sanjay Sethi. The company is headquartered in Gurugram, India. © NewsBytes Left to Right: Radhika Ghai Aggarwal, Sanjay Sethi, and Sandeep Aggarwal © cbinsights 8. Zomato Media Total valuation: $1 B © Newsmobile Zomato is a restaurant search and discovery service company founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in 2008. Zomato, as of now operates in 23 countries, including India, United States, and Australia. With the help of Zomato, one can get all the information and reviews on restaurants, including images of menus, and it comes handy when the restaurant does not have its own website. © The Huffington Post India Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal © cbinsights 9. InMobi Total valuation: $1 B © Mobile App Marketing InMobi is an ad tech company which functions as a global advertising and discovery platform that reaches over 1.5 billion unique mobile devices worldwide. InMobi was founded in 2007 by Naveen Tewari, Amit Gupta, Mohit Saxena, and Abhay Singhal. InMobi's platform enables consumers to discover new products and services by providing contextual, relevant, and curated recommendations on mobile devices. The platform allows brands, publishers, and developers to engage consumers through mobile advertising. © YourStory InMobi founder Naveen Tewari © cbinsights 10. Quikr Total valuation: $1 B © First Report.in The last one on the list is Quikr which is another eCommerce marketplace that simply proves that eCommerce is the recipe for success and in a race to being a unicorn company too. In other words, Quikr is a classified advertising platform which was founded by Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas in 2008. The company is headquartered in Bangalore, India. © Property Portal Watch Quikr founder Pranay Chulet © cbinsights You can view the complete list here.
  4. NEW DELHI: India and Russia will hold large-scale military exercises engaging their armies, navies and air forces for the first time, the defence ministry in New Delhi said Monday. The two countries have held annual naval exercises since 2003 but this is the first occasion that both will combine all military services. They come on the back of regional tensions, with New Delhi and China ending a months-long military stand-off at a strategically important disputed area in the Himalayas in August. India has a longstanding territorial dispute with its northern neighbour, which is also expanding its naval presence. The October 19 - 29 joint war games will kick off in the eastern military district of Russia, the ministry said in a statement. "The year 2017 marks a major milestone as this exercise has been upgraded to involve all the three services of the armed forces (Army, Navy & Air Force)," the statement said. The games "will provide an opportunity to the armed forces of both countries to train in counter-terrorism operations in a multinational scenario in a joint tri-service environment". India will send 350 personnel from its army and 80 from the air force, and military hardware including two aircraft and a frigate, while Russia will have about 1,000 troops. Apart from anti-terrorism drills, the exercises will include professional interactions and establishment of joint command and control structures.
  5. This photograph taken September 1, 2017 shows a British-era dairy farm opened in 1889 that is now run by the Indian military in Allahabad-AFP Under a hot afternoon sun workers scrub down cows at the Allahabad Military Farm, the latest hangover of India´s colonial past being forced into the 21st century. The 700-acre (285-hectare) farm in the city of 1.1 million people, along with 38 other military farms set up by the country´s former British rulers, is to be closed in coming weeks. The yellow and white Victorian-era buildings will probably be demolished while the 500 cows face an uncertain future. The Allahabad farm, set up in 1889, is the oldest of those once used by the British to house the cows transported to Asia to provide milk for the troops in city barracks. The government announced in August that it would shut the military farms to cut costs and better use its vast defence land portfolio. The 39 farms are spread over 20,000 acres in all and include prime real estate in New Delhi and other big cities. They have about 25,000 cattle and hundreds of workers. Over time, their upkeep has become expensive -- the farms cost more than $46 million a year to run -- according to media reports. It is also cheaper to get milk for the 1.2 million-strong Indian army from cooperatives. The cross-bred Frieswal cow -- a mix of Holstein-Friesian cows from the Netherlands and India´s native Sahiwal -- at Allahabad is high-maintenance and requires special nutrition. In the scorching summer months, the animals also need to be showered up to three times a day as they cannot cope up with the heat. Workers at the Allahabad farm had mixed feelings about the closure although the government has said they will be redeployed. "We have been told that the farm will shut down permanently," one officer told AFP on condition of anonymity. "But we will be [moved] elsewhere in other wings of the armed forces." Military authorities are trying to give the sturdy cows, bulls and calves to commercial dairy farms and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. One media report said the animals could be auctioned off. It is not sure who will buy them however as few farms have the expertise of looking after the Frieswals. The cows yield an average of about 3,600 litres every 300 days compared to the national average yield of 2,000 litres. Besides shutting down farms, the government is also to close army postal units and revamp ordnance depots. The restructuring is aimed at devoting more resources to enhancing combat capability.
  6. In a tournament featuring the world's top-eight ODI sides, Pakistan were the lowest ranked of all the teams taking part in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. They had also slipped to the ninth spot in the ICC ODI rankings after a shocking loss to Zimbabwe, just four days after the cut-off date to qualify for the ICC mega event. For all the fans, cricket pundits and even the so-called astrologers, there was no way Pakistan was going to pose a threat to anyone, let alone win the coveted title. And, after their first game against a team they cannot lose to, Pakistan were dead and buried. The only being which airline they would use to book their flight back home. There was no way Sarfraz Ahmed-led side was going to march ahead in the tournament. But, then came the resurrection from the dead, the kind even the Gods would be proud of, to not just reach the final, but to annihilate an opponent they had developed a habit of losing to in the ICC events. A comeback, a bolt from the blue that carried on for four matches and propelled Pakistan all the way to their maiden Champions Trophy title. © Reuters Riding on the back of three commendable wins, Pakistan was expected to run out of steam against a much-superior and more-proven Indian side in the summit clash. They were up against a team that had impressed everyone with their formidable batting line-up and the one that looked the most complete side in the tournament. But, high on self-belief and with much-needed momentum on their side, a spirited Pakistani brigade did what no one could have possibly imagined - wreak havoc on Virat Kohli's men. Following a brilliant hundred by Fakhar Zaman and a magical spell by Mohammad Amir, Pakistan notched up the Champions Trophy title on the back of a sweet 180-run win over arch-rivals India. So, how did they do it? How does a lowly-ranked team get past the cricket bigwigs one after another and then shock the best team in the tournament to claim top honours? While a collective team effort and some brilliant individual performances surely aided Pakistan, it appears that cricketer-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar and India's current coach Ravi Shastri had a pivotal role in their successful Champions Trophy campaign. © Reuters Several former cricketers, including legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri had tagged India favorites to ease past Pakistan in the final. According to Talat Ali, the manager of the Pakistan team during the Champions Trophy, remarks of Shastri and Gavaskar fired up the team. "India wrote us off in the final. I was listening to the analysis of Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri and they gave us no chance. That fired up the boys. It was called a no-contest and we were written off. We said let the bat and ball do the talking," Ali revealed. For a team that can't play international cricket at home due to security issues, the Champions Trophy victory undeniably has a far-reaching implication. If Zaman announced his arrival in international cricket with a match-defining knock, Pakistan cricket's 'enfant terrible' Amir finally managed to sing a redemption song that he has been longing for.
  7. Anil Kapoor never has, and never will be, dressing for his goddamn age. "As you grow older, you gotta dress simpler" is something he shoved deep in the ground, long, long ago. True, he's always lived life this way, but well, he's never looked back either. What we mean: he's only gotten better with time. Take for instance, his recent terminal #OOTD. There's a checked shirt, classic jeans (if not very slim-fitted), his often-repeated kicks, round sunnies and well...the smartest take on summer layering we've seen in a while. Even today, the man's clearly outsmarting his younger contemporaries (no surprises there). © Viral Bhayani Here's the thing: a 'shacket' exists, you see. It's a menswear staple (it's just not used very often). Or in layman terms, your #1 piece for legit summer layering is the shirt + jacket. Imagine a hybrid that looks like a shirt and jacket, but without any fusing. Which makes it more effortless, easy and makes for a brilliant lightweight jacket for sudden chills. Besides, its presence on a dressing legend like Mr. Kapoor almost seems like a perfect fit. Not saying that the 'shacket' is having its biggest moment right now, but it's definitely a try-piece at some point in your life. © Viral Bhayani Naturally, it also took the actor no efforts to prove his mettle while sporting it. There's nothing extraordinary about how he's styled it, really. Proving, that you don't need celebrity stylists or a million-dollar closet to do complete justice to a rare piece of fashion. So, basically, if you haven't yet, invest in at least a pair today. Pro Tip: Pick darker hues as base.
  8. Rahman who is a self-professed Logic Pro X loyalist wants to introduce the software to his students. Photo: File Apple is partnering with ace composer A R Rahman to open two new music labs at his schools. One lab will be based in KM Music Conservatory?s (KMMC) flagship campus in Chennai, while the other will be situated in the upcoming new campus in Mumbai. The Mac-equipped labs will enable students to learn how to make music using Apple's music creation app, Logic Pro X. Apple will also give 10 full-time musical scholarships to students from underprivileged backgrounds. Rahman who is a self-professed Logic Pro X loyalist wants to introduce the software to his students. ?Music is a healer for today?s world and we share the same affinity and love of music with Apple Music," Rahman said. "The labs and scholarships at KMMC make an invaluable contribution to helping to develop the talents of tomorrow?s musicians and composers. For over 20 years, I?ve been a loyal Logic Pro user and am excited to be on this journey together with Apple." Students enrolled at the composer?s KM Music Conservatory undertake both part-time and full-time courses in Hindustani and Western classical music. A two-year diploma course gives students the option to continue their studies for a third year at Middlesex University, London, to complete a BA in Music.
  9. NEW DELHI: India´s sports minister Wednesday sought to reassure Australian cricketers about their safety after a rock shattered a window on the bus taking them to their hotel following a series-levelling win in the second Twenty20 international. The incident in the northeastern Indian city of Guwahati was the second in two months, after Cricket Australia said in September that the team´s bus window was broken by a "small rock or stone" in Bangladesh after a Test match. "Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!," batsman Aaron Finch tweeted after the eight-wicket win against India. The photo he posted on Twitter showed a shattered window pane with a large hole. Indian Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, an Olympic silver medallist in shooting, said there were tight security arrangements in place for the Australian team as well as for the players taking part in the Under-17 FIFA World Cup. "Personal security of visiting athletes & teams is extremely important for us," he tweeted. "Guwahati stone-throwing incident NOT reflective of our security measures. Aus team & FIFA are content w/those. India remains a graceful host." Two people have been arrested as police investigations into the incident continue, the Press Trust of India reported. Cricket Australia´s news site cricket.com.au said no one was hurt when the window was broken by a rock roughly the size of a cricket ball, but the Australian players were "understandably shaken up". A CA spokesman told AFP they were "satisfied with the levels of security provided". Top Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said guests should be treated with respect and urged restraint from his countrymen. "The stone thrown at the Aussie team bus shows us in bad light, let´s all act more responsibly. A vast majority of us are capable of that," he wrote on Twitter. The final T20 game will be played in Hyderabad on Friday.
  10. This is the best news we've gotten today. Yes, we're glad about Kygo, too (basically, too many reasons to be happy and plan merry making around Christmas). But, the one and the only Wiz-holy-shit-Khalifa, one of the world's most in-demand rappers and fashionable actors, Wiz Khalifa will be hitting the Indian road this summer for the very first time and will be taking centrestage at multi genre music festival, Time Out 72 that debuts this year at Goa's preferred music destination Vagator from the 27th to the 29th of December 2017. NME Joining the ranks of multi-platinum recording artist Jason Derulo and World No. 1 DJ, Martin Garrix, Wiz will be headlining Day 2 of the festival that aspires to reinstate the spirit of community, connection and conversations in the festival arena. Earlier this week, Time Out 72 had announced its strategic partnership with the world's biggest dance party - Don't Let Daddy Know. The See You Again, Black and Yellow, Payphone and Young, Wild & Free hitmaker is an anomaly in hip-hop these days. The Pittsburgh MC has managed to reinvent himself within the music industry over the course of his 12-year professional chart—a feat that takes most artists decades to accomplish. The Atlantic Records signee has dropped a total of six solo albums (three of which have gone gold or platinum), has 12 platinum or multi-platinum singles to his name and has even broken YouTube records, thanks to the Charlie Puth-assisted track “See You Again” off the Furious 7 soundtrack. High Snobeity He's also come to be known for many things even outside of the rap world. His fashion-forward, high-end style sets trends on red carpets and his rockstar attitude has worked in his favor when it comes to broadening his fan base. To date, the Taylor Gang leader has collaborated with acts like The Weeknd, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy and more. The industrious rapper owns his own record label, alongside his massive dedication to music. As the world's busiest rapper, Khalifa is evidence that passion and dedication can get you anywhere you want to be. Verge Campus How do you EVER keep up with that?! You just don't! You just follow the freaking genius to Goa's Vagator beach to be a part of the magnanimous music festival and thank the gods of music that you live in this land right now!
  11. No, you are not dreaming. No, I am not dreaming. The one and only KYGO is coming to India in November for a three city tour. So, 'I'm In Love', for the 'First Time'. KYGO please 'Stay'. We can keep 'Raging' and I'll tell my friends you 'Stole The Show'. Now that I've gotten all that excitement out of my system let's get down to the nitty gritties. Hell, no! Still too excited. Just take a look at what he did at EDC 2017 in Las Vegas. It's epic! I'm guessing that video should be more than enough to get you hooked and convince you to get your tickets. But, you can't right now. Tickets are only going on sale from tomorrow at noon. Three paragraphs in and I still can't believe this is happening. KYGO, yes KYGO, not UberGo, KYGO is coming to India. Source: Percept I think the initial excitement is beyond me finally. So, let's get down to business. The next few paragraphs are dedicated to the uninitiated. While I'm not going to waste my time talking about why KYGO is special for me, what I'm going to try and do is convince you why KYGO should be special for you in 4 points or less! - He's the youngest artist to get a billion streams on Spotify. Suck on that Drake! - He's worked with legends like U2 and current day superstars like Selena Gomez and Ed Sheeran. - You probably remember this song called Firestone. Remember who the artist was? It's KYGO. - He's also the first house music producer ever to perform at the closing ceremony of the Olympics. (Rio Olympics 2016) Still not convinced? Here's a crash course in what KYGO is all about in 3 songs. No, Firestone isn't one of them! #1. Stole The Show (2015) #2. It Ain't Me (2017) You know I was kidding about Firestone not being a part of this, right? Of course it has to be! #3 Firestone (2015) If I'm not able to sway you with words, there's a documentary 'Stole The Show' on Apple Music too. Here's the trailer. If you watch it and don't buy tickets, I give up! For the rest, get ready for an awesome EDM experience. If you're in Hyderabad, Delhi or Mumbai, KYGO's coming to you. If you're anywhere else in the country, start making travel plans. As for ticket prices, they start at just INR 2000. In your face, Justin Bieber! Remember, Bookmyshow, tomorrow at noon. Be there or be square!
  12. KARACHI/GUWAHATI: The Australian cricket team's bus came under attack while touring India, where stones were pelted after the team?s victory in their Twenty20 match against the hosts on Tuesday. Australia's T20 skipper Aaron Finch, member of the visiting team, posted a photo of the brick attack on Twitter. ?Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!,? he tweeted. Captain David Warner, who was also on the bus, during the incident, retweeted Aaron's tweet. Earlier, Australia defeated India convincingly in the second T20 International in Guwahati to level the series 1-1. This is undoubtedly a grave security breach that questions BCCI as well as the security of the host nation. Ironically, just prior the incident, Harsha Bhogle tweeted: "Been around Indian cricket for a while but I haven't seen the kind of adulation I see in Indore, in Ranchi and especially here in Guwahati," the commentator said.
  13. Nearly half of an estimated 170,000 pilgrims who went for the annual religious celebration in Saudi Arabia from India this year were women. Photo: Reuters MUMBAI: Indian women over the age of 45 and travelling in groups of four will be able to go for the Islamic haj pilgrimage without a male guardian next year if the government adopts proposed reforms. Women meeting these criteria will no longer have to be accompanied by a mahram, or close male relative, such as a father, husband, brother or son, a government-appointment panel recommended in the country's first haj policy review. "The mahram rule was there from the very beginning for women - in case they face any difficulty while travelling, it can be taken care of," said Maqsood Ahmed Khan of the Haj Committee of India, a government body which organises the pilgrimages. "This (dropping of male kin) is an important recommendation," the chief executive told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Nearly half of an estimated 170,000 pilgrims who went for the annual religious celebration in Saudi Arabia from India this year were women, officials said. The panel of bureaucrats and intellectuals was appointed by the ministry of minority affairs to review India's haj policy for the first time. Officials from the ministry, which will decide whether to adopt the recommendations, were not available for comment. The policy would cover the next five years from 2018 and is in line with Saudi Arabia's haj requirements. Women's rights campaigners welcomed the proposal but said it did not go far enough. "Muslim women are travelling across the world independently," said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, which campaigns for Muslim women's rights and won a ban on an instant divorce law in August. "While this is a good decision, the restrictions on age and group size should go." If the new rule is implemented, solo women will no longer have to pay private tour operators to provide them with a mahram for a fee of 10,000 Indian rupees ($153.29), campaigners said.
  14. UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan?s permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi condemned India on Tuesday for the aggressive use of pellet guns against peaceful protestors in occupied Kashmir, calling the act as "first mass blinding in human history." While addressing the General Assembly's Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee, Lodhi said that India is committing ?war crimes? which have left the young generation sightless and maimed for life. ?This has been aptly described as the first mass blinding in human history?, said the Pakistani ambassador to the UN, according to an official press release. She said that the decolonisation agenda of the UN will remain unfulfilled without peaceful resolution of one of the longest disputes of all time. ?This represents the most persistent failure of the United Nations?, Lodhi stated. She further mentioned that since 70 years India has been preventing the Kashmiris from excercising their fundamental and inalienable right to self-determination through ?force and fraud?. According to the press release, she said that the deployment of tens of thousands of Indian troops in the occupied territory is primarily aimed at suppressing the legitimate freedom of the people. ?India uses all methods from barbaric violence and extreme cruelty to fraudulent elections to deprive the Kashmiris of their right to self-determination and perpetuate its unlawful occupation?, she stated. The people of Jammu and Kashmir will continue to wage the struggle for their right to self-determination with courage and conviction, said the Pakistani envoy. India 'mother of terrorism' in South Asia, Lodhi hits back at Swaraj Pakistan's Permanent Rep to the UN Maleeha Lodhi emphasised that India should stop supporting and aiding terrorism across the border The yearning and aspiration of the Kashmiri people for freedom from the occupation remain unbeaten, she added. Ambassador Lodhi asked the UN to fulfill its promise of holding a UN-supervised plebiscite in order ?to enable Kashmiris to determine their political destiny?. Ambassador Lodhi while highlighting the plight of the Palestinians, said that Pakistan will continue its support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom. While denouncing the illegal policy of settlement construction, she said that a strong and viable state of Palestine was the only guarantor of peace in the region, she said. She said that the continued existence of colonialism in any form was contrary to the UN Charter and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ?The UN has a moral responsibility in this regard and we must all work toward eliminating the remaining vestiges of colonialism?, she said in her concluding remarks.
  15. Xiaomi finally announced their bezel-less flagship device for India today at an event in Delhi. The smartphone was originally launched in China on 11th September and has finally made its way to India for a full release this month. The Mi Mix 2 is thinner than the previous model and has a near bezel-less display. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Starting from INR 35,999, the Mi Mix 2 will be available in India from the first week of November onwards via mi.com, Mi Home stores, Flipkart and other offline retail partners. The device has a 5.99-inch Quad HD+ screen and has a resolution of 2960X1440 pixels. The device is also using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor and is coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. The Mi Mix 2 sports a 12-megapixel camera and comes with 4-axis OIS for better stability and optimisation. © Xiaomi Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 specifications • 5.99-inch (2160 × 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 18:9 display with 1500:1 contrast ratio, DCI-P3 color gamut • 2.45GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 835 64-bit 10nm Mobile Platform with Adreno 540 GPU • 6GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB (UFS 2.1) storage • Android 7.1 (Nougat) with MIUI 9 • Dual SIM (nano + nano) • 12MP rear camera with Sony IMX386 sensor, 1.25μm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture, dual-tone LED flash, 4-axis OIS, 4K video recording • 5MP front-facing camera with facial recognition, 1080p video recording • Fingerprint sensor • Dimensions: 151.8x 75.5 ×7.7 mm; Weight: 185g (Standard) • 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11ac dual-band (2×2 MU-MIMO ), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, NFC, USB Type-C • 3400mAh (typical) / 3300mAh (minimum) battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The Mi MIX 2 will be available in the 6GB + 128GB version, priced at INR 35,999.
  16. Here's the thing about alcohol; it's expensive. Even the cheapest of drinks. In fact, cheaper alcohol is comparatively more expensive because you can never stop at just one. And BECAUSE it's ‘just so cheap' you don't see it draining your wallet…until the sun rises and you're left with a head-splitting hangover and an empty wallet. Ouch! Now just imagine, how good it would be if you could bargain for your alcohol. As in literally go up to the bartender and tell them, “this is too much, ‘theek, theek lagao yaar”! Just like your mother at the sabzi mandi! Sounds too good to be true right? What if we told you such a place exists? © Pexels Looks like there is indeed one such bar that lets you do exactly that. ‘Agent Jacks' Bar is the place to be yáll. This place lets you hedge your bets for your orders by brilliantly packaging the art of negotiating in a whole new hi-tech manner. It has introduced a virtual reality with its ‘Agent Jacks' feature which is an interactive interface helping one crack the best deals for their choice of drinks. Here's How It Works: © MensXP Originals Basically, it is an interactive and consumer-friendly mobile application wherein we place an order to a virtual bartender and negotiate on the pricing. Sometimes one can buy alcohol for about a fifth of its price, while there are times when ridiculous bids have the entire restaurant trolling you. It's like having a conversation with your friendly neighborhood bartender, who also happens to be a bargaining pro, Maybe you should have paid more attention to the mother after all while buying veggies. © MensXP Originals What's The Trick? Download the application on your phone and choose which city you are in. Currently they are present in: Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Gurgaon. You can simply create an account or login using your social media accounts. © MensXP Originals While negotiating, the game gets interesting. You can increase your chances to strike a good deal with the virtual agent by increasing the quantity of your drinks. The more is truly the merrier. Your loyalty towards the restaurant might just deem you lucky enough to get you your drink at 1/4th of the price while the rest pay twice as much as what is being offered! So the more you visit, the lesser you pay with your improved bargaining skills and loyalty points. You also have monitor screens rolling out offer prices of the alcohol, which becomes the margin price for one to bid below with a hope of impressing Agent Jack and getting away with an amazing deal. This is when you really figure out how street smart you actually are. © MensXP Originals I even got the chance to catch up with the mastermind behind the app, Rahul Dhingra who explained that the idea is to bring out an Indian's most loved quality which is bargaining. Dhingra was clearly paying attention when his mom was bargaining with the vendors. On a more serious note, ‘Agent Jacks' is the perfect app for every alcohol-loving miserly Indian. And once you're at the bar, the food, drinks and overall experience doesn't disappoint you either. Here's what you should try. © Agent Jacks' Bar The Chakna Platter, is a demonstration of the favorite Indian chaknas in one; perfect for your night out with alcohol that you bargained for. Mini Chicken Platter, served on a spade is juicy and tender and every non-veg hogger's go-to. But make sure to eat it while hot! Their signature Locha Naan, is a melt-in-your-mouth, freshly made traditional bread, stuffed with several layers of cheese and handpicked Indian spices. Looks like we've got your weekend plans sorted way before the weekend started. And you don't have to burn a hole in your pocket! Fun and affordable. Sounds like an ideal plan.
  17. Let's admit it, the concept of proposing your girlfriend for marriage becomes quite redundant here in India. More so if you met her on shaadi.com. The idea of marriage doesn't come as a surprise to us. We are a country obsessed with marriage, and hey, no one's judging. Standup comic Angad Singh Ranyal hilariously nails the absurdity of it all. © Facebook/East India Comedy Getting a girlfriend is the hardest part of dating, or so we thought. The struggle doesn't end there. If, by luck, you do end up as a long-term couple looking to get married, there's a whole range of rites of passage you'd need to walk through. Proposing to her is an important one, thanks to our Western counterparts who genuinely surprise each other by thinking marriage. Here, it's all we think of. And mind you, the proposal has to be creative enough to be told as a romantic story for years afterwards. It will be narrated at your wedding, at your reception, at your first dinner as a couple with relatives, at get-togethers with other married friends. The struggle is real, guys. Let us tell you, slipping the ring in her wine or cake is passé. If you make the mistake of proposing to her like this and still get a yes, she must really love you. Last we heard some dude proposed to his girlfriend while skydiving. Good luck matching that. Dating is hard. Help your brothers a little and tell us of the most creative proposal you can think of.
  18. India's captain Virat Kohli (L) is watched by Australia's wicketkeeper Tim Paine as he plays a shot during the first Twenty 20 cricket match between India and Australia at The JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi, India, October 7, 2017. AFP/Money Sharma India beat Australia by nine wickets under the Duckworth-Lewis method in the rain-truncated first Twenty20 international at Ranchi on Saturday. Chasing 48 in six overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, the hosts reached their target with three deliveries to spare after the loss of Rohit Sharma for 11. India captain Virat Kohli brought up the winning runs with his third boundary in his innings of 22 off 14 balls. Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who missed the one-day international series against the same opponents to be with his ailing wife, remained unbeaten on 15 off 12 deliveries. The rain came down with Australia struggling on 118 for eight in 18.4 overs after being tied down by India?s spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Australia ? who handed a debut to left-arm paceman Jason Behrendorff ? were not able to complete their innings and India?s target was adjusted. Kohli won the toss and with the expectation of rain later, opted to field against the tourists, who had lost the five-match ODI series 4-1. David Warner, captaining the side in the absence of the injured Steve Smith, fell in the first over after hitting two boundaries off seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar but Australia seemed to have recovered through Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell made 17 before once again falling to leg-spinner Chahal, who had dismissed him in all three matches he played during the ODI series. Left-arm wrist spinner Yadav then dismissed the dangerous Finch for 42 and also all-rounder Moises Henriques, earning excellent figures of 2-16 off his four overs. The second T20 will be played at Guwahati on Saturday.
  19. Steve Smith MUMBAI: Australia captain Steve Smith will return home from the tour of India due to a shoulder injury, Cricket Australia announced just hours before the opener of a three-match Twenty20 series against the hosts on Saturday. Smith hurt his right shoulder diving in the field during the fifth and final one-day international against India at Nagpur on Sunday, adding injury to the insult of a 4-1 series loss for the visitors. The board said an MRI scan had ruled out any serious injury and the 28-year-old would be fit for the start of the domestic season and lead Australia against arch-rivals England at home in the Ashes series starting on Nov. 23 in Brisbane. "Following the (Nagpur) match, he (Smith) complained of shoulder soreness, which has not settled and is restricting his ability to bat and throw," team doctor Richard Saw said. "Subsequently he has had an MRI scan which has excluded serious injury but we believe the best course of action is for him to not continue to aggravate his shoulder and allow it to recover. "He will have further investigation upon his return to Australia but we remain confident he will be available for the start of the Sheffield Shield season. "Vice-captain David Warner would lead Australia in the Twenty20 series, while all-rounder Marcus Stoinis would replace Smith in the squad," Cricket Australia added in a statement.
  20. The big cat was spotted on Thursday on CCTV by guards at Maruti Suzuki's manufacturing plant in the town of Manesar. Photo: AFP NEW DELHI: A leopard on the loose inside India´s largest car factory was caught and tranquilised Friday after sparking a frantic 36-hour search by 200 police and wildlife officials. The big cat was spotted on Thursday on CCTV by guards at Maruti Suzuki's manufacturing plant in the town of Manesar, just 24 miles from the capital New Delhi. After workers were evacuated from the plant, which churns out nearly a million vehicles a year, police kicked off an hours-long operation to catch the animal, even using live goats and raw meat to lure it out of hiding. But the leopard was unmoved and remained out of sight until it returned to the same location where it was first spotted. "The wildlife team was successful in tranquilising the leopard late afternoon," said Ashok Bakshi, the police deputy commissioner of Manesar. "The animal has been removed from the factory and after medical examination will be released in the wild," he told AFP. "No one was injured in the operation and area has been declared safe." Deadly conflict between humans and animals has increased in recent years in India largely due to shrinking forest habitats and urban expansion. India´s environment ministry said in August that 1,144 people were killed between April 2014 and May 2017 by wild animals -- an average of more than one a day. There are an estimated 12,000-14,000 leopards in India, which are frequently killed when they stray into villages. Officials say one is killed on average every day. In January a leopard was beaten to death by a mob outside Gurgaon, a satellite city outside Delhi, after it attacked and injured eight people. Last year a leopard injured three children after wandering into a school in Bangalore in India´s south. Local schools went into lockdown for days until the leopard was located and tranquilised.
  21. The under-17 World Cup, which kicks off on Friday, marks India's first attempt at hosting a FIFA tournament. Photo: AFP NEW DELHI: India has given away 27,000 tickets to the opening games of the FIFA U-17 World Cup to fill empty stands, an official said Friday, in a desperate bid to avoid an embarrassing repeat of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The under-17 World Cup, which kicks off on Friday, marks India's first attempt at hosting a FIFA tournament, but sales for the high-profile event have been poor, despite some seats costing less than a dollar. Organisers are now scrambling to ensure that the 56,000-capacity Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi appears packed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the opening games which will see India play the United States. "We have given away 27,000 tickets to schools around the Delhi region and will also provide pick and drop facility. It will be embarrassing for us if the stadium looks empty," an organising committee member told AFP on condition of anonymity. The event, which runs until October 28, has been dogged by bad news, with Greenpeace issuing a report Wednesday that said the poor quality of air in India´s pollution-clogged cities poses a "serious health risk" to players and spectators during the tournament. Twenty-four nations are competing in the event, which is being held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati and Kolkata. Greenpeace said all the six cities "share dangerous levels of air pollution" but singled out New Delhi as the venue with the highest risk. "Air pollution levels during the Indian tournament could be significantly worse than during the 2008 Beijing Olympics," the report warned. India's capital will host its last game of the tournament on October 16, just before pollution levels spike around the Diwali festival, when Hindus celebrate by setting off huge amounts of fireworks. Media reports said matches were deliberately kept out of Delhi after October 16 because of pollution fears. India's Supreme Court has ordered authorities to take precautions ahead of the festival, and measures under consideration include pulling some cars off roads and closing polluting industries. World Cup organisers did not comment on the Greenpeace report. The event is among India´s highest-profile global tournaments after the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 which were meant to showcase the country´s status as an emerging power but instead left memories of shoddy venues, empty stadiums and massive budget overruns.
  22. Leading a fitness lifestyle is the way to go. If you want to be fit and slow down the process of ageing, you need to take care of what you eat and what you do. Most metabolic diseases that Indians face can be largely blamed on our lifestyles. Why is that lifestyle diseases are not taken as seriously as other diseases? It's a serious issue when someone breaks the bad news to a close one. “Hey man, I have been diagnosed with cancer” and you hear a sympathetic reply from the receiving end. But have you seen how lightly two middle aged pot belly men will discuss their cholesterol and diabetic issues? They will laugh about it and hi-five each other .Somehow our lifestyle diseases are not taken all that seriously. It is okay for a man with diabetes and cholesterol to still keep binging on carbohydrates and refined sugars here in India. These are the foods that are abused by us because we were told that they were healthy. Note- I am not demeaning any food but only talking about the ignorance which leads to abused consumption. 1) Poha © Indiatimes So poha is apparently good for you because it is not fried and there's very little oil used. Poha is made up of rice and rice is not a good source of nutrition, especially for a diabetic patient. Although carbohydrates carry only 4 calories per gram as opposed to fat which is 9, all carbohydrates metabolize into sugars inside the body. The last thing a diabetic patient wants to consume is more sugars on a regular basis to add to the complications of his health. 1 cup of Poha contains 270 calories, out of which 23% is fat and 68% of carbs which a diabetic doesn't require and 8% of useless second class proteins. 2) Idli © NDTV “But how can Idli be bad for me? It's steamed right? That famous celebrity nutritionist told me to avoid dosa because it is made with oil, but Idli is okay because it is steamed. I am told to eat breakfast like a king and hence I make sure I eat at least 47 Idlis a day for breakfast”. This food item is again one more culprit that needs to be taken out of the healthy breakfast menu, especially at hospitals. Someone is recovering from surgery, his wounds need to heal, but they are fed with more sugars that actually delay the healing process. Listen guys, Idli is mostly made up of rice, whether you boil it , fry it, blow torch it or do anything with it , it will still be made up of rice, which is a simple carbohydrate. 3) Corn flakes © Kellogs Do you remember Kellogg's corn flakes were considered a healthy breakfast for the longest time, not just here in India but also in the United States? However, enough research was done to convince a good part of the population that corn flakes were actually unhealthy. So now these multinational companies who had their products on every breakfast isle had to come up with another strategy to bring back the sales of these products. Then came a product for idiots by idiots called Corn flakes slim. These new set of food products came with either ‘less sugar or no sugar' written on the box and hence was given the legal right to be once again called healthy. What an amazing way to fool consumers, don't you think? How can a simple carbohydrate with such a high glycemic index that would cause a heavy insulin spike ever be considered healthy? Phew! 4) Fruit And Fruit Juices © Thinkstock/Getty Images I spent the early years of my childhood being a fat kid, who didn't even care about it. However, looking back, I remember very clearly I was advised by an adult that I should go on a diet full of fruits and juices. I would invariably fall into a calorie deficit and hence lose weight. It's a good thing I didn't listen to him. Fruits are nothing but sugar, then how would it ever make sense to keep pumping sugar into your body, when it is the sugar that made me fat in the first place? Even if I ended up losing weight due to the calorific deficit, I would have probably spent the rest of my life as a diabetic. It's a sad case to still see parents who constantly make it a point to give their overweight kids fruit juices from roadside stalls or from Tetra packets at the store. Upma and muesli, bhel, diet bhel, also fall into the category of foods that are considered healthy but in truth not really the best choice of food items we could be selecting from. It's a sad case that most research is backed by big companies that are looking to gain profits and hence come up with biased results. It is us the end users that suffer in the bargain. Helius is one of Mumbai's most promising fitness professionals and part time kettle bell lecturer. His knowledge on nutrition and trainer soft skills management is well recognized. To know more about him CLICK HERE, and mail your queries about fitness to heliusd@hotmail.com.
  23. NEW DELHI: Oil giant Saudi Aramco will open an Indian subsidiary next week, three sources said, as the top global oil exporter looks to tap rising demand and invest in the world?s third-biggest consumer. The company is investing in refineries in major markets to lock in customers ahead of its initial public offering next year, and the India unit, on top of sales, will look for opportunities to take stakes in refining and petrochemical projects in the country. Saudi Arabia is competing with Iraq to be India?s top oil supplier, with Iraq displacing it for a fifth month in a row in August, data compiled by Reuters showed. Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser will inaugurate Aramco Asia India during a visit to New Delhi next week to attend the IHS-CERA conference, which starts on Sunday and which will also be attended by OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo. Nasser will also meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday as part of an industry delegation to discuss investment in the oil and gas sector, one of the sources said. Neither Aramco nor the prime minister?s office was available to comment. Mohammed Al-Mughirah, a company veteran handling crude sales, will head Aramco Asia India, two of the sources said. He also worked as deputy managing director at Aramco Asia Korea, according to his LinkedIn profile. Major oil producers that have lost market share due to the rise in U.S. shale oil production are tapping rising fuel demand in Asia. Earlier this year Saudi Arabia pledged billions of dollars of investment in projects in Indonesia and Malaysia to ensure long-term oil supply deals. The Kingdom wants to mirror that strategy in India, after missing out to Russia?s Rosneft in an opportunity to buy a majority stake in private refiner Essar. Saudi Arabia?s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said that India was a prime target as Aramco looked for collaboration opportunities across Asia. The International Energy Agency estimates India?s refining capacity will lag fuel demand going forward, requiring investment in new plants. Aramco representatives have met officials of provincial governments including West Bengal and southern Andhra Pradesh to scout for investment opportunities, sources said. Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said earlier this year that Aramco wants to have exclusive talks for a stake in a planned 1.2 million barrel per day refinery on India?s west coast.
  24. Huawei India took to the pedestal today and announced a new smartphone under their sub-brand, Honor. The new device is called the Honor 9i in India and the key highlight of the smartphone is the inclusion of two dual camera setups. Honor has sported the smartphone with one dual-camera setup at the rear and one in the front for selfies. The device is also Honour's first device that features the FullView display, better known as a bezel-less display. © Mensxp / Akshay Bhalla Marquee Features © Mensxp / Akshay Bhalla The Honor 9i will launch in India for INR 17,999 and will be available to purchase exclusively via Flipkart. It will be available for open sale starting October 14th. The Honor 9i has a bezel-less display, in tandem with other smartphones with a similar feature. It has an 18:9 aspect ratio, similar to the Galaxy S8 and other Android devices. The dual camera setup at the rear enables the smartphone to take bokeh or portrait shots. Users can also adjust the focus and the blur effect even after taking a shot. Commenting on the launch, Mr Peter Zhai, President Huawei India Consumer Business Group said “Today is an extremely important day for us in our India journey so far. We are thrilled to launch a phone which can be termed a global first, as the Honor 9i is the only phone so far to boast of two dual cameras and FullView FHD+ display. As frontrunners in bringing breakthrough technology as well as great features at attractive prices, we remain committed to bringing best-in-class devices and services to our users in India.” Specifications © Mensxp / Akshay Bhalla The Honor 9i has a 5.9-inch full-HD LCD display and has a resolution of 1080X2160 pixels. Being a bezel-less design, the screen to body ratio is 83 percent. The smartphone has a metal unibody design and sports a 13-megapixel front-facing sensor coupled with a 2-megapixel sensor for taking bokeh shots and image processing. The rear features a 16-megapixel primary sensor that is clubbed with a 2-MP sensor for the same purpose of taking bokeh shots. The Honor 9i utilises Huawei's proprietary Kirin 659 processor and is clocked at 2.36Ghz. The SoC (system on chip) is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The Honor 9i runs on EMUI 5.1 that is based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Honor claims that the 9i can last up to two days with its 3,340 mAh battery. There are other gestures based features that might interest users such as ‘tap twice with one finger” for a screenshot and a single tao with two fingers to record the screen. The Honor 9i will be available in three colours i.e. Prestige Gold, Aurora Blue and Graphite Black. The Honor 9i will be available starting 14th October exclusively on Flipkart at Rs 17,999/- for the 4 GB RAM/ 64 GB ROM configuration .
  25. Last night, Google announced a range of products that expand their ecosystem to a wider spectrum and most of them look impressive. However, in tandem with their last year's plans, Google won't be bringing most of these amazing products to India. If you were looking to integrate Google's home devices to your house, well, you're out of luck. Here are the spectacular devices India truly needs but won't be making an appearance in the Indian markets anytime soon. Google Home Mini © Google Google announced their virtual assistant speaker last year and last night the company introduced a miniature version of the Google Home. Amazon just announced the Echo Dot for India and the Home Mini is clearly a worthy competitor. However, as of now, Google has no plans to introduce this device to India. The Home Mini has a circular shape and can produce 360-degree sound just like the Amazon Echo. The device will come in three colours i.e. Charcoal, Coal and Coral. Google Home Max © Google Google Home Max is the larger version of last year's Google Home that looks like a beautifully-designed speaker and is wrapped in fabric to give it an urban feel. The speaker can be placed on a surface both horizontally or vertically. The big speaker also has a new feature, i.e. Star Sound that adjusts the listening experience according to the environment. The speaker uses machine learning to tailor the sound according to the acoustics of the room and deliver a superior audio experience. The Max launches in December and will come in two colours: charcoal & chalk. The device will launch for $399 and will only be available in the US, initially. Pixelbook © Google Google also announced a laptop to further enhance their ecosystem and is a direct competitor to Apple's MacBook Pro and Microsoft's Surface laptops. It is the lightest laptop ever made by Google. It is 10mm thick and weighs only 1 KG. According to Google, the Pixelbook is the first convertible laptop that feels natural to use. The laptop comes with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The laptop can be charged for just 15 minutes and it will yield a working time of full two hours. If you own a Pixel smartphone, the laptop also supports instant tethering i.e. you won't need to toggle the portable hotspot feature in order to access the internet. The Pixelbook also supports a stylus that offers 60 degrees of angular awareness and 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity. The laptop will start retailing for $999 and the Pixelbook Pen costs an additional $99. Google also announced their flagship smartphone alongside with a range of products. In India, the Pixel 2 will be priced as follows: Pixel 2 64GB (Rs 61,000), Pixel 2 128GB (Rs 70,000), Pixel 2 XL 64GB (Rs 73,000), Pixel 2 XL 128GB (Rs 82,000). Pre-orders commence on 26th October 2017, and the Pixel 2 will be available in over 1000+ stores across the country and online retail stores starting November 1st and the Pixel 2 XL will be available for sales in 1000+ stores and online starting November 15th, 2017. You can read all about the Pixel 2 and 2 XL here.