Daily Archives: October 21, 2014

Dear all, Wish you and your family a very happy diwali


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Monica Lewinsky debuts on Twitter

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who had an affair with then president Bill Clinton in 1998, has debuted on the Twitter social network just before speaking at Forbes magazine’s Under-30 Summit about harassment and bullying on the Internet.

“Social activist. Public speaker. Contributor to Vanity Fair. Knitter of things without sleeves,” says the profile of the one-time White House intern, who said she felt “excited (and nervous)” before the conference Monday.

“Exciting”, “brave” and “sincere” were some of the adjectives used by the more than 12,100 people who now follow Lewinsky on Twitter.

#gratitude #overwhelmed #thankyou

— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) October 21, 2014

Her first post, “#HereWeGo”, received some l,300 tweets before she gave her talk at the conference, with 576 people marking it as a favourite.

The Forbes seminar seeks to bring together in Philadelphia more than 1,000 young entrepreneurs from around the world to exchange ideas.

“What does it really feel like to watch yourself -or your name and likeness – be ripped apart online?” Lewinsky asked at the summit, where she spoke about sexism and cyberbullying, and confessed that the idea of suicide crossed her mind when her affair with then President Bill Clinton went viral.

Lewinsky, after several years of depression, decided to try and make something out of her unwanted publicity and launched a line of purses under her name and appeared on several TV shows.

But then in 2005 she left the US to study in England at the prestigious London School of Economics, where she graduated in Social Psychology, and since then has tried to rebuild her life as far from the media as possible.


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Size matters! New big-screen iPhones help propel Apple’s profit

New big-screen iPhones helped propel Apple’s profit and revenue in the last quarter, as the California tech giant smashed earnings expectations. The company reported on Monday that profit rose 13% to $8.5 billion, as revenues jumped to $42.1 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter ending September 27.

Apple said it sold more than 39 million iPhones in the quarter, boosted by last month’s launch of the large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which hit some markets on September 19. That compared with 33.8 million in the same period a year ago.

The iPhone accounted for more than $23 billion in revenue, over half of Apple’s overall earnings for the quarter.

Sales of iPads — which may have been lower ahead of the October launch of new models — fell from a year earlier to 12.3 million, producing some $5.3 billion in revenues.

“I view it as a speed bump, not a huge issue,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said of the decline in iPad sales during a conference call with analysts.

“I know there is a popular view the (tablet) market is saturated, we don’t see that.”

As appetites for tablet have diminished, Apple’s market share has slipped to 25%, compared to 70% for the rival Android platform, according to Strategy Analytics.

People are holding onto iPads longer than they do iPhones, and Apple is still researching when consumers typically upgrade to new tablets, according to Cook.

He saw some promising developments for iPad sales, including a recent alliance with IBM to improve tablet capabilities for businesses.

“I am very bullish on where we can take iPad over time,” Cook said.

‘Blow-away quarter’

Apple sold 5.5 million Mac computers and 2.6 million iPods in the quarter.

Growing Mac sales came as the overall personal computer market shrank.

“On the Mac, it was just an absolutely blow-away quarter,” Cook said. “The back-to-school season voted, and the Mac won.”

The financial results were the best ever for a September quarter, and the fiscal year that just ended “was one for the record books,” Cook said earlier in a statement.

Apple, the world’s biggest firm by market value, closed its fiscal year with a profit of $39.5 billion on revenues of nearly $183 billion.

Trip Chowdhry at Global Equities Research said Apple’s quarterly report “handsomely beats (expectations) on both top line and bottom line.

“These results validate our investment thesis Apple is a multi-year, multi-product, multi-service and multi-geography growth company.”

Apple shares rose 1.47% to $101.23 in after-hours trading following the results.

“Apple continues to hit it out of the park,” independent analyst Jeff Kagan said.

“Apple was showing strong growth, year after year, until a couple years ago. That’s when they fell and that lasted for a while. However, Apple now appears to be back.”

The rise of the ‘phablet’

Amit Daryanani at RBC Capital Markets said Apple’s guidance for the key upcoming holiday season was also ahead of most predictions.

Apple forecast revenue between $63.5 billion and $66.5 billion and gross profit margins between 37.5% and 38.5%.

“The big upside driver in the quarter was iPhone units,” Daryanani said, adding that Apple’s forecast “leaves plenty for upside surprises.”

Apple last month increased the screen size for its new iPhones, yielding to consumer preference and following a trend started by rivals, including Samsung.

The iPhone 6 Plus is Apple’s first product in the growing market for “phablet” phones, which are increasingly replacing tablets.

Apple’s smartphone market share is strong in the United States but globally was less than 12% in the second quarter, before the latest launch, according to research firm IDC.

iPhone sales climbed in China despite the new models not being released there until last week, and sales of Mac computers soared even though the overall market for personal computers there contracted, according to Apple.

“It is just an incredible market where people want the latest technology,” Cook said of China, adding that the California company is investing heavily there.


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Presidential poll in January; can’t reveal date – Keheliya

The Presidential Election will be held within the month of January next year, confirmed Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella.

The minister stated that although he knew the exact date of the polls, he could not confirm it at the moment. He, however, assured that the exact date of the election will be announced very soon.

Speaking during a ceremony to commence several development projects in the Kundasale Electorate in Kandy last evening, Rambukwella stated that every person in the country should put aside their differences and work for President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory at the election.

He said that it is important that Rajapaksa win the Presidential poll for a third term in order to protect the hard-fought peace, develop the country as well as to bring honour to Sri Lanka.

Rambukwella further said that the Budget proposal for the year 2015 will be presented to the Parliament on October 24.


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President Mahinda Rajapaksa to receive India’s highest honour

New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his government confer Bharat Ratna on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa under whose leadership the LTTE was eliminated.

“This elimination of the LTTE must be recognised in India as a welcome contribution to our national security, he said in a letter to Modi.

The prime minister has acknowledged receipt of Swamy’s letter.


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China-backed hackers may have infiltrated Apple’s iCloud -blog

SAN FRANCISCO : Apple Inc’s iCloud storage and backup service in China was attacked by hackers trying to steal user credentials and other information,a cyber security blog charged on Monday, saying it believes the country’s government is behind the campaign.

Unknown “Chinese authorities” interposed their own website between users and Apple’s iCloud,intercepting instructions and messages while the user believes he or she is communicating directly with Apple’s site, Greatfire.org wrote in its blog post. The attack coincided with the start of iPhone 6 sales in China on Friday, the blog said. “This is clearly a malicious attack on Apple in an effort to gain access to usernames and passwords and consequently all data stored on iCloud such as iMessages, photos, contacts, etc,” the security blog said.

It was unclear whether the hackers were still active. Apple did not have an immediate comment when contacted.”All the evidence I’ve seen would support that this is a real attack. The Chinese government is directly attacking Chinese users of Apple’s products,” said Mikko Hypponnen, chief research officer at security software developer F-Secure. “As always, we recommend using the Internet over a trusted virtual private network.”

Greatfire.org said without elaborating that the attacks were similar to others against Google Inc and Yahoo Inc.The United States and Western companies have accused Chinese-backed hackers of infiltrating government and corporate websites and services. But Beijing has repeatedly denied its involvement in such attacks.The Chinese embassy was not immediately available for comment.


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App that enables deaf people to ‘hear’

Washington: In pleasant news for the hearing impaired, researchers have developed a new app called Transcense which transcribes speech into written words that consequently show up on the smartphone screen.

“App that enables deaf people to ‘hear’

Transcense is the brainchild of four graduate students from the University of San Francisco and Berkeley, who have all been affected by hearing loss in different ways.

“Transcense brings meaning to the conversation and allows the deaf person to actively engage again,” the creators said.

Transcense is the first mobile app that makes group conversations effortless between deaf people and their hearing peers.

Transcense transcribes a group conversation and uses a voice recognition algorithm to detect individual voices and link each of them with a color, which makes it easy for the app’s user to see who is talking on their smartphone screen.

A deaf person can also use the app to speak for them using a digital voice, or to get the attention of all the people present, via their smartphones.


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India to give fleet, security help for SAARC summit

Extending the hands of friendship further, India has agreed to provide the car fleet for the VIP movement during the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Nepal next month. Nepal has made the request to India to provide logistical support for the summit, which includes bullet-proof cars and other vehicles for the movement of South Asian heads of state and governments and other VIPS like the ministers.

According to sources, External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj conveyed India’s readiness to give whatever logistical support the neighbour needs in the conduct of SAARC summit to her Nepal counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey on Monday.

South Asian countries shouldidentify specific areas of common heritage, challenges and opportunities to foster region-wide cooperation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today while committing India’s full support to the SAARC process.

He made the remarks here while receiving Nepalese Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey who handed over to him a formal invite from Prime Minister Sushil Koirala for attending the upcoming SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on November 26-27.

Modi, who had invited leaders of all SAARC countries for his swearing-in in May, reiterated that he attaches the highest level of priority to relations with SAARC countries and that he keenly looks forward to participating in his first Summit of the eight-member grouping.

He considered the SAARC as a vital instrument to add to the strength of each member nation and advance collective action for shared prosperity in the region, a PMO statement said. In addition to promoting regional connectivity and integration, Modi said the SAARC countries should identify specific areas of common heritage, challenges and opportunities to foster region-wide cooperation, it said.

Committing India’s full support to the SAARC process, he also expressed strong belief that SAARC countries had much to learn from each other`s experiences and strengths.

“The external affairs minister assured the visiting foreign minister of positive Indian response to the request made by Nepal for logistical support”, official sources said. The support will also include matters related to security detail for the event, that brings together heads of states or governments, foreign ministers and senior officials from South Asian countries and representatives from observer countries. Sources said the ‘finer details of the vehicles and other such matters will be decided in due course”.

The two Foreign Ministers also discussed the follow up to the Joint Commission Meeting which was held in Kathmandu in July after a gap of 23 years and reviewed follow up measures that were required to be taken to implement the announcements made during the Prime Minister’s visit to Kathmandu in August. Both sides welcomed the swift follow up being taken to

implement outcomes agreed to between the two countries, the sources said, adding Swaraj noted the progress made on various India-Nepal projects since the Joint Commission Meeting.

Swaraj also said that India was awaiting Nepal’s concurrence of the draft agreement for USD 1 billion Line of Credit announced during Prime Minister’s visit so that country.


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Oscar de la Renta, famed fashion designer, dies at 82


File photo of designer Oscar De La Renta smiling to the crowd after his Spring 2010 show during New York Fashion Week.

NEW YORK: Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, famous for the classic lines of his formal wear, has died at 82, US media reported on Monday.

The Dominican-born American fashion icon dressed first ladies and other fashionistas for decades. He trained in Spain, as an apprentice to Cristobal Balenciaga.


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