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Fifth Indian navigation satellite blasts off

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An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket blasted off successfully with the country’s fifth navigation satellite IRNSS-1E from the rocket port here on Wednesday.

The 1,425-kilogram (3,141-pound) spacecraft will blast off on the 33rd flight of India’s workhorse PSLV launcher at 0401 GMT Wednesday (11:01 p.m. EST Tuesday) from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island, a facility on India’s east coast.

The satellite will join four previous craft launched for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, a constellation set up to provide positioning data to users across India and in territories extending up to 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) from the nation’s borders.

India is developing the network to have an independent navigation system separate from the U.S. military’s GPS fleet. Russia’s Glonass system also provides global navigation coverage, and China and Europe are building their own satellite constellations for worldwide navigation services.

As India’s program is focussed on South Asia seven IRNSS satellites will beam position data with L-band signals to users from orbits nearly 36,000 kilometers (22,300 miles) above Earth. After the launch of the fifth IRNSS satellite Wednesday, the final two IRNSS spacecraft are scheduled for launch in the next few months

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Twitter acts on inactive accounts, new verification soon

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Micro-blogging platform Twitter has started removing blue verification badges from inactive and incomplete accounts and will begin the new verification process for its users in few weeks.

Twitter, which paused its public verification process or that elusive Blue Badge three years ago, in November announced to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021.

“Last call! As part of our new verification policy, we’ll remove verification badges from inactive and incomplete accounts,” Twitter Safety said in a tweet.

The company is reading out directly to users who have issues with their accounts.

“We’ve reached out directly to those who need to take action to stay verified,” it added.

Twitter had said it would relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021.

Verified accounts on Twitter will have a blue check next to the display name throughout the app.

“When we relaunch the public application process in early 2021, there will be a link to the application in the Twitter apps and on twitter.com”.

Over three years ago, the platform paused the public verification programme after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people.

A year later, the company deprioritised this work further to focus on protecting the integrity of the public conversation around critical moments like the 2020 US election.

The company has identified six types of accounts in its draft policy as Notable Accounts — government; companies, brands and non-profit organisations; news; entertainment; sports and activists/organisers and other influential individuals.

According to the proposed policy, “the blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be notable and active.”

Twitter had admitted that there are many verified accounts on its platform that should not be there.

The new verification policy is a starting point, and “we intend to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year”.

The draft verification policy is available in English, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.

“We are also working with local non-governmental organisations and our Trust and Safety Council to ensure as many perspectives are represented as possible,” Twitter said.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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Microsoft brings Surface Laptop Go to India

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Microsoft on Thursday announced the Surface Laptop Go will be available in India from January 22 via commercial authorised resellers, authorised retail and online partners at a starting price of Rs 63,499.

According to the company, the Surface Laptop Go extends the Surface line-up by delivering standout design along with the features most loved by our Surface Laptop customers at a more affordable price.

“With the new Surface Laptop Go, we want to give every person in the household or organisation a laptop that’s not just something you need to use, but something you want to use. The Surface Laptop Go is our lightest and most affordable Surface laptop yet that offers the perfect balance of performance, battery life and style,” Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft said in a statement.

The Surface Laptop Go runs on Windows 10 Home in S mode. It features a 12.45-inch PixelSense Display with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1,536×1,024 pixels resolution.

Under the hood, the Surface Laptop Go is powered by 10th-Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor and comes with Intel UHD graphics.

It can be equipped with 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM. The base model carries 64GB of eMMC storage but comes with options for 128GB and 256GB SSDs.

Connectivity options include a USB Type-C port, a USB Type-A port, a 3.5mm headphone hack, Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax, and Bluetooth 5.0.

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