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Twitter to soon let users follow topics

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TWITTER

San Francisco, Aug 14: Not just people, Twitter is now testing a way to let users follow topics including sports teams, celebrities and TV shows.

Topics will be curated by Twitter, with individual tweets being identified through machine learning, and for now, only sports-related interests can be followed, The Verge reported on Wednesday.

“Our desire is to be a little bit more ambitious about the level of change that we introduce into the product,” Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour was quoted as saying.

You will also be able to mute topics.

For example, if you are following a TV show but have not seen the most recent episode, you can temporarily hide tweets about it.

The micro-blogging platform aims to roll out the feature by the end of the year.

“The company is also exploring other features such as a search tool for your direct messages and the ability to reorder photos after you attached them to a tweet,” reports CNET.

The edit button, however, is not expected anytime soon.

Twitter revenue grew 18 per cent year-over-year to reach $841 million in the second quarter of 2019, while its average monetisable daily active users (mDAU) hit 139 million.

Business

All eyes on Air India EoI on Monday, likely suitors are Tatas, Hindujas

Industry sources said that some of the potential bidders could be Tata Group, Hindujas, IndiGo, SpiceJet and a few private equity firms.

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New Delhi, Jan 26: As the government is set to invite preliminary bids from potential investors for selling 100 per cent stake in Air India on Monday, all eyes are on the portion of airline debt to be taken off its books and qualification for suitors.

Prospective buyers would have to respond to the Expression of Interest (EoI) by March 17, 2020.

Industry sources said that some of the potential bidders could be Tata Group, Hindujas, IndiGo, SpiceJet and a few private equity firms.

Some of the foreign airlines could tie up with local players to place their joint bids.

While overall economic environment remains subdued, industry analysts said that there would be significant investor interest for Air India given its wide domestic and international network, traffic rights, slots at key foreign airports such as London and Dubai, technical manpower and large fleet.

“Besides, the government is ready to go the extra mile to sell off the airline. The government has hinted that it will agree to the demands of potential buyers as it is determined to completely exit the airline business,” said Rajan Mehra, CEO of Club One Air and former India head of Qatar Airways.

Air India is currently bleeding heavily with average daily loss pegged at Rs 20-25 crore. The Modi government is not keen to give any further financial support to the airline and has announced to shut it down if the second disinvestment bid fails.

As per official data, Air India had an operating revenue of Rs 25,509 crore in FY19. As its operating expense during the fiscal was Rs 30,194 crore, the airline had an operating loss of Rs 4,685 crore. On a net basis, its loss was a record high at Rs 8,556 crore (provisional) in the previous financial year.

Air India has a fleet of 125 aircraft and its domestic market share is 11.9 per cent as on December, 2019.

The Modi government had invited the EoI in 2018 to sell 76 per cent stake in the airline but it ended up being a no-show with not a single private firm expressing interest.

Learning from its previous experience, the government has decided to sell its entire 100 per cent stake in the airline. It is also learnt to have sweetened the deal by removing a large part of its Rs 60,000 crore debt and clearing other liabilities.

“We expect significant interest as the Government of India (GoI) has structured a very attractive offer,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO (South Asia) of Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

While many industry veterans are bullish on investor interest for Air India, some of the sector experts said that it may not be easy given the current business environment globally.

“The global growth forecast has been downgraded. India has seen its GDP growing at slowest pace in the last over six years. The fuel and foreign exchange situations are not great either,” said an expert wishing not to be named.

He, however, added that it is a do-or-die situation for the government as it can no longer infuse money into an airline which is losing Rs 25 crore a day.

An industry insider said that IndiGo is one of the strong contenders for Air India but given the fighting between its co-founders it will be difficult to get shareholders’ approval for placing the bid.

“Initial bids can be placed but before signing binding agreement shareholders’ approval would be required,” said the insider.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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Lifestyle

Nine Reasons to Stay in the Heart of Los Angeles- Beverly Hills

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Nine Reasons to Stay in the Heart of Los Angeles- Beverly Hills
When you hear the mention of Beverly Hills, you might think of shopping on Rodeo Drive first—Pretty Woman references included. Indeed, upscale shopping is a great draw to this sophisticated city, but the reasons to visit do not stop here. With its central location, warm climate, beautiful parks, acclaimed hotels, fine dining, health and wellness offerings and storied past, the city is the destination of choice in Southern California.

Beverly Hills is located in Los Angeles County, which—with upwards of 10 million residents—is the most populous county in the United States. It’s home to more than a quarter of California’s population and is one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the country. Long lauded as the entertainment capital of the world, it is also a cultural mecca that houses more than a hundred museums.
In the more than 100 years since Beverly Hills grew from a lima bean farm, this picturesque and walkable city has become the crown jewel of greater Los Angeles. The following nine attributes align to make Beverly Hills the perfect location for your Los Angeles stay:

Central Location: Located six miles northeast of Santa Monica and nine miles west of Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is at the centre of some of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Southern California! Flanked on the west by Westwood — home to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) — and on the east by West Hollywood, Beverly Hills has its own unique, magnetic appeal.
Warm Weather:
While we can’t guarantee perfect weather during your stay, the track record of warm temperatures speaks for itself. Average highs range from 67 degrees in January to 79 degrees in August, according to The Weather Channel. The rose-coloured (sun) glasses you’ll be donning in the midst of this year-round summer will make the rest of your experiences all the more enjoyable.


Lush Green Parks: Beverly Hills’ picturesque parks and trees thrive thanks to the thoughtful design of urban planner and landscape architect Wilbur David Cook. At the heart of the city sits the triangular-shape, five-acre Will Rogers Memorial Park, which features expansive lawns, rose gardens and palm and dragon trees. When you’ve finished relaxing to the gentle sounds of the splashing fountain, cross Sunset Boulevard to enjoy a cocktail at The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel, or begin a 15 minute leisurely walk south to Beverly Gardens Park and pose for a selfie in front of the Beverly Hills sign.

Unique Hotels: Whether grand or intimate, five star or boutique, Beverly Hills has a wide selection of hotels for different tastes and lifestyles. Elegant guest rooms and an Italian Renaissance–inspired facade welcome you at Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel. If you’d prefer to stay near world class shopping, you can’t get any closer than the sleek Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel. The Peninsula Beverly Hills is the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star–rated hotel in Southern California where villa suites located among tropical gardens allow for complete privacy. Looking for a spectacular view? Visit the city’s newest hotel, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, and experience their rooftop restaurant, The Rooftop by JG. And not only does The Beverly Hilton have iconic, mid-century modern design, but it also features the largest Olympic-sized hotel pool in the country!


Extended Stay: Guests seeking an extended stay in Beverly Hills can check into AKA Beverly Hills, an exclusive and contemporary residential oasis designed for extended stays of one week or longer. Noteworthy amenities include a complimentary screening room, Spago in-Suite dining and a stunning landscaped terrace overlooking the Hills.


Fine-Dining: Dining does not get any finer than the likes of Spago Beverly Hills, Il Pastaio and Mastro’s Steakhouse, to name just a few, in a city with a vast array of culinary options. It is no wonder that Spago has been awarded AAA’s Four Diamond rating with their varied menus and wonderful dishes. Il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s centre, has been pleasing local patrons and visitors for over 20 years. Make sure you’re camera-ready to pose for the paparazzi as they seek celebrities at this popular gathering spot. A fan favourite and always lively, Mastro’s offers thick, juicy steaks and chops and mouth-watering seafood. Not to be outdone, Beverly Hills hotels also offer impeccable dining with restaurants such as Jean-Georges at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills’ Avec Nous restaurant and The Peninsula Beverly Hills’ AAA Five-Diamond rated restaurant for over 22 years, The Belvedere.
City of WELLTH: Derived from the term ‘wealth,’ which refers to a large amount of money and possessions, ‘WELLTH’ represents a new, less materialistic and more valuable life currency that encompasses wellness and is exemplified by health, purpose and happiness. Beverly Hills invites each visitor to pamper their mind, body and soul. The city has long been known as an authority on five-star experiences. But at its heart is a more mindful ethos that takes a holistic approach to happiness and wellbeing, enlivened by experts who champion the city’s health and wellness offerings.

Iconic Shopping: Beverly Hills is a top destination for fashion seekers and VIP shoppers. Fashion houses, standout boutiques and Department Store Row help the city live up to its shop-till-you-drop reputation. Among the high-end department stores and luxurious designer boutiques of the Golden Triangle is the one of the most expensive stores in the world: House of Bijan. You’ll need to make a reservation to shop at this exclusive men’s shop, which counts presidents, royalty and billionaires as its most loyal clientele.
A Story at every turn: Scratch the surface of many current Beverly Hills attractions to discover part of the city’s rich history. Once home to Marilyn Monroe, the Beverly Carlton Hotel has re-emerged as The Avalon Hotel, a member of Design Hotels, in partnership with Starwood Preferred Guest. Former private estates have been given National Historic Landmark status, as is the case with Virginia Robinson Gardens, a six-acre property encompassing a breath-taking garden, mansion and pool pavilion that is the first luxury estate built in Beverly Hills. The area’s entertainment industry is celebrated at The Paley Centre for Media, a cultural centre devoted to television and radio—past and present.

Beverly Hills is one of the world’s most sought-after locales. Centrally located in greater Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is a premier vacation and business travel destination, boasting beautiful weather year-round, acclaimed full-service and boutique hotel accommodations, sumptuous dining, and incomparable shopping. Synonymous with Hollywood glamour, Beverly Hills enjoys an international reputation as the home and playground of A-list movie stars. The city is not only known worldwide for its grand mansions and chic shops along Rodeo Drive, but also for its multitude of art and architecture, spas, salons and exceptional walkability.

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Business

AI needs to be regulated: Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

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San Francisco, Jan 20 (IANS) Joining Microsoft President Brad Smith and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday called for new regulations for Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying the only question now is how to approach it.

Although new regulation is needed, “a cautious approach is required that might not see significant controls placed on AI,” Pichai who was last month took over as the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in an editorial piece in The Financial Times.

“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. It is too important not to. The only question is how to approach it”.

“Companies such as ours cannot just build promising new technology and let market forces decide how it will be used. It is equally incumbent on us to make sure that technology is harnessed for good and available to everyone,” Pichai wrote.

According to CNET, the timing of the editorial coincides with a big push from Google to reveal some of the results of its own work in AI and bring tools it has developed out into the world.

The Alphabet CEO stressed that “international alignment will be critical to making global standards work” on AI.

We need to take a “principled approach to applying AI, said the company, while offering Google’s “expertise, experience and tools.”

“We need to be clear-eyed about what could go wrong,” he said.

His comments come as lawmakers and governments globally are considering to limit the use of AI in fields such as face recognition system – an issue close to Microsoft President Brad Smith’s heart who has often criticized the technology, urging governments to enact legislation regarding the technology.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” said Smith.

Advanced AI which is beyond chat bots will soon be used to manipulate social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned recently.

In his famous debate with former Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Musk entered into a lassic argument over the capabilities of emerging technologies like AI.

Musk said that computers will one day surpass humans in “every single way”. He has predicted that a single company that develops “God-like super intelligence” might achieve world domination.

If not regulated or controlled soon, AI could become an “immortal dictator” and there will be no escape for humans, the SpaceX CEO had warned.

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