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Vodafone Idea seeks Rs 35 per GB as minimum floor price

According to the source, Vodafone Idea wants minimum price of outgoing calls should be fixed at 6 paise per minute.

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New Delhi, Feb 27 : Vodafone Idea has sought fixing minimum tariffs for mobile data at Rs 35 per GB, which is about 7 time the current rate, and for calls at 6 paise per minute along with monthly charges from April 1, to help it pay statutory dues.

Struggling to clear adjusted gross revenue dues of Rs 53,000 crore to comply with a Supreme Court order, the loss-making telco has sought 18 years time to clear the dues, including a three-year moratorium on payment of interest and penalty, according to official sources.

In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications, the company said it wants minimum price of data should be fixed at Rs 35 per gigabyte and minimum monthly connection charge at Rs 50 from April 1, 2020. Current mobile internet prices are in the range of Rs 4-5 per GB.

According to the source, Vodafone Idea wants minimum price of outgoing calls should be fixed at 6 paise per minute.

The demand to raise call and internet rates from Vodafone Idea comes within three months of the company raising rates by up to 50 per cent.

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NASA picks 3 Indian firms to make low cost Covid-19 ventilator

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Washington, May 30 (IANS) NASA has selected three Indian companies to make a low-cost ventilator tailored for Covid-19 patients.

The three Indian companies are Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bharat Forge Ltd and Medha Servo Drives Pvt Ltd, the US space agency said in a statement on Friday.

The prototype, which was created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers in just 37 days, received an emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration on April 30.

Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the high-pressure ventilator was designed to use one-seventh the parts of a traditional ventilator, relying on parts already available in the supply chains.

It offers a simpler, more affordable option for treating critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators for those with the most severe Covid-19 symptoms.

Its flexible design means that it can also be modified for use in field hospitals, NASA said.

The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which owns the patents and software for VITAL, is offering a free licence for the device. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

“The VITAL team is very excited to see its technology licenced,” Leon Alkalai, Manager of the JPL Office of Strategic Partnerships, and a member of the VITAL leadership team, said in a statement.

“Our hope is to have this technology reach across the world and provide an additional source of solution to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis,” it added.

NASA has so far selected 21 companies — eight US companies and 13 international companies (including three from India) — to make the ventilator developed with inputs from doctors and medical device manufacturers.

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Microsoft cuts editorial staff, to replace them with AI: Report

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Seattle, May 30 (IANS) Microsoft is reportedly laying off at least 50 news production workers and replacing them with artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms to perform their editorial duties.

According to a report in the Seattle Times on Saturday, the roughly 50 employees contracted through staffing agencies Aquent, IFG and MAQ Consulting have been notified “that their services would no longer be needed beyond June 30”.

These news production contractors work with Microsoft News, the company’s news content arm that operates MSN.com and other properties.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement that like all companies, they evaluate business on a regular basis.

“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic,” said the Microsoft spokesperson.

Some employees told Seattle Times that “MSN will use AI to replace the production work they’d been doing”.

The work includes using algorithms to identify trending news stories from dozens of publishing partners, rewrite headlines or adding better photographs or slide shows.

Besides the production work, the contract employees also planned content, maintained the editorial calendars of partner news websites and assigned content to them.

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SC notice to Tata Sons on cross-appeal by Mistry against NCLAT verdict

Mistry’s side had also wanted to place a note apparently on an interim arrangement, but it was not accepted by the court.

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New Delhi, May 29 : The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a cross-appeal filed by Cyrus Mistry, seeking more relief than granted by the NCLAT verdict in December 2019.

The apex court issued notice to Tata Sons Pvt Ltd (TSPL) and others, and tagged the cross-appeals with the appeals filed by Tata Sons, Ratan Tata and others challenging the NCLAT verdict, which reinstated Mistry as the Executive Director of Tata Sons. Mistry and his firm sought removal of anomalies in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) verdict to get representation on the TSPL board.

A bench of Justices A.S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, which took up the matter through video conferencing, said: “Issue notice. Tag with Civil Appeal Nos… And connected matters, if any. In the meantime, pleadings be completed by the parties within a period of four weeks from today. List the matter(s) thereafter.”

In January, the apex court had stayed the NCLAT order.

Through the cross-appeal, Mistry is seeking representation on the board in proportion to the 18.37 per cent stake held by his family. The cross-appeal argued that it was incumbent on the NCLAT to have granted proportionate representation that would have ensured that the interests of the SP Group are protected in future.

In the petition, Mistry has described the group’s relationship with Tatas as a quasi-partnership relationship of a vintage of over 60 years, holding 18.37 per cent in the equity share capital of Tata Sons and whose stake is now worth over Rs 1.5 Lakh crore.

In January, the apex court had observed, “You (Cyrus) have been out of the saddle for a long time…how does it hurt you today.” Tatas were represented through senior advocates A.M. Singhvi, Harish Salve, Mukul Rohatgi and Mohan Parasaran.

A heated argument broke out on the court’s remark on the stay of the tribunal judgement. Senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, representing the company Cyrus Investment Pvt Ltd, contended instead of staying the tribunal judgement, the court could order status quo; and a notice could be issued within two weeks to file a reply.

Mistry’s side had also wanted to place a note apparently on an interim arrangement, but it was not accepted by the court.

Senior advocate N.K. Kaul represented Mistry and senior advocate Shyam Divan represented the shareholders on Mistry’s side. Mistry’s side also said that they have been sidelined completely.

Sundaram contended before the bench he was not pressing on relief in connection with the reinstatement, instead he was against the wrong process adopted to remove Mistry.

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