Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Facebook soon to roll down dedicated place to watch videos
 In a move to take on video sharing site YouTube, Facebook is testing a new feature that will allow people to go and exclusively discover, watch and share videos that are relevant to them.
 
According to Will Cathcart, vice president (product management) at Facebook, they will be testing a dedicated place on Facebook for people to go to when they exclusively want to watch videos - whether those are videos they have saved for later or videos from friends.
 
It can be accessed by tapping a “Videos” icon at the bottom of the Facebook app on iPhone or in the “Favourites” section on the left-hand side of News Feed on the web.
 
“We will be testing this with a small number of people now, so this isn’t something most people will see on Facebook right away. We look forward to seeing how people use it to discover, watch and share videos with their friends,” Cathcart wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
 
The company will allow people to watch clips on a floating screen while continuing to scroll through Facebook like people can do on YouTube.
 
In August, Facebook announced that public figures can share live video with their fans via its feature titled Mentions.
 
In addition to helping people find more videos they may be interested in, Facebook knows people sometimes want to multitask while they watch videos.
 
“To make this possible, we are testing a way for people to watch a video in a floating screen while simultaneously multitasking on Facebook,” Cathcart added.
 
Suggested videos is one of the features Facebook has been testing on iPhone.
 
“We are pleased with initial results which show that people who have suggested videos are discovering and watching more new videos,” he wrote.
 
Facebook is also starting suggested videos on the web and plans to test on Android phones in the coming months.
 
“To make it easy to return to the videos you’re interested in, we’ve been testing a button that allows you to save a video to watch later, which can be accessed in your 'Saved' bookmark,” the company posted.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Defence deals worth Rs. 3.1 lakh crore cleared, but zero movement on ground
In the 17 months that the NDA government has been in power, the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) that vets all big-ticket deals has cleared projects worth a whopping Rs. 3.1 lakh crore ($47 billion), but none of these are anywhere near closure.
 
Against this, just Rs.1.8 lakh crore has been allocated in the budgets for 2014-15 and 2015-16 under the capital expenditure head for purchase of hardware.
 
Thus, it would seem that despite defence ministry's grandiose plans, money is yet to be allocated for a substantial portion of the acquisitons. But as is the case in most defence acquisitions, allocation is not enough.
 
Ironically, the only big ticket acquisition by the present government has been that of 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters for Rs. 20,000 crore ($3.1 billion). The deal was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States last month although the negotiations had been cleared by the previous UPA government in 2013.
 
The manufacturer, Boeing, as also the US administration, extended the validity of the price offer 13 times before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval just before Modi left for the US.
 
This state of affairs doesn't surprise noted security expert C. Uday Bhaskar.
 
“Approval by the DAC is procedurally important but not very substantive. DAC is a case of approval in principle and the proposal is then taken to the CCS. Subject to availability of funds in the given fiscal, CCS approval is accorded. The track-record here is patchy and there have been many instances where the defence ministry has returned large sums of money from the capital head year after year despite a glaring inventory gap," Bhaskar, the director of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS), told IANS.
 
"This is a gray area that has existed for some 20-25 years. North Block (that houses the finance ministry) controls the purse strings and the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) decides the priority of funding. It is a reality that a low priority is accorded to to defence," he said. 
 
Bhasker, who was in the defence ministry for several years said: "I recall one raksha mantri (defence minister) saying at a meeting that he was helpless and had to surrender funds allocated to the ministry to the exchequer to balance the book," Bhaskar said, adding "Generally, there is a flurry apropos defence acquisitions before the election." 
 
According to him "everything is overwhelmingly arbitrary."
 
Often bureaucratic delays in finalising a deal lead to a situation where vast sums of money are returned, sometimes as high as Rs.8,000 crore, says Bhaskar. "There is no accountability for delays. Nine officials of varying seniority can delay or cancel an approval and not one has the conviction or domain expertise to accord approval," Bhaskar added.
 
Take the manner in which negotiations were conducted for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCAs) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
 
The RfP (request for proposal) was floated in 2007 and six manufacturers responded. Six aircraft were put through a series of rigorous tests before it was announced in January 2012 that the French Rafale had got the nod.
 
Price negotiations proceeded at an agonisingly slow pace and finally stalled on the "ownership" factor - with whom would the buck stop for the 90 aircraft to be manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Thirtysix were to come in fly-away condition from France.
 
Then, during Modi's visit to France in April, it was announced that India would purchase 36 jets and that the MMRCA proposal had been dropped. It's been six months since then but no closure is in sight.
 
Simultaneously, the IAF has said it needs at least six more squadrons of MMRCAs to bolster its depleting fleet, which now consists of 35 squadrons against a sanctioned strength of 42.
 
Despite a flurry of activity, the following are still stuck in the pipeline:
 
*A Rs. 9,000 crore tender for five fleet support ships for the Indian Navy.
 
*The acquisition of six conventional submarines for Rs. 50,000 crore to augment the aging and depleted submarine fleet.
 
On submarines, a committee was formed soon after to identify the shipyard for production. While the committee's report was submitted to the ministry in July this year, a tender, which was supposed to be issued in a month, is yet to be issued. When submarines were cleared by the DAC, the aim was to make all of them in a year's time. However, a year since, even the tender is yet to be floated.
 
There are several other projects that have been discussed but await implementation:
 
*The replacement of Indian Air Force's fleet of aging Avro transport aircraft for Rs. 11,930 crore, where the Airbus-Tata consortium is involved.
 
*Russia's offer to build Kamov Ka-226T helicopters under the Make in India initiative.
 
*Replacing L70 and Zu 23mm guns of army's air defence under Buy-and-Make category. Army will get 428 guns for Rs. 16,900 crore.
 
*An upgrade of weapons and sensor suite of the Delhi and Talwar class ships during their mid-life refit for Rs. 2,900 crore. Six ships will see new surface-to-air missile system that would be bought from Russia, besides new radars.
 
Thus, while some private shipyards and private companies have been shortlisted for manufacturing warships, submarines and field guns, nothing can move till the CCS gives its approval after getting the finance ministry's nod. 
 
Till then, the Make in India initiative in the military hardware sector will remain a distant dream.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Credai protests reach the ears of the government

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed the state administration to implement an automated Development Control Regulation (DCR) permission system over the next two months

 

As planned, Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) carried out its protests in the aftermath of the suicide of Cosmos Group chief Suraj Parmar in Thane, Maharashtra. A large gathering of builders, contractors and members from allied industry marched to the Thane Municipal Corporation in memory of Parmar and to protest against administrative delays and the misuse of obsolete laws and the RTI Act. In Navi Mumbai, too, a delegation from the Builders Association of Navi Mumbai took a demonstration march to the offices of Cidco and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation. A builder delegation from MCHI-CREDAI called on Maharashtra chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and expressed concern over the administrative sanction process hitting the real estate sector.Housing minister Prakash Mehta was present at the meeting.

 

Fadnavis on Tuesday directed the state administration to evolve and implement an automated Development Control Regulation (DCR) permission system over the next two months. The system would not need human interventions and it would leave no scope for blackmailing of developers by politicians or officials.

 

A case of abetment and under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against yet-to-be-identified political functionaries and civic officials in the suicide case of builder Suraj Parmar, according to Economic Times. The police have revised the accidental death report they had filed in the suicide case last Wednesday. Police claimed they have secured sizeable leads. Police have seized mobile phones, laptops and other gadgets used by Parmar.

 

Parmar, in his suicide note, has written that builders have no answers to customers' queries on completion of projects due to stays and notices issued to them by the civic body. He stated that local corporators, in nexus with civic officials, get notices sent to builders and in return, they have to pay at every turn. In the note, he has mentioned he was not under any kind of debt.

 

In Bengaluru, hundreds of personnel from the real estate industry took to the streets in protest. As part of an All-India protest against the “business environment” for real estate developers, CREDAI-Karnataka too closed their offices on Tuesday. The protestors marched to Vikasa Soudha, where a memorandum was submitted to Bengaluru district in-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy. Among the demands presented in the memorandum was to improve “ease of business” for the developers and for faster approvals. With 30% of the sale price of flats going in taxes and cesses, realtors said they were put in a bind due to the inflating costs of constructions. Similarly, interference from various departments, officers and archaic by-laws was making development of land difficult, said the protestors.

 

In Pune also, there were extensive protests from the real estate industry.

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COMMENTS

Vikram Dhotre

1 year ago

Do hope the government also lends ears to the needs of buyers and implements the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act.

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