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By: PTI | New Delhi |

Published: June 25, 2020 6:21:17 pm


Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday launch the ‘Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rozgar Abhiyan’, which seeks to promote local entrepreneurship and create a partnership with industry associations to provide employment opportunities.

According to an official statement issued here, the Uttar Pradesh government envisaged the ‘Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rozgar Abhiyan’ (self-reliant UP employment campaign) to dovetail central and state government’s programmes, while also creating partnerships with industry and other organisations.

“This Abhiyan is intensely focused towards providing employment, promote local entrepreneurship and create a partnership with industrial associations and other organisations to provide employment opportunities,” it said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on the workforce in general and migrant workers in particular, it noted.

The challenge of containing COVID-19 was compounded by the need to provide basic amenities and means of livelihood to migrants and rural workers, the statement said.

Nearly 30 lakh migrant workers returned to their homes in Uttar Pradesh, it observed, adding that 31 districts of the state have received more than 25,000 returnees.

At the virtual launch on Friday morning, Modi will also interact with villagers from six districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Villages across all districts of the state will join the event through Common Service Centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

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By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Published: June 25, 2020 6:21:26 pm


The animated stickers feature can be divided into three parts. (Image: Android Police)

WhatsApp is testing out a new feature for Android and iOS, called animated stickers. According to a report by WABetaInfo, the new animated stickers feature will allow users to send animated stickers to their contacts.

The feature is being tested in WhatsApp v2.20.194.7 beta for Android and WhatsApp v2.20.70.26 beta for iOS. Users need to be on these specific beta versions to test out the feature.

To recall, WhatsApp started supporting stickers back in 2019. The public version of the app currently offers users its own default sticker packs. It also allows users to download and send third-party ones.

According to the report, the animated stickers feature can be divided into three parts. These parts include the ability to send and receive animated stickers, import animated stickers from third-party apps, and the ability to download animated stickers from WhatsApp store. The ability to import animated stickers from third-party apps, and the ability to download animated stickers from WhatsApp store, are currently not active for beta users.

WhatsApp tips: How to recover stolen or hacked WhatsApp account

In a separate report by Android Police, it is being said that users can download default sticker packs from WhatsApp. As of now, five sticker packs available on the WhatsApp Store are Playful Piyomaru, Rico’s Sweet Life, Moody Foodies, Chummy Chum Chums and Bright Days. However, none of these sticker packs are visible in the store until and unless a contact sends you a sticker from each pack.

If someone with a beta version of the app were to send you an animated sticker, it would not play and instead would be shown as a normal image. However, if you too were using the beta version, the stickers would animate as soon as you open them up.

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(Representative image)

BENGALURU: US president Donald Trump’s decision to suspend H-1B visas will hurt many of the biggest American companies. Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and IBM were among the top ten recipients of fresh H-1B visas in the 2019 fiscal, according to data from US Citizenship & Immigration Services.
“Trump’s proclamation will hurt the US economy and destroy jobs,” said Alex Nowrasteh, director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute’s Centre for Global Liberty and Prosperity. “His cancellation of visas will reduce scientific research in the US. The ban will also make firms think twice about locating to the US. Congress cut corporate taxes in 2017 to attract firms to the US, but they won’t come if they can’t hire the workers they demand,” he said.
BSA Software Alliance, which counts Microsoft, IBM and Intel among its members, also said the move would harm the US economy. It said access to foreign talent, adding to the expertise provided by American workers, is critical for the recovery and growth of all sectors of the US economy, including the software industry which supports 14.4 million jobs and contributes $1.6 trillion in total value-added GDP annually. The software industry employs highly-skilled foreign workers, including those on H-1B, to recruit for select positions that are critical for their businesses.
“Filling these roles that are more abundant than the number of US employees qualified to fill them, means these jobs can be kept in the US. This allows companies based in the US to remain globally competitive, which in turn boosts the US economy, creating jobs for millions of Americans,” it said.
Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, an advocacy group initiated by Mark Zuckerberg, noted that three years ago, when unemployment was at 4%, Trump proposed the RAISE Act, which attempted to slash legal immigration by more than 50%. “Today, with unemployment at more than 13%, the president is enacting the same cuts through executive order. Both times they—against all actual evidence—claimed they were necessary for economic growth and to help native-born Americans,” he said.
Scott Fitzgerald, partner in immigration firm Fragomen, said the move would cause additional hardship for US employers. But he said he is much more concerned about the proposed regulatory action around H-1B. The Trump administration has indicated that H-1Bs may be offered to those paying the highest salaries, a move away from the current lottery system.

(File photo)

MUMBAI: In a major rebranding initiative, Hindustan Unilever has announced that it will stop using the word ‘Fair’ in the brand name ‘Fair & Lovely’.
Parent Unilever had come under pressure to for its presence in skin lightening products after Johnson & Johnson exited the market following a global momentum gathering steam against racism following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in Minnesota.
Over the last decade, Fair & Lovely’s advertising has evolved to communicate a message of women’s empowerment. The brand’s vision is to adopt a holistic approach to beauty that cares for people, that must be inclusive and diverse – for everyone, everywhere.
The company said the brand is committed to celebrating all skin tones.
Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director, HUL said, “We are making our skin care portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse portrayal of beauty. In 2019, we removed the cameo with two faces as well as the shade guides from the packaging of Fair & Lovely and the brand communication progressed from fairness to glow which is a more holistic and inclusive measure of healthy skin. These changes were very well received by our consumers. We now announce that we will remove the word ‘Fair’ from our brand name Fair & Lovely. The new name is awaiting regulatory approvals, and the pack with the revised name will be available in the market in the next few months.”
TOI was the first to report about how marketers have adopted a new nomenclature and changed the semantics in the fairness creams space. Instead of `fairness’, most products talk about “glowing”, “flawless”, “brightness” in their communication to consumers. The word “fair” exists only in the brand name, a conscious effort on the part of marketers.
For most consumers in India, a fairness product is said to be the first point of entry into the world of beauty.
In past interviews to TOI, Unilever’s leaders have maintained that Fair & Lovely is “a safe skincare product, which is not the case for many alternatives used by consumers… and that the product boosts the confidence of women”.Hindustan Unilever to drop ‘Fair’ from ‘Fair & Lovely’

Tencent’s Pony Ma (File photo: Reuters)

NEW DELHI: Tencent Holdings Ltd’s $40 billion surge this week and the recent ascent of Pinduoduo Inc have reshuffled the ranking of China’s richest people.
The country’s largest game developer has surpassed Alibaba Group Holding Ltd as Asia’s most-valuable company, with its shares rising above HK$500 in intraday trading Wednesday for the first time. Pinduoduo, a Groupon-like shopping app also known as PDD, has more than doubled this year.
The rallies have propelled the wealth of their founders, with an added twist: Tencent’s Pony Ma, worth $50 billion, has surpassed Jack Ma’s $48 billion fortune, becoming China’s richest person. And Colin Huang of PDD, whose net worth stands at $43 billion, has squeezed real estate mogul Hui Ka Yan of China Evergrande Group out of the top three earlier this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of the workplace and changed consumers’ habits, boosting shares of many internet companies. Now tech tycoons are dominating the ranks of China’s richest people. They occupy four of the top five spots: Ding Lei of Tencent peer NetEase Inc follows China Evergrande’s Hui.
‘Perform strongly’
Tencent has come a long way since hitting a low in 2018, when China froze the approval process for new games. Since then, the stock has almost doubled, and last month the tech giant reported a 26% jump in first-quarter revenue.
“Tencent’s online games segment will probably perform strongly through the Covid-19 pandemic, and most of its other businesses are relatively unscathed,” said Vey-Sern Ling, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.
That has been a boon for Pony Ma, 48, who owns a 7% stake in the company and pocketed about $757 million from selling some 14.6 million of his Tencent shares this year, data complied by Bloomberg show.
The native of China’s southern Guangdong province studied computer science at Shenzhen University and was a software developer at a supplier of telecom services and products before co-founding Tencent with four others in the late 1990s. At the time, the company focused on instant-messaging services.
It has been a long comeback for Pony Ma. He overtook real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin as China’s second-richest person in 2013 and topped Baidu Inc’s Robin Li as the wealthiest in early 2014. Later that year, Alibaba went public in the US, catapulting Jack Ma’s fortune.
Bloomberg Intelligence’s Ling notes, however, that Tencent’s jump this year has lagged behind some internet peers, especially those in e-commerce, games and online entertainment. Just consider: Tencent shares have climbed 31% in 2020, while PDD’s American depositary receipts have more than doubled. Alibaba, meanwhile, has advanced just 6.9%.

(Representative image)

NEW DELHI: Desperate times call for desperate measures. IndiGo has launched a “flex pay” scheme for passengers that will allow them to make domestic bookings by paying only 10% of the total fare amount. The balance can be paid up to 15 days either from the date of bookings or before the date of departure.
IndiGo chief strategy and revenue officer Sanjay Kumar said: “We intend to extend this offer for our customers to make their travel more comfortable. Our endeavour is to deliver a hassle-free experience, from the time the customer opens our website to book a ticket until the time they reach their destination. The convenience of customers always matters for us, even in these times, whilst our safety remains the biggest priority for us.”
The IndiGo website says under this scheme, a passenger can “secure booking by paying only 10% of the total fare amount with minimum Rs 400.” Such tickets will be put on “flex hold” and confirmed when the balance amount is paid.
“For example, the minimum flex pay payment for a Delhi-Mumbai round trip for 4 passengers will be, 2 segments x 4 passengers x Rs 400 = Rs 3,200. While making the payment of the balance amount corresponding the booking where a customer has exercised the flex pay option, the payment made by the customer upfront will be adjusted against the total booking amount,” IndiGo said in a statement.