Team India Prepares for Its Second and Bigger Challenge at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup

UAE does have a very experienced bench waiting for opportunities. The coach has opted for some new and inexperienced faces to the starting XI, but didn’t get a much favourable result against Bahrain. But still, Alberto Zaccheroni would give the same combinations one more try with a possible change being Ahmed Khalil in place of Khamis Esmaeel.

Team India prepares for its second and bigger challenge at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup as the Blue Tigers face hosts UAE in an exciting contest at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

A match that is crucial for both the teams will be a fierce fight between the two midfields. With both the coaches depending on their midfield, for different reasons, the question will be whether India’s in-form midfield can get over UAE’s troubled midfield against Bahrain.

Khalid Eisa will be guarding the post once again for the hosts. The defence lineup might remain unchanged with Alhasan Saleh, Faris Juma, Khalifa Mubarak and Bandar Al Ahbabi.

In midfield, the attacks through the wings will be assigned to Ismail Al Hammadi on the left and the possible change Saif Rashid Nasir on the right. The central midfield will have Amer Abdulrahman and Ali Salmeen looking to restrict India’s movements.

The second striker will be a key presence in the UAE lineup. The coach started with Khaflan Mubarak in the previous game, but is doubtful to give the youngster a second chance. Ahmed Khalil who scored the goal against Bahrain might be another inclusion in the starting lineup. The striker in UAE’s plans would be Ali Mabkhout whose form still haunts the coach.

Patriotism Takes on Bollywood; URI: The Surgical Strike to Release Soon

The latest in the slew of nationalist films is Uri: The Surgical Strike, starring Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Yami Gautam and Kirti Kulhari. It is based on the September 2016 retaliation surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army in response to the terror attacks at Uri, the army base camp in Kashmir. Vicky plays the role of a dedicated soldier, Vihaan, who is known for his meticulous strategising and planning in missions. After a successful mission, he wishes to retire from army life, as his mother needs him.

Over the years, many Bollywood filmmakers have decided to take the patriotic route and make nationalism-infused dramas. Patriotism is the key to the hearts of the audience and this formula seems to be working fairly well, and box office numbers are proof.

The storyline isn’t entirely unpredictable; we know what will push Vihaan to take up the mission of the surgical strikes against the terrorists.

The second half focuses on the Indian Army planning the attack against the militants. The tone of the film hits a crescendo as India gets ready to teach Pakistan a lesson in bloodshed and violence. Vihaan shouts, “They want Kashmir and we want their heads!” The soldiers holler back in agreement.

The distinctions between India and Pakistan scenes are painfully clear. For one, there’s always the Pakistani flag in the background to show that the scene is taking place in Islamabad. Director Aditya Dhar had earlier said in an interview that there was ‘nothing anti-Pakistan in the film.’ Not on the face of it, maybe. But as they say, the devil lies in the details.

In the film, there is a stark difference between the intelligence meetings in Pakistan as compared to those taking place in India. The officials in the neighbouring country constantly put down India at any chance they get. Pakistani officials are boorish, with some burp-induced humour and are shown willing to drink themselves silly, whereas the Indians are constantly alert and on their toes.

Keeping the affiliations of Uri the film aside (which is a task in itself), it is a decent film for most parts. The first half is far more gripping than the second. Post intermission, the makers themselves seem over-excited, to the point of losing control of the narrative. The line between what’s believable and what’s actually not, becomes blurred. There is actually a scene where Vicky stabs a terrorist one-on-one, while yelling “Indian Army!” At points, guns are thrown aside and we are treated to some good old Bollywood punches and kicks.

LG Display Showcased OLED Displays in CES 2019

At the ongoing CES 2019 in Las Vegas, LG Display has showcased a bunch of new OLED displays including the world’s first rollable TV.

However, the most interesting of the lot is a gigantic 88-inch OLED screen that offers a surreal 8K resolution and can double up as a speaker.

The newest 88-inch model comes as an improved version of Crystal Sound OLED screens that were showcased at CES 2017.

The ‘Crystal Sound’ screen technology allows LG Display to integrate a dedicated sound system into the display and hence remove the need for speakers.

This 88-inch model is claimed to offer more immersive sound with a 3.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos audio.

Given OLED displays are self-emissive and do not require backlighting, with ‘Crystal Sound’ screen technology, LG Display is able to embed a sound system into the screen itself.

This characteristic of OLED screens allows them to be used as membranes with several exciters packed across the panel.

When active, these exciters generate audio through vibrations of the OLED display.

Besides removing the need for a separate speaker or sound bar, the Crystal Sound screen technology offers a more immersive viewing experience.

This is because the sound waves beam out from behind the display than side-mounted or bottom-firing speakers.

Interestingly, LG Display is also bringing this technology into both laptops and PC monitors.

Paresh Rawal Confirmed Commencement of Narendra Modi’s Biopic

Titled PM Narendra Modi, Oberoi’s film will go on floors later this month. The film has reportedly been in the works for three years.

The film poster was unveiled by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at South Mumbai’s Garware Club House. The film is being produced by Oberoi’s father Suresh Oberoi and Sandip Ssingh.

Back in June 2018, Paresh Rawal had confirmed that his impending biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi would go on floors soon. While the project was announced in 2017, so far nothing has been revealed about its progress. In an exclusive chat with media, Rawal had said, “We are just locking the script and hopefully it will finish soon, and we will begin to shoot it in September or October (2018).”

So, the announcement of Vivek Oberoi’s project on PM Modi came as a huge surprise for many. On Monday, the first look of PM Modi’s biopic which is being directed by Omung Kumar and stars Oberoi in the lead role was launched at a grand event in Mumbai.

When contacted Rawal for his comment, he said, “I still maintain that nobody can play Modi other than me. I can do complete justice to the role. However, it’s a free country and even Vivek can play that role. I wish him luck.”

“What I can do with that film, nobody else can. Let anybody do what they want to, we are also coming out soon,” he added.

With the makers yet to announce PM Narendra Modi’s release date, it will be interesting to see if they will be able to shape public opinion and release it in time with the general elections this year.

CES- A Level Up of Google Assistant

During its event, Google also announced you’ll be able to manage flights with Assistant, including checking in getting a digital boarding pass. The service is being tested only with United for now, but should hit other major airlines soon. The company said it expected to hit a billion devices with Assistant by the end of the month on over 10,000 different devices from more than 1,000 brands.

Google Assistant might be pretty much a standard option for Android phones, but Google found another way to extend its reach. During its keynote at CES 2019, the company said it is done integrating the Assistant into Google Maps for both Android and iOS. That way you can share ETA, reply to text messages and play music without closing the navigation window.

While putting Assistant into Maps seems a logical next step within the Google ecosystem, the bigger reason for this move was the lack of interest among iPhone users. Apple customers are not installing Assistant as a separate app from the Apple Store, but there is a huge install base for Maps. That way iPhone owners can get all information hands free without needing the native assistant Siri.

Fingerprint Authentication to Protect Whatsapp Users From Data Breach

The fingerprint authentication feature will be available within the app under Settings > Account > Privacy.

Once you enable the fingerprint feature, WhatsApp will be completely protected from others to be seen. Of course, if your phone is already protected by an authentication method, it’s a little redundant.

“The user will need to authenticate his identity in order to open WhatsApp (from the app icon, from the notification or from external pickers). It will protect the entire app, so it’s not used to lock specific conversations,” the report added.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is reportedly working on a fingerprint authentication feature to protect its users’ chats from being seen by others. The authentication, once enabled, will be required for users to open the app.

According to Media, a fan site that tests new WhatsApp features early, the feature is current under development, and disabled by default in the Android 2.19.3 beta version.

“After working to implement Face ID and Touch ID features on iOS (that aren’t available yet for development reasons), WhatsApp has finally started to work on the Authentication feature on Android, using your Fingerprint!” said the report on Tuesday.

This feature would be available in future for any Android user (and later for iOS users too) having Android Marshmallow and newer operating systems and a fingerprint sensor, the report adds.

Domestic Mutual Funds Are The Backbone of Indian Economy

Mutual funds account for the lion’s share of domestic investment in the market. In 2018, higher investments by these funds resulted in the market closing the year with nearly 4 percent gains. In 2017, FIIs withdrew Rs 44,108.85 crore but the domestic investment was Rs 90,738.31 crore (netting out mutual fund investment of Rs 106,482 crore while other domestic institutions were sellers). But in 2017, mutual fund investments were able to carry the market with the benchmark indices closing 27.6 percent up for the year.

One of the main reasons the Indian equity markets had a strong run was the inflows into domestic mutual funds. The theory was the Indian markets were no longer dependent on foreign inflows as domestic investors were increasingly investing their savings into equities, through mutual funds. But this theory will appear a bit flawed if one were to look at the mutual fund inflows for the month of December 2018.

December 2018 saw mutual fund investments in equity fall by 21 percent to a net Rs 6,606 crore (equity plus ELSS investments), the lowest level in 2018. Net inflows into equity funds alone were at Rs 5,615 crore, well below the net inflows of Rs 11,422 crore as recently as last October.

Is the retail investor turning risk-averse? If so, it could get scary. For 2018 as a whole, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were sellers to the tune of Rs 73,212 crore, but the market did not feel the pinch of their exit as domestic institutions pumped in nearly Rs 109,661.71 crore. During this period, mutual funds saw an investment of Rs 88,822 crore, an average of Rs 7,401.83 crore per month. That’s lower than 2017, which saw an investment of Rs 106,482 crore in equity mutual funds, an average monthly rate of Rs 8,873 crore.

To be sure, the systematic investment plan (SIP) inflows which touched a level of Rs 8,022.33 crore in December 2018 are a silver lining. But taking the numbers along with the equity flows for the month, it is clear there was redemption from other equity funds and a part of SIPs are going into debt funds.

New Safety Protocols for AirbusA320 Operated Aircrafts

IndiGo, GoAir, aircraft manufacturer Airbus and engine maker Pratt & Whitney met civil aviation ministry officials on Tuesday to discuss the engine issues.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would issue safety rules for airlines in one week, civil aviation secretary R N Choubey told media.

IndiGo declined to comment when asked about the meeting. GoAir did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, is Airbus’ biggest customer for the A320neo, all of which are fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines. IndiGo and GoAir together have more than 500 such planes on order.

The government will issue new safety protocols for airlines operating Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines, the civil aviation secretary said, after temporary grounding orders affected the planes last year.

Low-cost airlines IndiGo and GoAir were forced to ground A320neo aircraft on several occasions due to issues related to their engines.

But he said his ministry had no plans to tell IndiGo, India’s biggest carrier by market share, and GoAir to take A320neos jets out of service or stop taking new deliveries.

Shrinking Global Cash Squeezed Down Indian Economy; Investors Pulled Out Money

India the best-performing equity market in Asia last year, outperforming even the U. S. and the MSCI emerging markets index in local currency terms and leapfrogging Germany to become the seventh-largest in the world. The MSCI India Index trades at 17.2 times its estimated 12-month earnings, about 59 percent higher that the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

The party’s over for Indian equities, with stocks headed for another tough year as a shrinking global cash pool dims prospects of an improving economy and expected recovery in company earnings boosting stocks, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Share prices have rallied far ahead of earnings estimates in the last few years and Mookim expects them to give up some of those gains as liquidity starts tightening.

“The expansion of multiples that has happened is not because the market has discovered growth, it has happened because of the lower cost of capital everywhere and that seven or eight year trajectory has turned,” Mookim said.

Even as BofAML expects India’s NSE Nifty 50 Index to end 2019 at 11,300 — a 4 percent gain for the year — it won’t be a smooth ride. The key equity gauges may fall by “a double-digit percentage” in the first half, possibly triggered by political rhetoric preceding national elections expected around May, before stabilizing with the formation of a new government.

Mookim advises buying stocks such as consumer companies and farm-equipment makers and financiers that will gain from the government’s expected spending to boost rural incomes. He also prefers larger lenders as they are nearing the end of the bad-loan cycle and will report improved profits over the next few years. “If you have to be in India, banks are the only things that look okay; they are the only remaining standing opportunity in this market,” he said.