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At least 31 children in India killed by toxin in lychees

Dozens of children have died from acute encephalitis in the past 10 days, say health officials At least 31 children have died in northern India in the past 10 days from a brain disease believed to be linked to a toxic substance found in lychee fruit, health officials have said. The deaths were reported by two hospitals in Muzaffarpur in Bihar state, famed for it lush lychee orchards, officials said. The children all showed symptoms of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), senior health official Ashok Kumar Singh said, adding most had…

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Disability advocate: If I didn’t have my condition, I wouldn’t be as driven

Editor’s note: The UN estimates that around 17 million people born in India live outside its borders. The group is considered the world’s largest migrant population. From the NBA’s first Indian-origin player to the descendant of an indentured laborer, CNN spoke to a handful of people born to Indian parents who settled overseas. Her mother found a way of cradling her so she wouldn’t cry, but when others held her she’d scream in pain.

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Five more years of Narendra Modi will take India to a dark place | Kapil Komireddi

If the Indian prime minister is returned to office, his sectarian politics will make bigotry the defining ideal of the republic, says author Kapil Komireddi Indian elections are a marvel to behold. The rules stipulate that no citizen should have to travel more than 2km to vote. So the state goes to the voters. Carrying oxygen tanks, election officials scaled the Himalayas to erect a voting booth in a village in Ladakh, 4,500 metres above sea level. In western India, a polling station was set up for the lone human…

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Odds and Ends 

India is investigating Google over alleged Android abuse

More than 95% of the smartphones that ship in India run Android, according to industry estimates. Now the Indian antitrust watchdog is convinced that the nation should investigate whether Google is abusing the dominant position of its mobile operating system to hurt local rivals. The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the local anti-monopoly regulator, began looking at Google’s Android business in India last year after it received a complaint from unspecified people. Last month, the regulator preliminarily found that Google had abused the dominant position of Android in the nation,…

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Xiaomi outs Redmi Go, a $65 entry-level smartphone for India

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has announced a new entry level smartphone at an event in Delhi. The entry-level smartphone is targeted at the Indian market and looks intended to woo feature phone owners to upgrade from a more basic mobile. It runs Google’s flavor of Android optimized for low-powered smartphones (Android Go) which supports lightweight versions of apps. Under the hood the dual-SIM handset has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset, 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage (though there’s a slot for expanding storage capacity up to 128GB). Also on board:…

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Odds and Ends 

Uber fixes bug that exposed third-party app secrets

Uber has fixed a bug that allowed access to the secret developer tokens of apps that integrated with the ridesharing service, according to the security researchers who discovered the flaw. In a blog post, Anand Prakash and Manisha Sangwan explained that a vulnerable developer endpoint on Uber’s back-end systems — since locked down — was mistakenly spitting back client secrets and server tokens for apps authorized by the Uber account owner. Client secrets and server tokens are considered highly sensitive bits of information for developers, as they allow apps to communicate…

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Kashmir: at least eight killed as Pakistan and India resume hostilities

At least six civilians and two Pakistani troops killed as clashes along frontier continue Indian and Pakistani soldiers have targeted each others posts and villages along the volatile frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and two Pakistani troops, officials said. Tensions have been running high since Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan on Tuesday, carrying out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed in what Islamabad described as a peace gesture. Map Fighting resumed, however, overnight on Friday. Pakistans military said two of its soldiers had…

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T-Series is actually the best thing to happen to PewDiePie

YouTube's most-subscribed channel, PewDiePie, is bigger than ever thanks to a rivalry with India-based music video production company, T-Series.Image: J. Countess/WireImage PewDiePie just surpassed a new YouTube milestone, and he has T-Series to thank for it. Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie just hit 80 million YouTube subscribers on Monday. The achievement marks the first time any YouTuber has reached this milestone. PewDiePie, the platform’s most well-known (and most controversial) video game vlogger, has been embroiled in a fierce rivalry in recent months with a music video channel from India, T-Series. Both…

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Odds and Ends 

Elephants Salute People Who Rescued Their Baby Elephant From a Ditch

Wildlife officials in Kerala, India, rescued a baby elephant that fell into a ditch and got trapped. Watch as the family of wild elephants nervously waits on the other side of the river while locals use a backhoe to try to free the baby. When the family is once again reunited, two of the elephants raise their trunks to the crowd in a gesture many are interpreting as a ‘thank you’. The elephants repeat the gesture for a second time, and receive an ovation from the touched crowd. Read more:…

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Ola raises $50M at a $4.3B valuation from two Chinese funds

Ola, the arch-rival of Uber in India, has raised $50 million at a valuation of about $4.3 billion from Sailing Capital, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, and the China-Eurasian Economic Cooperation Fund (CEECF), a state-backed Chinese fund. The funding was disclosed in regulatory documents sourced by Paper.vc and reviewed by Indian financial publication Mint. According to Mint, Sailing Capital and CEECF will hold a combined stake of more than 1% in Ola . An Ola spokesperson said the company has no comment. Ola’s last funding announcement was in October,…

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Odds and Ends 

WhatsApp hits Indias Jio feature phones amidst fake news violence

False rumors forwarded on WhatsApp have led angry mobs to murder strangers in India, but the Facebook-owned chat app is still racing to add users in the country. Today it launched a feature phone version of WhatsApp for JioPhone 1 and 2’s KaiOS, which are designed to support 22 of India’s vast array of native languages. Users will be able to send text, photos, videos and voice messages with end-to-end encryption, though it will lack advanced features like augmented reality and Snapchat Stories-style Status updates. WhatsApp was supposed to launch…

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‘A Brexited flatland: Peter Gabriel hits out after Womad stars refused entry to UK

Festival co-founder urges government to make it easier for international artists to perform in Britain The musician Peter Gabriel has expressed alarm over UK foreign policy after a number of international artists were unable to perform at artists declined invitations to perform at Womad, with many citing the difficulty of entering the country under the automated visa system that first created issues for the festival in 2017. Whether their perceptions are real or inflamed, the reality is that artists are deciding that the hassle and cost of entering the UK…

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Trump Spouse-Visa Shift May Hurt Workers, Push 100,000 From Jobs

U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to ban spouses of high-skill visa holders from working will likely push 100,000 people out of jobs and negatively affect the visa holders and their employers, according to a new research study. The Trump Administration has been tightening the rules for H-1B visas, which allow foreign workers to take jobs in the U.S. for several years, and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Pooja B. Vijayakumar from the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick set out to study the implications of such a…

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Uber Pulls Out of Southeast Asia, Selling Operation to Rival Grab

Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab, withdrawing from yet another fast-growing region to end a war of attrition with a fierce local rival. Under the agreement, Grab will acquire all of Uber’s operations in a region of 620 million people, including food delivery service UberEats. The U.S. ride-hailing behemoth in return gets a 27.5 percent stake in a combined entity and its chief executive officer will join the board of the Singapore-based company. Bloomberg News reported over the weekend that the two companies…

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Bitcoin Whipsaws Investors as Bubble Shows Signs of Bursting

Bitcoin whipsawed investors, falling below $8,000 for the first time since November before recovering most of Friday’s losses, as a miserable 2018 continued for cryptocurrencies. Since reaching a record high of $19,511 on Dec. 18 shortly after the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the U.S., Bitcoin has wiped out more than half its value amid waves of negative news. Setbacks included escalating regulatory threats from authorities around the world including India, raided Coincheck’s offices Friday morning, a week after the robbery, hauling out documents and computers as evidence. The…

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