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Federal government sues Ferguson, Missouri

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(DIYA TV) — The federal government sued Ferguson on Wednesday, one day after the city council voted to revise an agreement aimed at improving the way police and courts treat poor people and minorities in the St. Louis suburb.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Indian-American Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta made the announcement, saying Ferguson’s decision to reject the deal offered by the Department of Justice left them no choice but to file a civil-rights lawsuit.

“The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for the city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe.… They have waited decades for justice. They should not be forced to wait any longer,” Lynch said during the D.C. news conference, held jointly between her and Gupta.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch pauses as she speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington about Ferguson, Missouri. The federal government sued Ferguson on Wednesday, one day after the city council voted to revise an agreement aimed at improving the way police and courts treat poor people and minorities in the St. Louis suburb. (Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch pauses as she speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington about Ferguson, Missouri. The federal government sued Ferguson on Wednesday, one day after the city council voted to revise an agreement aimed at improving the way police and courts treat poor people and minorities in the St. Louis suburb. (Carolyn Kaster / AP)

In the complaint, the Justice Department accuses Ferguson of routinely violating residents’ rights and misusing law enforcement to generate revenue for the city — something which the the government has alleged was “ongoing and pervasive.” The city’s leaders “had a real opportunity here to step forward, and they’ve chosen to step backward,” Lynch said.

The scrutiny Ferguson has face from the Justice Department began with the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Black and unarmed, Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson 18 months ago. Wilson dodged prosecution from Justice and a grand jury indictment before his ultimate resigning in Nov. 2014. A scathing Justice Department report has since followed, critical of the Ferguson police and an alleged profit-driven municipal court system. Following months of negotiations, an agreement between the federal agency and Ferguson was announced in January.

Recent audits of Ferguson’s financials determined the agreement between the city and Justice would cost the city’s struggling budget nearly $4 million in the first year alone — the city council voted 6-0 to accept the deal, but with seven amendments attached. Just hours before Lynch and Gupta announced the lawsuit, Ferguson city leaders made clear their intentions to sit down with Justice and renegotiate the agreement.

“We ask that if they (the Justice Department) feel there needs to be some additional changes to the agreement, we sit down and talk,” Ferguson mayor James Knowles III said.

In this Feb. 2, 2016 file photo, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III speaks during a city council meeting in Ferguson, Mo. As Ferguson leaders consider a lawsuit filed against the city by the U.S. Department of Justice, the town's effort at an amended agreement with DOJ acknowledged that losing the police department is a possibility. (Jeff Roberson / AP)

In this Feb. 2, 2016 file photo, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III speaks during a city council meeting in Ferguson, Mo. As Ferguson leaders consider a lawsuit filed against the city by the U.S. Department of Justice, the town’s effort at an amended agreement with DOJ acknowledged that losing the police department is a possibility. (Jeff Roberson / AP)

He added that the seven amendments were formulated after the analysis of the Justice Department deal revealed how elaborate the economic effect would be — so expensive in fact, that it could lead to the dissolution of the city, he said. The analysis suggested that the first-year cost of the agreement would be $2.2 million to $3.7 million, with second- and third-year costs between $1.8 million and $3 million in each year.

Ferguson currently operates with a $14.5 million budget, and currently carries a $2.8 million deficit. Even if voters approve the tax hikes they are being asked to in April, the city would still fall short of the necessary finances.

That invitation appeared as if it would go unnoticed — Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement that the department would take “the necessary legal actions” to guarantee Ferguson’s police and court practices comply with the Constitution and federal laws.

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Google launches mobile payment App Tez tailored to Indian users

Google launches mobile payment App Tez tailored to Indian users

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Tez

Following vast speculation, Google officially launched a mobile payment platform for the Indian market, called Tez.
Available for Android and iOS users in India, Tez initiates Google’s entry into the mobile payment industry in India.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Diya TV) — Following vast speculation, Google officially launched a mobile payment platform for the Indian market, called Tez.

Available for Android and iOS users in India, Tez initiates Google’s entry into the mobile payment industry in India. The app allow users to link their smartphones with their bank accounts and pay for goods and services online and at traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Users can also make person-to-person instant money transfers, similar to PayPal.

With Tez, users pay directly from their bank account, using a Unified Payments Interface. Currently, the app works with all major banks, including Google partners Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI and State Bank of India.

Tez is not a mobile wallet like PayTM and MobiKwik. Rather, instead of users storing money, it works more like Apple Wallet, linking the bank account, allowing payments to be deducted from the account.

According to Tez, it’s Tez Shield built-in security “helps to detect fraud, prevent hacking, and verify your identity.” Each transaction is secured with the user’s UPI PIN. Additionally, the app is secured with a Google PIN or a screen lock method such as fingerprint.

Tez says the app has partnered with a myriad of apps and vendors, including RedBus, PVR, Domino’s, Dish TV and Jet Airways. The app supports multiple languages: English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Business owners can use the Tez with their current account to start accepting digital payments. Payments will go directly to their bank accounts “without any additional cost incurred for the transaction.”

During a launch event in Delhi, Caesar Sengupta, the head of Google’s Next Billion program said the app “works with the vast majority of Android smartphones in the country.”

The app launch took place on Sept. 18 with India Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying, “Tez by Google is perhaps the simplest form of monetary transactions.”

Since launching on Google Play and iTunes store, the app has received positive reviews by users. On the Android platform, of nearly 15,000 reviews and over 100,000 users, the app has a 3.8 star rating, with over half of the reviews being 5-star. On the Apple platform, Tez has a 4.5-star rating with 15 reviews.

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Mahindra and Ford Announce Strategic Cooperation

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Designed at leveraging the benefits of Ford’s global reach and Mahindra’s scale in India and successful operating model, Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company announced a strategic alliance.

DEARBORN, Mich. (Diya TV) — Designed at leveraging the benefits of Ford and Mahindra’s strengths, Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company announced a strategic alliance.

A Sept. 18 announcement by Ford says the “agreement between the two companies will allow each to leverage their mutual strengths during a period of unprecedented transformation in the global automotive industry.”

Areas of cooperation include:mobility programs; connected vehicle projects; electrification; product development; sourcing and commercial efficiencies; distribution within India; improving Ford’s reach within India; and improving Mahindra’s reach beyond India.

“Ford is committed to India and this alliance can help us deliver the best vehicles and services to customers while profitably growing in the world’s fifth largest vehicle market,” stated Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets.

Ford and Mahindra will work together for a period of up to three years. Following that the period may be extended.

“The changes facing the automotive industry globally are triggered by the accelerated rise of new technologies, sustainability policies and new models of urban shared mobility. Given these changes we see the need to anticipate new market trends, explore alternatives and look for ways to collaborate even as we compete and build powerful synergies that will allow rapid exploitation of the exciting new opportunities …,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra.

Mahindra is one of the leading utility vehicle manufacturers in India for over 70 years.

Mahindra owns a majority stake in Ssangyong Motor Company in Korea and is developing products like the GenZe – the world’s first electric connected scooter.

Ford is one of the largest exporters of cars from the U.S., manufacturing and exporting vehicles and engines from its manufacturing facilities in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Sanand, Gujarat. India is also the second-largest Ford employee base globally, with more than 14,000 people working across the Ford India and Global Business Services operations in New Delhi, Chennai, and Coimbatore.

The Mahindra Group is a $19 billion federation of companies focused on “innovative mobility solutions, driving rural prosperity, enhancing urban living, nurturing new businesses and fostering communities.”

It is the world’s largest tractor company, by volume. It also enjoys a strong presence in agribusiness, components, commercial vehicles, consulting services, energy, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, steel, aerospace, defense and motorcycles. Mahindra employs over 200,000 people across 100 countries.

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles. Ford employs approximately 203,000 people worldwide.

The two companies had a brief 1995 partnership for manufacturing the Ford Escort. However, after three years, the partnership ceased.

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Duke University Opens India office in Bengaluru

Duke University Opens India office in Bengaluru

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North Carolina-based private research university Duke University recently opened an India office in Bengaluru to foster its collaborations with Indian universities and organizations.

DURHAM, N.C. (Diya TV) — North Carolina-based private research university Duke University recently opened an India office in Bengaluru to foster its collaborations with Indian universities and organizations.

Duke University India “aims to expand the existing Duke-India partnerships, which include academic exchange programs and research collaborations,” Duke Today reported.

https://youtu.be/SLGE2vf-hTo

According to the report, the University’s current partners in India include NITI-Aayog, the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University in Ahmedabad, Narayana Health City, IIM – Udaipur, IIM – Ahmedabad, and IIT- Gandhinagar.

Duke hosted a launch event on Sept. 18, celebrating the commencement of operations, featuring a conversation between Dr. Michael Merson, vice president and vice provost for global affairs at Duke and Dr. Devi Shetty, chairman and founder of Narayana Health.

“I think we cannot think of education if we don’t think of global education,” Namrata Jha, executive director of Duke University India said in a video posted by Duke Global. “Duke University has opened a new office in India, based in Bangalore to create more partnerships – research collaborations, university partnerships, more student exchange, faculty exchange, going to India and understanding about Indian culture, more student exchange, faculty exchange, going to India and understanding about Indian culture, learning from the community, giving back to the community. And my team at Duke University’s office in India will be working with faculty at Duke to make that happen.”

“India is unique. While it has lots of challenges, it is also a hub of intellect, of forward-looking thinking, young minds. It’s a fertile ground for doing something groundbreaking in this world. If the technological innovation and great minds of Duke University could tap into the young minds of India, I think we can create wonders,” she added.

Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina.  More than 430 Indian students are currently enrolled there and nearly 700 Duke Alumni live in India.

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