Retail inflation in Delhi, J&K more than double national average: ASSOCHAM

Representative image.Representative image.
MANGALURU: The retail inflation may have been hovering at quite a reasonable level of 3.17% for January, 2017 on an all-India basis, but there is no respite for people right in Delhi along with a couple of other states, suffering the price rise at double the national average, with demonetization leaving its possible impact, an ASSOCHAM analysis has noted.

“Against the national average of 3.17%, Delhi had to bear the inflation rate, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) at 6.32%, while it was 7.01% for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and 5.92% for Himachal Pradesh,” said the ASSOCHAM analysis of the inflation data.

It also noted that in the rural belt of the national capital, the CPI inflation was close to seven per cent at 6.85%. Similarly the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir and HP which were quite high on the retail inflation chart, witnessed quite a high rate of price rise in January, 2017 year on year.

In J&K rural and far flung, the CPI inflation was 9.08% and for the similar areas of HP it was 6.17%, adds the ASSOCHAM.

“The CPI inflation for January, 2017 on an all India level is much lower at 3.17% than the one measured on the Wholesale Price Index, at 5.25%. One of the plausible reasons could be the impact of demonetization on the supply chain, “said ASSOCHAM President Sandeep Jajodia.

But, what is more surprising is the huge gap between retail inflation in Delhi and the national average. ” This was not expected at least in Delhi, especially when the phenomenon was not seen even in the neighbouring states of Haryana, UP and Punjab, thought it was slightly over four per cent in these states”, the chamber said, adding the demonetization would have led to supply chain disruption more in the national capital than other states.

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Trump Named in More Than 50 Lawsuits Since Inauguration

Donald Trump

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has been named in more than 50 lawsuits since taking the oath of office, a staggering number compared to the first days of past administrations.

Since being sworn in Jan. 20, Trump has been named in 52 federal cases in 17 different states, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Comparatively, Barack Obama was named in three and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were each named in four cases between Jan. 20 and Feb. 1.

While the president is often named in court cases against the federal government, the Trump administration is facing a wave of legal challenges for its two controversial executive orders that focus on immigrants from Muslim-majority nations or immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally. They also will have to battle a lawsuit over Trump’s possible conflicts related to his business holdings.

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LAWSUITS AGAINST US ENTRY RESTRICTIONS

Civil rights and Muslim advocacy organizations and groups of immigrants filed a wave of legal challenges to Trump’s order on Jan. 27 that saw a number of Muslim immigrants detained at airports across the country and around the world and sparked mass protests nationwide. Attorneys general from New York, Massachusetts and Virginia have joined suits opposing the order. Washington state filed its own suit, which was joined by Minnesota on Thursday.

Each is challenging the order on the grounds that it violates an individual’s Constitutional right to religious freedom. The executive order temporarily bars entry by immigrants from seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — that are more than 90 percent Muslim. It also bans all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. The order also states that the U.S. would provide preferential treatment to religious minorities facing religious persecution in the seven countries.

The Trump administration has pushed back on the claim that the order is a “Muslim ban.”

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Apple sells more Plus phones in Q4 2016 than ever

Apple is about to reveal its financial results for 4Q 2016 and they may contain a surprise – the company sold more iPhone 7 Plus units than any of the previous Plus-sized handsets. The company decided to equip the 7 Plus with more cameras, better battery life and more RAM than iPhone 7 and the result is said to be 24 million devices sold, compared with 15.5M iPhone 6s Plus phones in 4Q 2015. That’s 55% increase solely based on improving the hardware, compared with the flagship device from the same series.

Overall demand for the iPhone 7 has struggled throughout the October-December quarter which is first in Apple’s fiscal year. According to analysts from Cowen & Co, the data Apple is going to release tomorrow will reveal that people are unwilling to upgrade as often as expected. Part of the reason might be rumors about an 10-year Anniversary phone that kept a lot of consumers back when deciding to get the new iPhone.

The financial results show us also that this is the first time users in China preferred the Plus-sized iPhone to the regular one. 52% of the Apple fans decided to go with a iPhone 7 Plus compared with 40% who bought the predecessor iPhone 6s Plus.

Source | Via

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This battery case will give your LG V20 more than 5 days life

The LG V20 has a 3,200 mAh battery that can easily get you through the day without any trouble. But if you are more extreme and power user probably even this wouldn’t be enough. And instead of buying a secondary battery, why don’t you actually consider the ZeroLemon option.

The case company released on Amazon their case at just $60. It comes with a 10,000mAh battery that goes in the same slot where the usual one goes. The removable back metal panel of V20 is substituted by the rubber bumper case that goes around the whole device plus, of course, the enormous battery.

There’s a cutout on the back for the fingerprint sensor/power button and the dual-camera module.

It looks bulky but doesn’t act like it. The whole package weights 230g but when you combine it with the V20 (without the original battery and back panel) it goes to just 330g.

Now this is a setup that can literally go a long way.

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A plan to tax US imports has better odds of becoming law than many people think

Container ships at the Port of Oakland

Container ships at the Port of Oakland

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A controversial proposal to tax all goods and services coming into the United States has a better chance of becoming law than many on Wall Street suspect.

The so-called “border-adjusted” tax is part of the House tax overhaul plan that also would reduce the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

The idea is to tax goods as they come into the country from overseas, but to avoid taxing U.S. exports at all. For instance, a car imported into the U.S. from Mexico would be taxed, but the American-made steel sent to Mexico would not.

Proponents say the proposed “destination tax” would encourage more U.S. production of goods and create U.S. jobs. But opponents say it will send prices higher, unfairly cut profits for some sectors, particularly the retail industry, and could prompt retaliation. The idea is similar but not quite like a VAT, or value added tax, common in other countries.

The stock market has been celebrating promises of lower corporate taxes that could boost business spending, but it has been ignoring proposals that could sting some companies’ bottom lines. Retailers, automakers and refiners are among the industries that could be hit if imports are taxed

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With Cyanogen dead, Google’s control over Android is tighter than ever

cyanogen mod logo

It wasn’t too long ago when Cyanogen announced its plan to destroy Android. Back in 2015, Kirt McMaster, then the CEO of the company behind the fledgling fork CyanogenMod, declared in no uncertain terms that Google was the enemy. McMaster told Forbes that Cyanogen’s intention was to put “a bullet through Google’s head.”

But as McMaster would soon find out, it’s not so easy to kill a megacorp. After a series of missteps and layoffs, Cyanogen announced last week that it was closing up shop, bringing an abrupt end to a battle that was never really in doubt.

In a late-afternoon blog post on the Friday before Christmas—a news dump clearly designed to make as little noise as possible—Cyanogen announced it was shutting down “all services and Cyanogen-supported nightly builds … no later than 12/31/16.” In the two-sentence statement, the company also placated tinkerers by assuring the project and its source code “will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod personally.”

Cyanogen might never have seriously threatened to take control of Android, but the upstart’s shutdown still represents a major victory for Google. As Google showed with the launch of the Pixel, the company is taking steps to ensure no one ever gets close to stealing Android’s soul ever again.

cyanogenphone

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Michael Homnick

The OnePlus One was Cyanogen’s first real push for mainstream success.

Forks and knives

Cyanogen’s closure shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s followed the company’s recent news, which reportedly included workforce reductions and a move toward apps. But while Cyanogen the company might have lost a lot of momentum, CyanogenMod the OS still represented Android in its finest form—a true crowd-sourced collaboration that refused to fly under Alphabet’s flag. And for fans who dutifully downloaded the builds of the rogue OS, Friday’s news was an ignominious end.

At one time, McMaster’s bold proclamation that Cyanogen was “attempting to take Android away from Google,” didn’t seem too far-fetched. Android was gaining market share on the backs of lesser-known phones with slapdash OSes, and the notion that an alternate version of Android could wrest control of Google’s vision was tangibly possible. Cyanogen had just partnered with scrappy hardware startup OnePlus, and even Microsoft, via a Cyanogen partnership, was willing to bet that the modified OS was about to break out of its niche status and become a major player in the smartphone space.

In many ways, Cyanogen encapsulated more of the spirit of Google’s mobile OS project than Android itself ever did. As an early offshoot of the mainstream project designed and supported by habitual modders, Cyanogen was in many ways more aligned with the iOS jailbreaking community than Android proper, bringing customization and features far beyond those available in the stock OS.

Cyanogen LogoMichael Kan
Cyanogen survived a serious effort by Google to shut it down and declared it wanted to “put a bullet” in the head of Android’s creator.

But almost as quickly as Android took off, Google began reining it in. By implementing stricter rules for manufacturers to prevent further fragmentation—including licensing of its apps and mandatory inclusion of its search bar widget—Google actively worked to keep deviant versions of Android on the fringes. Nonetheless, CyanogenMod persisted, surviving cease-and-desist orders, takeover rumors and general Google-led consternation.

And now it’s all over. Google won, not by waging war with Cyanogen

source”cnbc”

A plan to tax US imports has better odds of becoming law than many people think

Container ships at the Port of Oakland

Getty Images
Container ships at the Port of Oakland

A controversial proposal to tax all goods and services coming into the United States has a better chance of becoming law than many on Wall Street suspect.

The so-called “border-adjusted” tax is part of the House tax overhaul plan that also would reduce the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

The idea is to tax goods as they come into the country from overseas, but to avoid taxing U.S. exports at all. For instance, a car imported into the U.S. from Mexico would be taxed, but the American-made steel sent to Mexico would not.

Proponents say the proposed “destination tax” would encourage more U.S. production of goods and create U.S. jobs. But opponents say it will send prices higher, unfairly cut profits for some sectors, particularly the retail industry, and could prompt retaliation. The idea is similar but not quite like a VAT, or value added tax, common in other countries.

The stock market has been celebrating promises of lower corporate taxes that could boost business spending, but it has been ignoring proposals that could sting some companies’ bottom lines. Retailers, automakers and refiners are among the industries that could be hit if imports are taxed.

“What they are doing is making that corporate income tax border-adjustable, so the only thing that matters is whether something is produced … If the import comes from outside the U.S., the U.S. company is paying a tax on the item. If the company exports their product, the income from that sale will not taxable. This is why Republicans refer to it as a destination tax.”-Daniel Clifton, head of policy research, Strategas

“I think the market is focused on the candy — lower tax rates — and not the spinach that’s needed to pay for it,” said Daniel Clifton, head of policy research at advisory firm Strategas. Clifton said that after Donald Trump was elected president, the odds of a border-adjusted corporate tax rose from 10 percent to about 30 percent.

Trump and the Republican Congress are expected to take a swing at overhauling corporate and individual taxes in some form, merging Trump’s plan and the Congressional proposal, with the hope of making changes for the 2017 calendar year.

“Every time I look at the House Republicans saying this is going to be included, you have to take this proposal seriously,” said Clifton. “The U.S. has a corporate income tax, and what they are doing is making that corporate income tax border-adjustable, so the only thing that matters is whether something is produced … If the import comes from outside the U.S., the U.S. company is paying a tax on the item. If the company exports their product, the income from that sale will not taxable. This is why Republicans refer to it as a destination tax.”

The prospect of a 20 percent corporate tax rate — from 35 percent — and a plan for repatriation of corporate cash stashed overseas have helped send stocks higher since the Nov. 8 election. The market has also been focused on a reduction in the capital gains tax rate for some investors, as Congress is expected to eliminate the 3.8 percent tax, related to the Affordable Care Act, on top of the already 20 percent capital gains tax rate.

Julian Emanuel, equity and derivatives strategist at UBS, said he expects the corporate tax rate will end up being between 20 and 25 percent, as legislators weigh tax cuts against revenues. Trump proposes a 15 percent corporate tax rate.

Emanuel said the destination tax can’t be dismissed, even though for now Wall Street is not giving it high odds. “It’s on the table … if we’ve learned anything in 2016, it’s that anything is possible,” he said.

Clifton said the border-adjusted tax is a way to lower the tax rate dramatically, and without it, the corporate tax rate could not be cut as much as proposed.

“Number one, Donald Trump says he’s going to do tariffs, but this is a way of doing tariffs but in a less hurtful way. It begins to create incentives for companies to come back to the U.S. It also gives you a ton of tax revenues that could be used to get the corporate tax rate lower,” Clifton said.

Goldman Sachs economists also put a one-in-three chance on the idea of a destination-based, border-adjusted corporate tax gaining approval. They expect the proposal to continue to remain in the legislation as it goes through the early stages of consideration, and that could put more focus on it.

source”cnbc”

Fed’s Lacker says more than three rate hikes likely needed in 2017

Lacker: Fed will likely need more than 3 hikes in 2017

Lacker: Fed will likely need more than 3 hikes in 2017  Friday, 16 Dec 2016 | 1:45 PM ET | 01:09

The Federal Reserve will likely need to raise interest rates more than three times next year and faces challenges in gradually cooling off the U.S. economy, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said on Friday.

“If we get behind, it’s hard to really calibrate,” Lacker said during a panel discussion in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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The U.S. central bank raised its target range for rates by a quarter of a point on Wednesday and projected three more hikes next year.

Lacker, who did not have a vote but participated in the Fed’s policy meetings this year, said the U.S. economy would likely receive some fiscal stimulus under the Trump administration.

He said the Fed would still be able to raise rates gradually, but perhaps not as slowly as is expected by the majority of policymakers. The Fed raised rates only once in 2016, which followed a single rate hike last year.

Before the two hikes, rates had been held near zero since 2008 to nurse the economy back from recession.

Lacker said he will be looking out for signs of rising inflation given the apparent strength of the labor market, but that it would likely be a couple of years before policymakers know if they waited too long to raise rates in 2016.

source”cnbc”

Five things AI does better than humans, from the mundane to the magnificent

AIs are giving us a kicking in board games and video games, but what else are they good for?

facebook ai research building blocks
An AI developed by Facebook researchers can rival humans when it comes to predicting whether wooden blocks will stay stacked — and where they will fall if they don’t.

Credit: Facebook AI Research

COMMENTS
For millennia, we surpassed the other intelligent species with which we share our planet—dolphins, porpoises, orangutans, and the like—in almost all skills, bar swimming and tree-climbing.

In recent years, though, our species has created new forms of intelligence, able to outperform us in other ways. One of the most famous of these artificial intelligences (AIs) is AlphaGo, developed by Deepmind. In just a few years, it has learned to play the 4,000-year-old strategy game, Go, beating two of the world’s strongest players.

Other software developed by Deepmind has learned to play classic eight-bit video games, notably Breakout, in which players must use a bat to hit a ball at a wall, knocking bricks out of it. CEO Demis Hassabis is fond of saying that the software figured out how to beat the game purely from the pixels on the screen, often glossing over the fact that the company first taught it how to count and how to read the on-screen score, and gave it the explicit goal of maximizing that score. Even the smartest AIs need a few hints about our social mores.

But what else are AIs good for? Here are five tasks in which they can equal, or surpass, humans.

Building wooden block towers

AIs don’t just play video games, they play with traditional toys, too. Like us, they get some of their earliest physics lessons from playing with wooden blocks, piling them up then watching them fall. Researchers at Facebook have built an AI using convolutional neural networks that can attain human-level performance at predicting how towers of blocks will fall, simply by watching films and animations of block towers standing or falling.

Lip-reading

Lip-reading—figuring out what someone is saying from the movement of their lips alone—can be a useful skill if you’re hard of hearing or working in a noisy environment, but it’s notoriously difficult. Much of the information contained in human speech—the position of the teeth and tongue, and whether sounds are voiced or not—is invisible to a lip reader, whether human or AI. Nevertheless, researchers at the University of Oxford, England, have developed a system called LipNet that can lip-read short sentences with a word error rate of 6.6 percent. Three human lip-readers participating in the research had error rates between 35.5 percent and 57.3 percent.

Among the applications the researchers see for their work are silent dictation and speech recognition in noisy environments, where the visual component will add to accuracy. Since the AI’s output is text, it could find work close-captioning TV shows for broadcast networks—or transcribing surveillance video for security services.

Transcribing

AIs can be even more helpful when the audio quality is better, according to Microsoft, where researchers have been tweaking an AI-based automated speech recognition system so it performs as well as, or better than, people. Microsoft’s system now has an error rate of 5.9 percent on one test set from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the same as a service employing human transcribers that Microsoft hired, and 11.1 percent on another test, narrowly beating the humans, who scored 11.3 percent.

That’s one situation where being better than a human might not be sufficient: If you were thinking you could dictate your next memo, you might find it quicker to type and correct it yourself, even with just two fingers.

News reporting

This story was written by a human, but the next one you read might be written by an AI.

And that might not be a bad thing: MogIA, developed by the Indian company Genic, doesn’t write stories, but when MogIA predicted Donald Trump would win the  U.S. presidential election it did better than most political journalists.

When it comes to writing, AI’s are particularly quick at turning structured data into words, as a Financial Times journalist found when pitted against an AI called Emma from Californian startup Stealth.

Emma filed a story on unemployment statistics just 12 minutes after the figures were released, three times faster than the FT’s journalist. While the AI’s copy was clear and accurate, it missed the news angle: the number of jobseekers had risen for the first time in a year. While readers want news fast, it’s not for nothing that journalists are exhorted to “get it first, but first, get it right.”

Putting those employment statistics in context would have required knowledge that Emma apparently didn’t have, but that’s not an insurmountable problem. By reading dictionaries, encyclopedias, novels, plays, and assorted reference materials, another AI, IBM’s Watson, famously learned enough context to win the general knowledge quiz show Jeopardy.

Disease diagnosis

After that victory, Watson went to medical school, absorbing 15 million pages of medical textbooks and academic papers about oncology. According to some reports, that has allowed Watson to diagnose cancer cases that stumped human doctors, although IBM pitches the AI as an aid to human diagnosis, not a replacement for it.

More recently, IBM has put Watson’s ability to absorb huge volumes of information to work helping diagnose rare illnesses, some of which most doctors might see only a few cases of in a lifetime.

Doctors in the Centre for Undiagnosed and Rare Diseases at University Hospital Marburg, in Germany, will use this instance of Watson to help them deal with the thousands of patients referred to them each year, some of them bringing thousands of pages of medical records to be analyzed.

Authors including Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have postulated that AI technology will develop to a point, still many years off, that they call “the singularity,” when the combined problem-solving capacity of the human race will be overtaken by that of artificial intelligences.

If the singularity arrives in our lifetimes, some of us might be able to thank AIs like Watson for helping keep us alive long enough to see it.

source”cnbc”

Fed’s Fischer says case for removing accommodation ‘quite strong’ but rates to plateau at lower level than normal

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said the case for removing accommodation is “quite strong” while interest rates will plateau at a level that is lower than normal.

Fischer, a voting member of the Fed’s policy-setting committee, spoke in Santiago, Chile at the annual conference of the Central Bank of Chile on U.S. monetary policy and the global economy.

He expects U.S. rates to rise gradually, and said the Fed is close to achieving its dual mandate. The Fed’s goal is to return to 2 percent longer-run inflation and to maximize employment.

Earlier this month, the Fed voted to stand pat and refrain from raising the federal funds rate as it seeks to navigate the closely-watched process of normalizing rates.

The target range for the federal funds rate currently stands at 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent. The implied odds of a rate hike stands at 71.5 percent, according to the CME Group FedWatch.

Fischer said he is optimistic the effect on raising rates “will be manageable” abroad, adding that a stronger U.S. economy should help foreign economies.

source”cnbc”