Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected districts of Bihar and announced a package of ₹500 crore as immediate relief to the state. He also declared that ₹2 lakh each would be given to the kin of those who have died in the floods, and that a Central team would soon visit the affected areas to assess the damage. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accompanied Mr. Modi during the survey.Maximum damageAfter the survey — he flew over the districts of Purnea, Kishanganj, Katihar and Araria — Mr. Modi held a meeting with Mr. Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and top state officials at the Chunapur aerodrome. He was told that the flood had caused maximum damage to the Seemanchal (border) areas and the state water resource department has suffered the maximum loss due to breach of embankments and waterways for irrigation.Mr. Modi said that the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry would take appropriate action for the repair of the damaged roads and other infrastructure. The marooned areas of Bihar as seen from the Prime Minister’s aircraft during his aerial survey on August 26, 2017. Photo: @PMOIndia Detailed reportThe PMO statement also referred to Prime Minister’s recent talks with his Nepal counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba during which it was decided that a detailed project report would be prepared at the earliest on the Saptkoshi Dam and Sunkoshi storage-cum-diversion scheme. Both nations would also work on flood control in the border areas which will benefit the region, the statement added further.As many as 21 districts of Bihar have been inundated by the flood waters, which affected 1.67 crore people, with the death toll mounting to 418. The state government has opened hundreds of relief camps and community kitchens for the flood-hit people. Several teams of the National Disaster Response Force, SDRF and the Army have been pressed into service for relief and rescue operations.
Google is expected to close its acquisition of Motorola Mobility this week following the crossing of its last major hurdle, approval by the Chinese regulatory authorities.The Chinese authorities gave the US$12.5 billion (€9.8 billion) acquisition the green light on condition that Google continues to offer its Android operating system free of charge for the next five years.Google is known to be interested in acquiring Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio, particularly strong in the mobile devices area, which would position it better to challenge patent lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft and others.To allay fears on the part of other Android device manufacturers that the acquisition would mean Google competing directly with them in the hardware market, Google is expected to keep Motorola Mobility at arms length, operating as an independent unit. There has been speculation that Google could sell off the set-top box part of the business at a later date.
Vivendi has pulled out of its planned acquisition of an 89% stake in Mediaset Premium and submitted an alternative proposal to take a 20% in the pay TV outfit after the emergence of what it described as “significant differences” in its analysis of Mediaset Premium’s results.Vivendi said that its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine wrote to Mediaset’s management on June 21 to inform the Italian broadcaster’s management of its concerns. The media giant said that it submitted its alternative plan to Mediaset yesterday.Mediaset acknowledged that it had received a communication from Vivendi with the alternative proposal, which it said changed the value of the agreement and of Mediaset’s capital.Vivendi said it would go ahead with the exchange of 3.5% of its capital with Mediaset, but that it would only purchase 20% of Mediaset Premium instead of the agreed 80%. It said it would purchase a further 15% of the pay TV unit’s capital in three years through a convertible bond issue.Mediaset made it clear in its statement that Vivendi’s proposal was a surprise and that it was not agreed. It said it was contrary to the commitments made by Vivendi in its April 8 agreement with Mediaset. It said it would pursue its rights by all means available.The Italian company’s board will meet later this week to disucss its interim results and is expected to address the matter.Vivendi for its part said that it still had a “desire to build a major strategic alliance with Mediaset and Mediaset Premium”.A Vivendi spokesman told DTVE that differences had emerged as a result of due diligence performed by Vivendi after its April agreement. She said that Vivendi remained committed to finding an agreement and to its strategy to build media assets in Italy and southern Europe.Continued losses at Mediaset Premium helped push its parent company into the red in the first quarter, posting a loss of €18 million as against a profit of €0.6 million for the same period last year.Mediaset shares fell sharply on the news.
French service provider Altice France/SFR has unveiled its latest set-top box, the AFR Box 8, designed by the group’s in-house R&D unit, Altice Labs.The box, which is being launched in France, will in fact be rolled out across Altice Europe’s other markets subsequently.The launch of the box follows the much higher-profile unveiling of rival service provider Free’s Freebox Delta at the turn of the year. Altice’s launch was a more muted affair, with a promise of a device that would set a new standard and whose key point of differentiation is integration of the latest version of WiFi, WiFi 6 – a first for the French market.The box also includes Altice’s in-house voice assistant, branded OK SFR, enabling users to use voice commands to switch on and off the TV, search for content, surf channels and start programmes among other things.Customers will also be able to use the device to control connected home devices including lights and security cameras as part of the SFR Home proposition in the near future.SFR will also onboard Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant technology in the near future.The SFR Box 8 also includes 4K HDR functionality with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound.The box brings to SFR subscribers a new user interface that the service provider describes as offering simpler and more fluid navigation and an immersive and personalised experience, with recommendation based on individual usage patterns.The UX is also available via the new SFR TV app available for iOS and Android devices, enabling remote recording and multiscreen viewing.SFR says that the introduction of WiFi 6, which enables in-home connectivity at a theoretical 3.6 times the speed of earlier versions and provides more complete coverage thanks to its intelligent capability, to be boosted by the launch of additional repeaters by the operator in the future.SFR will make the box available to its FTTH subscribers from August 20, with FTTB customers able to use it from October 8.“With the experience offered by the SFR Box 8, we are going to offer a new standard in the market to our customers: connected devices, smart home, cinema-quality image and sound. The only box in the market equipped with the latest generation of WiFi, WiFi 6, and integrating all the new functionalities that users have been waiting for like voice assistant, the SFR Box 8 and its multiscreen interface will bring a unique experience to heart of the home,” said Grégory Rabuel, executive director for consumer and enterprise at SFR.