IPL 2019: No opening ceremony, money to be donated to families of Pulwama martyrs

In light of the recent Pulwama attack, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai on February 22 said that this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will not have any opening ceremony. The money due to be spent on the ceremony will instead be donated to families of the martyred.

The opening ceremonies of the IPL are usually glitzy affairs with performances from Bollywood stars being the major highlight. However, the CoA has decided to scrap the glamorous event as a sign of solidarity towards the families of the martyrs.

The IPL is set to begin on March 23 with last year’s champions Chennai Super Kings taking on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.

The Pulwama attack took place on February 14 and its effects are being strongly felt even in the cricketing world. There have been increasing calls for India to boycott their match against Pakistan at the upcoming Cricket World Cup in England. Former players like Harbhajan Singh and Mohammad Azharuddin have called for a boycott while a few such as Sunil Gavaskar have pointed out that such a move doesn’t benefit India in any way.

The Rai-led CoA is yet to take any stand on India playing Pakistan at the World Cup but have said that they will approach the ICC with an appeal to ban Pakistan due to the country acting as a terrorist hub.

“We are in talks with the government. No decision has been taken on the June 16 match. We are expressing two concerns to the ICC. We will ask for more protection for players during the World Cup and we will tell cricketing nations to sever ties with any nation that is a terrorist hub,” said Rai following a meeting of the CoA.

[“source=moneycontrol”]

5 fascinating facts about world’s highest Chenab rail bridge!

World’s highest Chenab rail bridge is expected to be complete by December this year. The construction of the 359 m high bridge began in 2004. This bridge will be 35 m higher than the Eiffel Tower.

Chenab Bridge

Representative Image  |  Photo Credit: Twitter

New Delhi: Indian Railways is constructing the world’s tallest railway bridge over Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir. This bridge which will be Railways’ finest engineering marvel and is being built at a height of 359 metres above the river. It may be noted that this bridge will be 30-35 m higher than the Eiffel Tower.

This bridge will form the crucial link between Katra and Banihal which is a key part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway project. The work on the installation of the main arch between two sides of the bridge has already begun, said an engineering member of the Railway Board recently. The construction of the bridge began in 2004. However, the work was stopped in 2008-09 on the account of rail passengers’ safety due to frequent high-velocity winds in the area.

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Here are 5 fascinating facts about the bridge that you should know.

1. This arch bridge will be 1.315-km-long and is being constructed at a height of 359 metres above Chenab river waters. The bridge will have railway stations at both its terminal ends.

2. Railways is planning to install sensors on the bridge to check the wind velocity. In case, the wind speed exceeds 90 Kmph, the signal on the railway track will turn red and any train movement will be stopped. As per officials, the bridge can withstand winds up to 260 Kmph and its lifespan will be 120 years.

3. Since the bridge is being built in a terrorism-prone region, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working the Railways to ensure that this Rs 12,000-crore bridge is able to withstand any major blast. Special 63 mm-thick blast proof steel is being used in the construction of this bridge.

4. The concrete pillars of this bridge are also designed in a way that it can withstand blasts/explosions. The bridge is designed by consultants from Finland and Germany.

5. Aside from blasts, the arch bridge is also being designed in a way that it can withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8 on the Richter Scale. It may be noted that even though the bridge falls under zone 4, it is being built to handle earthquake with an intensity of zone 5 which is the highest intensity zone in the country.

Worth mentioning here is that Railways is also constructing three big tunnels- T2 (5.9 KM), T3 (9.369 km) and T14 (13 km), on the other side of the river. According to officials, over 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been working round-the-clock to complete the bridge by May this year.

A ropeway is being installed as well on the bridge as well for inspection and maintenance purpose. The Railway had to construct 22 km of roads in order to reach the bridge site. According to reports, footpaths and cycle trails will also be constructed adjacent to the railway bridge.

Take a look at the pictures here:

chenab bridge

(Picture Credit: Ministry of Railways Twitter)

chenab bridge

(Picture Credit: Twitter)

chenab bridge

(Picture Credit: Twitter)

chenab bridge

(Picture Credit: Twitter)

chenab bridge

(Picture Credit: Ministry of Railways Twitter)

chenab bridge

(Picture Credit: Ministry of Railways Twitter)

chenab bridge

(Picture Credit: Ministry of Railways Twitter)

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[“source=timesnownews”]

New Ford Aspire Review: Better Equipped, Better Value for Money

Image result for New Ford Aspire Review: Better Equipped, Better Value for MoneyEver since Ford came out with the Aspire, the car has managed to create an identity for itself which is of being a good driver’s car. But then there were a few features that the car could have used. Now, though, seems like Ford has heard to their customers as they have now come out with the new Aspire that not only gets new features but also new styling. But does that mean it is better value for money than before? Let’s find out.

Let’s start with the way the new Aspire looks. The biggest visual update is the redesigned front-end. The Aspire gets a new grille design which sports ample out of chrome for the chrome-lovers out there and the fog lamp enclosures now extend into the bumper to give it a c-shape design and yes, gets the chrome treatment as well. The headlamps have been smoked out and even they get a chrome element inside!

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThere’s ample of chrome on the New Ford Aspire. (Photo: News18.com)

Coming to the back of the car, the thick chrome strip that runs across the width of the boot lid remains the same as the earlier model whereas the rear bumper has been redesigned. Look closer and you will notice that the tail lights get new detailing.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets subtle updates at the back. (Photo: News18.com)

As for the side profile, well, it still has that muscular and strong shoulder line which is now complemented by new 15-inch alloy wheels.

Overall, the car looks fresh and more up to date. However, there is no LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), projector headlamps or LED tail lights on offer even in the top-spec variant, which is something that the competing cars in this segment do come with. Is it a deal breaker? and does it make that much of a difference? Not at all, but it is something that would have been nice to have.

Moving on to the inside of the car and the first thing that you will notice is that the cabin has the familiar Ford layout. The build quality is great and so is the quality of materials used – something that Ford is known for.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe interiors of the new Ford Aspire have a familiar layout. (Photo: News18.com)

Gone are the leather seats making way for the new fabric seats that have better bolstering. There is enough room for passengers all around the cabin but the car surprisingly does not have a rear AC vent or a charging port for the rear passengers which is a big miss.

Add to that the absence of cup holders in the rear armrest and no bottle holders in the rear doors which is a bit surprising, to be honest.

The Aspire’s saving grace, though, is the new touchscreen infotainment system.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe infotainment system of the new Ford Aspire in the top-spec variant comes with Ford’s SYNC 3 technology. (Photo: News18.com)

We drove the top-spec variant which actually gets a smaller 6.5-inch screen as opposed to a 7-inch screen that the lower variants get, but it offers the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support which the lower variants don’t. There are also two USB ports placed in the centre console and the car gets the usual Bluetooth connectivity along with steering mounted controls. The outside rearview mirrors can now be operated electronically and I absolutely loved the rotary knobs for the volume and aircon controls which feel premium.

But coming to the infotainment system, it gets Ford’s SYNC 3 technology and simply put – this is the best infotainment system in the compact sedan segment in India right now. The touch response is simply fantastic and there’s also a reverse parking camera that the new Aspire gets.

Then, there’s the addition of automatic headlamps and rain sensing vipers as well.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets new features like automatic headlamps and wipers. (Photo: News18.com)

So yes, the new touchscreen infotainment system is the highlight of the cabin but what I really liked was the driving ergonomics that the car has to offer. Especially the chunky steering wheel which is just fantastic to hold.

And this isn’t that big of a surprise. Ford cars are known for being great at driving and it is applicable on the new Aspire as well. The other thing that Fords are known for is safety, and the Aspire offers that by offering dual airbags and ABS as standard across variants. The top-spec variant of the Aspire comes with six airbags around the cabin.

The unit we tested came powered with the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine which was first seen on the Ford Freestyle and it gets the same state of tune in the Aspire as well. The engine makes 96 PS of power at a sky-high 6,500 RPM and 120 Nm of torque at 4,250 RPM. This engine is peppy and when you drive it down low in the RPM range, it is calm and composed like a well-behaved child. But, go past the 3,000 RPM mark and you are greeted with a throaty exhaust note and the car pulls ahead like a cat who is afraid of water, has just been in the water.

The gear throws are short and crisp and the drivetrain feels just so engaging to shift through.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewWe drove the manual-gearbox equipped variant of the new Ford Aspire and the drivetrain was a delight. (Photo: News18.com)

That’s not it, the chassis is so good that it makes you believe that it can take much more power. And the driving feedback from the steering wheel and the brakes makes the car feel sublime. Yes, the ride quality is a bit harsh at low speeds but it just keeps getting better and better as the speeds climb.

This is a proper driver’s car.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets new 15-inch alloy wheels. (Photo: News18.com)

Last but not least, the price. The new Ford Aspire is actually cheaper than the old Ford Aspire. And with that, it also undercuts the starting price of the Hyundai Xcent, Honda Amaze as well as the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire making it a sweeter deal than ever before.

So to sum up the new Aspire’s experience. Well, if you’re in the market looking for a compact sedan then you might be looking for things like efficiency or practicality, but if you’re looking out for driving dynamics, then the new Aspire is something that we definitely recommend.

[“source=news18”]

ET Money logs Rs 2,000 crore in mutual fund sales on app

et-money-etonline
The app has added multiple features to become a full-service financial services provider on the phone over time.
NEW DELHI: ET Money has clocked Rs 2,000 crore of mutual fund sales on its app, registering a nearly twentyfold increase in sales of the financial product over the past fifteen months.

The online financial services platform had started offering investors the choice to invest in direct mutual funds a few months ago and has witnessed exponential growth ever since.

“The growth in value of transactions is due to the pace at which we have launched innovative offerings for the customer and the addition of direct mutual funds to our platform,” ET Money’s chief executive officer Mukesh Kalra said. ET Money’s ability to provide customers a wide range of solutions, including loans to meet short-term funding requirements had increased the platform’s credibility and users confidence in the app, according to Kalra.

The Times Internet-backed company started operations two years ago as an app that linked into the user’s SMS log and enabled him/her to maintain a roster of monthly expenses. It has added multiple features to become a full-service financial services provider on the phone over time. Times Internet is a subsidiary of BCCL, the publisher of this newspaper.

Within a short span of time, ET Money has struck collaborations with over twenty asset management companies to offer a range of over 1,000 mutual fund schemes. It also has a tie-up with RBL Bank to provide loans to customers and recently introduced a liquid fixed deposit scheme that offers higher interest rates in comparison to traditional savings accounts.

“We are aiming to grow to Rs 5,000 crore of mutual fund transactions in the next 12-18 months,” Kalra said, expressing confidence that the movement towards investments in financial assets by people who have disposable incomes will create the right conditions for his business.

Over the last 18 months, ET Money has introduced a slew of industry-first offerings like SmartDeposit with Instant Withdrawal, Paperless KYC, One-tap Portfolio Buys, SIP Registration without First Installment and Option to Skip SIP Installments.

It has also launched a unique feature to enable existing investors save agent commissions on their existing mutual fund investments by instantly allowing them to switch to direct plans.

With an aim to play an integral role in a modern Indian’s financial life, ET Money has expanded its offerings providing instant personal loans through its app along with Insurance products via ETInsure. This has helped to grow it’s total transactions across all services to an annual figure of over Rs.2,100 Crores which is growing at 200% every six months, the company claims. The ET Money app is available on Android or iOS.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]