Centre justifies certification of Finance Bill, 2017 as money bill; SC reserves verdict

Supreme-court-BCCLNEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday in the Supreme Court justified certification of Finance Bill, 2017 as a money bill saying it has provisions which deals with salaries and allowance to be paid to members of tribunals from the consolidated funds of India.

The top court reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Finance Act, 2017 on the ground that it was passed by the Parliament as a money bill.

The Centre contended that certification of Finance Act as money bill was done by speaker of Lok Sabha and court cannot judicially review the decision.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “Hearing concluded. Order reserved”.

At the outset, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre said that certification granted by the speaker cannot be challenged in the court of law.

The Attorney General justified before the bench also comprising Justices N V Ramana, D Y Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna the certification of Finance Act as a money bill saying it deals with payment and receipt made from the consolidated funds of India.

“It is the whole part which has been certified as a money bill and not in parts. Therefore no part can be severed to say that this cannot be called as a money bill,” Venugopal said.

He referred to provision for money spent on tribunals from the consolidated funds and said salaries and allowances of tribunal members would come under incidental matters referred in the Article 110 (1)(G) of the Constitution.

Article 110 of the Constitution deals with provisions as when can a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill.

Venugopal relied on Aadhaar verdict of last year and said that the apex court has held that the main object of Aadhaar Act was to extend benefits to marginalised section of society in the form of aid, grant or subsidy from the consolidated fund.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who led the arguments for the petitioners, argued that a bill which says that salaries shall be paid to the members of tribunal does not in itself make it a money bill.

He sought making the tribunals independent saying their core judicial duty cannot be taken away or at least they can be brought under the control of law ministry or one nodal agency as held in 1997 and 2010 verdicts of the apex court.

The top court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Finance Bill of 2017.

On March 28, the Centre has told the apex court that it cannot question the speaker’s decision of certifying a bill as a Money Bill and it is a well settled law.

Venugopal said contention that certification of Finance Bill of 2017 as Money Bill was not right cannot be a ground for a challenge to validity of the Bill.

He had said that apex court has repeatedly held in its verdicts that certification cannot be questioned and courts cannot inquire into the decision taken by Parliament.

Venugopal had said Finance Bill comprises of amendments to several Acts and statutes and the petitioners have challenged only one particular aspect saying it cannot be termed as Money Bill.

The apex court had earlier sought the Centre’s view on bringing all the tribunals under one central umbrella body for ensuring “efficient functioning” and “streamlining the working” of quasi-judicial bodies.

The top court had said it would not like to be bogged down with what is right or wrong and all it wants was that “the tribunals work efficiently and independently”.

The court had said it is tentatively of the view that directions given by the apex court in its two verdicts of 1997 and 2010 for bringing all the tribunals of the country under one nodal agency should have been “implemented long back”.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]

Kindle Oasis (2017) Review

Kindle Oasis (2017) Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Kindle Oasis WiFi costs Rs. 21,999
  • The Kindle Oasis 3G costs Rs. 28,999
  • The ebook reader is now waterproof and has a larger screen

The Kindle Oasis was Amazon’s top-of-the-line ebook reader when it debuted in 2016. We really enjoyed reading books on the 2016 Kindle Oasis and in our review, we stated that price aside, it’s about as good a reading experience as you can get. Amazon has now refreshed the Kindle Oasis by adding a larger screen and making it waterproof. Does that make it a better device? We used it for two weeks to find out.

First up, the bad news — the Kindle Oasis no longer ships with a charging cover. This was one of our favourite features of the 2016 Kindle Oasis, but Amazon has decided to do away with it. The 2016 Oasis was really compact and the charging cover gave it lots of extra battery power. The new Oasis is bigger and bulkier, and that allows room for a longer lasting battery. You’ll now have to buy a cover separately.

Ergonomically, we prefer the 2016 Oasis over the new one. The large screen on the new Oasis is obviously a plus, but it comes at the cost of comfort — we didn’t find it as easy to read on for hours at a stretch. The new Kindle Oasis is now waterproof, but it has a slippery back and we nearly dropped it quite a few times because of that. There’s a ridge at the back so its thickness is uneven.

The 2016 Oasis masks this neatly with the charging case, but this year the lack of a case highlights it. Amazon wants you to use the ridge as a grip to hold the Kindle with, but because it is so slippery, it’s not an effective design choice. The new Kindle Oasis is also heavier and we found ourselves moving it from one hand to the other once every 20 minutes or so.

kindle oasis 2017 oasis paperwhite gadgets 360 Kindle OasisKindle Oasis (2016) on the left and Kindle Oasis (2017) on the right. A Kindle Paperwhite is hanging out towards the top.

 

The Kindle Oasis (2017) has a large 7-inch display, which is one of the best screens you’ll find on an ebook reader today. Text is crisp and you won’t have any complaints when reading in the daytime. There’s an adaptive frontlight which illuminates the display when you’re reading in the dark. It works fine and didn’t strain our eyes much even after three hours of nonstop reading late at night. However, the auto-brightness feature is a bit too aggressive and we found that the intensity of the frontlight was constantly increasing and decreasing. This began to distract us from our books and we just disabled the auto-brightness feature entirely, and stuck to manually changing it as and when needed.

The new Kindle Oasis retains the two page-turn buttons of its predecessor, and they work just as well. When you rotate the Kindle Oasis to hold it in a different hand, the book rotates automatically. This means that you can flip pages using the two buttons no matter which hand you’re holding the Kindle with. These buttons are housed near the edge of a generous bezel; a neat way to ensure that you’ll never accidentally hit the screen when you want to turn the page.

The 2017 Kindle Oasis’s screen truly highlights why this device is the top ebook reader in Amazon’s lineup. The screen is flush with the device’s front, unlike the Kindle Paperwhite, where the display is slightly lower than its thick bezels. On the Oasis, the bezel is thick on the side with the ridge that you’ll use to hold the unit, and slim everywhere else. During the initial years, one of the limitations of e-ink displays used to be that they were a bit slow when it comes to refreshing pages. The minor lag that you used to see when going from one page to the next is now almost completely gone across the Kindle lineup.

kindle oasis 2017 power button gadgets 360 Kindle Oasis

 

The Kindle Oasis’ screen responds almost instantly when you turn pages, and this makes a big difference to the reading experience. There are a few new fonts called Amazon Ember and Amazon Ember Bold, in case you weren’t happy with the Kindle’s limited font choice, but for us the clarity of the display and the improved page refresh makes a much bigger difference than font choices. During our testing, the 1,243-page epic Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson was one of the books we read. When you’re going through a book that long, the quick page turns make a massive difference and using the dedicated page turn buttons is a lot smoother than tapping the touchscreen. Another advantage of the larger screen is the ability to appreciate graphics, such as the maps that you sometimes need to refer to in fantasy novels.

When we started using the Kindle Oasis, its battery life was around the 75 percent mark. After two weeks of regular reading — often with the frontlight enabled – the battery was almost completely drained. We think this is pretty good battery life. The Kindle Oasis charges through the same Micro-USB port that all other Kindle devices sold so far have been using. One would imagine that a switch to USB Type-C is due at some point, but at the moment we don’t see this as a big deal.

One big new feature of the 2017 Kindle Oasis is that it’s waterproof. The Kindle Oasis is IPX8 rated, which means that it’s supposed to be waterproof when submerged up to 2m deep in water for up to one hour. You can head to this page to check what you need to do to dry the Kindle if it gets wet, and what conditions are unsafe to use it in (such as steam rooms).

kindle oasis 2017 page turn buttons gadgets 360 Kindle Oasis

 

We tested our Kindle Oasis under a shower and by immersing it in a bucket of water. Under the shower, water droplets kept triggering the touchscreen and somehow changing the font size. We didn’t actually try reading when the Kindle Oasis was in a bucket of water, but it survived the experience. If someone splashes water on the Oasis, or if you accidentally drop it in water, it shouldn’t die. We never really read while sitting by a pool or and we can’t imagine needing to use a Kindle when walking outside in the rain, but if you wish to do these things, you no longer need to worry. Waterproofing is a really useful feature to have overall, and we hope that it will eventually make it to more affordable Kindle devices too.

The Kindle Oasis supports audiobooks, and the more expensive 3G variant has 32GB of built-in storage, as opposed to 8GB on the Wi-Fi variant (the one we reviewed). Audible, Amazon’s audiobook service, isn’t officially available in India yet so we didn’t get a chance to test it. However, it’s important to note that you’ll need a pair of Bluetooth headphones or speakers to listen to audiobooks since there’s no 3.5mm audio jack or built-in speaker.

Overall, we’re quite pleased with the new Kindle Oasis but, personally, we didn’t like it as much as the original. We feel that it could have been designed better in terms of the grip and the rear texture, and the lack of a case feels like a downgrade. If the large screen and a waterproofing appeal to you, the new Kindle Oasis is a good buy. It costs Rs. 21,999 for the 8GB Wi-Fi version and Rs. 28,999 for the 32GB 3G one. If you’re buying an ebook reader at this price, then clearly budget is no bar and you’re getting the best of what Amazon has to offer. For those on a more modest budget, we still think the Kindle Paperwhite is a fantastic ebook reader. It will be more than enough for most people, and now the differences between the Paperwhite and Oasis are even more pronounced.

Pros

  • Large, clear screen
  • Waterproof
  • Dedicated page-turn buttons
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Doesn’t ship with a case
  • Expensive
  • No wired audio option for audiobooks

Overall rating (out of 10): 8

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[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Insights from our 2017 holiday retail survey

By most accounts, the holiday shopping season was an e-commerce success, with final tallies beating analyst estimates. Earlier this month, we asked e-commerce teams about their holiday marketing strategies — planning, budgeting and expectations — and what they did differently this year from last year.

Nearly 100 respondents shared their feedback. The majority (57 percent) of respondents worked in-house, while 43 percent were at agencies. The client/company size represented skewed to the smaller end, with 60 percent of respondents working with companies with annual revenues below $25 million. Nearly 13 percent represented companies with annual revenues over $500 million.

There were several interesting findings from the survey. Here are some of the highlights from the final results.

Holiday budgets rose across most platforms

Overall, search and social budgets increased this holiday season over the previous year, with 70 percent of respondents saying they increased budgets on both channels. Display retargeting budgets for more than half of respondents (56 percent) also increased year over year. Sixty-five percent used dynamic retargeting ads this holiday season.

More than three-quarters of respondents said Google budgets rose year over year, with 25 percent saying Google budgets rose by more than 50 percent. Nearly 40 percent increased Bing budgets this holiday season, and 66 percent boosted Facebook ad budgets year over year.

Source: Search Engine Land 2017 Holiday Retail Survey

Pinterest advertising remains hard to scale, and that’s reflected here. Just 8 percent of respondents increased their Pinterest ad budgets over last year’s this season, and half aren’t using the platform at all.

Amazon has been rapidly increasing its ad offerings for sellers on the platform. Among respondents, 36.5 percent are selling on Amazon, and of those, 34 percent increased their ad budgets this holiday season.

Holiday planning is primarily a fall sport, but many plan year-round

When it comes to planning holiday marketing strategies, September was the most popular month to get cracking, with nearly 18 percent of respondents starting then. Just over 12 percent of respondents said they plan year-round. Just as many said they don’t have time to plan (this gives me anxiety) as those who said they start planning in August.

Source: Search Engine Land 2017 Holiday Retail Survey

For 56 percent of respondents, planning started at the same time it did the year before, while 20 percent started planning earlier.

These and many more findings from the survey — challenges, tactical changes and consumer behavior changes, to name a few — were the basis of a lively discussion packed with jewels of insights for retailers in a webinar with Brad Geddes of Adalysis, Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub and Aaron Levy of Elite SEM. You can find the webinar, Holiday Retail Search Strategies 2017: What worked, what didn’t, on demand (registration required).


Female Hentai Gamers Doubled In 2017 And More Insights From Nutaku’s Third Birthday

A screenshot from Flower Knight Girl, a pick from Nutaku’s considerable NSFW games catalog.

Nutaku, a portal for playing adult-oriented games with sexy animated characters, also called hentai games, just turned three. To celebrate the milestone, the Canadian company released some insights into its 25 million North American customers.

See also: More Than Just Skin: How Hentai Games Are Seducing New Audiences

Right now, Nutaku (Careful! This link may not be safe for work) is the most trafficked North American portal for 18+ games, and the company has had a lot of data to parse. The full infographic is below, but here are some of the most interesting tidbits:

Female hentai gamers doubled in 2017

Female gamers made up only 15% of Nutaku’s audience in 2017, but that’s up from 8% in 2016. This may have something to do with Nutaku’s expanded offerings that allow gamers both to play as girls and to seduce guys as well as girls. In Sweet Volley High, for example, the player avatar is a girl who chooses to romance different female and male cuties at her school.

A quarter of gamers have played porn games at work

I am not sure how Nutaku figured this one out, but 27% of its audience has apparently logged on at the office. I sure hope they are at least gaming on a discreet phone screen. After all, as another insight shows, Nutaku’s mobile audience now makes up 55% of traffic.

See also: Hentai Game Portal Nutaku Invests Big In Latin America

Almost half of hentai gamers play every day

In my June look into the hentai gaming community, I found out that it’s not just an excuse—a lot of hentai gamers say they are playing partially because they like the gameplay. There are puzzle games similar to Candy Crush, card games, and strategy games to pick from.

Check out all the statistics in the infographic below. And if you’re a Nutaku fan, feel free to take part in their birthday giveaway, too. Maybe your gaming habits will be included in the infographic next year!

Nutaku

An infographic for Nutaku’s third birthday.

 

I cover fandom and journalism at Otaku Journalist. I tweet @laureninspace. I write books; you can read them here.

[“Source-forbes”]