BMW adds sport model to i3 family

BMW is adding a sportier model to its i3 electric car lineup.

The 2018 BMW i3s will be on sale in U.S. dealerships by year end. It joins the base i3 that is freshened for the 2018 model year.

The i3s has more power than the base i3 and styling tweaks that differentiate it from the base model. Design changes include front and rear aprons with i3s-specific contours and special color accents in various spots across the vehicle. It has 20-inch wheels that are exclusive to the i3s and a sports suspension that includes a 0.4-inch drop in height.

The electric motor in the i3s puts out 184 hp and 199 pounds-feet of torque. That’s up from 170 hp and 184 pounds-feet in the base model. BMW says the enhanced drive system in the i3s translates to power and torque improvements of up to 40 percent over the base i3.

For 2018, the base i3 also gets a wider track and design changes to give it a sportier appearance. The i3 originally went on sale in 2014. BMW sold 7,625 i3s in the U.S. last year, down 31 percent from the nameplate’s 2015 peak.

Both the 2017 and 2018 models include an optional range-extending gasoline engine.

The 94Ah battery in the 2018 model is expected to be similar to the 2017 model, which has a stated range of 114 miles.

BMW says EPA ratings have not yet been released for the 2018 models and the company is unable to provide any information on battery range.

Automotive News has reported that a bigger battery with significantly longer range — close to 200 miles — will be available on the i3 by the end of the 2018.

Both 2018 BMW i3 models will be unveiled publicly in September at the Frankfurt auto show. Prices of the new models will be announced closer to their on-sale dates.

The top 10 games of E3 2017

The greatest video game show on Earth has ended, but the hype is just heating up.

Nearly 70,000 gamers flooded an overpacked Los Angeles Convention Center for three straight days (not counting a few days of fancy media briefings) of digital insanity, and game makers of all shapes and sizes delivered enough gaming goodness to last a lifetime — or at least until the holidays.

Though E3 2017 lacked the explosive punch of last year’s incredible show, it was home to dozens of cool games spanning every system under the sun. So how do you narrow that down? Some games were playable; others were little more than a trailer and some concept art. You’ll get your hands on a handful of them in 2017, while many more won’t see the light of day for years. But regardless of development state (and in no particular order) these are the 10 titles we’re most excited to play.

‘Super Mario Odyssey’ (Switch | Release Date: 10/27/17)

How do you follow-up a game as great as “Breath of the Wild?” You call a plumber.

It’s been 15 years since gamers busted bricks in a 3D sandbox version of the Mushroom Kingdom (that would be “Super Mario Sunshine” for the Gamecube), so to say that ���Super Mario Odyssey” is a big deal is an even huge understatement. The next entry in Nintendo’s (NTDOY) flagship series is the company’s holiday pillar and a surefire system seller, provided it’s as good as we all expect.

And based on the E3 demo, it certainly will be. Odyssey’s charming world is densely packed with secrets, and Mario is equipped with incredibly cool new moves to help him explore every nook and cranny. His iconic hat is now a crucial tool, used to both thwart and even temporarily possess enemies. Mario the T-Rex? Believe it, and circle October 27 on your calendar. Switch owners absolutely won’t want to miss it.

‘Beyond Good and Evil 2’ (Platforms: TBD | Release Date: TBD)

You don’t often see a grown game developer weep onstage in front of millions of viewers, but that’s exactly what happened when Ubisoft’s (UBI.PA) Michel Ancel shocked the gaming world with a trailer and quick chat about the long-awaited follow-up to the beloved “Beyond Good and Evil.” The new game is a much different beast, a prequel that, based on an off-the-floor tech demo, hopes to combine the original’s memorable characters with an absolutely immense, seamlessly rendered universe.

Yes, it’s absurdly ambitious, and yes, ambitious games often don’t pay off in the end (see: “Spore” and “No Man’s Sky.”) I also don’t believe we’ll actually play this game in the next year or two, or possibly three. But E3 is about the future, innovation and risk-taking. “Beyond Good and Evil 2“ hits all the right notes and provided the most thrilling chatter of the show.

‘Middle-earth: Shadow of War’ (PC, Xbox One, PS4 | Release Date: 10/10/17)

How do you improve upon one of the best open-world games ever made? You make it bigger, naturally. But to simply say that “Shadow of War” is “bigger” than the 2014 hit “Shadow of Mordor” is like like saying that a Balrog is bigger than a labrador.

Giant fortress battles, a deep loot system, beefier combat, an expanded Nemesis system that turns just about every inch of the world into a unique, procedural snowflake — “Shadow of War” is shaping up to be a monstrous video game and a worthy successor to “Mordor.” This one may very well rule them all.

‘Spider-Man’ (PS4 | Release Date: TBD 2018)

The web slinger’s been a little hit-or-miss as a video game. Fans point to the seminal “Spider-Man 2” as a high point, but a wealth of decent if forgettable action romps have left them longing for a game that gets its sticky star right.

Sony (SNE) and developer Insomniac’s take on “Spider-Man” might do just that. It’s already being compared to the tremendous “Batman: Arkham” games thanks to a similar combat system, but it’s also gorgeous, cinematic and seems to nail the thing we all really want to do as the webhead: swing freely through the streets of Manhattan. It’s also treating the comic lore with love by including new Spidey Miles Morales in the amazing trailer.

‘Echo Arena’ (Oculus Rift | Release Date: 7/20/17)

E3 2017 wasn’t a great show for VR, but tucked away in a corner was the sort of experience that got us all raving about the pricey tech in the first place. Created by well-known developer Ready At Dawn, “Echo Arena” is the closest you’ll get to the low-gravity training scenes from the sci-fi classic Ender’s Game. Two teams of five float around an arena, launching off walls as they try to toss a ball into a goal. It’s a smart solution to VR’s locomotion issues, and thanks to Oculus Touch and voice support, it feels like you’re really sharing a space together.

‘Sea of Thieves’ (Xbox One | Release Date: Early 2018)

It was a pirate’s life for just about everybody who met with Microsoft (MSFT) at E3 courtesy the swashbuckling silliness of “Sea of Thieves.” Turning up to four players into a gang of marauding buccaneers, it’s a surprisingly complicated game about ship sailing, treasure hunting and, most likely, lots of dying. But ace developer Rare’s gift for colorful characters and playful features is on full display here, making “Sea of Thieves” one of the most likable games at the show.

‘Star Wars Battlefront II’ (PC, Xbox One, PS4 | Release Date: 11/17/17)

The fan favorite from 2015 strikes back later this year, and based on what we saw from “Star Wars: Battlefront II” at E3, it’s aiming to fix up the ship.

A full single-player story mode should attend to the biggest complaint about the last game, though “Battlefront II” also expands its popular multiplayer with customizable classes, more weapons and environments and heroes spanning every major Star Wars era. Ever wonder how Jedi Luke would fare against Darth Maul? (OF COURSE!) You’ll find out in November.

‘Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus’ (PC, Xbox One, PS4 | Release Date: 10/27/17)

The game that put first-person shooters on the map got a killer reboot in 2014’s “Wolfenstein: The New Order,” which featured over-the-top combat against some of the craziest nazis this side of a Mel Brooks movie. But developer Machine Games was just getting started.

“The New Colossus” continues brawny hero BJ Blazkowicz’s fight to survive in a future world ruled by cruel dictators; good thing he’s the toughest man in the world, as evidenced by an incredible 20-minute E3 demo that let you mow down mobs of SS soldiers while putting around in a wheelchair.

‘Anthem’ (PC, Xbox One, PS4 | Release Date: Q4 2018)

From “Baldur’s Gate” to “Mass Effect,” game developer Bioware is best known for making enormous, detailed role-playing games. For their next trick, however, the legendary studio is taking a page from the “Destiny” playbook with fast-paced sci-fi combat set in a shared online universe. In “Anthem,” players don exosuits called Javelins as they jetpack around a massive world looking for trouble (and, presumably, XP and loot). Details are still scarce — E3 was more of a coming out party for the game than a deep dive — but suffice to say, fan of Activision’s juggernaut and games like “Borderlands” should pay attention.

‘Far Cry 5’ (PC, Xbox One, PS4 | Release Date: 2/27/18)

Ubisoft had a tremendous E3, showing off a portfolio bursting with both established franchises and risky new endeavors. “Far Cry 5” somehow fits both definitions. The first game in the series to be set on U.S. soil, it courts controversy with its socio-political undertones, pitting a small-town Montana deputy against a militia-like cult that shares more than a few similarities to real-world American extremist groups. But it’s also “Far Cry” through and through, letting you romp around a stunning, grounded open-world begging for exploration and experimentation. Best of all, you have a pet dog. Careful, he bites.


The quest for a stellar smartphone camera is as old as the segment itself. However, we don’t seem to be anywhere near clicking that perfect mobile photograph. So when a camera company like Kodak lends its name to a smartphone, it is hard not to take notice. The Kodak Ektra is in fact more a camera, than a smartphone, at least it looks so. But is this an idea whose time has come? Well, I used the Kodak Ektra for well over a week to figure out if this was the best camera phone, or should we say phone camera?

Kodak Ektra specifications: 5-inch FullHD(1920×1080) | MediaTek MT6797 Helio X20 Deca-core (2x Cortex-A72 @ 2.3GHz) | 3GB RAM | 32GB storage expandable up to 128GB | 21MP fast focus camera sensor with F2.0, PDAF, OIS, Dual LED Flash + 13MP phase detection auto focus front-facing camera with F2.2 PDAF | Android 6 | 3000mAh, with USB 3.0 Type C fast charger

Kodak Ektra price in India: Rs 19,990

Kodak Ektra design and display

Kodak Ektra has a standout design. So much so that this looks more like a slim point and shoot camera than a smartphone. At the bottom end of the phone is a grip akin to what you would find on a DSLR or Bridge camera. It helps you hold the phone better when you are using it as a camera and, as I discovered, enables it to stand up on a table if you are using a timer to click.

I would have expected this bit to also hold the shutter button, but Kodak has put it further up the body. At the rear there is a large camera bump with Kodak branding and a dominant, but stationary, lens ring. This also makes it a very distinct looking smartphone. Overall, the phone gives you a good feeling in the hand and I loved the faux leather finish at the back.  The Ektra has a Full HD display that is good for regular use and works pretty well in sunlight. However, there is nothing spectacular about this display.

Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesThe Ektra has a Full HD display that is good for regular use and works pretty well in sunlight.

Kodak Ektra performance and UI

The Kodak Ektra, powered by a Mediatek Helio X-20 Decacore Processor with 3GB RAM is almost mid-range in its capabilities as a smartphone. But then if you look at the price, this is a mid-range phone and it would be wrong to expect anything else. The phone can tackle day to day stuff really well without stuttering or crashing. However, I was a bit disappointed that the phone does heat up when you are shooting 4K video as my understanding was that this was a very 2016 problem. Thankfully, the temperature does not rise to the level of the phone shutting down, like we have seen with some devices in the past.

Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesKodak Ektra, powered by a Mediatek Helio X-20 Decacore Processor with 3GB RAM is almost mid-range in its capabilities as a smartphone.

The phone has a slightly tweaked Android UI with circular icons which takes some getting used to. However, at the end of the day you realise this is a just a skin and nothing really new. Kodak has added a bunch of apps and UI features that aid the use of this phone as a camera. For instance, you can open a photo editing app like Snapseed right from inside the gallery which I thought was a good feature to include.

Kodal Ektra camera review

Now, this is clearly why you are buying the Ektra for. Frankly this looks like a camera that can make calls. Jokes apart, this phone has clearly been made to impress the photographers and it does manage to do that with the external looks, barring the fact that it would have been nice to see a zoom lens pop up from that lens ring.

However, the UI has add-ons to bring in some Kodak nostalgia for those who understand what a Super 8 camera was. I, on the other hand, did not find any use for a Super 8 video app that recreated old film styles, at least not when you have tonnes of other apps that can do similar stuff.

Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesSample shot from Kodak Ektra, with ‘Bokeh Mode’. Image resized for web.Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesSample shot from Kodak Ektra, with ‘Bokeh Mode’. Image resized for web.

Anyway, the camera app itself is very unique DSLR like dial with haptic feedback to switch the modes. There are enough settings to keep you busy and thinking before each click. There is even a bokeh mode though this is not dual lens camera and a decent HDR. However, most of this is driven by software and that shows.

In fact, in the Bokeh mode you have to wait a few seconds for the camera to process and while you can tweak the bokeh effect, you have to wait again for that to render. The manual mode offers everything you would expect on a DSLR and for anyone used to a manual camera there is a lot you can do.

Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesSample image from Kodak Ektra. (Image resized for web)Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesSample image from Kodak Ektra. (Image resized for web)Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesSample image from Kodak Ektra. (Image resized for web)Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesSample image from Kodak Ektra. (Image resized for web)

But that does not mean, I love this camera. I have issues with it. To start with, the results are not consistent when it comes to the sheer picture quality. At times the images reminds me of the old Canon A400, though that was a 3.2MP camera and this has 21MP. The image quality, resolution and detail leaves you wanting more than often.

Thankfully, the last software update did improve it to an extent, but it is still not quite there. Remember, this is a phone you are buying for is camera and this is the least it should be able to do. Also, the phone and its metal frame heats up if you have been using the camera for over a few minutes. Another big disappointment.

Kodak Ektra, Kodak Ektra review, Kodak Ektra features, Kodak Ektra camera, Kodak Ektra full review, Kodak Ektra specifications, Kodak Ektra price in India, Kodak smartphonesSample image from Kodak Ektra. (Image resized for web)

Still this camera has lot of scope if the company is able to get it right. It is a good camera in low light and offers better macro than most other phones in this range. Also, the Kodak camera app and editing software does add value for the pro-consumer.

Kodak Ektra Vrdict

This is at the moment a novelty phone. Whoever buy this a primary phone will have to live with the weird design when they are not using it as a camera and that will be hard to justify. For the camera lovers, maybe this is a second phone they would like to carry around on their travels. But won’t camera lovers prefer using a better point-and-shoot or even a GoPro, is what I have been thinking. The Kodak Ektra is a good idea that fails with its execution. I’m waiting for the Kodak Ektra 2

Selena Gomez Wore the Coolest Sneakers to Disneyland With The Weeknd

What’s the best way to close out the summer with your significant other? Well, if you’re Selena Gomez and The Weeknd, it’s a trip to Disneyland, of course. The cute couple was spotted at the Happiest Place on Earth wearing laid-back looks perfect for an evening of walking around the park.

Gomez wore the coolest lace-less, flatform sneakers with an all-black look, including sweatpants, an oversized hoodie, and a Louis Vuitton Twist MM Bag ($3550). The Weeknd went for a similar vibe with Puma track jacket and sweatpants and white sneakers. Take note: This is how you do off-duty couple’s style.

Scroll down to see what Selena Gomez and The Weeknd wore on their Disneyland date. 

Add lights and greenery to your home for positive vibes

Decorate your home with ample lights be it in the form of lamps or chandeliers, introduce few planters with fresh flowers to the sad and empty corners of your home to bring in that positive vibes and tranquility, suggest experts.

Retesh Sharma, Director at Zynna and Sukriti Sharma, Director at Plusch, have listed creative décor ideas:

* Fetch greenery inside: Adding planters with loads of fresh flowers and green plants creates the serene milieu.

* Light the area right: Lights plays a key role in setting the ambiance right. Adding up few chandeliers and lamps will create a beautiful serene in the room. Also, incorporating few scented candles in your rooms is yet another great idea that not only spread aroma around but also generate the loving atmosphere around.

* When we talk about bringing spring botanicals in your abode then instead of changing whole upholstery best way to bring them is in cushions or nature inspired curtains can also work well. You can contrast them with neon colours and dwelling is ready with a makeover.

Adding floral design, nature upholstery pieces with contrasting rugs can also work well. Also watercolour-style flower-print fabric can also be incorporated that can be used on key items, such as a footstool or cushions.

* Small decorative pieces, fruit bowls, decorative ornaments and magazine baskets also enhance the look of the living room, hence plays a vital role in bringing any themed décor in the house.

You can add photoframes, bamboo décor products also smaller objects such as coasters, decorative trays and room diffuser, art pieces works well.

* Many a times we see that only one single colour wall is the focal point in any room. This trend is passé. Instead use printed wallpapers to brighten any space in your house whether it is bedroom, living area, dining room or balcony as well.

* Infuse the light scented candles that not only create an aromatic room but also create a nice ambience. Furthermore, you can set a relaxing mood by arranging a variety of oil lamps and candles on decorative trays and let them work their magic on your senses.

* Adorn your interiors with brighter shades of yellow, orange, red, blue and green. Opt for the colours that complement each other and provide an exuberant aura to your home.

Use floral prints as décor in your home to keep your home lively, cheerful and fresh. Keep aside the heavy drapes and welcome sheer or pellucid curtains in your homes.

Spanish police shoot dead possible Barcelona attack fugitive

Barcelona, Barcelona van attack, Barcelona attack, Younes Abouyaaqoub, spain, world news, indian express news

Spanish police on Monday shot dead a man who could be Younes Abouyaaqoub, the suspected driver of a van that mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona, amid a massive manhunt for the Moroccan national described as dangerous and likely armed. “They have shot dead a suspect who could be the perpetrator of the attack,” a source close to the probe told AFP on condition of anonymity. Regional police confirmed a man wearing what appeared to be a suicide belt had been killed in Subirats, a village about 60 kilometres (37 miles) away from Barcelona, without identifying the individual. Bomb disposal units have been dispatched to the site.

Earlier on Monday, police had launched an appeal for information about the 22-year-old fugitive, believed to be the last remaining member of a 12-man cell suspected of plotting last week’s deadly attacks. The other suspects have been killed by police or detained after the vehicle rampages in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the assaults, believed to be its first in Spain.

Authorities on Monday raised the death toll to 15, confirming that Pau Perez, a 34-year-old man found stabbed to death in a Ford Focus outside Barcelona on Friday, was killed by Abouyaaqoub. The police had fired at the car as it forced its way through a checkpoint shortly after the Barcelona carnage, and later found Perez in the vehicle. Investigators believe the victim was the owner of the car, which was hijacked by Abouyaaqoub to make his getaway.

Barcelona Incident Has ‘Hallmarks Of A Terrorist Attack’- U.S. Secretary Of State

Describing Abouyaaqoub as around 1.8 metres (five feet, 11 inches) tall, police tweeted four photographs of the man with short black hair, including three pictures in which he was wearing a black and white striped T-shirt. He is “dangerous and could be armed,” police in Catalonia said. Spanish authorities were also officially notifying European police of the identity of the suspect to enable the launch of a Europe-wide manhunt.

Riders on the storm: Six women get ready to sail the world

the girls are busy stocking up on some of their favourite things. “Movies, music, games, books, Kindle, laptops,” says Aishwarya Bodapatti, with a smile. It’s not exactly a long vacation, though. Lieutenant Bodapatti and five other women are preparing to go on an adventure of a lifetime — the stuff of adrenalin addled dreams for many: to travel the world on a sailboat.

This Indian Navy initiative (the first such attempt by any navy in the world) will see the team set off on board the 56-ft-long oceangoing sloop, INSV (Indian Navy sailing vessel) Tarini, docked at Mandovi in Goa since the beginning of 2017, by end-August or the first week of September. The crew will look to complete the whole trip in about seven months with four stops in between at Fremantle (Australia), Christ Church (New Zealand), Falklands (Argentina) and Cape Town (South Africa).

Bodapatti remembers her maiden voyage to Mauritius from Goa earlier this year aboard INS Tarini. As it tossed and turned, water filled the deck and soaked the women on board. And Bodapatti found herself thinking back to the time when she had bravely opted to be part of the crew that was to circumnavigate the globe. “I had thought being on the sea meant just sitting back and looking at the waters. Then, our auto pilot went on a blink and the radar packed up. I felt an unfamiliar sense of dread and realised what the sea truly was,” says the 28-year-old naval officer. It was her first experience of sailing the high seas and it taught her never to take anything for granted. A BTech graduate, Bodapatti says that her schooling at the Air Force station in Hakimpeth in Hyderabad (her father worked with the CISF), had a lot to do with her choice of career.

“I saw lots of planes flying (Hakimpeth air force base was very close by) and joining the air force first came to mind. But then I saw the naval uniform and it just looked so smart,” she says with a grin. Bodapatti’s always sought out adventure, though, whether it’s in her love for bungee jumping or river rafting.

The idea for this ambitious expedition was apparently floated a few years ago by the Indian Navy, which had already notched up records with the iconic sailboat Mhadei, commissioned in February 2009. Mhadei made two solo circumnavigations in 2009 and a non-stop one in 2013, before the Navy decided it was time to push the boundaries further. Women don’t typically go to the sea in the Navy, and solo circumnavigation would be practically unviable. Hence, the concept of Navika Sagar Parikrama — the First Indian All Women Circumnavigation of the Globe — was born. Almost immediately, a look-out was sounded for volunteers from the Navy.

One of the first to come on board, however, was Lt Commander Vartika Joshi, who will now lead the expedition as the skipper. “I volunteered for this for the same reason I joined the Navy — to explore the oceans,” says the 28-year-old BTech graduate from Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.

Growing up near rivers — her mother taught at a college in Rishikesh and father worked in Garhwal — made Vartika keen to explore the waters more. “The oceans were the next logical step,” she says, adding that her family was delighted when she joined the navy and again when she opted for the circumnavigation. On what qualities led to her becoming captain, Joshi says, “Perhaps, my ability to be balanced, not take hasty decisions and take each person’s opinion into consideration when deciding things.”

Are they prepared for the challenge ahead? The answer is a resounding yes. “We’ve undergone intensive training since 2015, not to mention the many sailings from Karwar to Porbandar within India (2015 to ’17), and Rio to Cape Town to Mauritius (2016 to ’17) on international waters,” says Lt Commander Pratibha Jamwal, 28, and a BTech from Himachal Pradesh. “We’ve been especially trained to work with the boat’s equipment and its repairs because that’s one of the biggest challenges out in the waters,” she says.

The INSV Tarini. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

After her graduation, Jamwal had landed a job with an MNC but she opted for the Navy instead as “being a pahadi I had a special inclination towards defence forces.” Labelling the opportunity as the “rarest of rare”, she feels she lucked out with her career selection. “Here, we are paid to travel the world and have the best experiences.”

Lt Vijaya Devi from Manipur, another member of the expedition, says she was inspired by her father, who was with the Manipur Rifles, to take on the challenge of circumnavigation. Devi has four siblings and she’s the only girl. Her family had initial apprehensions about the journey. “But once they visited me here, they melted,” she says.

Lt Patarapalli Swathi, the only married member of the crew, says she had the full support of her parents and husband, also a naval officer. “He knew this would happen before marriage and was well prepared,” says Swathi, who did her post graduation in computer science from Vizag.

The Ocean Sailing Node, where the women were trained, was established in 2016. However, informally, their training had already begun sometime in 2013, aboard the Mhadei. It started to come together in 2015, when all six women were transferred from their bases and stationed in Goa, where the Ocean Sailing Node took over their training. What followed were basic sail training courses at the Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre, and, Navigation, Seamanship, Communication and Meteorology courses at various naval training schools in Kochi. After com pletion of these, the team sailed from Vizag to Goa independently in February 2016 and then to Mauritius and back, covering a distance of 4000 nautical miles in July 2016.

“By now, the girls have done 18,000 nautical miles of sailing on their own,” says Captain (retd) Dilip Dhonde, under whose tutelage the Tarini crew first learned the ropes in 2015. “When I trained them, I didn’t make any concession because they were women. I always told them, the boat and the sea are gender-neutral. The challenges they throw will not discriminate between men and women, hence, the response has to be likewise,” says Dhonde, who took premature retirement from the Navy last December.

Challenges don’t always come from the sea. The drudgery of long days is a real issue. “It’s important to keep motivation levels high. During long voyages, we sing, have discussions on different issues and reminisce about our childhood and dreams for the future,” says 26-year-old Lieutenant Payal Gupta, another crew member.

“Six people living with each other continuously has its problems — about hygiene, food choices etc. Small things can irritate you at sea and the fact that none of us are very domesticated doesn’t make it easier!” says Bodapatti. Joshi has a solution: dividing the boat area into six parts and making each member responsible for its cleanliness, ensuring no one feels that they’re making more effort at maintenance than the others.

From what it seems, the six women team have it all figured. As they strike a pose, you hear one of them shout to the others, as they perch themselves on the deck, and make the sign of a time-out. “Not V for Victory, Let’s make a T for Tarini.”

Nokia 6 is a blockbuster already, received 1 million registrations before launch

Nokia 6 is a blockbuster already, received 1 million registrations before launch

Were you apprehensive about the new Nokia phones ? Well, if pre-registrations are anything to go by, the Nokia 6 that is debuting soon on Amazon India is already a blockbuster. Amazon India announced that the Nokia 6 received over 1 million registrations ahead of first flash sale on 23rd August. 

“Indian customers are evidently excited about the new era of Nokia smartphones on Android and have welcomed the brand with open arms. Nokia 6 has witnessed enormous interest from its fans since the registrations opened on 14 July. The subscription growth is expected to intensify closer to the sale date of 23 rd August 2017.” Amazon India said in a statement.

The Nokia phones are deeply integrated with the Amazon ecosystem. The Nokia 6 will come preloaded with the Amazon’s apps including the Kindle App, Amazon Shopping, Prime Video and more.

Apart from this, Prime members purchasing the Nokia 6 on the sale day will receive Rs 1,000 as Amazon Pay balance.

The Nokia 6 is the company’s mid-range offering priced at Rs 14,999. The phone is built out of a single block of 6000 series aluminium providing a robust chassis. It’s fitted with a 5.5-inch full HD display and is powered by Qualcomm’s best entry-level processor coupled with 3GB of RAM. Additionally, the Nokia 6 is fitted with smart audio amplifier and dual speakers. Dolby Atmos takes provides cutting edge cinematic experience.

As for the camera, the Nokia 6 packs a 16-megapixel shooter in the rear and an 8-megapixel camera on the front. The package is powered by a 3,000mAh battery and runs on pure stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

Our Stories, Their Stories: When an Indian and a Pakistani walk into a coffee shop in a foreign land

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Here in Sydney, I have met a lot of Pakistanis. Contrary to what we have been made to believe, we get along well. Why? I think it is because far away from our mulks, the baggage of history seems a bit lighter. We don’t have to flaunt and feign patriotism by turning against the other. In faraway lands, our patriotism isn’t defined by hating the other as easily as it is in our respective countries.

It isn’t a way to counter racism — a “white vs brown” thing. At least, not yet in my case.

Is it because, mostly, we speak the same language? Maybe, yes. It could also be because we eat the same food. Does it matter when my Pakistani neighbours make kadi pakora they can share with us? I think it does. Sometimes, I think inherently we are the same.

So what defines this “sameness”? Is it a few big things coming together or too many trivial things that are difficult to keep count of? That we use the same cuss words and stock the same masalas in our kitchen cabinets? Or the bigger similarities: we have the same kind of media that fans the same kind of fires amongst us, provoked by politicians who play the same games, on both sides of our borders?

I was returning from Sydney Cricket Ground the other night. My Uber driver happened to be a young man from Karachi. After a few minutes, he opened up and we were talking like old friends. He hadn’t been to Karachi in eight years, since he arrived in Australia. These years, he says, were a revelation to him. The media back home had poisoned him against Indians, he said, but here he found us Indians to be just like them Pakistanis.

At the end of the ride, I asked him for a favour: to take something of me to Pakistan, when he visits Karachi at the end of this month. He was surprised. What could I be sending? And to whom? Who did I know there? I told him to take dher sara pyaar from this fellow Indian for his friends and family. That we need love between us and he could be that messenger. “Sure”, he said, “we are the same.”

But, maybe, we are not.

Well, for many of us, our mazhabs are different. But that’s not it. The problem, Indians have been told, is Pakistan itself. Here, though, if our communities try to mingle with each other, brotherhood does not seem too difficult. But if we get too close, the suspicions surface eventually. “That Indian fellow, he sent some chicken xacuti and claimed that it is halal meat. But is it really?” We trust each other and then we don’t.

Or when it comes to the wars, and Kashmir. Every time you hear that the other side has violated the ceasefire on LoC, try opening a website, any reputed news website, from the other side. You will see the inverse version. The two news reports won’t have a single thing in common (except, of course, guns firing and people dying).

On Kashmir, the unshakeable belief is that your own country and your own army is doing nothing wrong. The other side is always to blame. But we, mere citizens forced by circumstances in a foreign land, choose to ignore these issues and carry on.

If you make us talk about it, the layers of suspicion and mistrust slowly become evident. The propaganda of generations of politics, narrated by generations of editors, journalists and historians (for each nation writes its own version of history) to generation of uncles and chachas and nanas and dadas, over and over, has been cemented and fixed in our minds.

When a Pakistani colleague and I met over a cup of coffee and tried discussing politics, it was like putting the very basics of my strongly held beliefs to test. The stories they have heard on their side are just as one-sided as ours. Eventually, we realised that we are all reluctantly loitering in the grey areas here.

These conversations, if they happen, take us out of our comfort zones. My friend from Karachi went on: “Look, I understand. You call Muslims invaders. We invaded your land and ruled it for 400 years and when we left, we took away a piece of it and called it Pakistan — it is not fair but it happened. Par ab kya? It has been 70 years. Can’t we move on?”

I gulped, tried not to look startled and asked myself, how does one prepare for plainspeak like this? This is not Facebook or Twitter. The stakes are much higher than your typically timid and fickle social media timeline that changes loyalties with every hashtag. These are real conversations and we are real people — we work, attend meetings, eat lunch together and wish each other on our respective Independence days.

Meanwhile, we realise, yet again, that we aren’t the same.

The unlearning that we have to do, if we choose to do, is colossal. And with every passing generation, it becomes more difficult. It can happen when we talk to someone from the other side — something practically impossible in our respective countries. But, here, in a foreign land, we meet by circumstance and are bound by it. We talk with each other, first because we need to and then because we want to. And, as we talk, we can see ourselves being deconstructed. When that happens, yes, we are the same.

Then, of course, there is the matter of patriotism. If you are patriotic, you can’t be nice to anyone from the other side. It makes you a traitor. The other day, a woman from Pakistan asked Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj for help on Twitter — a visa request to treat her two-year-old son, who needed an urgent bone marrow transplant. Few “proud” Indians, as they generally are, replying to her tweet, asked her why she did not go to China to seek assistance. Some Pakistanis shamed her for “begging” medical facilities from India. A two-year-old boy is fighting for life and Twitter warriors from India and Pakistan are defining patriotism. So yes, I guess, we are the same.

It does not matter if you are an Indian or a Pakistani who is reading this, because the question for us, aam janta, remains the same. How long will we let our patriotism be defined by hate?

Saliva protein links humans to archaic species

In a salivary protein, researchers have found hints that a “ghost” species of archaic humans may have contributed genetic material to ancestors of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The research, by a team from the University of Buffalo and published in journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual.

“It seems that interbreeding between different early hominin species is not the exception — it’s the norm,” said Omer Gokcumen from the university.

“Our research traced the evolution of an important mucin protein called MUC7 that is found in saliva. When we looked at the history of the gene that codes for the protein, we see the signature of archaic admixture in modern day Sub-Saharan African populations,” he added.

The scientists came upon their findings while researching the purpose and origins of the MUC7 protein, which helps give spit its slimy consistency and binds to microbes, potentially helping to rid the body of disease-causing bacteria.

“Based on our analysis, the most plausible explanation for this extreme variation is archaic introgression — the introduction of genetic material from a ‘ghost’ species of ancient hominins,” added Gokcumen.

“This unknown human relative could be a species that has been discovered, such as a subspecies of Homo erectus, or an undiscovered hominin. We call it a ‘ghost’ species because we don’t have the fossils,” Gokcumen noted.