CCL recorded a 122 per cent increase in coal offtake during April 2021 to 6.56 mt
Coal India arm Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) on Thursday said it has recorded 112 per cent increase in production at 4.84 million tonne (mt) in April. The Jharkhand-based subsidiary had recorded 2.28 mt coal output in April 2020, it said in a statement. “Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), a Jharkhand-based arm of Coal India Ltd, has registered unprecedented growth of 112 percent in coal production (4.84 Million Tonnes) in April 2021 against April 2020 (2.28 Million Tonnes),” the company said.
As far as coal offtake was concerned, the arm said it recorded a 122 per cent increase in April 2021 to 6.56 mt against 2.96 mt in the corresponding month of the previous fiscal.
CCL CMD PM Prasad has asked officials to work closely with the state government and district administration to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also directed to increase COVID care facilities on war footing to the extent possible and adopt COVID appropriate behaviour such as social distancing, masking and vaccination, the statement said.
CCL has mining operations in Chatra, Latehar, Ramgarh, Hazaribag, Bokaro, Ranchi, Giridih and Palamu districts of Jharkhand. The company said that to combat the deadly surge of the second wave, CCL hospitals — Gandhinagar, Ranchi, Ramgarh, Dakra, Rajrappa and Dhori — with 295 beds are serving as COVID facilities in coordination with the district administrations and providing free treatment.
a furniture company that definitely won’t let you pay in bitcoin, has seen a surge of retail-investor interest recently. Its ticker symbol, ETH, is the same as the one used for red-hot ethereum. Message boards for the stock are mostly filled with banter about the cryptocurrency, not the company.
“We’ve definitely seen a massive increase on a percentage basis in mistaken activity on the Ethan Allen stream,” says Rishi Khanna, Chief Executive Officer of social investing site Stocktwits.
The confusion persists despite ribbing by other posters. On Yahoo Finance, for example: “$ETH to the moon!—give us something to sit in when we get there!” And: “In the year 2030, all transactions will be settled digitally with Ethan Allen interiors stock.”
With some novice investors buying first and asking questions later, it might even have spilled over into actual purchases. Turnover for Ethan Allen in the past month is 56% above its five-year average. That might not be a bad thing. Back in the dot-com boom, some investors allegedly bought “the wrong
Covaxin is currently produced by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
The central government and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech are willing to invite other companies which want to produce Covaxin to help scale up its production, a top government advisor said on Thursday, as India grapples with a dire shortage of coronavirus vaccines.
“People say that Covaxin should be given to other companies for manufacturing. I am happy to say that Covaxin manufacturing company (Bharat Biotech) has welcomed this when we discussed it with them,” NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul said.
“Under this vaccine, a live virus is inactivated and this is done only in BSL3 (Biosafety Level 3) labs. Not every company has this. We give an open invitation to companies who want to do this. Companies that want to manufacture Covaxin, should do it together. The centre will assist so that capacity is increased,” Dr Paul said.
The statement came on a day when the government announced it hoped to have more than 200 crore doses of coronavirus vaccines between August to December this year amid criticism that the government had mishandled the vaccine plan.
India recorded more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths for a second straight day on Thursday as infections stayed below 4 lakh, and extended the interval between doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to up to 16 weeks amid a shortage of vaccines in several states.
Experts remain unsure when numbers will peak and concern is growing about the transmissibility of the variant that is driving infections in India and spreading worldwide.
The second wave of infections, which erupted in February, has been accompanied by a slowdown in vaccinations, although Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that vaccinations would be open to all adults from May 1.
Although it is the world’s largest vaccine producer, India has run low on stocks in the face of the huge demand. As of Thursday, it had fully vaccinated just over 3.82 crore people, or about 2.8 per cent of a population of about 135 crore, government data shows.
“We are going through a phase of finite supply. The entire world is going through this. It takes time to come out of this phase,” Dr Paul said. Some consignments of the Sputnik vaccine had also arrived in the country and he was hopeful they would be available from next week, he said.
Hearing-care services provider Hear.com N.V. has postponed its initial public offering due to the choppy stock market, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest company to delay its IPO.
Hear.com was set to price its offering Thursday afternoon and start trading Friday morning. Its timeline is now in flux, the people said. On Wednesday, private mortgage-insurance company Enact Holdings Inc. decided to delay its IPO. The company said Thursday that recent market volatility meant that “current market pricing for the planned offering does not accurately reflect Enact’s value.”
Samsung Galaxy S21 series and Galaxy A32 4G are reportedly receiving May 2021 security updates alongside other fixes. As per reports, Galaxy S21 series is receiving overall stability improvements while the Galaxy A32 4G’s update sees it getting various privacy and security-related fixes. It should be noted that while this is the first May 2021 Android security update for the Galaxy A32 4G, the Galaxy S21 series is receiving its second May 2021 security update. While the Galaxy S21 update is rolling out in Germany and India, Galaxy A32 4G’s update is rolling out in Panama. There is no information as to when other regions will receive the update.
The firmware version for Galaxy A32 4G is A325MUBU1AUD2 and is bundled with May 2021 Android security patch. As we mentioned, the Galaxy S21 series already received the latest security patch a few weeks ago. The firmware version for Galaxy S21 series is G99xBXXU3AUE1 and is 200MB in size. It is recommended that the smartphones are updated while they are connected to a strong Wi-Fi connection and are put on charging. To manually check for the update, head to Settings > Software update > Download and install.
In other Samsung Galaxy-related news, the South Korean tech giant recently updated its Galaxy F02s and Galaxy M02s smartphones with One UI 3.1 Core, based on Android 11. The updates are bundled is with May 2021 Android security patch for both smartphones. The update for Galaxy F02s and Galaxy M02s will bring a refreshed UI, stronger privacy protection, and performance improvements. Both smartphones were launched in 2021 and ran Android 10 out-of-the-box.
Is Samsung Galaxy S21+ the perfect flagship for most Indians? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.
Most regions of the world saw improvements to between 33 – 43 per cent of pre-pandemic levels
Airport traffic is rebounding off of pandemic troughs in most countries though Fitch Ratings’ latest quarterly Global Airport Tracker report says the proverbial runway to normal will not be in sight for years. Reflecting a one- to two-year delay since its last report, Fitch now forecasts recovery estimates ranging anywhere from 4Q’23 to 2025 before airport traffic returns to 2019 levels. The obvious variable is new Covid-19 variants and surges in the number of cases which caused additional or prolonged lockdown measures and can linger as vaccine rollouts remain slow and uneven on a global basis.
Most regions of the world saw improvements to between 33 to 43 per cent of pre-pandemic levels for calendar 2020. European and Australian traffic levels suffered the most while traffic levels in the United States and Latin America declined less.
Fitch said air travel patterns will likely change in the next few years due to a general decline in demand stemming from the risks of continued national- and state-imposed travel restrictions.
Domestic and leisure travel are showing signs of recovery in contrast to continued softness in international and business travel.
“Vaccine rollouts will likely be the main catalyst of traffic recovery in the next year or so and will allow countries to reopen and airports to remain operational while providing greater consumer confidence for a return to air travel,” said Director Jeffrey Lack.
Fitch said it will continue to monitor lockdown and business travel restrictions, government assistance for airports and airlines, how carriers respond to the crisis and whether the pace of sector recovery is impaired by airlines’ financial challenges.
Hearing your wireless devices are vulnerable to something called “FragAttacks” doesn’t exactly inspire joy. However, the word is scarier than the risk; there’s no evidence that anyone is actively exploiting wireless devices via these vulnerabilities, even given the millions that could be susceptible to FragAttacks—short for “fragmentation and aggregation attacks.”
“The discovered vulnerabilities affect all modern security protocols of Wi-Fi, including the latest WPA3 specification. Even the original security protocol of Wi-Fi, called WEP, is affected. This means that several of the newly discovered design flaws have been part of Wi-Fi since its release in 1997! Fortunately, the design flaws are hard to abuse because doing so requires user interaction or is only possible when using uncommon network settings. As a result, in practice the biggest concern are the programming mistakes in Wi-Fi products since several of them are trivial to exploit.”
What’s a FragAttack?
The name “FragAttack” actually refers to a group of vulnerabilities related to frames, or packets of data, that can be exploited to either steal someone’s information as it passes between networked devices, or to take over a device entirely—whether that’s a simple IoT smart switch or that old laptop you use to browse the web at home. Attackers can either inject unwanted, unencrypted frames into a network, or they can take advantage of how frames are aggregated together (or how aggregates are split apart) to inject and execute data that wasn’t there in the first place.
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However, as Vanhoef notes, an attacker would need to be within radio range of your network in order to cause chaos. That already limits your potential risk, as that’s simply not something you’re likely to experience at home or in your apartment (unless you have a sneaky neighbor).
Simple steps to protect yourself from FragAttacks
The best way to keep your network as safe as possible against FragAttack vulnerabilities is to keep your devices updated—and you’ll note this is the same advice we give everyone about every security vulnerability ever. Make sure your routers, smart devices, laptops, phones, or whatever else are all running the most up-to-date firmware and software updates you can find. If you’re lucky, your devices’ manufacturer will have a means for updating them automatically. Otherwise, you’ll need to make sure you’re checking on a regular interval (say, quarterly) for critical updates that can patch up vulnerabilities like these.
For example, Eero has already updated its routers to completely block any FragAttack-style vulnerabilities from being exploited:
“Many of the vulnerabilities discovered by the researchers do not affect eero networks due to a combination of custom changes to our networking software that we have made over the years. Additionally, eeroOS 6.2.1 and later includes a patch that will protect your network from the “FragAttacks (fragmentation and aggregation attacks)” vulnerabilities and is now available to all eero customers. You can tap the details of any of your eeros in the mobile app and trigger an OTA update if the version you are seeing isn’t 6.2.1 or newer in the Settings tab.”
Beyond that, make sure you’re using extensions like HTTPS Everywhere in your browser so you’re always connecting to secure websites (and that the data you’re passing through your devices can’t be intercepted). Additionally, I recommend manually setting a custom DNS in your router and/or devices to help thwart any attacks that attempt to reroute a device to a malicious DNS server.
Beyond that, don’t worry too much about it. Yes, these vulnerabilities are present in just about every networked device, but they’re (thankfully) obscure enough and hard enough to exploit (requiring just enough of a physical presence) that you should be fine as long as you’re staying on top of your security and updates—which you should be doing anyway.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said citizens were priority for the state. (File)
Bristling at accusations of doublespeak in its attack on the BJP government at the centre for spending crores on remodelling New Delhi’s VIP zone in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, the Congress-led government in Chhattisgarh has put a similar project in the state on hold.
Announcing tougher measures to check the spread of COVID-19, the Chhattisgarh government on Thursday said it had cancelled tenders for the construction of the new assembly building and also stopped work on major projects in the state.
Construction of the new governor’s house, assembly house, chief minister’s house, residences of ministers and senior officers, new circuit house in the “Nava Raipur” area has now been stopped with immediate effect, a statement issued by the state government said.
The “bhoomi pujan” or groundbreaking ceremony for these works was done on November 25, 2019.
“Our citizens – our priority. Foundation stone for the construction of new assembly building, Raj Bhavan, Chief Minister’s residence, residences of ministers and senior officials, new circuit house was laid before start of Corona. Today, all these construction works have been stopped in these times of crisis,” Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel tweeted in Hindi.
The Chhattisgarh government’s projects were among the examples of hypocrisy that he cited after the opposition party hit out at the central government for carrying on the construction of the Central Vista project in Delhi that includes a new residence for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a new parliament.
The Congress was quick to seize Chief Minister Baghel’s announcement and renew its attack on the central government for spending crores amid a shortage of vaccines, oxygen and other necessities, with senior Congress leader and MP Jairam Ramesh tweeting:
Among the worst-hit states in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Chhattisgarh currently has 1.22 lakh active COVID-19 cases and has reported 11,094 deaths, according to the union health ministry.
Announcing its decision to halt the construction projects, the state government said it had “instructed all departments on April 26 that, like the previous year, austerity should be exercised in the financial year 2021-22”.
“Now, even further, on the instructions of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, the major construction works in Nava Raipur have been stopped with immediate effect,” its statement said.
The chief engineer of the Public Works Department has issued orders to contractors to stop construction work on these projects, it added.
It said that along with this, “the previously issued tenders for the construction of — Rs 245.16 crore and Rs 118 crore — works for the construction of the new assembly building in Sector-19 have been cancelled with immediate effect”.
Multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered that are claimed to affect all modern Wi-Fi security protocols and impact a range of devices ranging from smartphones to routers and even small IoT devices. The vulnerabilities have been brought into notice by a Belgian cybersecurity expert who previously gained popularity for co-finding the widespread Wi-Fi vulnerabilities in the WPA2 protocol that resulted in key reinstallation attacks — commonly called KRACKs. Those security loopholes were fixed by most of the tech companies to avoid leaking of user data.
Mathy Vanhoef has found the new set of Wi-Fi vulnerabilities that he calls “fragmentation and aggregation attacks” — or FragAttacks in short. The researcher detailed the flaws through a dedicated site, as initially reported by Gizmodo.
According to the details provided online, there are 12 different security issues that could potentially leak user data or allow hackers to gain access to a device. Three of the discovered vulnerabilities are design flaws in the Wi-Fi standard and are thus believed to impact most devices out in the market, Vanhoef said. However, the researcher also found several other vulnerabilities that exist due to programming-level issues in Wi-Fi devices.
In one case, Vanhoef noted that a hacker could exploit Wi-Fi networks by injecting plaintext aggregated frames that look like handshake messages on a system. He also mentioned another flaw that could be exploited by tricking victims into processing encrypted transported data unintentionally.
The issues could impact users on Wi-Fi networks based on WPA2 or even WPA3 standards, the researcher said. A video demonstration of the key flaws has also been provided by the researcher.
Thankfully, Vanhoef underlined that the design flaws he found are hard to abuse as attackers require user interaction or need to use some uncommon network settings. The vulnerabilities were reported to various device makers and some of them have provided fixes for their devices. Similarly, the researcher informed the Wi-Fi Alliance and helped prepare security updates during a nine-month-long coordinated disclosure.
Although the exact period for how long the vulnerabilities exist is unknown, Vanhoef said on his site that even the original security protocol of Wi-Fi — WEP — is affected. It was notably released back in 1997.
Why did LG give up on its smartphone business? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 22:00), we talk about the new co-op RPG shooter Outriders. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.
Some of the largest U.S. banks plan to start sharing data on customers’ deposit accounts as part of a government-backed initiative to extend credit to people who have traditionally lacked opportunities to borrow.
and others will factor in information from applicants’ checking or savings accounts at other financial institutions to increase their chances of being approved for credit cards, according to people familiar with the matter. The pilot program is expected to launch this year.
It is aimed at individuals who don’t have credit scores but who are financially responsible. The banks would consider applicants’ account balances over time and their overdraft histories, the people said.
The effort, if successful, would mark a significant change in the underwriting tactics of big banks, which for decades have enshrined credit scores and credit reports as the main tools to determine who gets a loan. They generally reflect a person’s borrowing history in the U.S., including whether they pay their loans on time. Those who pay only with cash or debit cards, or who are new to the U.S., often don’t have credit scores.
Some 53 million adults in the U.S. don’t have traditional credit scores, according to
, the creator of FICO credit scores. Many are often limited to payday loans and other costly forms of credit.
Black and Hispanic adults in the U.S. are more likely than white or Asian adults to lack credit scores, according to a 2015 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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Banks have for years tinkered with ways to approve borrowers with limited or no credit histories, though the efforts have tended to be small-scale and company-specific. FICO announced in 2018 a scoring system that factors in how consumers manage their bank accounts. Few lenders—and no banks—signed up for it, according to people familiar with the matter.
and other big banks in recent years developed risk models based on their own customers’ bank-account activity to approve financing for applicants with limited or no credit histories, some of the people said. That has resulted in credit-card approvals for about 700,000 additional customers at JPMorgan alone since 2016, some of these people said.
The new pilot program is designed to be farther-reaching and more organized. About 10 banks agreed to exchange data, according to one of the people familiar with the matter, an unusual level of collaboration. JPMorgan, for example, might approve a credit-card application from a person who has a deposit account at Wells Fargo but doesn’t have a credit score.
The plans grew out of Project REACh, or the Roundtable for Economic Access and Change, an effort launched last summer by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. After protests following the killing of George Floyd in police custody, the OCC convened bankers, financial-technology executives and nonprofit leaders to brainstorm on how to increase credit access to historically disadvantaged communities.
“Its mission—to remove barriers for minorities and underserved people to fully and fairly participate in the nation’s economy—is critically important, especially now,” Mr. Hsu said in an emailed statement.
JPMorgan is expected to be the first to use the deposit-account data in evaluating credit-card applicants. As soon as this fall, the bank plans to start approving applications based on those inputs from the other banks.
“It’s not a Hail Mary,” said
chief executive of consumer lending at JPMorgan. “It’s something that we know works.”
Banks are discussing using the main credit-reporting firms—
—as well as Early Warning Services LLC as the conduits for this data-sharing, the people said. Early Warning Services is a bank-owned organization that oversees the Zelle money-transfer network.
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The bank-account data will be reviewed after banks try to check applicants’ credit scores and find that they don’t have one, according to people familiar with the matter. Not having any returned checks, for example, could improve a person’s chances of being approved.
The banks are also discussing eventually working with other data providers and aggregators, such as
and Finicity, to consider an applicant’s history paying rent and utility bills, some of the people said, adding that the banks decided to start with deposit-account data because it is more widespread and easily available.
The banks in the pilot could eventually drop out. They could also open themselves to loan losses if this new method overestimates borrowers’ creditworthiness.
Banks might also have to contend with concerns regarding data privacy and transparency. Under the pilot, the fine print on a credit-card application, which usually gives a bank permission to access a person’s credit history, will also cover looking up bank-account data, some of the people familiar with the matter said.
For banks, the planned changes address an issue of social importance and provide them with a new commercial opportunity. Consumers approved under these new methods who demonstrate good borrowing behavior could eventually qualify for auto loans, mortgages and other products.