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DoT Abolishes Network Operation and Control Centre Charges for All Telecom Licence Holders



By Press Trust of India | Updated: 9 May 2022

To enhance ease of doing business, the Department of Telecom has removed network operation and control centre charges for the use of space segments for all services like VSAT, satellite telephony etc for which permits are issued by the department. The DoT earlier levied Rs. 21 lakh per transponder per annum for 36MHz of spectrum on a pro-rata basis as NOCC charges.

Besides this, the department also levied NOCC charges of Rs 6,000 for every trial of antenna that are used for receiving and transmitting signals.

“There shall be no NOCC charges for use of space segment for all DoT licensees for commercial and captive VSAT services, GMPCS (satellite phone service), NLD (national long distance) and other telecom licensees having unified licence or standalone license. This order shall be effective from April 1, 2022,” DoT said in an order dated May 6.

The Network Operations Control Center was created under the DoT to control the transmissions from ground segment (satellite earth stations) along with the master control facility under Department of Space to manage the operation of satellites in orbit.

Satellite industry body ISPA director general Ashok Bhatt said that the DoT has amended the Unified License to allow satellite based IoT services, land mobility services and the removal of NOCC monitoring charges.

“We believe that these progressive policy steps are in the right direction and showcase the government’s commitment in supporting the growth of digital communication by leveraging the potential and capability of the satellite communication industry. We also thank TRAI for their vision, support and positive recommendations for the growing space sector,” Bhatt said.

He said that the industry is hopeful that this measure is just the beginning and the first of many reform measures for the sector.

“We also look forward to the continued support of the Department of Space and INSPACe to make India’s space sector an attractive investment destination,” Bhatt said.


China Announces Mandatory Security Reviews for Companies’ Data Exports From September 1



By Reuters | Updated: 7 July 2022

China’s cyberspace regulator on Thursday said that rules requiring data exports to undergo security reviews would be effective from September 1, the first time it has given a start date for a new regulatory framework that will affect hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese companies.

The details of a new compulsory security review to be carried out by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which will be used to determine whether large quantities of Chinese user data in the possession of a private entity can be sent overseas, were also finalised and published on Thursday, the regulator said in a statement on its official WeChat account.

While much of what the security review will entail was already laid out by the CAC in draft rules published last October, the final version published on Thursday adds an important detail.

China’s cyberspace regulator on Thursday said that rules requiring data exports to undergo security reviews would be effective from September 1, the first time it has given a start date for a new regulatory framework that will affect hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese companies.

The details of a new compulsory security review to be carried out by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which will be used to determine whether large quantities of Chinese user data in the possession of a private entity can be sent overseas, were also finalised and published on Thursday, the regulator said in a statement on its official WeChat account.

While much of what the security review will entail was already laid out by the CAC in draft rules published last October, the final version published on Thursday adds an important detail.

“Clarifying the specific provisions of the data export security review is necessary to promote the healthy development of the digital economy, prevent and resolve cross-border data security risks, safeguard national security and the societal and public interest,” CAC said on Thursday.

China’s concerns regarding overseas data exports have recently bruised a number of Chinese companies.

The CAC launched cybersecurity reviews into Chinese companies Full Truck Alliance, Kanzhun Ltd, and ride-hailing giant Didi Global in July last year, ordering them to stop registering new users, citing national security and the public interest.

While Full Truck Alliance and Kanzhun announced the resumption of new user registration last week and said it had “rectified” the issues identified by the CAC’s probe, Didi has yet to make a similar announcement.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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New Technique for Imaging mRNA Molecules Allows Study of RNA Synthesis in Brains of Live Mice



By ANI | Updated: 7 July 2022

Scientists have developed a new technique for imaging mRNA molecules in the brains of living mice. The research reveals new insights into how memories are formed and stored in the brain and could allow scientists to learn more about diseases such as Alzheimer’s in the future.
The paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the process of how memory is physically created and stored in the brain. It is well known that mRNA a type of RNA involved in the creation of proteins is produced during the process of forming and storing memories, but the technology for studying this process on the cellular level has been limited. Previous studies have often involved dissecting mice in order to examine their brains.

A team of researchers led by a University of Minnesota Twin Cities faculty member has developed a new technique that gives scientists a window into RNA synthesis in the brain of a mouse while it is still alive.

“We still know very little about memories in the brain,” explained Hye Yoon Park, an associate professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the study’s lead author. “It’s well known that mRNA synthesis is important for memory, but it was never possible to image this in a live brain. Our work is an important contribution to this field. We now have this new technology that neurobiologists can use for various different experiments and memory tests in the future.”

The University of Minnesota-led team’s process involved genetic engineering, two-photon excitation microscopy, and optimised image processing software. By genetically modifying a mouse so that it produced mRNA labeled with green fluorescent proteins (proteins derived from a jellyfish), the researchers were able to see when and where the mouse’s brain generated Arc mRNA, the specific type of molecule they were looking for.

Since the mouse is alive, the researchers could study it for longer periods of time. Using this new process, the researchers performed two experiments on the mouse in which they were able to see in real time over a month what the neurons – or nerve cells – were doing as the mouse was forming and storing memories.

Historically, neuroscientists have theorised that certain groups of neurons in the brain fire when a memory is formed, and that those same cells fire again when that moment or event is remembered. However, in both experiments, the researchers found that different groups of neurons fired each day they triggered the memory in the mouse.

Over the course of several days after the mouse created this memory, they were able to locate a small group of cells that overlapped, or consistently generated the Arc mRNA each day, in the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) region of the brain, a group which they believe is responsible for the long-term storage of that memory.

“Our research is about memory generation and retrieval,” Park said. “If we can understand how this happens, it will be very helpful for us in understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-related diseases. Maybe people with Alzheimer’s disease still store the memories somewhere – they just can’t retrieve them. So in the very long-term, perhaps this research can help us overcome these diseases.”

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Multiple Probes Into Chinese Companies Damaging Confidence of Foreign Investors, Chinese Embassy Says



By Reuters | Updated: 7 July 2022

Multiple investigations by Indian enforcement agencies into Chinese companies are damaging the confidence of foreign entities investing and operating in the country, China’s embassy in the South Asian nation has said.

Many Chinese firms have struggled to do business in India after political tension surged following a border clash in 2020. India has cited security concerns in banning more than 300 Chinese apps since, and toughened rules on Chinese investment.

Wednesday’s comments by the embassy follow raids this week by a financial crime fighting agency, the Enforcement Directorate, targeting smartphone maker Vivo, owned by China’s BBK Electronics, in a money laundering investigation.

Such frequent investigation “impedes the improvement of business environment in India and chills the confidence and willingness of market entities from other countries, including Chinese enterprises to invest and operate in India,” the embassy said in a statement.

Raids were conducted at 44 production and operation sites of Vivo and related entities across India, and China was closely following progress, it added.

This week Vivo said it was cooperating with authorities and was committed to full compliance with Indian laws.

Spokespersons for the Indian agency and the government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In May, Reuters reported that Xiaomi, one of India’s biggest smartphone sellers, had said in court that its executives faced threats of violence and coercion during agency questioning about accusations of illegal remittances.

Xiaomi has denied wrongdoing, and the agency denied the accusations at the time.

India’s tighter scrutiny also led China’s Great Wall Motor to shelve plans to invest $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,900 crore) and lay off all employees there this month, after New Delhi denied regulatory approval for purchase of a factory.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Twitter Withholds Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s July 2 Kaali Movie Poster Tweet



By Agencies | Updated: 7 July 2022

Microblogging site Twitter has removed the controversial July 2 tweet of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai.

Manimekalai had released the poster of the film Kaali via a tweet which led to outrage in the country. The poster of her film depicted a woman dressed in a costume portraying the goddess and smoking.

Reacting to Twitter’s action, Leena in a tweet asked whether the social media platform would also withhold posts by “hate mongers”.

“This is hilarous. Will @TwitterIndia withhold the tweets of the 200000 hate mongers?! These lowlife trolls tweeted and spread the very same poster that they find objectionable. Kaali cannot be lynched. Kaali cannot be raped. Kaali cannot be destroyed. She is the goddess of death,” she wrote.

However, it’s not clear when Twitter actually took the tweet down.

The original tweet has been replaced by a message from Twitter.

“This Tweet from @LeenaManimekali has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand,” read the message.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has been booked for allegedly hurting religious sentiments after her comment on Goddess Kali stirred a controversy. An FIR has been registered in Bhopal against Moitra under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for hurting religious sentiments.

Earlier this week, the microblogging service sought to overturn some Indian government orders to take down content on the social media platform, in a legal challenge which alleges abuse of power by officials.

Twitter has been asked by Indian authorities over the past year to act on content including accounts supportive of an independent Sikh state, posts alleged to have spread misinformation about protests by farmers and over tweets critical of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indian government has previously said that big social media firms, including Twitter, have not complied with removal requests, despite their legal standing.

Late last month, Twitter was warned by India’s IT ministry of criminal proceedings if it did not comply with some orders. Twitter is said to have complied, so as not to lose liability exemptions available as a host of content.

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Elon Musk Said to Have Twins With Top Neuralink Executive Shivon Zilis Last Year: Report



By Reuters | Updated: 7 July 2022

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and Shivon Zilis, a top executive at his brain-chip startup Neuralink, had twins in November of 2021, Business Insider reported on Wednesday.

In April, Musk and Zilis filed a petition to change the name of the twins to “have their father’s last name” and contain their mother’s last name as part of their middle name, the report said, citing court documents.

A month later, a Texas judge approved the petition, the report added.

A court docket summary on the Westlaw legal research service showed a judge signed an “Order Changing the Names Of Multiple Children” on May 11 after the name change petition from Musk and Zilis made on April 25 this year.

The report said, without citing any source, that Zillis has recently been floated as one of the people Musk could tap to run Twitter Inc after his $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,47,660 crore) deal acquisition.

Zilis, 36, is identified on her LinkedIn profile as director of operations and special projects at Neuralink, which is co-founded and chaired by Musk, 51. She started working at the company in May 2017, the same month she was named a project director in artificial intelligence at Tesla, where she worked until 2019.

She also serves as a board member at artificial-intelligence research firm OpenAI, which was co-founded by Musk, according to her profile on LinkedIn.

The news of the twins’ arrival brings Musk’s total count of children to nine. Musk shares two children with Canadian singer Grimes, and other five kids with his ex-wife Canadian author Justine Wilson.

Musk and Grimes welcomed their second child via surrogate in December. The billionaire said that he and Grimes were “semi-separated,” according to a report by Page Six in September last year.

Musk and Zilis did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comments.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Netflix Confirms Stranger Things Spin-Off and Play Based on Original Idea by the Duffer Brothers



By Agence France-Presse | Updated: 7 July 2022

Netflix’s wildly popular Stranger Things is getting a spin-off series and a new stage play set within its creepy supernatural world, the streaming giant said on Wednesday.

The sci-fi horror following a group of teenagers in a fictional US town as they battle monsters from another dimension is one of Netflix’s flagship and most-watched shows.

Stranger Things 4 sits atop the streaming giant’s all-time viewing rankings for English-language shows, which use a metric of total hours watched within 28 days of release.

It has clocked up more than 1.15 billion hours — a figure likely to rise as the final episodes only dropped on Friday, and is only surpassed by South Korean smash hit Squid Game.

Sibling creators Matt and Ross Duffer had already said season five would conclude the show’s “complete story arc,” but teased in an open letter to fans in February that there were “many more exciting stories to tell within the world of Stranger Things.

On Wednesday, Netflix confirmed a “live-action Stranger Things spin-off series based on an original idea by The Duffer Brothers.”

A “new stage play set within the world and mythology” of Stranger Things is also on the way, with Stephen Daldry (The Crown) set to direct.

The projects come under a sprawling “overall deal” between the brothers and Netflix which “aim to create the kind of stories that inspired the Duffers growing up — stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.”

“Matt and Ross are an exceptionally unique talent with a vision so crisp and clear,” said Netflix content boss Ted Sarandos.

“They are all about the details — it’s no accident that Stranger Things has pierced the zeitgeist to become the epic pop culture phenomenon it is today.”

The news comes with Netflix facing unfamiliar pressure, having lost subscribers earlier this year after years of uninterrupted growth, and seeing its share price plummet.

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