Ukrainians cheer on first day of visa-free EU travel

Ukrainians on Sunday (11 June) celebrated the first day of visa-free access to the European Union, with thousands crossing the border as President Petro Poroshenko proclaimed a dramatic “exit” from Moscow’s grip.

The move is symbolic for Kyiv, where a pro-EU revolt in 2014 toppled the previous Russia-backed government and was followed by Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula sparking a protracted ongoing conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“The visa-free regime for Ukraine has started! Glory to Europe! Glory to Ukraine!” Poroshenko tweeted early Sunday as many travellers started crossing the border and posting selfies.

Only those with biometric passports – containing a microchip with personal data, including fingerprints – can take advantage of the visa-free travel for the time being, for stays of up to 90 days every six months that don’t include work.

The exemption does not apply to Ireland or Britain, nor to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which are part of the EU’s Schengen passport-free area despite not being members of the bloc.

Later on Sunday, Poroshenko met with Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska on the Slovak-Ukrainian border, unlocking a mock “door to the EU” painted like a Ukrainian passport.

“We have waited so long for this,” he said. “I am sure that this day, 11 June, will go down in the history of Ukraine as a final exit of our country from the Russian empire and its return to the family of European nations.”

“Welcome to Europe,” Kiska told the crowd. “I want to call on you to continue carrying out reforms.”

“Today we bring down the barrier between the people of Ukraine and the people of the European Union,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a video address.

“Ukraine has delivered reforms its citizens were asking for and we of the EU have kept our promise. This is what we call a win-win solution.”

“It feels so good”

The EU approved the visa-free travel last month after long delays and Kyiv’s embattled reforms, fulfilling a key promise to cement ties with Kyiv following the broad trade and political association agreement sealed in 2014.

Kyiv is now seeking to boost European integration with cheaper rail links and more low-cost air connections with EU cities, Poroshenko said on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin cheered on Twitter after passengers on flights from Ukraine were able to enter Warsaw, Budapest, Frankfurt and other airports.

“#Bezviz (no visa) is just the beginning!” he wrote, himself crossing the border to Hungary and posting photos from the passport control area.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

By midday, thousands had crossed the border into EU countries, the foreign ministry’s consular department wrote on Twitter. Only four people were denied entry.

“I’m going abroad for the first time in a decade, and it feels so good,” said Ukrainian Ulyana Golosyak who crossed the border to Poland from western Ukraine despite her husband accompanying her in case of complications.

View image on Twitter

“He thought something could happen that I would be turned back and would need to be picked up,” she told AFP. “I’m happy I can cross the border with this passport.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

ICAI 68th foundation day: CA syllabus to be revised after 13 years

 

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) will complete 68 years as on July 1, 2017 and has planned to introduce “major revisions” to the CA syllabus to fit into the global business competitive scenario. This is the first revision of the syllabus in 13 years.

“The revised course intends to promote innovation and bring about out-of-the-box thinking in the curriculum and education system of chartered accountancy course,” said ICAI President Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey adding that the paper will now be for 400 marks with half the marks allotted to subjective and objective questions respectively. Read | ICAI to revise syllabus for Chartered Accountancy at all levels, click hereicai, ca syllabus, ca syllabus change, ca syllabus revision, ca, icai syllabus revision, ca 2017 exam, ca exam, education news, indian express, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

The revised syllabus will be launched on Saturday, July 1, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ICAI foundation day function. The course will also include new subjects at the foundation and intermediate levels and students appearing for final exams will be allowed to choose electives.

“A student can choose from one out of six papers to specialise in,” said Vikamsey, explaning that seven papers onut of eight will be fixed subjects while one subject will include options.

 

Amazon has unveiled an early peek of Prime Day deals

 

Amazon’s Prime Day is just hours away, and the online retailer wants to keep anticipation high. To that end, the company has unveiled a sneak peek at some of the deals you can expect throughout the 30-hour extravaganza.

As is typical for Amazon, the company’s preview includes some generic promises, such as up to 40 percent off gaming laptops—but a handful are truly excellent deals. We’ve picked the top three that jumped out to us. Keep these on your radar, and when Prime Day sales truly kick off at 6 P.M Pacific / 9 P.M. Eastern on Monday evening, we’ll be tracking the best of the Prime Day tech deals on PCWorld.com.

Note: To take advantage of Prime Day sales, you must be a member of Amazon Prime. This service is Amazon’s $99-a-year club that offers free two-day shipping on orders, as well as a litany of frills like free premium video and music streaming, free online photo storage, a Kindle lending library, and various promotional offers. New Prime members get a free 30-day trial, which means you can sign up, get the Prime deals, and then dump the membership before the $99 fee kicks in.

Amazon Echo for $90

amazon echo

Amazon

This is easily the best deal yet for Amazon’s smart speaker. The lowest ever price was during its pre-order period, when early adopters could snag it for $99. This undercuts that by $10, and the lowest price on CamelCamelCamel by $40. The Echo—powered by the Alexa digital personal assistant—is a fantastic smart speaker for those looking to get started with smart home gadgets.

Amazon Echo Sales For This Year’s Amazon Prime Day Already Three Times More Than Last Year

The Amazon Echo has proven to be a massive hit for Amazon Prime Day 2017, as the number of smart speakers sold this year worldwide is already three times the number sold in last year’s version of the annual shopping event.

Google tried to draw customers away from buying the Amazon Echo in this year’s Prime Day with a $99 Google Home bundle, but it appears that there is no way to stop the popularity of the Alexa-powered smart speaker.

Amazon Echo Sales Surge

It was largely expected that Amazon Echo sales for this year’s Prime Day will be higher, primarily because there are a few more models of the smart speaker that are available. However, the announcement that Amazon Echo sales are three times higher compared to last year was made halfway through Prime Day, which suggests that by the end of the event, that figure will be even higher.

Amazon Prime Day offered discounts to Amazon Prime subscribers on various products, and Amazon did not hold back for its Amazon Echo product line. For example, the original Amazon Echo, which has an original price of $179.99 and sold in last year’s Prime Day for $129.99, is being sold for only $89.99 this year. Customers who visit Amazon’s website will be greeted by large banners for the Amazon Echo, further drawing eyes toward the deals for the smart speakers.

According to insiders from the company, thousands of Amazon Echo devices are being sold per minute. The Amazon Echo Dot, originally priced at $49.99 and now sold for only $34.99, appears to be the first model that will be sold out.

“Prime Day has beat all of Amazon’s expectations,” the source said, adding that the company is “shocked” by the increase.

Heightened Interest In Smart Speakers

The surge in sales for Amazon Echo products can be attributed to the heightened interest from customers on smart speakers, as the product has slowly moved into the mainstream since the Amazon Echo started selling in late 2014.

The Google Home has since entered the market, with the Apple HomePod and Microsoft Invoke arriving as additional challengers soon. The digital assistants powering smart speakers have also steadily improved, with the devices taking up more headlines, for better or worse.

The increased sales for the Amazon Echo in this year’s Prime Day could also be attributed to a bigger window for the annual event, in addition to its expansion to 13 countries worldwide. Nevertheless, the surge in interest for smart speakers is evident in higher Amazon Echo sales, which is great news for one of the world’s largest retailers.

Net Neutrality: What happened during the July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action protest

 

Updated July 14: The Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality on July 12 enjoyed a healthy turnout.Thousands of companies and some visible tech celebrities united against the FCC proposal called Restoring Internet Freedom, by which the new FCC chairman Ajit Pai hopes to loosen regulations for the ISPs and telecom companies that provide Internet service nationwide. The public has until mid-August to give comments to the FCC.

The protests took many forms. Organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Reddit, The Nation, and Greenpeace placed website blockers to imitate what would happen if the FCC loosened regulations. Other companies participating online displayed images on their sites that simulated a slowed-down Internet, or demanded extra money for faster access.

net neutrality the nation

Haley Velasco/IDG

For the July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action advocating net neutrality, sites including The Nation displayed images showing people what the web would be like if corporations operated it for a profit.

Tech giant Google published a blog post in defense of net neutrality. “Today’s open internet ensures that both new and established services, whether offered by an established internet company like Google, a broadband provider or a small startup, have the same ability to reach users on an equal playing field.”

net neutrality sheryl sandberg facebook post

Melissa Riofrio/IDG

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg posted to her page about net neutrality as part of the July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action.

Facebook joined in with Sheryl Sandberg posting her message on Facebookas well as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.“Keeping the internet open for everyone is crucial. Not only does it promote innovation, but it lets people access information that can change their lives and gives voice to those who might not otherwise be heard,” Sandberg said.

In Washington, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a statement that she supports a free and open internet. “Its benefits can be felt across our economy and around the globe,” she said. “That is why I am excited that on this day consumers, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes, including broadband providers and internet startups, are speaking out with a unified voice in favor of strong net neutrality rules grounded in Title II. Knowing that the arc of success is bent in our favor and we are on the right side of history, I remain committed to doing everything I can to protect the most empowering and inclusive platform of our time.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, wrote a letter to the FCC Tuesday – one day early — to make sure the FCC’s system was ready to withstand a cyberattack, as well as the large volume of calls expected Wednesday.

What led up to the protest

The July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action strove to highlight how the web would look if telecom companies were allowed to control it for profit. Organizing groups such as Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, and Demand Progress want their actions to call attention to the potential impact on everyday users, such as having to pay for faster internet access.

Where net neutrality stands: Under the Open Internet Order enacted by the FCC in 2015, internet service providers cannot block access to content on websites or apps, interfere with loading speeds, or provide favoritism to those who pay extra. However, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, selected by President Trump in January, has been advocating a completely open internet, where the ISPs could control access or charge fees without regulation. A Senate bill that would relax regulations, called Restoring Internet Freedom (S.993), was introduced in May and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

What this protest is for: The July 12 protest, which organizers are calling the Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, will fight for free speech on the internet under Title II of FCC’s Communications Act of 1934. On that date, websites and apps that support net neutrality will display alerts to mimic what could happen if the FCC rolled back the rules.

Who will come together for the protest: More than 180 companies including Amazon, Twitter, Etsy, OkCupid, and Vimeo, along with advocacy groups such as the ACLU, Change.org, and Greenpeace, will join the protest and urge their users and followers to do the same.

net neutrality fight for net neutrality

Courtesy Fight for the Future

Where the protest will take place: Sites that support net neutrality will call attention to their cause by simulating what users would experience if telecom companies were allowed to control web access. Examples will include a simulated “spinning wheel of death” (when a webpage or app won’t load), blocked notifications, and requests to upgrade to paid plans. Organizers are also calling on supporters to stage in-person protests at congressional offices and post protest selfies on social media with the tag #savethenet.

Who opposes the protest: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and large telecom companies, such as Verizon and Comcast, want to relax net neutrality rules. Some claim that an unregulated internet will allow for more competition in the marketplace, as well as oversight of privacy and security measures.

Why this protest matters: The July 12 protest is projected to be one of the largest digital protests ever planned, with more than 50,000 people, sites, and organizations participating. If successful, it would be reminiscent of a 2012 blackout for freedom of speech on the internet to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act, and an internet slowdown in 2014 to demand discussions about net neutrality.

Hold onto your Moto Mods dream Motorola held a pitch day for future add ons

 

Motorola hasn’t given up on Moto Mods yet, and the company recently held a pitch day for budding inventors to pitch their best concepts and ideas to a panel of Motorola, Lenovo, and Verizon executives in an effort to secure investment funds for development, via Engadget.

The thirteen ideas are a mix of new, like the extended battery with a solar charger or the LED light ring for notifications, and old, like the physical keyboard mod currently looking for support on Indiegogo.

Motorola, Lenovo, and Verizon picked two mods as the winning concepts for future investing: the DigiFrame, which sticks an e-paper display on the back of the phone in a manner similar to the Yotaphone 2, and the MACAY TrueSound HiFi, which adds both a digital-to-analog converter and an analog-to-digital converter for improved audio input and output on the phone.

All of the various concepts are interesting ideas that speak to how Motorola would like for users to be able to customize their phones with mods on a deeper hardware level than just sticking on a case. And the fact that there are still teams working on more mods to expand the platform isn’t a bad sign for the future of the Moto Mods program, either. But as to whether or not Motorola can succeed with its modular concept where companies like Google and LG have already failed still remains to be seen.

 

Flipkart iPhone 6 Offer: 16GB Model Available at Just Rs. 21,999 in Father’s Day Promotion

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The offer will last till June 10
  • Flipkart has also listed No Cost EMI options for SBI card holders
  • There’s an exchange offer of up to Rs. 15,000 listed as well

Flipkart is offering the iPhone 6 with 16GB storage at Rs. 21,990 as part of its Father’s Day promotion, as it had teased previously. The offer starts Thursday, June 8 and lasts till June 10; Father’s Day is on June 18. Notably, the Flipkart iPhone 6 16GB offer is available only for the Space Grey model, and not the Gold and Silver ones. The price drop is accompanied by smartphone exchange offer of up to Rs. 15,000. The e-commerce company is also offering a No Cost EMI option for SBI card holders, and a 5 percent off on Axis Bank Buzz credit cards as well.

Interestingly, the iPhone SE 32GB model is also available at Rs. 21,990 on Flipkart. This variant has double the storage, was launched last year (iPhone 6 was launched in 2014), and has a faster processor than iPhone 6. On the other hand, iPhone SE sports a relatively smaller 4-inch display compared to the 4.7-inch screen of iPhone 6. It is also available with exchange discount of up to Rs. 15,000.

Another iPhone model you can consider besides the special price iPhone 6 16GB and iPhone SE 32GB is the 32GB iPhone 6 in Space Grey colour, which is available on Flipkart at Rs. 25,999 with exchange discount of up to Rs. 15,000. Notably, the listing pages for both iPhone 6 32GB and iPhone SE mention “Special Discount Ending Soon,” so these prices may not last long.Flipkart iPhone 6 Offer: 16GB Model Available at Just Rs. 21,999 in Father's Day Promotion

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch (750×1334 pixel) screen, and is 6.9mm thick. The phone has high-speed Wi-Fi 802.11ac support and support the TD 2300 LTE band used in India. iPhone 6 has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front camera, with improved sensors when compared with the iPhone 5s. The phones feature the new Apple A8 processor and a motion co-processor labelled M8. Apple promises that both devices will provide better battery life than the iPhone 5s.

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

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