PoochO Carpool App Launched Ahead of Delhi’s Odd-Even Scheme

PoochO Carpool App Launched Ahead of Delhi's Odd-Even Scheme

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday launched a app called “PoochO Carpool” to give people more options for carpooling during the second phase of the odd-even traffic scheme to be implemented in the national capital from April 15 to 30.

Launching the app, Rai said it would help users find carpool options within a radius of 1-5km.

“This app will help users a lot during the odd-even scheme. Fathers going to school to pick up their children in the afternoon can opt for carpooling with the help of this app,” he said.

Rai said the app would have a chat feature that will help users communicate with the car driver without even mentioning their numbers which would ensure safety to the women users.

“PoochO Carpool” has been developed by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) and Android users can download it on the Google Play store.

Under the odd-even scheme, petrol and diesel driven vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will ply on alternate dates.

The scheme is not applicable to CNG vehicles, two-wheelers, women motorists, cars carrying school children in uniform and several kinds of VIPs. Violators will attract a penalty of Rs. 2,000.

Ben Affleck Will Direct Standalone Batman Film, Says Warner Bros. CEO

Ben Affleck Will Direct Standalone Batman Film, Says Warner Bros. CEO

Ben Affleck will direct a standalone “Batman” movie, says Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

Affleck portrayed the caped crusader in this year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and had been rumored to be the studio’s top choice to helm the film. Tsujihara confirmed they were moving forward with him in the director’s seat Tuesday at CinemaCon, an annual gathering of theater owners in Las Vegas.

The standalone Batman feature is part of Warner Bros. plans for an expanded DC Comics cinematic universe, similar to that of the Disney and Marvel collaboration. Warner Bros. has at least 10 features in the works, including “Suicide Squad,” ”Wonder Woman” and “Justice League.” Unsurprisingly, those films comprised a major portion of Warner Bros.’ presentation, signaling that the studio is moving forward energetically with its original plans despite reports that perhaps “Batman v Superman” is not performing as well at the box office as the studio would have liked.

Affleck, who is also directing “Live By Night” for the studio, made an appearance with Amy Adams, who plays Lois Lane. He confirmed that both would be joining Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” which is currently in production in London.

“Suicide Squad” director David Ayer and stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie were on hand as well to hype the supervillains gone straight pic, which launches on August 5 with intense footage focusing heavily on Robbie’s Harley Quinn.

Warner Bros. also trotted out stars and footage from a number of their upcoming films including theHarry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” ”The Lego Batman Movie,” the Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling comedy “The Nice Guys,” and the Emilia Clarke romantic drama “Me Before You.”

But beyond the individual films, a big focus was the studio’s ongoing commitment to its filmmakers and the specialness of theatrical presentation.

The threat of The Screening Room, a proposed at-home viewing experience of first-run movies, has loomed large over the annual conference where theater owners come not just to check out the new studio slates and mingle with stars, but to see the latest technologies that promise to enhance the theatrical experience for audiences. Major filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have come out in support of the service, but the industry on the whole remains divided.

“I assure you we are not going to let a third party or middle man come between us,” Tsujihara told the audience of exhibitors. “When there are new technologies … we will explore them with each of you. We know the status quo is not an option.”

Not every studio has taken a hard stand. On Monday, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams – a Screening Room backer – urged the conference to be open-minded about innovations.

“Hangover” director Todd Phillips on Tuesday, however, came out strongly against the idea of the Screening Room without mentioning it directly while promoting his new Jonah Hill and Miles Teller comedy “War Dogs.”

“Why are we in such a rush to turn movies into television? It doesn’t make sense to me. Movies are special,” Phillips said. “We need to do everything we can to protect that part of the experience.”

South Korea Clears Oracle of Anti-Competitive Acts After Software Probe

South Korea Clears Oracle of Anti-Competitive Acts After Software Probe

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said on Wednesday Oracle Corp did not engage in anti-competitive behaviour following a probe over its practice of packaging new software upgrades into database management service contracts.

South Korea’s antitrust regulator last year opened an investigation into the practice to determine whether it was using its dominant market position to shut out rivals. The US company controlled 58.5 percent of the domestic database management system market as of 2014, according to the FTC, marginally lower than 59.6 percent in 2011.

The regulator said on Wednesday that software upgrades and maintenance are key components of the overall service provided by Oracle, and packaging them together does not hinder competition. Such practice also did not result in any increase in prices or reduction in competition, the FTC said.

Oracle was also cleared of any wrongdoing over its practice of requiring a maintenance contract for all of the US firm’s software used by its customers. The FTC said such a requirement was necessary to protect its intellectual property, as various patches and upgrades offered through the agreements can be easily copied and applied.

Customers can also freely choose other vendors if they do not wish to sign such an agreement, the regulator said.

Ex-GTA V Studio Boss Sues Rockstar Games for $150 Million

Ex-GTA V Studio Boss Sues Rockstar Games for $150 Million

Earlier in the year we reported that Leslie Benzies, studio head of Rockstar North, has left the company. Rockstar North was responsible for most of the Grand Theft Auto games over the years including hits such as Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, all of which credited Benzies as their producer.

Now Benzies is suing the studio for $150 million over unpaid royalties.

In September of 2014, Benzies went on sabbatical from Rockstar North. This January, the studio released a statement saying he decided not to return to work.

“In fact, when attempting to resume his duties upon conclusion of his sabbatical on April 1, 2015, Mr. Benzies found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated,” Christopher Bakes, a partner with the Locke Lord law firm representing Benzies said in a prepared statement. “After being let inside by building security, Mr. Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason.”

The lawsuit claims that GTA series creators, Dan and Sam Houser tried to force Benzies out of the company and unjustly terminating $150 million in royalty payments “based upon arbitrary actions by the company’s royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met.” Benzies also accused Sam Houser specifically of “mounting resentment” that Benzies received the same compensation from Take-Two as the Houser brothers.

At the time Rockstar issued a statement that he was not to return, it was in mediation with Benzies over unpaid royalties. Bakes states that “out-of-bounds and inaccurate press statement” represents a breach of its mediation obligations.

“Mr. Benzies has spent the bulk of his life in the video game industry, and looks forward to reaching a fair settlement so he can continue creating great entertainment software in a respectful environment that truly values the work of game developers.”

Furthermore, Take-Two the company that owns Rockstar and publishes the GTA games as well as Rockstar have counter-sued. They state that they “have sought unsuccessfully to resolve this issue through mediation and now seek judicial clarification that would resolve this controversy.” They also deny that Benzies had any good reason to leave Rockstar North.

“The Royalty Plan provides that since Benzies resigned without Good Reason, he is not entitled to any post-termination royalties. The Royalty Plan further provides that had Benzies been terminated without Cause, or had he voluntarily terminated his own employment for Good Reason, he remained eligible to receive post-termination royalties for three years, but in an amount determined solely by Sam Houser, the President of Rockstar Games,” the counter-suit reads.

Also, Take-Two and Rockstar are seeking “compensatory damages against Benzies in an amount to be determined at trial,” and they expect to be awarded “their costs, expenses, disbursements, and reasonable counsel fees in an amount to be determined at trial.”

Ola Auto Service Expanded to 12 More Indian Cities

Ola Auto Service Expanded to 12 More Indian Cities

Transportation mobile app Ola Wednesday launched auto rickshaws in 12 more cities, taking the service to a total of 24 cities across the country.

Ola said it is targeting to serve at least two million daily rides by end of 2017 through its app by getting on-board hundreds of thousands of auto rickshaw drivers on its platform over the year in these cities.

“Ola has over 1,00,000 auto rickshaws registered on its platform across 24 cities and plans to launch in more cities in the coming months,” the company said in a statement.

The new cities that were launched Bhopal, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Kota, Surat, Madurai, Guwahati, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Jodhpur, Visakhapatnam and Udaipur.

The company said its autos are available 24×7 in all the 24 cities and it has also launched a new billing system that will record the details of the trip including time of booking, distance travelled and fare payable, either in cash or through Ola Money.

“Users can request a bill on completion of their ride from the Ola app and pay for their rides with Ola money,” it added. In the past one year, Ola said it has brought a convenient hailing experience for users and predictable and continuous demand for driver entrepreneurs, helping them earn as much as 40 per cent additional revenue on a daily basis.

“Autos as a ubiquitous mode of transportation in Indian cities, already serve hundreds of millions of users everyday. By bringing them on the Ola app, we are transforming the mobility experience for users and improving the revenue opportunity for auto driver-partners,” Nitesh Prakash, Senior Director, Operations at Ola said.

Nintendo NX More Powerful Than PS4, Will Get Wii U Ports of Smash Bros and Zelda

Nintendo NX More Powerful Than PS4, Will Get Wii U Ports of Smash Bros and Zelda: Report

Another day, another Nintendo NX rumour. From AMD stating that you can expect it this year to expertly created fake controllers, there’s never been a dull moment in the run-up to Nintendo announcing it officially.

The latest is that the NX will be a lot more powerful than other consoles like the PS4.

“The NX will be more powerful than the PS4. ‘By a noticeable amount’. From the CPU, to GPU, to RAM. Sources don’t know the clock speeds, or memory type or amount of memory,” an insider posted on gaming forum NeoGAF after being verified as potentially accurate information. It’s in contrast to earlier information about the console coming with 900p and 60fps support.

In addition to this, other leaks on the forum claim it will be home to ports of hit Wii U titles. This information comes from Emily Rogers, an insider with a reasonable track record. Earlier in the year she noted that Nintendo would be releasing a new Paper Mario game for the Wii U before Nintendo announced it as Paper Mario: Color Splash.

“The following Wii U ports in development for NX: Zelda, Smash Bros, Mario Maker, Splatoon. But…and yes there’s a “But”…(read next tweet),” Rogers tweeted. This was followed by “Just because something is in development doesn’t mean it’ll be released. So either all four of these ports will come…or only two of them,” and “I spoke with at least 10 people regarding these four ports. Splatoon is up in the air. Zelda/Smash Bros sound like guarantees.”

Her Twitter account is private but screenshots of her tweets are available on gaming forum NeoGAF. With E3 2016 in three months we won’t be surprised if Nintendo unveils the NX in time for an end of year release.

Napster Co-Founder Bankrolls Project to Speed Cancer Work

Napster Co-Founder Bankrolls Project to Speed Cancer Work

A project to speed development of cancer-fighting drugs that harness the immune system has academic and drug industry researchers collaborating and sharing their findings like never before.

The newly created Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy is being funded by a $250 million (roughly Rs. 1,659 crores) grant from Sean Parker, the co-founder of the file-sharing site Napster and Facebook’s first president. It brings together partners at six top academic cancer centers, dozens of drugmakers and other groups.

“Everybody knows that we need to move forward and change the model” for cancer research, Jeffrey Bluestone, an immunology researcher and the institute’s CEO, told The Associated Press Tuesday. “The goal here is to rapidly move our discoveries to patients.”

For decades, fiercely competitive and secretive drugmakers protected their money-making discoveries with patents and lawsuits. Academic researchers likewise often guarded their work closely until it was published because their promotions, awards and sometimes revenue from licensing patents depended on individual achievement. That often slowed progress.

With the increasing cost and complexity of research, drugmakers began licensing or buying patents and research programs from university researchers. Then big drugmakers began collaborating with each other and buying smaller companies, to share research costs, speed up the drug development process and get an edge on rivals.

The Parker Institute, founded nine months ago, pushes those trends to a new level, by creating a virtual “sandbox” in which scientists at different institutions can work collaboratively, Bluestone said.

About 300 scientists at leading cancer institutions – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Stanford Medicine; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Francisco; University of Pennsylvania; and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – will share their findings.

They’ll focus on early research. After initial patient testing, the institute’s technology-transfer committee will strike licensing deals with drugmakers best able to develop those drugs, providing funding for other early research. Those drugmakers, from industry giants Amgen Inc. and Pfizer Inc., to small drug and diagnostic test developers, will fund the much-larger tests needed for drug approval, which can include hundreds or thousands of patients and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Parker worked with hundreds of scientists to create a roadmap for the institute’s work. It will quickly fund projects fitting its scientific targets and then rapidly enroll many of the 300,000 or more patients treated at the six centers each year in tests of resulting experimental drugs.

“We’ll make progress against three or four cancer types in the next several years,” Parker predicts.

He added that to be most effective, immunotherapy must become an initial treatment. Now it’s usually reserved until patients relapse after chemotherapy and other standard treatments that weaken the immune system.

Scientists have tried less-sophisticated strategies to use the immune system against cancer for about a century, with limited success, noted Dr. Eric Rubin, head of early stage cancer drug development at Merck & Co. It took recent advances in cell biology, genetics and related science to make progress. Now there are a handful of approved immunotherapy drugs that greatly extend lives of some patients with lung cancer and melanoma.

Those include Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s Yervoy and Opdivo. They are so-called “checkpoint inhibitors,” which block molecules that slow down or turn off the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells.

Other immunotherapy approaches that will be part of the institute’s initial work include CAR-T therapy, in which a patient’s T-cells are removed from the blood, engineered to be “cancer assassins,” then injected into the patient, Parker said. Researchers also will develop therapeutic viruses and vaccines to drive the immune system to recognize and attack tumors.

“The Parker Institute does have the potential to accelerate development (of drugs) that will enable a greater number of cures,” Rubin said. “We’re very happy to be part of this.”