Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Cunning life-hacks to help you survive these difficult days (The Funny Side)
I always say "please" and "thank you, Miss" when talking to Siri so that when the machines take over she won't kill me. "Spare the puny one. He was always polite."
 
You have to be cunning to make the best of life these days.
 
Another ingenious life-hack. My wife bought an avocado last week I carried it around for a week so that I could eat it in the 10-minute period between "not ripe yet" and "horribly rotten". That was the plan, anyway, and one day it will work.
 
But perhaps the biggest mass outbreak of cunning this year so far has been in India. Like everywhere else, hotels and other food and drink venues are conveniently located near major highways there, but Indian judges passed a law making it illegal for any alcohol-selling venue to be within 500 metres (in some places, 220 metres) of a highway.
 
Since it's tricky to pick up a hotel and move it, residents responded with a mass outbreak of ingenuity.
 
One bar-owner built a long, winding maze in front of his roadside bar, so it became quite literally a long walk from the street.
 
Some hoteliers attached signs to their back gates saying: "This is Now The Front Gate".
 
Other restaurateurs got friends in government departments to "demote" hundreds of kilometres of major highways, relisting them as humble "regular" roads, and thus exempt.
 
Of course, ingenuity can also be used in the name of evil, I hear from my friends at Shanghaiist, a news website. Chinese companies are selling portable engines on long poles designed to thump walls and ceilings purely for the purpose of annoying neighbors. One particularly irritating man turned on such a machine, called an Apartment Shaker, and then went away for the weekend. Of course, many of us already have free-of-charge apartment-shaking devices in our homes, but we call them "children".
 
A British correspondent sent me an example of evil ingenuity from the UK. A thief stole a car. Instead of making a fake number plate, he found a car of the same make, age and colour, and copied its number plate. Thus any police officer who ran a computerised check would find that everything seemed to be in order.
 
The only chance of exposure would be if both cars just happened to be parked in the same car park at the same time, and what were the chances of that in a country with a population of 60 million? The answer turned out to be not zero. A woman in the town of Coleshill phoned police to say that she was in a shop's parking lot and noticed a car exactly like hers, same brand, same colour, same licence number. Gotcha.
 
Room for one last life-hack. As you turn off the oven to go out, tell the oven what you are doing in a Mickey Mouse voice. It's such a weird thing to do that there's no way you'll later forget that you turned it off.
 
Yes, people will think you are crazy, but who cares? Siri is still nice to me, and that's the relationship that counts in the long term, right?
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Services to have 4-slab GST rates, no decision on gold
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council concluded its latest round of meetings on Friday with the decision to apply the same four tax rate slabs for services as for goods, exempting, however, healthcare and educational services from the purview of the GST.
 
Speaking to reporters here following the meeting, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said that no consensus could be reached on the rate to apply on gold, and that the next meeting of the GST Council has been fixed for June 4.
 
"We could not come to a decision in this meeting on the rate to apply on gold," Issac said. 
 
"Services will have the same four multi-slab structure of tax rates as for goods," he said. 
 
The council on Thursday approved the tax rates for 1,211 items, of which 7 per cent will be exempted, 14 per cent will be in the 5 per cent slab, 17 per cent in the 12 per cent category, 43 per cent in the 18 per cent segment, while 19 per cent of goods will go into the top tax bracket of 28 per cent.
 
"Services, which are at currently taxed 15 per cent will be fitted into the 18 per cent bracket. However, services will get the benefit of input tax credit for the goods used, so real incidence of taxation will be lower than the headline rate," Isaac added. 
 
He said that while "luxury services" would attract the highest rate of 28 per cent, health and education services would be exempt categories.
 
"Telecom services would continue to be taxed at the same rates of the past. Not in a single case has there been an increase in taxes from before," he added. 
 
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the media here on Thursday, after the first day of the council meeting, that "there is no increase in taxes of the items considered today. In fact, for many of them, taxes have come down." 
 
An overwhelming 81 per cent of items will attract tax of 18 per cent or below. Only 19 per cent of items will be taxed at the highest rate of 28 per cent.
 
Jaitley said that while the overall basket of taxes will see a reduction, he hoped for greater tax buoyancy because of greater efficiency and less tax evasion.
 
"On many commodities there would be reduction because of the cascading effect, but we are banking on the hope that because of a better tax system and less evasion there would be tax buoyancy," he said.
 
In a major measure of support to industry, the rate for capital goods, as well as industrial and intermediate items have been set at 18 per cent. 
 
Commenting on the GST Council's deliberations, a senior tax analyst said the rates announced were along expected lines.
 
"However, it seems a lot of work is yet to be done. Exemptions and issues related to reverse charge mechanism have not been finalised, and looks doubtful that it will be done in a day," said Taxmann.com Senior Consultant V.S Datey.
 
"Thus the chances of introducing GST by July 1 appears doubtful," he added.
 
"Companies would now quickly want to compute/re-compute the impact of rate change, if any, on their products and consequential change in their related margins," Partner in international accounting firm KPMG in India Harpreet Singh said in a statement here.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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With 180% growth, Chinese smartphone vendors set to wipe out Indian brands
Chinese vendors captured 49 per cent of the Indian mobile phone handset market in the first quarter of 2017 -- a 180 per cent (year-on-year) revenue growth -- threatening to wipe out domestic players from the overall handset segment, a report said on Friday.
 
According to research firm CyberMedia Research's (CMR) "India Quarterly Mobile Handset Market Review" report, mobile handsets market in India recorded revenues of Rs 346,295 million in the first quarter (January-March), down eight per cent sequentially quarter-on-quarter. 
 
Samsung of South Korea, and the Chinese Itel and Xiaomi were the top market players with 27 per cent, nine per cent and six per cent market share, respectively, in terms of volume. 
 
"In the smartphone arena, the Chinese brands have already kicked out domestic players from the top five list and in the near future, we will see Chinese players wiping out the Indian brands from the top five chart of overall mobile handset segment too," said Krishna Mukherjee, Telecom Analyst with CMR, in a statement. 
 
The Indian mobile handset market -- having leading brands Micromax, Intex and Lava -- is forecast to be at around 65 million units in the second quarter (April-June), and the growth will come from replacement/upgrade market that would continue to benefit the Chinese brands. 
 
"As this would be the last quarter before GST is implemented (on July 1), a lot of push by way of schemes and offers from various handset makers is expected during the quarter," the report added. 
 
Apple's entry into the 'Make in India' bandwagon via iPhoneSE will change the market dynamics as it will open up tough competition for Chinese players like Vivo and Oppo, which have been strong in the Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 price range.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

1 week ago

Despite the "Make in India" motto of this Modi Govt since 2014, it has done precious little to prevent Chinese goods flooding Indian market, which has been happening for over a decade now. The least this Narendra Modi Govt could do is levy heavy import duties on Chinese goods, so that domestic manufacturing sector can surge gradually, and undo years of onslaught by Chinese goods. But, sadly, this Govt has only been all talk, no walk. While I, like most people who voted for BJP in LS 2014 hoped that BJP will not be as corrupt and people-unfriendly as the Congress has been for most of the past 70 yrs, it has disappointed us hugely. Just as Congress remained in power due to the TINA factor, so does Modi, and the day an alternative emerges, it will be curtains for both Modi and his hypocritical party.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

1 week ago

I hope the Indian smartphone manufacturers will successfully withstand the tough competition in the smartphone arena.

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