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EU, India to take stock of FTA negotiations

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Brussels: A top trade official of the European Union (EU) said on Tuesday that negotiators from India and the EU will meet in September to take stock of negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), which have been in limbo since 2013.

Photo Credit: www.computing.co.uk
Photo Credit: www.computing.co.uk

“We started negotiations on a free trade agreement with India few years ago. We had different levels of ambitions, so it has been paused for quite some time,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters here.

Malmstrom said that she met India’s Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in Paris earlier this year to discuss the issue.

“We discussed that the chief negotiators’ teams would meet in September to take stock of the progress made and whether there is a similar level of ambition to restart the talks. That doesn’t mean it will resume immediately. There will be a stock-taking meeting I think in the first week of September,” she said.

India and the EU have been negotiating the bilateral free trade and investment agreement since June 2007, but after 12 rounds of talks the negotiations were brought to a standstill in 2013.

According to the European Commission, outstanding issues concern market access for some goods, the overall ambition of the services package, and a meaningful chapter on government procurement and sustainable development.

(IANS)

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‘Doodle 4 Google’ Opens Public Voting

The first edition of "Doodle 4 Google India" was held in 2009 and the theme was "My India"

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google on Tuesday opened public online voting for 20 children shortlisted for its annual ‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition.

The annual competition, announced early in August, encouraged creative, art-loving students across India to bring their imagination to life for the search engine giant’s logo.

This year’s theme was “what inspires you”. The doodle, incorporating letters G-o-o-g-l-e, were to be created using crayons, clay, water colours and graphic design.

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Representational Image of ‘Doodle for Google’. Flickr

From a beautiful sight at the beach to nature’s tiny creatures; India’s farmer community to the Indian folk music; space exploration to learning from animals; children drew their inspiration using crayons, clay and graphic designs, the tech giant said in a statement.

Of the 75,000 students, from Class 1 to 10, across the country who sent in their entries, more than 55 per cent were from non-metro cities, including Visakhapatnam, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Bareilly, Kottayam and Bhubaneswar.

Out of these, Google shortlisted 20 from five categories: Group 1 comprising students from Class 1 to 2; Group 2 with students from Class 3 to 4; Group 3 with students from Class 5 to 6; Group 4 with students from Class 7 to 8 and Group 5 with students from Class 9 to 10.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The online voting, which began on Tuesday, will continue till November 6 (until 10 a.m.). People can cast their votes on the Doodle 4 Google 2018 voting page.

The doodle with the maximum votes will get featured on Google’s home page on Children’s Day that falls on November 14.

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The national winner would win a Rs 5 lakh college scholarship, a Rs 2 lakh technology package for their school, as well as a trip to the Google office in India, among other prizes, the company said.

The first edition of “Doodle 4 Google India” was held in 2009 and the theme was “My India”. (IANS)

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