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Biofuels firm GPS Renewables raises $50 mn from private, public sector banks

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New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Full-stack biofuels company GPS Renewables on Tuesday said that it raised $50 million (about Rs 411.5 crore) in debt financing from leading private and public sector banks, as well as prominent NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies).

Punjab National Bank, HDFC, Yes Bank, HSBC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank, Citibank, Vivriti Capital, Northern Arc, Spark Capital, Tata Capital and SIDBI were the institutions that participated in the current financing round.

“To further accelerate our efforts, we not only need financial backing but also strategic industry collaborations. The current round of funding will allow us to accelerate our expansion efforts and promote India’s transition to sustainable green energy,” Tilak Minocha, Chief Finance Controller, GPS Renewables, said in a statement.

The biofuels firm had previously raised $20 million in equity funding from Neev Fund II by SBICap Ventures, the Netherlands-based Hivos-Triodos Fund and Caspian Impact Investments.

With the current order book, GPS Renewables has crossed a turnover of $60 million in FY 2023-24, while registering a 225 per cent growth over FY 2022-23.

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During the same period, the company increased its full-time employee strength from 72 to over 500.

Recently, GPS Renewables acquired Germany-based Proweps Envirotech GmbH, a leading design and engineering company specialising in technologies for utilising municipal and industrial organic waste and agri-residue for biogas production.

Founded by Mainak Chakraborty and Sreekrishna Sankar, the company provides end-to-end solutions for the development, production and distribution of biofuels.

–IANS

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Doctors extract needle embedded deep for 3 years in hip muscle of woman

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) In a rare and complex case, doctors here extracted a needle, embedded deep for three long years, in the hip muscles of a 49-year-old woman, Rambha Devi.

Three years ago, the needle stuck in the patient’s hip while sewing.

Deeply engrossed in her sewing, she placed her needle on the bed for a moment. Distracted, she stood up to attend to something else, and then she suddenly slipped and fell back onto the bed.

The Delhi-based homemaker felt a sharp pain and found a broken needle on the bed. She thought the other half must’ve been broken off somewhere in the room.

For days, she searched for the missing piece of the needle, convinced it had fallen out. Unable to find it, she eventually gave up and went on with her life, though she constantly felt discomfort in her hips, which kept increasing over the years.

When the pain became unbearable, she finally decided to seek medical help. An X-ray revealed the lost ‘needle’ lodged deep in her hip muscle.

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However, due to the complexity of the case, several doctors denied her surgery.

At Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Rambha underwent imaging with an X-ray and CT scan pre-operatively.

For the surgery, the hospital especially got a C- Arm machine- an advanced medical imaging device based on X-ray technology.

“After taking the incision and starting dissection, it was very difficult to locate the needle. Multiple X-rays had to be taken intraoperatively to precisely locate the needle, and finally, the team found the needle and extracted it in one piece without breaking it. It was a highly complex task,” said Tarun Mittal, Senior Consultant in Dept of General Surgery at the hospital.

“This extraordinary story gives the lesson to always seek timely medical attention for unusual injuries and never ignore persistent discomfort. It also stands as a testament to the medical dedication and the unexpected turns life can take,” the doctor said.

The patient is doing well now, the doctor said.

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–IANS

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CSIR-CMERI launches new electric tiller for small and marginal farmers

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) launched an electric tiller, to help small and marginal farmers with sustainable and efficient farming, the Ministry of Science & Technology said on Sunday.

“The Electric Tiller boasts enhanced torque and field efficiency, while also prioritising user comfort and environmental sustainability. It significantly reduces hand-arm vibration, operates quietly, and produces zero exhaust emissions compared to traditional ICE tillers,” the ministry said.

The CSIR-CMERI’s innovative technology was launched on Saturday by N. Kalaiselvi, CSIR Director General and Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in Durgapur.

The electric tiller may help small to marginal farmers — typically with land holdings of less than 2 hectares — who constitute over 80 per cent of India’s farming community with substantially reduced operational costs.

Furthermore, it will also help the country bolster net-zero emissions and promote environmentally friendly farming practices.

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“With the potential to decrease operational costs by up to 85 per cent, its user-friendly design supports battery pack swapping and offers multiple charging options, including AC and Solar DC charging,” the ministry said.

The tiller also seamlessly integrates with a wide array of standard agricultural attachments such as ridgers, ploughs, iron wheels, and cultivators.

It comes equipped with a 2-inch water pump and a trolley attachment capable of carrying up to 500 kg, further enhancing its versatility. Featuring electronic controls and ergonomic handling, operators can navigate fields with ease, minimising fatigue and maximising productivity.

–IANS

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Homegrown HireMee helps 7 lakh small-town youth receive talent assessment for free

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Bengaluru, May 26 (IANS) Indian edtech platform HireMee has helped over 7,00,000 talented small-town youth get assessed at no cost by assessing them free of cost and connecting them with potential employers, the company said on Sunday.

Moreover, nearly 60 per cent of 2,70,000 interview opportunities created by HireMee since its inception in 2017 have gone to students from tier 3 and 4 towns, “with almost half of these opportunities for women candidates,” said Venkatraman Umakanth, Senior VP and Business Head at the firm.

The talent assessment platform enables equal access to opportunities for small-town youth in the country, by connecting them with employers.

It has just won the Global Impact Sourcing Award (GISA) from IAOP, the premier global organisation dedicated to shaping the future of business.

“HireMee’s dedication to impact sourcing has produced genuine, enduring benefits for both individuals and their communities,” said Debi Hamill, CEO of IAOP.

The company provides AI-driven assessment, covering seven sections including core domain for students pursuing their diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

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The assessment scores of test takers are shared with companies listed on the HireMee platform without any fee.

HireMee platform has worked with nearly 7,000 colleges accredited by AICTE; National Career Service of the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment; Tamil Nadu government’s upskilling programme ‘Naan Mudhalvan’ and Karnataka government’s Digital Economy Mission and over 2,000 companies.

–IANS

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South Korea's new space agency to help compete in global space race

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Seoul, May 26 (IANS) With the opening of the nation’s full-fledged space agency, South Korea is set to make its mark on the global space stage, aiming to transform into a powerhouse and join the elite space race led by the private industry.

The Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA) will open its doors on Monday, focusing on fostering local companies that can play key roles in space development projects and helping the country develop a global-level space industry and space economy, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

“Until now, the country’s space development projects have been led by the government,” Yoon Young-bin, KASA’s inaugural chief, said earlier.

“The most important role of the space agency will be supporting the private sector to lead space development.”

He pointed out that the world’s space industry is moving toward the so-called “new space” era, where private companies are actively leading innovation in space technologies with more economic feasibility.

“The global paradigm is shifting,” Yoon said, noting that top space companies, such as SpaceX, have developed reusable space rockets and launched a group of small satellites with capabilities similar to medium- and large-sized satellites.

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To keep up with this trend, South Korea established KASA, the Korean version of the US NASA space agency, located in Sacheon, approximately 300 kilometres south of Seoul.

The 293-member agency will lead the nation’s space programs, such as the moon and Mars exploration, and bolster South Korean companies’ competitiveness in the global space industry.

Two years ago, the South Korean government announced its plan to land a homegrown spacecraft on the moon in 2032 and Mars in 2045 as part of efforts to become one of the top-five global space powers.

South Korea was a latecomer in the highly advanced industry but is currently considered the seventh-strongest space power after having successfully developed the 200-ton space rocket Nuri in recent years.

The country also plans to develop a next-generation rocket, KSLV-III, and make three launches in 2030, 2031, and 2032, with the third launch carrying a moon spacecraft aboard.

Experts at home and abroad welcomed the establishment of KASA, expecting the agency to help South Korea make a significant leap in the space sector and participate more in international cooperative research projects.

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“It is difficult to have international competitiveness in the space industry without technological development in various related fields,” Kim Seung-jo, former chief of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, said. “But South Korea has the world-best level of cutting-edge technologies in most of the fields.”

He called on KASA to set future-oriented goals for space projects that need patience and passion from a long-term perspective.

Earlier this month, NASA officials also expressed expectations for expanded space cooperation with Seoul following the establishment of KASA, underscoring the importance of South Korea’s expertise for international space projects.

They also advised KASA to “learn lessons” from failures.

To leverage expertise and experience from the world’s top space power, KASA has named John Lee, a retired senior executive from NASA, as its deputy administrator in charge of space missions and policies, the second-highest position at the new institution.

John Lee said he would work to adapt the US space agency’s strengths to KASA in a Korean context and align Korea’s space projects with international standards, Yonhap news agency reported.

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Meanwhile, the local space industry voiced hopes for KASA, asking it to provide more consistent support to big and small companies and facilitate their participation in international space projects.

“The country’s space projects have been centred around the government and big companies until now, but I hope KASA can also support smaller-sized companies that have been overlooked,” said Park Jae-pil, the founder of space startup Nara Space.

“There are many Korean companies with space technologies that can contribute to international projects, and I believe KASA will open a channel for that,” he added.

KASA aims to foster more than 2,000 space-related companies and create about 5,00,000 new jobs in the field.

–IANS

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Google plans India manufacturing after introducing industry-leading Pixel 8a

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Google, which just launched its new device Pixel 8a with industry-leading features, is apparently looking at India to manufacture its smartphones via investing billions of dollars.

The company is reportedly looking to manufacture new Pixel devices in Tamil Nadu, in partnership with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn.

The government’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme has played an instrumental role in attracting global manufacturers and Google will soon join the league.

Google Pixel phones are full of top-notch artificial intelligence (AI) features, including Gemini and Circle to Search.

Powered by Google AI, the ‘Best Take’ tool will make every group photo a “true” group photo.

You can choose the image where everyone looks their best and the feature uses a series of photos taken close together to one fantastic picture.

Google AI also reduces distracting sounds in videos so you can hear the ones you want.

Sounds from cars, wind, or construction can be disruptive in video.

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Audio Magic Eraser uses Google AI to reduce distracting sounds with a few taps, so “you can hear the ones you want”.

According to the company, ‘Magic Editor’ is a new and powerful generative AI-powered photo editor with more intuitive tools and suggestions that let you reimagine the way you edit.

Gemini is the redefined digital Generative AI assistant that amplifies productivity and creativity because it’s personalised and brings together the best of Google’s AI capabilities, in the palm of their hand.

You can talk, text or share images to get help with all of your tasks, so you can focus on what matters most to you.

With ‘Circle to Search’ feature, you can search from anywhere on your phone, whichever app or screen you’re on, and search in a way that is natural to you.

Pixel 8a is made with at least 24 per cent recycled materials based on product weight, the most recycled content in any A-series yet.

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The device is also the first A-Series phone to get seven years of OS, security updates and feature drops, to optimise for what people care about most: keeping their phone secure and up-to-date.

The Family Link app, which hosts parental controls, lets parents decide on the family’s digital experience.

–IANS

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