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Virtual real estate plot sells for record $2.4 million

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LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) – A patch of virtual real estate in the online world Decentraland sold for a record $2.4 million worth of cryptocurrency, the buyer crypto investor Tokens.com (COIN.NLB) and Decentraland said on Tuesday.

Decentraland is an online environment – also called a “metaverse” – where users can buy land, visit buildings, walk around and meet people as avatars.

Such environments have grown in popularity this year, as the pandemic caused people to spend more time online. read more

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Interest surged last month when Facebook changed its name to Meta to reflect its focus on developing virtual reality products for the metaverse.

Decentraland is a specific type of metaverse that uses blockchain. Land and other items in Decentraland are sold in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a kind of crypto asset.

Crypto enthusiasts buy land there as a speculative investment, using Decentraland’s cryptocurrency, MANA.

A subsidiary of Tokens.com, called the Metaverse Group, bought a patch of real estate for 618,000 MANA on Monday, which was around $2,428,740 at the time, a Decentraland spokesman and a statement by Tokens.com said.

Reuters also saw the land’s purchase recorded on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.

Decentraland said it was the most expensive purchase of a plot of virtual real estate on the platform.

The land is in the “Fashion Street” area of Decentraland’s map and Tokens.com said it would be used to host digital fashion events and sell virtual clothing for avatars. read more

It is made of 116 smaller parcels, measuring 52.5 square feet each, making the land 6,090 virtual square feet in size.

Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Tokens.com, said the assets would complement the real estate already held by Metaverse Group.

In June, a plot of virtual land in Decentraland sold for 1,295,000 MANA, worth $913,228 at the time. The buyers built a virtual shopping centre to sell digital clothing, but Reuters has visited this site multiple times since and not seen any shoppers. read more

MANA is highly volatile. It has gained around 400% this month according to Coinbase, spiking after Facebook’s name change.

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Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Saikat Chatterjee and Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Manish Sisodia warns Delhi residents on new covid variant, Omicron | Latest News India

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Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday said the government was concerned about the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, and had asked various departments to accelerate the enhancement of infrastructure in the capital.

“In the context of the new covid variant, both worry and fear are important. The government is also concerned about the new variant. We have called for the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting. At the same time, the health department and other administrative departments are on high alert once again. We have alerted everyone and asked them to enhance the infrastructure with an accelerated speed now,” Sisodia said during a press briefing on Sunday.

The new variant of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 – has been named Omicron by World Health Organisation (WHO). The variant, B.1.1.529, was first reported from South Africa to the WHO, which has tagged it as a ‘variant of concern’.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-level meeting held on Saturday to review the present Covid situation, the Union health ministry has alerted all states and Union territories to buckle up and enforce intensive containment, active surveillance and maximum vaccine coverage.

Also Read: Gautam Gambhir receives another threat letter, third one in a week

Requesting people to avoid unnecessary interactions, Sisodia said one should assume that the variant might be present in the city already. “Even if one person with the new variant enters Delhi, it will not take much time to spread. We should assume that someone with the variant might have entered Delhi and the virus might be spreading among some people. However, we pray that this is not the case,” said Sisodia.

On Saturday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop flights from the countries affected by the omicron variant. “I urge Hon’ble PM to stop flights from those countries which are affected by the new variant. With great difficulty, our country has recovered from Corona. We should do everything possible to prevent this new variant from entering India,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief wrote on Twitter.

The new variant, believed to be more transmissible and immune-evasive, has prompted countries to impose travel restrictions. Apart from Botswana, Hong Kong, South Africa, the new variant has now been detected in the UK, Australia, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Isreal, the Netherlands etc.

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Covid-19 fallout: Flight to New York remains a dream

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Propelled by a hedonistic whim, I fancied a celebratory sojourn in New York soon after retirement, which was due on September 30, 2019. Undeterred by hearsay that getting a US visa was an uphill task, I downloaded the DS-160 webpage to apply for a visitor visa on the verge of retirement. Interviews for the US visa are held at their embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. As I hailed from Chandigarh, I chose the US Embassy in New Delhi, as also the first available date for the interview.

The long queue at the gate of the US embassy signalled tough competition. Absorbed in observing the body language of fellow aspirants in the queue, I inched forward for security check. After the rigorous frisking, I was ushered into the interview hall to wait for my name to be called. There were many interview counters on one side of the hall. One applicant was called at a time at each of the counters. The expression of dejection or rejoice on the candidates’ face at the end of their interview indicated rejection or approval of their application. The withholding of passport by the embassy symbolised approval.

Eventually, my turn came. I responded confidently to the lucid queries, asked gently, about my job, the reasons for a US visit, my stay arrangements in the US, etc. The consular officer, an affable lady, concluded with a smile, “OK, Mr Gupta, you will receive your passport after a couple of days”. I thanked her courteously, beaming. The due diligence in filling in the D-160 electronic application had paid the dividends, I surmised. A few days after the interview and before my retirement, I was overwhelmed with exhilaration upon receiving my passport with the US visa affixed therein.

Initially, I intended to go to the US in October 2019 itself. But an NRI friend convinced me that the best season to travel to New York would be the spring season, which is the April-June quarter. So, the next year in February, I booked the flight to New York for the end of April 2020. Feeling upbeat, I started browsing the internet for a suitable hotel in Manhattan. Though the initial news about Covid-19 had started trickling, I never imagined it would jeopardise my trip. By each passing day, the threat of the pandemic started looming larger. Before the end of March 2020, all scheduled international flights out of India had been suspended. India was placed under prolonged lockdown. My air ticket was left in abeyance.

When Covid appeared to be abating by February 2021, I rescheduled my trip for NYC for the first half of May 2021. As if my trip was jinxed, the second wave of Covid, more lethal than before, struck our country at that very juncture. Scheduled international flights continued to be in suspension month after month. Broken-hearted, I finally requested the airline to cancel my ticket and refund the amount, which they graciously did. Covid-19 sure did shatter my post-retirement foreign dream as it would have done in the case of million others. [email protected]

The writer is a Panchkula-based retired banker

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Dead Space Remake: Release date, trailer, gameplay, PC requirements

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Fans have begged and begged for the Dead Space franchise to come back to life, and EA has finally decided to listen (only because there’s a boat-load of money to be had), but regardless, the Dead Space Remake is real.

There hasn’t been a lot revealed about the Dead Space Remake, but we have at least one trailer so far and a potential release date as well as some story and gameplay details. Are you ready to head back to the USG Ishimura?

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