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NEW DELHI, March 20 (Xinhua) -- British telecom giant Vodafone and India's third-largest mobile network Idea Cellular Monday announced a merger to create the country's largest telecom operator, ending months of speculation about the deal.

The combined company will have some 400 million customers, accounting for 35 percent of the market share in India, both the telecom firms said in a statement.

"The combined entity of Aditya Birla group's Idea Cellular and Vodafone India will have the widest network in the country and pan-India 3G4G footprint," it added.

"The landmark combination will enable the Aditya Birla Group to create a high quality digital infrastructure that will transit the Indian population towards a digital lifestyle and make the government's Digital India vision a reality," Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, told the media after Idea's Board approved the merger in the morning.

Vodafone and Idea expect the merger to complete by 2018 as the deal is subject to approvals from different regulatory agencies in India.

At present, Bharti Airtel is the biggest telecom operator in India. But analysts say the merger was actually to beat the cut-throat competition from a new telecom operator, Reliance Jio, owned by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, and offering services at very cheap rates leading to "vicious price war".

Over 10 telecom operators are currently battling it out to try and attract India's 1 billion mobile phone users, which has forced companies to keep tariffs low, significantly impacting their profitability.

CARACAS [url=]David Johnson Color Rush Jersey[/url] , Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's government and right-wing opposition groups have returned to the negotiating table, President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday.

The "negotiating table" was installed in the Dominican Republic, where delegates from both sides met on Sept. 13-14 in a bid to overcome the political crisis that has been plaguing the country, he said in a televised broadcast.

Maduro thanked his Dominican counterpart Danilo Medina, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and others for helping to restore the talks with the opposition coalition [url=]Pat Tillman Color Rush Jersey[/url] , known by its Spanish acronym MUD, which were terminated in December.

Thanks to their help, "we are close to reaching an agreement on political coexistence between the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan opposition," he said.

The two sides are at an advanced stage in negotiations, said Maduro [url=]Black Markus Golden Jersey[/url] , thanking opposition leaders "for having sat down to work and to dialogue" with his administration.

The government and the opposition have been locked in a bitter power struggle since Maduro defeated the MUD's presidential candidate by a narrow margin in 2013. Violent anti-government demonstrations have rocked the country.

Dancers perform at BRICS Night of Ballet in SE China's Xiamen

Exhibition held during National Mass Innovation Entrepreneurship Week

Israeli soldiers clash with Palestinian protesters in Nablus

Trump visits Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

Special snacks displayed during 14th China-ASEAN Expo

Scenery of paddy fields in Baicheng, NE China's Jilin

China Focus: World's oldest panda dies aged 37

Scenery of terraced fields at Wuyishan in SE China's Fujian

STRASBOURG, May 16 (Xinhua) -- In anticipation of a September deadline for the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers, Members of European Parliament accused national governments on Tuesday of being slow to act on the refugee transfers over the last year and half.

In the context of an unexpected spike in refugee arrivals by sea in the summer of 2015 [url=]Black D.J. Humphries Jersey[/url] , the European Union (EU) adopted emergency measures to relocate 160,000 migrants from front-line nations Greece and Italy.

With only 18,418 refugees relocated as of May 11, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) criticized EU member states for not following through on their commitments, while still noting that relocation alone would not solve the crisis.

Jeroen Lenaers (European People's Party [url=]Black T. J. Logan Jersey[/url] , the Netherlands) declared that he had "never been in favor of compulsory quotas, but over the past one and a half years we have seen that the voluntary system is not working."

Angelika Mlinar (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Austria) said: "It is not a question of ability, but of willpower. It's high time for member states to follow through on the commitments they entered into."

She compared the efforts made by the EU with those of countries such Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where millions of refugees have been accommodated.

Only two EU countries [url=]Black Chad Williams Jersey[/url] , Finland and Malta, appear to be on track to meet their obligations, noted Cecile Kyenge (Socialists and Democrats, Italy).

She asked European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avrampopoulos, present for the debate [url=]Black Budda Baker Jersey[/url] , what would happen following the September deadline for member states who had not met their commitments.

The commissioner responded that if member states did not increase their relocations soon, the European Commission would not hesitate to launch infringement procedures.

"It is not an issue of capacity, it is purely down to a scandalous lack of political will," said Ska Keller (GreensEFA, Germany) [url=]Black Haason Reddick Jersey[/url] , while welcoming the European Commission's plan to take measures against non-compliant member states.

"We're talking about people who are fleeing from war and persecution, and unaccompanied children who are being left alone in overcrowded camps."

Last year, 63,300 unaccompanied minors applied for international protection in the EU, with 57 percent of all applications registered in Germany alone.

Helga Stevens (European Conservatives and Reformers [url=]Black Christian Kirk Jersey[/url] , Belgium) said it was unfair to criticize northern European countries alone: "Greece and Italy are not managing to organize the inflow . [url=]Lamar Jackson Jersey[/url]   [url=]Authentic Khalil Mack Jersey[/url]   [url=]Kareem Hunt Womens Jersey[/url]   [url=]Julio Jones Youth Jersey[/url]   [url=]JuJu Smith-Schuster Youth Jersey[/url]   [url=]Jimmy Garoppolo Youth Jersey[/url]   [url=]Jason Witten Youth Jersey[/url]   [url=]Jared Cook Kids Jersey[/url]   [url=]Jalen Ramsey Jaguars Jersey[/url]   [url=]Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys Jersey[/url]