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Supreme Court rebukes farmers for ‘strangulating’ city

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The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up a farmers’ group for approaching the court and continuing with the protests at the same time by blocking the national highways in Delhi-NCR and said that the protesting farmers have “strangulated” the entire city and now wants to come inside the city.

A Bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said there was no purpose of holding protests if you come to the court. The apex court noted that protesting farmers were obstructing traffic, blocking trains and national highways and said that this “coaxing should stop”.

The Bench asked Kisan Mahapanchayat, which was seeking permission to allow to hold Satyagraha at Jantar Mantar, to file an affidavit that they were not a part of the farmers’ protest blocking the national highways by Monday.

“You want Satyagraha, no problem. But why have you approached the court? And if you have approached the court then trust the court. The challenge to three farm laws is already pending before the court then what’s the need of Satyagrah? Once you have made up your mind and approached the court then what is the need of protest? Are you protesting against the judicial system?” asked Justice Khanwilkar.

“On the one hand you have strangulated the entire city and now you want to come inside the city and protest,” the Bench further said.

“You have a right to protest, but you cannot destroy property. Are the residents happy with the protest? Have you taken permission from the residents? This business should stop. Every citizen has the right to free movement. You are obstructing security and defence personnel. This was in the media. All this should stop. There is no point in protest once you come to the court challenging the laws,” the Bencg said.

Kisan Mahapanchayat told the Bench that it was not part of the group of protesters that have blocked the roads in Delhi-NCR and also claimed that the roads were blocked by the police and not the farmers.

The apex court then asked the organisation to file an affidavit stating it was not part of the farmers’ protest blocking the national highways. The Bench posted the matter for hearing on 4 October.

Kisan Mahapanchayat, a farmers’ group, has moved the top court seeking directions to the authorities to allow it to stage peaceful and non-violent “Satyagraha” at Jantar Mantar, Delhi.

It sought direction to the Central Government, Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner of Delhi Police to provide space to at least 200 farmers or protestors at Jantar Mantar for organising a Satyagraha and not to stop them from proceeding towards Jantar Mantar.

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SC refuses to censor Kangana’s social media posts

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The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea filed against actor Kangana Ranaut seeking censoring of all her future social media posts in order to maintain law and order in the country.

A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud declined to pass an order on the plea. The plea was filed by advocate Charanjeet Singh Chanderpal who also sought direction to transfer all FIRs against the actor across India to Khar police station in Mumbai, and a charge sheet should be filed in a period of six months along with an expeditious trial within a period of two years.

The advocate said that Ranaut’s remarks and posts on social media “are not only outrageous and blasphemous but also intend to cause riots”.

“The remarks are not only outrageous and blasphemous but also intend to cause riots, hurt religious sentiments, they are defamatory as well as portray Sikhs in a totally anti-National manner. It also justifies the innocent killing of Sikhs. The remarks are totally against the unity of our country and the actress deserves a serious punishment in law. They cannot be brushed aside or excused,” the plea read.

The plea filed through advocate Anil Kumar stated that the Union Home Ministry and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India should be directed by the Court to take certain prohibitions and preventive measures regarding social media posts of Ranaut.

None of her posts on social media should be allowed without amendment, deletion, modification or censoring in order to maintain law and order in the Country, advocate Chanderpal stated in the plea.

In terms of the recent comments made by Ranaut regarding farmers’ agitation vis a vis its irrelevant reference as a ‘Khalistani Arm twisting tactic’, all complaints received and FIRs registered all over India may be sent to the Khar Police Station at Mumbai, it added.

Referring to Ranaut’s social media posts, the plea said that her posts infer that all Sikh farmers are separatist and are aspirants of a separatist state of Khalistan and that the farmer issue was nothing but a Khalistan versus State.

“Such kind of irresponsible statements can spread hatred amongst the Indians resulting in the disunity of the Country,” plea further stated.

“Khalistan issue not at all related to the farmer’s issue and racking up this issue in association with an unrelated topic is only intended to not only gain cheap publicity but also to misrepresent a good number of Sikh Farmer as separatist Khalistani,” said the advocate.

It also stated, “The farmers who had objected to the three Farm Laws and the farmer policy were from all faiths, various states of India and not only from Punjab or only from the Sikh Community.”

Ranaut further attacked directly on the worshipers of the Sikh faith by saying that the Sikh must acknowledge Indira Gandhi as their Guru, lawyer added.

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PM stresses on development of Northeast

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday extended his greetings to the three Northeast states on their statehood day. “Greetings to the people of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura on their Statehood Days. These states are making vibrant contributions to India’s development. Praying for their constant progress,” the Prime Minister tweeted. Virtually addressing the poll-bound state of Manipur on the occasion of their 50th statehood day, he said that development is reaching every corner of Manipur.

The Prime Minister said that Manipur youth was doing great work in the field of start-ups. “Manipur deserves peace and freedom from closures and blockades. I am happy to know that they earned it after years of struggle. Development is reaching every corner of Manipur. Not just sports, Manipur youth are doing great work in the field of start-ups,” the Prime Minister said.

“Under the ‘double-engine’ government, Manipur is getting long-awaited facilities like Railways. Thousands of crore rupees worth of connectivity projects are underway in the state including the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line. Similarly, with Imphal airport getting international status, connectivity of North-Eastern states with Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru has improved. Manipur will also benefit from India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and upcoming 9 thousand crore natural gas pipeline in the region.”

“The government is committed to make Manipur the sports powerhouse of the country. Sons and daughters of Manipur have brought laurels in the sports field and in the light of their passion and potential India’s first sports university was established in the state,” he added.

PM Modi also said that Meghalaya was becoming an attractive destination for the country and the world. “Over the past 50 years, the people of Meghalaya have cemented their identity of being close to nature. To see the beautiful waterfalls, to experience the clean and serene environment, to connect with your unique tradition, Meghalaya is becoming an attractive destination for the country and the world.” “Meghalaya is full of talent. In the last seven years, the Central Government has sincerely tried to accelerate the development journey of Meghalaya. The central government is fully committed specially to ensure better road, rail and air connectivity in the state,” he said.

He further said that Meghalaya has achieved a lot, but it still has a lot to achieve.

Talking of Tripura, the Prime Minister said, “Today Tripura is becoming a land of opportunities. The double engine government is working continuously to meet the small needs of the common people of Tripura. That is why Tripura is performing well today on many parameters of development.” PM Modi said that Tripura is also one of the six states in the country where new technology is being used in housing construction.

Under the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972.

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Cases dip in Delhi, but weekend curfew to continue

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Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday recommended the lifting of weekend curfews in the national capital in view of declining COVID-19 cases. Delhi reported 10,756 new cases of the disease during the last 24 hours, said the state government on Friday.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sent a recommendation to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to end the weekend curfew. In the proposal, the CM also sought the removal of the odd-even system in the markets and to allow private offices to operate at 50% capacity, the sources added. However, sources say that Baijal rejected the government’s proposal to lift the weekend curfew and ease COVID-19 restrictions. According to the sources, Baijal agreed to a 50% attendance in private offices but said that the status quo be maintained with regards to weekend curfew and opening of markets. A decision will be taken on the subject once the COVID situation improves further, the sources said.

Later on Friday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed all private offices in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, outside of containment zones, to function with up to 50% attendance with immediate effect. The DDMA has, however, advised private offices to stagger office timing, presence and quantum of staff. “They’re further advised to follow work from home, as far as possible,” it said in its order. Notably, the DDMA clarified that the night curfew and weekend lockdown will continue to in the national capital. “It is also clarified that Night Curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM every day and Weekend Curfew from 10 PM of Friday till 5 AM of subsequent Monday, on the movement of individuals in NCT of Delhi shall also remain in force till further order,” said the DDMA in its order.

COWIN

In a recent update on the CoWIN portal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that up to six members can now register using a single mobile number. The Ministry, in a press release said, “Instead of the existing limit of 4 members, now 6 members can be registered using one mobile number on Co-WIN.”

As per the update, a new utility feature has been introduced to raise an issue in Co-WIN account through which a beneficiary can revoke its current vaccination status from fully vaccinated to partially vaccinated or unvaccinated status and also partially vaccinated to unvaccinated status.

“The vaccination status can be corrected by the beneficiaries, where in occasional isolated cases, the vaccination certificates are generated due to inadvertent data entry errors by the vaccinator in the updation of vaccination data of beneficiaries,” the release said.

The Ministry also said that the changes may take three to seven days after submitting the online request through raising an issue utility.

“Such beneficiaries can get their due vaccine dose, maybe at nearest vaccination centre, as per the existent standard guidelines once new vaccination status is successfully updated in the system,” the Ministry appraised.

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Netaji statue at India Gate; hologram to be unveiled on 23 January

The statue will be 28 feet in height and 6 feet in width.

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A grand granite statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be installed at India Gate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday. “At a time when the entire nation is marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, I am glad to share that his grand statue, made of granite, will be installed at India Gate. This would be a symbol of India’s indebtedness to him,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet today. The Prime Minister said that till the time the grand statue of Netaji Bose is completed, a hologram statue will occupy the place.

“Till the grand statue of Netaji Bose is completed, a hologram statue of his would be present at the same place. I will unveil the hologram statue on 23rd January, Netaji’s birth anniversary,” tweeted PM Modi.

Republic Day celebrations will start on 23 January this year, the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It will end on 30 January, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.

Official sources said that the dimensions of the Netaji statue would be 28 feet in height and 6 feet in width.

Acknowledging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision, Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, on Friday said that honouring Netaji by setting up his statue is “very remarkable”. “Honouring him by setting up his statue is very remarkable. Very happy that Netaji’s statue would be put up in a prominent place in Delhi. This is a great tribute to a man who has suffered so much for the wellbeing of his country”, she said.

Anita Bose also found it gratifying to see young people still knew Netaji and respected him. “125 years is a long time and 75 years since Indian Independence. More than one generation has passed away… It is gratifying to see that young people still know who Netaji is, still respect him and many love him. This is a great tribute to him.”

“What I find more important is having a revival and strengthening Netaji’s values and ideas into today’s lives and politics not only of high-level politicians but of every single man and woman. Let that be the guideline for action. Jai Hind”, said Netaji’s daughter.

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AMAR JAWAN JYOTI MERGED WITH WAR MEMORIAL FLAME, CONGRESS CRIES FOUL

Army veterans hail move; National War Memorial has the names of all Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives since 1947-48.

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In a historic move by the Centre ahead of the Republic Day celebrations, the Amar Jawan Jyoti or the “eternal flame” for soldiers at India Gate was merged with the torch at the National War Memorial in a ceremony on Friday. The decision was hailed by most military veterans and political leaders belonging to the ruling coalition. However, the Congress severely criticised the government for the move.

On Friday, a part of the flame was carried to the War Memorial in the afternoon in a ceremony that was presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff Chief, Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna. Krishna laid a wreath after which a torch was lit from the Amar Jawan Jyoti and the flame was doused. The torch was then taken to the National War Memorial by a ceremonial guard from Guards Regiment of the Indian Army. After travelling for around 150 metres, the torch was used to symbolically merge the flame from Amar Jawan Jyoti with the one at the National War Memorial.

Air Marshal Krishna presided over the ceremony at both the locations.

However, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Central government for the move. Taking to Twitter, the Congress MP said, “It is a matter of great sadness that the immortal flame that used to burn for our brave soldiers will be extinguished today. Some people cannot understand patriotism and sacrifice – never mind. We will once again light the Amar Jawan Jyoti for our soldiers.”

Congress MP Manish Tewari too criticised the Central government and said that merging Amar Jawan Jyoti with War Memorial Torch means “erasing history”. The Congress MP said, “Whatever is being done is a national tragedy and an attempt to rewrite history. Amar Jawan Jyoti is the soul of crores of people. Merging Amar Jawan Jyoti with War Memorial Torch means erasing history. BJP has built the National War Memorial, that does not mean they can extinguish the Amar Jawan Jyoti.”. He asked, “Why can’t India have two eternal flames? Amar Jawan Jyoti and National War Memorial.” “Redeveloping the Central Vista was hubris enough but extinguishing the eternal flame at India Gate is nothing short of a crime. I am surprised that the nation is silent as a national icon would be snuffed out in the project to re-write history,” he asserted.

Government sources, however, said that a lot of misinformation was being spread and that the flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti was not being extinguished, it was being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. “It was odd to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti paid homage to the martyrs of 1971 and other war heroes but none of their names are present there but now the names of all Indian martyrs from all wars, including 1971 and wars before and after it are housed at the National War Memorial. This would be a true tribute to our fallen heroes,” the sources added.

Lashing out at the Congress, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “The question that needs to be asked of the Opposition is why did you not think of making a permanent memorial in the last six decades when you were in power. This flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti is a temporary one… India Gate was built in the pre-Independence era and it does not have the names of the fallen heroes of 1971 or other wars,” said the minister. “Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi built the National War Memorial and the name of every fallen hero is put there. That is the best tribute to be given to our soldiers. I’m astounded by the duplicity and the hypocrisy of the opposition,” he said.

Commenting on the move, former Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lieutenant General (Retd) Satish Dua called it the “right decision”. Speaking to a news agency, Lt General Dua said, “India Gate was built to pay tribute to the heroes of World War I. Since we did not have any national war memorial, we continued with India Gate. After the victory of the 1971 war, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was installed in 1972. It was not there before 1972. As we did not have a national memorial it continued to remain so.” “The merger of Amar Jawan Jyoti with the National War Memorial is the right decision to make. There should be no controversy. National War Memorial has a national character,” he added.

Lieutenant General (Retd), Former Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Indian Army, Vinod Bhatia hailed the Centre’s decision. “Today is a great occasion, the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate is being merged with the National War Memorial. It’s a good decision,” Bhatia said. “Amar Jawan Jyoti honours our soldiers in 1971 for 50 years. We have a National War Memorial which honours nearly 25,000 soldiers, sailors who made the supreme sacrifices in defence of India. The time has come to shift the Amar Jawan Jyoti to merge it with National War Memorial,” he said.

1971 war veteran and former Army Deputy Chief Lieutenant General J.B.S. Yadava (Retd) also supported the Centre’s decision and said “Amar Jawan Jyoti should be merged with National War Memorial. There should be only one War Memorial in the country.” “There should be no politics on the merger of Amar Jawan Jyoti and National War Memorial. It has become a trend to give a political angle to every initiative done by the Centre,” Yadava said.

However, Air Force veteran Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur said that the eternal flame at India Gate is part of Indian psyche. “You, I and our generation grew up saluting our brave jawans there. While National War Memorial is great, the memories of #AmarJawanJyoti are indelible,” he tweeted earlier in the day.

The India Gate memorial was built by the British government in memory of the British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives between 1914-1921. However, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was included in the memorial structure in the 1970s after India’s victory over Pakistan.

After a long wait and multiple considerations, the National War Memorial was built in the India Gate complex by the Narendra Modi government and was inaugurated in 2019. After the inauguration of the building in War memorial, all military ceremonial events were shifted to it from the India Gate memorial. The National War Memorial has the names of all the Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the Galwan valley clash with Chinese troops. The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also included on the walls of the memorial.

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Everything X everywhere: The new BMW X3 launched in India

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The new BMW X3 has been launched in India today. The successful Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), BMW X3 is now sportier and more modern with its comprehensive refreshed look, premium interior with new equipment features and updated infotainment.

Available in locally produced two petrol variants, the new BMW X3 is now available at BMW dealerships from today onwards. The diesel variant will be launched later. Vikram Pawah, President, BMW Group India said, “The new evolved third generation BMW X3 is here to continue the model’s trailblazing success in the premium mid-size SAV segment. Refreshed design and driving performance make BMW X3 a luxurious and practical car that is agile on and off-road. You will experience the unbeatable thrill and joy of a distinctive combination of powerful drive, sporty dynamics and comfort. With its independence and individuality, the new X3 packs in unlimited action and is meant for everything x everywhere.”

The new BMW X3 is available in two petrol variants at an attractive introductory price (ex-showroom) as follows-

BMW X3 xDrive30i SportX Plus : INR 59,90,000

BMW X3 xDrive30i M Sport : INR 65,90,000

*Price prevailing at the time of invoicing will be applicable. Ex-showroom prices inclusive of GST (incl. compensation cess) as applicable but excludes Road Tax, Tax Collected at Source (TCS), RTO statutory taxes/fees, other local tax cess levies and insurance. Price and options are subject to change without prior notice.

For further information, please contact the local authorised BMW Dealer. The new BMW X3 is available in the following metallic paintworks: Mineral White, Phytonic Blue, Brooklyn Grey, Sophisto Grey, Black Sapphire and Carbon Black. The new BMW X3 features Sensatec Perforated Upholstery as standard with the following combinations – Canberra Beige and Cognac.

The new BMW X3 emphasis on classic X-elements as standard. It has a more modern look with a more powerful presence, plenty of space and driving dynamics. SportX Plus variant ensures a greater focus on sportiness and “X-ness”. The M Sport variant is enriched with high quality X elements.

BMW Service Inclusive and BMW Service Inclusive Plus are optionally available with the BMW X3. These service packages cover Condition Based Service (CBS) and maintenance work with a choice of plans from 3 yrs. / 40,000 kms to 10 yrs. / 2,00,000 kms and start at an attractive pricing of INR 1.53 per km.

The BMW X3 also comes with optional BMW Repair Inclusive that extends warranty benefits from third year of operation to maximum sixth year, after the completion of the standard two-year warranty period. Together, these packages provide complete peace of mind and freedom to enjoy unlimited driving pleasure.

BMW India Financial Services offers an attractive BMW 360@ financial plan with ‘drive away monthly price’ of INR 79,999/-, assured buyback of up to 60% and flexible end of term options. Customized financial solutions can be further designed as per individual requirements.

The new BMW X3.

The design of the new BMW X3 makes a sportier orientation. With the redesigned BMW kidney grille, flatter headlights and the new front apron, the new BMW X3 flaunts a refreshed design appearance. More strikingly shaped and larger BMW kidney grille now comprising of a single-piece frame.

The front feature adaptive LED headlights with Matrix function. A black border gives the full LED rear lights a more precise appearance, while the narrower light graphic now includes a three-dimensionally modelled pincer contour and horizontal turn signals integrated in filigree style.

The new, flush-fitting free-form tailpipe trims are larger and sportier, conveying a more powerful presence. In the M Sport package, front apron features larger air inlets finished in high-gloss black and air curtains. The sportier rear bumper includes a diffuser finished in Dark Shadow. The M Sport trim includes the new 19-inch Y-Spoke 887M alloy wheels. However, 20-inch M alloy wheels are also available as an early bird offer.

The interior boasts an exceptional level of comfort and functionality in an extremely modern ambience. Exclusive functions such as Multi-function Sport Steering Wheel, electrical seat adjustment with memory function, exterior mirror package add to the comfort. Driver and front passenger enjoy the superior sporty flair of a premium SAV. M Sport has an exclusive set interior package like Sport seats, Sensatec perforated upholstery, M leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons, M interior trim adding the performance-oriented ambience. Panoramic glass roof and Welcome Light Carpet are few among the long list of features that create the perfect ambience.

New electroplated trim elements on the air vents add a touch of elegance while emphasising the horizontal lines in the interior. Ambient Lighting with six dimmable designs creates an atmosphere for every mood. Features such as electroplated controls and 3-zone automatic climate control with extended options add to the overall luxurious feel. The boot has a capacity of 550 litres and can be expanded further to 1600 litres by folding down the 40/20/40 split rear seat backrest.

Thanks to the unrivalled BMW Twin Power Turbo technology, the petrol engine melds maximum power with exemplary efficiency and offers spontaneous responsiveness even at low engine speeds. The two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine of the BMW X3 xDrive30i produces an output of 185 kW / 252 hp and a maximum torque of 350 Nm at 1,450 – 4,800 rpm. The car accelerates from 0 -100 km/hr in just 6.6 seconds with a top speed of 235 km/h.

The eight-speed automatic Steptronic sport transmission performs smooth, almost imperceptible gearshifts. At any time, in any gear, the transmission collaborates perfectly with the engine, enabling it to develop its full power and efficiency.

Adaptive Suspension with its individual electronically controlled dampers adapts to both road conditions & individual driving style thereby offering exceptional precision and improves the drive and handling dynamics. For even greater driving pleasure, it is available with steering wheel paddle shifters, cruise control with braking function and Automatic differential brakes (ADB) with electronic differential locks as standard. The BMW Performance Control system increases the stability of the car by targeted braking of the wheels.

BMW xDrive, an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, monitors the driving situation constantly and is quick to respond. Electronically controlled ‘Automatic Differential Brakes/Locks’ (ADB-X), extended ‘Dynamic Traction Control’ (DTC), Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control help to conquer every terrain.

A host of BMW Connected Drive technologies continues to break the innovation barrier in automotive industry – BMW Gesture Control and Wireless Apple CarPlay® / Android Auto. The modern cockpit concept BMW Live Cockpit Professional running on latest BMW Operating System 7.0 includes 3D Navigation, with a high-resolution 12.3” screen instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a control display.

The spread of driver assistance systems is more extensive than ever. Parking Assistant Plus with 360 camera makes parking in tight spots easier by taking over acceleration, braking as well as steering. The car features a 464W Harman Kardon Surround Sound system 16 speaker with individually adjustable equalizing.

BMW Efficient Dynamics include features such as 8-speed Steptronic Automatic Transmission, Auto Start-Stop, Brake-Energy Regeneration, Electronic Power Steering, 50:50 Weight Distribution, Driving Experience Control switch with different driving modes such as COMFORT/ECO PRO/SPORT/SPORT+ and many other innovative technologies.

BMW Safety technologies includes six airbags, Attentiveness Assistance, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Cornering Brake Control (CBC), electric parking brake with auto hold, side-impact protection, electronic vehicle immobilizer and crash sensor, ISOFIX child seat mounting and integrated emergency spare wheel under the load floor.

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