As the near-century-old party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, battles internal crisis after its senior/old (Taksali) leaders recently revolted against party president Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal has defended his son, saying Mr. Sukhbir had offered to resign after the party’s defeat in the 2017 Assembly polls. Excerpts:The Shiromani Akali Dal has seen a revolt by a few senior leaders, who allege that the party has been “hijacked” by the “Badal family” and its ideology compromised. How do you react?I have always held them [Taksali leaders] in high esteem and still do. As for their complaints, I really don’t know what they mean by the “Badal family” because they still publicly declare that they want me to head the party, and I am the head of the Badal family. As for Mr. Sukhbir, they elected him as the party president, he was not appointed by me. In fact, his name was proposed by Jathedar Ranjit Singh Brahampura, the leader of the breakaway faction. So what can I say?The Akali Dal senior leadership, including you, your son Sukhbir and daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal, recently sought atonement for “mistakes that might have been committed during your (SAD-BJP) rule” at the Akal Takht. What were these mistakes?In Sikh religion, which guides the philosophy of the SAD, the relationship between the Guru and the Sikh is a direct one. When we atoned for our “mistakes”, we atoned for all the mistakes which the ‘Sangat’ (the people) may have deemed us guilty of. In our religion, the ‘Sangat’ enjoys the status of the Guru. In fact, even superior. Do you regret the handling of issues such as the pardon granted to Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case and the Kotkapura-Behbal Kalan police firing incidents of 2015, which followed the Bargari sacrilege?That issue was handled by the honourable Jathedar Sahib of Sri Akal Takht Sahib. No Sikh who believes in the tenets of his religion can comment on the decisions taken by the Takht Sahib.Do you think the revolt in the party could have been averted had Mr. Sukhbir resigned? At the first meeting of the party after the defeat in the 2017 Assembly elections, Mr. Sukhbir had not only offered his resignation but also insisted that it should be accepted and someone else should lead the party. I did not intervene at all. These same leaders had rejected his resignation offer then. Nothing has changed since then. They know how a president is appointed or changed and they are free to follow that course.How do you assess the current Congress government’s work in Punjab so far?You can ask the people. Have they fulfilled any of the promises they made? Have they even discharged the basic duty of a government? This government is not only a failure, in fact this government simply does not exist. People don’t know where to go to get their grievances redressed. The Chief Minister is unavailable even to his own partymen. So what should I say? You make your own independent assessment and tell me if I am wrong. I will correct myself.What’s your reaction to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s stand on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor regarding security concerns while dealing with Pakistan?He [Capt. Amarinder Singh] must not do anything that sabotages this achievement. Unfortunately, his stand is ‘neither here nor there’. And this is dictated by his intra-party insecurities. He should take the lead as he is the Chief Minister. At the moment, it does not appear that he is honest about implementing the corridor. The Government of India has taken the initiative and that has forced Pakistan to respond. Captain Sahib should ignore immature people in his party and his Cabinet who credit Pakistan for this achievement. He should implement the corridor as India’s achievement. Unfortunately, he looks so confused. I hope he clears his thoughts on the issue.You are in alliance with the BJP, but the Akali Dal has said that it would contest the Parliamentary/State Assembly elections in Haryana independently. Is it ethical to have a pre-poll alliance with the BJP, a ministerial berth in the Union Government and then fighting against the same party in other State/States?In Punjab, our alliance is not a political one. It is a guarantee for social and communal harmony. In other States and at the Centre, we follow a common minimum programme. The alliance in Punjab was a historical necessity considering the challenges to Hindu-Sikh unity and harmony. I think we served and are serving a great cause.What is your advice to the BJP, after the results of the Assembly elections held in five States recently?Ups and downs happen in life. I am sure there are much wiser people in the BJP than me to find out what needs to be improved.
Availability of a limited number of technology workers in the United States is forcing Indian IT firms to hoard employees and subcontractors, according to a media report.The Economic Times, citing the US Bureau of Labour Statistics’ data said that in September 2018 there was a massive gap in jobs and supply and only one out of four software jobs were being filled. Read it at Related Items
Maharashtra’s economy grew at an estimated 7.5% in 2018-19, the same pace as the year before it, but growth in the agricultural sector collapsed to a mere 0.4% and crop output shrank by a sharp 8%.With industrial growth also contracting, it was only a sharp 9.2% growth in the Services sector that helped the State retain the 7.5% growth rate, as per the Economic Survey tabled in the Assembly on Monday.The agriculture and allied activities sector is expected to grow by 0.4% compared to 3.1% in 2017-18 while industry may grow by 6.9% compared to 7.6 % in the previous fiscal. Only the services sector is predicted to grow faster than the 8.1% recorded in 2017-18. What should set off alarm bells about the State’s agrarian economy is the 8% contraction in crop production during the year gone by. “The State is facing consecutive droughts. The drop in crop production is a result of that. Despite that, we have managed to keep the overall growth rate at more than that of the Indian economy,” said Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. “We are expected to maintain the pace of the growth despite odds,” he said, adding that the real Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is estimated to be ₹20,88,835 crore with expected growth of 7.5%. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has set a target to make Maharashtra a trillion dollar economy by 2025. Maharashtra is presently a $400 billion economy.The Opposition has raised doubts about the numbers quoted in the survey, and demanded a close scrutiny. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan flagged some doubts on the authenticity of figures and said the agricultural growth rate had been revised by almost 12%. “As per the Economic Survey of 2017-18, the estimated agriculture development rate was (-) 8.3%. In the present survey, it has been revised to 3.4%. It is impossible to have such a big change of almost 12%. The government should show proof of such drastic changes,” he said. Dhananjay Munde, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council said there was a need to set up an “all-party members’ committee” for evaluation of the Economic Survey.According to the survey, the State witnessed average rainfall (84.3% of the normal) in 2017-18, 10.7 percentage points lower than 2016-17. Production of food grain, oilseeds and cotton decreased by about 15.1%, 17.7% and 43.3% respectively while that of sugarcane, fruits and vegetables increased by 53.3%, 10.3% and 17% respectively. The survey estimates the growth rate of mining & quarrying and manufacturing sectors within the industry as 2.9% and 7.1% for 2018-19, up from 7.2% and 7.7% in 2017-18. Mr. Mungantiwar said that the State has registered growth in per capita income during 2018-19 at ₹1,91,827 from ₹1,76,102 of 2017-18. The State however, ranks at number three behind Karnataka and Telangana nationally.
Farmers and consumers from across the country will be taking part in a national conversation Tuesday, as part of Canada’s Agriculture Day.There’s no shortage of passion and energy from the people who produce our food 365 days a year.660 NEWS caught up with a few ranchers at a bull sale to ask them why they enjoy working in agriculture so much.Jared Sherman is the Cattle Manager at Soderglen Ranches northwest of Airdrie, he says it’s the people he works with in the industry that makes this lifestyle enjoyable.“When you are around people like this and when you can make a living in a business you love and have a customer following like we have, it makes it kinda fun,” said Sherman.Laura Vanderstoop, who also ranches north of Calgary, says it’s more than a career for her and her partner.“I grew up with this and my partner Jamie grew up with it and we’ve known each other for a long time and it gives our kids a healthy lifestyle. It’s something for us that is fulfilling and rewarding,” said Vanderstoop.Auctioneer Dean Edge took a look around at the crowd in attendance at the sale on Saturday and said it’s all about the people.“The people are my family and for four generations now I’ve been in the cattle business and livestock industry and I can come to an event like this and see all these other families who have to and we’re on common ground and we think alike,” said Edge. “We’re asset rich and cash poor, but we get by every day we get.”Rancher Keith Wade says the industry is truly unique.“It’s a business you don’t get anywhere else you’ve got kids and family, you know it’s everything, you don’t get that in a lot of other businesses so that’s part of it for me,” said Wade.If you want to join the conversation about agriculture and food simply use the #CDNAgDay on social media.
Taroudant – Around twenty Muslims and Jews performed a united prayer before the sunrise on a Los Angeles beach.In a video posted on YouTube, Muslims and Jews prayed together side-by-side in the beach of Los Angeles, in an attempt to show that both religions worship one common God.Called Two Faiths One Prayer, the initiative aims to show that “peace is possible,” and to protest peacefully against “the growing Islam-phobia and anti-Semitism” in the world. Tuli Skaist, one of the organizers, said, “we are travelling around Los Angeles and praying, Jews and Muslims, side by side.”“I would have never expected to participate in this before. I have never had a Jewish friend; I was always reluctant to be their friend just because I didn’t know how they felt about me,” Maryam Saleemi said.“We were just so surprised that we could do this together and it’s very similar. It was kind of like an ‘Aha Moment’ that we’re praying to the same God, why aren’t we doing this all the time together?” she added.The group of young Muslims and Jews has planned to stop in five public places in Los Angeles and pray together side by side. At their last stop, they unrolled the rug and made space for everyone who wanted to join their experience of praying side by side.They managed to have a considerable number of passersby – Muslims and Jews- join their prayers. The United States is home to around eight million Muslims, and around 6.5 million Jews.
22 October 2008The Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) has dispatched a four-person explosive ordnance disposal team to assist the United Nations Mine Action Office (UNMAO) in Sudan, it was announced today. Conducting a series of demining missions in Abyei, a town in central Sudan that has been disputed since the end of the north-south civil war, the Swedish team of experts will remain until the end of 2008 in support of humanitarian activities for the return and reintegration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by recent fighting. Coordinated through the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the Mine Action Committee will compile requests for work and delegate priorities. Working to clear unexploded ordnances that have been reported at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) compounds, the explosive ordnance disposal team will also work in various non-government organization (NGO) and government compounds, Abyei’s secondary schools and at the reintegration centres for IDPs. However, following the rainy season, the grass is too tall and the soil is too wet in some parts of Abyei to resume clearance operations. With an annual budget of $73 million, UNMAO is the second largest mine action programme in the world, coordinating, facilitating and overseeing all mine action activities in Sudan. Since the beginning of the programme in 2002, UNMAO’s achievements have included the clearance of almost 43 million square metres of land, the destruction of over 800,000 mines and unexploded ordnances and the education of 2.3 million people about mine awareness issues.
Locked out U.S. Steel workers voted on a contract Wednesday that their employers is calling its final offer. But the union predicts it will be defeated.The deal on the table offers employees a $2,000 signing bonus, but charges higher co-payments on health plan benefits.It also cuts vacation for new employees and imposes a three year wage freeze. Workers rejected a previous version of the contract in April. The union has accused U.S. Steel of trying to buy votes from retiring workers.Since taking over Stelco in 2007, U.S. Steel has locked out its Canadian workers twice.(9:30pm Update)The workers have voted down the offer.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a group photo with participants at the pledging conference for Syria. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response of the European Union. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, at the pledging conference. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with President Michel Sleiman of Lebanon. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of Jordan. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chats with OCHA’s Valerie Amos and Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of UNRWA. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe “Today, we have seen global solidarity in action,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the pledging conference for Syria, which was held in Kuwait City. “We have brought a message of hope to the millions of Syrians who have been affected by this terrible crisis.”The conference sought to raise $1.5 billion to assist civilians affected by the ongoing conflict over the next six months, including those taking refuge beyond Syrian borders. The amount pledged today exceeded the target, and exact figures are still being calculated.Mr. Ban, who chaired the conference, said the UN would ensure that the funds are used effectively to meet the urgent life-saving needs of the Syrian people.Earlier today, the Secretary-General had appealed to the international community to provide the urgently-needed funds, while also stressing the necessity of a political solution to the crisis, which cannot be solved by humanitarian aid alone. “The situation in Syria is catastrophic and getting worse by the day,” Mr. Ban said. “And every day Syrians face a cascading catalogue of horrors: unrelenting violence, dwindling supplies of food and medicine, and human rights violations including sexual violence and arbitrary arrests and detention.”More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in early 2011. Recent months have witnessed an escalation in the conflict, which has also left more than 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including 2 million who have fled their homes and are now living without basic services. Mr. Ban stressed that the UN and humanitarian partners are doing all they can to reach as many people as possible in all areas of the country. However, resources are limited and more will be needed to continue assistance over the next six months.“We urgently need your help,” Mr. Ban said. “I am deeply mindful of budget pressures that every Government faces today, but we cannot allow funding constraints to prevent us from bringing life-saving aid to people in desperate need. Without resources, we cannot deliver. Without resources, more people will die.”At the same time, Mr. Ban said that humanitarian aid alone cannot solve the crisis, and called on all Syrian parties, especially the Government, to stop the violence immediately.“The bloodshed and misery will end only when there is a political solution,” he said. “I appeal to all sides, and particularly the Syrian Government, to stop the killing. In the name of humanity: stop the violence.”Also addressing the conference, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said that $519 million of the $1.5 billion appeal will be used for humanitarian work in ten sectors inside Syria to meet essential needs, adding that the plan is based on four priorities which consist of: providing relief supplies such as food, healthcare and water to the most vulnerable; helping people who have fled their homes and the communities hosting them; supporting reconstruction of critical infrastructure; and helping the poorest people avoid total destitution. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives at the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Ibrahim El Assaf, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Gunilla Carlsson, Minister of Development Cooperation of Sweden. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe ‹ › “We are watching a human tragedy unfold before our eyes. We must do all we can to stop the violence, but whilst it continues we must also do all we can to help those affected by it,” said Ms. Amos, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. While a large-scale aid operation is already underway in all governorates of the country, Ms. Amos said the volatility of the security situation continues to hamper response efforts, and it is still difficult to access areas controlled by the opposition as well as disputed territory.“We need to have better access to all people requiring assistance and I call upon everyone with influence on the Government or the opposition to do all they can to facilitate that access,” she said. “Our work is guided solely by the humanitarian imperative of helping those who are in need.” Ms. Amos, who was recently in Syria, emphasized the need for more funds as agencies move more staff and supplies to the country and its neighbours – Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – to improve sustain efforts carried out so far.“We are facing a huge shortfall that could totally undermine our operations inside Syria,” she said. “The ongoing violence has shattered the lives of millions and made people fear for their lives. The collapse of the economy, rising food prices, rising unemployment and the destruction of essential infrastructure has put considerable strain on the social sector and is having an impact on the whole country. Farming is in crisis and people are now destitute and desperate.” On the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Ban met with King Abdullah II of Jordan and expressed his appreciation for the generous support his country has provided for Syrian refugees. The Secretary-General also met with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, and welcomed his efforts to promote an inclusive dialogue, good governance, human rights and reforms, noting that the UN is ready to assist his country in this regard.
Nearly 80 per cent of the five-star reviews for one highly-ranked hotel in Cairo at the time of the study were left by first-time reviewers.After Which? reported its findings, TripAdvisor amended its listing not longer citing the hotel as the ‘best in Cairo’.In Las Vegas, two of the 10 highest ranked hotels received almost half (48% and 41%) of their hundreds of five-star ratings from first-time reviewers who had never made any other TripAdvisor contributions before or since – raising suspicions that the reviews could be fake. TripAdvisor currently posts red warning badges on the pages of properties that have manipulated their ratings with fake reviews.Campaigners say that reviews should be verified so the ratings system cannot be abused. Fake reviews could potentially be classed as a misleading or unfair practice under consumer protection laws, but a judge would have to rule on the matter in a civil case before any damages could be awarded. The findings emerged as reviews are being bought and sold in their thousands on Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google Maps – written by robots, hackers and enterprising gig workers. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently working to tackle the increasing problem. A spokeswoman said: “We’re already cracking down on fake reviews and have recently urged Facebook and eBay to act to stop the sale of fake reviews through their sites. “As part of our ongoing work, we are planning to examine the role of sites where reviews are posted.” TripAdvisor said the analysis by Which? “is based on a flawed understanding of fake review patterns and is reliant on too many assumptions, and too little data”.“It is far too simplistic to assume all first-time reviewers are suspicious,” a spokesman added. The spokesman said TripAdvisor has an “industry-leading team of fraud investigators who work tirelessly to protect the site from fake reviews”.He added: “We are confident our approach works, and is one of the reasons we continue to retain the trust of many millions of consumers worldwide.”HOW TO SPOT FAKE REVIEWS Repetition: TripAdvisor’s ‘Travellers Talk about’ section highlights phrases used repeatedly by reviewers. If you see the same phrasing or language repeated, it might indicate that a template is being used for fake reviews.Strange Timing: A flood of five-star reviews after some bad reviews could indicate a concerted “push” of positive reviews has been coordinated.Low scores elsewhere: Check reviews on other sites. The hotels that had the most suspicious reviews tended to have lower scores on other review sites such as Yelp and Expedia. Fakespot.com: Although TripAdvisor strongly disputes its methods, this fake review analyser correctly gave its lowest reliability rating to the hotel that had 730 reviews removed. Hundreds of five-star reviews for some of the highest-ranking hotels on TripAdvisor are “suspicious”, a Which? investigation has found. The consumer watchdog has criticised TripAdvisor for failing to stop luxury hotels being boosted by fake reviews which can mislead travellers and ruin holidays.The latest investigation by Which? Travel analysed almost 250,000 reviews for the top 10 ranked hotels in 10 popular tourist destinations around the world, finding that one in seven of these 100 hotels had reviews which carried the hallmarks of fake reviews, while others raised serious concerns.Fifteen of the worst cases had been promoted with fake positive reviews last year, raising concerns that repeat offenders are being allowed to abuse the ratings system. Researchers focused on hotels which had a large proportion of five-star reviews left by users who made no other posts on the site. Which? said it also found a “hugely suspicious” pattern of reviews for a highly-ranked hotel in Jordan. TripAdvisor has since removed 730 of the hotel’s five-star reviews, though the hotel denies any wrongdoing.Naomi Leach from Which? Travel said: “TripAdvisor’s failure to stop fake reviews and take strong action against hotels that abuse the system risks misleading millions of travellers and potentially ruining their holidays.”Sites like TripAdvisor must do more to ensure the information on their platforms is reliable and if they continue to fall short, they should be compelled to make changes so holidaymakers are no longer at risk of being duped by a flood of fake reviews.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
BATTLE GROUND — Need an overhead projector, used high school textbooks or a Frymaster? You’re in luck.Battle Ground Public Schools will hold a surplus inventory sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Lewisville Campus, 406 N.W. Fifth Ave., Battle Ground. Students can come an hour earlier, from 10 to 11 a.m., to purchase textbooks.Items include five vans, three trucks, a trailer, tube televisions, office furniture, 14 ovens and more.Vehicles are available for inspection from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 9 at the district warehouse yard at 400 N. Parkway.All sales are final, and the district will accept cash or cashier’s checks only.For more information, call the district warehouse at 360-885-6505 or email Darcy Spiekerman at email@example.com.
Manchester City managed to win this season’s Premier League with a huge point gap between them and second-placed United – and José Mourinho hopes that the upcoming season, it will be more narrow.The Portuguese claimed that his side have had a great season but it just wasn’t enough as the Citizens were unstoppable – and if they will gain more than 90 points even the next season, the result will be the most likely the same.The former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach spoke about his side’s next season’s chances as he said, according to Independent:Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…It depends on what the direct opponents do. One of the reasons related to your question – you don’t win a title, is it a failure or not – it depends on your opponents.”“I think was in champion in Spain with 100 points [with Real Madrid in 2012] and Barcelona had 91 points. Ninety-one points was a failure for Barcelona? I don’t think it was.”“So in this season, in this Premier League, many clubs had positive seasons, like us, like Tottenham, like Liverpool. But it was impossible because City were really good and consistent and will reach a number of points that makes it impossible for you.”
Central Council President Richard Peterson. (courtesy of the CCTHITA)The largest tribal govenrment in Alaska is sticking by the Paris Climate Change Accord.Listen nowCentral Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska said it will continue to support the agreement, which aims to reduce the world’s carbon emissions and slow climate change.Earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would be pulling out of the accord, joining countries like Nicaragua and Syria.Central Council President Richard Peterson said that surprised him.“You know, he’s a businessman, and I think that it’s proven that right now, alternative energies is good business,” Peterson said.Peterson said Central Council will try to do its part by working on renewable energy solutions. He said Alaska is already experiencing the effects of a warming planet. Villages are crumbling into the ocean.“For us it comes down to the fact that as Alaska Natives, as the first people, we have a responsibility as caretakers,” Peterson said. “We’re responsible for these lands. And more importantly, we’re responsible for what we pass down to future generations.”The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota is also supporting the Paris Accord. In Washington, the Quinault Indian Nation and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community have made a similar pledge.Gov. Bill Walker has acknowledged the effects of climate change in the state but didn’t condemn President Trump’s decision.Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is the largest tribal government in Alaska, not the largest tribe.
Nagole : Larsen & Toubro Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited (L&TMRHL) celebrated 73rd Independence Day with zeal and fervour here on Thursday.KVB Reddy, MD & CEO, L&TMRHL hoisted the National Flag at the Hyderabad Metro Rail depot in Uppal and took the salute from the contingents of Hyderabad Metro Rail Security Force in an impressive parade. He was accompanied by senior officials from L&TMRHL and other consultants involved in the project. Also Read – With 61 feet high, Khairatabad Ganesh claimed to be tallest idol in India Advertise With Us Addressing Larsen &Toubro MRHL and HMR employees, KVB Reddy, stated, “On behalf of the L&T MRHL, we commemorate and pay homage to the memory of the martyrs and freedom fighters who fought for the independence of the country. Celebrated with much splendour and enthusiasm across all states and union territories in India, the Independence Day holds a special significance in our journey together as a nation. Also Read – Unidentified assailants killed a person in Saidabad PS limits Advertise With Us L&T-ites are ‘Builders of the Nation’. We contribute meaningfully towards nation building. L&TMRHL has made commendable strides in operations and maintenance of the Hyderabad Metro Rail. We appreciate and applaud the contribution of all our commuters, partners, consultants and vendors in this journey. I would also like to thank all the citizens of Hyderabad for patronising the services of Hyderabad Metro Rail.”
Mizanur RahmanA news presenter of a private TV channel has now alleged that she had received death threats from DMP additional commissioner Mizanur Rahman.Mizanur had been withdrawn from Dhaka Metropolitan Police on 9 January on charges of abusing power to get married for a second time and repressing women.The news presenter has filed a general diary with the airport police station in Dhaka.She alleged that Mizanur said he would cut her body into pieces and hang her head from the Zero Point.Because of his threats she and her family have been confined to their home for about four months, she said, adding that she cannot even send her child to the school fearing for his security.Mizanur threatened to harass her more, and circulate obscene photos if they go outside, she further alleged.On 10 April, she came to know about a Facebook page opened in her name that had been publishing offensive photos, said the news presenter.The victim has also filed a complaint with the cyber security and security division of the DMP.Airport police station officer-in-charge Nure Azam said, they were looking into the allegation and the cyber security and crime division were also working with them in this regard.Asked whether they had spoken to Mizanur Rahman, the police officer said their higher authorities were looking into the issue.”Mizanur is a pervert, he grows relationships with women and abuse them,” she said, also alleging that he had also wanted to marry her.This correspondent could not reach Mizanur despite repeated calls.Earlier, a bank official named Mariam Akhter Eco accused Mizanur of marrying her by force. The police headquarters then formed a three-member probe committee on 8 January to look into the allegation.Led by additional inspector general of police Moinur Rahman Chowdhury, the committee included DMP additional commissioner Shahabuddin Qureshi and Police Bureau of Investigation superintendent Mia Masud Hossain.The committee reportedly found Mizanur guilty.
Citation: Robotic mini-quadrotors can now build towers (w/ Video) (2011, January 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-robotic-mini-quadrotors-towers-video.html Explore further The autonomous quadrotors each have a gripper mounted on their underside that can lift either horizontal or vertical components. Once in place in the structure, the components snap together with the aid of magnets, and the quadrotors can jiggle the beams to ensure they are correctly in position. The quadrotors work as a team via a wireless network, and the algorithm determines the order in which they lift and place the structure’s components.Mellinger said the algorithm they have developed can be used to build almost any tower-like structure and the only constraints are the availability of parts and the limited battery life of the quadrotors.A PhysOrg article last year showed the mini-robots performing aerobatics and feats such as flying through windows at different angles. Now that the quadrotors are capable of building structures, this may be a first step towards full-scale autonomous flying robots or large numbers of smaller robots being used eventually for construction of real buildings. This might be especially useful in locations where construction is hazardous for humans, such as in war zones, oil rigs, or on extremely tall skyscrapers. GRASP lab demonstrates quadrotors (w/ Video) © 2010 PhysOrg.com The researchers, led by PhD candidate Daniel Mellinger of the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) laboratory, have developed miniature robotic quadrotors that can grasp and lift almost any object and fly it to where it is needed. Now the team has developed a system of building structures in which the human only needs to select a design and an algorithm then controls the quadrotors to build the structure, working cooperatively as a team. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (PhysOrg.com) — Robotics researchers in the US that developed mini-helicopters or quadrotors have now demonstrated them working as a team to build quite complex structures such as towers or walls.
GAYSTARNEWS- eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… In a recent profile from Rolling Stone, the singer, who hails from Australia, spoke about meeting the current President of the United States.Three years ago in 2015, Sia was the musical guest on an episode of NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show SNL. Trump happened to be the host for that episode.While walking backstage at Studio 8H, Sia heard her name being called. When she turned around, there was Trump and his daughter, Ivanka.According to the profile, Trump asked for a photo but Sia ‘could imagine the outrage over a photo of her and Trump, arms around each other, plastering the Internet’.Terrified to hurt people’s feelings, she told him: ‘Actually, do you mind if we don’t? I have a lot of queer and Mexican fans, and I don’t want them to think that I support your views.’ Stormy Daniels judges stripper contest at London gay clubBette Midler accused of homophobia after Trump and Putin jokeTrump-backed Senate candidate has praised Russia’s gay propaganda lawRead the full article on Gaystarnews: :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/sia-refused-photo-trump-queer-mexican-fans/ The singer further said Trump took it well and didn’t seem angry or hurt.‘It was as if he viewed me as protecting my brand,’ she said. ‘He respected that.’Sia has long supported LGBTI rights and a significant portion of her fans identify as queer.In 2016, she released a new single and music video dedicated to the Pulse nightclub shooting. At the end, there was a simple message: #WeAreYourChildren.More from Gay Star NewsIvanka Trump poses with pastor who thinks same-sex marriage is ‘demonic’Troye Sivan wants to make unapologetic ‘music for queer people’Lady Gaga lullaby covers album to be released next monthGot a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . She often keeps her face covered during performances | Photo: Flickr/Scott Murry Sia revealed that when she met Donald Trump on the set of Saturday Night Live, she refused to take a photo with him.
Cancun, Q.R. — Mexico’s president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, landed in Cancun Thursday for a day of private meetings and public announcements.Upon his landing at the Cancun International Airport, López Obrador was met by state governor Carlos Joaquín, with whom he had private meetings on topics of upcoming projects including the promotion of national tourism.At mid-afternoon, the president-elect made himself available in the city’s Las Palapas Park where he addressed the local people. “The transformation has already begun,” he said before a large crowd.He thanked the people for receiving him with such warmth, noting the state is recognized for receiving people from all over the country who are in search of better opportunities. He reaffirmed his promise that states in the south and southeast will experience economic growth.Andrés Manuel López Obrador also affirmed that his government intends to ensure confidence with investors.Before the crowd, he stressed that it’s not only public investments that are necessary, but also private resources, which provide the confidence and stability necessary for investment, employment, well-being and growth.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
For Schawinski, the key question is how much information about stellar and galactic processes could be teased out of the data alone. “Let’s erase everything we know about astrophysics,” he said. “To what degree could we rediscover that knowledge, just using the data itself?”First, the galaxy images were reduced to their latent space; then, Schawinski could tweak one element of that space in a way that corresponded to a particular change in the galaxy’s environment—the density of its surroundings, for example. Then he could re-generate the galaxy and see what differences turned up. “So now I have a hypothesis-generation machine,” he explained. “I can take a whole bunch of galaxies that are originally in a low-density environment and make them look like they’re in a high-density environment, by this process.” Schawinski, Turp and Zhang saw that, as galaxies go from low- to high-density environments, they become redder in color, and their stars become more centrally concentrated. This matches existing observations about galaxies, Schawinski said. The question is why this is so.The next step, Schawinski says, has not yet been automated: “I have to come in as a human, and say, ‘OK, what kind of physics could explain this effect?’” For the process in question, there are two plausible explanations: Perhaps galaxies become redder in high-density environments because they contain more dust, or perhaps they become redder because of a decline in star formation (in other words, their stars tend to be older). With a generative model, both ideas can be put to the test: Elements in the latent space related to dustiness and star formation rates are changed to see how this affects galaxies’ color. “And the answer is clear,” Schawinski said. Redder galaxies are “where the star formation had dropped, not the ones where the dust changed. So we should favor that explanation.”Using generative modeling, astrophysicists could investigate how galaxies change when they go from low-density regions of the cosmos to high-density regions, and what physical processes are responsible for these changes.K. Schawinski et al.; doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833800The approach is related to traditional simulation, but with critical differences. A simulation is “essentially assumption-driven,” Schawinski said. “The approach is to say, ‘I think I know what the underlying physical laws are that give rise to everything that I see in the system.’ So I have a recipe for star formation, I have a recipe for how dark matter behaves, and so on. I put all of my hypotheses in there, and I let the simulation run. And then I ask: Does that look like reality?” What he’s done with generative modeling, he said, is “in some sense, exactly the opposite of a simulation. We don’t know anything; we don’t want to assume anything. We want the data itself to tell us what might be going on.” Of course, AI systems have mastered both of these games—chess, decades ago, and Go in 2016, when an AI system called AlphaGo defeated a top human player. They are similarly suited to problems in quantum physics, Melko says.The Mind of the MachineWhether Schawinski is right in claiming that he’s found a “third way” of doing science, or whether, as Hogg says, it’s merely traditional observation and data analysis “on steroids,” it’s clear AI is changing the flavor of scientific discovery, and it’s certainly accelerating it. How far will the AI revolution go in science?Occasionally, grand claims are made regarding the achievements of a “robo-scientist.” A decade ago, an AI robot chemist named Adam investigated the genome of baker’s yeast and worked out which genes are responsible for making certain amino acids. (Adam did this by observing strains of yeast that had certain genes missing, and comparing the results to the behavior of strains that had the genes.) Wired’s headline read, “Robot Makes Scientific Discovery All by Itself.”More recently, Lee Cronin, a chemist at the University of Glasgow, has been using a robot to randomly mix chemicals, to see what sorts of new compounds are formed. Monitoring the reactions in real-time with a mass spectrometer, a nuclear magnetic resonance machine, and an infrared spectrometer, the system eventually learned to predict which combinations would be the most reactive. Even if it doesn’t lead to further discoveries, Cronin has said, the robotic system could allow chemists to speed up their research by about 90 percent. None of these faces is real. The faces in the top row (A) and left-hand column (B) were constructed by a generative adversarial network (GAN) using building-block elements of real faces. The GAN then combined basic features of the faces in A, including their gender, age and face shape, with finer features of faces in B, such as hair color and eye color, to create all the faces in the rest of the grid.NVIDIAThe best-known generative modeling systems are “generative adversarial networks” (GANs). After adequate exposure to training data, a GAN can repair images that have damaged or missing pixels, or they can make blurry photographs sharp. They learn to infer the missing information by means of a competition (hence the term “adversarial”): One part of the network, known as the generator, generates fake data, while a second part, the discriminator, tries to distinguish fake data from real data. As the program runs, both halves get progressively better. You may have seen some of the hyper-realistic, GAN-produced “faces” that have circulated recently — images of “freakishly realistic people who don’t actually exist,” as one headline put it.More broadly, generative modeling takes sets of data (typically images, but not always) and breaks each of them down into a set of basic, abstract building blocks — scientists refer to this as the data’s “latent space.” The algorithm manipulates elements of the latent space to see how this affects the original data, and this helps uncover physical processes that are at work in the system.The idea of a latent space is abstract and hard to visualize, but as a rough analogy, think of what your brain might be doing when you try to determine the gender of a human face. Perhaps you notice hairstyle, nose shape, and so on, as well as patterns you can’t easily put into words. The computer program is similarly looking for salient features among data: Though it has no idea what a mustache is or what gender is, if it’s been trained on data sets in which some images are tagged “man” or “woman,” and in which some have a “mustache” tag, it will quickly deduce a connection.Kevin Schawinski, an astrophysicist who runs an AI company called Modulos, argues that a technique called generative modeling offers a third way of learning about the universe.Der BeobachterIn a paper published in December in Astronomy & Astrophysics, Schawinski and his ETH Zurich colleagues Dennis Turp and Ce Zhang used generative modeling to investigate the physical changes that galaxies undergo as they evolve. (The software they used treats the latent space somewhat differently from the way a generative adversarial network treats it, so it is not technically a GAN, though similar.) Their model created artificial data sets as a way of testing hypotheses about physical processes. They asked, for instance, how the “quenching” of star formation—a sharp reduction in formation rates—is related to the increasing density of a galaxy’s environment. Polsterer sees these new AI-based systems as “hardworking assistants” that can comb through data for hours on end without getting bored or complaining about the working conditions. These systems can do all the tedious grunt work, he said, leaving you “to do the cool, interesting science on your own.” Like many AI researchers, Nord is also concerned about the impenetrability of results produced by neural networks; often, a system delivers an answer without offering a clear picture of how that result was obtained.Yet not everyone feels that a lack of transparency is necessarily a problem. Lenka Zdeborová, a researcher at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at CEA Saclay in France, points out that human intuitions are often equally impenetrable. You look at a photograph and instantly recognize a cat—“but you don’t know how you know,” she said. “Your own brain is in some sense a black box.”It’s not only astrophysicists and cosmologists who are migrating toward AI-fueled, data-driven science. Quantum physicists like Roger Melko of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo in Ontario have used neural networks to solve some of the toughest and most important problems in that field, such as how to represent the mathematical “wave function” describing a many-particle system. AI is essential because of what Melko calls “the exponential curse of dimensionality.” That is, the possibilities for the form of a wave function grow exponentially with the number of particles in the system it describes. The difficulty is similar to trying to work out the best move in a game like chess or Go: You try to peer ahead to the next move, imagining what your opponent will play, and then choose the best response, but with each move, the number of possibilities proliferates. But they’re not perfect. In particular, Polsterer cautions, the algorithms can only do what they’ve been trained to do. The system is “agnostic” regarding the input. Give it a galaxy, and the software can estimate its redshift and its age — but feed that same system a selfie, or a picture of a rotting fish, and it will output a (very wrong) age for that, too. In the end, oversight by a human scientist remains essential, he said. “It comes back to you, the researcher. You’re the one in charge of doing the interpretation.”For his part, Nord, at Fermilab, cautions that it’s crucial that neural networks deliver not only results, but also error bars to go along with them, as every undergraduate is trained to do. In science, if you make a measurement and don’t report an estimate of the associated error, no one will take the results seriously, he said. No human, or team of humans, could possibly keep up with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s physics and astronomy experiments. Some of them record terabytes of data every day—and the torrent is only increasing. The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope slated to switch on in the mid-2020s, will generate about as much data traffic each year as the entire internet.The deluge has many scientists turning to artificial intelligence for help. With minimal human input, AI systems such as artificial neural networks—computer-simulated networks of neurons that mimic the function of brains—can plow through mountains of data, highlighting anomalies and detecting patterns that humans could never have spotted.Of course, the use of computers to aid in scientific research goes back about 75 years, and the method of manually poring over data in search of meaningful patterns originated millennia earlier. But some scientists are arguing that the latest techniques in machine learning and AI represent a fundamentally new way of doing science. One such approach, known as generative modeling, can help identify the most plausible theory among competing explanations for observational data, based solely on the data, and, importantly, without any preprogrammed knowledge of what physical processes might be at work in the system under study. Proponents of generative modeling see it as novel enough to be considered a potential “third way” of learning about the universe.Traditionally, we’ve learned about nature through observation. Think of Johannes Kepler poring over Tycho Brahe’s tables of planetary positions and trying to discern the underlying pattern. (He eventually deduced that planets move in elliptical orbits.) Science has also advanced through simulation. An astronomer might model the movement of the Milky Way and its neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, and predict that they’ll collide in a few billion years. Both observation and simulation help scientists generate hypotheses that can then be tested with further observations. Generative modeling differs from both of these approaches.“It’s basically a third approach, between observation and simulation,” says Kevin Schawinski, an astrophysicist and one of generative modeling’s most enthusiastic proponents, who worked until recently at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). “It’s a different way to attack a problem.” Some scientists see generative modeling and other new techniques simply as power tools for doing traditional science. But most agree that AI is having an enormous impact, and that its role in science will only grow. Brian Nord, an astrophysicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory who uses artificial neural networks to study the cosmos, is among those who fear there’s nothing a human scientist does that will be impossible to automate. “It’s a bit of a chilling thought,” he said.Discovery by GenerationEver since graduate school, Schawinski has been making a name for himself in data-driven science. While working on his doctorate, he faced the task of classifying thousands of galaxies based on their appearance. Because no readily available software existed for the job, he decided to crowdsource it—and so the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project was born. Beginning in 2007, ordinary computer users helped astronomers by logging their best guesses as to which galaxy belonged in which category, with majority rule typically leading to correct classifications. The project was a success, but, as Schawinski notes, AI has made it obsolete: “Today, a talented scientist with a background in machine learning and access to cloud computing could do the whole thing in an afternoon.”Schawinski turned to the powerful new tool of generative modeling in 2016. Essentially, generative modeling asks how likely it is, given condition X, that you’ll observe outcome Y. The approach has proved incredibly potent and versatile. As an example, suppose you feed a generative model a set of images of human faces, with each face labeled with the person’s age. As the computer program combs through these “training data,” it begins to draw a connection between older faces and an increased likelihood of wrinkles. Eventually it can “age” any face that it’s given—that is, it can predict what physical changes a given face of any age is likely to undergo. The apparent success of generative modeling in a study like this obviously doesn’t mean that astronomers and graduate students have been made redundant—but it appears to represent a shift in the degree to which learning about astrophysical objects and processes can be achieved by an artificial system that has little more at its electronic fingertips than a vast pool of data. “It’s not fully automated science—but it demonstrates that we’re capable of at least in part building the tools that make the process of science automatic,” Schawinski said.Generative modeling is clearly powerful, but whether it truly represents a new approach to science is open to debate. For David Hogg, a cosmologist at New York University and the Flatiron Institute (which, like Quanta, is funded by the Simons Foundation), the technique is impressive but ultimately just a very sophisticated way of extracting patterns from data—which is what astronomers have been doing for centuries. In other words, it’s an advanced form of observation plus analysis. Hogg’s own work, like Schawinski’s, leans heavily on AI; he’s been using neural networks to classify stars according to their spectra and to infer other physical attributes of stars using data-driven models. But he sees his work, as well as Schawinski’s, as tried-and-true science. “I don’t think it’s a third way,” he said recently. “I just think we as a community are becoming far more sophisticated about how we use the data. In particular, we are getting much better at comparing data to data. But in my view, my work is still squarely in the observational mode.”Hardworking AssistantsWhether they’re conceptually novel or not, it’s clear that AI and neural networks have come to play a critical role in contemporary astronomy and physics research. At the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, the physicist Kai Polsterer heads the astroinformatics group — a team of researchers focused on new, data-centered methods of doing astrophysics. Recently, they’ve been using a machine-learning algorithm to extract redshift information from galaxy data sets, a previously arduous task. Last year, another team of scientists at ETH Zurich used neural networks to deduce physical laws from sets of data. Their system, a sort of robo-Kepler, rediscovered the heliocentric model of the solar system from records of the position of the sun and Mars in the sky, as seen from Earth, and figured out the law of conservation of momentum by observing colliding balls. Since physical laws can often be expressed in more than one way, the researchers wonder if the system might offer new ways—perhaps simpler ways—of thinking about known laws.These are all examples of AI kick-starting the process of scientific discovery, though in every case, we can debate just how revolutionary the new approach is. Perhaps most controversial is the question of how much information can be gleaned from data alone—a pressing question in the age of stupendously large (and growing) piles of it. In The Book of Why (2018), the computer scientist Judea Pearl and the science writer Dana Mackenzie assert that data are “profoundly dumb.” Questions about causality “can never be answered from data alone,” they write. “Anytime you see a paper or a study that analyzes the data in a model-free way, you can be certain that the output of the study will merely summarize, and perhaps transform, but not interpret the data.” Schawinski sympathizes with Pearl’s position, but he described the idea of working with “data alone” as “a bit of a straw man.” He’s never claimed to deduce cause and effect that way, he said. “I’m merely saying we can do more with data than we often conventionally do.”Another oft-heard argument is that science requires creativity, and that—at least so far—we have no idea how to program that into a machine. (Simply trying everything, like Cronin’s robo-chemist, doesn’t seem especially creative.) “Coming up with a theory, with reasoning, I think demands creativity,” Polsterer said. “Every time you need creativity, you will need a human.” And where does creativity come from? Polsterer suspects it is related to boredom—something that, he says, a machine cannot experience. “To be creative, you have to dislike being bored. And I don’t think a computer will ever feel bored.” On the other hand, words like “creative” and “inspired” have often been used to describe programs like Deep Blue and AlphaGo. And the struggle to describe what goes on inside the “mind” of a machine is mirrored by the difficulty we have in probing our own thought processes.Schawinski recently left academia for the private sector; he now runs a startup called Modulos which employs a number of ETH scientists and, according to its website, works “in the eye of the storm of developments in AI and machine learning.” Whatever obstacles may lie between current AI technology and full-fledged artificial minds, he and other experts feel that machines are poised to do more and more of the work of human scientists. Whether there is a limit remains to be seen.“Will it be possible, in the foreseeable future, to build a machine that can discover physics or mathematics that the brightest humans alive are not able to do on their own, using biological hardware?” Schawinski wonders. “Will the future of science eventually necessarily be driven by machines that operate on a level that we can never reach? I don’t know. It’s a good question.”Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences. More Great WIRED StoriesCracking the devilish aerodynamics of flying carsGolf balls and power drills—sliced in half with a water jetFacebook can make VR avatars move exactly like youI embraced screen time with my daughter—and I love itPeople want to know about algorithms—but not too much👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our latest buying guides and best deals all year round📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
Sgt Mofokeng gave chase and caught her in mid-escape. She was arrested and is set to appear in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court today (Monday) on charges of theft.DID YOU KNOW?Click on the words highlighted in red to read more on this and related topics.If you are reading this on your cellphone and there are telephone numbers provided in the text, you can call these simply by clicking on them.To receive news links via WhatsApp.For the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter why not join us there? Police arrested a 58-year-old woman for theft on Friday morning, thanks to an observant investigating officer.Sergeant Mofokeng from Ladysmith Detective Services was inside a local bank when he spotted a woman who resembled a suspect he had seen in video footage committing a crime last month.On March 8, the suspect and two others approached a woman and somehow managed to steal her bank card, after which they withdrew money from the account. The thieves then went to a liquor store in town, where they swiped the card and bought a large amount of liquor.The case was handed to Sgt Mofokeng to investigate and he immediately went to view video footage wherein the three suspects appeared.On Friday, due to his strong powers of observation, Sgt Mofokeng spotted one of the three suspects inside the bank. As he approached her, she suddenly fled outside. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite