Monthly Archives: July 2017

Patna: Newly appointed Animal Husbandry Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras on Monday said no new slaughter house will be opened in Bihar and that there will be a total ban on cow slaughter.

"No new slaughter houses will be opened and there will be a total ban on cow slaughter," Paras told media here, adding that his department would not issue any licenses to set up new slaughter houses in the state.

Paras, younger brother of Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, was inducted by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in his cabinet on Saturday.

Early this year, the then opposition BJP demanded that illegal slaughter houses across the state should be sealed like in Uttar Pradesh. 

According to officials, cow slaughter is banned in Bihar as per a 1955 law but it continues unabated because of a loophole that permits the killing of a cow, buffalo or bull that is more than 15 years old or diseased. 

In the 2015 Bihar assembly polls, BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah tried to play beef politics.




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New Delhi: Chinese troops transgressed almost a kilometre into Indian territory in Barahoti of Uttarakhand last week, even as a stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops is on in Doklam in the Sikkim sector.

While the Indian Army has refused to comment on the incident, an official said that transgressions occur due to different perceptions of the boundary.

According to sources, the transgression took place on July 25.

Both sides have reinforced troops and are maintaining positions along the border, with no sign of withdrawing soon.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament on July 20 that while China has been demanding that India withdraw its troops from Doklam for a dialogue to begin, India is for a simultaneous withdrawal by both sides.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was in Beijing to attend a BRICS security summit on July 27-28, when he held talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on bilateral issues.




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Sharad Yadav today broke his silence on party colleague Nitish Kumar's stunning political change-up last week and said he did not agree with the decision and "whatever happened is very unfortunate".

Speaking to reporters outside parliament, Mr Yadav also said: "The mandate by the people was not for this."

Nitish Kumar last week ended his two-year mahagatbandhan or grand alliance with Lalu Yadav and the Congress and revived a partnership with the BJP. The Chief Minister resigned, citing Lalu's son and his Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav's refusal to step down despite corruption charges.


While some Janata Dal (United) leaders have gone public with their resentment, Mr Yadav had communicated only with his meaningful silence and tweets critical of the ruling BJP.

Mr Yadav was reported to be upset about Nitish Kumar's move to dump Lalu Yadav and the Congress.

Critics have suggested that Mr Yadav was angling for a cabinet berth in the Modi government and his silence on Nitish Kumar is merely a negotiating tactic. But brushed if off by Lalu Yadav as "propaganda" and insisted that the 70-year-old "champion of social justice" was "angry" at Nitish Kumar's decision to ally with the BJP.




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Less than 48 hours after dumping Lalu Yadav and resetting his government with the BJP as alliance partner, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has cleared police action against the sand mafia.

Over the weekend about 30 people were arrested; they were mostly drivers and labourers involved in the sand business which contributes over a thousand crores to the state's revenue.

Sources say illegal mining of sand was one of the major conflict points between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav; several accused named in a recent police inquiry report were close to be  known to the chief of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
The question is whether the police will really act against the big fish.

A court-ordered investigation led by then Deputy Inspector General of Police Shalin clearly indicts several RJD politicians, including lawmakers Arun Yadav and Radhacharan Seth and another leader, Subash Yadav. All three are considered close to Lalu Yadav.

The police report submitted to the Patna High Court and based on just three days of spot inquiries in Patna, Bhojpur and Saran said:
*The area where mining was taking place was often 25 times what was permitted by the government.

*No environmental rules were being followed. In 2015 and 2016, no one applied for permission for any mining project from the state environment impact assessment authority.

*The local police, the mining officer and the local administration were complicit; they allegedly turned a blind eye to vehicles overloaded with sand and gravel. There was no machine to weigh - and therefore check - how much was being loaded onto trucks.

*The police report noted "severe environmental degradation". Labourers were also not given any safety kit.

Last week, Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief Minister and ended a two-year alliance with Lalu Yadav and the Congress, declaring that he simply couldn't continue anymore while ignoring corruption and that his conscience would not allow him to.

The BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi, who aggressively raised corruption charges against Lalu Yadav and his family and returned as Nitish Kumar's deputy for the third time on Friday, had raised sand mining allegations against the RJD.

Mr Modi had repeatedly alleged that the Nitish Kumar government was helpless against the sand mafia because of Lalu Yadav's patronage of the accused.



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The Congress on Monday said it was confident party leader Ahmed Patel will win the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat as it had 14 more votes than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"Ahmed Patel will win the election. We have 14-15 votes more than the BJP," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, told reporters.

Yet "the BJP is saying it will win the election. It means they are planning foul play. They are trying to steal votes".

The Congress has accused the BJP of trying to bribe its MLAs so that they vote against the Congress in the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat.

Rattled by the resignation of half-a-dozen of its legislators in Gujarat ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha election, the Congress on Saturday approached the Election Commission and demanded a high-level probe into alleged poaching of MLAs by the BJP.

The Congress said three MLAs - Punabhai Gamit (Vyara), Mangalbhai Gamit (Dang) and Ishwarbhai Patel (Dharampur) - were approached by "the BJP and its agents to defect in consideration of monetary allurements".

The Congress on Saturday flew 44 of its remaining 51 MLAs in the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly to Bengaluru.




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Days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that artificial intelligence (AI) was the biggest risk, Facebook has shut down one of its AI systems after chatbots started speaking in their own language defying the codes provided.

According to a report in Tech Times on Sunday, the social media giant had to pull the plug on the AI system that its researchers were working on "because things got out of hand". 

"The AI did not start shutting down computers worldwide or something of the sort, but it stopped using English and started using a language that it created," the report noted.

Initially the AI agents used English to converse with each other but they later created a new language that only AI systems could understand, thus, defying their purpose.

This led Facebook researchers to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English.

In June, researchers from the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that while they were busy trying to improve chatbots, the "dialogue agents" were creating their own language.

Soon, the bots began to deviate from the scripted norms and started communicating in an entirely new language which they created without human input, media reports said.

Using machine learning algorithms, the "dialogue agents" were left to converse freely in an attempt to strengthen their conversational skills.

The researchers also found these bots to be "incredibly crafty negotiators".

"After learning to negotiate, the bots relied on machine learning and advanced strategies in an attempt to improve the outcome of these negotiations," the report said.

"Over time, the bots became quite skilled at it and even began feigning interest in one item in order to 'sacrifice' it at a later stage in the negotiation as a faux compromise," it added.

Although this appears to be a huge leap for AI, several experts including Professor Stephen Hawking have raised fears that humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, could be superseded by AI.

Others like Tesla's Elon Musk, philanthropist Bill Gates and ex-Apple founder Steve Wozniak have also expressed their concerns about where the AI technology was heading.

Interestingly, this incident took place just days after a verbal spat between Facebook CEO and Musk who exchanged harsh words over a debate on the future of AI.

"I've talked to Mark about this (AI). His understanding of the subject is limited," Musk tweeted last week. 

The tweet came after Zuckerberg, during a Facebook livestream earlier this month, castigated Musk for arguing that care and regulation was needed to safeguard the future if AI becomes mainstream.

"I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios -- I just, I don't understand it. It's really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible," Zuckerberg said.

Musk has been speaking frequently on AI and has called its progress the "biggest risk we face as a civilisation".

"AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive because if we're reactive in AI regulation it's too late," he said.




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Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge attacked the government in the Lok Sabha today over rising incidents of mob violence, accusing it of "indirectly encouraging" cow vigilantism. He demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi explain his government's stand on mob attacks in Parliament. 

"This is Hindustan, let it be Hindustan...don't make it Lynchistan," said Mr Kharge , who initiated a discussion on mob violence in the lower house of Parliament said, "I don't say they are directly doing this, but the government is indirectly encouraging organisations linked to the BJP like the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and also Gau Rakshaks (Cow Vigilantes)."

He singled out Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, calling them "mob lynching centres" as he listed recent attacks by cow vigilantes on people they have accused of carrying beef or smuggling cattle.
Mr Kharge was interrupted by the BJP's Nishikant Dubey, who said that the cases he had mentioned are in court and so cannot be discussed. Mr Kharge responded by asking Mr Dubey how many cases were registered against cow vigilantes and how many people have been arrested.

"On one hand you disown these people, but what action is being taken against them?" asked the Congress' leader in the Lok Sabha. 


The BJP's HN Yadav said PM Modi has publicly condemned mob attacks several times. "It becomes the responsibility of state governments to follow his instructions," he said. 

Ahead of the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, the Prime Minister had at an all-party meeting asked state governments to take strict action against those who attack people in the name of cow protection and had urged opposition parties to help the government "in fighting corruption and the issue of communal violence in the name of cow protection."

He said to many Hindus the cow is like a mother, but said that this should not let people take law in their hands and that every state government should act against those who violate the law. 

The Congress is leading a bloc of more than 15 opposition parties have decided to unitedly take on the government in the current session of Parliament on various issues including mob attacks in the name of cow protection. 



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In flat two hours, The Indian Railways is going full steam to achieve the target of covering the 245-km long Delhi-Chandigarh distance. Despite from many curves on the proposed semi-high speed route.

One of the busiest routes in north India, The Delhi-Chandigarh corridor, is slated to be first semi-high speed project being taken up by the state-owned transporter to run trains at  200 kmph maximum speeds with French help.

For land acquisition the public transporter will not go, required for straightening up several curves on the Delhi-Chandigarh semi-high speed corridor and instead opt for slowing down while negotiating the track, according to the railways.

To straighten up these curves to facilitate uninterrupted speed on the semi-high speed route this was the earlier plan, said a senior Railway ministry official involved with the semi-high speed project.

SNCF, the French railways, has been assigned the task of submitting the execution strategy and implementation model with detailed cost of the semi-high speed project involving upgradation of the Chandigarh route.

The final report will be submit by the French team with details of cost analysis and technical parameter by October.

As per the rough estimate, it is likely to cost over Rs. 10,000 crore with about Rs. 46 crore per kilometre for running trains at 200 kmh, which includes rolling stock and signal and track upgradation on the Chandigarh corridor.
About 245 km distance covers by Shatabdi Express in about three hours and 30 minutes travelling at a maximum speed of 110 kmh. 





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Mubarakan, has managed to collect about Rs. 7.38 crore on its very second day, reported trade analyst Taran Adarsh. On its opening day, the film received a lukewarm response and earned a total of Rs. 5.25 crore. Taran Adarsh tweeted. Mubarakan has been directed by Anees Bazmee. In the movie Mubarakan, Arjun Kapoor plays the double role and features as Karan and Charan Singh. Anil Kapoor portrays the role of his onscreen uncle Kartar Singh. See Mr Adarsh's tweet here:


Anees Bazmee the director of the movie thanked everyone on social media for appreciating his film, today. "Lots of Love to the audiences, for giving so much love to #Mubarakan. Are yaar aap logon ke liye hi too banai hai, sah Parivaar maza karo, he wrote.



Mubarakan marks Anil Kapoor's fifth collaboration with director Anees Bazmee. They have previously worked together in films like WelcomeWelcome BackNo Entry and No Problem.
Mubarakan starring Anil Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Ileana D'Cruz and Athiya Shetty.

Mubarakan clashed at the box office with Madhur Bhandarkar's Indu Sarkar, starring Kirti Kulhari and Neil Nitin Mukesh.




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