Cyberattackers Kick Down a Few Parliament Email Doors

first_imgJohn P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. This attack on Parliament’s email network is an outcome of a continual lack of investment by government in security strategies that have become standard operating procedure in the private sector, maintained Spencer Young, regional vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Imperva.”This attack was unfortunately just a matter of time,” he told TechNewsWorld.The cyberattack on the UK’s Parliament raises the specter of a possible attack on the U.S. Congress.Since, like Parliament, Congress is comprised of a group of humans — and members of both groups likely have bad password habits — this type of attack easily could hit the U.S. as well, suggested Jonathan Sander, CTO of Stealthbits Technologies.”This attack is like a break-in targeting a house in a wealthy neighborhood where the bad guys expect that there is something worth stealing inside,” he told TechNewsWorld.”You can easily see that the UK Parliament is only one house on that block,” Sander continued, “and the U.S. Congress may as well be right across the street.”Even with good security hygiene, any institution is vulnerable to determined attackers.The attack on Parliament was very simple compared to something like the Russia-backed theft of the emails of John Podesta, former chairman of the 2016 presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton. The Podesta theft included a targeted phishing campaign and a domain scheme to capture information.”If the Chinese can hack the F-35, the Russians can hack Capitol Hill, which is a much softer target,” said Kenneth Geers, a senior research scientist at Comodo.”Cybersecurity is more Sun Tzu than Stalingrad,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and politicians are easier prey than soldiers.” The attack on its networks doesn’t appear to have been very sophisticated, based on the information Parliament has released so far.”They used a brute force attack to find users on the system with weak passwords,” said Asaf Cidon, vice president for content security services at Barracuda Networks.”Any teenager who knows how to download a script from the Web could do this. It’s one of the most classic attacks in the book,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The Parliament attack was like going door to door and trying doorknobs until you find an open door,” notedLastline CTO Giovanni Vigna.As organizations have moved to cloud email and collaboration platforms, attackers have adapted their tradecraft away from targeting networks to targeting people and their credentials, explained Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint.”As we’ve seen in prior attacks on governments and politicians,” he told TechNewsWorld, “few things are as valuable as a compromised email account.” Congress Next? Child’s Playcenter_img A Preventable Attack The United Kingdom’s Parliament on Monday reported a cyberattack on its email system over the weekend, when hackers attempted to access user accounts without authorization.Due to the “robust measures” in place to protect the legislative body’s accounts and networks, fewer than 1 percent of the 9,000 accounts on the network were compromised, officials said in a statement.Accounts that were compromised had weak passwords that did not conform to guidance on creating strong passwords from the Parliamentary Digital Service, according to the statement.Individuals with compromised accounts have been notified and investigators are determining if the victims lost any data.It’s unlikely that any data that might have been lost would have included any information gems.”Big secrets are usually shared through unofficial email accounts,” said Csaba Krasznay, a product evangelist with Balabit.”An attack against some Gmail accounts promises much bigger gain,” he told TechNewsWorld. One way to foil attacks like the one on Parliament is to deploy two-factor authentication. That method requires something in addition to a user name and password to get into an account — typically a six-digit number sent to a mobile phone in a text message.”I am surprised Parliament isn’t using two-factor authentication, which is something that would have removed the problem even in the case of weak passwords,” Lastline’s Vigna told TechNewsWorld.”That’s because in order to compromise your email account, they also have to compromise your phone, which raises the bar considerably,” he explained.Although Parliament has guidance in place for stronger passwords, requiring strong passwords would be more effective, Barracuda’s Cidon pointed out.”You can have your email system reject a password automatically if it’s not strong enough,” he said.”There really is no excuse for not enforcing a policy for ensuring that passwords are of a minimum length and complexity to help prevent a brute-force attack like this, especially for a communications system that contains highly sensitive data,” observed Patrick Tiquet, director of security and architecture at Keeper Security.”Any email system that does not enforce strong passwords or enforce multifactor authentication is vulnerable to this kind of attack,” he told TechNewsWorld.last_img read more

Trio of New iPhones Expected in September

first_imgThe new iPhone’s dual app feature didn’t score any points with Nguyen.”I assume it’s like the dual-screen functionality seen on Samsung and other devices,” he said. “I’ve had access to this for years, but I haven’t found it that compelling. I never use it.”Apple also is expected to release an upgrade of the current 5.8-inch iPhone X, with improvements in the processor and camera.”Camera performance and quality is increasingly an issue that users care about,” said Charles King, a Hayward, California-based principal analyst with Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm.”If Apple can deliver the goods there, it stands a chance of getting more consumers on board with higher-priced handsets,” he told TechNewsWorld. “That said, I don’t see any game-changing improvements that would budge the needle much in terms of Apple’s overall share. ” Whopping 6.5-Inch OLED Just Another ‘S’ Year John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. Expanding technology introduced in the iPhone X across the product line could prove to be popular with consumers.”There were a good number of consumers who were compelled by the X design, but were unable to get it at its price point,” Gartner’s Nguyen said. “With the design cascading through the line, it’ll become accessible for everyone considering replacing their iPhone.”However, the pricing on the OLED iPhones isn’t likely to budge, with the 5.8-inch model likely to sell at US$999 and the 6.5 model likely to sell for even more.”It’s important to remember that most consumers today are buying their phones on installments,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology advisory firm.”You’re paying more per month for a thousand dollar phone, but it’s a small jump per month,” he told TechNewsWorld. At the high end of the three iPhone models Bloomberg described will be a model with an edge-to-edge, 6.5-inch OLED display (measured diagonally), which would make it one of the largest phones on the market. Last year’s iPhone X was Apple’s first model with the high-quality screen, which has been in some competitors’ products for some time.The high-end model will have design features introduced in the iPhone X — a glass back with stainless steel edges and dual cameras on the back — and support viewing of app content side-by-side on the large display.”I think the larger screen will be a big draw,” said Tuong Nguyen, a senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut.”Apple has been traditionally lagging in terms of having large-screen offerings equivalent to what’s offered by competitors,” he told TechNewsWorld.”I look at what happened with the 6 Plus as an indicator of demand for larger screens,” he continued. “Apple saw a big jump in market share with that introduction.” Bringing Back Colorcenter_img Attraction of X Technology The third iPhone model expected to be introduced is a so-called budget model. It will have a 6.1-inch LCD display — not state of the art OLED — and aluminum edges instead of stainless steel. It will be offered in a variety of colors.The colors of the aluminum edges won’t necessarily be the same color as the glass back of the phone. Apple experimented with colors in 2013 with the iPhone 5c. The all plastic phone wasn’t embraced with open arms by the market — something Apple hopes to change this time around by using metal and glass construction on its budget model.”While the 5c did OK in a few markets, the company didn’t see fit to repeat the experiment until now,” King noted. “Unless Apple has come up with significantly new finishes, I doubt that most consumers will be impressed.”Business Insider reported the budget model could sell for $550-$650.As with the original iPhone X, the home button on the new phones will be replaced with a gesture-based control system. In addition, the new models all will use Face ID to unlock the phones.The two OLED phones may contain dual SIM slots, at least for some regions. The feature will make it easier to switch between carriers when country hopping. Upgrading iPhone X Apple will release three new iPhones in September, according to Bloomberg — the latest media outlet to publish information from unnamed knowledgeable sources about the company’s plans.Although all the phones will have edge-to-edge displays, like the iPhone X, only two will have OLED screens, Bloomberg reported Monday.Some Apple insiders have been referring to 2018 as an “S” year, it said. That’s a reference to a year when most of the significant changes affect the inside rather than the outside of the iPhone.The new iPhone lineup marks a change in strategy for Apple, Bloomberg suggested. Instead of seeking to add users, Apple apparently plans to slowly increase the average prices of its phones and boost income from accessory and digital services sales.”It is highly likely they will do three new phones,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology advisory firm in Campbell, California.”They need new models with new features and new price points in order to keep growing the iPhone business,” he told TechNewsWorld. From everything that’s been reported so far about the new iPhones, King noted, the changes are typical of an “S” year cycle.”Basically, Apple is making upgrades in performance and camera functions to entice users to buy into its higher pricing schema,” he said. “The rumored LCD-based phones follow past company efforts to attract price-sensitive customers and markets to the Apple brand.”The new iPhone configuration will present Apple with a problem it hasn’t faced since the iPhone X: coming up with appropriate names for the phones.Having a smaller phone — the 5.8-inch OLED model — sell at a higher price than the larger LCD model may be confusing to consumers, the Bloomberg article suggested.During development, the names for the phones reportedly have changed multiple times.Whatever names Apple gives the phones and whatever the final products look like, chances are good they will be hits.”Given consumer response in the past and their willingness to trust Apple’s design decisions,” Creative Strategies’ Bajarin observed, “I expect whatever Apple brings out will be highly successful.”last_img read more

Newer vaccine far more successful in preventing shingles systematic review reveals

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 26 2018A systematic review of clinical studies involving more than two million patients aged 50 years and older suggests a recently released shingles vaccine was far more successful in preventing the painful condition compared to the older vaccine – but also carried greater risk of side-effects.The research was published Thursday by The BMJ.The adjuvant, recombinant subunit vaccine – sold under the brand name Shingrix – was found to be 85 per cent more effective in reducing cases of shingles, also known as herpes zoster, compared to Zostavax, which is a live-attenuated shingles vaccine available for use in Canada since 2006.Related StoriesMore effective flu vaccine begins clinical trials across the U.S.Vaccine drama on display in California’s CapitolScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachThe use of Shingrix did lead to 30 per cent more injection-site adverse events, such as redness or swelling. No statistically significant differences were identified between the two vaccines for serious adverse events and deaths.”There haven’t been any head-to-head studies comparing the two shingles vaccines, so the results from our systematic review can be employed by policy-makers, clinicians, and patients to make their decisions on the use of these vaccines,” said Dr. Andrea Tricco, a scientist with St. Michael’s Hospital’s Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.”If you have to choose between two vaccines and you have evidence showing that one of the vaccines is a little more effective, or a little safer than the other, then you might be more willing to take the safer and more effective one.”Shingles is a viral infection that occurs through reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus, which causes chickenpox.About one in four people will develop shingles in their lifetime and about two-thirds get it after the age of 50. Source: read more

Billions in questionable payments went to Californias Medicaid insurers and providers

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 1 2018California’s Medicaid program made at least $4 billion in questionable payments to health insurers and medical providers over a four-year period because as many as 453,000 people were ineligible for the public benefits, according to a state audit released Tuesday.In one case, the state paid a managed-care plan $383,635 to care for a person in Los Angeles County who had been dead for more than four years, according to California State Auditor Elaine Howle.She said she found “pervasive discrepancies” in Medicaid enrollment in which state and county records didn’t match up from 2014 to 2017, leading to other errors that persisted for years. The bulk of the questionable payments, or $3 billion, went to health plans that contract with the state to care for 80 percent of enrollees in California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal.The program for low-income residents is the nation’s largest and funded by both the federal and state governments. The state findings echo similar problems cited by federal officials and come at a time when the Trump administration has applied extra scrutiny to California’s spending on Medicaid.In the report, the state auditor said it’s critical for the state to have accurate information on eligibility “because it pays managed care plans a monthly premium for an increasing number of Medi-Cal beneficiaries regardless of whether beneficiaries receive services.”California paid a managed-care plan $383,635 to care for a person in Los Angeles County who had been dead for more than four years.California’s Medicaid program has 13.2 million enrollees, covering about 1 in 3 residents. It has an annual budget of $107 billion, counting federal and state funds. Nearly 11 million of those enrollees are in managed care plans, in which insurers are paid a monthly fee per enrollee to coordinate care.The state’s Medicaid enrollment soared by more than 50 percent since 2013 due to the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid. Enrollment grew from 8.6 million in December 2013 to more than 13 million in December 2017, according to the audit report.In the case of the dead patient, a family member had notified the county of the enrollee’s death in April 2014. However, the person’s name remained active in the state system, and California officials assigned the patient to a managed-care plan in November of that year.From then on, the state kept making monthly payments of about $8,300 to the health plan until August 2018, shortly after the auditor alerted officials of the error. Auditors didn’t identify the health plan.There also were costly mistakes in cases in which Medi-Cal pays doctors and hospitals directly for patient care – a program known as “fee for service.”For instance, the state auditor found that Medi-Cal paid roughly $1 million in claims for a female patient in Los Angeles County from June 2016 to December 2017 even though the county office had determined in 2016 that she was ineligible.In a written response to the auditor, the California Department of Health Care Services said it agreed with the findings and vowed to implement the auditor’s recommendations. However, the agency warned it may not meet the auditor’s timeline, which called for the main problems to be addressed by June 2019.Related StoriesExperts release scientific statement on predicting survival for cardiac arrest survivorsGender inequality bad for everyone’s health finds researchFainting during pregnancy could be more serious than earlier believed finds studyIn a statement to California Healthline, the agency said it is implementing a quality control process and “where appropriate, DHCS will recover erroneous payments.”Early on in 2014, as the ACA rolled out, the state struggled to clear a massive backlog of Medi-Cal applications, which reached about 900,000 at one point. There were widespread computer glitches and consumer complaints amid the increased workload at the county and state level.In addition to questionable payments for care of ineligible enrollees, Howle and her audit team also discovered some patients who may have been denied benefits improperly. The state auditor identified more than 54,000 people who were deemed eligible by county officials but were not enrolled at the state level. As a result, those people may have had trouble getting medical care.In February, a federal watchdog estimated that California had signed up 450,000 people under Medicaid expansion who may not have been eligible for coverage.The inspector general at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said California made $1.15 billion in questionable payments during the six-month period it reviewed, from Oct. 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015.In August, Seema Verma, administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a U.S. Senate committee that she was closely tracking California to ensure the state “returns a significant amount of funding owed to the federal government related to the state’s Medicaid expansion.”Verma expressed concern that states had overpaid managed-care plans during the initial years of Medicaid expansion, resulting in “significant profits for insurance companies.” By year’s end, she said she expects the federal government to recoup about $9.5 billion from California’s Medicaid program, covering overpayments from 2014 to 2016.Tony Cava, a spokesman for Medi-Cal, said the state has already returned about $6.9 billion to the federal government and expects more than $2 billion more to be sent back by December.This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation. This article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Researchers discover early biomarker for degenerative neurologic disease

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 24 2019Researchers have discovered a novel radioligand that can effectively differentiate progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) from similar brain disorders, allowing for earlier and more reliable diagnosis of the disease. Presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s 2019 Annual Meeting, these findings bring physicians a step closer to being able to definitively diagnose PSP with imaging rather than waiting for confirmation upon autopsy.PSP is a rare brain disorder characterized by loss of balance, blurred vision and uncontrolled eye movement, slurred speech, cognitive decline and mood changes. The disease worsens over time, and there is no cure. Often, PSP symptoms are similar to Parkinson’s disease and dementia, making it hard to diagnose. Related StoriesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyHarnessing target of the brain chemical serotonin to combat obesityProtein found in the eye can protect against diabetic retinopathyIn the study, researchers utilized a novel second-generation radioligand, 18F-PI-2620, to evaluate patients with suspected tau pathology in clinically diagnosed PSP. Seventeen patients with probable or possible PSP underwent 18F-PI-2620 positron emission tomography (PET) imaging at four different health care centers, along with 10 healthy control patients and seven disease control patients who had multi-system atrophy, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Standardized uptake value (SUV) ratios of 18F-PI-2620 in predetermined brain areas were obtained and compared between the PSP, healthy control and disease control patients. In addition, disease severity, measured by the PSP rating scale, was correlated with PET findings.A significantly elevated mean 18F-PI-2620 SUV ratio was found in the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra areas of the brain in the PSP patients as compared to the healthy control group. In contrast, the disease control group showed similar or only slightly elevated SUV ratios when compared to the healthy control group. Furthermore, results showed that even patients with low disease severity already had significantly elevated 18F-PI-2620 uptake in the globus pallidus when compared to the healthy control group.”My colleagues and I were able to detect an elevated signal in the majority of evaluated PSP patients and could clearly discriminate the PSP group from healthy controls and disease controls,” noted Brendel. “Importantly, PSP patients at early disease stages also revealed an elevated PI-2620 signal, which points at the suitability of this ligand as an early PSP biomarker. Detection of tau in PSP patients by PI-2620 could play a role in future anti-tau trials for this disease, and molecular imaging could serve to select the right patients for targeted therapies.” Source:Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Currently, PSP can only be definitively diagnosed post-mortem by examining region-specific tau deposits in the brain. Future interventional trials targeting tau in PSP would strongly benefit from biomarkers to validate the specific presence of the tau deposits and to monitor treatment response during therapy.”Matthias Brendel, MD, MHBA, at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich in Germanylast_img read more

Diagnostic tool helps engineers to design better global infrastructure solutions

first_img More information: “Contextual engineering assessment using an influence- identification tool” Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 2018. A new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign uses comprehensive questionnaires and a computer algorithm to provide guidance to engineers working with cultures different from their own. Published in the Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, it details techniques for incorporating the influences of local politics, economics, culture, education and technology into engineering design for a community’s infrastructure needs.”There can be a tendency for engineers, myself included, to believe in a one-size-fits-all solution and that if we just find that silver bullet, everything will be better,” said Ann-Perry Witmer, the study’s author and an agricultural and biological engineering researcher. “I am learning that the real silver bullet is recognizing that there is no silver bullet.”As a former consulting engineer, Witmer said she is well versed in the nuances of working with clients from familiar places. However, things changed after she started volunteering her services to international communities in need.”After volunteering in places like Guatemala, I came to realize that everything I knew no longer applied,” Witmer said. “The people are different, their lifestyle, culture, language—everything.”The best, most technologically advanced infrastructure can fail if engineers ignore the character of a community, Witmer said.”There are cases where village residents have destroyed infrastructure that foreign engineering firms have built because they don’t fall in line with local values,” Witmer said. “In one village, women broke a newly constructed well put in to prevent them from having to travel six hours round trip for water. What the engineers failed to realize is that the women valued the social benefits of that six-hour trip, and having that new well in place took that cherished time away from them.”To combat these types of missteps, Witmer developed a 41-item checklist of observations for engineers who travel internationally to work with communities in unfamiliar societies. The items focus on topics far beyond the physical measurements engineers are accustomed to and direct their attention to a variety of societal influences.”Many engineers are puzzled as to why knowing something like the average age of a given community’s residents is important,” Witmer said. “However, they start to realize that even thinking about these factors significantly advances their understanding of a community.”The conditions addressed by the checklist fall into five categories of influence—politics, economics, culture, education and technology—and the diagnostic tool ranks the relative importance of each by evaluating the way engineers score the conditions. Witmer’s computer algorithm assesses the checklist scores to assign a relative value to each influence, and then recommends design approaches that conform to a community’s dominant influences.”For example, if a village resident is wearing Indigenous clothing, that will score highly as a value related to culture,” Witmer said. “But it may also be related to education or economic values, just less significantly, prompting a lower score. The algorithm weights portions of each of the influences and gives us an overall score. If we find that culture is highly valued within a given community, we had better make sure that whatever we build with them respects culture. Otherwise, whatever is built may be destroyed once we leave.”Witmer and others have worked with her new tool approximately 20 times in locations on four continents; she said users have found it to be remarkably effective in guiding engineers toward producing successful infrastructure designs. So much so, Engineers without Borders U.S.A is now offering this diagnostic tool to its participants. In the future, Witmer envisions this tool being helpful in shoring up some of the technological disparities between rural and urban areas in the U.S. Designing safe bridges and water systems for low-income communities is not always easy for engineers coming from highly industrialized places. A new discipline called contextual engineering helps engineers think beyond personal values, expectations and definitions of project success when tackling global infrastructure problems. Explore further Anatomist is fleshing out dinosaur heads, reaching people about science University of Illinois engineering researcher Ann-Perry Witmer has developed a new computer algorithm that helps engineers who work internationally incorporate the influences of local values into their infrastructure designs. Credit: L. Brian Stauffer Provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Citation: Diagnostic tool helps engineers to design better global infrastructure solutions (2018, November 15) retrieved 17 July 2019 from 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.last_img read more

EU reaches provisional deal on online copyright reform

first_imgThe European Union reached a provisional deal Wednesday to overhaul the bloc’s online copyright law, a top official said, after a tense battle that has pitted media firms against internet giants like Google. News media lobbies Merkel, Macron on copyright reform The European Parliament and the European Council, which represents the 28 member states, struck the agreement after three days of intense negotiations led by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.”Agreement reached on #copyright! Europeans will finally have modern copyright rules fit for digital age with real benefits for everyone: guaranteed rights for users, fair remuneration for creators, clarity of rules for platforms,” European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip tweeted.He said the rules would give people “more possibilities to use and access copyrighted material with full legal certainty. Freedom of expression is guaranteed, and users will have the power to swiftly contest any unjustified removal of their content by platform.”EU Parliament president Antonio Tajani added on Twitter that “the agreement just reached on the #copyright directive protects European creativity. “Musicians, actors, writers, journalists, audiovisual, will be entitled to fair remuneration from web giants too.”The deal must still be formally approved by the European Council and European lawmakers ahead of European parliamentary elections in May.The commission proposed reforms in September 2016 designed to modernise copyright for the digital age, sparking a major debate between member states.Under the deal, online platforms will be required to pay “neighbouring rights” fees to media for links to, and short excerpts of, news stories.News organisations, including AFP, have pushed for the move, arguing that giants like Facebook and Google make billions in revenue from advertising tied to news stories, while publishers suffer.This sparked a fight between media and creators seeking payment for online content on the one hand, and lobbyists defending the business model of the Silicon Valley giants backed by internet freedom activists on the other.Another part of the agreement intends to ensure that platforms such as YouTube pay more to those who provide its content.The European Parliament backed a draft law of the copyright reform in September last year, but it was held up in negotiations with EU member states, notably because of a disagreement between France and Germany in the text. 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. Citation: EU reaches provisional deal on online copyright reform (2019, February 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Explore further (News organisations have pushed to to overhaul the EU’s online copyright law, arguing that giants like Facebook and Google make billions from advertising tied to news stories, while publishers suffer © 2019 AFPlast_img read more

Facebook removes fake Italian accounts ahead of EU election

first_img Facebook says it purged more than 800 spam accounts, pages © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 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. In this March 29, 2018 file photo, the logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square. Facebook says it has shut down some Italian accounts that were phony and pages that were spreading fake news ahead of European Union parliamentary elections. The social network said Sunday, May 12, 2019 it “removed a number of fake and duplicate accounts that were violating our authenticity polices, as well as multiple pages for name change.” (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) Explore furthercenter_img Citation: Facebook removes fake Italian accounts ahead of EU election (2019, May 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Facebook shut down phony Italian accounts and pages spreading fake news ahead of European Union parliamentary elections, prompting opposition lawmakers to call Monday for tougher laws to curb online misinformation. “We have removed a number of fake and duplicate accounts that were violating our authenticity polices,” the social network said Sunday. It also took down pages that were posting false information as well as some that had started as non-political pages and built up followers, only to then switch names to become political sites.Facebook acted last week after being tipped off by the left-leaning campaign group Avaaz, which said in a statement that its investigation found 23 Italian Facebook pages spreading false information such as made up quotes and “divisive” anti-migration, anti-vaccine and anti-Semitic content.”This is more proof that lies designed to sow hate and division in our societies are being spread deliberately on social media ahead of the EU elections,” Avaaz campaign director Christoph Schott said.Opposition senators in Italy including former Premier Matteo Renzi said they will soon submit to Parliament a proposed law to more adequately prevent and more efficiently combat fake news.Avaaz said the pages had about 2.5 million followers, and more than a dozen of the pages supported the rightwing League Party or the populist 5-Star-Movement.News of the shuttered pages “show the urgency of an intervention by Parliament,” said a statement signed by nearly 40 Democratic senators.But the leader of the far-right League Party, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, downplayed concerns about the account deletions.”There is so much fake news even in official newspapers,” said Salvini, who posts constantly on Facebook and said he would “guarantee that the elections are regular.”He added that Facebook “does its business and it does it well. What I care about is that the elections are crystal-clear, transparent, well organized.”His populist rival in the government, fellow Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio, told journalists that there was no sign any pages managed by his 5-Star-Movement had been shut.Facebook is stepping up efforts to combat fake news and hate speech around EU elections scheduled for May 23-26, in which voters in the bloc’s 28 nations will be able to cast ballots for hundreds of candidates.The company has come under increasing pressure since 2016, when Russia’s use of social media to meddle with the U.S. presidential elections came into focus. CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially downplayed Facebook’s role in Russia’s influence operation, but the company later apologized.The Silicon Valley company has set up an EU election operations center in Dublin staffed with engineers, data scientists and researchers to monitor for abuse related to the vote.Experts say other groups are copying from Russia’s disinformation playbook.”One thing to look out for in Europe will be domestic actors doing what the Russians had already been doing,” said Ben Nimmo, a researcher at the Atlantic Council. “Everyone’s seen what the Russians did. It’s not going to be any stretch of imagination to say, ‘If the Russians did it, why can’t I?”last_img read more

How Can You Tell if Someone or Something Is Conscious

first_imgHow can you know that any animal, other human beings, or anything that seems conscious, isn’t just faking it? Does it enjoy an internal subjective experience, complete with sensations and emotions like hunger, joy, or sadness? After all, the only consciousness you can know with certainty is your own. Everything else is inference. The nature of consciousness makes it by necessity a wholly private affair. These questions are more than philosophical. As intelligent digital assistants, self-driving cars and other robots start to proliferate, are these AIs actually conscious or just seem like it? Or what about patients in comas — how can doctors know with any certainty what kind of consciousness is or is not present, and prescribe treatment accordingly? In my work, often with with psychologist Jonathan Schooler at the University of California, Santa Barbara, we’re developing a framework for thinking about the many different ways to possibly test for the presence of consciousness.These Sharks Were Too Busy to Notice a Bigger Predator Watching ThemThe unexpected twist at the end of this feeding frenzy delighted scientists.Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really Loud00:35关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接已复制直播00:0002:2802:28  There is a small but growing field looking at how to assess the presence and even quantity of consciousness in various entities. I’ve divided possible tests into three broad categories that I call the measurable correlates of consciousness. You can look for brain activity that occurs at the same time as reported subjective states. Or you can look for physical actions that seem to be accompanied by subjective states. Finally, you can look for the products of consciousness, like artwork or music, or this article I’ve written, that can be separated from the entity that created them to infer the presence — or not — of consciousness. Neural correlates of consciousness Over the last two decades, scientists have proposed various ways to probe cognition and consciousness in unresponsive patients. In such cases, there aren’t any behaviors to observe or any creative products to assess. You can check for the neural correlates of consciousness, though. What’s physically going on in the brain? Neuroimaging tools such as EEG, MEG, fMRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation (each with their own strengths and weaknesses), are able to provide information on activity happening within the brain even in coma and vegetative patients. Cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene has identified what he calls four signatures of consciousness — specific aspects of brain activity he deems necessary for normal consciousness. He focuses on what’s known as the “P3 wave” in the dorsolateral cortex — the part of the brain behind the top of your forehead — because it seems to correlate most reliably with normal conscious states. He also focuses on long-range synchronized electric fields between different parts of the brain as another key signature of consciousness. In tests which look for these signals in vegetative and minimally conscious patients, Dehaene and his colleagues have successfully predicted which patients are most likely to regain more normal states of consciousness. Sid Kouider, another cognitive neuroscientist, has examined infants in order to assess the likelihood that very young babies are conscious. He and his team looked for specific neural signatures that go along with subjective experience in adults. They looked specifically for a certain type of brain waves, similar to the P3 wave Dehaene focuses on, that are reliable indicators of consciousness in adults. They found clear analogs of the P3 wave in the brains of babies as young as five months old. Kouider concludes — unsurprisingly — that even young babies are very likely conscious in various complex ways, such as recognizing faces. Behavioral correlates of consciousness When considering potentially conscious entities that can’t communicate directly, and that won’t allow neuroscientific measurement tools on their head (if they even have heads), it’s possible to consider physical behaviors as clues for the presence and type of consciousness. You know that a massive range of human behaviors are accompanied by conscious experience. So when you see similar behaviors in other animals or even non-animals, can you reasonably infer the presence of consciousness? For example, are cats conscious? Their brain architecture is a little different than humans’. They have very minimal prefrontal cortex, which some scientists think is the center of many higher-order activities of the human brain. But is a prefrontal cortex necessary for consciousness? Cat behavior is complex and pretty easy to map onto human behavior in many ways. Cats purr, flex their toes and snuggle when petted, in similar ways to people demonstrating pleasure when physically stimulated — minus the purrs, of course. They meow loudly for food when hungry and stop meowing when fed. They demonstrate curiosity or fear about other cats or humans with various types of body language. These and many other easily observable behaviors add up to convincing evidence for most people that cats are indeed conscious and have rich emotional lives. You can imagine looking for other familiar behaviors in a rat, or an ant or a plant — if you see things close enough to what you’d expect in conscious humans, you may credit the observed creature with a certain type of consciousness. Creative correlates of consciousness If, for whatever reason, you can’t examine neural or behavioral correlates of consciousness, maybe you can look to creative outputs for clues that would indicate consciousness. For example, when examining ancient megalithic structures such as Stonehenge, or cave paintings created as far back as 65,000 years ago, is it reasonable to assume that their creators were conscious in ways similar to us? Most people would likely say yes. You know from experience that it would take high intelligence and consciousness to produce such items today, so reasonably conclude that our ancient ancestors had similar levels of consciousness. What if explorers find obviously unnatural artifacts on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system? It will depend on the artifacts in question, but if astronauts were to find anything remotely similar to human dwellings or machinery that was clearly not human in origin, it would be reasonable to infer that the creators of these artifacts were also conscious. Closer to home, artificial intelligence has produced some pretty impressive art — impressive enough to fetch over US$400,000 in a recent art auction. At what point do reasonable people conclude that creating art requires consciousness? Researchers could conduct a kind of “artistic Turing Test”: ask study participants to consider various artworks and say which ones they conclude were probably created by a human. If AI artwork consistently fools people into thinking it was made by a person, is that good evidence to conclude that the AI is at least in some ways conscious? So far AI aren’t convincing most observers, but it’s reasonable to expect that they will be able to in the future. Where’s my ‘consciousness-ometer’? Can anyone get a definitive answer about the presence of consciousness, and how much? Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is no. There is not yet a “consciousness-ometer,” but various researchers, including Dehaene, have some ideas. Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi and his colleagues like Christof Koch focus on what they call “integrated information” as a measure of consciousness. This theory suggests that anything that integrates at least one bit of information has at least a tiny amount of consciousness. A light diode, for example, contains just one bit of information and thus has a very limited type of consciousness. With just two possible states, on or off, however, it’s a rather uninteresting kind of consciousness. In my work, my collaborators and I share this “panpsychist” foundation. We accept as a working hypothesis that any physical system has some associated consciousness, however small it may be in the vast majority of cases. Rather than integrated information as the key measure of consciousness, however, we focus on resonance and synchronization and the degree to which parts of a whole resonate at the same or similar frequencies. Resonance in the case of the human brain generally means shared electric field oscillation rates, such as gamma band synchrony (40-120 Hertz). Our consciousness-ometer would then look at the degree of shared resonance and resulting information flows as the measure of consciousness. Humans and other mammals enjoy a particularly rich kind of consciousness, because there are many levels of pervasive shared synchronization throughout the brain, nervous system and body. Tests for consciousness are still in their infancy. But this field of study is undergoing a renaissance because the study of consciousness more generally has finally become a respectable scientific pursuit. Before too long it may be possible to measure just how much consciousness is present in various entities — including in you and me. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter. ] Tam Hunt, Affiliate Guest in Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeDr. Marty3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. MartyUndoPrimeSolarQuotesCalifornia Signs Solar Law Helping Homeowners Save Hundreds A Month.PrimeSolarQuotesUndoTop 10 Best Meal DeliveryMeal Kit Wars: 10 Tested & Ranked. See Who WonTop 10 Best Meal DeliveryUndoWayfairDon’t Buy Furniture Until You See This SiteWayfairUndoWikibuyThe One Thing You Should Know Before Booking Your Next AirbnbWikibuyUndoDr. Marty Nature's Feast Freeze-Dried RAW Cat Food3 Signs Your Cat Could Be Hiding An IllnessDr. Marty Nature’s Feast Freeze-Dried RAW Cat FoodUndolast_img read more

Modern Humans Failed in Early Attempt to Migrate Out of Africa Old

first_img Photos: Looking for Extinct Humans in Ancient Cave Mud Photos: Newfound Ancient Human Relative Discovered in Philippines Originally published on Live Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoLivestlyThe List Of Dog Breeds To Avoid At All CostsLivestlyUndo Discovery in Greece The two ancient skulls were unearthed in the late 1970s by researchers at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Athens. Given that the skulls were found in Apidima Cave, the researchers named them Apidima 1 and Apidima 2. Both skulls, neither of which had a lower jaw, were found side by side in a block of breccia, angular pieces of rock that were cemented together over time. However, neither skull was in good shape; the damaged Apidima 1 included only the back of the skull, and at the time, researchers weren’t sure what species it came from. Apidima 2, which preserved the facial region of the skull, was identified as Neanderthal, but it was broken and distorted. For years, the skulls sat at the Museum of Anthropology in Athens until they were finally cleaned and prepared from the breccia block in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the new study, Harvati and her colleagues put both skulls in a CT scanner, which generated 3D virtual reconstructions of each specimen. Then, they analyzed the features of each. As in previous analyses, the team concluded that Apidima 2, which had a thick, rounded brow ridge, was from an early Neanderthal. Identifying Apidima 1 was more challenging because of its fragmentary remains, but the researchers were able to create mirror images of its right and left sides, which gave them a more complete reconstruction. [In Photos: Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Ever Found] Several clues, such as the rounded back of the skull (a feature unique to modern humans), indicated that Apidima 1 was an early modern human, or Homo sapiens, the researchers said. Dating the skulls Next, the researchers dated the skulls. Previous analyses had estimated that the skulls were roughly from the same time period, given that they were discovered next to each other, suggesting that they lived around the same time. But by using a method known as uranium-series dating, the new team found that the skulls were not from the same time period. At 170,000 years old, the Neanderthal skull fit within the range of other Neanderthal remains found in other parts of Europe. But the modern human skull was an unexpected outlier, predating the next-oldest H. sapiens remains in Europe by more than 150,000 years, the researchers found. Uranium-series dating is one of only a few ways to date such ancient bones, “but it’s not without some pitfalls,” said Larry Edwards, regents professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the study. In effect, the method works because uranium decays into thorium. The more thorium there is in a sample, the older it is, Edwards told Live Science. However, bones and teeth don’t contain much of their own uranium; rather, they absorb it from the environment over time. “That then requires you to make interpretations on how and when the uranium was picked up and whether or not the uranium was lost,” he said. But although this technique isn’t ideal for dating skulls such as Apidima 1 and 2, it can still provide useful data, Edwards said. “I think it’s pretty solid, their [dating] conclusions,” he said. Out-of-Africa implications Despite the skull’s title as the “oldest known modern human fossil in Eurasia,” the new finding does not rewrite the fundamentals of human evolution, said Eleanor Scerri, an associate professor and leader of the Pan-African Evolution research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who was not involved in the study. Those fundamentals are that humans first evolved in Africa and then ventured out into the rest of the world. “The oldest human fossils still come from Africa and are about 100,000 years older than the Apidima fossil,” Scerri told Live Science in an email. “That is roughly 4,000 generations — ample opportunity to move around.” That said, “if we want to ask questions specifically about the early history of our species in Eurasia, then this study may confirm the arguments made for multiple, early dispersals,” Scerri said. In addition, this finding supports the view that the population of “early Homo sapiens was fragmented and dispersed,” she said. [Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans] Previous studies have suggested that “Homo sapiens left Africa every time the Saharan and Arabian deserts shrunk, which happened broadly on 100,000-year cycles,” roughly agreeing with dates from this study, she noted. What’s more, if modern humans truly had reached Eurasia by at least 210,000 years ago, then “we can no longer assume that ‘Mousterian’ stone tool assemblages found across large regions of Eurasia are necessarily being produced by Neanderthals,” she said. There are many avenues open to researchers hoping to learn more about the Apidima skulls. For instance, the skulls could contain ancient DNA or primordial proteins that could verify their species, Eric Delson, who was not involved with the research, wrote in an accompanying perspective published online today (July 10) in the journal Nature. Delson is a professor and the chair of the Department of Anthropology at Lehman College and The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Moreover, researchers could study the cave’s paleo-environment and climate to figure out what conditions were like when Apidima 1 and 2 lived there. Today, the cave is on a cliff facing the sea, reachable only by boat, Harvati said. The study was published online today in the journal Nature. A prehistoric, broken skull is revealing the secrets of ancient humans, divulging that early modern humans left Africa much earlier than previously thought, a new study finds. The skull, found in Eurasia and dating back 210,000 years, is the oldest modern human bone that anthropologists have discovered outside Africa, the researchers said. This skull, however, had an unusual neighbor: a 170,000-year-old, possibly Neanderthal skull that was found resting next to it, in a cave in southern Greece. Given that the Neanderthal skull is a solid 40,000 years younger than the modern human skull, it appears that this particular human’s early dispersal out of Africa failed. There are no living descendants of this enigmatic human alive today, and this person’s group was replaced by Neanderthals, who later lived in that very same cave, the researchers said. [Photos: See the Ancient Faces of a Man-Bun-Wearing Bloke and a Neanderthal Woman]Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  “We know from the genetic evidence that all humans that are alive today outside of Africa can trace their ancestry to the major dispersal out of Africa that happened between 70[,000] and 50,000 years before present,” study lead researcher Katerina Harvati, a professor of paleoanthropology at the University of Tübingen in Germany, told reporters at a news conference. Other earlier modern-human dispersals out of Africa have been documented at sites in Israel, including one based on the discovery of a 194,000- to 177,000-year-old modern human jaw from Misliya Cave and others tied to early human fossils dated to about 130,000 to 90,000 years ago at the Skhul and Qafzeh caves. But “we think that these early migrants did not actually contribute to modern humans living outside of Africa today, but rather died out and were probably locally replaced by Neanderthals,” Harvati said. “We hypothesize this is a similar situation with the Apidima 1 [the newly dated modern human skull] population.” In Photos: Bones from a Denisovan-Neanderthal Hybrid This is the oldest known modern human skull in Eurasia, dating to about 210,000 years ago. Here, you can see the partial skull (right), its virtual reconstruction (middle) and a virtual side view. Credit: Copyright Katerina Harvati/Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen last_img read more

MeToo will not be resolved unless both men and women come forward

first_imgCOMMENTS   At the annual conference of Society of Human Resources Management last week in Delhi, where over 1,500 HR professionals from India and abroad were gathered, a lot of buzz was around #MeToo. Could HR have played a more proactive role? Coretha M Rushing, Chief Human Resources Officer of credit monitoring firm Equifax Inc, and Board Chair of SHRM-Atlanta, shared her take with BusinessLine. Excerpts:A year after the US, MeToo is trending in India. Do you think HR — under whose responsibility this comes — has failed to address the issue in workplaces?I have a different take on it. When you have issues in workplaces, it’s not the responsibility of just HR but also the leadership of the organisation. After all, they are the ones who hired everybody, including HR. I have also been struck by how in India there are not a lot of senior-level women in human resources. At this conference, for instance, there are many senior level men attending but not so many women.When I look at the MeToo movement, what I think is happening in India is exactly what happened in the US. A few people came out and it led to a dam bursting. Other people realised that, hey, we are not alone, raised their hands and shared their stories. But, for a situation to be resolved, not only people who have been mistreated but all of those around them also should come forward and say we support you. The MeToo movement will not be resolved until men and women both acknowledge the problem and say they desire the same thing — Safe, open, healthy work environments.Any injustice that happens in a workplace impacts everyone in the organisation and impacts work. Even stuff like this which has happened behind the scenes. You won’t have the best product and you won’t get the best customers because you have a population of people that cannot deliver their best work.Many fear that MeToo will lead to negative repercussions like fewer women getting hired. Is that a real fear?I think smart companies and smart businesses will not do that. They will not afford to ignore a significant part of the workforce. It may sound like the easiest solution is not to hire women, but it makes no business sense. Would you want to keep highly skilled people who are the right fit out of your office?In the US, has any change happened in organisations after the MeToo stories broke out?Many things have happened. The first thing that happened is suddenly there is a conversation. The very fact that women are coming forward is the first win. It may seem small but six months ago there was no conversation. Now it’s out in the open. And that is a victory of sorts.The other thing happening in the US is that companies are increasing training on this issue. We are also seeing companies that have not been identified as having problems looking around and checking. Usually, people say I haven’t seen anything in my office, nobody has complained, therefore I don’t have a problem. But now, they are actually asking, maybe we have a problem too and just have not noticed.The third thing that is happening is that young men and women are having conversations about this. Many of the youngsters have been socialised differently. For example, , they played sports together in school. When we played, men and women played separately and so on. What I am trying to say is that the benefits of this movement may be that it may not create change in the short-term but could have a positive impact later.Some of the cases of MeToo that have come up have happened between colleagues outside the workplace. Will companies take action against the employee then?These are grey areas. It is problematic when social action outside work is thrown up. But, in this, what you have to look for is appropriate behaviour. Many workplaces make it mandatory that if you are dating a colleague, you have to disclose it to HR. Sometimes these relationships can be great. But sometimes things could go wrong and then it can get strange at the workplace. Trump mocks #MeToo movement India’s #MeToo October 16, 2018 COMMENT BL Interview CORETHA M RUSHING, Chief Human Resources Officer, Equifax womencenter_img Published on gender Sajid Khan steps down as ‘Housefull 4’ director over allegations of sexual harassment crime SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE RELATED last_img read more

Four Indians graduate as UNCTADAlibaba Biz School eFounders fellows

first_imgRepresentative image SHARE Four Indian entrepreneurs have successfully completed the efounders Fellowship, a joint initiative by the the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Alibaba Business School. They are: Anurag Dalmia, Co-founder, Healthy Buddha; Rohit Ramasubramanian, Co-founder, Zefo; Ronak Kumar Samantray, Co-founder, NowFloats; and Ananda Kumar Mishra, Founder and CEO, Grozip.The fourth edition of the programme saw participation from 38 Asians. The fellowship aims at enabling young entrepreneurs with skills that are essential for their businesses.”Investing in youth entrepreneurship can inspire other entrepreneurs in their endeavours and help create awareness about challenges they face and the opportunities the modern economy offers,” said Arlette Verploegh, UNCTAD eFounders Fellowship programme coordinator.The fellowship offers insights into Alibaba’s journey from a small start-up to a successful technology conglomerate, and a peek into the integrated ecosystem of other online platforms such as Taobao Marketplace, Tmall, Cainiao Network and Freshippo. The curriculum also covered relevant industry trends, including new retail and the impact of e-commerce in rural areas.”We hope the entrepreneurs will discover more ways to build a more inclusive and sustainable model for their own businesses while championing the growth of the digital economy in their markets,” said Brian Wong, Vice President, Global Initiatives, Alibaba Group. November 30, 2018 Published on SHARE SHARE EMAIL 0 COMMENTS Emerging Entrepreneurs COMMENT entrepreneurship Alibaba The fellowship aims at enabling young entrepreneurs with skills that are essential for their businesses.last_img read more

BJP Cong neckandneck in MP Chhattisgarh

first_img ED search at Vadra’s houseThere was high drama with an Enforcement Directorate search on Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra, a move described by Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala as a sign of “Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) being jittery at the BJP’s imminent defeat in all the five States”.Exit polls, however, predicted a more complex picture with a near unanimity among pollsters only in the case of Rajasthan — India Today-Axis MyIndia giving 119-141 seats to the Congress and 55-72 seats to the BJP in the 200-seat Assembly, Republic-CVoter predicting 137 to the Congress and 60 seats to the BJP and TimesNow-CNX poll predicting 105 seats for the Congress and 85 to the BJP.In the case of Madhya Pradesh, the pollsters were united in the view that it was a “close contest” but came up with different results. India Today-Axis MyIndia poll said the Congress was slightly ahead with 104-122 seats while the BJP followed closely 102-120 in the 230-member Assembly. Republic-CVoter poll predicted the Congress heading towards a majority in MP with 110-126 seats and the BJP inching behind with 90-106 seats. The ABP-CSDS survey predicted a clear majority for the Congress in this crucial State with 126 seats while it gave 94 seats to the BJP.In Chhattisgarh too, pollsters were unanimous in calling it “nail-biting contest” while they came up with different results. Some pollsters, including India Today-MyIndia and Republic-CVoter, gave a majority to the Congress with 55-65 seats and 42-50 seats, respectively, in the 90-member Assembly. The others, such as ABP-CSDS and India TV-CNX predicted a BJP victory with 52 seats and 42-50 seats to the ruling party, respectively.The TRS was the pollsters’ favourite for a second term with TimesNow-CNX predicting 66 seats for the incumbent in the 119-member Assembly.Tight race in MizoramIn Mizoram, the Congress and the Mizo National Front were predicted by Republic-CVoter to get an equal number – 14-18 to the Congress and 16-20 to the MNF – in the 40-member Assembly.Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi kept the heat on with his warning tweet over EVM manipulation. “In MP, EVMs behaved strangely after polling: Some stole a school bus and vanished for two days. Others slipped away and were found drinking in a hotel. In Modi’s India, the EVMs have mysterious powers. Stay alert!” Gandhi tweeted.The Election Commission denied allegations of EVM being misused, pointing out that in MP, the strong room for storing the EVM was close to a Reliance Jio mobile tower which was not functioning properly. “The strong room was about 100 metres away from the mobile tower to which people went to repair it. We have three layers of security for the strong room,” the official said. In response to a query on whether in Rajasthan an EVM and VVPAT was found to be in the wrong place, officials said a poll official had taken the reserve EVM and VVPAT away the previous evening. “The poll official has been served a show cause notice,” said the EC official. SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAIL Election fever gripped the Capital with exit polls predicting a photo-finish in the politically critical Madhya Pradesh, edge for the Congress in Chhattisgarh and a clean sweep for it in Rajasthan, where votes were polled along with Telangana on Friday.Till late evening, Telangana recorded a provisional voter turn out of 67 per cent, while Rajasthan reported 72.62 per cent. It was 75.23 per cent for Rajasthan in the 2013 Assembly polls and 69.5 per cent in Telangana in 2014. In both the States, the final figure is expected to be higher as voters were standing in line to cast their ballot late into the evening, officials said. In both the States, the voting was peaceful barring a few incidents, officials said. December 07, 2018 Published on Exit polls see Cong clean sweep in Rajasthan; TRS heading for a second term in Telangana COMMENTS COMMENTlast_img read more

Three Jaish terrorists and Army major killed in Pulwama attack

first_imgFlames and smoke billows from a residential building where militants are holed up during a gun battle in Pulwama on Monday, 18, February 2019.Photo:   –  THE HINDU/ Nissar Ahmad Published on At least nine security personnel, including a Brigade Commander and a Lieutenant Colonel and a Deputy Inspector General of the Jammu and Kashmir police, were injured in a gun battle with terrorists. Three Jaish terrorists, including a Pakistani commander of the group linked to the February 14 CRPF bombing, and an Army major were among nine people killed in a 16-hour encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday, officials said.At least nine security personnel, including a brigade commander and a lieutenant colonel and a deputy inspector general of the Jammu and Kashmir police, were injured in the gun battle in Pulwama’s Pinglan area, about 12 km from where a suicide bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed drove his explosives-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus last week, killing 40 jawans.Also read: Fire raging in your bosoms is in my heart too: PM Narendra ModiThe Pinglan encounter claimed the lives four Army personnel, a policeman, three Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists and a civilian, the officials said. Two of the slain terrorists were identified as Kamran, a Pakistani national and top commander of the Jaish, and Hilal Ahmad, a local recruited by the terror group, they said, adding the identity of the third is being ascertained.“Kamran’s role in the February 14 suicide bombing of a CRPF convoy was under the scanner of investigators,” a senior police official said.The slain soldiers were identified as Major VS Dhondial, Havaldar Sheo Ram and Sepoy Hari Singh and Sepoy Ajay Kumar. A head constable of the police was also killed. The injured included DIG (South Kashmir) Amit Kumar, who received a gunshot wound in the abdomen, and a Brigade Commander, who was hurt in the leg. All the injured are stable, the officials said.Also read: Pakistan calls back envoy from India for ‘consultations’ Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area during the night after receiving inputs about the presence of militants there. Militants fired at forces as the searches got under way, triggering a gun battle, the officials said.The Jaish has claimed responsibility for the February 14 terror attack that targeted a convoy of 78 vehicles on its way from Jammu to Srinagar. About 2,500 CRPF personnel were on their way to the valley, many returning to work after leave.The Army paid tributes to the fallen soldiers at a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment, headquarters of the 15 Corps here.Paying homageCorps Commander Lt Gen K J S Dhillon led other ranks in paying homage to the four soldiers including Major Dhondial, who laid down their lives in the operation, a defence spokesperson said.Representatives from other security agencies also joined in paying their last respects to the soldiers.The spokesperson said the 33 year-old Major had joined Army in 2011 and belonged to village Dangwal in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He is survived by wife. Havaldar Ram (36) had joined Army in 2000 and hailed from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. He is survived by wife and a son.Sepoy Singh (26) belonged to Rewari in Haryana. He joined the Army in 2011 and is survived by his wife and son. Sepoy Kumar hailed from village Bastikri in Meerut, UP. The 27 year-old had joined the Army in 2012 and is survived by his wife and a son.Their mortal remains were flown for the last rites to their native places, where they would be laid to rest with full military honours. “In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved families of the martyrs and remains committed to their dignity and well being,” the spokesperson said. Srinagar COMMENT February 18, 2019 COMMENTS FATF to be given dossier to blacklist Pakistan for terror links terrorism (crime) We stand with Govt for unity and security: leaders pledge at all-party meet America supports India’s right to self-defence: US NSA Bolton to Ajit Doval RELATED SHARE Traders body calls for nationwide market bandh on Monday Sacrifices of CRPF personnel won’t go in vain as there is BJP govt now: Amit Shah Jammu and Kashmir SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more

Pulwama payback India pounds JeM terror camps in PakistanPulwama payback India pounds

first_imgPublished on SHARE SHARE EMAIL terrorism (crime) February 26, 2019 SHARE Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, on February 26, 2019.   –  Kamal Narang COMMENTS India carried out a “non-military pre-emptive’’ air strike on one of the biggest training camps of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot in Pakistan on Tuesday in response to information received that more terror attacks were being planned by the outfit across the country, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Tuesday.The strike carried out on JeM camps in both Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir in the early hours of the day was primarily triggered by the recent suicide attack in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir, which killed 40 jawans of the CRPF. The banned terror outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.“Credible information had been received that the JeM was planning other suicide terror attacks in other parts of the country and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary,” Gokhale said, addressing the media.In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis, who were being trained for fidayeen action, were eliminated, he added.“The Foreign Secretary and other Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs are briefing envoys, including those from the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany, on the attack,” another official said.Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who held an all-party meeting following the strike, said that she was happy that all parties had praised the security forces in one voice and expressed full support for the government’s anti-terror operations.Call for restraintReacting to India’s bombing of terrorist camps, Australia, France, the European Union and China called for restraint from both countries. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, in a statement, categorically asked Pakistan to take “urgent and meaningful action’’ against terrorist groups in its territory, including the JeM.India now hopes that Pakistan would do its bit in destroying other such terror camps in its country. “Pakistan made a commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India. We expect Pakistan to live up to its commitment and take follow-up action to destroy all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for their actions,” Gokhale said.The Foreign Secretary emphasised that the selection of targets was influenced by India’s desire to avoid civilian casualties. “The facility (which was targeted) is located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence,” he said.Swaraj, who will take part in the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting in Wuzhen, China, on Wednesday, is likely to discuss the issue of cross-border terrorism in the meeting with her counterparts from China and Russia. The JeM, which is proscribed by the United Nations, has been responsible for a series of terrorist attacks including on Parliament in 2001 and the Pathankot airbase in January 2016, Gokhale pointed out. “Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and in PoK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denied their existence,” Gokhale said.On Tuesday, the benchmark BSE Sensex ended 240 points lower as investor sentiment weakened after the India carried out air strikes on a terrorist camp in Pakistan. To read the full text of Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s speech, click here. To watch the video of the speech, click here. New Delhi hopes Islamabad would walk the talk and destroy other such facilitiescenter_img Pakistan defence COMMENT IAF air strikes: Cabinet Committee on Security meets RELATED India ‘India conducted a major pre-emptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed’last_img read more

Behenji is right about Congress but not entirely so

first_imgRashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh COMMENT Published on March 18, 2019 SHARE SHARE EMAIL The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati may have warned the Congress against “spreading confusion” by not contesting seven seats in Uttar Pradesh, but the Mahagathbandhan of the BSP, the SP and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) does benefit from the Congress’s decision at least in some seats in the western parts.In Muzaffarnagar, for instance, where RLD chief Ajit Singh himself is contesting, the Congress’ absence consolidates the arithmetic in his favour. Muzaffarnagar is where the riots in 2013 polarised the majority Jat and Muslim voters on communal lines, and the BJP swept in the 2014 elections.This time around, issues of farm distress and non-payment of cane arrears have overshadowed the communal divisions and the Mahagathbandhan — with the RLD’s Jat supporters, who form about one-third of Muzaffarnagar’s population; the BSP’s base among the Dalits, which is about 8 per cent of the population; and the Muslims, who are over 41 per cent of the population — is ready for a good contest with the BJP. Ajit Singh’s own claim is that he will “bury the BJP”. “I have come here to uproot them from Muzaffarnagar,” the RLD leader told BusinessLine.Fear of vote splittingThe BJP has not yet decided on the ticket allocation. Till late Sunday evening when the Congress announcement about not fielding any candidate against Ajit Singh came, RSS insiders in Muzaffarnagar and the neighbouring Kairana, a constituency that the BJP lost to the RLD in the parliamentary bypoll held last year, were hoping that the Congress will split the vote by fielding a strong Muslim candidate from Muzaffarnagar.They admitted that non-payment of cane arrears to farmers has angered the Jats and this community’s coming together with Muslims and Dalits presents a challenge to the BJP. The Congress fielding a strong Muslim candidate, like it has done in Saharanpur with Imran Masud who did exceptionally well even in the midst of a wave election in 2014, would have helped the BJP by splitting the Mahagathbandhan votes.Muslim populationCommon voters among Muslims seemed more inclined to vote for the Mahagathbandhan than the Congress.“This time, there will be no split. We will all vote together with our Jat brothers. The riots were an aberration. We have always worked with Jats, and in the villages, such divisions among communities are not good for anyone. We need harmony,” said Anwar, a resident of Purbaliyan village in Muzaffarnagar. Since then, a number of cases have been withdrawn and village elders have worked strenuously to restore communal amity.“Ajit Singhji’s election is going very well,” said Tabassum Hussein, the sitting MP from Kairana. Hussein had contested the 2018 Lok Sabha bypoll on an RLD ticket and after the Mahagathbandhan was stitched up, she has been fielded on an SP ticket from the same constituency.On the ground in western Uttar Pradesh, from where the BJP gained its victory momentum in 2014, the Mahagathbandhan is decidedly the first preference for the Muslims, whose percentage in these parts — about 26 per cent on an average — is higher than in UP as a whole (19.3 per cent). But a strong candidate from the Congress does pose the danger of splitting the vote in a crucial election. politics SHARE COMMENTS Congress not fielding candidates in some seats will surely benefit Mahagathbandhan state politicslast_img read more

Military Unit Ravaged by War Regroups to Survive the Peace

first_imgNearly a year ago, the combat-hardened paratroopers of Bravo Company realized things were getting too dangerous. They weren’t working as a team. Too many men were dying. Nobody seemed to know how to stop the bloodletting. And that was a decade after they got home from war. During an 11-month tour of Afghanistan’s notorious Arghandab Valley, three…last_img

Kashmir Efforts to help migrant Pandits return gain momentum

first_img Indo-Asian News Service SrinagarJuly 14, 2019UPDATED: July 14, 2019 15:38 IST Image for representation (Source: Reuters)As efforts at governmental and societal level for the return of migrant Kashmiri Pandits to their homes in the valley gain momentum, separatist Hurriyat leaders say they are ready to do whatever is needed to help too.Satish Mahaldar, who asserts that he does not represent any political, social or religious group, told IANS: “I met Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of Hurriyat conference, on July 4 along with some other migrant Pandits.”Mirwaiz Umar not only accepted that Kashmir and Kashmiri Muslims are incomplete without their Pandit brothers, but also assured to do whatever is needed to ensure our honourable and safe return.”Mahaldar regretted that over the years, Kashmiri Pandits had been used as a ping pong ball on the political table of the country.”Since the days of the previous NDA government, we had been hearing that the return of Pandits to their homes in the valley was the top priority of the government. What was actually done on the ground to ensure this? Nothing, except some cosmetic steps to keep us guessing and the community loitering in wilderness.The return of Pandits has to be an inclusive effort not an exclusive one by the state and central governments. The suffering of Kashmiris, be they Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists has been common. All of us have to realise this, he said.””Mirwaiz Umar has accepted and supported our demand that to begin with, migrant Pandits should be established to live at places in six districts of the valley.”This is because in almost all cases, either houses have been sold or destroyed. Till each migrant Pandit family gets a foothold in the native village or Mohalla in towns and cities, we would live at these six places.”It was also decided during the meeting with the Mirwaiz that inter-community committees would be formed those would include all religious, social groups, opinion leaders, traders etc to actively involve in the return and living of the migrants in the valley.”Places where we plan to initially live would not be out of bound habitations. Alongside us, would live our Muslim and Sikh neighbours who already exist at places we plan to establish initial dwellings for the migrants,” Mahaldar said.He was, however, bitter about the recent statement made by Ashwani Kumar Chungroo, BJP spokesman who said the separatists must keep their hands off the problems of Kashmiri Pandits.”How can he say that? The Hurriyat is a stakeholder and every stakeholder needs to be taken on board if our honourable and safe return is to happen,” Mahaldar said.”It would be like bringing them to live at places they can never mingle and co-exist with their Muslim brothers. Pandits return and live among us like the old times. Every Kashmiri Muslim stands for their honourable return,” Geelani said.Governor Satya Pal Malik has, however, said the establishment of townships for migrant Pandits in the valley is a security requirement and mainstream political parties and the separatists must help this initiative.All national and regional mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir have been supporting the safe return of Pandits to their homes in the valley although there have been differences of opinion as to whether this return should precede or proceed normalcy in Kashmir.Also read | BJP to relaunch Kashmiri Pandit rehabilitation plan after J&K pollsAlso read | National Lok Adalat held in all courts across J&K, over 12,000 cases settledAlso watch | Kashmiri Pandits in pursuit of homelandFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAnumika Bahukhandi Tags :Follow Kashmiri PanditsFollow kashmirFollow JammuFollow Hurriyat leaders Next Kashmir: Efforts to help migrant Pandits return gain momentumAll national and regional mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir have been supporting the safe return of Pandits to their homes in the valley.advertisementlast_img read more

Induction of Congress MLAs into BJP is death of Parrikars legacy Vijai

first_imgInduction of Congress MLAs into BJP is death of Parrikar’s legacy: Vijai SardesaiOutgoing Deputy CM of Goa Vijai Sardesai said the induction of ten MLAs of Congress into BJP was the “death of the legacy” of late CM Manohar Parrikar.advertisement Next Press Trust of India PanajiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 19:03 IST HIGHLIGHTSGoa Congress suffered a body blow on Wednesday when 10 of its 15 MLAs switched over to BJPSubsequently, CM Sawant dropped four ministers — three of Goa Forward Party, including Vijay Sardesai, from his cabinetSardesai also announced that Goa Forward Party was “withdrawing” its support to the BJP-led governmentOutgoing Deputy Chief Minister of Goa Vijai Sardesai on Saturday said the induction of ten MLAs of the Congress into the BJP was the “death of the legacy” of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar – the tallest saffron leader in the coastal state credited for forming the coalition government in 2017 by bringing together regional parties.The Congress in Goa suffered a body blow on Wednesday when 10 of its 15 MLAs switched over to the BJP, a development that raised the ruling stock in the 40-member House to 27.Subsequently, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant dropped four ministers — three of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), including Sardesai, and one Independent — from his cabinet.”Parrikar died twice…once on March 17 physically while today it is the death of his political legacy,” Sardesai told a gathering held near Parrikar memorial at Miramar.Meanwhile, Sardesai also announced that the Goa Forward Party (GFP) was “withdrawing” its support to the BJP-led government.He alleged that the ruling government wanted to finish Parrikar’s legacy, which won’t be allowed.”We supported the Pramod Sawant government because I had given my word to Parrikar that the support to the government will continue in any circumstances. We now feel cheated and ditched by the NDA,” he said.Sardesai reiterated that he had not recieved any communication from Central leaders of the BJP.”The central leadership of the BJP has lost its face. The NDA has ditched their partners,” he said.ALSO READ: 3 Congress rebels, one BJP MLA sworn in as Goa MinistersALSO READ: Hours before Goa Cabinet reshuffle, CM Pramod Sawant drops four ministersFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySanjay Niralalast_img read more

UP roadways plans to deploy device to wake up drowsy bus drivers

first_imgUP roadways plans to deploy device to wake up drowsy bus driversThe special device is made with Israeli technique and is being manufactured by a Pune-based company. Each device costs about Rs 40,000.advertisement Next Indo-Asian News Service LucknowJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 19:11 IST Special device is made with Israeli technique and is being manufactured by a Pune-based company | File photo from REUTERSHIGHLIGHTSDevice will produce beep sound and red light warning if driver feels sleepyEach device costs about Rs 40,000A proposal to acquire more of these devices will now be sent to state governmentThe Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) is planning to deploy special devices in buses that will prevent drivers from dozing off on long-distance routes.The device, equipped with special sensors, will initially warn the driver with a beep sound and red light in the event of him getting sleepy during driving and later slow down the vehicle and put emergency brakes to stop it altogether.A senior UPSRTC official said that a decision to this effect has been taken after the recent accidents on the Yamuna Expressway where drivers have apparently dozed off while driving.The official said that the special device is made with Israeli technique and is being manufactured by a Pune-based company. Each device costs about Rs 40,000.As a pilot project, the device is being used in two buses on the Lucknow-Nepalganj route and two others on the Lucknow-Gorakhpur route and the feedback has been good.A proposal to acquire more of these devices will now be sent to the state government.The UPSRTC official said that the device will be installed on the dashboard of the vehicle. The device will produce a beep sound and red light warning as soon as the driver’s hold on the steering wheel slackens due to slumber.In case, the driver does not react to the beep sound and the slackness continues, the device will automatically put brakes on the bus. The device will also keep an eye on the road ahead and alert the driver in case of over-speeding and overtaking.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has already warned transport department officials, saying they cannot escape responsibility for road accidents by blaming drivers.He has asked the Yamuna Expressway authority to follow safety measures strictly. He further asked the department officials to deploy two drivers on state-run buses on routes more than 400 km long, so that they can drive the vehicle alternatively.Also Read | Need for speed on Yamuna Expressway remains uncontrolled despite deadly accidentsAlso Read | 29 dead as Delhi-bound bus falls into drain on Yamuna Expressway, several injuredAlso Watch | Bus travelling on Yamuna Expressway falls into drain, 29 dead, several injuredFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byMohak Gupta Tags :Follow UPSRTCFollow TransportFollow Uttar Pradeshlast_img read more