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Showing posts from December 12, 2016

Battling the bots |(The Indian Express )

Alarm bells rang out on October 21 when large chunks of the internet in the United States and Europe were made inoperable. This happened because of a specific type of hostile attack, termed “Denial of Service”; this paralyses an organisation’s internet-facing servers (computers) by flooding them with artificially created traffic that has been dramatically scaled up. Here, the pin-point objective was to paralyse an online directory service organisation, Dyn, central to successful internet operation. The attackers hacked and took control of an estimated 100,000 low-end devices that can autonomously access the internet, directing them to overwhelm Dyn — and consequentially paralyse the internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) was involved because the attack exploited very large numbers of ubiquitous low-end devices connected to the internet. This event was a chilling demonstration of the new vulnerabilities that attend the astounding growth of the IoT, and the central role of the internet…

The challenge of automata (The Indian Express )

The challenge of automata India must facilitate investments in artificial intelligence and be prepared to address the negative fallouts of the technological revolution.  That the US president elect Donald Trump has spoken up against H-1B visas, which go mostly to Indian IT companies, is no surprise. Last week at a “thank-you rally” in Iowa, Trump promised to end the abuse of Washington’s visa policies by US firms that have replaced American engineers with cheaper foreign skilled workers. He was referring to an incident that involved Disney World in Orlando, Florida and a couple of Indian companies and IT professionals on H-1B visas. Trump did not name India or the companies, but the message was loud and clear. The US policy on H-1B visas has been under fire from many quarters of the US establishment — from the IT trade unions to the liberal New York Times, which ran a series of stories last year, on how the Indian companies had gamed the US visa policy to the detriment of American wo…

Open House ( The Indian Express )

The Constitution of India, while granting absolute supremacy to the legislature in its own sphere, also envisioned it to be the state’s most transparent organ. The Constitution vide Articles 98, 105, 118, 122, 187, 194, 208 and 212 has provided for powers, privileges and immunities to the legislature, its members, committees and officials. These articles found their reflection in the rules adopted by both the houses of Parliament and various state legislatures making them the most transparent and independent of all the public institutions. Long before enactment of the Right to Information in 2005, the Rules of Legislatures have provided for the proactive disclosure of information. Every word spoken in the Chamber of Legislature (the exceptions are the expunctions and secret sittings held under Rule 248 of Lok Sabha) and every report/paper tabled in the House are readily available. Legislatures across the country, led by Parliament, embraced new technologies making the dissemination o…

Aadhaar to be linked to CAT, NEET & NET exams (Livemint)

New Delhi: Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number, could become the base for all key examinations in a move to check fraud, including impersonation. The Union government is planning to link entrance examinations, including the Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, the unified National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges and the University Grants Commission’s National Eligibility Test (NET), with Aadhaar, two government officials said. This comes after the government last month made Aadhaar mandatory for registration of candidates for the joint entrance examination JEE-Main—the first of the two-tier entrance examination system for entry into Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and other top engineering and technology schools. “After JEE-Main, other high-stake entrances will get Aadhaar-linked,” said one of the two officials, both of whom declined to be named. “It will happen in 2017.” ALSO READ | …

Cyclone Vardah: 4 killed in Tamil Nadu, over 10,000 rescued from coastal areas ( Livemint )

Cyclone Vardah: 4 killed in Tamil Nadu, over 10,000 rescued from coastal areas Here are the latest updates related to Cyclone Vardah as it hits Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh Subscribe to our newsletter. Livemint Fishermen in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh have been warned not to head out, with the seas expected to be rough for the next two days due to Cyclone Vardah. Photo: PTI New Delhi: Cyclone Vardah is showing signs of weakening and is expected to turn into ‘cyclonic storm’ in next 3-4 hours, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD). Earlier, the very severe cyclone made landfall near Chennai on Monday afternoon, bringing heavy rains accompanied by high velocity winds to Tamil Nadu’s capital and other coastal districts. Hundreds of trees have been uprooted in Chennai and in the region with four reported deaths so far. The rains have also affected transportation systems and power supply. Andhra Pradesh too has reported heavy rainfall in coastal districts., though the destruct…

Turkey’s derailed war on terror (thehindu)

IN Islamic State Turkey is facing a multi-dimensional security crisis. Its forces are deployed on two battlefronts — in the southeast, where most of the country’s 15 million Kurds live, to fight the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); and in Syria to face off threats from the Islamic State (IS) as well as Kurdish rebels. But these operations have hardly helped the country secure its cities from terror attacks, as seen in Saturday’s blasts in Istanbul that killed 44 people, mostly police officers. The attack has been claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a splinter group of the PKK, which said they were taking revenge for the ongoing military operation in the southeast and the continuing imprisonment of Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK leader. The unrelenting terror attacks over the past few years show that something is wrong with law enforcement and security arrangements in Turkey, a country otherwise known for functional institutions and a tough security regime, or a deep state. Eve…

Beyond the court’s remit -(The Hindu)

its recent order banning liquor sale and consumption in three districts in the State, the Uttarakhand High Court has drifted outside the confines of law and entered the domain of morals and desired behaviour. The court has crossed its legal remit by extending a government policy of prohibiting liquor outlets in the vicinity of places of worship, to cover Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi from April 2017. It has also banned tobacco products within a five-km radius of three gurdwaras. The court has assumed the power to make regulations on its own even after observing that the State government “has taken laudable measures to prohibit the sale of liquor in specified areas”. The petitioner had not sought any such ban. The court has used a petition challenging the grant of a bar licence at a location near Haridwar as an opportunity to moralise on the evils of drink. Ironically, the Division Bench has found no illegality in the grant of licence as the bar concerned is situated outside the…

Cyclone Vardah heads towards Chennai shores (thehindu)

Cyclonic storm Vardah is likely to make landfall by Monday afternoon along north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast, close to Chennai, accompanied by strong winds with speeds of 80 to 90 kmph. S. Balachandran, director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre in Chennai, told the media on Sunday the rain would gradually increase from the morning of December 12 and was expected to last until the next day in the northern districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. Moderate rain S.B.Thampi, Deputy Director General of Meteorology said, most places along north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts would get to light to moderate rain with possibilities of heavy rainfall of up to 20 cm as the system makes landfall. “During landfall on Monday, Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Puducherry will get rain and once the system crosses, Vellore and Dharmapuri will begin to get rain,” he said. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam chaired a meeting in the Secretariat on Sunday to revi…