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Archives for : November2018

Gurugaon- 3-year-old girl found raped and murdered #WTFnews

Has death penalty for rape of children made it more likely that little ones will be killed?

November 13, 2018

minor girl- rape

A three-year-old girl who had been missing from her home was found brutally raped and murdered in Gurgaon. According to the police reports, a 20-year-old man from the same slum cluster who had been visiting the locality from past one week is involved. The police have further stated that the accused belonged to Uttar Pradesh and is the prime suspect for the act committed.

According to the doctor who conducted the post-mortem, the girl was sexually assaulted and had died due to head injury caused by fracture on her skull inflicted by a brick or a stone and excessive internal bleeding. The doctor has further stated that a 10 cm long wooden stick was found in her private parts.

The child’s naked body was found in a vacant room by a group of labours who informed the police. The girl’s father has stated that they had left her under the supervision of their 12-year-old son while they were gone for work, however, the wife discovered their daughter to be missing when she returned.

He has further stated that his son got busy in watching television and her daughter went outside to play with other children who informed them that the girl had gone with a man who had lured her with a chocolate and a 10 rupee note. The parents then approached the police on not being able to find the girl. Later, the parents of the victim received a call directing them to reach the spot to identify the body.

An F.I.R has been filed under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

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Killing tigress- Avni violation of SC order

  • Mumbai
  • Badri Chatterjee

INDEPENDENT STUDY Says bullet was fired when animal was looking away; tranquilliser dart was inserted after her death

MUMBAI: The killing of tigress T1, also known as Avni, on November 2 was not only a violation of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act but a contempt of Supreme Court (SC) orders on how the wild animal was supposed to have been put down, claimed an independent study.

The analysis by Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) said the tranquilliser dart was inserted into the tigress’ body after it died. It also concluded the animal was not shot in self-defence as she was not facing the hunter. Both aspects constitute a violation of SC orders. HT is in possession of the report.

Avni is said to have killed 13 people since June 2016, which forced the forest department to initiate a hunt for the ‘problematic tigress’.

On September 7, justices BP Dharmadhikari and MG Giradkar at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay high court disposed of the civil application seeking a stay against orders to shoot T1.

The order was challenged by the petitioners Dr Jerryl A Banait and Sarita Subramaniam in the SC. Though the apex court refused to interfere with the high court’s decision, it said the forest department would be bound by their own order to tranquillise her first and, in case of failure, shoot her.

According to the report, the dart was found on the tigress’ body with the cannula (a thin tube inserted into a vein or body cavity to administer medication) piercing the skin on the left thigh.

“As observed the cannula of the dart had gone into the subcutaneous layer and had not penetrated into the underlying muscle. There was no haemorrhage observed in the muscles at the darting site,” the report read.

The analysis added the bullet wound was on the left shoulder region near the scapula (shoulder bone) near the third rib.

“The path from the entry wound to the place where the bullet was lodged indicates the trajectory is at an obtuse angle (as measured from the direction of the tigers head) to the axis of the body (spinal axis; nose to tail) … it shows the animal was facing away from the person who fired the bullet,” the report read.

A forest officer who assisted with the post-mortem on November 3 and was present during the analysis, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed it was clear from both reports that the animal was shot first and the dart was merely jabbed into the body.

“It is impossible for the bullet to pass through the shoulder like this if the tigress was about to attack the hunter,” he said.

The report also said, “The weapon that killed the tigress remains unidentified as it was not made available at the post-mortem site. Similarly, the empty cartridge was also not available at the post-mortem site.”

Subramaniam said the report rubbishes the hunter’s self-defence claim and the principal chief wildlife conservator AK Misra’s “attempts at covering up the entire operation.”


The tranquilliser dart should have penetrated the tigress’ underlying muscle and caused a haemorrhage but had not in this case The dart was found with cannula piercing the skin on the left thigh. The dart was empty and no liquid was observed inside the barrel The bullet trajectory indicates that it was fired at an obtuse angle, and the place of its lodging indicate the animal was facing away from the gunman The weapon remains unidentified as it was not made available at the post-mortem site. Similarly, the empty cartridge was also not available The right lung was found damaged due to the bullet injury, as was the tigress’ trachea

An artistic reconstruction of how the bullet was fired at tigress T1 aka Avni according to the post­mortem report prepared by the Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Hindustan Times

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Punjab- Not all farmers burn stubble #mustshare

Some use it to improve harvest

Several Cultivators In Punjab Are Employing Paddy Residue To Create Fertilisers That Are Ploughed Back Into Their Fields

Come autumn and the vexatious issue of stubble burning in northern India sets off alarm bells and leads to much hand-wringing in policy circles and civil society with little, however, to show by way of a solution. But some farmers in Punjab have applied innovative strategies to dispose of their paddy stubble that doesn’t involve the setting of their fields on fire.

Farmers in Punjab have started sowing wheat as paddy harvesting enters the last stage with just one-fifth of the crop left to be cut in fields. But it is the lack of a gap between harvesting paddy and sowing wheat and the increased time and high cost of operating subsidised straw management machines that leaves farmers who are keen to stop burning stubble with no choice.

However, amid all the hue and cry over crop burning, there are instances of farmers in Punjab who have employed novel methods to manage paddy stubble at low or negligible costs.

Take for example Mukesh Chander of Rani Bhatti village near Bhogpur in Jalandhar district. He revealed that he had collected stubble on a small portion of his field and sprayed urea on it. “This helps to convert stubble into fertiliser in around two months, which we plough back into the field at an appropriate time between the harvesting and sowing of a crop,” he said.

The use of this innovative method is a win-win scenario for farmers. “It saves a lot of expenditure on diesel, which is consumed for managing the stubble with machines, and has also reduced my consumption of fertilisers. I have calculated that although a small portion of the field is used to pile up the crop stubble, the final compensation in terms of savings is more,” said Mukesh, who cultivates over 100 acres of land that he takes on contract.

Gurdev Singh of Navan Qila village, near Shahkot, also in Jalandhar district, said he had experimented by throwing cattle dung over stubble piled up at a side of his field with a view to converting it into fertiliser. “If one can mix cattle dung and stubble after a few weeks using an earth-moving machine, then it can be ploughed back as fertiliser in the fields in six months. I have been using this method for most of the last decade and this has been much cheaper,” he said.

Shaminder Singh Sandhu of Aahli Kalan village in Kapurthala district, whose family cultivates over 300 acres, said they did not burn stubble and had ploughed it back into the fields. “This has reduced our consumption of fertilisers. Most people in our village did not burn stubble,” he said.

Lakhwinder Singh, from the same village, whose family has been cultivating 100 acres, said he only used mulcher to break down stubble into fine parts and did not spend on ploughing it back. “We have already sown wheat and it has started growing well,” he said. “The shredded stubble would ultimately get mixed in the soil during irrigation and would decompose further on its own. I have been using this method for the last three years and this has reduced my consumption of fertilisers as well as the spending on stubble management,” he added.

Although media reports suggest that there is a visible reduction in the volume of post-harvest stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana this year, a good chunk of farmers is still reluctant to use the ‘Happy Seeder’ — a machine which allows sowing without removing the stubble, thus obviating the need for stubble burning — fearing lower yields.

Seasonal burning of crop stubble and smoke from fireworks lit to celebrate Diwali on November 7 have aggravated already high smog levels in the past few days in national capital Delhi from vehicle emissions, industrial gases and construction work.

But turning stubble into fertiliser, as some farmers have done, should serve to address the issues of both crop burning and farm yields for farmers in northern India.

CUTTING EDGE: (Top) Wheat has already started growing at a farm in Kapurthala district where paddy stubble was left in the fields after shredding. (Right) Paddy stubble piled by the sides of a field in Jalandhar district. The stubble, left under the shade of trees, is sprayed with urea as part of a process to convert it into fertiliser

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Maharashtra – 10k farmers face #Aadhaar hurdle to crop insurance payout

₹13 Crore Claims Unpaid In Two Dists By One Co


As many as 10,322 farmers with crop insurance claims worth Rs 13 crore due from the United India Insurance Company Ltd (UIIC) in two districts have not got a payout for last year so far owing to problems with Aadhaar linkage to their bank accounts. Of these, 9,960 farmers are from Beed district and 362 farmers from Ahmednagar, both of which have been badly affected by this year’s drought.

The details of claims rejected under the ‘Aadhaar-based payment system’ are on the insurance company’s website, urging farmers to provide the required documents to enable settlement. The farmers had either applied online or through the common service centre for the PM’s Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for the 2017 kharif season. The payments were to be made by the insurance firm directly into farmer bank accounts through direct benefit transfer (DBT).

“Initially, rejected claims amounted to Rs 18 crore in these two districts but we have since paid Rs 5 crore. Around Rs 13 crore is pending. Payments for 30-40 farmers are being cleared daily,” said a spokesperson for UIIC.

Farmers have to enrol for the crop insurance scheme in order to avail of a crop loan. The provision of Aadhaar details is mandatory for the scheme. In case a farmer does not have an Aadhaar card, then the application number is sufficient. In September, the Supreme Court had upheld the use of Aadhaar for government welfare schemes. However, it also said that no one could be denied welfare benefits if Aadhaar authentication failed.


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India – Setback for freedom of academia

The University Grants Commission seems not to have the faintest conception of academic freedom.

The Aligarh Muslim University is very much a “central university”. The University Grants Commission seems not to have the faintest conception of academic freedom. Its fiat is shockingly archaic. (Photo: File)

 The Aligarh Muslim University is very much a “central university”. The University Grants Commission seems not to have the faintest conception of academic freedom. Its fiat is shockingly archaic. (Photo: File)

On October 13, Professor K.N. Panikkar sounded the alarm. As reported, India’s University Grants Commission let all central universities know some time back that service rules that were applicable to union government servants should also be relevant to central universities and “Criticism of government will henceforth constitute a violation of service rules”.

The Central Civil Services Conduct Rules asserts: “No government servant shall, in any radio broadcast, telecast through any electronic media or in any document published in his name or anonymously, pseudonymously or in the name of any other person or in communication to the press or in any public utterance, make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy of the central government or a state government.” This will reduce teachers to servants of the government.

A professor pointed out that “Academic freedom in class for a critical discussion on policies may suffer; something that disciplines like law, political science, economics or journalism, may bear the brunt of.”

The Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations said, “Several of the new central universities created by the Central Universities Act, 2009, have adopted the CCS Conduct Rules.

The Aligarh Muslim University is very much a “central university”. The University Grants Commission seems not to have the faintest conception of academic freedom. Its fiat is shockingly archaic.

Britain’s Education Act, 1986, is an instructive model. It imposes duties on the governing bodies of universities and colleges. It imposes on the governing bodies “(t)he duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the use of any premises of the establishment is not denied to any individual or body of persons on any ground connected with (a) the beliefs or views of that individual or of any member of that body; or (b) the policy or objectives of that body”. This applies to teachers, students and visitors.

The Supreme Court of the United States witnessed a similar upheaval during the McCarthy era. In a series of decisions it upheld the independence of the academia, justice William Douglas wrote: “Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. Supineness and dogmatism take the place of inquiry. A ‘party line’ — as dangerous as the ‘party line’ of the Communists — lays hold. It is the ‘party line’ of the orthodox view, of the conventional thought, of the accepted approach. A problem can no longer be pursued with impunity to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; she becomes instead a pipeline for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place for free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin.”

A university is a community within the larger community of civil society. The US Supreme Court has frequently declared that freedom of expression is particularly necessary in the academic context if the university is to perform its function. This consideration applies to the faculty member. He cannot be restricted in one capacity without destroying his freedom in the other. The University Grants Commission’s fiat is unconstitutional. At a time when, the world over, the independence of academia is prized, it is disheartening to see a reverse trend in India.

The writer is an author and lawyer based in Mumbai

Asian Age

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The argument from cyberspace for eliminating nuclear weapons

At the height of the Cold War in 1982, American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton argued that the “central existential fact of the nuclear age is vulnerability.” That warning predated the proliferation of computers into almost every aspect of modern life, including nuclear weapons.

Today, the destructiveness of nuclear weapons has been coupled with the vulnerability of computers to create new pathways to disaster.

Specifically, there is now the possibility that hackers could compromise the computers that control nuclear weapons or provide information to officials about impending nuclear attacks.

Weapons security critically flawed

An October 2018 report reinforced this sense of vulnerability. In it, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) described a number of problems commonly found in the modern weapons systems developed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Although the report itself doesn’t say so, officials confirmed that nuclear weapons programs were included in the study.

 A graphic from the GAO report illustrating many of the potential computer systems built into modern weapons systems that could be vulnerable to hackers. U.S. Government Accountability OfficeThe findings of the GAO report echoed earlier warnings of the cyberthreat to nuclear weapons. These included a 2013 DOD report and one by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-governmental nuclear weapon threat reduction organization based in Washington, D.C.

Our research examines the risks associated with nuclear weapons systems, including those of accidental or inadvertent nuclear war. The most pressing concern from the GAO report is the possibility that some of these vulnerabilities might affect “nuclear command and control,” the term used to describe the computer networks that continuously monitor and direct the vast U.S. nuclear arsenal (or Russia).

The recent GAO report broadly criticized all DOD weapons systems. Over the past five years (2012 to 2017), the GAO reported, “DOD testers routinely found mission-critical cyber-vulnerabilities in nearly all weapon systems that were under development. Using relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of these systems and largely operate undetected.”

In other words, just about every weapon system being developed by the U.S. military is vulnerable to cyberattack. What stands out are both the scale of the problem and that these problems exist in systems that should be highly protected.

The computerized military

Computers play an outsized role in the U.S. military — from providing information through various sensors to forming the backbone of communications networks. Faster communications and increased access to information are both valuable assets and these goals can be achieved with computers. Computers have become ubiquitous in the military environment as countries demand quick access to information and communications.

But computers also introduce vulnerabilities. As their role grows to include connecting the weapons systems of most advanced countries, so does our vulnerability. The vulnerability of these weapons systems should be seen as an anticipated and, arguably unavoidable, consequence of the computer-filled world we live in.

The GAO report went farther than just identifying vulnerabilities — it identified a culture within the DOD that fails to recognize and adequately address cybersecurity problems. Officials routinely assumed their systems were safe and ignored warnings until very recently.

We have observed a similar overconfidence in the military officials responsible for nuclear command and control.

This is a problem because the command-and-control system relies on complex networks of interconnected computers. These computers connect early warning satellites and radars to the president and will be used to pass on presidential orders to launch nuclear weapons should that fateful decision ever be made.

Computers must also constantly monitor and coordinate the daily operation of U.S. nuclear arsenal. Timelines for decisions in this system are extremely compressed, allowing less than 10 minutes for critical launch decisions to be made. The combination of interactive complexity and the tight timeline is typical of many other technological systems that are susceptible to unpredictable, large-scale accidents.

Computer errors that almost started nuclear wars

Unclassified reports reveal that problems within the computers of nuclear command and control date back to at least the 1970s, when a deficient computer chip signalled that 200 Soviet missiles were headed towards the U.S. Computer problems have persisted: In 2010, a loose circuit card caused a U.S. launch control centre to lose contact with 50 nuclear missiles. In both cases, the accident might have been mistaken for a deliberate attack. Failing to recognize the mistake could have resulted in the U.S. launching nuclear weapons.

 Programming codes. (Markus Spiske/Unsplash)FALThese cases were presumably the result of unintentional errors, not deliberate actions. But hacking and other forms of targeted cyberattacks greatly increase the risk of accidental nuclear launch or other devastating actions. Overconfidence on the part of the officials overseeing the nuclear arsenal is therefore negligent and dangerous.

A more recent compounding factor is the ongoing, roughly trillion-dollar upgrade of the U.S. nuclear arsenal started by the Obama administration. This so-called modernization effort included upgrades to the nuclear command and control system. The Trump administration continues to make this a priority.

Modernization increases the possibility that changes to the nuclear command and control system will introduce new or reveal hitherto unknown vulnerabilities into the system. The evidence from the GAO report and other publicly available documents indicates that the officials in charge will be emphasizing speed, convenience, or cost over cybersecurity.

In its conclusion, the GAO report explained that the DOD “has taken several major steps to improve weapon systems cybersecurity.” But the DOD “faces barriers that may limit its ability to achieve desired improvements,” such as constraints on information sharing and workforce shortages. That is not reassuring.

There is a more basic problem that we have emphasized above: the risks associated with cyberattacks can be ameliorated but not fully eliminated. When this intrinsic risk is integrated with the sheer destructiveness of nuclear weapons, the only way to avoid a catastrophic accident at some point in time is to embrace efforts to abolish the weapons themselves.

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