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Showing posts from July 12, 2020

Discrimination and prejudice in development

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT Célestin Monga Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Years ago, I was appointed senior economist in the Europe and Central Asia department of the World Bank. Despite my being appointed through a tough, open, and competitive process, some of my colleagues were anxious that a Cameroonian was picked for the position. They wondered whether I would be able to handle the highly complex fiscal, monetary, and economic issues facing these countries, all engaged in the European Union accession process. Having done research on the economics of monetary integration, I was actually well prepared for the job. My colleagues’ dark prediction did materialize. When my appointment was officially communicated to the various countries under my responsibility, one of the ministers of finance reacted with shock and horror. A Ph.D.-holder herself, she only inquired about my citizenship. When told th

Education: PTI’s plan exposed

Pervez Hoodbhoy Updated 18 Jul, 2020 The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad. BE prepared, Pakistan! Imran Khan’s government is poised to inflict damage upon this country’s education system in a manner never seen before. Its so-called Single National Curriculum (SNC) hides systemic changes going far deeper than the ones conceived and executed by the extremist regime of Gen Ziaul Haq. Implementation is  scheduled  for 2021. At first glance a uniform national curriculum is hugely attractive. Some see it striking a lethal blow at the abominable education apartheid that has wracked Pakistan from day one. By the year, a widening gap has separated beneficiaries of elite private education from those crippled by bad public schooling. So what could be better than the rich child and the poor child studying the same subjects from the same books and being judged by the same standards? But this morally attractive idea has been hijacked, corrupted, mutila

The aging, childless future

AXIOS.COM Steve LeVine ,  Harry Stevens Expand chart Data:  United Nations World Population Prospects 2017 ; Chart: Harry Stevens/since the dawn of humans — the rise and, in the last half century, explosion of the population. Axios Since the dawn of humans, we have faced one inexorable challenge — how to support the rise and — in the last half century or so — explosion of the population. But, in a momentous reversal, that age-old challenge is changing: the population of most countries is shrinking — for many of them at an alarming pace — and at the same time aging. Much of the world teeters on the cusp of a childless, elderly future. Why it matters : A growing, youthful population is typically a bedrock sign of vitality. In the industrial age, that's included a growing economy, greater opportunity, advancing technology, and a more comfortable retirement for older people. The turnaround on all continents except Africa means supporting an increasing number of retired people with many

AI thing: Automated image generation

OpenAI's iGPT algorithm in action. Credit: OpenAI Source:    An AI algorithm is capable  of automatically generating realistic-looking images from bits of pixels. Why it matters:  The achievement is the latest evidence that AI is increasingly able to learn from and copy the real world in ways that may eventually allow algorithms to create fictional images that are indistinguishable from reality. What's new:  In a  paper  presented at this week's International Conference on Machine Learning, researchers from   OpenAI showed they could train the organization's GPT-2 algorithm on images. GPT-2 is best known as a text-generating algorithm, capable of absorbing the structure of language by training on billions of words off the internet and then "writing" passable text from a simple prompt. After training on images, the OpenAI algorithm — now called iGPT — could be fed a visual prompt in the form of half an image and then fill in the rest of it. How it wor

Solidarity: Question to Indian Muslim leaders

Indian Muslim leaders have vociferously expressed solidarity with the Palestinians and the Rohingyas. 🔴 Why is there a deafening silence on the Uighur question among Indian Muslims? Silence in Pakistan is understandable but not here. The answer to this will tell us a lot about the deep ideology and conditioning of Indian Muslim leadership an d the centre of gravity of Indian Muslim intelligentsi a and institutions - they see Syria but not Afghanistan or Balochistan, they see Palestine but not Uighurs.

After Chabahar Port II, Farzad-B too is set to go out of Indian hands

Shine Jacob & Megha Manchanda  |  New Delhi | Last Updated at July 15 2020 22:49 IST Iran is itself funding and developing a rail link under the second phase of the Chabahar Port Iran has ended its agreement with India for two key projects, the second phase of  Chabahar Port  and development of the Farzad-B block, reflecting the souring relations between the once strong allies. The West Asian country will fund and develop a rail link under the second phase of the  Chabahar Port  on its own, while the contract for developing the Farzad-B block is likely to be handed over to a local company following slow progress by ONGC Videsh (OVL). A person close to the development said Iran will sign a deal for development of the field with a local oil company soon. In the historic ‘New Delhi Declaration’ signed on January 25, 2003, both countries had decided to jointly develop the  Chabahar Port  complex and Chabahar-Fahranj-Bam railway link. Since then, the Chabahar project, along with the Far

What’s the Difference Between Disinformation and Misinformation?

What’s the difference between disinformation and misinformation? (I get asked this question a lot, so I thought it was time to write about it). The difference between disinformation and misinformation lies in the presence of intent.   The Difference Between Disinformation and Misinformation Let’s look at a couple of examples to understand the difference between disinformation and misinformation. Misinformation  encompasses a wide range of misleading content, from rumour to satire to human error. However, there’s a crucial difference: misinformation doesn’t acknowledge intent.   Disinformation , on the other hand, has a more specific and sinister meaning. Disinformation is created with an intention to deceive. For example, a disinformation campaign could involve a doctored video. It could consist of a political candidate’s gaffes, spliced together to imply that he has dementia. Malinformation and Fake News We also have  malinformation . This is information based on reality, used malicio

The changing information environment, with Judy King

In episode 13 of the World of Intelligence podcast, Terry Pattar, head of the Janes Intelligence Unit and Mark Wilson, Janes Intelligence Unit Consultant are joined by Judy King, Editorial Director at BBC Monitoring to discuss trends and challenges of the shifting information environment. Janes understands the challenge of producing effective open source intelligence (OSINT) for increasingly time-short customers to support their decision makers. This is why we also design and deliver bespoke OSINT training programmes, designed to help you transform open-source information into actionable intelligence. For more information on OSINT training Listen to podcast 📻

China Global Investment Tracker

The value of China’s overseas investment and construction combined since 2005 exceeds $2 trillion. In 2019, Chinese construction held roughly steady while investment fell. To date in 2020, COVID-19 has brought with it a further plunge in investment. The Belt and Road Initiative has become relatively more important, though within a smaller Chinese footprint overall, as the US and other rich countries have discouraged Chinese spending. The China Global Investment Tracker (CGIT) is the only comprehensive public data set covering China’s global investment and construction, which are documented both separately and together. Inaugurated in 2005, the CGIT now includes 3,400 large transactions across energy, transportation, real estate, and other industries, as well as 300 troubled transactions. The full list, with the amount, Chinese parent company, host country, and sector, is available for public use with the proper citation. The tracker is published by the American Enterprise Institute htt

Pakistan: Priority rights about use of oil, gas resources: Sindh, KP, Balochistan may give tough time to federal, Punjab govts in CCI

Priority rights about use of oil, gas resources: Sindh, KP, Balochistan may give tough time to federal, Punjab govts in CCI National Khalid Mustafa July 18, 2020 ISLAMABAD: The three federating units Sindh , KP and Balochistan are most likely to give tough time to the Punjab and federal governments in the meeting of Council of Common Interests scheduled on... Share Next Story >>> ISLAMABAD: The three federating units Sindh , KP and Balochistan are most likely to give tough time to the Punjab and federal governments in the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) scheduled on August 6 on the interpretation of Article 158 and 172 (3) of the Constitution with regard to the priority rights about the usage of minerals, oil and natural gas. The CCI to be attended by all provinces with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair will analyse the interpretation of Article 158 and 172 (3) of the Constitution with regard to identifying the priority rights of using the oil and natural gas

Deadly Skirmish Was Part of a Larger Plan by China, India Believes

Documents obtained by U.S. News offer insight into the Indian government’s thinking on the deadly skirmish last month between forces in a contested region of the Himalayas. By  Paul D. Shinkman , Senior Writer, National Security THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT  believes a deadly skirmish between its military and Chinese troops in an isolated and contested part of the Himalayas  portends a broader campaign by Beijing to envelop the South Asian power with its military and economic influence, according to  documents obtained by U.S. News . The recent clash in the Galwan River Valley, where both sides had inserted military forces in support of their own territorial claims, represents a nefarious and protracted effort by Beijing, according to a collection of analysis papers that Indian officials say represent their government's assessment of China's behavior. Source: China Ordered Attack on Indian Troops  ] The Indian government links the latest encounter in a region it calls Ladakh to what i