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Will Modi, Sharif meet? speculation swirls as leaders attend SCO reception



Modi Nawaz Sharif

Astana, Jun 8 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi today attended a reception and a gala show, marking the beginning of the two-day-long SCO Summit, even as speculation swirled over a possible meeting between him and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to defuse tensions in bilateral ties.

Modi, Sharif, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping were among the top leaders who attended the reception hosted by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

It was not known whether Modi and Sharif exchanged pleasantries at the reception, but they were seated far apart from each other in a horizontal row.

When asked whether he will have a meeting with Modi, Sharif, before leaving for the reception, only smiled and waved at the media persons which many interpreted as an indication of a possible meeting or at least a pull aside between the two leaders.

Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs, too did not respond to a query on a possible Modi-Sharif tete-e-tete.

India has been maintaining that there was neither any request from the Pakistani side nor any such proposal from the Indian side for a Modi-Sharif meeting.

Both Modi and Sharif arrived here today to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit which will tomorrow induct both India and Pakistan as its full members.

Ties between India and Pakistan have nosedived over a range of issues including beheading of two soldiers by the Pakistan military along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and the death sentence handed down to former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan on charges of spying. The International Court of Justice has stayed Jadhav’s execution.

The Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has also been witnessing rising tensions.

The events related to the SCO Summit got underway with a spectacular concert this evening.

Indian classical dance Kathak was the first to be featured after the host nation Kazakhstan’s ensemble.

Eight dancers from Bengaluru-based NADAM put up ‘Mahaganapathim’ — an ode to the god of auspicious beginnings, Lord Ganesha.

India was the only observer country to perform in the concert which featured traditional and western classical music and dance performances from China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, apart from the hosts.


J&K: Two militants killed in Anantnag gunfight




Srinagar, March 24: Two terrorists were killed on Saturday in an encounter with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, police said.

“Security personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police surrounded Shistargam village on Friday evening following information about a group of holed-up militants.

“As the cordon was tightened, the militants fired at the security forces triggering the gunfight,” police sources said.

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Fear that AI will take up both skilled & unskilled jobs: Rajan

We have to make sure Indian capital is available because often it is closest to the ground and understands the financing better




Kochi, Mar 23 : Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan today expressed fears that Artificial Intelligence would take up jobs–both high skilled and unskilled.

With advances in Machine Learning,Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, this was going to change still further, as they take up the jobs,ranging from those in unskilled sweatshops to high-skilled professions like medicine, the former RBI Governor said.

“What jobs will humans be able to do in 10-15 years that are immune from threat?Jobs that require high intelligence and creativity; jobs that require human empathy and jobs where human working for us bolster our status in some way,” he said, delivering the keynote address outlining his vision for India at #FUTURE Global Digital Summit, organised by the Kerala government.

He, however, India has to embrace technology and become a leader in the digital transformation taking place around the globe without being bogged down by unfounded fears of job losses, incomes or machines replacing humans.

Among the biggest obstacles to technology adoption were fears of man being replaced by machines a fear that has existed since the industrial revolution,but never materialised. “Two hundred years since the industrial revolution, jobs are still around. People and society adapt to do the things that machines cannot do,” he said.

“With technology, across every job there is going to be a restructuring, taking away the routine aspects and leaving the creative and customised aspects of that job,” he said.

Currently Professor, Finance at University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Rajan said that in every industrial country, more jobs have disappeared in routine skilled and non routine unskilled jobs, which has partly led to the anxieties.

The former RBI Governor said another aspect of the fear was where the incomes would come from; the answer to which was an assured Universal Basic Income.

In the Indian context, he said “we have a huge hunger for capabilities at every level. If we can create incomes at some level, the aspirations of people will ensure their children move up in life and get the opportunities that they did not.”

In terms of business opportunities, the government needs to do far more for start-ups to flourish in India by creating easy paths to incorporation and funding, he said.

Rajan said that one of the big lacunae in India was risk financing and so start-ups go elsewhere because they need risk financing, which was not available in the country.

“We have to make sure Indian capital is available because often it is closest to the ground and understands the financing better,” Rajan said.

“We have to make sure that the companies of our future are incorporated in India, get Indian financing and expand significantly. We cannot miss out on the AI and Robotics revolution,” he said.

Another significant area where India effectively needs a revolution is education and skill building, Rajan said.

“We need to remedy weaknesses in education at every stage, build more world-class institutions domestically and bring the talent back from abroad,” Rajan said.

“We are not as global as we should be even now. Too many of our people are too poorly educated or skilled to compete in a globalised tech-enabled economy,” Rajan noted.

“If we don’t do that we will end up with a two-tier economy of a few “haves” and a vast population of “have-nots”, which is neither socially stable nor desirable,”he said.

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Sonia Gandhi rushed back to Delhi, better now




March 23:  Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, who was rushed to New Delhi from Shimla on Friday due to her ill health, is better now, said sources close to 10, Janpath.

Gandhi was in Shimla along with her daughter Priyanka Vadra, officials said.

She was initially taken to Chandigarh on Thursday night and from there the Congress leader was taken to New Delhi on a special aircraft.

“Since she (Sonia Gandhi) refused to get examined at Indira Gandhi Medical College (in Shimla) and insisted on reaching Chandigarh, she was taken to Chandigarh late in night and from there she was taken to New Delhi,” an official told IANS.

Gandhi and her daughter were staying at the Wildflower Hall, an Oberoi Group luxury resort.

Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Ramesh Chand accompanied the Congress leader from Shimla to Chandigarh.

“Her condition was stable,” Chand told IANS.

Sonia Gandhi and her family arrived in Shimla on Wednesday and visited Charabra where Priyanka Vadra’s cottage is being constructed.


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