KOCHI l FRIDAY l AUGUST 23, 2019 l `7.00 l PAGES 32 l LATE CITY EDITION AMAZON, MICROSOFT ACCUSED OF DEVELOPING KILLER BOTS Leading tech firms are working on AI weapons that can decide to kill people on their own, says a new study by Dutch NGO Pax ‘WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION’ GOOGLE SAYS NO TO LETHAL AI The use of artificial intelligence to allow weapon systems to select targets autonomously has been criticised in recent years, with some comparing it to the atomic bomb. “Autonomous weapons will inevitably become scalable weapons of mass destruction” as the human is not in the loop, Stuart Russell, a computer science professor at UC Berkeley, told AFP ■ ■ The Dutch NGO ranked 50 firms based on whether they were developing technology related to deadly AI and working on related autonomous weapons projects for the military Google, which has guiding principles eschewing the use of AI in weapons systems, was among 7 firms lauded for ‘best practice’ 21 firms INCLUDING AMAZON, MICROSOFT & INTEL DEVELOPING DEADLY AI CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Court confirms Kevin’s honour killing, convicts his fiancee’s brother, 9 others INX CASE Probe expanded, FDI clearances to other firms also under scanner; plea in SC against Delhi HC order denying him bail to be heard today Chidambaram in CBI custody till Monday K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi A special CBI court on Thursday sent former Union minister P Chidambaram to CBI custody for four days in the INX Media case and held that interrogation was necessary as the allegations were serious. Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar heard the arguments of the CBI and Chidambaram’s counsels for over one-and-a half hours and remanded the former minister to custody till August 26, while allowing his family members to meet him for half an hour daily . Agreeing with the CBI over the need for a custodial probe, the judge noted, “The allegations of payment being made to the accused in 2007-08 and 200809 are specific and categorical. The trail of this money, if so paid, is to be ascertained. No doubt it is a case to a large extent based on documentary evidence, but those documents need to be traced and their value and their worth for the purpose of the investigation in this case is to be ascertained.” Asking the agency to produce him on Monday, the CBI court judge, in his 10-page order, said, “The investigating agency will ensure that the personal dignity of the accused is not violated in any manner. The accused shall be medically examined after every 48 hours.” Interestingly, Chidambaram’s plea against the Delhi High Court order denying him anticipatory bail has been listed for Friday before an apex court bench headed by Justice R Banumathi. Meanwhile, the CBI has expanded the probe against the former finance minister, and is now investigating foreign investment clearances given to companies other than INX media during his tenure, reports said Thursday . Earlier, during the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the CBI and sought five days of custody of Chidambaram, saying the former union minister was not cooperating with the probe. Mehta said that a grave offence has been committed and added, “The CBI is dealing with a man who is literate, knows the nuances of the law and has been completely evasive.” Last year, Chidambaram’s son and co-accused in the case, Karti Chidambaram, spent 23 days in CBI and judicial custody . The CBI registered an FIR on 15 May 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX for receiving overseas funds of `305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister. The ED then lodged a money laundering P9 case in 2018 RAJ THACKERAY GRILLED BY ED, SECURITY TIGHTENED IN MUMBAI Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray was grilled by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for over eight hours here on Thursday in relation to the ongoing money laundering probe involving a D860 crore IL&FS loan. Section 144 of CrPC was imposed in parts of the Maharashtra capital | P7 AT A GLANCE 4 accused acquitted Kevin’s father Joseph alias AMIT BANDRE Ex-min evasive The former Union minister, who was arrested on Wednesday, spent the night at the CBI headquarters and was given a list of 20 questions. Chidambaram was also asked the reason for evading arrest for a day after the Delhi HC rejected his anticipatory bail plea. According to sources, the questioning in the INX Media case formally began after 12 am but Chidambaram was evasive and did not answer most questions. The Rajya Sabha MP even refused to eat the food he was offered | P9 The allegations made against the accused are serious in nature and there cannot be a dispute with the fact that a detailed and in-depth investigation is required in the present case Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar TN ALLIES SILENT ON ARREST; DMK CADRE SEE REASON FOR JOY Congress allies from Tamil Nadu have not been very forthcoming in condemning the arrest of former Union Minister P Chidambaram. Allies such as DMK, MDMK, CPI and KMDK have not issued an official statement after the arrest. DMK chief Stalin, who tweeted about Madras Day on Thursday, made no official statement through his Twitter account about the arrest. However, he did speak on the issue when quizzed by reporters. Interestingly, many DMK supporters tweeted recounting the 2011 raids at DMK headquarters when Chidambaram was the Home Minister. Rajan said he is planning to move the higher courts against the acquittal of Chacko John It was the statement of Kevin’s fiancee Neenu Chacko which became crucial in the case Neenu with a heavy heart had submitted her statement. EXPRESS READ Pak Davis Cup tie deferred to Nov Finally after exchanging series of mails with Indian tennis association (AITA), the International Tennis Federation (ITF) decided that there was sufficient concern to postpone the Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan to November. “The tie has been rescheduled for November, with the exact dates to be confirmed by the (Davis Cup) Committee no later than 9 September,” an ITF statement said. AITA said the environment wasn’t conducive for Davis Cup. Sriram’s fingerprint found on seat belt T’Puram: Concurring with the statement given by Wafa Firoze that Sriram Venkataraman was behind the wheels when the accident that killed Siraj scribe K M Basheer happened, the Police Fingerprints Bureau has found that fingerprints obtained from the seat belt of the driving seat belonged to the IAS officer. WITH THIS ISSUE KOCHI’S BEST WEEKEND GUIDE 32 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF INDULGE (TABLOID) EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kottayam NEARLY 15 months after Dalit Christian youth Kevin P Joseph was murdered, the Principal Sessions Court here convicted 10 among 14 accused, including his fiancee’s brother, in the case on Thursday. Pronouncing the judgment, the court approved the prosecution’s argument that racial prejudice was the motive. The case thus became the first honour killing to be registered in the state. Those found guilty include Syanu Chacko, brother of Kevin’s fiancée Neenu. Princi- SENSEX −587.44 Pts NIFTY −177.35 Pts act) will stand against all the convicts. IPC section 120 B (conspiracy), however, is applicable only to Syanu, Niyas and Riyas. Further, Niyas, Riyas, Manu, Tittu, Fazil and Shanu were found guilty under IPC sections 449 (house trespass), 427 (causing damage), 341 (wrongful restraint) and IPC 34 (Acts in furtherance of common intention). Nishad and Syanu were also convicted under IPC sections 123 (concealing of design). Shifin, on the other hand, was also found guilty under IPC 201 for causing disappearance of evi● More on P4 dence. STOCK MARKETS SINK AS STIMULUS HOPES DIM Equity markets were spooked on cues that no stimulus package would be coming. CEA Krishnamurthy Subramanian’s comments on Thursday that using taxpayers’ money to bail out loss-making private companies will create moral hazards weighed on market sentiments | P11 FinMin on high alert as `1-lakh cr realty debt may turn bad next qtr A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi ALARMED by the deepening financial stress plaguing the real estate sector, the Department of Financial Services and Department of Economic Affairs have flagged concern over the debt bomb the distressed industry is sitting on. According to officials, they fear a debt default of `1 lakh crore in the coming quarter, which may have ripple effect. Officials said the finance minister will be discussing the issue next week. “Fear of rise in NPA from the realty sector is a matter of concern. An internal assessment hints that `1 lakh crore worth of loans which would be up for repayment by the end of this quarter could turn bad,” they said. “We have already flagged the situation and the government will be discussing the measures this week in consultation with the RBI,” a senior official from the DFS told TNIE. So far, 560,000 homes worth of `4.5 lakh crore are stuck or delayed across the top seven Indian cities mainly due to WANT TOKYO OLYMPIC HOSPITALITY TICKETS? SHELL OUT `43.16 LAKH fortune. For now, those living outside Japan must go through HAVE a spare $60000 to spend Authorized Ticket Resellers, in sports? You are in luck. To- which are deluged with unpreckyo Games organisers have un- edented demand. They also ofveiled a luxury hospitality fer high-end packages and are package worth `43.16 lakh. One allowed to tack on a 20% service important point to note is that charge to each ticket. And many these packages are only open to of the best tickets are tied to exJapan residents as of now. pensive hotels. A random search of well-known Even if it will set the hotel booking sites by purse back substanAP found prices for tially, a person will most 3-4-star hotels get to watch both the The $60,000 between $1,000-1,500 opening and closing package includes per night with few c e re m o n i e s, n i n e days of athletics opening and closing available. There have ceremonies, nine been complaints that events in premium days of athletics many hotels are cans e at s ap a r t f ro m events in premium celling previous ressumptuous dining. If seats apart from ervations to secure one wants to satisfy sumptuous dining. with just one session, For one session, the the markup. Even Jaoffer is $1500 pan’s famous capsule you will have to shell h o t e l s, o t h e r w i s e out $1500 (`1.07 lakh). It’s not yet known if such pack- known as, ‘sleep pods’ will cost ages will be made available for more to crawl inside with prictourists who will travel to es up three or four times on booking sites. watch the Games. Sporting season usually There’s also an old-fashioned means bumped up fares and the way for residents of Japan to Olympics in Tokyo will be no get scarce tickets: a so-called different. For visitors hoping to “second-chance” lottery that stay in the capital city during closed Monday Results will be . the Games, prepare to spend a announced next month. pal Sessions Judge C Jayachandran is expected to pronounce the quantum of punishment on Saturday . Four accused including Neenu’s father Chacko John were acquitted for want of evidence. Other persons convicted are Niyasmon alias Chinnu, Ishan Ismayil, Riyas Ibrahimkutty, Manu Muraleedharan, Shifin Sajjad, N Nishad, Tittu Jerome, Fazil Sherif alias Appus and Shanu Shajahan. The court observed that IPC section 302 (murder charge) and 364A (abduction for ransom or to compel any other person to do or abstain from doing any dearth of funds, according to Anarock Property Consultants. The developers have taken loans at high rates to repay and this has added to their liquidity woes. The problem got accentuated by a liquidity squeeze in financial markets after several nonbanking financial companies defaulted on payments. According to realty consultant JLL, total disbursals by NBFCs and HFCs to developers declined from `52,000 crore in 2017-18 to an estimated `27,000 crore in 2018-19. “Consider a situation where a developer with costs of building an apartment at `30 lakh and a price point of `50 lakh. If there are no buyers, the builder takes a loan at say 23 per cent interest to refinance his current loans. Even that route has dried up,” a leading banker told this publication. In June, credit-rating agency ICRA downgraded Piramal Capital and Housing Finance as well as Edelweiss Capital on fears of defaults. Out of `56,000-crore loan book, `40,000 crore has been lent to realty . Bad loans end declining spell, start rising again After four consecutive quarters of decline, gross non-performing assets (NPAs) shot up in the April-June quarter. During the quarter, gross NPAs as a percentage of total advances rose to 9.7% from 9.5% in March quarter, while gross advances declined to C95.8 lakh crore from C96.8 lakh crore during the same period. In June 2018, it was 11.5 per cent. In absolute terms, however, bad loans marginally grew to C9,26,760 crore. Thushar arrest: CM kills two birds with one stone A N I L S @ T’Puram A G E N C I E S @Chennai SERVING THE NATION After retiring as an Armyman, Rajeesh continues to serve his homeland with his efforts to keep it clean. Post flood, he has been collecting waste materials dumped in Puthenchery river in Kozhikode | T P SOORAJ THIRD COUPLE Wedding bells ring for trans pair U N N I K R I S H N A N S @T’Puram IT was a birthday celebration on November 27 last year that changed the lives of Heidi Sadiya and Atharv, the transgender pair who have decided to get mar ried. Atharv had gone to gift a cake sent by his adopted mother Surya to her friend Renju Renjimar on her birthstudying electronic day. At Dwaya, the journalism at the Institransgender commutute of Journalism in nity in Aluva, he met Thiruvananthapuram, Renju’s adopted in December. daughter Heidi. Their They will be the third friendship developed Heidi Sadiya c o u p l e f r o m t h e and Atharv transgender communiwhen they interacted more on social media and at ty to enter wedlock after community events. Atharv Surya-Ishan and Tripti● More on P6 proposed to Heidi, who is Hrithik. CHIEF Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took political circles by surprise on Thursday morning when he shot off a letter to Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishanker, seeking his personal intervention to help Thushar Vellappally, president of BDJS and convener of NDA in Kerala, who was arrested in Ajman, UAE. The deft political move, with an eye on the substantial Ezhava vote base, clearly pushed the state BJP on the defensive. Pinarayi wrote to the NDA government at the Centre even as the state BJP was yet figure out a way to handle the situation. As expected, Pinarayi’s act did not go down well with the BJP, which alleged that Thushar’s arrest was a conspiracy . Thushar, arrested in a check-bounce case, was later granted bail and released from jail. The move by Pinarayi has again brought to the fore the appeasement politics played by the chief minister, who is said to maintain a close relationship with Thushar’s father and SNDP chief Vellappally Natesan. He had stood with Pinarayi during the Women’s Wall movement, when the state government was on the back foot in the Sabarimala women’s entry issue. Vellappally is also one of the prominent faces in the Renaissance Protection Council, launched by the CM to take on his critics in the Saba● More on P4 rimala issue. Granted bail post furnishing bond BDJS president and businessman Thushar Vellappally, who was arrested in Ajman, UAE, on Thursday in connection with a I19-crore chequebounce case, was released on bail after furnishing a security bond of 1mn Dirhams (I2 cr). I express my gratitude to Yusuffali M A. I don’t think there was any political conspiracy behind my arrest. I was arrested in a hotel room while discussing a land deal Thushar Vellappally
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