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Navigation rights figure in first Quadrilateral talks

Beginning a diplomatic initiative, India on Sunday participated in the first formal official level discussions here under the recently floated regional coalition known as the 'Quad', the quadrilateral formation that includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

Delhi's pollution levels rise again

Pollution levels in the national capital rose again on Sunday after a slight dip on Saturday, with visibility falling to below 100 meters at several places in the morning. Figures released at 4pm on Sunday by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) show the average of 15 monitoring stations over the past 24 hours had a scora of 460 on the Air Quality Index (AQI), which falls in the 'severe' category.

South China Sea, Rohingya on ASEAN map

The maritime dispute over the South China Sea, exodus of the Rohingya citizens of Myanmar into Bangladesh and India, North Korean nuclear posturing and Islamic State-linked terrorism are liely to be the key talking points at the 31st ASEAN summit beginning here on Monday.

Trump offers to meditate in South China Sea dispute

US president Donald Trump landed in the Philippines on Sunday for a summit of Southeast and East Asian nations, hours after offering to mediate on competing claims to the South China Sea that have long stoked tensions in the region.


Hit Refresh

The GST Council on its recent meet in Guwahati last Friday implemented certain relief measures for the people- after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that it would give beneficial changes for the small time businesses and consumers. As such, the GST Council lowered the tax rates of more than 200 products and about 100 minor changes in the GST. Also, more than 1200 products and services are brought especially under five prominent tax brackets of 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. This leaves only 50 products under the highest tax brackets. The range of Composition Scheme was expanded twice till now- from the initial amount of Rs 75 lakhs each year to Rs 1 crores and at present further to Rs 1.5 crores. However, the transmission of the lower rates would take some time before the existing inventory situation in the market is replaced with the fresh priced products. The GST shouldn’t emerge as a tool for pleasing constituencies. It should rather implement a transparent system having n explicit rationale which modifies any rate changes in the future. This would make the businesses and consumers believe the GST and its credibility.

The AI battlefield

On 13th November, a United Nations (UN) group of experts from Geneva would begin the first formal inter-governmental discussions on the machine autonomy that are meant for laws of all armed conflict and future of international security. Over the years with the advent of new technologies, the weapons, and their use have changed- it also changed the way the wars are fought and the strategic balance between the attack and the defense system maintained. With the same advanced technologies, the rules and reforms as to what is considered acceptable in the field of warfare have evolved over the years. These rules and norms have been codified in the international humanitarian law which is universally accepted as a regulated and coordinated armed conflict. Technology leaders across the world are more worried about the different autonomous systems taking life and death situations without any meaningful human supervision or due control. These concerns not only arise about AI-based technologies but also about legal liabilities when the autonomous vehicles would share space with pedestrians and humans. The question in Geneva would be about the existence of AI and protecting the tenets of international humanitarian law together. The existence of AI and simultaneously also respecting the legitimate security scenario and commercial interests of the states and industries- this would be the worry in Geneva. Stakeholders in Geneva would take an opportunity to test positively a new approach called ‘distributed technology governance’. This refers to the multilateral system’s search for a durable international reform which needs to integrate the various national regulatory approaches and the industry self-regulation. One needs to find good ways which would let them enjoy the sovereignty, without compromising on the needs of the international community.

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