The Hindu Important Articles 09 April 2018
Facebook to verify identities for political ads
For months, Facebook’s critics — ranging from Silicon Valley executives to Washington politicians — have been urging the company to do a better job of identifying who is buying political ads and creating pages about hot-button topics on its social media sites.
On Friday, just days before its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, is expected to testify before Congress, Facebook said it had started forcing people who want to buy political or “issue” ads to reveal their identities and verify where they are.
Mr. Zuckerberg announced the move in a post on Facebook. He said this verification was meant to prevent foreign interference in elections, like the ads and posts from Russian trolls before and after the 2016 presidential election.
He added that he supported a Senate Bill, the Honest Ads Act, that would bring political advertising on the internet more in line with what is required on broadcast television.
One of the sponsors of the Bill, which is still in the committee stage, said that statement was a reversal from what Facebook had earlier indicated.
In the coming months, Facebook will start verifying the identity and location of people who run pages that have large followings, Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Facebook will also soon start clearly labelling political ads and providing more information, like who paid for them.NY Times
Broken Houses: on the state of Parliament
The Budget session shamed democracy; the damage can be undone with a new session
With the two Houses of Parliament adjourned sine die on April 6, the institutional crisis afflicting the legislature has been framed by both statistics and the solutions being offered by the Treasury and Opposition benches. While each side is stacking the blame at the other’s doorstep, neither will emerge unscathed; within the heavily polarised, disruption-at-any-cost strategising inside Parliament there is no sign of wiser counsel to reach across the floor and forge a via media. The session began on January 29, the Union Budget was presented on February 1, and the first part concluded on February 9. In the second part of the session, starting March 5, the productivity of both Houses was less than 10%. Against a long list of pending Bills, just one was passed by both Houses, the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill 2017. That was it for the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha passed three other bills related to the Budget: the Finance Bill 2018 and two Appropriation Bills. These are money bills that do not need the Rajya Sabha’s nod, and with the National Democratic Alliance’s numbers in the Lok Sabha, their passage was never going to be in doubt. But it must be an occasion of shame that the Budget was passed in the Lower House without any debate whatsoever. Other numbers deepen the reading of the crisis: both Houses lost more than 120 hours each to disruptions; and the Rajya Sabha took up just five out of 419 listed starred questions (that is, questions that Ministers answer orally, with MPs allowed to ask supplementary questions).
However, the crisis is defined by more than numbers; it is the quality of interaction that is damaging India’s democracy. The Lok Sabha Speaker, most glaringly, failed to use the powers at her command to suspend unruly MPs so that a notice for a no-confidence motion could be considered. Certainly, for all the expedient calculations that guided Opposition parties and the government at different points to have the Houses disrupted, eventually neither benefits. Both come across looking effete — the Opposition for failing to keep the government answerable (especially by failing to use Question Hour), and the government for not mustering the grace and conviction to debate a no-trust motion. Some ruling party MPs proposed that their salaries be docked, as if the crisis is nothing but budgetary. A special session before the monsoon session to finish pending business has been mooted. Although this is bound to raise the question why Parliament was held to ransom if the Opposition had indeed wanted it to function, it is an idea worth considering seriously by all parties. For one, it provides an opportunity to fix a broken parliamentary calendar and finish unfinished legislative business. For another, even the process of reaching an understanding to hold another session may help in repairing, at least to a degree, the very image of our parliamentarians — who seemed to be unabashed about creating and sustaining an institutional crisis.
Daredevils and KXIP seek redemption
Two under-achievers desperate to change the script
Two under-achievers of the Indian Premier League (IPL) look to redeem their reputation on a turf that promises to test their resilience and ability to innovate at the PCA Stadium here on Sunday.
Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab have a lot to prove in a format that demands exacting consistency and tactical acumen.
Two semifinal slots is what Daredevils can boast of in the first 10 years of the tournament. Kings XI finished runner-up in 2014. Over the years, both teams have begun on a rousing note with tall claims only to whither away as the tournament progressed.
Change of guard
It needs to be seen whether the change of guard — Gautam Gambhir returning to lead Daredevils and R. Ashwn in his debut role as captain — provides the desired result for the franchises.
Daredevils has a team devoid of glamour. “We have invested in youth,” said assistant coach Pravin Amre. Kings XI coach Brad Hodge termed his team a “dangerous” proposition and promised “high standard” cricket from the combination which has some trusted performers — Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle — who need to shed the rust that has crept into their batting of late.
The tournament has evolved and Hodge acknowledged the pressure to plan new tactics. “A score of 250 could become regular (in T20). Batsmen take their chances but then bowlers can also work on their craft. I must say the levels of batting have become very high,” said Hodge.
For Daredevils, the loss of Kagiso Rabada impacts the bowling, even though the team can expect his replacement Liam Plunkett’s experience to help the young bowlers.
“We have some new strategies in mind and some fine performers, but essentially we are a fearless unit,” asserted Amre.
Veteran entertainer Gayle, who holds the record for the fastest century in T20 cricket, holds the key for Kings XI’s batting fortunes. Similarly, young Rishabh Pant, who is tipped to scorch the cricket fields in times to come, is the brand ambassador of Daredevils’ dash. Explosive knocks from either, or both, can light up the contest.
Daredevils believes in building the momentum through the ranks, while the Kings XI philosophy is marked by mentor Virender Sehwag’s thinking. “We have players who hit fours and sixes and don’t believe in singles,” said Sehwag.
Aaron Finch (KXIP) and Glenn Maxwell (Daredevils) will miss this match. Maxwell is the Master of Ceremony at Finch’s wedding.
A combination of entertainment and competition beckons the spectators of this game which starts at 4 p.m.
We have players who hit fours and sixes and don’t believe in singles
Kings XI Punjab mentor