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Aarushi Talwar murder case: Allahabad HC chastises trial court judge for telling ‘different story’ with ‘vitriolic’ reasoning

Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court has chastised the trial court judge for telling a “different story” propelled by “vitriolic” reasoning convicting dentist couple Nupur and Rajesh Talwar in the murders of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in May 2008.

Additional Sessions Judge Shyam Lal in Ghaziabad had sentenced the Talwars to life imprisonment on 28 November, 2013, holding them guilty in the twin murder case.

Allowing the appeals of the Talwars against the CBI court order, Justices BK Narayana and AK Mishra of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted the couple, saying that neither the circumstances nor the evidence was enough to hold them guilty.

Representational image. PTI

In “absolute agreement” with Justice Narayana in giving the Talwars the benefit of doubt, Justice Mishra said, “The learned trial Judge has prejudged things in his own fashion, drawn conclusion by embarking on erroneous analogy conjecturing to the brim on apparent facts telling a different story propelled by vitriolic reasoning.”

“Thus, basing the finding of conviction without caring to see that it being a case based on circumstantial evidence things cannot be presumed and stuffed in a manner like the present one by adhering to self-created postulates then to roam inside the circle with all fanciful whim,” he said.

Writing his own 10-page judgement in the 273-page verdict, Justice Mishra said, “The learned trial Judge took evidence and the circumstances of the case for granted and tried to solve it like a mathematical puzzle when one solves a given question and then takes something for granted in order to solve that puzzle and question.”

In strong remarks, he said that the trial court could not act like a maths teacher who was solving a mathematical question by analogy after taking certain figure for granted.

“In all criminal trials, analogies must be drawn and confined within the domain and realm of the evidence, facts and circumstances on record and any analogy which brings facts, circumstances and evidence so placed in certain domain outside the periphery of that domain then that would be a case of certain aberration deviating from the main path,” the high court judge said.

Justice Mishra held, “That way, the learned trial Judge has aberrated and by dint of fallacious analogy and reasoning has surprisingly assumed fictional animation of the incident as to what actually took place inside and outside the Flat L-32 Jalvayu Vihar and in what manner he has tried to give live and colourful description of the incident in question.”

“…and the whole genesis of the offence was grounded on fact that both the deceased Hemraj and Aarushi were seen by Dr Rajesh Talwar in fla-grante and thereafter like a film director, the trial Judge has tried to thrust coherence amongst facts inalienably scattered here and there but not giving any coherence to the idea as to what in fact happened.”

Justice Mishra said the additional sessions judge “forgot as to what is issue in hand. He forgot to travel in and around theme of the charge framed by him against the appellants. It is admitted position to both the sides that no one in fact knew as to what happened.”

He said it might be a guess work as to how and in what manner things happened, but to base the entire reasoning solely on “guess work” and give concrete shape to such assumption and then to construe facts and circumstances of the case falling in line with the evidence on record appears to be a “futile attempt which attempt altogether acts like a paradox”.

“Certainly such recalcitrant mindset in interpreting facts vis-a-vis circumstances of the case and evaluation of evidence ought to have been shunned. Consideration of merit should be based only on evidence and circumstances apparent on record, crystallizing the truth in substance and alluding to certainity of decision, backed up by reasonable analogy and scrutiny by the trial Judge as that alone would always be the best approach while deciding a criminal trial,” he said.

Justice Mishra said it was apparent that the trial judge was “unmindful” of the basic tenets of law and its applicability to the given facts and circumstances of the case and “failed” to properly appraise facts and evaluate evidence and analyse various circumstances of this case.

“It can by no means be denied that the trial Judge, perhaps out of extra zeal and enthusiasm and on the basis of self perception adopted partial and parochial approach in giving vent to his own emotional belief and conviction and thus tried to give concrete shape to his own imagination stripped of just evaluation of evidence and facts of this case,” he said in his 10-page order.

Justice Mishra said while appreciating evidence vis-a-vis facts, it was incumbent on the trial court to have angled things from a common platform and would not have deviated from that platform as and when the evidence took another turn.

“May be, that the witnesses of fact testified one way and may be that the investigating officer conducted the investigation other way but unnecessarily coherence should not be brought in between the two incongruous objectives as that would be a fallacy which the trial Judge has committed in this case,” he said.

“Pointer is that the trial Judge should evaluate evidence in its existing form, should not tinge it with his passionate reasoning so as to give a different construction than the one which is naturally reflected and forthcoming. Caution enjoins on the trial Judge that he should exercise self-restraint from deliberately twisting facts in arbitrary manner and should refrain from recording finding on strength of wrong premise by virulent and meandering reasoning,” he said.

Justice Mishra said the entire judgement was on the whole creation of “fanciful reasoning with pick and choose presuming facts with indomitable obstinancy and taking things for granted, thus, basing conclusion on unfounded evidence.

“The trial Judge is supposed to be fair and transparent and should act as a man of ordinary prudence and he should not stretch his imagination to infinity rendering the whole exercise mockery of law,” he said.

He remarked, “Needless to say that in such sensitive cases, the trial Judge should act with utmost circumspection and caution. But certain norms should be kept in mind by the trial Judge while he is deciding any criminal case; (1) The parochial and narrow approach to the facts and evidence should be avoided and evidence of a particular case has to be read and construed on its face value in line with the statutory requirement.”

“(2) The passionate and rash reasoning should not be the guiding factor while scrutinizing evidence, facts and circumstances of a criminal case.

“(3) The self-perception and realm should not be reflected on analogy of the facts and evidence on record.

“(4) The judgment should not be based on self-created postulates.

“(5) The imagination should not be given a concrete form and transparency of approach must be reflected in the judgment,” he said.

Justice Mishra held it appeared that the trial court was “unaware” of the solemn duty cast by the law as the judge and dealt with the entire case “in style. A finesse”.

Fourteen-year-old Aarushi was found dead inside her room in the Talwars’ Noida residence with her throat slit in May 2008. The suspicion initially fell on 45-year-old Hemraj, who at the time was missing. But his body was recovered from the terrace of the house a day later.

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Published Date: Oct 13, 2017 03:23 pm | Updated Date: Oct 13, 2017 03:23 pm

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BitTorrent

ICOs are becoming funds

What does a startup do with $48 million? $130 million? $1.7 billion? This question – one integral in the whole ICO craze – hasn’t quite been answered yet but it’s going to be far more interesting as ICOs and cryptocurrencies transform from purely product-oriented companies into actual funds.

Take the news that the creator of the TRON token bought BitTorrent for $140 million purportedly to lend legitimacy to the platform. “One shareholder we spoke to says there are two plans,” wrote TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden. “First, it will be used to ‘legitimize’ Tron’s business, which has met with some controversy: it has been accused of plagiarizing FileCoin and Ethereum in the development of its technology. And second, as a potential network to help mine coins, using BitTorrent’s P2P architecture and wide network of users.”

Given a $4.8 billion market cap, the cost of buying a beloved network brand, even one as tainted by controversy as BitTorrent, is miniscule. Further, it allows TRON to fill its war chest with solid businesses even as its own efforts end laughably with ham-handed announcements about non-existent partnerships and failed pumping by the idiosyncratic John McAfee.

In short, all of those massive ICO raises aren’t going to Aeron chairs and food truck rodeos in the company parking lot. Those smart enough to machinate their way into an ICO raise aren’t interested in product, no matter what they claim. They are interested in becoming investors, gobbling up products and people in order to gain a stranglehold on the space. Further, these ICOed organizations are often already registered as broker-dealers in various jurisdictions and have all of the legalities in place to take and invest large sums of cash. In short, if you think any successful ICOed company will deliver actual product before it would buy itself into multiple iterations of that same product I have a few tokens to sell you.

Startups start small for a reason. None of the current crop of successful ICOs have any technical merits, no matter how dense their white papers. While PhDs and computer scientists have great ideas, ultimately their ideas fail when dashed against the realities of the market. Most startups die because they are underfunded but they are underfunded because the risk associated with their ideas are far too high to ensure a win.

ICOs on the other hand are wild bets that a person who is connected to the crypto space will know better what to do with unearned crypto riches than the owners of those riches. It is a bet that the ICOing org is willing to work a little harder to make 10,000 Ether or a few hundred Bitcoin pay off in the long run and it’s a bet that the congregation of all that crypto wealth will bring the true sharks out to help turn a small investment into a big one. And you never get rich releasing a single product. You get rich buying and controlling multiple products.

The other important consideration? VCs will soon find themselves fighting for deals with ICOed companies. While it won’t happen soon and perhaps the big houses won’t feel it at all, expect smaller VCs to lose LPs as those LPs dump their cash into Maltese ICOs and not Sand Hill Road. It’s an interesting and overdue turnaround.

So don’t expect these ICOed companies to invest in fancy offices and ping pong tables (although they will.) If you’re a startup founder expected these ICOed companies to invest in you.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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Apps

Facebook launches gameshows platform with interactive video

Rather than build its own HQ trivia competitor, Facebook is launching a gameshow platform. Today the company announced a new set of interactive live and on-demand video features that let creators adds quizzes, polls, challenges, and gamification so players can be eliminated from a game for a wrong answer. The features could help Facebook achieve its new mission to push healthier active video consumption rather than passive zombie watching that hurts people’s well-being. Creators and publishers who want early access can sign up here.

Gameshow launch partners include Fresno’s What’s In The Box where viewers guess what’s inside, and BuzzFeed News’ Outside Your Bubble where contestants have to guess what their opponents are thinking. Plus, Facebook is testing the ability to award prize money with (Business) INSIDER’s Confetti, where viewers answer trivia questions and can see friends’ responses, with winners splitting the cash.

“Video is evolving away from just passive consumption to more interactive two-way formats”, Simo tells TechCrunch. “We think creators will want to reward people. If this is something that works will with Insider and Confetti, we may consider rolling out payments tools.”

When asked if Facebook was inspired by HQ, Simo repeatedly dodged the question and avoiding mentioning the startup’s name, but relented in saying “I think they’re part of a much broader trend that is making content interactive. We’ve seen that across much more than one player.”

Facebook won’t be taking a share of the prize money in this test. For now, it’s also forgoing its cut of its $4.99 per month subscriptions option that lets fans pay for exclusive content, which rolls out today to more creators. Facebook also just launched its Brand Collabs Manager that we scooped in May, which helps brands browse creators by demographic and portfolio so they can set up sponsored content and product placement deals.

Initially Facebook is not taking a cut there either. For all three of these features, though, Simo says “that doesn’t mean we never will.” Creators can sign up for these monetization options here.

The new interactive video features will be available to all publishers and creators, alongside the global launch of the Android version of Facebook’s Creator app for web celebs. The tools range from offering basic in-video polls to creating a full trivia gameshow. Creators and will be able to write out their trivia questions and designate correct answers, as well as “write down the logic of the game” says Simo.

While polls will work for Live and on-demand videos, gamification that impacts the outcome of the broadcast is only for Live. Brent Rivera and That Chick Angel are two creators who will be testing the features in the coming weeks. Facebook already found that fans enjoyed polling on its Watch show Help Us Get Married, which let viewers influence the wedding planning decisions about themes and the venue.

Facebook’s last attempt at original video, its Watch hub, saw mediocre adoption as the content felt also-ran rather than something special or must-see. That’s why Facebook is expanding Watch to offer a broader range of shows for more creators, including potentially longer or non-episodic content. That includes bringing Facebook videos originally only hosted on Pages into the Watch destination.

Facebook’s family of apps will get another chance at an original video home run when Instagram launches its long-form video hub tomorrow, according to TechCrunch’s sources.

What we’re seeing here is positioning that diverges Facebook and Instagram’s video efforts. Facebook’s might be more interactive, about playing and watching with friends, and embrace more novel new formats like mobile gameshows. Instagram, with its history of polished photos, could house more traditional high-end entertainment content.

“We’re not trying to do one show or one trivia game. We’re trying to get every creator to create such gameplay. The beauty of the creators space is that they each have a unique audience” Facebook’s VP of video product Fidji Simo tells me. With 2.2 billion users, making an in-house one-size-fits-all game may have been impossible.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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Delhi

Pew: Social media still growing in emerging markets but stalled elsewhere

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s (so far) five-year project to expand access to the Internet in emerging markets makes plenty of business sense when you look at the latest report by the Pew Research Center — which shows social media use has plateaued across developed markets but continues to rise in the developing world.

In 2015-16, roughly four-in-ten adults across the emerging nations surveyed by Pew said they used social networking sites, and as of 2017, a majority (53%) use social media. Whereas, over the same period, social media use has generally been flat in many of the advanced economies surveyed.

Internet use and smartphone ownership have also stayed level in developed markets over the same period vs rising in emerging economies.

Pew polled more than 40,000 respondents in 37 countries over a roughly three month period in February to May last year for this piece of research.

The results show how developing markets are of clear and vital importance for social behemoth Facebook as a means to eke continued growth out of its primary ~15-year-old platform — plus also for the wider suite of social products it’s acquired around that. (Pew’s research asked people about multiple different social media sites, with suggested examples being country-specific — though Facebook and Twitter were staples.)

Especially — as Pew also found — of those who use the internet, people in developing countries often turn out to be more likely than their counterparts in advanced economies to network via social platforms such as Facebook (and Twitter) .

Which in turn suggests there are major upsides for social platforms getting into an emerging Internet economy early enough to establish themselves as a go-to networking service.

This dynamic doubtless explains why Facebook has been so leaden in its response to some very stark risks attached to how its social products accelerate the spread and consumption of misinformation in some developing countries, such as Myanmar and India.

Pulling the plug on its social products in emerging markets essentially means pulling the plug on business growth.

Though, in the face of rising political risk attached to Facebook’s own business and growing controversies attached to various products it offers, the company has reportedly rowed back from offering its ‘Free Basics’ Internet.org package in more than half a dozen countries in recent months, according to analysis by The Outline.

In March, for example, the UN warned that Facebook’s platform was contributing to the spread of hate speech and ethnic violence in crisis-hit Myanmar.

The company has also faced specific questions from US and EU lawmakers about its activities in the country — with scrutiny on the company dialed up to 11 after a major global privacy scandal that broke this spring.

And, in recent months, Facebook policy staffers have had to spend substantial quantities of man-hours penning multi-page explanations for all sorts of aspects of the company’s operations to try to appease angry politicians. So it looks pretty safe to conclude that the days of Facebook being able to pass off Internet.org-fueled business expansion as a ‘humanitarian mission’ are well and truly done.

(Its new ‘humanitarian project’ is a new matchmaking feature — which really looks like an attempt to rekindle stalled growth in mature markets.)

Given how the social media usage gap is closing between developed vs developing countries’ there’s also perhaps a question mark over how much longer Facebook can generally rely on tapping emerging markets to pump its business growth.

Although Pew’s survey highlights some pretty major variations in usage even across developed markets, with social media being hugely popular in Northern America and the Middle East, for example, but more of a patchwork story in Europe where usage is “far from ubiquitous” — such as in Germany where 87% of people use the internet but less than half say they use social media.

Cultural barriers to social media addiction are perhaps rather harder for a multinational giant to defeat than infrastructure challenges or even economic barriers (though Facebook does not appear to be giving up on that front either).

Outside Europe, nations with still major growth potential on the social media front include India, Indonesia and nations in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Pew research. And Internet access remains a major barrier to social growth in many of these markets.

“Across the 39 countries [surveyed], a median of 75% say they either use the internet occasionally or own a smartphone, our definition of internet use,” it writes. “In many advanced economies, nine-in-ten or more use the internet, led by South Korea (96%). Greece (66%) is the only advanced economy surveyed where fewer than seven-in-ten report using the internet. Conversely, internet use is below seven-in-ten in 13 of the 22 emerging and developing economies surveyed. Among these countries, it is lowest in India and Tanzania, at a quarter of the adult population. Regionally, internet use is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, where a median of 41% across six countries use the internet. South Africa (59%) is the only country in the region where at least half the population is online.”

India, Indonesia and sub-Saharan Africa are also regions where Facebook has pushed its controversial Internet.org ‘free web’ initiative. Although India banned zero-rated mobile services in 2016 on net neutrality grounds. And Facebook now appears to be at least partially rowing back on this front itself in other markets.

In parallel, the company has also been working on a more moonshot-y solar-powered high altitude drone engineering to try to bring Internet access (and thus social media access) to remoter areas that lack a reliable Internet connection. Although this project remains experimental — and has yet to deliver any commercial services.

Pew’s research also found various digital divides persisting within the surveyed countries, related to age, education, income and in some cases gender still differentiating who uses the Internet and who does not; and who is active on social media and who is inactive.

Across the globe, for example, it found younger adults are much more likely to report using social media than their older counterparts.

While in some emerging and developing countries, men are much more likely to use social media  than women — in Tunisia, for example, 49% of men use social networking sites, compared with just 28% of women. Yet in advanced countries, it found social networking is often more popular among women.

Pew also found significant differences in social media use across other demographic groups: Those with higher levels of education and those with higher incomes were found to be more likely to use social network sites.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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