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Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan, gestures as he speaks with Reuters during an interview in Lahore.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

What We're Watching: Punjab election back on, China-India war of names, Brazil wants peace in Ukraine

Constitutional & political crises in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered that Punjab, the country’s most populous state, can hold elections on May 14, deeming a recent government decision to postpone polls in two states as “unconstitutional.”

Quick recap: This comes after Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf Party, led by former PM Imran Khan, filed a petition challenging the government’s decision to delay the polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from April to October.

The government had attributed the delay to a shortfall in funds due to economic constraints, but the top court ordered the government to release 20 billion rupees ($70 million) to fund the elections.

You’ll likely remember that Khan – who was ousted last April in a no-confidence vote and now faces corruption and terrorism charges that he says are politically motivated – is at loggerheads with the central government that’s trying to sideline him.

What’s more, this comes just days after the government introduced a bill in parliament trying to limit the power of the Supreme Court, which Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has long accused of “judicial activism.”

While the tussle between the government and the judiciary continues, there is at least one winner here: Khan, whose primary demand since being ousted has been fresh elections, particularly in his home state of Punjab. The last time Punjab held by-polls, PTI won in a landslide.

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Google Bard seen on Google blog post with Google logo on mobile, in Brussels, Belgium.

Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

What We're Watching: Bard bot, Nigerian election heats up, Tibetan kids pulled away

Google's Bard vs. ChatGPT

Google has soft-launched Bard, the tech giant's answer to OpenAI's uber-popular ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot. Why should you care? Well, Google says that Bard will "outsmart" ChatGPT, a service that has taken the world by storm since it became a thing in late 2022 and is now backed by Microsoft. But how? Bard will be up to date on current events — giving it a leg up over ChatGPT, which is stuck in 2021. Also, Bard will run on something called Language Model for Dialogue Applications or LaMDA, which is so advanced that last year Google fired an engineer who declared that LaMDA was "sentient" because it could mimic human emotions. This is where it gets tricky, since theoretically this type of AI could be used to make deepfake videos virtually indistinguishable from real ones. And that, in turn, might someday unleash political mayhem befitting a "Black Mirror" episode. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. So far, access to Bard is by invite only, and Google likely has guardrails in place to ensure its new AI platform doesn't become too smart for its own good.

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China defends Tibet labour programme, urges against overdoing religion

October 15, 2020 6:32 PM

The programme, aimed at lifting skills and incomes, has involved about 15 per cent of Tibet’s population of 3.51 million.

Dalai Lama 'deeply sorry' for saying female reincarnation must be attractive

July 02, 2019 9:28 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The Dalai Lama is "deeply sorry" about comments he made about women in a recent BBC interview, his office said in a statement on Tuesday (July 2).

US ambassador to China visiting Tibet this week

May 20, 2019 10:42 AM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was scheduled to visit Tibet this week, a US embassy spokesman said, the first visit to the region by a US ambassador since 2015, amid escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Dalai Lama, 83, hospitalised with chest infection

April 10, 2019 1:56 AM

MUMBAI (REUTERS) - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was admitted to a New Delhi hospital on Tuesday (April 9) with chest infection, an aide said, adding that the 83-year-old Buddhist monk was stable.

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