Six In The Morning Saturday 30 September 2023


‘Azerbaijan is hungry for land’: Armenians fear country will seek to grab more territory

After Baku’s success in Nagorno-Karabakh, it could attempt to encroach farther, locals believe

The beehives were in no man’s land. After the border clash near his village in April, Geram drove down to the fields where his family has been farming for decades and kept a small apiary.

But when he got near, he heard gunshotsThe Azerbaijanis were firing at him from their new positions on the surrounding hilltops. He ran back to his car and never returned.

Another local, Samvel Hyusunts, lost nearly 70 hectares (173 acres) where his family had been farming wheat for decades. “They take what they can have,” he says, standing in a dusty suit and flat cap on the roadside where thousands of refugees have passed from Karabakh into Armenia. “The village is suffering.”

One year on: Life in Russian-annexed eastern Ukraine

One year ago, Russia announced the annexation Ukraine’s Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhya regions. Residents in the occupied territories describe how their lives have changed in the past year.

Russia is celebrating the first anniversary of the annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regionson September 30. The Kremlin is flaunting its land grab using entirely different language, referring to it as the “accession of new regions.”

Russia has minted special anniversary coins to mark the occasion, and concerts and festivals will be on show in the occupied territories. All the while, Russia promises prosperity and stability.

In reality, however, an estimated 1 million to 2 million people have fled the Russian-annexed regions of Ukraine this year alone.

DW spoke to residents in these regions to learn how their life has changed in the past year.

‘Counterfeit people’: The dangers posed by Meta’s AI celebrity lookalike chatbots

Meta announced on Wednesday the arrival of chatbots with personalities similar to certain celebrities, with whom it will be possible to chat. Presented as an entertaining evolution of ChatGPT and other forms of AI, this latest technological development could prove dangerous.

Meta (formerly known as Facebook) sees these as “fun” artificial intelligence. Others, however, feel that this latest technological development could mark the first step towards creating “the most dangerous artefacts in human history”, to quote from American philosopher Daniel C. Dennett’s essay about “counterfeit people”.

On Wednesday, September 27, the social networking giant announced the launch of 28 chatbots (conversational agents), which supposedly have their own personalities and have been specially designed for younger users. These include Victor, a so-called triathlete who can motivate “you to be your best self”, and Sally, the “free-spirited friend who’ll tell you when to take a deep breath”.

Paradise prison: How 107 Bangladeshis became enslaved on a Pacific island

Instead of being given legitimate jobs, 107 men from Bangladesh were enslaved in Vanuatu working under the threat of violence and even death.

When Bangladeshi businessman Mustafizur Shahin left for a job opportunity overseas he did not expect to be held captive on a Pacific island, forced to work without pay, physically abused when he complained and saved only after he made a daring escape.

What had promised to be a chance of a lifetime, working with a millionaire entrepreneur and his chain of clothing boutiques, turned out to be a case of modern-day slavery where the threat of physical injury and even death hung over 50-year-old Shahin.

Shahin said he felt he was “a living dead body” when recounting events that brought him from the streets of Bangladesh to the shores of the Pacific nation of Vanuatu to toil in slavery with little food and in constant fear.

Alien life in Universe: Scientists say finding it is ‘only a matter of time

By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent

Many astronomers are no longer asking whether there is life elsewhere in the Universe.

The question on their minds is instead: when will we find it?

Many are optimistic of detecting life signs on a faraway world within our lifetimes – possibly in the next few years.

And one scientist, leading a mission to Jupiter, goes as far as saying it would be “surprising” if there was no life on one of the planet’s icy moons.

Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently detected tantalising hints at life on a planet outside our Solar System – and it has many more worlds in its sights.

Ex-gangster rewinds troubled life, admitted to Keio University


September 29, 2023 at 07:00 JST

An intimidating man with a bald head, big chest and lacking his left little finger showed up at a tiny cram school in a residential area in Hiroshima Prefecture in autumn six years ago.

The man was not there for a shakedown but a desire to further his education.

Speaking to Katsuyoshi Fujioka, 47, the manager of the educational institute located near JR Fukuyama Station, the former yakuza member asked, “Is it possible to pass Keio University’s entrance exam within one year?”

The man in his 40s, who came from Tokyo, described himself as having graduated only from junior high school.

Fujioka replied, “How far you can go depends on how hard you will work.”