United Nations, Jan 30: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he is “worried about the power of social media companies and called for creating a global mechanism to regulate them.Guterres, addressing a press conference on Thursday following his informal briefing to the UN member states on Priorities for 2021′, said he does not think we can live in a world where too much power is given to a reduced number of companies”
Well, I think that the question is not the right question, if I may. The right question should be a company, the entity, that has the power decision on these issues, or should we create a mechanism in which there is a regulatory framework with rules that allow for that to be done in line with law? And my clear answer is the second, Guterres said.He was responding to a question on whether Twitter made the right move in closing down the account of former US President Donald Trump.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said that banning Trump from posting messages after the violence at the US Capitol on January 6 was the right decision”.
Facebook also banned Trump.
“I must say that I’m particularly worried about the power that they already have,” Guterres said.
I mean, the volume of information that is being gathered about each one of us, the lack of control we have about our own”… the data related to ourselves, the fact that that data can be used not only for commercial purposes to sell to advertising companies but also to change our behaviour, and the risks of that to be used also from a political point of view for the control of citizens in countries, he said.
Guterres said this requires a serious discussion .
“And one of the objectives of our road map for digital cooperation is exactly to put these things on the table,” he said.
In response to another question on if he believes China is driving an authoritarian agenda at the UN, Guterres said in relation to the United Nations, he can guarantee that we are very strongly committed to make sure that the UN is a beacon of all the values related to peace, security, development, and human rights. (With Agencies)
Eid-ul-Fitr: Indo-Pak armies exchange sweets in Karnah sector
(Asian News Hub) – The armies of India and Pakistan Thursday exchanged sweets on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr at Teethwal crossing in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
A senior official told that on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the tradition of exchanging sweets between India and Pakistan on major festivals like Eid, Holi, Diwali, and others was revived and a meeting was held at the historic Teethwal crossing on Kishanganga river to exchange sweets and pleasantries.
“The sweet exchange is a gesture appreciated by both countries and is expected to go a long way in promoting peace, harmony and compassion in the true spirit of the festival with a hope of a better future ahead,” the senior official said.
The official said that the event was also appreciated by the civil population on either sides of the Line of Control.
“The sweets were exchanged at 11:35 AM today with adherence to all COVID protocols by both sides, he said.
35 killed in Gaza, 05 in Israel as violence escalates
(Asian News Hub) – Hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated on Wednesday (May 12), with at least 35 killed in Gaza and five in Israel in the most intensive aerial exchanges for years.
Israel carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza into Wednesday morning, as the Islamist group and other Palestinian militants fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
One multi-story residential building in Gaza collapsed and another was heavily damaged after they were repeatedly hit by Israeli airstrikes.
Israel said its jets had targeted and killed several Hamas intelligence leaders early on Wednesday.
Other strikes targeted what the military said were rocket launch sites, Hamas offices and the homes of Hamas leaders.
It was the heaviest offensive between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza, and prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control.
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: “Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full-scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take responsibility of de-escalation.
“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now,” he wrote. Gazans’ homes shook and the sky lit up from Israeli attacks, outgoing rockets and Israeli air defence missiles intercepting them. At least 30 explosions were heard within a matter of minutes just after dawn on Wednesday.
Israelis ran for shelters or flattened themselves on pavements in communities more than 70 km (45 miles) up the coast and into southern Israel amid sounds of explosions as interceptor missiles streaked into the sky.
In the mixed Arab-Jewish town of Lod, near Tel Aviv, two people were killed after a rocket hit a vehicle in the area. Lod and other mixed towns have been gripped by angry demonstrations over the Gaza violence and tensions in Jerusalem.
Hamas’s armed wing said it fired 210 rockets towards Beersheba and Tel Aviv in response to the bombing of the tower buildings in Gaza City. Israel’s military says that around a third of the rockets have fallen short, landing within Gaza.
For Israel, the militants’ targeting of Tel Aviv, its commercial capital, posed a new challenge in the confrontation with the Islamist Hamas group, regarded as a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States.
The violence followed weeks of tension in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
These escalated in recent days ahead of a – now postponed – court hearing in a case that could end with Palestinian families evicted from East Jerusalem homes claimed by Jewish settlers.
Violence has also flared in the occupied West Bank, where a 26-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire during stone-throwing clashes in a refugee camp near the city of Hebron.
With Inputs From Agencies
Globally over 1300 journalists succumb to Covid-19, India loses 40 in last 10 days
(Asian News Hub) – The Covid-19 pandemic continues to kill working journalists around the world, where the global tally reaches at least 1302 victims in 76 countries till 11 May 2021.
Brazil with 191 journo-casualties because of novel corona virus infection aggravated ailments still tops the list of victims among journalists narrowly followed by India (171 dead). In the south Asian country, at least 40 journalists died of Covid-19 complications in the last 10 days.
According to Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Switzerland based media rights & safety body, Peru follows India with 140 media-casualties and Mexico with 109. Below the hundred mark, Colombia lost 57 journalists due to the pandemic, followed by Italy (55), Bangladesh (52), USA, Ecuador (48 each), United Kingdom (28), Dominican Republic (27), Pakistan (26), Turkey (25), Argentina (23), etc.
Since March 2020, the PEC started a corona-ticker to pay tributes to the journalists died of Covid-19 around the world, said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC (www.pressemblem.ch/) adding that journalists have an important role to play in the fight against the virus and hence their safety must be a priority for every nation.
“Journalists are particularly at risk in this crisis as they are continuing their jobs to provide information from the ground. A number of them died for lack of adequate protective measures when performing their duties. We advocate for early vaccinations to journalists on the frontlines and also adequate compensations to the victim families,” stated Lempen.
India is rapidly losing scribes to the pandemic almost four individuals per day, which is alarming, said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s country representative adding that the billion plus nation has lately witnessed the demise of journalists Sarat Chandra Mangaraj, Kishore Ch Das, Waqar Wizvi, Arvind Shukla, Umashankar Santhalia, Sant Sharan Awasthi, Vipin Chand, Subhash Mishra, Kaleswaram Sandeep, D Shankar Rao, Rajendra Joshi, Pradeep K Sahu, Shesh N Singh, etc to corona-aggravated ailments.
Relatively fewer corona-casualties among journalists are reported from Iran, Russia (21 each), Venezuela (19), Panama (16), Spain, Ukraine (15 each), Bolivia, Egypt (14 each), Honduras (11), Afghanistan, Nigeria, South Africa, France (9 each), Guatemala (8), Nepal, Nicaragua (7 each), Uruguay (6), Kenya, Paraguay (5 each), Cuba (4), Cameroon, Morocco, Salvador, Sweden, Zimbabwe (3 each), Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ghana, Iraq, Indonesia (2 each), etc.
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