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Worried about power of social media companies says UN chief

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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)

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Afghanistan: 37 killed, over 70 injured as blast hits Shia mosque in Kandahar

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(Asian News Hub) – Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, Associated Press reported quoting hospital official and an eyewitness.

The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Also Read: Amit Shah warns Pakistan, refers to surgical strike

Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

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At least 20 killed, over 300 injured in an earthquake in Pakistan

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(Asian News Hub) – At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province early on Thursday, October 7, 2021, according to PTI quoting media reports.

Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.

According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.

The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.

Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported.

Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.

The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.

According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.

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World surpasses 5M COVID-19 deaths

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(Asian News Hub) – The coronavirus death toll around the world surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to Reuters’s tally.

Around the world, an average of 8,000 deaths a day were reported, according to the outlet. However, it noted that the global death rate has slowed in recent weeks.

Reuters reported that it took over a year to accumulate 2.5 million deaths, but it took under eight months to accumulate the second 2.5 million deaths.

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