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Greece: Khora Community Centre offers Refugees Hope in Athen’s Exarchia

One of the most distinctive attributes of this community is its free restaurant system which draws refugees to it


Greece, November 3, 2016: The mass exodus of people from the middle eastern countries such as Syria Somalia and Iraq to Europe has the European Union (EU) leaders in a state of panic. With millions of refugees seeking shelter in Europe, each country is trying to fend for itself and many in response have closed their respective land borders restricting migration.

EU has also brokered the EU-Turkey refugee deal in an attempt to curb the growing number of refugees. In this depressing turn of events, the Khora community is trying to improve the standard of living of the refugees.

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Khora community is run by volunteers from different backgrounds ranging from International development to building and teaching in Exarchia, Athens. It is an anarchic place and has such a history of feuds with the government that even the police avoid wandering into the place.

The Khora is run in a five-story building with amenities ranging from dentists to human rights lawyers. It is a legally run organisation that provides a safe haven for the refugees, at least for a short while. Ali shokri, a christian individual who fled Iran due to religious persecution says”Most people want to come here as they need everything from food to education”.

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One of the most distinctive attributes of this community is its free restaurant system which draws refugees to it. A Syrian cook named Hasan Mansur works here and even tries to make staple Syrian and Lebanese food for the refugees .It is also undergoing some work to provide an improved centre.

Another volunteer Lisa Bernte was found saying”The reality is that the borders are closed and politics is not going to change all over Europe. The people are stuck here for a very, very long time”. Additionally, with the legal procedure of migration in Europe painstakingly slow, there does not seem to be any respite for the refugees in the near future. So the community is also trying to prepare the refugees for a long haul by teaching them Greek. Moreover, the closing of the Macedonian border depicts a bleak picture.

People were also found taking self-defense weekly with every age group pitching in, not surprising with the firebombing of near shelter housing refugees.

– by Gulshan kumar Alok of NewsGram. Twitter: @Alokgulshan


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Microsoft Introduces $40 mn Programme For Recovering Humanitarian Crisis

The company said it would collaborate with NGOs and humanitarian organisations to accelerate breakthrough solutions to help monitor, detect and prevent human rights abuses

Hackers bleeding large Indian firms by $10 mn on average each year: Microsoft. (Wikimedia commons)

Microsoft on Monday launched a new $40-million programme aimed at harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for disaster recovery, helping children, protecting refugees and displaced people and promoting respect for human rights.

The tech giant said it would execute the five-year programme by working deeply with select non-governmental and humanitarian organisations through grants, investment of technology and shared expertise.

Unveiled at the annual “Microsoft Ignite 2018” conference here, the programme called “AI for Humanitarian Action” is part of Microsoft’s “AI for Good initiative” that was launched in July last year.

“Today, in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly meeting, we are announcing AI for Humanitarian Action, a new $40-million dollar five-year Microsoft programme,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

“We believe that technology, like AI combined with Cloud technology, can be a game changer, helping save more lives, alleviate suffering and restore human dignity by changing the way frontline relief organisations anticipate, predict, and better target response efforts,” Smith added in a blog post.

A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

At the conference, Microsoft also released an array of security programmes and products.

Among them are “Microsoft Secure Score” — a dynamic report card that assesses Microsoft 365 customer environments and makes recommendations that can reduce breaches up to 30-fold — and “Microsoft Authenticator”, which helps make secure sign-on easier for workers with features like password-free login.

“In this era of the intelligent Cloud and intelligent edge, businesses in every industry are looking for a trusted partner to help them transform,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in his keynote address.

Also Read- Paytm is Testing ‘Face Login’ Feature, To Increase Security

“We are pushing the bounds in AI, edge computing and IoT (Internet of Things), while providing end-to-end security to empower every organisation to build its own digital capability and thrive in this new era,” Nadella added.

Microsoft said its “AI for Humanitarian Action” programme will accelerate the pace of innovation by managing strategic AI projects that demonstrate new applications, delivering reusable solutions and partnering with others to expand and scale initial projects.

AI can address humanitarian causes in myriad ways. For example, AI technologies like machine vision can quickly analyse images of roads damaged or destroyed by an event, making way for a faster and safer response, Smith explained.

A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. Microsoft says it’s requiring its U.S. suppliers to offer their employees at least 12 weeks paid leave to care for a new child. The company announced the new parental leave policy Thursday. VOA

“In a new partnership with the World Bank, United Nations, and partners from the tech industry, relief organisations will be better able to predict when and where future famines will occur so aid can arrive earlier, potentially saving more lives,” the Microsoft President noted.

AI and Machine Learning (ML) also have the potential to improve the lives of approximately 68 million displaced people in the world, 28 million of whom are refugees.

“AI can help optimise the delivery of aid, supplies, and services to refugees and can scale NGOs’ efforts to communicate and understand displaced peoples’ needs,” Smith explained.

The company said it would collaborate with NGOs and humanitarian organisations to accelerate breakthrough solutions to help monitor, detect and prevent human rights abuses.

“We are hopeful the world will see what a compelling force for good AI can be when it’s used well in partnership with innovative NGOs. By ensuring technology fulfils its promise to address the broadest societal needs, we can empower everyone to achieve more,” Smith noted. (IANS)