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Kosi basin to receive flood warnings

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New Delhi: Kosi Basin is a disaster prone area with recurring floods which on annual basis destroys the livelihood of millions of people inhabiting that area. But the data to anticipate the life taking floods is usually not available.

However, an information system to tackle the threat has now been set up by a Kathmandu-based international organisation dedicated to environmentally-sound mountain development strategies.

“We have created a platform known as the Kosi Basin Information System (KBIS) that integrates data on climate change, land use, sedimentation, and water-based livelihoods to help individuals understand the changes happening in the basin,” Shahriar Wahid, Project Coordinator for the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The 48-hour flood warning will be provided by the platform using the data collected from satellite technology and national weather agencies, he added.

A warning for a regional flood was issued for the first time the last monsoon by the Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

India, China and Nepal together had been consistently working for past two years to be able to generate knowledge and information which will help communities in the basin prepare for disasters.

“The data and information are used by several institutions in India, Nepal and China for collaborative and development-oriented research on water, food, energy and environment in the basin,” Mr Wahid said.

He also added, the aim of KBIS focuses on facilitating data and information-sharing and promoting inter-disciplinary collaboration between different water stakeholders such as technical professional s,researchers and common people.

The Kosi River is commonly known as “Sorrow of Bihar” because of the annual floods affecting a large area of fertile agricultural lands. Due to the monsoon rains and glacial melting, water increases to as much as 18 times the average leading to a flood.

Floods have badly affected the livelihood of people in Bihar. They annually suffer loss of life, property, infrastructure and agriculture.

The 2008 flood was a disastrous one in the history of Bihar when the river changed the course and flooded the areas which remained unaffected since decades.

Nearly 3 million people were displaced from their homes while many were killed during the unfortunate disaster.

The 2013 Bihar flood was yet another miserable time when 3,768 villages in 20 districts were affected.

Kosi is one of the most sediment-laden rivers in the world, making it highly prone to flooding.(IANS)

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India 2nd in Government Requests for Users’ Data on Facebook

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018

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facebook, personal data
FILE - A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The Indian government requested Facebook to provide data for 20,805 users (including 861 emergency requests) — second only to the US government — in the July-December 2018 period and the social networking giant provided some data in 53 per cent of the cases.

During the second half of 2018, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally by 135 per cent — from 15,337 to 35,972.

“This increase was primarily driven by 16,600 items we restricted in India based on a Delhi High Court order regarding claims made about PepsiCo products,” said Facebook in its latest Transparency Report for the second half of 2018.

The US government asked for users’ data in 41,336 cases wherein Facebook provided some information in 88 per cent of the cases.

“In the second half of 2018, government requests for user data increased globally by seven per cent from 103,815 to 110,634,” Chris Sonderby, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, said in a statement late Thursday.

“Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the UK, Germany and France,” he added.

In a separate post, Facebook said it removed more than three billion fake accounts in the October 2018-March 2019 period, saying that about 5 per cent of its monthly active users were fake.

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Facebook disabled 1.2 billion accounts in Q4 2018 and 2.19 billion in Q1 2019.

“For fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, said in a blog post.

According to Rosen, for every 10,000 times people who view content on Facebook, 11 to 14 views contained content that violate the platform’s adult nudity and sexual activity policy.

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018.

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“This half, India accounted for 85 per cent of total new global disruptions,” the company informed.

In this period, on Facebook and Instagram, the company took down 2,595,410 pieces of content based on 511,706 copyright reports; 215,877 pieces of content based on 81,243 trademark reports; and 781,875 pieces of content based on 62,829 counterfeit reports.

“In Q1 2019, we took action on about 900,000 pieces of drug sale content, of which 83.3 per cent we detected pro-actively. In the same period, we took action on about 670,000 pieces of firearm sale content, of which 69.9 per cent we detected pro-actively,” added Rosen. (IANS)