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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Microsoft President Brad Smith has asked social media platforms to learn and act more in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch shootings that was livestreamed on Facebook.

In a blog post on Monday, Smith said words alone were not enough.


“Across the tech sector, we need to do more. Especially for those of us who operate social networks or digital communications tools or platforms that were used to amplify the violence, it’s clear that we need to learn from and take new action based on what happened in Christchurch,” he said.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old self-proclaimed white supremacist, has been charged with one murder in connection with the attacks at the two mosques that killed 50 people, and he is expected to face further charges.

Smith said that across Microsoft, we have identified improvements we can make and are moving promptly to implement them.

“This includes the accelerated and broadened implementation of existing technology tools to identify and classify extremist violent content and changes for the process that enables our users to flag such content,” he posted.

Smith emphasised on developing an industry-wide approach that will be principled, comprehensive and effective.


Logo of Microsoft outside it’s office. Pixabay

Over two years ago, four companies — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft — came together to create the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).

Among other things, the group’s members have created a shared hash database of terrorist content and developed photo and video matching and text-based machine learning techniques to identify and thwart the spread of violence on their platforms.

These technologies were used more than a million times in 24 hours to stop the distribution of the video from Christchurch, informed Smith.

“As (New Zealand) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted last week, gone are the days when tech companies can think of their platforms akin to a postal service without regard to the responsibilities embraced by other content publishers,” noted Smith.

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According to him, tech firms must also continue to improve upon newer, AI-based technologies that can detect whether brand-new content may contain violence.

“We should also pursue new steps beyond the posting of content. For example, we should explore browser-based solutions – building on ideas like safe search – to block the accessing of such content at the point when people attempt to view and download it,” he added. (IANS)


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

India-England test series will now be played next year from July 1 at Edgbaston Stadium

The series decider for the Test series between England and India will now be played at Edgbaston from July 1 next year, said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday. India is currently leading the series 2-1 before the fifth Test at Old Trafford was cancelled hours before the start due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp.

"The fifth match of the LV= Insurance Test Series between England Men and India Men has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022. The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the camp," said an ECB statement.

"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," added the statement.

ECB also said that due to the rescheduled Test, the white-ball series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The T20I series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge hosting the second and third matches respectively on July 9 and 10. It will be followed by the ODI series starting on July 12 at The Oval followed by Lord's and Old Trafford hosting the second and third ODI on July 14 and 17 respectively.

"Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day," further said the statement.

"We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far. I'm very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they've shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I'd also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible," said Tom Harrison, the CEO of the ECB.

"We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance. We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players' welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game."

"I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale. The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Britain, BCCI, Test Match, Cricket.


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Photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

Ekta Jain, CMO, Octavius Tea, shares the benefits to our physical and mental health of specific types of tea leaves

By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

Since the first tea leaf was consumed in China thousands of years ago, people have been aware of the health benefits of drinking tea and how different types of tea can help treat different illnesses. Certain teas are good for fighting cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and cholesterol, while others aid in weight loss and improving metabolism, treating mental health disorders, preventing migraines, and improving sleep patterns. Ekta Jain, CMO, Octavius Tea, shares the benefits to our physical and mental health of specific types of tea leaves:

Black Leaf Teas
Often the best choice for breaking your fast in the morning, the aroma and boldness of black leaf teas is enough to kickstart your day by giving you the necessary amount of energy. Black Tea is produced as a labour of love, with days of intense plucking, sieving, and withering in order to preserve complex flavonoids and powerful antioxidants like catechins. These leaves contain more tannins than any other type of tea which soothes stomach aches and other bowel-related problems.

black burnt matchsticks closeup photography Often the best choice for breaking your fast in the morning, the aroma and boldness of black leaf teas is enough to kickstart your day. | Photo by Oleg Guijinsky on Unsplash

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