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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

In the wake of the Christchurch attack, New Zealand said on Wednesday that it would work with France in an effort to stop social media from being used to promote terrorism and violent extremism.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement that she will co-chair a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on May 15 that will seek to have world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge, called the Christchurch Call, to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.


A lone gunman killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, while livestreaming the massacre on Facebook.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with 50 counts of murder for the mass shooting.


Students light candles as they gather for a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday’s shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 18, 2019. (VOA)

“It’s critical that technology platforms like Facebook are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism,” Ardern said in the statement.

“This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies,” she added.

The meeting will be held alongside the Tech for Humanity meeting of G7 digital ministers, of which France is the chair, and France’s separate Tech for Good summit, both on 15 May, the statement said.

Ardern said at a press conference later on Wednesday that she has spoken with executives from a number of tech firms including Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Google and few other companies.

“The response I’ve received has been positive. No tech company, just like no government, would like to see violent extremism and terrorism online,” Ardern said at the media briefing, adding that she had also spoken with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg directly on the topic.


Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2.7 billion users, has faced criticism since the Christchurch attack that it failed to tackle extremism. VOA

A Facebook spokesman said the company looks forward to collaborating with government, industry and safety experts on a clear framework of rules.

“We’re evaluating how we can best support this effort and who among top Facebook executives will attend,” the spokesman said in a statement sent by email. Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2.7 billion users, has faced criticism since the Christchurch attack that it failed to tackle extremism.

ALSO READ: Social Media Giant Facebook Announces First Browser API for Google Chrome

One of the main groups representing Muslims in France has said it was suing Facebook and YouTube, a unit of Alphabet’s Google, accusing them of inciting violence by allowing the streaming of the Christchurch massacre on their platforms.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said last month that the company was looking to place restrictions on who can go live on its platform based on certain criteria. (VOA)


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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government would arrange free-of-cost travel for senior citizens from Delhi to Ayodhya.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the Delhi government would arrange free-of-cost travel for senior citizens from Delhi to Ayodhya.

"I want every Indian should be fortunate enough to have a 'darshan' (visit) of Ram Lalla. I am a small man but Lord Ram has given me enough and I will use my position to help people to come for darshan here," Kejriwal added after offering prayers at the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media, he said, "I pray to Lord Ram to help India move ahead in the world and bring prosperity for 130 crore people."

Kejriwal, who visited the Hanuman Garhi temple, said he was fortunate enough to be in Ayodhya and seek blessings from Lord Ram for the welfare of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and the rest of the country.

The Delhi Chief Minister had arrived at the temple town on Monday and attended the 'Sarayu aarti' where he interacted with saints and seers. (IANS/JB)


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Tamil Nadu will host the national blind football tournament for men and women.

Tamil Nadu will host the national blind football tournament for men and women from October 27-30. This is the first time the state is playing host to the national blind football tournament.

The state has formed a blind football team for men only in 2018, and, in 2019 the Tamil Nadu blind football association commenced functioning.

The founder of the TN Blind football association, GR Bharathiraja, while speaking to IANS said, "While we were late in establishing a team and forming an association, we have not lagged behind in training, and a good team is now arranged. We are hosting the national football championship for the blind in both men's and women's categories from October 27."

This is the first time a national-level women's blind football tournament is being conducted while this will be the sixth national blind football tournament for men.

The teams are coached by Francis Sebastian who is an acclaimed blind football coach and he said that the tournament was slated for 2023 but the associations put pressure on the national office-bearers and have made the tournament possible in 2021 itself.

Sebastian, while speaking to IANS, said, "While both the men's and women's teams are performing extremely well, we need more support from sponsors as well as the general public. In the northeastern states of the country, blind football is popular in villages and we are planning to make it popular among the masses of Tamil Nadu, and for that, we need more support and patronage."

The state association, as a first step, is planning to introduce football in every blind school of the state and to train coaches for the same. The blind football association also wants to divide the state into five zones with each zone comprising of some districts and to decentralise the coaching programme so that the game is introduced across the state.

Bharathiraja and Sebastian have said that infrastructural problems are plaguing the game and that the team does not have a playing ground of its own, but the passion for the game is pulling the organisers, players, and coach forward. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Football, Sports, Blind Tournament. national blind football tournament, Tamil Nadu blind football association


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Japan launched its new satellite, QZS-1R.

Japan has successfully launched a new navigation satellite into orbit that will replace its decade-old navigation satellite.

The satellite, QZS-1R, was launched onboard an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10.19 p.m. on Monday night, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement.

The company builds and operates H-2A rockets the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

QZS-1R is a replacement for Quasi-Zenith Satellite System 1 satellite first launched in 2010. “It was a really beautiful launch," the company said in a tweet after a successful lift-off.

"H-IIA F44 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 28 minutes 6 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle," the statement said.

The official QZSS website lists four satellites in the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4, Space.com reported.

The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that fly in an orbit passing through a near-zenith (or directly overhead) above Japan, and QZS-R1 is meant to share nearly the same transmission signals as recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA.

It is specially optimised for mountainous and urban regions in Japan, JAXA said.

Mitsubishi's H-2A 202 rocket launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to locations such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission).

The latest H2-A rocket launch is the first since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communications tech into orbit, the report said. (IANS/JB)


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