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Washington: President Barack Obama took a victory lap highlighting his successes of 2015 from thawing relations with Cuba to halting Iran’s nuclear programme to bringing China, India and Brazil on board for a historic climate deal.

The Paris climate change agreement “would not have happened without American leadership,” he said addressing a year-end press conference at the White House Friday before flying off to Hawaii for a two-week vacation with his family.

“…working with other countries, culminating in the joint announcement with China, bringing in India, bringing in Brazil and the other big, emerging countries, working with the Europeans and getting this done.”

“And, by the way, the same is true for the Iran nuclear deal. The same is true for the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Obama. “The same is true for stamping out Ebola — something, you guys may recall from last year, which was the potential end of the world.”

“This year, what you really saw was that steady, persistent leadership on many initiatives that I began when I first came into office,” he said.

Obama also claimed progress against ISIS, saying the group has lost 40 percent of the area it once held in Iraq and is losing ground in Syria, but acknowledged that the government could not stop all potential strikes in advance.

“We are going to defeat ISIS,” Obama said, insisting that US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq were hitting the group “harder than ever” and were taking the group’s leaders, commanders and forces off the battlefield.

But he warned the group would continue to be a menace: “In any fight, even as you make progress, there are still dangers involved.”

Obama admitted that ISIS’ new focus on orchestrating and inspiring spontaneous terror attacks on the West — often by radicalised individuals — would be much more difficult to stop in advance than the more intricate plots once organized by Al Qaeda.

“It is very difficult for us to detect lone wolf plots or plots involving a husband and wife,” Obama said, referring to the San Bernardino, California, attack by a Pakistani-origin couple earlier this month that killed 14 people.

Obama also took a jab at Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he had predicted that the Russian operation in Syria would not change the shape of the battlefield between Moscow-backed President Bashar al-Assad and his internal foes.

“I do think you have seen from the Russians that after a couple of months they are not really moving the needle that much,” he said.

Obama insisted that he would use his final year to continue to try to close a detention camp for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arguing that it remained an important recruiting tool for jihadists around the world.(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Instagram Likely to Expand its Private Like Counts Test Globally

'Restrict' was also a feature recently announced to protect your account from unwanted interactions

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Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. VOA

Instagram on Thursday announced to expand its Private Like Counts test globally, including in India.

In the test, you can still see your likes by tapping on the liker list, but others will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.

Likewise, you will not be able to see how many likes others’ posts have received.

Vishal Shah, Vice President of Product, Instagram, said that if you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own.

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FILE – The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

“While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community,” Shah said in a statement.

The test began in Canada in May 2019 and expanded to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Ireland and Italy in July this year.

Also Read: Rapper Badshah has Newfound Respect for Actors, Filmmakers After Acting Debut

The roll-out of this test comes close on the heels of the recent ‘Instagram Experience’ organised in Mumbai where an ‘Unlabel’ content series was announced in partnership with Yuvaa, a youth media platform, featuring young Indians challenging stereotypes to be their authentic selves.

‘Restrict’ was also a feature recently announced to protect your account from unwanted interactions. (IANS)