Monday March 18, 2019
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Pakistan refuses to give up consultations with Kashmiri separatists

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United Nations: Pakistan has declared that it won’t give up consulting Kashmiri separatists in order to hold talks with India — a condition that India promptly rejected at the General Assembly here on Wednesday.

Asserting that consultations with separatists is essential for peacefully solving the Kashmir dispute, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi said, “Calling for the termination of these consultations, as a precondition for dialogue is unacceptable as well as counterproductive.”

Voicing New Delhi’s rejection of the Pakistani condition, Indian diplomat Abhishek Singh called it an interference in India’s internal affairs.

Lodhi also reiterated Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s four-point peace initiative that he had announced here last month and said Islamabad “stands ready to engage in a dialogue on all outstanding issues”, even though there was no positive response from India.

Responding to it on the floor of the General Assembly, Singh, a first secretary in India’s UN Mission, dismissed the offer, quoting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s blunt response, “We do not need four points, we need just one — give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk.”

Singh recalled that Swaraj had said, “India remains open to dialogue. But talks and terror cannot go together.” She had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nawaz had agreed to this at their July meeting during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Ufa, Russia.

“Let us hold talks at the level of NSAs (National Security Advisers) on all issues connected to terrorism and an early meeting of our directors general of military operations to address the situation on the border,” she had said. “If the response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through a bilateral dialogue.”

The talks scheduled in August between the National Security Advisers Ajit Doval of India and Sartaj Aziz of Pakistan were called off after Aziz wanted to meet Kashmiri separatists.

Sharif’s four-point plan called for renouncing the use or threat of use of force, demilitarizing Kashmir, withdrawal from Siachen Glacier and formalizing ceasefire along the Line of Control.

Lodhi prefaced the renewed talks offer with scathing a attack on India over Kashmir asserting that instead a plebiscite “the people of Kashmir have suffered brutal oppression”.

“Escalating tensions on the Line of Control in Kashmir and the Working Boundary also require Pakistan and India to take all possible measures to avert further escalation,” she added.

Speaking shortly after Lodhi at the session on the secretary general’s report on the work of the UN, India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji, said, “It is most unfortunate that the distinguished delegate of Pakistan has chosen to refer to issues that are extraneous to the debate that we are having today.”

He added, “We have diplomatic relations with Pakistan and such issues should be addressed in the framework of these relations, instead of being aired elsewhere.”

Singh, in his right of reply to Lodhi, said, “It is all the more ironic that these comments come from a country which is persisting with its illegal occupation of part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. These references are totally out of context and constitute a clear interference in the internal affairs of India. Therefore, we reject them in entirety.”

(Arul Louis/IANS)

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WhatsApp and NASSCOM To Come Up With Digital Literacy Training To Curb Fake News

"This training educates people throughout India to be mindful of the messages they receive and to verify the facts before forwarding,"

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The first training will be on March 27 in Delhi and will be followed by more planned interventions like hosting training workshops for representatives from rural and urban areas along with roadshows across numerous colleges. Pixabay

As part of the partnership, WhatsApp and NASSCOM Foundation will train nearly 1,00,000 Indians to spot false information and provide tips and tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp.

The co-created curriculum, which includes real-world anecdote tools that can be used to verify a forwarded message and actions that users can take like reporting problematic content to fact checkers and other law enforcement agencies, will be disseminated in multiple regional languages.

“We are excited to expand our partnerships with civil society to advance crucial digital literacy skills that can help combat misinformation share on WhatsApp,” Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp, said in a statement.

“This training educates people throughout India to be mindful of the messages they receive and to verify the facts before forwarding,” he added.

The training will be imparted by volunteers from NASSCOM Foundation who will launch the “each one teach three” campaign that mandates every volunteer to share their learnings with three more persons leading to a network effect.

These volunteers will post their takeaways from the workshops on their social media handles to increase the reach of these safety messages.

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As part of the partnership, WhatsApp and NASSCOM Foundation will train nearly 1,00,000 Indians to spot false information and provide tips and tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp.
Pixabay

The first training will be on March 27 in Delhi and will be followed by more planned interventions like hosting training workshops for representatives from rural and urban areas along with roadshows across numerous colleges.

“The use of technology platforms like WhatsApp are inherently meant to foster social good, harmony, and collaboration, but are sadly being used by a small number of miscreants to entice anger and hatred by spreading false and doctored information,” Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said.

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“This training educates people throughout India to be mindful of the messages they receive and to verify the facts before forwarding,” he added. Pixabay

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“I would like to urge all the connected citizens who want to join this fight against the spread of fake information, to come and help volunteer towards the cause,” Pamidi added.

Aspiring volunteers can register at www.mykartavya.nasscomfoundation.org

NASSCOM Foundation is the social arm of the industry body, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). (IANS)