Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Pakistan seeks to shift Obama-Sharif talks focus to India

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Washington: Ahead of his meeting Thursday with President Barack Obama, visiting Pakistan Prime Minister has sought to shift the focus of talks to India rather than counter-terrorism and safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons highlighted by US.

Sharif’s meeting with Obama “will highlight the enduring nature of the US-Pakistan relationship and provide an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation on issues of mutual interest,” a White House statement said Wednesday.

These include “economic growth, trade and investment, clean energy, global health, climate change, nuclear security, counter terrorism, and regional stability.”

“The President looks forward to discussions with Prime Minister Sharif on ways we can advance our shared interest in a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.”

According to official Pakistani news agency APP, Pakistan Wednesday handed over three dossiers to US Secretary of State John Kerry about alleged Indian involvement in subversive activities in the country.

The dossiers were handed over to Kerry when he called on Sharif at the Blair House. Kerry, it said, was briefed about the alleged destabilising role of Indian agencies in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan and Karachi.

Sharif, according to APP, also reiterated his commitment to seek normalisation with India.

However, State Department spokesperson, John Kirby told reporters he was “not aware that we have” received any documents relating to India from Pakistan.

Declining to “get into the specifics of the discussion” between Kerry and Sharif he said: “We continue to believe that India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation, and we encourage both India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions.”

“The normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India is vital to both countries and to the region, and steps that initiate closer regional trade and energy ties we believe will create jobs, lower inflation, and increase energy supply,” he said.

Kirby said “there is much that Pakistan has done and can continue to do to help us get at the counterterrorism challenge there in the region.”

On the issue of nuclear safety, he noted that Pakistan “is engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues.”

“I’d also note that they have a professional and dedicated security force that understands the importance of nuclear security,” Kirby said. “We believe that they believe in the importance of nuclear security issues.”

Declining to “get into specifics” of discussion on nuclear safety, he said: “But obviously it remains a significant challenge, counter terrorism, and it’s something that we continue to want to partner with Pakistan on.”

Kerry, he said, had also thanked Sharif for “Pakistan’s regional efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, especially in bringing to justice Al Qaeda leadership and disrupting terrorist plots.”

They discussed the recent announcement to keep US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, noting that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and in the region, Kirby said.

(Arun Kumar, 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)