Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Thousands flock to New Zealand for Diwali celebrations

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Wellington: Thousands of people flocked to Auckland on Sunday to get a first-hand experience of traditional-cum-contemporary Indian culture in a celebration of the Diwali festival, a media report said.

The two-day Diwali celebrations concluded at the Queen St’s Aotea Square with a fireworks finale on Sunday night and included events like workshops, live dance, music, puppet and theatre performances, New Zealand Herald reported.

The event is the largest vegetarian festival in the city and recorded a footfall of 35,000 people last year.

The event was organised by Auckland Council’s Tourism, Events and Economic Development arm in collaboration with the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The celebrations were spiced up by the availability of traditional food while arts and crafts and dancing gave an insight into the multi-hued Indian culture.

The festival had more than 60 food and craft stalls — the largest in the festival’s 14-year history.

Many Indian performers, including Indian puppeteer and master storyteller Mahipat Kavi, and Mudra Creation — a Lavani folk dance group from Maharashtra, performed at the event.

Other highlights included a ‘bhangra’ (Punjab folk dance) performance by a group of policemen (and a woman). The dance was coordinated by New Zealand’s first Indian female police officer Mandeep Kaur.

Smita Upadhye, an India-born Auckland-based contemporary artist, supervised the colourful, geometric ‘rangoli’ patterns at the kids’ rangoli workshops.

“It is especially used during Diwali, because of a belief that goddess Lakshmi likes colourful decoration, and if you decorate your house with rangoli on Diwali, she will be pleased and come into the house,” she said.

Indian and Kiwi artists, Harpreet Singh and Brydee Rood, in collaboration have displayed their works at the Auckland Art Gallery in Kitchener.

The collaboration was aimed at reflecting Indian traditions and contemporary concerns about migration and refugees, and the cultural diversity of Auckland.

(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

Also Read: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Claims, Cabinet Has Given Nod to Reform Gun Law

“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)