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United Nations: When the UN was but a glimmer in the eyes of Allied statesmen in 1942, pre-independence India’s involvement in the idea of a world body began with a representative of India, GS Bajpai, signing the ‘Declaration by the United Nations’ in Washington, while the World War II rained death and destruction around the globe.
The arm-in-arm journey of India and the international organisation has been chronicled by India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerjee in ‘India and The United Nations — A Photo Journey: 1945-2015’, a volume of nuggets of historical facts and rare photographs culled from a trove of over 800,000.
When the UN was born in 1945, India was still a colony. But with its independence looming on the horizon and in a premonition of its global importance it became a full-fledged founding member of the organisation.
It was represented on UN flagpoles by a blue flag with the Union Jack and the Great Seal with the Star of India, which was replaced by the Indian Tricolour when India won its freedom in 1947.
Enshrining the promotion of human rights was India’s significant contribution to the framing of the UN Charter, Mukerjee writes.
The Charter was signed in San Francisco by Ramaswami Mudaliar, the leader of the Indian delegation to the UN, and VT Krishnamachari, who represented the princely states. The Charter came into force on Oct 24, 1945 creating the global body, and that day is celebrated as UN Day every year.
The 374-page book, first presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month, received wider circulation at this year’s UN Day celebration on Saturday. Published by India’s UN mission, it comes at a crucial time as momentum gains for Security Council reforms and it reinforces India’s credentials for a permanent seat on it through its record of involvement with and service to the UN.
“This book seeks to illustrate how India and the United Nations have influenced each other,” Mukerjee writes in his introduction. “India’s evolution as the world’s largest parliamentary democracy, and India’s experience of transforming itself into one of world’s largest emerging democracies has been pivotal.”
Mukerjee traces the pioneering role of India at the nascent UN with New Delhi becoming one of the framers of the convention against genocide in a world reeling from its horrors. It was adopted by the first General Assembly session in 1946 London.
At the same session Mudaliar was elected chairman of the Economic and Social Council.
In a historic first, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, the sister of Jawaharlal Nehru, led the Indian delegation to that session — the only woman to do so. In 1953, she was elected president of the General Assembly, the first woman to hold the position.
Hansa Mehta became a member of the of the Sub-Commission on the Status of Women in 1946. Her mark on history was ensuring that women were recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Right by having the phrase, “all men are created equal” changed to “all human beings are created equal,” Mukerjee writes.
In an instance of early support for China, India, then a member of the Security Council, voted to replace Taiwan with China as a permanent member.
As Communist forces invaded South Korea in 1950, the UN mobilised a military force against them. “India decided not to get involved militarily but contributed a military unit, the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance,” Mukerjee writes. Its members earned the title of ‘Maroon Angels’ by serving not only the military forces, but also civilians and the North Korean prisoners of war. The humanitarian tradition continues in other hotspots around the world.
India’s long association with armed peace-keeping operations began in 1956 when the UN created the first such mission, the UN Emergency Force (UNEF), in the Middle East after the hostilities of the Suez Crisis.
Since then India has participated in 48 of the 69 UN peace-keeping missions. Having sent over 185,000 personnel, it is the largest overall troop contributor to UN peace operations. A special section of the book, with an introduction by Lt Gen Satish Nambiar, deals with India’s contributions to the UN’s military-related operations.
Mukerjee succinctly explains key Indian positions ranging from the Kashmir issue at the UN to New Delhi’s refusal to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Every major international issue at the UN, from trade and development to fighting Ebola and terrorism, find a place in the definitive chronology.
Mukerjee notes that India’s involvement predates the UN by decades when it became a founding member of the International Labor Organisation (ILO) associated with the ill-fated League of Nations. The ILO became a UN agency in 1946.
And from there the history goes all the way to the celebration of the First International Day of Yoga at the UN this year and the adoption of the new sustainable development goals.
(Arul Louis, IANS)
With the festive season on in full swing, iconic brand Johnnie Walker, is all set to re-energize the country's after-hour culture. Through its one-of-a-kind campaign #RevibeTheNight, the brand brings together beloved music artists like Divine, Ritviz, Lisa Mishra, Taba Chake along with popular indie bands like When Chai Met Toast and Mad Boy Mink, among others to perform live across iconic community spaces in India.
The collaborative effort by Johnnie Walker aims to bring back the after-hour culture through live performances across popular hotspots in India. The brand's goal is drive social regeneration in India and bring back the vibe of socializing through local music artists and reignite the trade, driving social culture by executing the live events with Covid measures in place and a limited capacity audience capacity.
The collaborative effort by Johnnie Walker aims to bring back the after-hour culture through live performances across popular hotspots in India. | Photo by Vishnu R Nair on Unsplash
Prior to the world going into lockdown, the after-hour culture in India bloomed at celebrated community hubs, that eventually became a safe-haven for individuals, a place where they found their sense of self-expression and belonging, that fuelled progress. This community was driven through the culture of live music and enthralling performances that created their very own vibe, a vibe that built extraordinary, forever-lasting relationships. Through #ReVibeTheNight, one can reconnect with this community bringing music curated by artists who have a history of captivating crowds with their one-of-a-kind live experiences. Catch the gigs and live performances for artists in these venues/cities for the live performances.
(Artiicle originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: johnnie walker, social, #revibethenight, performances, community, artists, culture, festivity, begin
By Nikhila Natarajan
In a continuing study on the effects of machine learning (ML) on public conversation, Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content. "In six out of seven countries - all but Germany - tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group," Twitter blogged.
"Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organisations, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets." Since 2016, Twitter users are able to choose between viewing algorithmically ordered tweets first in their home timeline or viewing the most recent tweets in reverse chronological order.
"An algorithmic home timeline displays a stream of tweets from accounts we have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content Twitter thinks we might be interested in based on accounts we interact with frequently, tweets we engage with, and more. "As a result, what we see on our timeline is a function of how we interact with Twitter's algorithmic system, as well as how the system is designed."
The new research is based on tweets of elected officials of House of Commons members in Canada, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag, House of Representatives in Japan, Congress of Deputies of Spain, House of Commons in the UK, and official and personal accounts of House of Representatives and Senate members in the US, as well as news outlets, from April 1 to August 15, 2020.
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
The study was conducted by Ferenc Huszar (Twitter, University of Cambridge), Sofia Ira Ktena (now at DeepMind Technologies), Conor O'Brien (Twitter), Luca Belli (Twitter), Andrew Schlaikjer (Twitter), and Moritz Hardt (UC Berkeley).
The questions probed were:
How much algorithmic amplification does political content from elected officials receive in Twitter's algorithmically ranked Home timeline versus in the reverse chronological timeline? Does this amplification vary across political parties or within a political party?
Are some types of political groups algorithmically amplified more than others? Are these trends consistent across countries?
Are some news outlets amplified more by algorithms than others? Does news media algorithmic amplification favour one side of the political spectrum more than the other?
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: algorithmically, timeline, algorithmic, tweets, political, survey, twitter, study, germany, skew
Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".
Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.
"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.
"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: cowin, covid, india, people, Rohit bansal, Sonu kumar, vaccine, snapdeal, registrations