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US asks India, Pakistan to cool down after Myanmar strike

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Washington: While declining comment on India’s strike on militants in Myanmar, the US has asked India and Pakistan to take steps to reduce tensions and move toward resuming dialogue.

“I don’t have a comment on that specific operation,” US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters on Friday when asked if the US supported or was concerned over India’s cross border strike in Myanmar, a move that has raised hackles in Pakistan.

But “we encourage India and Pakistan to take steps to reduce tensions and to move towards resuming talks,” he said.

“The relationship between India and Pakistan is critical to advancing peace and stability in South Asia, so we welcome any steps India and Pakistan can take to reduce tensions and move toward resuming dialogue,” Rathke said.

“We encourage India and Pakistan to take those kinds of steps, and we believe that India and Pakistan each have a mutual interest in addressing the threat posed by violent extremism and terrorism,” he said.

Asked if the US had reached out officially to India or Pakistan to defuse tensions over the Myanmar strike, Rathke said: “Well, we’ve encouraged a reduction of tensions on both sides at high levels, so that’s something we’ve mentioned.”

The spokesman also expressed concern over Pakistan’s crackdown on Save the Children organisation.

Rathke could not say whether the issue had been discussed in Islamabad, “but it’s certainly a matter of concern to us.”

“Save the Children is an international nongovernment organization. They do important work,” he said.

Rathke also did not have an update on expression of similar concern over India blacklisting some NGOs a few weeks ago.

“We expressed our concerns and we’ve raised those with the Indian authorities. I don’t have an update to offer here.”

Earlier in a press statement, Department Spokesperson John Kirby said the US was “concerned about Pakistan’s crackdown on international charitable organizations and other NGOs.”

(IANS)

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10 Media Outlets From India Selected For YouTube Funding

Other projects look at the sustainability of news organisations, including work on new business models and programmes to support a healthy news ecosystem

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10 Indian media outlets among 87 selected for YouTube funding. Pixabay

Ten media outlets from India have been selected for receiving YouTube innovation funding as part of the Google News Initiative (GNI) to help newsrooms and publishers strengthen their online video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism.

These 10 news organisations – Asianet News Media and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Bharatiya Digital Party (BhaDiPa), FACTLY, Gaon Connection, India Today Group, Live Data Visualisation Pvt. Ltd., NDTV, NYOOOZ, ShepHertz and Video Volunteers — are among the 87 selected from 23 countries.

“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to supporting a strong future for news video,” Timothy Katz, Director of News Partnerships, YouTube, said in a blog post on Tuesday.

“Hailing from 23 countries around the world, they represent a diverse array of broadcasters, traditional and digital publishers, local media, agencies and creators, but all share a commitment to quality journalism and a spirit of innovation,” Katz added.

YouTube is rolling out a new service "YouTube Music" on May 22 to seperate the music and film components on the Google-owned video-sharing platform.
YouTube. Pixabay

As part of the launch of Google News Initiative in March, YouTube committed $25 million funding to support the future of news.

Many of the projects selected for the innovation funding are focused on expanding newsroom video operations and trying out new ways of reporting news through video — from reaching younger audiences online to exploring live and fact-checking formats.

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Other projects look at the sustainability of news organisations, including work on new business models and programmes to support a healthy news ecosystem.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing insights gained from the projects and giving newsrooms the opportunity to benefit from the learnings,” Katz added. (IANS)