India-Israel will continue to deepen ties for greater prosperity: Israeli Foreign Minister

News Network
May 14, 2024

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Jerusalem: Israel and India will continue to deepen their bilateral ties and lead to greater prosperity, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Tuesday.

Katz was responding to India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s message on the occasion of Israel’s 76th Independence Day.

“Thank you for the warm wishes, FM @DrSJaishankar. In celebration of our Independence Day, Israel and India will continue to deepen our ties and lead to greater prosperity,” Katz said in a post on X.

Earlier in the morning, Jaishankar posted on X a 2:03-minute video showcasing the India-Israel relationship through photos of various bilateral meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself, and other Indian ministers with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other ministers.

“Congratulate FM @Israel_katz and the people of Israel on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of Israel’s Independence. Mazel Tov!,” Jaishankar posted along with the video and repeated the same message in another post in Hebrew.

Meanwhile, President Droupadi Murmu wished her Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog as she said on X, “I join the people of India in conveying our best wishes to President @Isaac_Herzog, and the people of Israel on the 76th anniversary of Israel’s independence.”

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla too took to X to post his greetings to his counterpart Amir Ohana, the Speaker of The Knesset: “On the occasion of Israel’s 76th anniversary of independence, I congratulate Speaker of the Knesset @AmirOhana and the people of Israel.”

Both Murmu and Birla also included greetings in Hebrew.

“Thank you, my dear friend @ombirlakota. May the friendship between our nations grow stronger,” Ohana replied to Birla and also added a line in Devnagari script in Hindi, loosely translated as, “Thank you my dear friend Om Birla. May the friendship between our countries be stronger.”

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News Network
May 21,2024

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India is currently polling in the Lok Sabha elections, and AI-generated videos that spread disinformation have emerged as a major threat. As per a report, Meta approved several political advertisements manipulated by Artificial Intelligence that spread disinformation during Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Facebook reportedly approved ads that contained slurs towards Muslims in India like “let’s burn this vermin” and “Hindu blood is spilling, these invaders must be burned” along with disinformation about political leaders and other messages with Hindu supremacist language.

Another advert approved by the owner of Facebook and Instagram called for an opposition leader's execution who as per a false claim sought to “erase Hindus from India”. This ad contained the image of a Pakistan flag alongside the message.

The report comes at a time when the social media platform X had to recently take down an animated video shared by the Karnataka unit of the BJP after an Election Commission direction.

India Civil Watch International (ICWI) and Ekō, a corporate accountability organisation created and submitted these adverts to Meta's ad library to test the company's mechanism to detect and block harmful political content.

All adverts “were created based upon real hate speech and disinformation prevalent in India, underscoring the capacity of social media platforms to amplify existing harmful narratives," the report mentioned.

The researchers submitted 22 adverts to Meta in English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Kannada, of which 14 were approved. Another three were approved with small tweaks. However, once approved, the researchers immediately removed the ads before their publication.

The research concluded that Meta failed to detect the presence of AI-manipulated images in all of the approved ads.

While five of the adverts, including one with some allegations against PM Modi were rejected on charge of breaking Meta's policy on hate speech, the report noted that the 14 others approved targetted Muslims and “broke Meta’s own policies on hate speech, bullying and harassment, misinformation, and violence and incitement."

“Supremacists, racists and autocrats know they can use hyper-targeted ads to spread vile hate speech, share images of mosques burning and push violent conspiracy theories – and Meta will gladly take their money, no questions asked,” the Guardian quoted Maen Hammad, a campaigner at Ekō as saying.

In response, Meta clarified that they require advertisers to disclose their use of AI.

“When we find content, including ads, that violates our community standards or community guidelines, we remove it, regardless of its creation mechanism. AI-generated content is also eligible to be reviewed and rated by our network of independent factcheckers – once a content is labeled as ‘altered’ we reduce the content’s distribution. We also require advertisers globally to disclose when they use AI or digital methods to create or alter a political or social issue ad in certain cases," the company said in response.

Meanwhile, Meta has been accused in the past of failing to curb Islamophobia on its platforms.

“This election has shown once more that Meta doesn’t have a plan to address the landslide of hate speech and disinformation on its platform during these critical elections,” Hammad said questioning how one can trust Meta if it fails to detect even a handful of AI-generated images.

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News Network
May 21,2024

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Raichur, May 21: In a tragic incident in Koravinahala village of Karnataka's Raichur district, a four-year-old girl fell victim to a stray dog attack and succumbed to injuries on Tuesday.

The deceased has been identified as Lavanya, daughter of Keralinga.

Fifteen days ago, seven children were attacked by a stray dog while they were playing. Lavanya was bitten on the back of her neck and other parts of her body.

Lavanya was discharged from the hospital two days ago and was under treatment at her residence. Unfortunately, she succumbed to her injuries. The other children who were attacked by the dog are still under treatment.

Keralinga, Lavanya's father, stated that his daughter was attacked right in front of their residence.

He urged the authorities to take action to ensure that other children in the village do not meet the same fate as his daughter.

The villagers said that to date, the authorities have not visited the village to enquire about the affected children. The dog was killed by the villagers on the same day of the attack.

Kariyappa, the Panchayat Development Officer of Samagakunta village, said that he got information about the incident on Tuesday and will visit the village.
He said that a rescue team would be sent to look out for stray dogs that were attacking people.

"We received information that the dog was not local and had strayed from a different region. While traveling to another place, it attacked the children," he said.

The villagers have expressed their outrage alleging negligence by the authorities.

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News Network
May 19,2024

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on May 19, Iranian state media reported, without immediately elaborating.

Mr. Raisi was traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State TV said the incident happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Traveling with Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. One local government official used the word “crash” to describe the incident, but he acknowledged to an Iranian newspaper that he had yet to reach the site himself.

Neither IRNA nor state TV offered any information on Mr. Raisi’s condition.

Rescuers were attempting to reach the site, state TV said, but had been hampered by poor weather conditions. There had been heavy rain and fog reported with some wind. IRNA called the area a “forest.”

Mr. Raisi had been in Azerbaijan early Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The dam is the third one that the two nations built on the Aras River. The visit came despite chilly relations between the two nations, including over a gun attack on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran in 2023, and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic relations with Israel, which Iran’s Shiite theocracy views as its main enemy in the region.

Iran flies a variety of helicopters in the country, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them. Its military air fleet also largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mr. Raisi, 63, is a revolutionary who formerly led the country’s judiciary. He is viewed as a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and some analysts have suggested he could replace the 85-year-old leader after his death or resignation from the role.

Mr. Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election, a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. Raisi is sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war.

Under Mr. Raisi, Iran now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections. Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine, as well as launched a massive drone-and-missile attack on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It also has continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast, like Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

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