Google, Facebook update website to comply with IT rules

Agencies
May 30, 2021

New Delhi, May 30: Large digital companies like Google and Facebook have begun updating their websites to reflect the appointment of the grievance officers under the new social media rules that came into effect recently.

According to government sources, large social media companies like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp have shared details with the IT Ministry as per the requirement of the new digital rules, but Twitter is still not following the norms.

The new rules require significant social media intermediaries – those with other 50 lakh users – to appoint a grievance officer, nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel are required to be resident in India.

Industry sources said Facebook and WhatsApp have already shared their compliance report with the Ministry of Electronics and IT, and that the details of the new grievance officers appointed are being updated to replace the existing information on these platforms.

Google’s ‘Contact Us’ page shows details of Joe Grier as a contact person with an address from Mountain View, US. The page also contains details on the grievance redressal mechanism for YouTube.

As per the rules, all intermediaries have to prominently publish on their website, app or both, the name of the grievance officer and his/her contact details as well as the mechanism by which a user or a victim may make a complaint.

The grievance officer will have to acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and dispose of such complaint within a period of 15 days from the date of its receipt; and receive and acknowledge any order, notice or direction issued by the authorities.

The government sources on Friday had said that Twitter is not following the norms.

Twitter has not sent details of the chief compliance officer to the IT Ministry, and shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as a nodal contact person and grievance officer, they added.

This when the IT rules clearly require these designated officers of the significant social media platforms to be employees of the company and resident in India, they pointed out.

While Twitter did not respond to email queries on the issue, its website mentions Dharmendra Chatur as the ‘Resident Grievance Officer for India (Interim)’.

Google, Facebook and WhatsApp also did not respond to detailed email queries on the appointment of the personnel as required by the new IT rules.

The sources had earlier said that besides Google, Facebook and WhatsApp, other significant social media intermediaries like Koo, Sharechat, Telegram and LinkedIn too have shared details with the ministry as per the requirement of the IT norms.

Under the new rules, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for nudity, pornography etc.

The Centre has said the new rules are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms, and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal.

Non-compliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

After the new norms came into effect on May 26, the IT Ministry had turned up the heat on significant social media companies, asking them to immediately report compliance and provide details of the three key officials appointed.

The new IT rules also require significant social media intermediaries – providing services primarily in the nature of messaging – to enable identification of the “first originator” of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, or public order.

The large platforms have to also publish periodic compliance reports every month mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon, and the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools or other reasons. 
 

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News Network
May 15,2022

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Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, who found himself getting unwittingly involved in the 'Monkeygate affair' when it unfolded during the second Test at Sydney in 2008, termed former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds -- who died in a car crash in Queensland on Saturday -- as a "live-wire" on the cricket field.

"Andrew Symond's demise is shocking news for all of us to absorb. Not only was he a brilliant all-rounder, but also a live-wire on the field. I have fond memories of the time we spent together in Mumbai Indians. May his soul rest in peace, condolences to his family and friends," Tendulkar tweeted on Sunday morning.

Symonds, 46, was the sole passenger in the crash just outside of Townsville in his home state of Queensland and police confirmed that a 46-year-old died at the scene of the mishap.

During the infamous Sydney Test in January 2008, which Australia won by 122 runs, Tendulkar was at the non-striker's end when the altercation between India spinner Harbhajan Singh and Symonds took place, which later came to be called the 'Monkeygate affair'.

Symonds accused Harbhajan of calling him a 'monkey', which triggered a war of words between the two sides. In fact, India even threatened to cancel the tour and return home after the spinner was initially suspended for three Tests.

Initially, Tendulkar denied hearing anything, but the legendary cricketer later insisted that Harbhajan had actually said a Hindi slang which was a long way from being a racist remark.

The then Australian skipper Ricky Ponting complained to match referee Mike Procter about the India spinner calling Symonds a 'monkey'. Ponting then pressed charges against Harbhajan despite the then India skipper Anil Kumble's request to apologise.

Harbhajan was then slapped with a three-Test ban, which brought the two powerful cricket boards on a confrontation path -- and left the series in jeopardy.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) appointed New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen to hear Harbhajan's ban appeal after the Test series. The tour continued and Hansen later trusted Tendulkar's testimony to conclude lack of evidence to press racism charges against Harbhajan.

Harbhajan Singh mourns Andrew Symonds' death

India spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was involved in one of the biggest on-field controversies that threatened to spoil the relationship between the Australian and India cricket boards, on Sunday paid his tribute to legendary all-rounder Andrew Symonds who was killed in a car crash in Queensland on Saturday.

The off-spinner took to twitter to pay his tribute to the 46-year-old former Australian all-rounder, saying the cricketing great went too soon.

"Shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Andrew Symonds. Gone too soon. Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. Prayers for the departed soul. #RIPSymonds," tweeted Harbhajan.

The charismatic all-rounder played 26 Tests for Australia, scoring 1,462 runs at 40.61 and picking up 24 wickets with his off-spin and gentle medium-pace.

During the second Test of the series between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 2008, Symonds scored an unbeaten 162 in the first innings that helped the hosts to a 122-run victory.

However, the Test would later be mired in controversy over the 'Monkeygate affair'. Symonds accused Harbhajan of calling him a 'monkey', which triggering a war of words between the two sides. In fact, India even threatened to cancel the tour and return home after the spinner was initially suspended for three games.

Symonds had then lodged a complaint that he had been racially abused by Harbhajan. The case then went to match referee Mike Procter, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) lodging a protest over their player's suspension.

However, later the racism charge against Harbhajan could not be proved and the three-Test ban was lifted.

Symonds also featured in 198 ODIs -- scoring six centuries and 30 half-centuries -- while also contributing 133 wickets with his more than handy off-spin and medium pace.

It was at the 2003 World Cup where Symonds burst onto the stage with perhaps his greatest innings as he smashed Pakistan with an unbeaten 143 in Johannesburg early in the tournament and helped Australia remain unbeaten and defeat India in a one-sided final.

The right-hander was also part of the victorious World Cup side at the 2007 World Cup in West Indies as Australia claimed their fourth 50-over World Cup title.

Symonds also played 14 T20I for Australia, managing 337 runs and eight wickets. 

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News Network
May 10,2022

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Mohali, May 10: A rocket-propelled grenade hit the Intelligence Wing headquarters of Punjab Police in Mohali last night, shattering windowpanes on one of the floors of the building, police said. No one, however, was injured in the explosion, which political parties termed "disturbing" and "shocking". The explosion took place at around 7.45 pm at the office located at sector 77 in Mohali.

The windowpanes on one of the floors of the building were shattered because of the explosion. “A minor explosion was reported at the Punjab Police Intelligence Headquarters in sector 77, SAS Nagar at around 7.45 PM. No damage has been reported. Senior officers are on the spot and an investigation is being done. Forensic teams have been called,” the Mohali police said in a statement.

The police have cordoned off the area and an alert has been sounded. A police official told reporters that there was no casualty in the incident. “A minor blast took place at the intelligence building. The investigation is going on and our senior officials are on the spot,” the police official said. “The blast took place with a rocket type fire. There is no casualty,” said the official. He further said the forensic teams have also reached the spot. He said an FIR was being lodged over the incident. Asked if it was a terror attack, he said the investigation was going on.

A quick reaction team of the Chandigarh police was also deputed near the Intelligence office building. Senior officials of the Punjab police have reached the spot. Police said a search operation has been launched to nab the culprit. The explosion came close on the heels of the recovery of an explosive device near Burail Jail in Chandigarh on April 24.

Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed shock over the explosion and urged Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to take strict action against those who were behind this incident. “ Shocked to hear about the blast at the @PunjabPoliceInd Intelligence headquarter in Mohali. Thankfully nobody was hurt. This brazen attack on our police force is deeply concerning and I urge CM @BhagwantMann to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice at the earliest,” said Singh in a tweet.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said, “Disturbing news of a blast at the @PunjabPoliceInd intelligence bureau building in Mohali. Praying for everyone's safety and well-being.”

Former Punjab Home Minister and Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa dubbed the explosion as a “sign of deep communalism”. “The bomb blast in Mohali is a sign of deep communalism. I strongly condemn this incident and urge the @PunjabPoliceInd to investigate and take stern action against those who are intent on disturbing the peace of Punjab,” said Randhawa who is also a legislator from Dera Baba Nanak.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said he was deeply shocked at the blast. “Deeply shocked at the blast at Punjab Police's Intelligence Bureau HQs, Mohali, exposing serious security lapses and highlighting once again the deteriorating law & order situation in Punjab. Thorough probe required to expose & punish those responsible,” said Badal in a tweet. 

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News Network
May 12,2022

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Colombo, May 12: Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka's prime minister for the sixth time on Thursday, though the veteran politician has never completed a full term in office.

The 73-year-old's political career appeared to be drawing to a close before this week, when he agreed to helm a unity administration and help steer the South Asian island nation through a crippling economic crisis.

"This is a historic event," Tamil legislator Dharmalingam Sithadthan told AFP in reference to Wickremesinghe's latest return to the top office.

"This shows the desperate situation in our country."

Wickremesinghe is the sole parliamentary representative of the United National Party, a once-powerful political force that was nearly wiped out in Sri Lanka's last elections.

The former lawyer hails from a political family and his uncle Junius Jayewardene served as president for more than a decade.

But Wickremesinghe once told AFP he would have likely pursued a career as a journalist, had the government of the day not nationalised his family's newspaper business in 1973.

He was first appointed premier in 1993 after the assassination of then-president Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was killed in a bomb attack by Tamil Tiger guerrillas during Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war.

Underscoring the dynastic nature of Sri Lanka's politics, Premadasa's son Sajith is the current opposition leader and had also been touted as a possible prime ministerial candidate this week.

Wickremesinghe's first term in office lasted little more than a year.

He returned to power in 2001, earning a reputation for sound economic management after steering the country out of recession.

Conflict with the president saw him sacked before his term was over, and he spent the next decade in the political wilderness.

Wickremasinghe lost two presidential contests and led his party to a string of election defeats, prompting even his own supporters to dub him a "record loser".

He was nonetheless sworn in as prime minister again in 2015 after the election defeat of president Mahinda Rajapaksa after the opposition rallied behind him as a unity candidate against the authoritarian leader.

His "Mr Clean" image was muddied later that year when his administration was rocked by an insider trading scam involving central bank bonds.

A key accused in the multi-million dollar scam was the central bank chief at the time, Arjuna Mahendran, who was Wickremesinghe's schoolmate and choice for the job.

He was accused of cronyism during his tenure and failing to prosecute members of the previous Rajapaksa regime, members of which had been accused of graft, kickbacks and siphoning off public finances.

Political conflict with the powerful Rajapaksa family also threw the country into crisis in 2018, with Mahinda taking over the premiership for six weeks before the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional.

Wickremesinghe returns to office to replace Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned on Monday after his supporters attacked anti-government demonstrators, and later had to be rescued from his residence by the military.

He will serve at the pleasure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda's younger brother, who has fought off calls for his own resignation over the government's mismanagement of the economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe will be taking charge of a bankrupt nation in default of its $51-billion foreign debt and without money to import essential goods.

His status as a pro-West, free-market reformist could smooth bailout negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and foreign creditors.

But he has already warned there will be no quick fix to the nation's unprecedented economic woes.

"The worst is yet to come. We have very high inflation now and hyperinflation is on its way," Wickremesinghe told parliament last week.

"We should start addressing the issues now, we can't put it off any longer," he added. 

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