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India ready to give up veto power as permanent member in expanded UNSC

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United Nations, March 9: India and other members of the G4 have offered to initially forgo veto powers as permanent members in a reformed Security Council as a bargaining chip to get the reform process moving.

The issue of veto is important, but we should not allow it to have a veto over the process of Council reform itself,” said India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin, who was speaking on Tuesday on behalf of the G4 at the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on Council reforms.

While the new permanent members would in principle have veto powers that the current five have, Akbaruddin said, “they shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review“.

India, Brazil, Germany and Japan constitute the G4, which lobbies for Council reforms and they mutually support each other’s candidatures for permanent seats on an expanded body.

The G4 group rejected suggestions to create a category of longer-term elected members of the Council as a ploy to block adding new permanent members.

Expanding only the non-permanent categories would only worsen “the imbalance of influence” in the Council and “tilt the scales” in favour of an outdated set-up, he said.

Akbaruddin was responding to Italy’s Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi, who opposed expanding the permanent membership and instead suggested creating a new category of elected membership with longer terms than the current two years.

Cardi made the proposal on behalf of Uniting for Consensus (UfC), a 13-member group that includes Pakistan. The group has been waging a decades-long battle against expanding permanent membership and blocking the reform process.

Approaching reforms from a narrow national perspective of ensuring that certain countries do not get permanent membership – for example, Pakistan’s opposition to India – through the reform process, the UfC suggested adding 11 seats to the Council, with nine of them having longer terms.

Deriding the UfC proposal as “old hat”, Akbaruddin said that the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks conference held in Washington to negotiate the shape of the UN had rejected suggestions for the longer-term Council membership.

Any proposal for Council reforms without an expansion of the number of the permanent seats does “grave injustice to Africa’s aspirations for equality”, he said.

The G4 also pointed out that the number and allocation of non-permanent seats have outlived their relevance since the UN was formed and the reform in 1965 when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to 10.

Akbaruddin said that 53 members of the Asia-Pacific group of nations have only two elected seats on the council, while the 26-member Western Europe group also get two.

By Arul Louis (IANS)

India

Google fixes glitch showing Modi’s photo as India’s first PM

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Google Logo, File Photo IANS

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) An algorithm glitch that showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo as “India’s first PM” on Google Search and led to much outrage on Twitter has been fixed.

Users who searched for “India’s first PM” on Google late on Wednesday, were guided to the first link of the Wikipedia page titled “List of Prime Ministers of India”, with Jawaharlal Nehru’s name and description.

pm modi

Photo Source Google

However, instead of Nehru’s picture, the image which appeared was of Modi which prompted people to take screenshots of the search result page and tweet in large numbers.

“@Google @GoogleIndia what algorithm of yours allows this?! You’re so full of junk-“, tweeted Congress social media in-charge Divya Spandana.

Many tagged the search engine giant asking what exactly was going on.

“Dear @Google you got it wrong. I googled “India’s #first PM, Not worst PM ever!” Please correct yourself,” said one tweet.

“I came to know that #jawaharlalnehru look alike @narendramodi ??” said one.

When brought to Google’s notice, the glitch was fixed on Thursday.

Input IANS

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India’s ranking in world press freedom falls to 138: Report

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, April 26: India’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index has fallen two places to 138 in a ranking of 180 countries, according to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The watchdog blamed “physical violence” against journalists like Gauri Lankesh as the prime reason behind the country’s low ranking.

Norway clinched the top spot, while North Korea remained the most repressive country followed by Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria and then China.

“Hate speech is also an issue in the continent’s other giant, India, which has fallen another two places to 138th. Ever since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, Hindu fundamentalists have been referring to journalists in extremely violent terms,” news agency PTI quoted citing the report.

“Any investigative reporting that annoys the ruling party or any criticism of Hindutva, elicits a torrent of online insults and calls for the death of the reporter or writer responsible, most of it coming from the prime minister’s troll army.”

The RSF pointed the cold-blooded murder of journalist- activist Gauri Lankesh who was shot down outside her house in Bengaluru.

“The newspaper editor Gauri Lankesh was gunned down outside her home in September after being the target of hate speech and death threats for criticising Hindu supremacy, the caste system and discrimination against women,” the report said.

“The physical violence against journalists is largely responsible for India’s low ranking. At least three journalists were murdered in connection with their work. More were killed in circumstances that were unclear, as is often the case in rural areas, where reporters are poorly paid,” the watchdog observed.

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India should become big centre for data analysis: Ravi Shankar Prasad

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Ravishankar Prasad

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Taking a cue from industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s oft-repeated statement that ‘data is the new oil’, the Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ravi Shankar Prasad urged entrepreneurs to help India become a big centre for data analysis.

“How can you help India become a big centre of data analysis? …as someone said, data is the new oil,” Prasad said, speaking at an event to recognise start-up ventures jointly organised by MeitY, Assocham and Ericsson.

The minister said the government needed data for policy making but the data procured should be anonymous.

Giving an analogy, the minister said: “Suppose in a particular area a large number of children get affected (by some diseases) and the government wants to have a policy (to help them). I seek your (start-ups) support. You must have the data, why this particular ailment is happening in this part of the country — geographical, social, economic (data).”

“But data must be anonymous, so that victims (people) are not known.”

Prasad further said: “My take on data privacy is very simple. There has to be a balance between data availability, data utility, data innovation, data anonymity and data privacy.”

Saying that “we generate a lot of data”, the minister added that it should be properly safeguarded.

IANS

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