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Pathankot attacks: JeM chief Masood Azhar arrested

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The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Chief Maulana Masood Azhar have been arrested in Pakistan’s Islamabad city in connection with the terrorists attacks recently on Pathankot air base of India’s Air Force on Wednesday evening.Pakistan has reportedly detained Maulana Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terror group blamed by India for the deadly attack on the Pathankot Air Force base earlier this month, in which seven military personnel were martyred.

Azhar and four of his top aides have been detained in Islamabad, said local media. Earlier, a statement from the office of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “Several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed, have been apprehended. The offices of the organization are also being traced and sealed.”

India had strongly suggested that without action by Pakistan against those responsible for the attacks, it will not go ahead with Foreign Secretary talks of the two countries which had tentatively been set for Friday in Islamabad.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had over the phone last week asked Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif for prompt and decisive action on the basis of specific evidence. Mr Sharif then set up a committee of his top intel, army and government officers to investigate India’s allegations.

Years ago, Pakistan refused to hand over Azhar to India after he was named as the prime suspect in the 2001 attack on Parliament in which nine Indians including security guards were shot dead.

The portly cleric has remained mostly confined to a compound in his home city of Bhawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province for years, but Indian intelligence officials pointed out renewed activity by him in 2014, when he addressed a large public rally via phone.

Azhar was arrested in Kashmir in 1994 while travelling on a forged Portuguese passport. India freed him and two other jailed Pakistani terrorists in 1999 in return for 155 passengers held hostage in an Indian Airlines aircraft that was hijacked to Kandahar in Southern Afghanistan.

One of the other freed militants was British-born Omar Sheikh, a close associate of Azhar who was later convicted in the 2002 abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. After his release, Azhar set up the Jaish to fight Indian forces in Kashmir.

Pakistan has said it is considering sending investigators to India to get more information on the Pathankot attack. The Indian government has not yet reacted on whether this will be permitted. Islamabad has said that some evidence submitted by India does not check out – it has reportedly conveyed that the phone numbers called by the terrorists from Pathankot are not registered in Pakistan, as claimed by Delhi.

Talks between the Foreign Secretaries are likely to be delayed, said government sources. A decision could be taken tonight when Foreign Secretary Jaishankar returns to Delhi from a visit to Sri Lanka. He is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Modi.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh today said that the army will “carry out any task” it is assigned, in reaction to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s strong comments, made yesterday, that “those who harmed us will also feel the pain”.

Politics

Facebook workers stage virtual walkout over no action on Trump tweet

“We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies,” Zuckerberg wrote.

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San Francisco, June 1 : Several Facebook employees on Monday staged a “virtual walkout” in protest at the social networking giant’s policies regarding a recent controversial post by President Donald Trump on its platform.

The employees took to Twitter, publicly announcing their solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter protests that have seized the nation since the death of African-American George Floyd by a white police officer on May 25.

“Today I am participating in a virtual walkout over Facebook”s recent decisions not to moderate posts that we believe violate our platform standards,” posted one Facebook employee.

Another employee tweeted: “As allies we must stand in the way of danger, not behind. I will be participating in today”s virtual walkout in solidarity with the black community inside and outside FB.”

Several Facebook employees have come out in the open to protest the social media giant”s stand on not taking action on a controversial post from Trump about the Minnesota protests.

“I believe Trump”s ”when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet (cross-posted to FB), encourages extra-judicial violence and stokes racism. Respect to @Twitter”s integrity team for making the enforcement call,” David Gillis, Director, Product Design at Facebook, said in a tweet on Sunday.

While Twitter last week put out a “public interest notice” on the tweet for violating the platform”s policies about glorifying violence, Facebook refused to take action when the tweet was cross-posted to its platform.

Defending the decision to not take action on the controversial posts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday said that its “policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force”.

“We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“Our policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force, although I think today”s situation raises important questions about what potential limits of that discussion should be,” he said.

“Unlike Twitter, we do not have a policy of putting a warning in front of posts that may incite violence because we believe that if a post incites violence, it should be removed regardless of whether it is newsworthy, even if it comes from a politician,” Zuckerberg added.

In a series of tweets, Gillis argued that policy “needs to evolve” and take more context into account.

“While I understand why we chose to stay squarely within the four corners of our violence and incitement policy, I think it would have been right for us to make a ”spirit of the policy” exception that took more context into account,” he said.

“At any rate, when we have to vigorously debate whether to make an exception to the way we interpret and enforce a given policy (as happened on Friday), this often indicates that said policy needs to evolve. I think that is the case here,” he said.

Another Facebook employee tweeted that he was not proud of how Facebook reacted.

“I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we”re showing up. The majority of coworkers I”ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard,” said Jason Toff, Director of Product Management at Facebook.

–IANS

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Tech

Did ”Anonymous” hacker group attack Minneapolis police website?

On its unconfirmed Facebook page on Thursday, hacker group Anonymous said it was targeting the department.

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San Francisco, June 1 : After hacker group Anonymous issued a threat of retribution for the death of George Floyd allegedly due to police brutality, the website of Minneapolis Police Department showed signs that it faced a cyber attack.

The website currently requires visitors to submit “captchas” to verify they are humans, not bots, the New York Post reported on Monday.

On its unconfirmed Facebook page on Thursday, hacker group Anonymous said it was targeting the department.

The politically-charged hacker group targeted the police department for its “horrific track record of violence and corruption” in an almost four-minute video.

“This travesty has gone on for far too long, and now the people have had enough,” a figure said in a mechanical voice.

“People have had enough of this corruption and violence from an organization that promises to keep them safe,” it added.

“Unfortunately, we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world,” said the masked figure.

Some 5,000 US National Guard troops were deployed in major states amid the ongoing protests against the death of Floyd in police custody on May 25 in the city of Minneapolis, while also demanding an end to racism and police violence.

–IANS

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Disaster

Italy’s death toll from coronavirus rises by 75 to 33,415

The rest 35,253 people, or about 84 percent of those who tested positive, are quarantined at home with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

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Rome, June 1 : Seventy-five more COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country”s toll to 33,415, out of total infection cases of 233,019, according to fresh figures.

Nationwide, the number of active infections dropped by 1,616 to 42,075, said the Civil Protection Department on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of those who tested positive for the new coronavirus, 435 are in intensive care, 15 fewer compared to Saturday, and 6,387 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 293 patients from the previous day.

The rest 35,253 people, or about 84 percent of those who tested positive, are quarantined at home with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

Recoveries rose by 1,874 compared to Saturday, bringing the nationwide total to 157,507.

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