Monday, January 1, 2018

German move enforcing hate speech law

Germany is set to start enforcing a law that demands social media sites move quickly to remove hate speech, fake news and illegal material.
Sites that do not remove “obviously illegal” posts could face fines of up to 50 million euros. The law gives the networks 24 hours to act after they have been told about law-breaking material.
Social networks and media sites with more than two million members will fall under the law’s provisions. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be the law’s main focus but it is also likely to be applied to Reddit, Tumblr and Russian social network VK.
Other sites such as Vimeo and Flickr could also be caught up in its provisions. Germany’s justice ministry said, it would make forms available on its site, which concerned citizens could use to report content that violates the law or has not been taken down in time.

Kim: US in range of N Korea’s Nuke button

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un today warned the United States that he has a “nuclear button” on his desk ready for use if North Korea is threatened.
In his televised New Year’s Day speech, Kim said, the entire United States is within range of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. He said this is reality, not a threat, while emphasising that these weapons will be used only if Pyongyang’s security is threatened.
Kim however, offered an olive branch to South Korea, saying he was “open to dialogue” with Seoul and called for lower military tensions on the Korean peninsula and improved ties with the South. He said, when it comes to North-South relations, the military tensions should be lowered on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment and both the North and the South should make efforts.
Kim said, he will consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February. He said, North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to show unity of the people.
Seoul and Games organisers have billed 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang as “peace Olympics”. The Games will take place from 9th to 25th February, with the Paralympics scheduled to begin on the 9th of March. Games organisers and Seoul have both been keen for the North to take part, but Pyongyang’s participation in sporting events in the South has largely depended on the political and military situation on the Korean peninsula. The venues for the Games lie just 80 kilometres south of the tense border with the North Korea.

Macron vows ‘French renaissance’ in New Year’s address

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to kickstart a “French renaissance” and promised to pursue his reforms with “the same intensity” in his first New Year’s address as the country’s leader. “Ask yourselves every morning what you can do for the country,”he urged. “I want to say that with this conquering spirit that we have, with this determination and sincere ambition… we would help breathe life into our French renaissance,” he said. Macron also pledged to continue to work with Germany to reform the European Union, adding that “Europe is good for France.”

Bulgaria takes rotating presidency of EU Council

Bulgaria has taken the rotating presidency in the Council of the European Union – the EU’s legislative body representing the governments of member states. The term starts on January 1 and will last for six months. Sofia plans to use its tenure to work on standing issues for the 28-member union, including Brexit, migration policy, pan-European defense, and integration of western Balkan nations into the EU, Bulgarian officials say. Some 300 events are planned for the presidency, including a summit in the capital in May.

PM Modi address on Satyendra Nath Bose’s 125th birth anniversary in Kolkata

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today pitched for using vernacular languages in promoting science communication in a big way to develop love of science in the youth, saying language should not be a barrier but a facilitator.
Addressing the curtain-raiser ceremony of the commemoration of professor Satyendra Nath Bose’s 125th birth anniversary in Kolkata via video-conference from New Delhi, he said Bose was a crusader for teaching of science in vernacular languages and had started a Bengali science magazine.
He said, the fundamental importance of his work may be gauged from the fact that several Nobel Prizes in Physics have been awarded subsequently to researchers carrying forward his ideas to diverse physical applications.
The Prime Minister also asked the scientists to use their fundamental knowledge to help the general public in today’s life. He said it is important in today’s world that the final outcome of the innovation and research should be judged for their positive impact on the lives of poor people. He asked scientists to determine their subjects of research keeping in mind the socio-economic challenges faced by the country.
Mr Modi said, the scientific community and anyone associated with science and technology must focus their innovation and research towards building a New India.
He said, science and technology works as an extraordinary engine for Development, Growth and Transformation.
Mr Modi said, for various reasons, India missed the first Industrial revolution but it can not miss similar opportunities today. He said, upcoming sectors such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Cyber-physical systems, Genomics, and Electric Vehicles are new challenges that require attention and scientists need to ensure, that as a country, India keep pace with these emerging technologies and innovations.
He said, the way India’s scientific community tackles these challenges, it will determine it’s success in smart manufacturing, smart cities, Industry 4.0, and the Internet-of-Things. He said, country’s scientific ecosystem must connect directly with innovators and entrepreneurs to cultivate, channelize and empower them.
Physicist S N Bose is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s. Bose discovered what is known as bosons and worked with Albert Einstein to define one of the two basic classes of subatomic particles.

Hello Naresh, The 20th century was tough

Hello Naresh,
The 20th century was tough on old planet Earth.
Our population explosion combined with our modern consumer lifestyles have been overtaxing the natural resources of the planet ever since mid-20th century.
Scientists say we need 1.5 planets to support all of us today.
We need 6 planets to support everyone at the level of American or European lifestyles.
The catch is we have only one planet.
So now what do we do now?
Do we let oceans die? Let the forests burn? Let the water tables drop?
No. We know you can’t stand by and simply watch the vital signs of our planet sink.
It’s time to get engaged.
Don’t you want your grandchildren to remember the 21st century as the century we found an acceptable balance between our lifestyles and the capacity of the planet to support us?
At Worldwatch, we believe this balance is possible but it will require a vast human commitment to overcome the inertia of business as usual.
Finding and promoting a vision for a sustainable future has been the focus of Worldwatch since 1974. We have inspired tens of thousands of people around the world to dedicate their careers to solving this problem. But it will take millions of us to do so before we turn things around.
Get involved with our mission.
Read our books. Read our blogs. Support our research.
Ask your local communities and universities what they are doing to solve this century’s greatest challenge.

386K children born worldwide on NY day

Nearly 386,000 children will be born worldwide on New Year’s Day, says UNICEF 
UNICEF challenges nations around the world to make sure more newborns survive their first days of life
NEW YORK, 1 January 2018  Approximately 386,000 babies will be born on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today.
Kiribati’s Christmas Island in the Pacific will most likely welcome 2018’s first baby; the United States, its last. Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in nine countries:
  • India — 69,000
  • China — 44,760
  • Nigeria — 20,210
  • Pakistan — 14,910
  • Indonesia — 13,370
  • The United States — 11,280
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo — 9,400
  • Ethiopia — 9,020
  • Bangladesh — 8,370
While many babies will survive, some will not make it past their first day. In 2016, an estimated 2,600 children died within the first 24 hours every day of the year. For almost 2 million newborns, their first week was also their last. In all, 2.6 million children died before the end of their first month. Among those children, more than 80 per cent died from preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia.
“This New Year, UNICEF’s resolution is to help give every child more than an hour, more than a day, more than a month — more than survival,” said Stefan Peterson, UNICEF’s Chief of Health. “We call on governments and partners to join the fight to save millions of children’s lives by providing proven, low-cost solutions.”
Over the past two decades, the world has seen unprecedented progress in child survival, halving the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday to 5.6 million in 2016. But despite these advances, there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in the first month account for 46 per cent of all deaths among children under five.
Next month, UNICEF will launch Every Child Alive, a global campaign to demand and deliver affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn. These include a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, disinfecting the umbilical cord, breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, and skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child.
“We are now entering the era when all the world’s newborns should have the opportunity to see the 22nd century,” added Peterson. “Unfortunately, nearly half of the children born this year likely won’t. A child born in Sweden in January 2018 is most likely to live to 2100, while a child from Somalia would be unlikely to live beyond 2075.”
Notes to Editors 
In India, 69000 babies are born every day. The day of birth is the riskiest day for both the mother and the newborn as nearly half of the maternal deaths and 40 per cent of the newborn deaths occur on the day of birth. Measures to ensure that every woman delivers in a health facility assisted by a skilled birth attendant, would be key to preventing these deaths as nearly five million newborns are delivered at home in India every year.

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