Facebook Inc has reached an agreement with news agency Reuters, a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp , to fact-check content posted on the social media platform and its photo-sharing app Instagram.
Under pressure to remove fake news on its platform ahead of the U.S. presidential elections, Facebook started a U.S. pilot program in December to detect misinformation faster.
The move came after U.S. intelligence agencies said that social media platforms were used in a Russian cyber-influence campaign aimed at interfering in the 2016 U.S. election – a claim Moscow has denied.
A newly created unit at Reuters will fact-check user-generated photos, videos, headlines and other content for Facebook’s U.S. audience in both English and Spanish, the news agency said in a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Facebook works with seven other fact-checking partners in the United States, including Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.
This was my second time attending the Global Space and Technology Convention (GSTC) in Singapore, held 5-7 February 2020. GSTC is just one example of the Singapore Space and Technology Association’s (SSTA) ongoing efforts to bolster Asia’s space & technology scene.
TheSSTA focuses on developing Singapore’s space and related high technology industries. Active in the space industry, SSTA spearheads major trade and business-focused initiatives targeted at advancing the space ecosystem.
There’s no doubt SSTA brings together consumers, as evidenced by this year’s GSTC participants, which included space research organisations, leading and emerging technology companies, venture capitalists (few – but a steadily growing number), and space agencies from around the world. Of particular note, this year saw newcomers from governments, including the UAE Space Agency and the Hungarian Ministerial Commissioner for Space Research.
We heard from industry experts over a very engaging two-day agenda. Among the exceptional presentations were those from Vivian Quenet, Managing Director & Head of Sales for Asia-Pacific for Arianespace, on “Facts, Figures, and Trends of Commercial Space”; “3D Printing in Space” with Dr Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director for Namic; and “The UAE’s Space Programme” presented by Talal Al Kaissi, Advisor, Strategic Projects, for the UAE Space Agency. These presenters stood out as they gave personal views, explained the drivers behind their respective activities, and pointed to exciting future prospects in commercial space.
The panel featuring Christian Patouraux, CEO & Founder, Kacific, and Zee Zheng, CEO & Co-founder, SpaceChain, demonstrated how new players are challenging the incumbents and changing the satellite industry with novel technologies to provide important value to users.
The “Successful Universities Programmes in Smallsat Innovation” panel, saw Amal Chandran, Director, Satellite Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University, give the audience useful insights on working closely with universities for research and development purposes and utilizing talent and resources at hand. Yasunori Yamazaki, Chief Business Officer, Axelspace, revealed the catalytic support received from a university venture-fund arm in the beginning of Axelspace’s journey, which certainly got the audience thinking about alternative funding sources. The other panelists continued to build the case around the nexus between industry and higher education. It’s no wonder then that the Chairman of the UAE Space Agency is also the Minister of State for High Education and Advanced Skills.
Admittedly, despite the growing technological progress observed in the past decades, one thing we hear far less about across the space sector is the measurable impact companies, founders, and the industry at large have on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the related application of technologies. Victoria Alonsoperez, Founder & Inventor, Chipsafer, and a United Nations Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, was a considerable presence at the conference, holding the mantle and keeping her industry peers mindful and accountable to sustainable practices, while demanding both the sustainability of our space ecosystem and that we all contribute to #Space4SDGs!
We will see a number of significant industry events leading up to the next GSTC in 2021, notably the International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2020, in Dubai, 12-16 October 2020, making the UAE the first Arab country to host this annual, high profile gathering of the international space industry.
The theme of IAC2020 is Inspire, Innovate & Discover for the Benefit of Humankind. This theme should spur us to encourage non-space-sector actors and adjacent industry players to attend, connect, and contribute to the conversation.
Surely a broader, more vibrant audience from ‘outside’ the space industry—as well as the usual suspects—will help facilitate effective discussions, build successful partnerships, and expand capabilities for the betterment of the space ecosystem and its wider impact on humankind.
Anna Hazlett is the Middle East – Asia Representative for SpaceWatch.Global.
As a fifth death is announced, South Korea’s president authorizes bold measures.
President Moon Jae-in on Sunday put South Korea on the highest possible alert in its fight against the coronavirus, a move that empowers the government to lock down cities and take other sweeping measures to contain the outbreak.
“The coming few days will be a critical time for us,” Mr. Moon said at an emergency meeting of government officials to discuss the outbreak, which in just days has spiraled to 602 confirmed infections and five deaths. “This will be a momentous time when the central government, local governments, health officials and medical personnel and the entire people must wage an all-out, concerted response to the problem.”
Mr. Moon did not announce any specific measures to fight the virus. But by raising the alert to Level 4, or “serious,” he authorized the government to take steps like banning visitors from specific countries and restricting public transportation, as well as locking down cities, as China has done.
Many of South Korea’s coronavirus cases are in the southeastern city of Daegu, which has essentially been placed under a state of emergency, though people are still free to enter and leave the city.
On Sunday, a spokesman for Shincheonji, Kim Si-mon, said the church had cooperated fully since the first infection of one of its members was confirmed, handing over the names of thousands of members who had attended services in Daegu. He protested what he called negative news coverage of the church, which many mainstream churches in South Korea consider a cult.
“We, too, are citizens of this country and victims of the disease originating in China,” Mr. Kim said. “In fact, we are the biggest group of victims.”
The spike of cases in South Korea, along with rising numbers in Iran and Italy, has added to fears that the window to avert a global pandemic is narrowing. The World Health Organization has warned African leaders of the urgent need to prepare for the virus; it identified 13 African countries as priorities because of their direct links to China, which still accounts for the vast majority of confirmed infections and deaths.
On Sunday, China raised its official numbers to 76,936 cases and 2,442 deaths.
Despite a ban, rallies in Seoul show no sign of ending.
In Seoul, South Korea’s capital, large demonstrations of all political stripes are a routine fact of life. But with the country’s coronavirus cases soaring, the authorities say that needs to stop, at least for now.
Updated Feb. 10, 2020
What is a Coronavirus? It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
How contagious is the virus? According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
How worried should I be? While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
Who is working to contain the virus? World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
What if I’m traveling? The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
How do I keep myself and others safe? Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
In a televised address on Saturday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged people to comply with a ban on large protests in the capital, warning that the government would deal “sternly” with people who participate in “massive rallies,” as well as those who hoard goods or interfere with quarantine efforts.
But thousands of Christian activists defied the ban that same day, gathering in central Seoul for their weekly protest against President Moon Jae-in, whom they accuse of coddling North Korea and mismanaging the economy.
Police officers were deployed in large numbers but made no attempt to disperse the crowd. Most of the protesters wore masks, but they booed Mayor Park Won-soon when he asked them to leave for the sake of public health.
“We care more about the country and our fatherland than our own lives,” the Rev. Jun Kwang-hoon, who organized the rally, shouted at the cheering crowd. He vowed to hold another rally next Saturday.
The State Department raises its travel advisories for Japan and South Korea.
The advisories said that while many Covid-19 cases have been associated with travel to and from mainland China, or contact with someone who had recently been there, South Korea and Japan were now reporting “sustained community spread.” That means it is not known how or where people became infected, and the spread is ongoing, the advisories said.
Japanese officials said Saturday that 23 of the Diamond Princess passengers had mistakenly been cleared without a recent valid test. Those passengers have since been tested and posed “no risk of infection,” the Japanese Health Ministry said.
A vast American containment effort relies on local officials.
Local health officials check in daily by email, phone or text. They arrange tests for people who come down with symptoms, along with groceries and isolated housing, in some cases. There is no centralized tally in the United States of people being monitored or asked to remain in isolation, and they are scattered across the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health jurisdictions.
People arriving from mainland China are added each day, while those who have completed 14-day “self-quarantine” periods are released from oversight. In California alone, the department of public health has been monitoring more than 6,700 returning travelers from China. Health officials in Washington State have tracked about 800, and officials in Illinois more than 200.
So far, officials say, the containment effort has been largely orderly. The only known transmission of the virus in the United States has involved people in the same household. But no matter how effective health workers are in monitoring their charges, “there will always be some leakage,’’ said John Wiesman, the secretary of health in Washington State.
“There is no way, with something this large, that you can make it seal-proof,’’ Dr. Wiesman said. While enforcing total compliance with isolation orders may not be possible, he said, “We have to try for 80 to 85 percent, and hopefully that will work.’’
Russian disinformation blames the U.S. for the virus.
State Department officials say that thousands of Russia-linked social media accounts are spreading disinformation about the coronavirus, including a conspiracy theory that the United States is behind the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Russia’s intent is to sow discord and undermine U.S. institutions and alliances from within, including through covert and coercive malign influence campaigns,” said Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia.
“By spreading disinformation about coronavirus, Russian malign actors are once again choosing to threaten public safety by distracting from the global health response.”
The effort was described as being carried out by several thousand Russia-linked accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, which post similar messages at similar times in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.
Misinformation about the virus — whether shared purposefully or unwittingly — is so rife that the World Health Organization has called it an “infodemic.” The W.H.O. has been working with big tech companies to try to quell the flood of rumors and falsehoods.
Reporting was contributed by Choe Sang-Hun, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Austin Ramzy, Amy Harmon, Farah Stockman and Edward Wong.
Outlook February 23, 2020 12:26 IST Kerala school students to learn English at hi-tech IT labs
Kerala school students to learn English at hi-tech IT labs
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 23 (IANS) The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) has launched E3 (Enjoy, Enhance & Enrich) an ambitious project for enhancing and enriching the English language proficiency of students by making use of hi-tech lab facilities in schools, said an official.
This programme is apart from the Kerala government”s Public Education Rejuvenation Mission, as successive governments in the state have been working on it.
K. Anvar Sadath, CEO, KITE, said, the project aims to enhance and enrich English learning of students in an enjoyable atmosphere effectively making use of technology in schools.
“This is achieved using three components – Samagra e-Library, e-Language lab and e-Broadcast. One lakh school teachers will be trained during the summer vacation and the project will be implemented in the new academic year,” said Sadath.
Samagra e-Library is a digital repository of international standard digital books which will be available to students in audio and video formats.
The second is e-Language lab, which will have language lab software that will provide opportunities for students to enhance their listening, speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
The third component is e-Broadcast which includes multimedia programmes. The broadcast lessons will help learners use English in conversational and academic contexts in an interactive mode.
The Director of General Education will monitor the implementation of the project in schools by teachers.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: IANS