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WhatsApp to clamp down on 'sinister' messages in India: IT minister

Facebook-owned WhatsApp assured the Indian government on Tuesday that it would develop tools to combat the problem of fake messages, the country’s information technology minister said.India has stepped up efforts to crack down on mass message forwards after it found that people were using platforms such as WhatsApp to stoke public anger. False messages circulated on WhatsApp have led to a series of mob beatings across the country this year.WhatsApp chief executive officer Chris Daniels met India’s IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday, assuring the government of a solution.Prasad told reporters he had asked WhatsApp to develop a detailed mechanism to trace the origin of any such “sinister” messages.“It does not need rocket science to locate a message,” Prasad said after his meeting, adding that WhatsApp had said it was working with law enforcement agencies to develop its systems.A Facebook spokeswoman in India did not immediately respond to a request for comment.India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with more than 200 million users and one where it says people forward more messages, photographs and videos than any other country.There are also concerns that supporters of political parties could use social media platforms such as WhatsApp to spread false messages in the run-up to India’s national elections in 2019.Following calls from the government to stem the platform’s misuse, WhatsApp has moved to deter mass message forwards and launched an advertising campaign to educate consumers.In July, WhatsApp said message forwards will be limited to five chats at a time, whether among individuals or groups, and said it will remove the quick forward button placed next to media messages.(REUTERS)

Latest | More than a million people in India flood relief camps

More than one million people have packed relief camps to escape devastating monsoon floods that have killed more than 410 people in India's southwestern state of Kerala, officials said Tuesday.About 50,000 homes have been destroyed, according to one Kerala legislator, and people are flocking to the camps as the scale of the desolation is revealed by receding waters.A total of 1,028,000 people were now recorded in about 3,200 relief camps across the state, a state government spokesman told AFP.Six more bodies were found Monday, he added, taking the toll to more than 410 since the monsoon started in June.At Chengannur, one of the worst-hit towns, more than 60 centimetres (two feet) of water still blocked many roads as more rain fell Tuesday.Army teams said several thousand people in the town remained in homes inundated by 10 days of torrential downpours that have battered the state.Rescue teams in Chengannur on Tuesday finally reached the house of retired army officer K.G. Pillai, who said up to 2.4 metres (eight feet) of water had engulfed the house where his family had lived since 1952."In the past there has never been more than one foot of floods and people are not used to this," he said.Many roads and homes around Pillai's house remained inaccessible."Around 26 people moved into the first floor of our home" to take refuge from the floods, he said.A senior army officer involved in the rescue operation in Chengannur said authorities believed most of the people left in town did not want to be evacuated and were instead seeking food and water."We received a distress call late yesterday to rescue a disabled child and will be going in today on boats to check if there are others who need assistance," he said.Relief effortsThousands of army, navy and air force personnel have fanned out across the state to help those stranded in remote and hilly areas.Dozens of helicopters and even drones have been dropping food, medicine and water to cut-off villages.Tens of thousands of people in Chengannur and surrounding towns and villages are relying on community kitchens for meals, after water from hilly districts in Kerala's north poured down into lowland regions."People have lost all or most of their belongings in the last few days," the officer said.Shashi Tharoor, a deputy from Kerala and former UN official, estimated that 50,000 houses had been destroyed. He said he would seek possible UN assistance in relief efforts during a trip to Geneva this week.Millions of dollars in donations have poured into the state from the rest of India and abroad since the extent of the devastation became known.Supreme Court judges have donated $360 each while the British-based Sikh group Khalsa Aid International has set up its own relief camp in Kochi, Kerala's main city, to provide 3,000 meals a day.(AFP)

Anorexic Chinese woman, 21, wakes from 40-day coma after extreme dieting

An anorexic woman in northern China is on the mend after waking from a 40-day coma in what her doctor is calling “a miracle”.The 21-year-old, identified only as Xiaoxian from Harbin, Heilongjiang province, weighed only 25kg when she suffered a cerebral haemorrhage caused by a fall in the hospital where she was being treated.According to New Evening Post, she lost 30kg over three years of extreme dieting and lacked the energy to stand at the time of her fall.“She has suffered from severe malnutrition and multiple organ dysfunction,” said Min Ya, Xiaoxian’s doctor at the First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University.“It is a miracle for her to be alive, considering the low energy diet she has been on.”Xiaoxian, who is 167cm tall, began dieting at 18 after a school counsellor commented on her weight, which at that time was 50kg.She restricted her calorie intake to a mere 450 joules – one third of the energy required by a normal metabolism – and relied on dietary supplements and induced vomiting to keep her weight down.“Her body mass is only 9, but it should be 18 for normal people,” Min Ya said.Doctors feared she would emerge from the coma paralysed, despite the successful outcome of her brain surgery, due to severe malnutrition.But after she regained consciousness, Xiaoxian was able to move and even ask for food, the New Evening Post report said. By last Wednesday, she had gained 10kg.“Doctor, I hope I can soon weigh 54kg,” she is reported to have said.Another doctor at the hospital, Zhang Ganming, was also surprised at Xiaoxian’s recovery.“We initially thought her survival would be the best possible outcome,” Zhang Ganming said.“I didn’t expect her to become normal again.”While she continues on her long road to recovery, some effects of the illness may be permanent.According to Min, her brain tissue is now similar to that of a 60-year-old.Min urged people to be mindful of the dangers of anorexia nervosa and to avoid unscientific dieting.Min also recommended that people worried about being overweight should seek professional advice as there may be other factors involved.(SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

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The Belt and Road

2018 Belt and Road International Forum held in Beijing

Masood Khalid, Pakistani Ambassador to China, speaks at 2018 Belt and Road International Forum in Beijing on June 28.The Belt and Road International Forum was held in Beijing on June 28, with the theme of “The Win-Win of the Belt and Road Initiative”. Nearly 200 Chinese and foreign guests attended, including officials, diplomatic envoys, experts and think tanks.Topics of discussion included international economic cooperation corridors, economic integration, regional connectivity, and cultural exchange.At the forum, the BRI Think-tank Alliance Presentation Platform, BRI Entrepreneurs’ Alliance and the BRI Fund of Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation were launched. "The Belt and Road" Think-Tank Alliance Presentation Platform is also launched here today in Beijing.“The Belt and Road” Think-Tank Alliance Presentation Platform aims to draw on the wisdom of the Belt and Road Initiative through further interactions with experts from various research institutions at home and abroad. It will conduct policy analysis, political consultation as well as sharing platforms for information, resource and achievement.Wang Xiaohui, Editor-in-Chief of CIIC, believes this platform will promote win-win cooperation among Asia, Europe and Africa by carrying out the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.”“By facilitating exchanges between entrepreneurs and think-tank experts, we mobilize domestic and foreign experts to make targeted subject research and risk assessment reports on enterprise investment projects, provide “one - to -one” strategic consultation, to help solve their problems when going aboard, “he said. Honored guests jointly launch "The Belt and Road Entrepreneurs' Alliance" in Beijing, June 28th. “The Belt and Road” Entrepreneurs Alliance was co-established by CIIC, China World Peace Foundation (CWPF) and Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation (BJIPCF), and supported by China Enterprise Confederation and China Enterprise Directors Association. It will promote business case and experience sharing, inviting experts to give lectures, issuing country-level big data reports, holding analysis report on overseas investment environment and Belt and Road entrepreneurs forum, etc, as a move to enhance global cooperation on production capacity and help Chinese enterprises go global.Li Fugen, Vice President of CIIC, said that under the principles of policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, the Alliance will draw on information, resources, capital, business opportunities and talents to facilitate enterprises to increase visibility in global market. He also disclosed that this alliance would maintain close connection with embassies to China. Projects recommend by the embassies will be assigned to entrepreneurs by Belt.china.org.cn. "The Belt and Road" Fund of Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation, co-initiated by Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation, Beijing Jiangyin Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, and ZZ HD Health Industry Group, is also launched here today. “The Belt and Road” Fund of Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation was co-initiated by Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation (BJIPCF), Beijing Jiangyin Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, and ZZ HD Health Industry Group. With the funds donated by entrepreneurs, more favorable environment will be fostered for cultural exchanges among countries along the Belt and Road, thus advancing the Belt and Road Initiative and win - win cooperation.the most urgent one. For that reason, the Foundation will play an active role in providing investment and financing support for and preventing risks in economic and trade cooperation, bilateral or multilateral connectivity.The forum was co-hosted by China Internet Information Center (CIIC), China World Peace Foundation (CWPF), Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation (BJIPCF) and Jiangsu Normal University (JSNU); jointly organized by China.org.cn Belt.china.org.cn and China Development Gateway, and supported by Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Belt and Road Research Institute of Beijing Normal University, ZZ HD Health Industry Group and Beijing Hanyihuang Cloisonne Crafts Co. Ltd. (XINHUA)

2018-07-01

Work conference held in Yiwu for China, Czech to coordinate their efforts in promoting Belt and Road Initiative cooperation

By APD Writer He Wei The conference, which jointly organized by the western development department of the National Development and Reform Commission and the second foreign policy department of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade kicked off on June 6, 2018. It is of great significance in implementing the plan for China-Czech cooperation and promoting bilateral communication and cooperation. Both sides took a review on the development of the plan and held a talk over the cooperation prospects on trade, finance, think tank and projects. The priority work of the China and Czech cooperation in the next phase was discussed during the conference.Both sides reached an agreement on enhancing the cooperation on the field of policy coordination, facility connectivity, economic and trade, investment, finance and culture aiming at boosting the economy of both countries and benefiting the people. Almost 100 people from government officials, financial institutions, think tanks  and enterprises of both countries attended the conference.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

2018-06-06