• Special Report
  • Centre to RBI: The Rs 11,400 crore fraud is a “supervisory failure” at the central bank

    Mumbai/New Delhi: The Centre is finally taking a call on the PNB fraud in a letter to the RBI, it has been conveyed that the Rs 11,400 crore fraud smacks of ‘‘supervisory failure” at the central bank. The RBI has been further asked to explain why the alleged scam discovered by the PNB went undetected in its systems. It has also been told to check the efficacy of its fraud-detecting procedures and systems.

    A Reuters report says that in the letter, the government has raised questions about the central bank’s “efficacy of supervision to detect and check systemic failure.” “Either the framework designed by the RBI to prevent and detect such frauds is inadequate or the RBI is unable to ensure its effective implementation,” the letter says.

    Your actions destroyed my brand and business: Nirav Modi to PNB
    The RBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the wire service, since it was a holiday in Mumbai. A finance ministry spokesman also declined to comment. Meanwhile, the CBI gave the CVC a presentation on the alleged fraud. The CBI has told the commission that a system failure took place at several levels.  The CVC, in turn, has issued instructions that officials involved in the fraud, as well as those who could have taken action and prevented the fraud, be identified.

    In another development, the CBI has sealed Punjab National Bank’s MCB Brady House branch in Mumbai. It is at this branch that the fraud was carried out. A source at the CBI said the branch was likely to resume operations on Tuesday.


    Hit hard by the country’s biggest bank fraud, the government is looking at tightening the norms for appointment of statutory auditors at public sector banks to help detect any irregularities early and take corrective actions, according to a government official. At present, PSBs appoint their own auditors and questions have been raised about how the fraud could have remained undetected for seven long years.


  • Each year, 6 lakh newborns die within 28 days of birth in India, says Unicef study

    New Delhi: A quarter of global neonatal deaths happen in India where nearly 600,000 newborns die within 28 days of their birth every year, according to a new Unicef study.  The study, which found the number of newborn deaths in India was one of the highest in the world, says the causes of such deaths are preventable and treatable as 80 per cent of these fatalities happen for no serious reason.

    On a brighter side, the study says, India has remarkably reduced the under-five mortality. “Though infant mortality in the country has declined considerably, the number of newborns dying each year remains unacceptably high. India, with nearly 600,000 newborn deaths each year, accounts for a quarter of the global burden of neonatal deaths,” said Unicef in its global report on neonatal mortality “Every Child Alive” released on early Tuesday.

    Of the 184 countries, which the report covers, India’s 31 rank with 25.4 neonatal mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) kept the world’s seventh largest economy below 153 countries who have better survival rates for their newborns. A year earlier, India was the 28th worst country among 184 nations in terms of neonatal mortality.

    The first 28 days of life – the neonatal period – are the most vulnerable time for a child’s survival. Children face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life, at a global rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births. Globally, 2.6 million children died in the first month of life in 2016 most of which occurred in the first week, with about one million dying on the first day and close to one million dying within the next six days, as per the Unicef.

    “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,” says the UN children’s agency. Affordable and quality healthcare solutions should be there for every mother and newborn. It includes steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, 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, it said.

    “India is currently off-track to meet the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) target for neonatal mortality of 12 by 2030,” said the report. However, the country has made impressive progress in reduction of under-five mortality and with the current rate of decline “is on track to meet the SDG target for the under-five mortality of 25 per 1000 live births by 2030.”

    India registered a reduction of 66 per cent in under-five deaths during 1990 to 2015, nearly meeting its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. In comparison, the decline in under-five mortality for the world was 55 per cent. The recent progress is even better, with 120,000 fewer deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015. The number of annual under-five deaths in India has gone below one million for the first time in 2016, said the agency.

    On the policy front, introduction of conditional cash transfers, provision of free transport services – 102 and 108 – and making free healthcare an entitlement for every women and infant have led to doubling of institutional deliveries from 39 per cent in 2005 to 79 per cent in 2016. However, the progress has been inequitable for girls, with under-five mortality rate for girls being at 41 per 1,000 as against 37 per 1000 for boys. India is the only big country in the world to have a higher mortality for girls as compared to boys, it said and added girls are biologically stronger but socially vulnerable in India.


  • Trade ties between India & Canada: Investment impetus needed

    India and Canada—both among top 10 nations of the world—do not talk much business with each other. Perhaps, the geographical distance could be a problem. However, both the countries offer enormous business potential for each other. Hence, it makes sense for both countries to interact a lot more with each other than before. Pankaj Joshi takes a closer look…

    When we talk of Indo-Canadian trade ties, it is important to understand that two of the top ten economies (in GDP terms) are being discussed.

    However, the mutual trade figures are quite subdued and in growth terms also there is not much velocity to speak of. India’s merchandise exports to Canada have gone up from USD 2.53 billion in 2011 to USD 4.04 billion in 2016, a rise of merely 60 per cent across five years. Likewise, merchandise imports from Canada too have moved up just 53 per cent in this time, from USD 2.63 billion to USD 3.98 billion. The trade balance is always marginal on either side.

    Even in services, the figures are quite modest. While, services exports revenue for India has gone up from USD 0.58 billion to USD 1.37 billion in the 2010-15 period, Canada’s service export income in this period went up from USD 0.44 billion to USD 0.79 billion. This does not really reflect well on both the countries who are among the top ten economies. Thus, there is a need to talk more business with each other.

    Both imports and export aggregates form less than 1 per cent of the global Canadian figure, which indicates a need to find further areas of synergy and opportunity. The data does offer some significant pointers for higher trade potential:

    Indian imports from Canada are dominated (around two-thirds) by resource-based goods and only one-third by manufactured goods. Against that, 96 per cent of Indian exports were manufactured goods. This shows that Canada views India more as a processor. It also indirectly acknowledges the breadth of India’s manufacturing canvas.
    No single product category of exports from India to Canada contributes more than 10 per cent to the basket. Against that, leguminous vegetables contributed 28 per cent to Canada’s Indian exports in 2016 and coal an extra 11 per cent. A diversified basket of Indian products indicate multi-product acceptance which can be scaled up.

    With all this limited trade, India still stands as Canada’s 10th largest partner in merchandise trade and 16th in services trade.
    As per Statista, Canada stood 12th in the list of largest exporter nations in 2016. This argues that policies and processes will be in place. The government data indicates that Canada merchandise exports are currently in the range of USD 500 billion.
    One aspect of this matter is the geographical distance between the two nations, and the impact of transportation costs on the viability of the specific product pricing. This is reinforced by the historical data that traditionally states 65-70 per cent of Canada’s exports go to the USA, which is its next door neighbour. The slowdown in the US automobile industry over the past ten years has had an impact on Canada’s overall export growth. The way around for this would then be cross-border investment, which again is very modest as of now.

    FDI therefore would be the way to go forward. If the opportunity were to be quantified in a very basic manner, it is Canada’s per capita income which would enthuse India and likewise India’s population which would spell export opportunities for Canada. Processed, high-value, durable items would logically therefore be the Indian basket, while Canada would perhaps look more at affordable, bottom-of-pyramid products and services for the Indian market.

    As per the Canadian government’s own statement, “India’s rapidly expanding economy offers tremendous opportunities for Canadian companies in emerging sectors such as transportation infrastructure, life-science, clean energy technology (e.g. integration of renewable energy/smart grid; carbon capture, use and storage; and energy efficiency) and renewable energy as well as in traditional sectors such as infrastructure development, natural resources, defence and security, value-added food products, mining and oil and gas. Science and technology collaboration, innovation and educational linkages are also important areas of opportunity for Canadian business.”

    Here, it may be noted that there is a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement being discussed, but again finalisation and conversion of agreement terms to policies and procedures can only be the real catalyst.

    Beyond these opportunities come travel and even education. India’s outbound tourism has shown rapid growth in the past decade, on the bedrock of different factors – good economic growth, rising disposable income, and a young and curious population looking to harness growing airline and airport infrastructure.

    Canadian tourism official data values outbound Indian tourism at USD 22 billion (2016 estimates) and 13th largest worldwide, with 22 million departures. Indian leisure traffic to Canada was around 1, 91,000 in 2015 which went up to 2, 16,000 in 2016. While this figure represents a new record, it also shows how much upside there is in the context of total Indian overseas leisure travel and what is being captured by Canada. The Canadian authorities estimate that the 2, 16,000 figure is just 8 per cent of the market potential.

    Likewise, in education, Indians studying abroad is another growing and sustainable trend. Both these could be a good growth for Canada in terms of service exports growth. Perhaps the Indian diaspora could be leveraged to that effect. Clearly, there is much to do and there are enough guiding signs on the road ahead.


  • It was an ‘absolutely amazing’ week, says new world no 1 Roger Federer

    London: After celebrating his return to the top of the ATP rankings by clinching the Rotterdam Open, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has insisted that it was an ‘absolutely amazing’ week for him.

    Yesterday, Federer, the oldest man to clinch the world number one spot in tennis, eased past Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 to clinch his 97th title at the Rotterdam Open.

    Speaking after his win, Federer revealed that though his goal was to make it to the semi-finals as he wanted to become the oldest man to seal a numero-uno spot, he somehow managed to lift the title.

    “Thank you very very much. What a week it’s been, absolutely amazing. The goal was to make it to the semis but I won the tournament so I am very happy. I would like to thank everybody who has been part of this tournament over the years. Getting the players back and making them feel incredibly welcome,” the Daily Express quoted Federer, as saying.

    Meanwhile, the Swiss star also hailed Dimitrov after a tough week in the Netherlands, adding that he is looking forward to face him ahead in the season.

    “Of course I would also like to congratulate Grigor after a tough week. I hope you feel better tomorrow or tonight already. All the best for the season, keep it up and I’m sure I’ll see you around soon,” he said.

    By becoming the oldest number one male player by defeating Dutch opponent Robin Haase in quarter-finals, the 36-year-old had surpassed eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi, who previously held the record at 33 years since September 2003.

    Federer first became world number one in February 2004 and had not topped the rankings since October 2012. He, in fact, slipped to a low of 17th in January 2017. Federer will officially dethrone his old rival Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings when the new ATP rankings are updated on Monday.

  • We have managed short-pitched balls pretty well on this tour: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

    Johannesburg: The impressive performance in the ongoing South Africa tour has helped improve Indian batsmen’s reputation of not being good players of short-pitched balls, pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar has asserted. Kumar said South Africa’s ploy to unsettle Indian batsmen with short-pitched balls back-fired in the first Twenty20 on Sunday. whenever India goes abroad, the reputation is that India are not good at batting against short bowling.

    This time we have not seen that thing. We have really tackled it well. Today they bowled 5-6 overs of short bowling to us early on and it really backfired on them,â? Bhuvneshwar said after India’s 28-run win. “Whatever the reputation we had, in the last few years we are playing totally opposite of that. We have managed the short ball pretty well on this tour. They wanted to bowl short but it didn’t really work well for them,â? he said. Bhuvneshwar (5 for 24) grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul in T20 internationals to help India restrict South Africa to 175-9 in 20 overs. â?oWhat I was trying to do is bring about change of pace in my bowling.

    I just wanted to take the pace off the ball because I knew it won’t be easy to hit the ball and that’s what I did. The important thing is how you mix your deliveries according to the wicket,” he said. “For instance, today we bowled a lot of slow balls. It was a part of our strategy on this wicket, to do away with pace and make it difficult for the batsmen to score. Apart from line and length, it’s important to understand how you want to mix your deliveries. It matters. Today, for instance, it was about bowling slow.â? Shikhar Dhawan scored 72 off 39 balls as India sped off in the powerplay overs. The visitors finished with 203/5, their highest total in T20 cricket against South Africa. This was despite the Proteas targeting India with a short-ball strategy.

    Bhuvneshwar hailed the team’s 28-run win in the first T20I as a “complete performance”. â?oWhen we went in there, we knew what we wanted to do as best as a bowling team. We lost the first two Test matches and then we came back. The momentum was on our side and if momentum is on your side, you have got to make it count. Credit has to go the Indian team for the way we have played in every department,â? he said. Bhuvneshwar became the first Indian pacer to pick up five wickets in each format of the game. Additionally, he has experienced a successful tour after impressing with both bat and ball in the Tests as well as the ODI series.

    Also read: India vs South Africa Johannesburg T20I: India beat SA by 28 runs
    The pacer said that managing workloads and fitness has been the key to his success. â?oFirst thing, it comes with fitness. It’s not easy playing all three formats, especially on a single tour. So the first thing before coming here what I wanted to do is manage workload. I wanted to practice but in a specific way, so as to not put extra workload on the body,” he said. taking wickets means a lot to me when you play for your country. It doesn’t matter if you take five wickets or how many as long as you’re winning matches for your country. That’s what matters and taking fifers in every format feels good. I want to do it as long as possible. Bhuvneshwar said batting first on the Wanderers pitch gave them ample idea about the nature of the wicket and it helped when they returned to defend their total.

    After we batted, we had a certain idea of the kind of wicket we would be bowling on after what we saw. But the whole picture begins to emerge only after you’ve bowled because it depends on the bowlers,” he said. “Look at their bowlers â?” they’re of a different height and have different skill sets. So you get an idea but as I said, the whole thing emerges only after you’ve bowled a few balls. For instance, if I’ve bowled the first over, I can communicate with the rest of the bowlers what’s happening on the wicket, like that,â? he added.

  • India vs South Africa Johannesburg T20I: India beat SA by 28 runs

    Johannesburg: A brilliant all-round show helped India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first Twenty-20 International (T20I) at the New Wanderers Stadium here on Sunday.

    Put in to bat, Shikhar Dhawan (72) hammered the South African bowlers all around the park and helped India to post a massive 203/5 before pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/24) wreaked havoc in the South African batting line-up to take a crucial 1-0 lead in the three-match series. With this bowling stats, Bhuvneshwar also became the first Indian bowler to take five wickets in each of the three formats (four times in Tests and once each in One Day Internationals and T20Is).

    Chasing a challenging target, South African openers J.J.Smuts (14) and Reeza Hendricks got off to a good start. But in the third over, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar  dismissed Smuts to make it 29/1. Middle-order batsmen Jean-Paul Duminy (3) and David Miller (9) were also dismissed cheaply by Bhuvneshwar and Hardik Pandya respectively. With the scoreboard reading 48/3, Farhaan Behardien (39) came in the middle and played sensibly along with Hendricks.

    The two displayed quality shots and forged an 81-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But just when things seemed good Behardien was sent back to the pavilion by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the 15th over. After adding a few more runs with new batsmen Heinrich Klaasen (16), Hendricks (70) was caught behind off Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over.

    Now with 46 needed in 14 balls, lower-order batsmen Andile Phehlukwayo (13), Chris Morris (0), Dane Paterson (1) and Junior Dala (2 not out) failed to rise to the occasion and only managed to score 175/9 in 20 overs. Earlier, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan once again unleashed mayhem in South Africa, with his 72 powering India to 203 for five wickets.

    The Delhi left-hander, who hit 323 runs in the six One-Day Internationals (ODIs), blasted 10 fours and two sixes in his 39-ball innings as others batted around him. After home captain Jean-Paul Duminy put India into bat, India’s innings was lifted by a brisk 21 off nine from Rohit Sharma, who got out in the fifth delivery of the second over after edging to wicket-keeper Heinrich Klassen off debutant Junior Dala.

    Dhawan’s show began after this as he got useful support from Suresh Raina (15 off 7) and Virat Kohli (26 off 20). Till the dismissal of Kohli, who was ruled LBW against spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the third delivery of the 10th over, India had already scored 108. Dhawan made the most of the ill-disciplined bowling from Chris Morris, Dala and Andile Phehlukwayo, who were allowing the 32-year-old to free his arms on the leg side.

    A failed scoop attempt of a slower delivery from Phehlukwayo ended Dhawan’s innings as Klassen dived front to removed the danger. Later, Manish Pandey (29 not out off 27), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Hardik Pandya (13 not out) took India past the 200-run mark.

  • Mehdi Hasan, Hyderabadi spinner picked by “Sunrisers Hyderabad” IPL 2018

    Hyderabad: Another Hyderabadi cricketer finds a place in the list of IPL players. “Sunrisers Hyderabad” picked Mehdi Hasan, a Hyderabadi spinner.
    After picking, Sunrisers Hyderabad tweeted, ” Mehdi Hasan joins the #OrangeArmy squad for the #IPL2018. A left-arm spinner from Hyderabad. Bid Price: Rs. 20 Lacs. Welcome, miyan”

    It also tweeted, “Another Hyderabadi on the rise. Let’s welcome our new left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan to the #OrangeArmy. We look forward to some great cricket. ”

    It may be mentioned that another Hyderabadi cricketer, Mohammed Siraj was picked by “Royal Challengers Bangalore”. His base price was Rs. 1 crore and he bagged Rs. 2.6 crore.


  • Australian Open 2018: Angelique Kerber beats Madison Keys to reach semifinals

    Melbourne: Former champion Angelique Kerber signalled her intent to wrest back the Australian Open title as she brutally crushed US Open finalist Madison Keys today to reach the semi-finals. The 2016 winner, seeded 21, brushed aside the American17th seed 6-1, 6-2, breaking her much-vaunted serve at will as she triumphed in 51 one-sided minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

    “It’s always tough to play against Madison,” said Kerber, who also won the US Open in 2016. “She is hitting the ball so hard and I was just trying from the beginning, like I played the whole week, just to playmy game. “I love playing in Australia and on Rod Laver Arena. Ihave so many good memories here.” The match was billed as a classic contrast of styles, thebig-serving power game of Keys versus the scurrying, chase-everything-down, all-action approach of Kerber. For Keys so much depends on the serve, which is aformidable weapon.

    When on song it sets up the American’s power game as inher last-16 match when she blew away Caroline Garcia with 32winners on the back of nine aces. But on Wednesday Kerber negated it from the off, winning57 percent of points on Keys’ first serve. And, without a plan B, Keys was broken four times in anerror-riddled five games as the German raced to the first set6-1 in 22 minutes and went 3-1 up in the second. “I was not thinking a lot about winners or errors, I wasstaying in the moment and tried to play every single point, “Kerber said.

    “I’m just happy to get through and be here in the semis.” Keys, who reached the semi-finals at Melbourne in 2015 ,momentarily held back the tide with a break to love to getback to 3-2. But the German juggernaut rolled on with a break back anda dominant hold, sealed with a tremendous overhead from nearthe baseline, to give Kerber a 5-2 advantage. Keys, serving to stay in the tournament, opened with twodouble faults and moments later Kerber was back in the semi-finals where she will face either top seed Simona Halep orsixth seed Karolina Pliskova.


Social Media

  • Alert! Be careful while using Facebook, Govt. agencies keep vigil

     The users of online social media have enormously increased to 241 million in India. Indians have surpassed the number of Facebook users of America which is 240 million.
    The users of Facebook should note that governments and law implementing agencies have an eye on the Facebook. Some of the voluntary agencies post emotional messages targeting the youths. Youths who get trapped by such organizations will come under the scanner of law implementing agencies.
    It is therefore advisable for users of Facebook in India and abroad to be careful of such charitable or welfare organizations.
    The youths must think twice before commenting, hitting like and posting anything on the Facebook to avoid legal complications.
    There are recent reports that Facebook is planning to link Aadhaar number to Facebook accounts in order to trace out and counter the fake accounts.

    –Siasat News

  • Now send direct live videos via Instagram

    New Delhi: Popular photo and video sharing platform Instagram announced its latest update, which will enable users to send live videos to their friends via Direct, Instagram’s messaging platform.

    With a single tap of the Direct icon, a user can send a live video, or a video they’re watching, to a friend or a group of friends and encourage them to join in, the company indicated in a blog post.

    When a user is live, he/she can tap the Direct icon at the bottom of the screen and send the live video to friends. Users also have this option when going live with a friend. Once sent, the recipient will see the live video in their Direct inbox.

    However, friends can only view the video while the sender is live. If the feed has ended, the recipient will see a message saying the video has ended.

    While the feature has been rolled out for greater engagement, users can disable the option to send live videos in Direct by accessing the same in the stories settings. Also, private account users can have only their followers viewing the video.

    On the other hand, as a viewer, one can send a live video to a friend in Direct the same way. While watching a live video, tap the Direct icon at the bottom of the screen and choose who to send it to.

    “Today’s change makes it easy to invite people to watch your live videos and send exciting live videos you’re viewing to your friends in real time,” the blog noted.

    Instagram has rolled out this update as part of its version 26 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.


  • Twitter to tell when local law demands blocking content, account

    San Francisco: To help the public better understand the scope and scale of government censorship from around the world, Twitter has updated its transparency tool to tell its users the legal compulsions behind blocking of some tweets and accounts on its platform.

    “We are updating our in-product messaging when we withhold content to clarify why content was withheld and where,” Jeremy Kessel, Global Legal Policy Director at Twitter wrote in a blog post.

    So when a tweet is withheld, users would now know if Twitter was compelled to withhold the original tweet in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

    They would also know if Twitter withheld the content to comply with local law(s).

    Similar notification will be available for withheld accounts as well.

    To shine light on government requests, Twitter launched its “Transparency Report” back in 2012 and later that year, it announced the “Country Withheld Content” (CWC) tool, which the microblogging site uses to transparently handle global legal requests to remove content from Twitter.

    “The primary goal of CWC is to avoid silent removals and maximise transparency of the content that we are compelled to remove to comply with local laws, court orders, and other legal demands,” Kessel said.

    Twitter achieves this transparency through a combination of efforts. This includes providing direct notice of removal requests to affected users (when not otherwise prohibited), the use of visual indicators within the service, and by publishing the underlying legal demands on Lumen, which serves as a public repository for content removal requests.

    One example of CWC is Nazi symbols in Germany, where they are prohibited, Techcrunch reported on Thursday.

    Twitter said the latest update is part of its larger efforts to increase transparency across the platform, particularly around decisions that impact its users.

    “We are also working on improving our use of in-app notifications to alert affected users when we have received legal requests about their account,” Kessel said.

    “Our goal is to help you better understand why you may not be able to view certain types of content as you interact with our service,” he added.


  • Facebook introduce new tools to block unwanted friend requests

    San Francisco: To prevent harassment on Facebook, the social media giant has introduced new tools that keep unwanted friend requests and messages from reaching you.

    The new features proactively recognise and help prevent unwanted contact when someone you blocked sets up a new account or tries to contact you from another account they control, said Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday.

    The new tools also provide the users the option to ignore a Messenger conversation and automatically move it out of their inbox, without having to block the sender.

    “Now, you can tap on a message to ignore the conversation. This disables notifications and moves the conversation from your inbox to your Filtered Messages folder,” Davis said.

    It enables the user to read messages in the conversation without the sender seeing if they have been read.

    “This feature is now available for one on one conversations and will soon be available broadly for group messages, too,” Davis added.

    Facebook hopes that the new tools will be of immense use for women and journalists who disproportionately experience harassment on the social media platform.

    Also Read : Facebook rolls out ‘Snooze’ to ‘mute’ friends

    As those who resort to harassment on social media often rely on fake accounts, Facebook said it is building on existing features that prevent fake and inauthentic accounts.

    “These automated features help us identify fake accounts more quickly and block millions of them at registration every day,” Davis said.

    But what happens when a new account created by someone who was previously blocked does not get caught by these features?

    “We are now using various signals (like an IP address) to help us proactively recognise this type of account and prevent its owner from sending a message or friend request to the person who blocked the original account,” Davis said.

    “The person who blocked the original account is in control, and must initiate contact with the new account in order for them to interact normally,” she added.

    — IANS

  • Facebook rolling out AI tools to help prevent suicides

    San Francisco: In yet another attempt to prevent suicides, Facebook is starting to roll out Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tools to help identify when someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide, including on Facebook Live.

    The initiative – that will use pattern recognition to detect posts or live videos where someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide to help authorities respond faster — will eventually be available worldwide, except the European Union, Facebook said in a blog post on Tuesday.

    “Facebook is a place where friends and family are already connected and we are able to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook,” wrote Guy Rosen, Vice President of Product Management at Facebook.
    In October, Facebook worked with first responders on over 100 wellness checks based on reports it received via its proactive detection efforts.  “We use signals like the text used in the post and comments (for example, comments like “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?” can be strong indicators).

    “In some instances, we have found that the technology has identified videos that may have gone unreported,” Rosen said.  Facebook has a team that includes a dedicated group of specialists who have specific training in suicide and self harm.  “We are also using AI to prioritise the order in which our team reviews reported posts, videos and live streams. This ensures we can get the right resources to people in distress and, where appropriate, we can more quickly alert first responders,” the blog post read.  In addition to those tools, Facebook is using automation so the team can more quickly access the appropriate first responders’ contact information.

    “We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in and prioritise the most serious reports. We provide people with a number of support options, such as to reach out to a friend,” Rosen informed.  Facebook in September said it was working with suicide prevention partners in India to collect phrases, hashtags and group names associated with online challenges encouraging self-harm or suicide.  Started on World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, the initiative would also connect people in India with information about supportive groups and suicide prevention tools in News Feed.