No benefit in breaking up Facebook: COO Sheryl Sandberg
San Francisco: As the chorus grows to break up Facebook, the social networking platform’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has said that it won’t serve any purpose.
“You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don’t address the underlying issues people are concerned about,” she told CNBC in an interview on Friday.”People are concerned about election security, content, privacy and data portability,” Sandberg added. Several US Senators have called for breaking up the social network amid repeated data breaches and privacy violations on the platform.
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris has stressed that authorities should take a serious look at breaking up Facebook as the social network platform is a “utility that has gone unregulated. Another Democratic 2020 candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren has also stressed upon the possibility of breaking up Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process. Facebook has kept aside $3 billion, anticipating a record fine coming from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that involved 87 million users.
In an opinion piece in The New York Times last week, Facebook Co-founder Chris Hughes said the government must hold Mark (Zuckerberg) accountable. “Mark’s personal reputation and the reputation of Facebook have taken a nose-dive,” wrote Hughes, adding that it was time to break up the company.
414 million plastic pieces found on Indian islands
Melbourne: An estimated 414 million pieces of plastic — including nearly one million shoes and 370,000 toothbrushes — have been found washed ashore on the beaches of remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, according to a study.
The survey of plastic pollution, published in the journal Scientific Reports, estimated that the beaches on the islands are littered with 238 tonnes of plastic.
Remote islands which do not have large human populations depositing rubbish nearby are an indicator of the amount of plastic debris circulating in the world’s oceans, said Jennifer Lavers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania in Australia. “Islands such as these are like canaries in a coal mine and it’s increasingly urgent that we act on the warnings they are giving us,” Lavers said.
Plastic pollution is now ubiquitous in our oceans, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective view of the volume of plastic debris now circling the globe, researchers said. Plastic pollution is a well-documented threat to wildlife and its potential impact on humans is a growing area of medical research.
Visas of 90 Pakistan brides are withheld by China
Islamabad: Amidst a raging controversy over Pakistani girls being trafficked to China after fake marriages, the Chinese embassy here has withheld visas of 90 Pakistani brides. China’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan Lijian Zhao said 140 applications have been received this year from Chinese nationals, seeking visas for their Pak brides.
Only 50 visas were granted, while the remaining requests were withheld, he said, adding that the embassy had received 142 such applications in 2018, The Express Tribune reported. Pakistan Govt has ordered the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) to take action against the gangs involved in smuggling of Pakistani girls to China on the pretext of contracting marriage.
According to the local media reports, poor Christian girls, are lured, with money and promises of ‘good life’, by the illegal matchmaking centres to marry Chinese men who are either visiting or working in Pakistan. These centres produce fake documents of Chinese men showing them either as Christians or Muslims. Most of the girls became victims of human trafficking and are forced into prostitution.
FDA urged to crack down on European firms shipping abortion pills to US from India
Washington: A bipartisan group of 117 lawmakers has urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to crack down on companies, primarily based in Europe, that ship chemical abortion drugs from India to the US.
These European companies, like Aid Access, are circumventing the FDA’s safety requirements and placing the lives of women and their children at risk, the lawmakers said in a letter to Norman Sharpless, the Acting FDA Commissioner.
In the letter dated May 10, the bipartisan group of Congressmen urged Sharpless to crack down on Aid Access and Rablon, two foreign companies known to distribute Mifeprex, a chemical abortion drug, by mail-order to US customers in violation of the FDA’s safety protocols.
Claude Monet’s Haystack painting fetches USD 110.7 million at auction
New York: A Claude Monet painting from his celebrated “Meules” (Haystacks) series fetched USD 110.7 million in New York on Tuesday in an auction record for the French Impressionist master.
The sale at Sotheby’s — the first time the work had come to auction since 1986 — fetched one of the 10 highest prices ever seen at auction. The total, which includes fees and the commission, was more than 44 times the previous record for the work.
It was the first time an Impressionist painting fetched more than $100 million. Monet painted his 25 “Meules” compositions during the winter of 1890-1891 at his home in Giverny, in France’s Normandy region. In each piece, Monet showed the light and surroundings of the same scene as they changed at different times of day, with the varying seasons and during various types of weather.
Cracks appear in German government over planned climate law
Berlin: Germany’s environment minister on Monday backed a European proposal to virtually eliminate man-made greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, deepening divisions within the German government over how to tackle climate change.
French President Macron and eight either EU countries pitched the plan at a summit of European leaders last week, but Germany was a notable holdout.
“I don’t think this decision is final,” said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze of the center-left Social Democrats, the junior partners in Merkel’s government. “I think we should talk about it again. Because I think it’s very sensible to stand alongside France and work to say at the EU-level that we want to implement Paris.”
Indigenous Australians take government to UN over climate change
Sydney: Indigenous residents of low-lying islands off northern Australia will submit a landmark complaint with the United Nations on Monday accusing the government of violating their human rights by failing to tackle climate change.
The lawyers, from the non-profit ClientEarth, said the case was the first of its kind to be lodged with the UN equating government inaction on climate change to a human rights violation.
In their complaint, the islanders ask the UN to find that international human rights law requires Australia to reduce its emissions to at least 65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The country should become carbon neutral by 2050, phasing out its use and export of coal completely, they say.
San Francisco may ban police, city’s use of facial recognition
San Francisco: San Francisco is on track to become the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition by police and other city agencies, reflecting a growing backlash against a technology that’s creeping into airports, motor vehicle departments, stores, stadiums and home security cameras. Government agencies around the US have used the technology for more than a decade to scan databases for suspects and prevent identity fraud.
But recent advances in artificial intelligence have created more sophisticated computer vision tools, making it easier for police to pinpoint a missing child or protester in a moving crowd or for retailers to analyse a shopper’s facial expressions as they peruse store shelves. Microsoft, while opposed to an outright ban, has urged lawmakers to set limits on the technology, warning that leaving it unchecked could enable an oppressive dystopia reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
“Face recognition is one of those technologies that people get how creepy it is,” said Alvaro Bedoya, who directs Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology. “It’s not like cookies on a browser. There’s something about this technology that really sets the hairs on the back of people’s heads up.”
They worry people will one day not be able to go to a park, store or school without being identified and tracked. Already, a handful of big box stores across the US are trying out cameras with facial recognition that can guess their customers’ age, gender or mood as they walk by, with the goal of showing them targeted, real-time ads on in-store video screens.
Tomb below UK supermarket
London: A royal burial site found between a pub and a supermarket has been hailed as the UK’s equivalent to Egypt’s famous Tutankhamun tomb, said archaeologists. The archaeologists revealed the results of years of research into the burial site of a rich, powerful Anglo-Saxon man found at Prittlewell in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, the Guardian reported. When it was first discovered in 2003, jaws dropped at how intact the chamber was. But it is only now, after years of painstaking investigation by more than 40 specialists, that a fuller picture of the extraordinary nature of the find was emerging.
Sophie Jackson, director of research at Museum of London Archaeology (Mola), said it could be seen as a British equivalent to Tutankhamun’s tomb, although different in a number of ways. “It was essentially a sandpit with stains,” she said. “It was one of the most significant archaeological discoveries we’ve made in this country in the last 50 to 60 years.” The remains of the timber structure, which would have measured about 13ft square and 5ft deep, housed some 40 rare and precious artefacts, the BBC reported. Among them was a lyre – an ancient harp – and a 1,400-year-old box thought to be the only surviving example of painted Anglo-Saxon woodwork in Britain.
Sri Lanka: The responsible terrorist organization of the Easter Blast has 140 million caches, 7 billion properties
Half of the total cash is in the custody of the CID and the rest have been deposited in bank accounts. CID has started the process of suspending these bank accounts.
Layer rate layers are being revealed after the attacks on Easter in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan police said on Monday that the terrorist organization, which was behind the attacks by the National Tauhid Jamaat, has recovered more than 140 crores cash and more than 7 billion worth of assets. Let's say the link from the Islamic organization (ISIS) of this terrorist organization has come up.
Sri Lankan Police spokesman SP Suon Gunasekera said that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has gathered this information. He said that half of the total cash is in CID's custody. The rest were deposited in some bank accounts. CID has started the process of suspending these bank accounts.
Ruwan said that 73 suspects have been arrested so far in the April 21 attacks that killed 250 people. They are interrogating the CID as well as the Central Investigative Investigation Department (TID). He said that 54 suspected CIDs including 7 women are in the custody. At the same time, 19 people, including 2 women, are in the custody of TID.