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A toddler waking dead mother highlights migrants’ misery

At least nine migrants have died in recent days exposing suffering of migrant workers due to coronavirus lockdown.27 minutes ago

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India: A toddler waking dead mother highlights migrants' misery
Millions of India’s poor have suffered from the strict lockdown, with many in cities losing their jobs, going hungry and struggling to return to their home villages [Channi Anand/AP Photo]

A viral video clip shared on social media showing a toddler trying to wake his dead mother lying on a railway platform in the eastern city of Muzaffarpur has shocked Indians.

According to local media reports, the family of Arbina Khatoon said she died of hunger and dehydration, highlighting the suffering migrant workers have endured due to the coronavirus lockdown. Local police, however, said that she died of illness.

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The 35-year-old is among at least nine migrant workers who have died on trains in recent days while travelling back to their homes, officials and media reported on Wednesday.

Local media aired footage of the two-year-old boy pulling at a cloth covering his dead mother at Muzaffarpur railway station in the northeastern state of Bihar.null

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Local police said Khatoon died of illness, with Indian Railways sharing a letter from relatives attesting to her poor health.

But those who travelled with her claimed she died from a shortage of food and water during a long train journey from western Gujarat state some 1,800km (1,118 miles) away.

The nine deaths highlight the plight of Indian migrants in the pandemic, during which millions lost their jobs and are struggling to return home under the country’s lockdown.

The deaths occurred on special trains organised by the Indian government to help transport stranded workers home.

A four-year-old boy was also reported dead before reaching the same Muzaffarpur station. His father said that he “died due to poor facilities in special trains for migrant workers”.

Local police told AFP news agency the child died on the train due to illness.

The bodies of two other migrant workers who took a 1,480km (920-mile) train journey from Mumbai to Varanasi in the nation’s north were pulled from carriages on Wednesday. Police said the men, aged 30 and 63, suffered from existing ailments.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported another five migrant workers had died on train journeys between Monday and Wednesday.

Indian Railways said on Twitter that “no such deaths due to hunger have been reported”.

“In most of these cases, it is found that those who died are old, sick people and patients with chronic diseases, who had actually gone to big cities for medical treatment,” an Indian Railways spokesperson told local PTI news agency.

Millions of India’s poor including migrant workers have suffered from the strict lockdown, with many in cities losing their jobs, going hungry and struggling to return to their home villages.

Some have walked or cycled hundreds of kilometres home in the harsh summer heat, with dozens dying from exhaustion or accidents.

Critics say the special trains have been delayed, leaving migrants waiting or in trains in scorching hot weather for days, and that there had been a shortage of food and water on the journeys, charges that Indian Railways and the government deny.

Author; Shakir Essa

Facebook reportedly had evidence that its algorithms were dividing people, but top executives killed or weakened proposed solutions

Mark Zuckerberg

But Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, repeatedly nixed proposed solutions because they feared appearing biased against conservatives or simply lost interest in solving the problem, The Journal reported.

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One report concluded that Facebook’s algorithms “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” according to The Journal.

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Facebook’s internal research found that it encouraged polarization, but Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives rejected ideas aimed at fixing the problem, The Wall Street Journal reports

Facebook had evidence that its algorithms encourage polarization and “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” but top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg killed or weakened proposed solutions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The effort to better understand Facebook’s effect on users’ behavior was a response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and its internal researchers determined that, contrary to the company’s mission of connecting the world, its products were having the opposite effect, according to the newspaper.

One 2016 report found that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools,” with most people joining at the suggestion of Facebook’s “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” algorithms. “Our recommendation systems grow the problem,” the researchers said, according to The Journal.

The Journal reported that Facebook teams pitched multiple fixes, including limiting the spread of information from groups’ most hyperactive and hyperpartisan users, suggesting a wider variety of groups than users might normally encounter, and creating subgroups for heated debates to prevent them from derailing entire groups.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

But these proposals were often dismissed or significantly diluted by Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, according to the newspaper, which reported that Zuckerberg eventually lost interest in trying to address the polarization problem and was concerned about the potential to limit user growth.

In response to the pitch about limiting the spread of hyperactive users’ posts, Zuckerberg agreed to a diluted version and asked the team to not bring something like that to him again, The Journal said.

The company’s researchers also determined that because of a larger presence of far-right accounts and pages publishing content on Facebook, any changes — including apolitical tweaks, like reducing clickbait — would have disproportionately affected conservatives.

That worried Kaplan, who previously halted a project called “Common Ground” that aimed to encourage healthier political discourse on the platform.null

Ultimately, many of the efforts weren’t incorporated into Facebook’s products, with managers telling employees in September 2018 that the company was pivoting “away from societal good to individual value,” according to The Journal.

“We’ve learned a lot since 2016 and are not the same company today,” a Facebook spokeswoman told the paper. “We’ve built a robust integrity team, strengthened our policies and practices to limit harmful content, and used research to understand our platform’s impact on society so we continue to improve.”

Facebook has repeatedly been scrutinized by critics who say the company hasn’t done enough to limit the spread of harmful content on its platform. That topic has come into sharper focus as coronavirus-related misinformation has run rampant on social media and as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

Author: Shakir Essa

Marriage proposals, dresses, feasts and dances – the story of two weddings in Somali, with traditions old and new.

When it comes to weddings, Somalia has many approaches. Some couples stick with tradition while others go for more modern marriage ceremonies.

This film tells the story of two weddings, one in a small desert village and the other in a busy city, while highlighting everyday life in different parts of the country. It also contrasts traditional ways of life with modern ideas that come from younger Somalis and social media.

In the remote rural village of Toon, herder Jamalli Muhammad Ahmed can only marry a local woman called  Hoda after first getting permission from her family. In a tradition going back generations, they all gather in the shade of a large tree to decide whether they are a suitable match. Only then can Jamalli and Hoda start planning their lives together.

Somalia Two Weddings - AJW
Jamalli and Hoda’s wedding followed traditional Somali customs [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Abdullatif Deeq Omar in Hargeisa city, however, first met his future wife Najma on Facebook. They eloped but eventually returned to their families who accepted their marriage plans.

Somalia Two Weddings - AJW
Abdullatif and Najma’s ceremony was in the city of Hargeisa [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Both weddings have the same pressures: buying outfits, inviting guests, finding a venue and arranging feasts – but each tells a unique story of family, community and tradition.

In Somali culture, many people also believe that getting married in the run-up to Ramadan ensures additional blessings on the couple, making the happy occasion even more special.

 

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Senegalese footballer hits back at Africans for making fun of his looks

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Krepin Diatta and his girlfriend

Senegalese footballer, Krepin Diatta, might not have been so popular until he scored that screamer of a goal for his side during their opening game against Tanzania at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations games in Egypt. But, that is not what has been of grave concern to him since then.

After images and videos of the player started going around on social media, many poured onto the internet to troll his looks, teasing him even further after it was discovered that the midfielder, who plays for the Belgian side, Club Brugge KV, had an even “better-looking” girlfriend.
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Completely surprised and disappointed at the comments he has been receiving about his looks especially from fellow Africans, the player has hit back terming them as “racist” comments.

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The matter escalated after a tweet by an African model named Nora Pinging put the 20-year-old player in a position of discrimination after she called him a ‘frog’ and went on to state that she would never agree to marry him even if she was given 50 million dollars.
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Replying to @nora_pinging
Even if I’m given 50 Million Naira, I can’t marry ceramics.

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Naturally displeased with her tweet which she has since deleted, fans of the footballer poured onto her page to hit back at her while calling into question her reasons for thinking that the player did not deserve a ‘pretty’ lady as a girlfriend.

Former Chelsea star and Ivorian football legend, Didier Drogba, in response to the critics, encouraged him to instead be strong and focus his attention from all the negative reviews because “you are very talented.”

Senegal have a game more to play at the AFCON to decide whether or not they will make it to the last 16 stage after they lost their game against Algeria on June 27, 2019.

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Shakir Essa