Digital Newspaper - 42340- 10112017 - page 7

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INTERNATIONAL
Friday, November 10, 2017
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com
Trump prods Xi to
work ‘hard’ and
fast on North Korea
— AFP
BEIJING: Donald Trump
showered Chinese leader
Xi Jinping with praise
during talks in Beijing
Thursday, but prodded his
host to work fast to help
resolve the North Korean
nuclear crisis, warning
“time is quickly running
out.”
Speaking on the second day of a
trip to Beijing marked by pomp and
pageantry, the US president also
decried China’s “one-sided and
unfair” trade surplus with the US
but told Xi “I don’t blame China,”
as the two countries signed more
than $250 billion in business deals.
Xi hosted Trump at the imposing
Great Hall of the People, next to
Tiananmen Square, for the main
event of the US president’s five-
nation tour of Asia.
While the two leaders exchanged
pleasantries in keeping with their
professed friendship — with
Trump calling Xi a “very special
man” — the former property
magnate made clear that he
expected China to do more to rein
in North Korea.
“We must act fast. And hopefully
China will act faster and more
effectively on this problem than
anyone,” Trump said.
“China can fix this problem eas-
ily and quickly, and I am calling on
China and your great president to
hopefully work on it very hard,” the
US leader said.
“I know one thing about your
president: If he works on it hard, it
will happen. There’s no doubt
about it,” he said, while thanking
Xi for his efforts to restrict trade
with Pyongyang.
The US administration thinks
China’s economic leverage over
North Korea is the key to strong-
arming Pyongyang into halting its
nuclear weapons and missile pro-
grams.
Xi said the two countries reiter-
ated their “firm commitment” to
the denuclearization of the Korean
peninsula and the implementation
of UN resolutions.
He also repeated his plea for the
issue to be resolved through nego-
tiations, saying China was ready to
discuss the “pathway leading to
enduring peace and stability on the
peninsula.”
Though China has backed UN
sanctions, US officials want Chinese
authorities to clamp down on
unauthorized trade along the
North Korean border.
But China has resisted taking
more drastic steps, such as halting
crude oil exports to the North.
Beijing fears that squeezing
Pyongyang too hard could cause
the regime to collapse.
US Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson said there are signs that
sanctions are “creating some stress
within the North Korean economy”
but that Xi told Trump they could
take “a little while” to make a dent.
Trump, who may meet with
Russian President Vladimir Putin
at an Asia-Pacific summit in
Vietnam on Friday, also urged
Russia to “help rein in this poten-
tially very tragic situation.”
China's President Xi Jinping hosts a state dinner for US President Donald Trump at the Great
Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday. (Reuters)
British boy, 9, ‘pledged support for Daesh after watching terror videos’
Tech companies need to do more to combat extremism threat, experts tell Arab News
OLIVIA CUTHBERT
LONDON: A 9-year-old boy who
stood up in class to declare his sup-
port for Daesh after seeing execu-
tion videos online is among more
than 2,000 British children,
including over 500 girls, identified
as potential extremists according
to data released by the UK govern-
ment on Thursday.
The London schoolboy, given
the pseudonym Haaruun, watched
videos of beheadings and people
being burned by Daesh after
searching for extremist material
online in the wake of the Paris
attacks two years ago, the Home
Office told Arab News.
Government figures released
yesterday, the most detailed so far
on the number of people referred
to the government’s de-radicaliza-
tion program Prevent, revealed
that nearly a third of referrals were
of people under the age of 15 and
more than half under the age of
20.
In total, 7,631 were referred to
the scheme during a 12-month
period up to the end of March last
year, 5,000 of whom were reported
in relation to concerns about
extremist sympathies toward
groups like Daesh and Al-Qaeda,
while 759 were linked to right-
wing extremism, according to UK
media.
More young people than ever are
now being reported, heightening
concerns about the access to online
extremist material. In some cases,
children as young as 5 or 6 have
been sent for help due to the
involvement of older siblings in
terrorist activity.
Amber Rudd, the home secre-
tary, is currently meeting tech
giants in the US to discuss con-
cerns about the availability of
extremist content on the Internet.
Social media companies have
come under fire in recent months
for failing to take a more aggres-
sive stance in tackling online
extremism.
Commentators say a much more
proactive commitment is needed
from tech companies to combat
the mounting threat.
“Terrorists and violent extrem-
ists rely heavily on social media
and online communication plat-
forms such as YouTube, Telegram
and Twitter to spread their ideolo-
gies. As a result, disrupting those
networks and removing terrorist
propaganda are vital steps towards
preventing radicalization and its
consequences,” Mark Wallace, CEO
of the Counter Extremist Project
(CEP), told Arab News.
“We have seen some progress
from certain companies on this
front, but that has come only after
significant criticism, reputational
damage and threats from lawmak-
ers. Tech companies have been far
too reluctant to meet their ethical
obligations to better protect their
users and customers, who number
among those killed by terrorist
violence,” he added.
A recent report from the World
Economic Forum’s human rights
council warned that tech compa-
nies could be subject to govern-
ment regulation limiting freedom
of speech unless they “assume a
more active self-governance role.”
Earlier this year, British Prime
Minister Theresa May and French
premier Emmanuel Macron met in
Paris to launch a joint campaign
to tackle online radicalization.
“In the UK we are already work-
ing with social media companies
to halt the spread of extremist
material and poisonous propa-
ganda that is warping young
minds,” May said.
The prime minister has also
urged Internet companies to be
quicker in identifying and taking
down extremist content, calling for
the average 36-hour removal peri-
od to be reduced to two hours.
In June, tech companies includ-
ing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and
Microsoft teamed up to launch the
Global Internet Forum to Counter
Terrorism, pledging to share best
practices and “define standard
transparency reporting methods for
terrorist content removals.”
A Twitter report revealed that
the platform suspended 935,589
accounts for promoting terrorism
between the beginning of August
2015 to end of June 2017. Data
shared with Arab News also high-
lighted Twitter's use of “faster,
more efficient, and smarter” anti-
spam tools to get terrorist content
off the platform.
A spokesperson from YouTube
said: “Online extremism is a com-
plex problem and addressing it is a
critical challenge for us all … We
are making significant progress
through machine-learning tech-
nology, partnerships with experts,
and collaboration with other com-
panies through the Global Internet
Forum — and we know there is
more to be done.”
With the disintegration of
Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliphate,
concerns are mounting over the
thousands of extremists expected to
return home and the increasing
presence of terror groups online.
“The defeat of Daesh on the
battlefield will only make the
group’s online engagement all the
more important to its continued
relevance and ability to inspire acts
of violence,” Hany Farid, a profes-
sor of computer science at
Dartmouth College in the US, told
Arab News.
At an Intelligence and National
Security Summit in September, top
terror chiefs from the US, Britain,
Germany and Canada called for
greater cooperation from social
media platforms to combat the
growing threat from lone-wolf
attacks perpetrated by self-radical-
ized individuals.
“We know that social-media
platforms and video-sharing sites
are the main avenues for terrorist
content corrupting vulnerable
individuals. And we know that the
technological means exist to better
thwart the spread of this content.
So why isn’t more being done?”
Farid said.
Terrorists are using the online
sphere for a variety of functions,
including recruitment, plotting,
sourcing materials and coordinat-
ing attacks.
SPECIAL TO arab news
UK deploys rape investigators
after criticism over
Rohingya crisis
Britain had been accused of foot-dragging after
failing to deploy sexual-violence protection group
set up in joint effort with actor Angelina Jolie
ALICIA BULLER
LONDON: A UK government team
tasked with gathering evidence of
sexual violence in conflict zones
has begun limited deployment to
Rohingya refugee camps, months
after reports of systematic mass
rape by the Burmese military
against the Muslim minority
group started to emerge.
The UK Foreign Office came
under fire this week over claims
that its team specializing in gath-
ering evidence of sexual violence
in conflict zones has yet to be
deployed in the Myanmar conflict.
The Preventing Sexual Violence
in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) group
was set up in 2012 by former
Secretary of State William Hague
in a joint effort with the actor
Angelina Jolie to highlight the
pervasive use of sexual violence in
conflict.
However, despite reports of the
mass use of rape, including of
children as young as 10, the gov-
ernment has been accused of foot-
dragging in not deploying the
PSVI.
The Guardian reported on
Sunday that the Foreign Office
was still assessing the need for a
team despite aid agencies report-
ing the mass use of rape in
Rakhine state.
Hague and his former special
adviser wrote to the Foreign Office
to demand to know what it is
doing to investigate and document
rape allegations against Burmese
forces, the newspaper reported.
The Foreign Office (FCO) said
however that some members of
the team had now been deployed
in the area.
“The head of the FCO’s
Preventing Sexual Violence in
Conflict Initiative (PSVI) is on the
ground in the region alongside the
UN to meet with survivors, support
workers, and government offi-
cials,” a spokesperson told Arab
News.
The FCO spokesperson also con-
firmed PSVI would be stepping up
its assistance soon. “We will also
be sending two deployable civilian
experts to Bangladesh to provide
further support on responding to
sexual violence, including provid-
ing advice on investigating and
documenting sexual violence.”
The FCO minister Lord Ahmad
has previously described reports of
sexual violence against the
Rohingya as “staggering.”
As many as 600,000 refugees
have fled to Bangladesh, with aid
agencies, such as Doctors Without
Borders and the International
Organization for Migration,
reporting hundreds of cases of
rape and sexual violence among
refugees.
A spokesperson from Doctors
without Borders (DWB) told Arab
News that access to Rakhine state
is limited and that access must be
“urgently permitted.”
The DWB spokesperson said its
teams have only been able to col-
lect testimonies from Rohingya
refugees, where DWB runs a clinic
in the Kutupalong camp and vari-
ous health posts in the camps in
Cox’s Bazar, and not from within
the Rakhine state itself.
Since Aug. 25, DWB has treated
over 50 women and girls who are
survivors of sexual violence at
MSF’s Sexual and Reproductive
Health Unit in Kutupalong.
DWB said more than 75 percent
of these survivors are Rohingya
women and girls who have fled
Myanmar due to the crackdown by
the military and associated groups
against the Rohingya. About 50
percent are aged 18 or under,
including several others under the
age of 10.
The FCO has said it is assessing
what support the UK might pro-
vide at Cox’s Bazaar, the refugee
site
in
Bangladesh.
The
Department for International
Development (DFID) has provided
£47 million in aid. “UK aid is
helping to provide counselling
and psychological support that
will reach over 10,000 women suf-
fering from the trauma of war and
over 2,000 survivors of sexual vio-
lence,” it said in a statement.
SPECIAL TO arab news
Lord Ahmad
India’s capital city faces alarming level of smog
NEWDELHI: Thick toxic smog has engulfed
India’s national capital for the last three
days. As a result, the government has been
forced to reintroduce the odd-even scheme
in order to contain the escalating air pol-
lution. Introduced from Monday for the
next five days, the scheme requires vehicles
with odd and even numbers to run on
alternate days.
This step is one among a series of emer-
gency measures that have been adopted by
local government since Thursday.
Some 6,000 schools in Delhi have been
asked to shut down for a week. The govern-
ment has banned the entry of heavy vehi-
cles into the city as well as stopping all
construction activity in the capital.
The tiny particulate matter known as
PM 2.5 showed a reading of 612 on
Thursday afternoon, according to the Air
Quality Index (AQI). PM 2.5 is a particu-
late matter which, if inhaled in large
quantities, can cause heart attacks, strokes,
and lung cancer.
“The number of patients has increased
alarmingly this year because of the high
pollution level in the city,” Dr. Vivek
Nangia, a well-known respiratory special-
ist at the Delhi-based Fortis Hospital, told
Arab News.
“This is a health emergency and we
need urgent measures to control the situa-
tion,” he said, and advised people “to avoid
outdoor activities as much as possible.”
Delhi resident Rajeev Sharma, a 46-year
old jogger and cyclist, complained of
breathlessness. “I have been jogging and
cycling regularly for the last 15 years but I
have never felt this kind of uneasiness
while doing morning exercise. Normally I
run 6 to 7 km but now I cannot even run 2
km,” he told Arab News.
The pollution has affected his prepara-
tion for the Delhi Half Marathon which is
due within a couple of weeks.
However, politicians are not willing to
take responsibility for the crisis and point
fingers in order to shift the blame.
On Wednesday, Delhi Chief Minister
Arvind Kejriwal called Delhi “a gas cham-
ber” and blamed the deteriorating situa-
tion in the city of 20 million people on the
failure of neighboring states to control the
burning of waste paddy crops or crop
stubble.
Talking to Arab News, Delhi Transport
Minister K. Gahlot held the northern states
of Haryana and Punjab responsible for the
pollution in Delhi.
“We cannot be held solely responsible
for this pollution; we are collectively
responsible and we should all handle it
together rather than playing the blame
game,” said Gahlot.
Shambhavi Shukla of Center for
Environment and Science (CES), a New
Delhi-based think tank working in the
area of environment and development
studies, said: “This is not a city-specific
problem but a regional problem and the
neighboring local governments should
work together to address the alarming sit-
uation.”
She is, however, critical of government
in Delhi for failing to develop a public
transport system in the national capital as
an alternative to increased vehicles on the
road.
“In the last three years, the number of
buses has gone down from 6,000 to 4,000
and their ridership has also decreased by 9
percent,” said Shukla.
Talking to Arab News, she welcomed the
introduction of the odd-even scheme in
Delhi but feels that “this is a short term
measure and can give relief only for a brief
period. When all measures fail, the govern-
ment resorts to the odd-even scheme in
panic.”
Schools shut and city dwellers advised to stay indoors
Hourly readings: New Delhi
Air pollution in the Indian capital
People with respiratory
diseases should
limit
prolonged outdoor
activity
People with respiratory
disease should
avoid
any outdoor activity
Avoid outdoor
exertion
Unhealthy
Very unhealthy
Hazardous
Off the scale
Nov 7, 11 am - Nov 9, 9 am
PM2.5 Air Quality Index
Source :USembassy in India/AFPPhoto:PrakashSingh
762
500
1000
300
200
100
1010
591
Commuters in New Delhi, Nov 8
Sanjay Kumar
arab news staff
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