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India : 3 000 missing children found by a facial recognition app

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India : 3 000 missing children found by a facial recognition app

India : 3 000 missing children found by a facial recognition app

The Indian police has just tested a facial recognition application for missing children. Thankfully the test was a highly successful one. In just 4 days, nearly 3 000 children were positively identified.

Since 2012, around 250 000 children went missing according to the Ministry of Women and Children. Some organizations believe the sum total of disappearances could even be double this number. In many cases, the missing children have been sold off or have fallen victims of child labour or human trafficking. Worse still, numerous cases of missing children go unreported.

The need for a facial recognition software

About 20 million orphans live all over India. Thus, it is extremely difficult, in fact even impossible to effectively recognise anyone by manually going through photographs from a database to match the missing children. The Indian police has set up a modern facial recognition system (FRS) using an application to facilitate and speed up these identifications.

The disappearance of children is a real tragedy which is plaguing India. Out of a population of 1.3 billion people, an average of five children disappear everyday. Ideally, this type of software will help reunite missing children with their families and orphans’ lives could be saved from evil human predators.

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Expansion of a copper smelting plant in India : At least 10 protesters killed

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Expansion of a copper smelting plant in India : At least 10 protesters killed

Expansion of a copper smelting plant in India : At least 10 protesters killed

In Thoothukudi, situated in southern India, protests against the expansion of a copper smelting facility were violently suppressed by the police. Clashes between police and several thousand protesters have killed more than a dozen since Tuesday 22 May. The local residents have been denouncing for several months the pollution of air and water by the factory which is the property of the British multinational Vedanta. Unfortunately, this incident is a a never-ending scenario in India, where environmental standards are usually discarded in favour of huge money-spinning industrial projects.

Thoothukudi has been on a boiling pot since Tuesday. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, attacking police vehicles, several government buildings and a residential area where  Vedanta workers live. The suspension on Wednesday of the expansion project did not calm the spirit of the mob in that small port city at the southern tip of India. The police opened fire again, killing one more person, while the dissidents burned several vehicles again.

The media and social networks went frenzy with denunciations of people and indian politicians, of the reaction of the police force which fired real bullets in the direction of the crowd.

After a poisonous gas emission in 2013, the Tamil Nadu government had ordered the closure of the plant in 2013. But Vedanta succeeded in overturning the decision in court. However, it was fined 12.5 million euros.

Finally, since it does not meet basic environmental safety requirements, the large copper smelting plant has been closed for nearly two months and will remain so until at least June 6. The local pollution control authority discovered that it would not be safe to maintain the operation of the facility.

 

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India is being trampled under piles and piles of garbage

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India is being trampled under piles and piles of garbage

Only one quarter of India’s megatons of litter are being properly disposed of in spite of the implementation of PM Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” program, launched 4 years ago.

In Indian cities, countless acres of land are used to accommodate mountains of waste, sometimes taller than 16-storey buildings. Very often, these dumps catch fire, killing or injuring those who search for recyclable stuffs in the stacks of garbage. Some unlucky searchers of recyclables even die buried. This is the unholy price Indians have to pay due to rapid economic growth that is leaving those already at the bottom of the social ladder, much behind. Furthermore, waste production in India is steadily increasing in a country of 1.25 billion inhabitants, with annual economic growth exceeding 7 %.

Now the dump sites also pose real environmental hazards. Washed by rainwater, the waste releases toxic substances that infiltrate the ground and contaminate groundwater which is a staple source of drinking water. To make matters worse, the incineration of garbage is the third cause of greenhouse gas emissions in India, accelerating global warming. The quantity of waste is increasing, as is the proportion of those considered “solid waste” (50% of the total), which is more difficult to recycle in India. The country is actually lacking in incineration plants.

Garbage collection is traditionally assigned to the kabaadis, the ragpickers. They roam the streets armed with a hook and a bag on the shoulder. Others collect garbage from residents every morning, but the vast majority of them are employed by ‘waste contractors’.

About half of the 3 million kabaadis in India are minors i.e under 18 years old. They are marginalized, malnourished and have no social protection or health insurance. Waste collectors are extremely likely to be afflicted with respiratory diseases, eye infections and intestinal problems. Moreover, kabaadis are rarely regrouped into cooperatives and can hardly defend their rights.

In April of this year 2018, the Indian government enforced a new law governing the treatment of waste. It imposes selective sorting on residential complexes, but the fines, amounting to a few euros, foreseen in the event of non-compliance are far from dissuasive. The “Clean India” program, launched four years ago by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has shone a spotlight on the country’s health crisis but the results are somehow below the expectations. In the last four years, the proportion of waste treated in the country has stagnated around 23%…

 

 

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India : Railways propose to serve non-veg food in trains on Gandhi Jayanti

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India : Railways propose to serve non-veg food in trains on Gandhi Jayanti

Indian Railways has submitted a proposal to the authorities, regarding the celebration of the day of ‘Gandhi Jayanti’ on October 2 as ‘vegetarian day’. This implies that no non-vegetarian food will be served on local trains and railway platforms.
Gandhi Jayanti marks the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India’s independence. Mahatma Gandhi was reportedly a symbol of vegetarianism and in his honour, on the day of his birth, there is talk of non-vegetarian food on trains and platforms. Railways have also planned to issue train tickets with Mahatma Gandhi’s watermark picture. This will necessitate approval from the Ministry of Culture as it is the concerned authority to grant and issue specific memorial. Earlier this month, President Ramnath Kovind had presided over the first meeting of the National Committee on preparations for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
Railways has also offered to run ‘Special Salt Rail’ from  on March 12, for the ‘Sanitation Express’ and ‘Dandi March’ for various stations connected with Gandhiji.

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