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Health Ministry Teams Up With Twitter to Respond to Queries Around COVID-19

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The Union Health Ministry has teamed up with Twitter to launch a dedicated account to respond to Indian Twitter users’ queries related to COVID-19. The new account COVID India Seve using Twitter’s Twitter Seva platform, “a customised live query redressal service.” People can put their queries forward by tweeting to @CovidIndiaSeva to get a response from the authorities. The account describes itself as “Official @MoHFW_INDIA Handle for COVID-19 Response” and it was created in March. Twitter said that the service will enable the government to interact effectively with the public during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

People in India can tweet to the @CovidIndiaSeva to seek guidance regarding steps to take if COVID-19 symptoms occur, know more about access to healthcare services, measures implemented by the government, among many other topics. According to Twitter, people will get answers to only broader questions, meaning personal queries won’t be dealt with through the new service.

Tweeting about the launch, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan wrote, “Experts will share authoritative public health information reg #COVIDー19 swiftly at scale, helping to build a direct channel for communication with citizens. Post your queries!”

@CovidIndiaSeva has been responding to the questions from Twitter users. NDTV journalist Akhilesh Sharma asked, ”Crucial question in everyone’s mind is that whether we are testing enough? What about rapid antibody based blood tests esp for COVID inflicted areas?”

Answering the question, @CovidIndiaSeva replied, “At present, 204 government labs and 86 NABL accredited private laboratory chains are involved in testing. The no. of collection centers have also been enhanced to 16,000 centers across India. We have already tested 4,05,320 people.” It went on to add, “Government of India has issued advisory to start rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19 for areas reporting clusters (containment zone) and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centers.”

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Twitter India has also been working with various state governments in the country to make the COVID-19 response management better. “It has also supported and enabled the Govt of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh to set-up dedicated COVID-Response accounts. Govt. of Karnataka, Maharashtra,” it said in a statement.

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DPC says Schrems must clarify plans for Facebook complaint documents as matter of ‘urgency’

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Solicitor’s letter issued to Schrems relates to an ongoing dispute over a privacy complaint against Facebook relating to GDPR

The DPC is currently investigating a complaint made against Facebook by an Austrian citizen with the help of Noyb, a privacy group set up by Max Schrems. Picture: Bloomberg

Ireland’s data watchdog has asked Max Schrems, the Austrian privacy campaigner, to clarify “as a matter of some urgency” the details of documents he plans to publish relating to a privacy complaint against Facebook.

In fresh correspondence, issued on behalf of the Data Protection Commission (DPC) by Philip Lee Solicitors, Schrems’s Noyb group is asked to identify the documents it has promised to release over the coming month in what it…

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The RNC Is Raising Funds Off Trump’s New Social-Media Platform

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President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee winter meeting at his Washington, D.C. hotel in February 2018.

Former President Donald Trump’s businesses have pocketed at least $2.8 million from the Republican National Committee. Now the RNC seems to be flipping the script.

Two weeks after Trump announced plans to launch a social-media platform named Truth Social, the RNC sent out a fundraising blast telling supporters that any donation would qualify them as a “Trump Social Media Founding Supporter.” There’s no mention of what, if anything, comes with that designation.

Spokespeople for the RNC and former president have not replied to inquiries.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, a separate group, also is using Trump’s new venture to bring in money The NRSC’s ad doesn’t offer any special memberships, but it does ask would-be donors, “Would you join Trump’s Platform?” Meanwhile the National Republican Congressional Committee is growing its mailing list with ads pegged to Trump’s social-media app.

The RNC’s campaign, which also includes Facebook ads, appears to have launched on November 3.

The RNC’s solicitation also includes pre-checked boxes that would make the contribution reoccur monthly.

Donors to the Republican National Committee would qualify to be a “Trump social media founding supporter,” according to a fundraising message.

First seen at: https://zacheverson.com/

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Facebook whistleblower to testify in European Parliament – EU Reporter

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The EU’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is Parliament’s priority for the EU’s budget for next year. Find out more in our interview with MEP Karlo Ressler (pictured).

The Parliament is currently negotiating the EU’s 2022 budget with the Council. Croatian EPP member Ressler, who is responsible for guiding the legislation through Parliament, explains Parliament’s priorities:

What are the Parliament’s priorities for the EU’s 2022 budget?

The number one priority is to support the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and also, and this is really connected, to lay the foundation for a more resilient Union. We want to invest in a vibrant economy to help small and medium-sized companies and in employment, especially for young people. The second priority would be to continue with the digital and green transformation. Thirdly, we want to develop a strong, healthy union.

We also want to focus specifically on the younger generation and our children. Here Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps are maybe the two most visible examples, but in the end most of our programmes are directly or indirectly also focusing on young people.

It’s important to really be strong and unified here in the Parliament, because in that way, we can get better results in the negotiations with the Council.

How do you expect the budget to speed up the recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic?

After the crisis, we have to be ambitious. We have to invest. That’s the basic idea. In practical terms that means investing more and assisting those who have been affected the most. In this context, we believe in effectively supporting SMEs all over Europe. This is something fairly tangible.

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How can the budget help, for example, to address the situation in Afghanistan that suddenly developed?

We attempt to address it by investing more in humanitarian aid. That was the main purpose of one of the biggest amendments by the European Parliament. I think that all the institutions agree that these are unforeseen developments, that the world is really changing fast, and that we cannot ignore all those changes. We will have to work closely with the Commission and the Council to try to find a solution. We are still waiting for a real concrete proposal by the Commission, but we attempt to address it primarily through a special line on humanitarian aid for Afghan people and for the neighboring countries.

This year has witnessed unforeseen challenges like the current energy price hike, Afghanistan and environmental disasters. Is it becoming trickier to decide on an annual EU budget as a lot of money to deal with unexpected situations has to be put aside?

I would say yes. It’s difficult for the EU when we have a pandemic and it’s the biggest crisis of our generation. It has made us understand that we have to be more resilient. We have to be prepared to act swiftly and it’s impossible to act swiftly without adequate financing.

At the same time, we hope that we have created a budget that is tailor-made for all: that addresses the problems of all generations, regions and sectors. We know that the consequences of the pandemic have been asymmetrical and that’s why it has been important to translate our political priorities into real figures.

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