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Coronavirus: Amazon to make face shields and sell at cost
Amazon says it will produce hundreds of thousands of face shields for medics and sell them at cost price in the US.
The internet giant said engineers from its drone and hardware divisions had been tasked with developing the product.
At first, it will sell them to healthcare professionals, before making them available to all Amazon customers.
Amazon is not the first major US firm to use its resources to produce personal protective equipment (PPE).
Apple began sending face shields to hospitals in March. Space X, HP and Ford also used their manufacturing resources to make and donate face shields and other types of protective equipment.
Amazon said that it had donated 10,000 face shields in the US and was “on track” to deliver a further 20,000.
But its plan to sell them at low prices on its website will make them available to the general public, something other firms have not done.
A look on Amazon’s marketplace on Thursday showed face shields sold by independent sellers were priced between $12 (£9.80) and $35.
Once Amazon makes its mask available to all its customers, it could drive the price down significantly.
The online retail giant has faced criticism for undercutting the prices of independent retailers on its sites, but anti-trust experts say its efforts to help in this crisis will likely offset those concerns.
“People who are concerned about Amazon’s predatory behaviour might be concert but more people will be happy Amazon is making sure these are lower cost at a time of crisis,” said Michael Kades, director of markets and competition at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
The company said it based its designs on a face shield developed by a community of 3D printing enthusiasts in Washington.
After making some changes, its designs had been approved by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Image copyright Amazon
Image caption 3D printed headbands designed to work with face shields that will be distributed to healthcare professionals
Engineers from Amazon’s drone division specialising in hardware design created a new design within a week that improved the quality of the materials to allow them to be reusable and added an enhanced snap feature to keep the shield in-place to make them safer.
The engineers also amended the geometry of the shields to reduce sharp edges that could snag clothing or hair, thinned the forehead band to reduce pressure on a person’s forehead, and drastically improved print time making them quicker to manufacture.
Amazon’s Brad Porter wrote in a blog post: “Because of the design innovations and the capabilities of our supply chain, we are confident we will be able to list them at a significantly lower price - almost a third of the cost - than all other reusable face shields currently available to frontline workers.”
The internet giant is also making its designs - known as the origami design and brimmed design - open source so that the shields could be 3D printed by anyone.
Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the British Standards Institution (BSI) have warned that homemade and 3D printed face shields do not always protect healthcare workers’ faces from exposure to the coronavirus.
But the global shortage of PPE has led to an increasing number of frontline medical workers crafting homemade equipment.
Amazon did not say whether it would provide the masks to workers at its warehouse who have reported a lack of safety equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
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How powerful is Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’ for speech?
KARACHI: Last week, Facebook appointed 20 people from round the world to serve on what is going to effectively be the social media network’s “Supreme Court” for speech, issuing rulings on what quite posts are going to be allowed and what should be taken down.
The list features a former prime minister, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and a number of other constitutional law experts and rights advocates, including the Pakistani lawyer and founding father of Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), Nighat Dad.
The creation of an oversight board by a social media company isn’t only a primary for internet regulation, but also for Pakistan because the country is now on the worldwide tech map with Ms Dad’s inclusion.
While it’s set a replacement model for accountability on content management, to what extent will it shape the company’s policies?
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Selection of cases
The board will give users an opportunity to appeal against any wrongful removal of their content on Facebook and Instagram. Although, the board will only review a fraction of these appeals as a user must first exhaust Facebook’s appeals before they will involve the board.
According to the board’s leadership, the panel will specialise in the “most challenging” content issues for Facebook, including in areas like hate speech, harassment and protecting people’s safety and privacy.
Oversight board will issue rulings on what quite posts are going to be allowed and what should be taken down
Besides user appeals, it’ll even be ready to hear cases that are referred by Facebook. Facebook will directly refer cases to the board that are significant and difficult.
Significant, as defined within the bylaws, means the content in question involves real-world impact and issues that are important for public discourse.
Difficult means the content raises questions on current policies or their enforcement, with strong arguments on each side for either removing or leaving up the content under review. The board has sole discretion to simply accept or reject cases that are referred through this process.
Facebook has long faced criticism for high-profile content moderation issues, including removal of pro-Kashmir posts, hate speech in Myanmar against the Rohingya and other Muslims.
Recently, the corporate included guidelines on pandemic content to its list of community standards. However, with the platform now relying largely on automated moderation, anti-vaccine activists and conspiracy theorists have already become adept at gaming the platform’s rules.
Unless its policies and moderation improve, the board is a smaller amount likely to cause major change because the final judgment are going to be in accordance with Facebook’s community standards.
Another challenge limiting its efforts is that the global scale at it which it operates. Facebook said the board members chosen collectively have lived in additional than 27 countries and speak a minimum of 29 languages.
Globally, there are 2.5 billion people using the platform in additional than 100 languages.
Regulation in Pakistan
It is important to say that not all content are often submitted to the board for its review.
The board’s decisions are going to be binding “unless implementation could violate the law”, Facebook said.
This is the only reason why the board’s addition is a smaller amount likely to vary much for internet regulation in countries with repressive cyber laws, like Pakistan.
During the primary half 2019, Pakistan reported the very best volume of content (31 per cent) to Facebook.
In its transparency report, Facebook said it restricted 5,690 items within Pakistan. None of the 5,690 items from the Facebook’s transparency report were removed for violating its content policies but under Pakistan’s cybercrime law.
The government has also introduced the web Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020.
Under the new rules, social media platforms are going to be required to get rid of any ‘unlawful content’ acknowledged to them in writing or electronically signed email within 24 hours, and in emergency cases within six hours. With the web harm rules in effect, if as an example , the authority now specifies 2,000 items to Facebook for removal, the platform are going to be required to completely suits it.
“Ultimately, Facebook has got to respect local law in every country it operates in, so governments are liberal to introduce laws and Facebook, and therefore the board, would need to follow those laws,” a spokesperson for the overview board told Dawn.
Account suspensions not included
Initially, the board will only review individual pieces of content, like specific posts, photos, videos and comments on Facebook and Instagram.
The scope will expand within the future to incorporate other forms of content, for instance content that has been left up, also as pages, profiles, groups or events.
Last year, Facebook removed 103 pages, groups and accounts on both Facebook and Instagram as a part of a network that originated in Pakistan. during a blogpost on the takedown, Facebook said it had found that the network was linked to employees of Pakistani military.
The spokesperson said the accounts and pages removed over ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’ on Facebook won’t be reviewed by the panel for now as Facebook already partnered with “independent people” to review and document its CIB enforcement actions and therefore the results were an outcome of weeks or months of investigations by its teams.
According to the board, members don’t represent individual countries when making decisions.
Each case identified by the board’s case-selection committee are going to be assigned to a five-member panel, four picked randomly from the board at large and one “from among those board members who are from the region which the content primarily affects”.
“A five-member panel will deliberate over a case of content implicating Pakistan would come with a minimum of one member from Central and South Asia, though this might not necessarily be Nighat Dad,” a board spokesperson told Dawn.
As a part of vetting, new board members (including Ms Dad) are required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest, the board added.
Regarding Ms Dad’s advocacy in Pakistan, the spokesperson said the DRF founder will not be advocating with Facebook on to take specific policy positions and can also not have an avenue for escalating content to the corporate as a digital rights activist, it said.
“That said, others at Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), will remain engaged with Facebook — completely break away Nighat and her work on the Oversight Board,” the OB representative added.
Facebook apologises for role in 2018 Sri Lanka unrest
HONG KONG: Facebook has apologised for its role within the deadly communal unrest that shook Sri Lanka two years ago after an investigation found that hate speech and rumours spread on the platform may have led to violence against Muslims.
The riots in early 2018 erupted as anti-Muslim anger was whipped abreast of social media, forcing the Sri Lankan government to impose a state of emergency and block access to Facebook.
The tech giant commissioned a search into the part it’s going to have played, and investigators said incendiary content on Facebook may have led to violence against Muslims.
“We deplore the misuse of our platform,” Facebook said during a statement to Bloomberg News after the findings were released on Tuesday. “We recognise, and apologise for, the very real human rights impacts that resulted.” a minimum of three people were killed and 20 injured within the 2018 unrest, during which mosques and Muslim businesses were burned, mainly within the central a part of the Sinhalese Buddhist-majority nation.
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The hate speech and rumours spread on Facebook “may have led to ‘offline’ violence”, consistent with Article One, the human rights consultancy hired to conduct the investigation.
Shoaib’s lawyer terms Tafazzul’s defamation notice as ‘invalid’
LAHORE: Former fast bowler Shaoib Akhtar’s lawyer Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi has replied to the legal defamation notice served on the pacer by Taffazul Rizvi, the lawyer of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on April 29.
Shoaib’s lawyer has dismissed the legal notice of defamation by saying: “That, the notice under reply, for all the intents and purposes, is manifestly invalid in law, defective, faulty, vague and circumlocutory and is susceptible to be rejected because the same fails to satisfy the mandatory requirement of Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002.”
“A bare reading of the afore-stated section 8 makes it explicitly clear that no action in any form whatsoever under the ordinance are often initiated unless the mandatory requirement of specifying defamatory material within the notice under section 8 is satisfied,” the lawyer further responded.
Shoaib’s lawyer further stated: “That in sight of the above you’re urged to withdraw the Notice under Reply forthwith and tender an apology for defaming, humiliating and ridiculing my client vide the Notice under Reply.”
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It may be mentioned that Shoaib, during a statement made on his YouTube channel, had criticised the performance of Taffazul and described him as incompetent. Reacting to the tirade, Taffazul sent a legal notice of defamation, asking Shoaib to withdraw his statement plus tender an apology otherwise he would sue him certain Rs 100 million.
Ireland: Home games against New Zealand and Pakistan called off because of Covid-19 restrictions
Ireland have announced the postponement of home matches against New Zealand and Pakistan because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Irish were scheduled to play the Black Caps in three Twenty20s and three ODIs on 19 June-2 July before taking on Pakistan in two T20s.
The away ODI series against England is “under active discussion”.
Cricket Ireland added that the three games “could move from their original dates in September”.
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The loss of the New Zealand and Pakistan matches effectively wipes out Ireland’s schedule of home fixtures this summer.
Government announcements in the Republic of Ireland and UK on Covid-19 restrictions have ruled out the feasibility of staging the matches.
Up against it
“We deeply regret that we can’t provide any international cricket at home to our fans this year, but we were always up against it with our entire home international programme coming in the first half of the season,” said Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom.
"We regard our matches as postponed until further notice, and I know Cricket Ireland is not alone in looking forward to the day that the Full Members can get around a table with the ICC to work out how, and if, we can fit everything in the current FTP cycle.
"With regards to the three ODIs against England scheduled for September, discussions with the ECB are ongoing.
"We will try to be as flexible as possible around these - as they are currently set to be our first fixtures as part of the new World Cup Super League, however, numerous challenges have to be resolved - notably around timing, bio-secure venues and quarantine requirements for players who travel.
“We will continue to work with the ECB on trying to make these fixtures happen, but the issues involved will take a little while to work through.”
Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz lose Pakistan central contracts
Bowlers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have not had their central contracts renewed by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Amir, 28, retired from Tests last year but had hoped to continue playing international white-ball cricket.
He has 259 wickets in 145 matches for Pakistan in all formats while Wahab, 34, has 228 wickets in 147 matches.
Chief selector, head coach and former captain Misbah-ul-Haq said the pair “remain in contention” and “can still contribute” to Pakistan.
Fast bowlers Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Usman Shinwari and 17-year-old Naseem Shah did receive contracts.
Batsman Babar Azam was also named one-day international captain, having already held the position of Twenty20 skipper.
Coronavirus: Children affected by rare Kawasaki-like disease
Scores of UK and US children have been affected by a rare inflammatory disease linked to coronavirus.
In a tiny number of children it can cause serious complications, with some needing intensive care.
Up to 100 children in the UK have been affected and studies suggest the same reaction is being seen in children elsewhere in Europe.
It is likely to be caused by a delayed immune response to the virus which looks like Kawasaki disease.
In April, NHS doctors were told to look out for a rare but dangerous reaction in children.
This was prompted by eight children becoming ill in London, including a 14-year-old who died.
They all had similar symptoms when they were admitted to Evelina London Children’s Hospital, including a high fever, rash, red eyes, swelling and general pain.
Most of the children had no major lung or breathing problems, although seven were put on a ventilator to help improve heart and circulation issues.
Doctors are describing it as a “new phenomenon” similar to Kawasaki disease shock syndrome - a rare condition that mainly affects children under the age of five. Symptoms include a rash, swollen glands in the neck and dry and cracked lips.
But this new syndrome is also affecting older children up to the age of 16, with a minority experiencing serious complications.
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Dr Liz Whittaker, clinical lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology, at Imperial College London, said the fact that the syndrome was occurring in the middle of a pandemic, suggests the two are linked.
“You’ve got the Covid-19 peak, and then three or four weeks later we’re seeing a peak in this new phenomenon which makes us think that it’s a post-infectious phenomenon,” she said.
This means it is likely to be something related to the build up of antibodies after infection.
Prof Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the majority of children who have had the condition have responded to treatment and are getting better and starting to go home.
The syndrome is “exceptionally rare”, he said.
“This shouldn’t stop parents letting their children exit lockdown,” Prof Viner added.
He said understanding more about the inflammatory disease “might explain why some children become very ill with Covid-19, while the majority are unaffected or asymptomatic”.
Children are thought to make up just 1-2% of all cases of coronavirus infection, accounting for less than 500 admissions to hospital.
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Michael Levin, professor of paediatrics and international child health at Imperial, explained that most of the children tested negative for coronavirus, but tested positive for detection of antibodies.
“So we really think that the biology of the disease, somehow involves an unusual immune response to the virus,” he said.
However Prof Levin said there was “a vast amount to learn” about the reaction, which had only been known about for two to three weeks.
Children appear to be affected up to six weeks after they have been infected with the virus, which could explain the appearance of the new syndrome several weeks after the peak of UK cases.
What is the situation elsewhere in the world?
There have been similar cases in the US, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands.
At least 15 US states are looking into the rare condition, according to New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Out of 82 diagnosed cases of the inflammatory syndrome in New York, 53 children tested positive or had antibodies for Covid-19.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US is set to issue an alert and updated definition of the syndrome to healthcare providers this week.
Meanwhile, according to a study by doctors in northern Italy, 10 children have been affected by the disease.
All 10 of the children in the study were admitted to a hospital in Bergamo - the city at the centre of the worst outbreak in Italy - between mid-February and mid-April, and recovered.
The children, who had an average age of seven, tended to have severe symptoms such as heart complications and signs of toxic shock syndrome. They also needed additional treatment with steroids.
In antibody tests on the children, eight appeared to have already had the coronavirus while the other two had not. But the researchers said the tests were not 100% accurate. Swab tests to detect the virus are not thought to be useful because the reaction tends to occur many weeks after infection.
Dr Lucio Verdoni, report author and doctor at the Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo, said: “Although this complication remains very rare, our study provides further evidence on how the virus may be affecting children.”
Child health experts in the UK say it may not be something which just affects children.
They are now working with researchers in the US and across Europe to find out more about what they have called paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome or (PIMS-TS).