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When British India was partitioned into two independent states in August 1947, Sikka Khan’s father and elder brother, Sadiq, left Phulewala village — which became the Indian part of Punjab — and returned to their paternal village of Bogran, which became part of Pakistan.

Just two years old at the time, Sikka was too young to go and stayed behind in India with his mother. The family was to be reunited soon. The parents only wanted to wait until it was safe for the toddler to travel.

But the promise of being together again was cut short by violence and communal rioting that marred one of the biggest forced migrations in history. Following the partition, about 15 million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs swapped countries in a political upheaval that cost more than a million lives.

Sikka and Sadiq lost their father, mother — who committed suicide when she found out about her husband’s death — and the bond that was only restored last week.

“I told you we would meet again,” Sikka, 76, said through tears, as he embraced his 84-year-old brother when they met in Kartarpur, Pakistan on Jan. 10.

Kartarpur is a border city where Pakistan, in late 2019, opened a visa-free crossing to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims access to one of the holiest sites of their religion, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, which after the partition, the site found itself on the Pakistani side of the border.

The brothers’ reunion did not last long, as each of them had to return to their countries. For the past seven decades, India-Pakistan cross-border visits have been limited by tensions and conflict.

“It was an emotional moment for us, and I could not believe that I was meeting my brother and his family,” Sikka said in Phulewala village, where he has remained since 1947.

“Life has given me the opportunity to reunite with my brother and I don’t want to live without him,” he said. “I need the company of my brother more than ever before. I want to live the rest of my life with my elder brother.”

They got in touch in 2019, when Pakistani YouTuber Nasir Dhillon visited Bogran village, where Sadiq still lives, and heard his story. He shared the footage on social media and soon received a message from Jagsir Singh, a doctor in Phulewala, who connected him to Sikka.

The YouTuber and the doctor helped the brothers meet virtually.

“The brothers for the first time saw each other over a video call two years ago,” Singh said. “Since then, they have remained in touch with each other through WhatsApp.”

They have been talking to each other at least 15 minutes every day, but it took them two years to meet in person as even the visa-free Kartarpur corridor was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic until late last year.

“The opening of the Kartarpur corridor in November last year allowed us the opportunity to organize the meeting between the brothers,” Singh said.

When he arrived in Kartarpur, Sikka, who does not have his own family, was accompanied by a dozen villagers from Phulewala.

“For me, my village has been family,” he said, as he chatted with Sadiq through a video call. “Now I want to go to Pakistan and live with my elder brother for some time. I hope the Pakistani government gives me a visa.”

Sadiq, too, wants to visit his brother.

“I want to meet Sikka in his village,” he said during the video call with his brother. “We want to live together and make up for the time we have lost.”

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg targeted in US privacy lawsuit

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was named personally in a Washington lawsuit Monday alleging he played a direct role in decisions that set the stage for the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

The US capital’s attorney general argues that Zuckerberg was closely involved in conceiving the framework that allowed the Britain-based consulting firm to harvest over 70 million US Facebook users data.

A whistleblower revealed in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica went on to use that data for political purposes, including trying to rally support for Donald Trump.

“Zuckerberg is not just a figurehead at Facebook; he is personally involved in nearly every decision the company makes,” Washington Attorney General Karl Racine wrote in the suit.

He added that Zuckerberg’s control is baked into the structure of the company, where the founder and CEO holds a majority of voting shares.

Racine’s office sued Facebook over its data privacy practices in 2018 as part of a case that is ongoing.

Facebook’s parent company Meta did not immediately respond to the new lawsuit’s allegations, but spokesman Andy Stone noted on Twitter that a judge had previously rejected Racine’s bid to add Zuckerberg as a defendant in the privacy case.

US authorities imposed what they described as a “historic” $5 billion fine on Facebook in the wake of the scandal, and also required Facebook to ramp up privacy protections, provide detailed quarterly reports on compliance with the deal, and have an independent oversight board.

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has removed access to its data from thousands of apps suspected of abusing it, restricted the amount of information available to developers in general, and made it easier for users to calibrate restrictions on personal data sharing.

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’End of an era’ as New York removes last of its iconic payphone booths

Marking the end of an era, New York City on Monday removed the last of its storied payphone booths, which have fallen victim to the ubiquity of free Wi-fi and cell phones in recent years.

But Superman fans can take comfort in the fact that Manhattan will keep four of the defunct booths, made famous as the impromptu changing rooms for journalist Clark Kent as he transformed into the Man of Steel.

Over the decades, the phone booths have featured widely in pop culture, from comic books to Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows.

That ended Monday morning, when, in front of assembled media, Manhattan borough president — the equivalent of the mayor — Mark Levine had the last booth housing two Bell System payphones at the corner of 7th Avenue and 50th Street dismantled and lifted on to a flatbed truck.

Levine said on Twitter he was “on hand today to say ‘Bye Bye’ one last time to the famed (infamous?) NYC pay phone.”

“I won’t miss all the dead dial tones but gotta say I felt a twinge of nostalgia seeing it go,” he added.

Fixed-line payphones began disappearing from the streets of New York in the early 2000s as cell phone use spread, and then vanished even faster in the 2010s with the explosion of smartphones.

The final blow came when, in 2015, Manhattan went ahead with the installation of thousands of LinkNYC hotspots offering WiFi and free local calls.

Those new kiosks are to be gradually connected to the emerging 5G network.

“Truly the end of an era but also, hopefully, the start of a new one with more equity in technology access,” said Levine, referring to neighborhoods in northern Manhattan, such as Harlem, that are less well covered by telephone and Internet networks.

According to local media, Manhattan will keep four of the old-fashioned phone booths on the Upper West Side, on West End Avenue at 66th, 90th, 100th and 101st streets.

’End of an era’ as New York removes last of its iconic payphone booths

’End of an era’ as New York removes last of its iconic payphone booths

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“Amazon” plants surveillance cameras for its drivers

It was reported that the American company “Amazon” is putting artificial intelligence-powered cameras in its delivery trucks in Britain
The move comes after the cameras were first introduced in America last year, according to a report from the British newspaper, The Telegraph.
The cameras monitor the performance of drivers on the road, and sound alerts if they are going fast or brake sharply, and the company will put assessments for them based on that, according to the British newspaper, “The Telegraph”.
Secret documents obtained by The Telegraph showed that Amazon created a points-based system to detect if drivers’ eyes were off the road, swaying or even sneezing.
Two cameras are installed in Amazon trucks in Britain, one facing the driver and the other facing the road.

Privacy activists considered the new “Amazon” cameras as “scary” and “intrusive”.
Silky Carlo, director of the UK-based Privacy Campaigns group, said: “Amazon has a track record of extensively monitoring low-paid people using often highly imprecise spying techniques, and then using that data to their disadvantage.”
“This kind of targeted surveillance can actually distract drivers, let alone demoralize them,” Carlo added. “It’s harmful to workers’ rights and intimidating privacy.”
And the report of the newspaper “The Telegraph” indicated that “Amazon” used the cameras in America to determine the salaries of drivers, and whether they would keep them or not.
An Amazon spokesperson told The Telegraph: “The purpose of introducing this technology is to keep drivers and communities safe, and there is no other reason behind that.”
He stressed that the company has conducted a comprehensive assessment of data privacy, in line with applicable laws.

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