Saudi Arabia-led coalition attacks Houthi's air defence system

Agencies
June 15, 2019

Sanaa, Jun 15: The Saudi-led coalition attacked Houthi air-defence system in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Saturday morning.

The coalition has announced earlier that it is planning to attack specific targets in Sanaa, Sputnik reported.

This comes two days after Houthis rebels targeted Abha Airport in Saudi Arabia with drones, killing 26.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been leading an Arab military coalition against the Houthis in support of Yemen's internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi over the last four years.

The Yemeni rebels have seized control of much of the northern parts of the war-ravaged country, including capital Sanaa, in September 2014, forcing Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh.

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Agencies
January 8,2021

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Riyadh, Jan 8: Saudi Arabia has decided to lift the temporary travel ban and resume all international flights, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday citing a statement from the Ministry of Interior.

The move, which will come into force on March 31, 2021, includes the following measures:

1. Citizens will be allowed to travel outside the Kingdom and come back.

2. The temporary ban on international flights will be lifted.

3. All air, sea, and land borders will reopen.

The implementation of the above-mentioned measures will be done in accordance with the procedures and precautions laid down by the concerned committee amid all necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Kingdom in coordination with the concerned authorities, the statement added.

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Agencies
January 13,2021

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San Francisco Jan 13: As the world adjusts to a Twitter without @realdonaldtrump, the next big question is: “Now what?"

Major tech platforms, long accused of giving President Donald Trump special treatment not allotted to regular users, have shown him the door in the wake of his incitement of violence by supporters at the US Capitol on January 6. He's gone from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat — even Shopify.

But in many ways, booting the president was the easy part.

Will companies now hold other world leaders to the same standard? Will they wade further into deciding what is and isn't allowed on their platforms, potentially alienating large swaths of their user base? Will all this lead to further online splintering, pushing those flirting with extreme views to fringe sites and secret chat groups?

Although they've long sought to remain neutral, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms are slowly waking up to the active role they and their algorithms have played in shaping a modern world filled with polarised, angry groups and huge factions falling for bogus conspiracies and misinformation about science, politics and medicine.

“What we're seeing is a shift from the platforms from a stance of free-speech absolutism, towards an understanding of speech moderation as a matter of public health," said civic media professor Ethan Zuckerman of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

None of this can be fixed soon, if ever. Certainly not by blocking a president with just a few days left in his term.

But there are blueprints for future action. Remember “Plandemic?" That was the slickly-produced, 26-minute, misinformation-ridden video promoting COVID-19 conspiracies that emerged seemingly out of nowhere and racked up millions of views in a matter of days.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube scrambled to take it down — too late. But they were ready for the sequel, which failed to attract even a fraction of the attention of the first.

“Sharing disinformation about COVID is a danger because it makes it harder for us to fight the disease," Zuckerman said.

“Similarly, sharing disinformation about voting is an attack on our democracy.”

Unsurprisingly, it's been easier for tech giants to act decisively on matters of public health than on politics. Corporate bans of the US president and his supporters have led to loud, if generally unfounded, cries of censorship as well as charges of left-wing bias.

It's even attracted criticism from European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel — not exactly a friend of Trump's.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of “elementary significance.”

“This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators — not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms,” he told reporters in Berlin.

“Seen from this angle, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have now been permanently blocked.”

From that German perspective, it should be the government, and not private companies like Facebook and Twitter, who decides what counts as dangerous speech on social platforms.

That approach might be feasible in Europe, but it's much more complicated in the US, where the First Amendment of the US Constitution protects freedom of expression from government interference, although not from corporate policy on privately owned communication platforms.

Governments, of course, remain free to regulate tech companies, another area of ferment. Over the past year, Trump, other Republicans and some Democrats have called for revoking a fundamental 1996 legal provision known as Section 230.

That protects social platforms, which can host trillions of messages, from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted. But so far there's been more heat than light on the issue.

Still, few are happy with the often sluggish, after-the-fact, three-strikes takedowns and suspensions that have characterized Twitter and Facebook for years.

Particularly in the light of the Capitol insurrection, the deadly Charlottesville rally in 2017 and live-streamed mass shootings.

Sarita Schoenebeck, University of Michigan professor who focuses on online harassment, said it might be time for platforms to reevaluate how they approach problematic material on their sites.

“For years, platforms have evaluated what kinds of content are appropriate or not by evaluating the content in isolation, without considering the broader social and cultural context that it takes place in,” she said.

“We need to revisit this approach. We should rely on a combination of democratic principles, community governance and platform rules to shape behavior.”

Jared Schroeder, an expert in social media and the First Amendment at Southern Methodist University, thinks the Trump bans will encourage his base of followers to move towards other social platforms where they can organise and communicate with fewer — if any — restrictions.

“It's likely the bans will fuel the us-against-them narrative – and it's also likely other forums will get a boost in traffic, as we saw after the 2020 election," he said.

“The bans have taken away the best tools for organizing people and for Trump to speak to the largest audiences, but these are by no means the only tools."

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robert Riepe
 - 
Wednesday, 13 Jan 2021

You look at the pictures of the doos to congress you will see the pictures of Antifa thugs wearing trump supporter gear and the guards letting them in.

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Agencies
January 5,2021

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Islamabad, Jan 5: The Pakistan Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday directed relevant authorities to start the restoration of the Hindu temple in Karak within two weeks besides summoning details of all temples from the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), reported ARY News.

On December 30, a mob of over a hundred people led by local Muslim clerics had destroyed and set on fire a Hindu temple in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

A viral video clip on social media showed a violent mob destroying the walls and roof of the temple.

This act against the Hindu minority community has been widely condemned by human rights activists based in Pakistan and other parts of the world.

The mob incited by a local cleric was part of a rally organised by Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), a Sunni Deobandi political party in Pakistan.

In the rally, speakers delivered inflammatory speeches after which the mob stormed the temple, set it ablaze, and razed it to the ground.

Taking suo motu cognizance of the vandalism, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed raised questions how could the police allow the mob to enter the temple's premises instead of controlling the situation, reported ARY News.

The chief justice also remarked that the expenses to restore the site should be borne by the responsible persons. The top court directed the relevant authorities to start rebuilding the Hindu shrine in two weeks and directed ETPB to provide details of all functional and non-functional temples in the country.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing for two weeks, reported ARY News.

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