Daynet

Daynet

Facebook deletes more ‘inauthentic’ accounts – but stops short of blaming Russia

Facebook has identified and shut down more than two dozen accounts that it claimed were created to exacerbate political tensions in the United States, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Facebook said the “inauthentic” accounts displayed activity similar to that of accounts the social media giant had earlier linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) — a Russian entity which western media have often linked to Russia’s alleged attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook, however, admitted in a blog post that it was in the “very early stages” of its investigation and didn’t have “all the facts” about the newly discovered accounts.

Evidence Facebook has is not strong enough to publicly attribute the pages to the IRA, and “it’s possible that a separate actor could be copying their techniques,” the company’s chief security officer Alex Stamos said.

The company said that whoever set up the accounts “went to much greater lengths” to obscure their identities than the IRA had in the past, but also said it found links between some of the new accounts and previous Russia-linked accounts it had disabled last year.

Democrats were quick to jump on the Russia-blaming bandwagon, however, with Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) releasing a statement blaming Moscow for creating the Facebook accounts and suggesting this was “further evidence” that the Kremlin was exploiting platforms like Facebook to “sow division and spread disinformation” in the US. Warner also said he hoped Facebook would continue working to identify “Russian troll activity” on the website.

The news from Facebook comes just days after US President Donald Trump suggested that Russia might interfere in the upcoming midterm elections, but that they would be “pushing very hard for the Democrats” because “no President has been tougher on Russia” than him.

Facebook said it decided to share the information, despite not having all the facts, because there was a “connection” between the pages in question and a number of protests that were planned for Washington, DC next week.

A total of 32 accounts on Facebook and Instagram were suspended. In its blog post, Facebook warned that it faces “determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up” and who are “constantly changing tactics”.

US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen commended Facebook for its efforts and complimented it for taking the alleged election interference seriously.

  • Published in World

Chile Investigating 158 in Catholic Church Over Sex Abuse

Last month, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of five Chilean bishops amid accusations of abuse and related cover-ups.

Chile is now investigating 158 members of the country's embattled Catholic Church — both clergymen and lay people — for perpetrating or concealing the sexual abuse of children and adults, prosecutors said on Monday.

The cases relate to incidents dating back as far as 1960 and involving 266 victims, including 178 children and adolescents, according to public prosecutor Luis Torres.

The prosecutor's statement offered the first general view of the extent and scope of the abuse scandal faced by Chile's Catholic Church — and how many people are implicated.

"The vast majority of reported incidents relate to sexual crimes committed by priests or people linked to educational establishments," Torres told reporters.

The entire strata of the Catholic Church — from bishops to monks — were involved in the crimes, as well as "lay people exercising some function in the ecclesiastical sphere," he noted.

There are 36 ongoing investigations, while 23 previous ones resulted in convictions and one other in an acquittal.

"There's no doubt that what the public prosecutor is doing is very positive and is starting to open the door to situations that previously were treated as an open secret," Juan Carlos Claret, a member of a campaign group that opposed the presence of tainted bishop Juan Barros in his area, told AFP.

Barros is accused of covering for a pedophile priest and Francis was forced to apologize earlier this year for having hugged and defended the bishop on a visit to Chile in January.

Francis had named Barros to head the Osorno diocese, where Claret lives, in 2015 despite accusations by sex abuse victims that the prelate covered up the actions of disgraced pedophile priest Fernando Karadima in the 1980s and 1990s.

According to Claret, the Chilean Episcopal Conference already knew in 2007 about 120 priests involved in sexual abuse. He says that means there must be more people involved than the number revealed by prosecutors on Monday.

"Some information is still being held back," added Claret, a leading voice in denouncing the clerical abuse of children in the country that led Francis to overhaul Chile's Catholic Church.

Karadima has been suspended for life by the Vatican but never faced prosecution in Chile because the statute of limitations had elapsed by the time a case was opened in 2010.

Earlier that year, he had been found guilty of sexually abusing children by the Vatican, which sentenced him to a life of prayer and ordered him to pay compensation.

In May, the entire Chilean hierarchy of bishops tendered their resignations over the abuse scandal rocking the Church.

Since 2000, about 80 Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

Ten days ago, prominent priest Oscar Munoz was arrested over allegations of sexual abuse and rape of at least seven children.

Francis has repeatedly apologized to parishioners over the scandal, admitting the Church failed "to listen and react" to allegations spanning decades, but vowed to "restore justice."

  • Published in World

250 Bartenders Will Attend 22th Pan-Am Cocktail Tournament in Cuba

The Executive Secretary of the Association of Cuban Bartenders (ACC), Lizbeth Elias Muñoz, stated today that about 250 professionals have confirmed their attendance at the 22nd Pan-American Cocktail Competition IBA 2018 in Havana.

An official statement from the ACC said today that the event will be held on August 25-31 at the Tryp Habana Libre Hotel, to which representatives from Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Cuba, among other nations, will participate.

The executive said that the president of the International Bartenders Association (IBA), Pepi Dioni, and the vice president of this entity for South America, Adrian Juarez, will also attend.

IBA Vice President for America, Derrick Lee, and Treasurer Jose Ancona, are also on the list.

The competition will be sponsored by Havana Club International S.A., Cuba Ron, MG Company, Finest Call (Puerto Rico), Campari, and Angostura, among others.

Delegates of these companies will give master classes to the participants, Muñoz said.

Vladimir Marquez and Adrian Ravelo (Havana), and Yunier Fernandez (Varadero) in classic style, and Robert Acuña (Camagüey) and Oliek Cintado in Cienaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp) in Matanzas in flair style, will participate on the Cuban side.

 

  • Published in Culture

Swedish Law Redefines Rape as 'Sex Without Consent'

A new law redefining sexual relations without consent as rape comes into effect in Sweden on Sunday, after the country was rocked by the #MeToo movement denouncing sexual harassment and assault.

Backed by the ruling Social Democrat-Green coalition, the law stipulates that a person has committed rape if they have been part of a sexual act in which the other person has not participated "freely." It is further detailed that consent has to be expressed with "clear words or actions."

Rape had previously been defined as a sexual act carried out with the use of violence or threat.

Now for someone to face rape charges, "it is no longer necessary that violence or threats were applied or that the aggressor took advantage of the victim's particularly vulnerable situation," according to the government.

Courts will need to pay special attention to whether consent was expressed with words, gestures or in any other manner, and judges will have to rule on the issue, according to the law passed in May.

Judge Anna Hannell, who helped create the law, said there was "absolutely no requirement to formally say 'Yes', to hit a button in an app or anything else of the same type. Simply participating physically is a sign of consent," she told Swedish news agency TT.

"#MeToo showed, with force, that a lot still needs to be done to fight sexual harassment and sexual violence at work and in the rest of society," Gender Equality Minister Lena Hallengren said in a statement Sunday. She added that the government will allocate US$13.5 million to combat sexual abuse.

The #MeToo campaign, which began with the series of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, has shaken up nearly every sector in Sweden.

More than 10,000 women in Sweden — including actresses, journalists, lawyers, musicians, doctors and construction workers — have spoken up and campaigned against harassment.

"#MeToo is changing behaviors and people now understand the extent to which sexual violence is widespread," Ida Ostensson of the Make Equal foundation, a key campaigner for the new law, said. "We finally have legislation that protects physical and sexual integrity."

Before the #MeToo campaign, women's rights groups in Sweden had already been fighting for an update to the definition of rape that would, not just be based on violence, but also the lack of consent, so victims could file their complaints more easily.

In May, the Swedish Academy announced there would be no Nobel Literature Prize, this year, following a major sexual assault scandal.

The announcement came after Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, in November, published the testimonies of some 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by Jean-Claude Arnault, an influential cultural figure with long-standing ties to the Academy, who has since been charged with two counts of rape.

The scandal caused deep discord among the institution's 18 members, prompting six to resign.

"It's important that society clearly states what is OK and what isn't," Erik Moberg, a Swede in his thirties, told AFP. "It makes you think about your own behavior and that of others."

  • Published in World
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