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Updated: 52 min 20 sec ago

India withdraws controversial fake news punishment after backlash

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:46

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reversed an order to punish journalists found guilty of reporting “fake news”, after an outcry over a perceived government crackdown on the press. The media sanctions, issued late Monday, stated that the government would withdraw the official accreditation of any journalist responsible for repeated reporting of “fake news”. India…

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South Africans Mourn Passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:44

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a controversial figure who served as a spearhead of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement during husband and future president Nelson Mandela’s long imprisonment, died Monday at age 81. “Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid,” Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said at a news conference at Johannesburg’s Netcare Milpark Hospital.…

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New York State Moves to Regulate Political Spending Online

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:00

From a press release from Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law:

New York State passed the Democracy Protection Act into law as part of the 2018-2019 New York State budget. The Act updates campaign finance laws to bring internet political ads under existing transparency rules that apply to broadcast communications like TV and radio. Ian Vandewalker, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy program, issued the following statement:

“The New York Democracy Protection Act is a big step in the right direction, and a vast improvement in the state’s safeguards against foreign meddling in our elections. We are thrilled to see New York join the vanguard alongside Washington State in picking up the slack of Congress and the social media companies. The internet’s rapid development and the failure of regulation to keep up have created significant cracks in our defenses. The state’s Democracy Protection Act targets some of these gaps by updating the definition of election communications to include digital advertisements, increasing disclosure on internet political spending, and heightening transparency through a publicly available database of online political ads.

Given inaction from Congress and the social media companies, it’s essential for states to step up and set up infrastructure that can improve transparency nationwide. We now know that in 2016 internet ads were a crucial element of the multifaceted Russian effort to meddle in our elections, and we also know hostile foreign actors will be back to put these tactics to use again. We can and must close the door to secret foreign spending – and laws like New York’s Democracy Protection Act will make it easier to enforce much needed federal regulation down the road.”

Also see the recent DC article, ‘Study confirms rich in firm control of American democracy‘.

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Celebrating the First Major Party Female Presidential Candidate

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:43

She was the first woman candidate from a major political party to run for president. She regularly faced the mockery and scorn that comes from serving in a male-dominated profession. At the pinnacle of her career, she found herself confronting a man who many Americans considered crude, obnoxious, divisive, and bigoted. As you read the paragraph…

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Deep fractures have emerged in Costa Rican democracy

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:25

By Rachel E. Bowen, Associate Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University. Progressive values won in Costa Rica — for now, at least. AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco Carlos Alvarado Quesada has won the Costa Rican presidency with 61 percent of the vote, an overwhelming victory for a progressive candidate who entered election day in a dead…

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3 lessons on data governance from Canadian smart city experiment

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:22

By Blayne Haggart, Associate Professor of Political Science, Brock University and Zachary Spicer, Visiting Researcher, University of Toronto. A rendering of Quayside, a neighborhood designed by Sidewalk Labs Sidewalk Labs Toronto’s proposed Quayside community was supposed to be a brag-worthy global showcase for what a smart city, “built from the internet up,” would look like. Instead,…

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What type of dictator is China’s Xi Jinping?

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:11

By Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Professor of Chinese and World History, University of California, Irvine. Chinese President Xi Jinping on his way to take the oath of office on March 17, 2018 after being formally re-elected to a second term, with no limit on the number of terms he can serve. AP Photo/Andy Wong What kind of leader…

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Blunder of Kazakh dictatorship’s new capital reflects misrule

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 23:45

For Dina, a hairless Sphynx living in a newly-opened cat cafe in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, this winter was a difficult one to bear. Temperatures in the steppe city of more than one million people reached minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) as Central Asia experienced its coldest winter in a decade, testing heating systems…

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Malala leaves Pakistan after emotional visit promoting education

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 23:30

Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai Monday left for Britain after an emotional four-day visit to Pakistan, officials said. Malala made a surprise return visit to Pakistan last week more than five years after she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for advocating girls’ education. “Malala Yousafzai along with her family left Islamabad,” a…

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John Oliver Takes Aim At Sinclair Broadcasting Group

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:17
link

See the full video from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

John Oliver on the importance of Sinclair Broadcasting now owning 71% of local broadcast stations. “Sinclair took their game to a new level.That statement is creepy enough, but when you see just how many local stations were forced to read it and you watch them together, as many have been doing online in the last couple…

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Activists criticise plans to enact Singapore fake news legislation

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:08
The Statutes of the Republic of Singapore (1986–present), which contain legislation enacted by Parliament – link

Singapore activists Monday criticised a parliamentary committee which is examining possible legislation to combat “fake news”, saying it had misrepresented their views and threatened those who gave evidence. The 10-member committee was set up in January to tackle online falsehoods, which the government says can threaten national security. The activists said in a joint statement that…

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Former President Lula faces Brazilian supreme court prison verdict

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:03

A mild earthquake rippled through Brasilia on Monday but the real upheaval will come when the Supreme Court decides this week whether former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva should be imprisoned. The slight tremor, linked to a distant quake in neighboring Bolivia, was nothing compared to the shake-up engulfing Brazil’s top political echelons six months…

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How Pink Floyd influenced Costa Rica’s president-elect

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 17:00
Pink Floyd’s The Wall exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – link

Carlos Alvarado Quesada counts Ernest Hemingway and Pink Floyd among his guiding lights, but it was his experience as a former minister in Costa Rica’s outgoing center-left government that shaped the political career that Sunday led to him becoming president-elect. His time as labor minister made him a household name and gave him the credibility to…

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Conglomerate Slammed For Promoting Partisan News

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:55

The Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) was heavily criticized in a video compiled by Deadspin, for pushing a pro-Trump stance across several local media channels, including messages that warned the public of “fake news” and “personal bias” in news reports. SBG, which owns more than 170 news channels across the United States, reportedly compelled anchors and reporters…

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Protests in multiple states seek more public school funding

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:39

Teachers took to the streets of Kentucky and Oklahoma on Monday, with thousands rallying in the latest shows of force by angry educators demanding better pay and more funding for public schools. Classrooms were shuttered as demonstrations commenced. In some cases, school districts were on a scheduled holiday, while in others administrators were unable to find…

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Why You Should Support the Secure Elections Act

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:30

In addition to peddling fake news and hacking into email systems, Russia apparently tried but failed to interfere with the machinery of 2016 U.S. elections. No votes were changed, as far as we know, but Russian hackers attempted to invade election systems in 21 states and succeeded in penetrating Illinois’ voter registration database. The U.S. intelligence…

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Why New Jersey is Among States to Lose From Census Changes

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:25

It’s nice to see New Jersey’s governor stick up for New Jersey for a change, after Chris Christie was such a chump for Trump. He dutifully let the president order him meatloaf, and order cuts that would have stripped health care from thousands in our state, had a few votes in Congress not stopped him. He…

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Botswana president does something African leaders rarely do: retire

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 21:23
Former President of Botswana Ian Khama – link

He is the English-born son of a king, a fighter pilot, a teetotaling bachelor — and all that made him an unorthodox African president. But Ian Khama stands out most for his final act as president of Botswana: stepping down. At his home village of Serowe Tuesday, residents begged him to stay on another 50 years…

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Examining why Malala remains polarising figure in Pakistan

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 21:12
link

Malala has returned to Pakistan for the first time after she was shot almost six years ago. While many, including state officials, have welcomed her, there are also some who remain suspicious, even celebrating ” anti-Malala day” . It seems she has as many detractors as she does fans . In October 2017, she was trolled…

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Judge Opens Door for Thousands to Apply for Asylum

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 20:49
Ricardo Salazar Martinez (left) – link

I remember when I was in Seattle in the late seventies working on community radio which eventually led to the creation of the Radio Cadena National News service and KDNA-FM, I used to make my rounds in the community collecting news and information material for our programs by visiting social service agencies, the university district, community meetings and even bars

One of my regular stops was at El Centro de la Raza on the Beacon Hill neighborhood. El Centro was housed in an old high school building that would have been condemn if not for the activism of a group of Chicanos and Native Americans who thought the building could be better used as a community center.

The place was always vibrant with energy and a sense of freshness typical of the times when we felt ready to bring about social and political change. Adding to the ambiance, the walls were plastered with murals on Chicano, Native American and Latin American icons and history imagery, along with colorful fliers and posters announcing meetings, programs and activities.

El Centro (south façade) and Plaza Roberto Maestas in Seattle – link

People seemed busy coming in and out of meetings; all offices were occupied with service agencies staff. One of my regular stops was in the Northwest Rural Opportunities office, our sister organization that provided supportive and referral services for migrant families that lived in Seattle.

I remember the person tending the NRO office was a young man in his 20’s, who at least to me, seemed detached from “the moviminto”. All in all, I remember him as a nice guy, kind of aloof, slim, with an easy smile and neatly dressed; wearing a modest Afro or what some people may call a “Natural”.

Ricardo Martinez was a college student whose family, if I remember correctly was friends with Ricardo Garcia, the agency’s state director. I remember looking up to Garcia as a leader figure with unique characteristics or style. He was soft-spoken, easy going, suave and always ready to listen.

I remember wondering why Garcia would hire someone like Martinez to run the Seattle NRO office and immediately going back to a conversation we have had when he said that many of the migrant workers we served and even our workers are untapped talent due to the lack of opportunities. They are like diamonds on the rough, he said, and it’s up to us to look for those diamonds so they can shine.

Well, Garcia was right… This week Ricardo Martinez now a Federal Judge in Seattle challenged the federal government immigration policies in a way that could “open the door for thousands of immigrants to apply for asylum, finding that the Department of Homeland Security has routinely failed to notify them of a deadline for filing their applications”.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez issued the ruling in a class-action lawsuit brought by immigrant rights groups on behalf of those who fear persecution if returned to their home country.

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