首页 > >
Lawmaker calls for block on Instagram after Meta allows hate speech against Russians******
Russia on Friday condemned Meta Platforms' move to temporarily lift a ban on calls for violence against the Russian military and leadership, and an influential parliamentarian called for Instagram to be blocked in Russia.
In a temporary change to its hate speech policy, Meta Platforms will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine conflict, according to internal e-mails seen by Reuters.
"Meta's aggressive and criminal policy leading to incitement of hatred and hostility toward Russians is outrageous," the Russian embassy in Washington said in a statement on Friday.
"The company's actions are yet another evidence of the information war without rules declared on our country," it said.
A Meta spokesperson confirmed it had temporarily eased its rules for political speech, allowing posts such as "death to the Russian invaders," although it would not allow calls for violence against Russian civilians.
Internal e-mails seen by Reuters showed it had also temporarily allowed posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Alexander Khinshtein, the head of the information policy and IT committee at the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, said the Duma would appeal to the Russian prosecutor general's office and Investigative Committee over the move. It was not clear what action it expected those bodies to take.
"If this is true, then of course Instagram should be blocked in Russia after Facebook," he said.
Facebook and Instagram are both owned by Meta. Last week, Russia said it was banning Facebook in the country in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on the platform.
"They should think about how they are using these platforms. They incite hatred, and even more, they call for the murder of Russian citizens," Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said in a post on VKontakte, Russia's answer to Facebook.
Showdown looms as Canada truckers ordered to clear key bridge******
Anti-vaccine mandate protesters block the roadway at the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor Ontario on February 11, 2022.
Truckers snarling a key bridge between Canada and the United States in protest at COVID-19 rules were ordered by a judge to leave Friday night, setting up a potential showdown two weeks into the snowballing protest movement.
The days-long blockade of the Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor, Ontario and the US city of Detroit, has paralyzed a key North American trade route, piling pressure on Canadian leader Justin Trudeau to resolve the crisis.
A Canadian judge granted an injunction ordering the protesters – estimated to number a few hundred, along with several dozen trucks – to leave the bridge by 7pm (12am GMT), according to Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens.
Authorities are under increasing pressure to crack down on the protests that have paralyzed Ottawa, triggering a state of emergency in Ontario province and copycat demonstrations as far away as France and New Zealand.
Upping the stakes, President Joe Biden on Friday reiterated his "concern" to Trudeau, telling him the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge and two other border crossings was having serious effects on US firms.
The vital Windsor-Detroit bridge is used daily by more than 40,000 people, along with trucks carrying US$323 million worth of goods on average – about one-quarter of all Canada-US trade.
Addressing reporters in Ottawa, Trudeau said all options were "on the table" for ending the protests, though he stressed that calling in the military was a distant final resort, and "something to avoid having to do at all costs."
"This unlawful activity has to end and it will end," the prime minister said, adding that it was up to police to "enforce the law and protect public order."
The Canadian capital has been clogged with hundreds of big rigs for two weeks – as the movement has morphed into a broader protest against pandemic health rules and Trudeau's government.
The days-long blockades have already had significant economic impact, with automakers forced to cut back production on both sides of the border, triggering fears it could undermine Canada's recovery from the pandemic.
In his call with Trudeau, Biden said the movement was impacting US companies and workers with "slowdowns in production, shortened work hours, and plant closures."
State of emergency
Canada's self-styled "Freedom Convoy" began last month in the country's west – launched in anger at requirements that truckers either be vaccinated, or test and isolate, when crossing the US-Canada border.
The premier of Ontario province – the epicenter of the protests – announced a state of emergency on Friday, threatening steep fines of up to C$100,000 (US$80,000) and jail unless protesters end their "illegal occupation."
"To the people of Ottawa under siege, I say we will ensure you're able to resume life and business as soon as possible," said Ontario premier Doug Ford, who like Trudeau has been accused of inaction over the protests.
The Ontario emergency came as a coalition of protesters – an estimated 1,800 vehicles according to a police source – were closing in on Paris after setting off in convoy from across France.
Defying police warnings, the French protesters included opponents of COVID vaccination, but also people angry at fast-rising energy prices – in an echo of the "yellow vest" grievances that sparked widespread protests in 2018 and 2019.
Protesters have likewise set up a makeshift camp outside New Zealand's parliament, scene of violent clashes earlier this week as police sought to clear anti-vaccine demonstrators.
Greece hands over Olympic Flame to Beijing 2022 organizers****** Special representative and Vice-President of Beijing 2022 Yu Zaiqing (R) receives the torch with the Olympic Flame from President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos during the handover ceremony of the Olympic Flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece, Oct. 19, 2021. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
ATHENS, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic Flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games was handed over on Tuesday to the Chinese organizers in a ceremony held at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens.
At the marble venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896, Hellenic Olympic Committee President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Spyros Capralos passed the sacred flame to Yu Zaiqing, special representative and vice president of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee.
The Chinese delegation left the stadium with best wishes for the Olympic Winter Games from February 4 to 20 which will be followed by the Paralympics.
Greek Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis, Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis, IOC members and other Greek and foreign dignitaries attended Tuesday's event.
Several officials attended as well the lighting ceremony which was held on Monday at Ancient Olympia in western Greece, the birthplace of the Games centuries ago.
Both ceremonies were closed to spectators due to COVID-19 safety measures.
Inside the ancient stadium at Ancient Olympia where athletes once competed, a short symbolic torch relay was staged.
Former Chinese freestyle skiing aerials athlete Li Nina passed the flame to the last torchbearer on Greek soil, Paraskevi Ladopoulou, a Greek cross country and biathlon athlete, who lit the cauldron.
Capralos then received the flame from Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou acting as an ancient Greek High Priestess.
She was escorted by dancers in the roles of priestesses who performed a choreography.
"Both I, and all Greeks, wish you good luck at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Your history, your culture, your traditions, your faith in values and your great love for sport, give us the assurance, that you will organize excellent Games next February. Just as you did in 2008, with the Summer Olympic Games," Capralos said, addressing the event before handing over the Flame to the Chinese hosts.
"Committed to a green, inclusive, open and clean approach to preparing and hosting the Games, we will deliver a simple, safe and splendid Games, which hopefully will help promote the Olympic Movement and the building of a global community of a shared future," Yu said in his speech.
At the end of the ceremony, the flame was transported to the Athens airport to head for Beijing, the first city ever to host both summer and winter Olympic Games. Enditem