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Sri Lanka attacks in ‘retaliation for Christchurch’; death toll climbs to 321

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019


The string of bombings killed at least 321 people and wounded around 375. (Photo courtesy: Poovalingam Prem Kumar)

SRI LANKA – An initial report on the investigation on the Sri Lanka bombings showed that they were a case of suicide bomb attacks, and such were in “retaliation for Christchurch”.

This was disclosed by Sri Lankan defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene on Tuesday, April 23.

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” the defense minister told the parliament.

It can be recalled that on March 15, fifty people were killed in shooting attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka government has reported that the death toll on the series of bombings that took place in the country on April 21 has climbed to 321.

State defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the death toll included 38 foreigners, and around 375 are still receiving treatment in hospitals.

The first mass burial for the victims was held at a cemetery near St. Sebastian Church in Negombo in the state capital Colombo.

On Sunday, April 21, a series of coordinated bombings has rocked Sri Lanka. The blasts targeted three churches as well as four hotels – including the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and the Cinnamon Grand. – Maris Federez

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World leaders, tech CEOs meet ahead of summit against online extremism

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

World leaders and executives of large tech companies gathered in Paris on Wednesday (May 15) for discussions aimed at curbing online violence in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand.

On Tuesday (May 14), Facebook announced steps to temporarily block users who break its rules from broadcasting live video. The tweaks to Facebook’s rules came as the White House snubbed other world leaders, who met with tech companies in Paris to back a call by New Zealand’s prime minister for stronger measures against social media hate speech.

Silicon Valley tech giants expressed their support for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s so-called “Christchurch Call,” named for the city where the gunman attacked two mosques on March 15 and broadcast his killings live.

But Washington declined to send a delegation to the meeting hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. The White House said it would not endorse Ardern’s initiative, although it supported the broader aims.

Macron hosted Ardern, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and other leaders on Wednesday to support Ardern’s initiative.

Signatories would “encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online, to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content,” although the initiative is non-binding, light on details leaves countries and companies to decide how to apply guidelines.

Countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, India and Sweden said they backed it, as did U.S. tech giants Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google and its video platform YouTube and Amazon.

But the White House said in a statement the United States was “not currently in a position to join the endorsement,” although it added: “we continue to support the overall goals reflected in the call”. (REUTERS)

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Facebook to apply new live-streaming rules after Christchurch shooting

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

A screenshot of the footage from the Christchurch attack | Courtesy : Reuters

Facebook is set to apply new live-streaming rules after the New Zealand shooting.

According to the social media platform on Tuesday (May 14), they will implement a ‘one-strike policy’ for users who violate community standards.

“We will now apply a ‘one strike’ policy to Live in connection with a broader range of offenses,” their statement reads.

Violators will have to be restricted from using Facebook Live for set period of time.

“Someone who shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context will now be immediately blocked from using Live for a set period of time,” the statement further reads.

Facebook aims to minimize the risk of abuse on Facebook Live while enabling people to use Live in a positive way every day.

Meanwhile, Facebook will also strengthen their systems to detect manipulated media across images, video and audio as well as to distinguish between unwitting posters and adversaries who intentionally manipulate videos and photographs.

“This work will be critical for our broader efforts against manipulated media, including deepfakes (videos intentionally manipulated to depict events that never occurred). We hope it will also help us to more effectively fight organized bad actors who try to outwit our systems as we saw happen after the Christchurch attack,” Facebook said.

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