Category Archives: Entertainment

Facebook Still Working to Remove All Videos of New Zealand Terrorist Attack

Facebook is continuing to work to remove all video of the mass shooting in New Zealand which the perpetrator livestreamed Friday, the company said Sunday.

“We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues, Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand said in a statement Sunday.

Garlick said that the company is currently working to remove even edited versions of the original video which do not contain graphic content, “Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities.”

In the 24 hours following the mass shooting, which left 50 people dead, Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the attack, of which 1.2 million were blocked at upload, the company said.

Facebook’s most recent comments follow criticism of the platform after the shooter not only livestreamed the 17 graphic minutes of his rampage, using a camera mounted on his helmet, but also had posted a 74-page white supremacist manifesto on Facebook.

Earlier Sunday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that there were “further questions to be answered” by Facebook and other social media platforms.

“We did as much as we could to remove or seek to have removed some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack. Ultimately, though, it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal and support their removal,” she said.

The attack came during Friday prayers when the Al Noor Mosque and the nearby Linwood Mosque were filled with hundreds of worshippers. The victims of Friday’s shooting included immigrants from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Source: Voice of America

Facebook Still Working to Remove All Videos of New Zealand Terrorist Attack

Facebook is continuing to work to remove all video of the mass shooting in New Zealand which the perpetrator livestreamed Friday, the company said Sunday.

“We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues, Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand said in a statement Sunday.

Garlick said that the company is currently working to remove even edited versions of the original video which do not contain graphic content, “Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities.”

In the 24 hours following the mass shooting, which left 50 people dead, Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the attack, of which 1.2 million were blocked at upload, the company said.

Facebook’s most recent comments follow criticism of the platform after the shooter not only livestreamed the 17 graphic minutes of his rampage, using a camera mounted on his helmet, but also had posted a 74-page white supremacist manifesto on Facebook.

Earlier Sunday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that there were “further questions to be answered” by Facebook and other social media platforms.

“We did as much as we could to remove or seek to have removed some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack. Ultimately, though, it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal and support their removal,” she said.

The attack came during Friday prayers when the Al Noor Mosque and the nearby Linwood Mosque were filled with hundreds of worshippers. The victims of Friday’s shooting included immigrants from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Source: Voice of America

Christchurch Death Toll Rises to 50

The death toll in a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques on Friday has risen to 50 after emergency workers found another body at one of the crime scenes.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced Sunday (local time in New Zealand) that all the bodies from both mosques had been removed from their locations. “In doing so, we were able to locate a further victim,” he said.

On Saturday, the main suspect in the shootings appeared in court in Christchurch.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian citizen and self-proclaimed white nationalist, was led by two armed guards into the court where a judge read one charge of murder to him. He wore prison robes and handcuffs and did not speak.

Reporters in the courtroom said the suspect smiled during his appearance. A photo showed him holding his left hand in an upside-down “OK” symbol, a gesture used by white supremacist groups.

After the suspect left the court, the judge said that while “there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others.”

Tarrant has not yet entered a plea. His next court appearance is set for April 5.

Two suspected accomplices have also been arrested. Police were trying to determine to what extent, if any, they were involved in the attack. None of the suspects were on a terrorism watch list in New Zealand or Australia.

Meanwhile, medical officials said 39 people wounded in the shootings were in hospitals; 11 of them were in critical condition.

In a news conference Saturday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the attacker’s onslaught was cut short when he was apprehended. “It was his intention to continue his attack,” the prime minister said.

She called the mass shooting “an extraordinary act of violence” and vowed that “our gun laws will change.” She said the shooter had five guns, two of them semiautomatic. All the weapons were legally obtained.

The attack came during Friday prayers when the Al Noor Mosque and the nearby Linwood Mosque were filled with hundreds of worshippers.

The shooter livestreamed the assault on Facebook. He also published a 74-page white nationalist manifesto in which he denounced Muslims and called immigrants “invaders.”

The manifesto also said he chose to make his attack in New Zealand to show that nowhere in the world was safe.

Residents of Christchurch took flowers and other mementos to a makeshift memorial, and an online fund for the victims gathered $684,000 in a single day.

The victims of Friday’s shooting included immigrants from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mass shootings and violent crime are rare in New Zealand, a country of nearly 5 million people. Until Friday, the country’s worst mass shooting was in 1990, when a lone gunman killed 13 people in the small town of Aramoana.

Source: Voice of America

Christchurch Death Toll Rises to 50

The death toll in a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques on Friday has risen to 50 after emergency workers found another body at one of the crime scenes.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced Sunday (local time in New Zealand) that all the bodies from both mosques had been removed from their locations. “In doing so, we were able to locate a further victim,” he said.

On Saturday, the main suspect in the shootings appeared in court in Christchurch.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian citizen and self-proclaimed white nationalist, was led by two armed guards into the court where a judge read one charge of murder to him. He wore prison robes and handcuffs and did not speak.

Reporters in the courtroom said the suspect smiled during his appearance. A photo showed him holding his left hand in an upside-down “OK” symbol, a gesture used by white supremacist groups.

After the suspect left the court, the judge said that while “there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others.”

Tarrant has not yet entered a plea. His next court appearance is set for April 5.

Two suspected accomplices have also been arrested. Police were trying to determine to what extent, if any, they were involved in the attack. None of the suspects were on a terrorism watch list in New Zealand or Australia.

Meanwhile, medical officials said 39 people wounded in the shootings were in hospitals; 11 of them were in critical condition.

In a news conference Saturday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the attacker’s onslaught was cut short when he was apprehended. “It was his intention to continue his attack,” the prime minister said.

She called the mass shooting “an extraordinary act of violence” and vowed that “our gun laws will change.” She said the shooter had five guns, two of them semiautomatic. All the weapons were legally obtained.

The attack came during Friday prayers when the Al Noor Mosque and the nearby Linwood Mosque were filled with hundreds of worshippers.

The shooter livestreamed the assault on Facebook. He also published a 74-page white nationalist manifesto in which he denounced Muslims and called immigrants “invaders.”

The manifesto also said he chose to make his attack in New Zealand to show that nowhere in the world was safe.

Residents of Christchurch took flowers and other mementos to a makeshift memorial, and an online fund for the victims gathered $684,000 in a single day.

The victims of Friday’s shooting included immigrants from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mass shootings and violent crime are rare in New Zealand, a country of nearly 5 million people. Until Friday, the country’s worst mass shooting was in 1990, when a lone gunman killed 13 people in the small town of Aramoana.

Source: Voice of America

Beijing Done, for Now, Acquiring Land in South China Sea

TAIPEI, TAIWAN Two American B-52 bombers flew over the South China Sea on a training mission Wednesday for the second time in 10 days, acts that Beijing considers provocative. Chinese officials resent any challenge to their hold over hundreds of the sea’s tiny islets, which other countries claim, too.

But China appears, at least for now, to be done adding positions in the sea that’s claimed in whole or in part by five other governments, maritime scholars agree. They say a seven-year effort to reclaim land for building on once uninhabitable atolls and reefs paused indefinitely two years ago because Beijing had reached the level of control it wanted over the waterway.

The Chinese basically feel that they have finished what they called the first stage of land reclamation in the South China Sea, said Yun Sun, East Asia Program senior associate with the Stimson Center think tank in Washington. Indefinite pause

Island building that started around 2010 led to the construction of aircraft hangars, radar systems and facilities to support fishing and oil exploration. Civilian populations live on a few islets. China controls the whole 130-island Paracel chain and seven major features in the Spratly archipelago.

Chinese contractors created 3,200 acres of reclaimed land on the sea’s reefs and atolls to help develop them, according to a Pentagon estimate in 2016.

If the end goal is de facto control of the waterways and air space, then perhaps the number of features that China currently occupies are enough to achieve that end goal, said Jonathan Spangler, director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam claim all or parts of the sea, which stretches from Hong Kong to the island of Borneo. Those governments prize the 3.5 million-square-kilometer waterway for its fisheries, shipping lanes and energy reserves under the seabed.

The other countries, all militarily weaker, resented China’s landfill work and follow-up militarization, especially when projects overlapped their own exclusive maritime economic zones. Their opposition has prompted the U.S. government to periodically send naval ships and aircraft through the area. Washington does not have a territorial claim but says the sea should be open to everyone.

China’s most recent significant dredging or landfill work took place on two Paracel islands in early to mid-2017, said Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative under Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Most larger-scale building had wrapped up in 2015, Poling said.

Political will

China might restart reclamation or take over more islands after settling the year-old Sino-U.S. trade dispute, Sun said. Chinese consider trade talks a priority for now, she said, and don’t want to take action that would anger Washington. While trade talks are going on, she said, China might just strengthen existing maritime claims.

The first stage is completed, so I think it’s more a question of political will to move forward with reclamation at this point, she said.

Beijing will avoid taking over more islets controlled by other countries, Sun added, because it wants to strengthen relations with Asian governments as a counter to U.S. influence in the sea.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes states that oppose Chinese maritime sovereignty claims, is talking with China now through 2021 about a code of conduct that would head off mishaps between ships.

China hasn’t occupied any new features since 1994, though it took effective control of Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines after a tense standoff in 2012, setting off a four-year political spat. Since 2016, China has offered aid and investment to the Philippines, helping to ease friction.

China probably won’t proactively occupy new features unless it feels pushed by a foreign government, Spangler said. Chinese officials cite historic documents to back their claim to about 90 percent of the sea.

The government is now in a phase of deployment of assets to the islands it holds, Poling said.

I think there is a false assumption that not much is happening in the South China Sea, because there aren’t many clashes or incidents on the same scale, but China is continuing to fill in infrastructure on the islands at a fair clip and it’s already got the ability I think to use those islands, said Euan Graham, international security director with the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

They have all the infrastructure in terms of fuel, hangar space for combat aircraft, Graham said.

Source: Voice of America