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107-year-old social media sensation remembered for attending virtual mass in every Irish county – CBC.ca

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7:59107-year-old social media sensation remembered for attending virtual mass in every Irish county

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Nancy Stewart was disappointed when COVID-19 restrictions kept her from attending mass, so she started attending online services.

But she didn’t limit her attendance to her local church. Instead, she went to mass in all of Ireland’s 32 counties, as well as in places including Rome, New York and London — and her online fans followed her on her journey. 

Stewart, who was referred to by many as Granny Nancy, died in her home Friday. She was 107 and was among the oldest people in Ireland.

Tens of thousands of people watched Stewart’s funeral online yesterday. 

“It’s amazing and inspiring that this one person can have such a great impact on so many people and draw them in,” her granddaughter Louise Coughlan told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

“People pass by in our lives and you see them and then they’re gone. But … to engage with us … and then to find the funeral … there’s no words for what that means to me personally.”

Coughlan moved in with her grandmother last year in Clonard, a village west of Dublin, to take care of her during the pandemic. 

Together, they made a Facebook page where they’d record themselves doing things such as baking. Stewart also spoke publicly about the importance of hand washing, and warned against panic-buying toilet paper.  

Louise Coughlan (left) and her grandmother Nancy Stewart made a Facebook page during the pandemic where they recorded themselves live and gave viewers advice, like making sure to put their feet up and have a cup of tea and biscuit. (Submitted by Louise Coughlan)

Some of Stewart’s other memorable videos include her asking the President of Ireland to give her a call — as well as advice for what she called the ‘Real Housewives of Ireland.’ 

“Granny said she was a ‘Real Housewife of Ireland’ and oh, my God, it was so funny,” Coughlan said.

“It brought us through a lot of dark times and a lot of quiet times in the house.”

And others in Ireland felt the same, making Stewart a social media sensation.

Stewart was also woman of faith, and around Christmas, Coughlan said the pair decided to go on a virtual road trip and attend mass in a different county each week.

She loved her faith and really believed that there’s something beyond this world we’re just building toward … and we just have to hang in there when things get tough.”​​​​​​– Louise Coughlan

“Every mass we watched, she was in it. Like the priest said, ‘Good morning, everyone,’ and Granny would be like, ‘Good morning, Father.’ It just was the cutest thing ever.”

When Stewart lost her husband in a car accident, her granddaughter said she turned to mass. Then when Stewart lost her twin daughters, she kept going to mass.

“That was the thing that inspired me most, because we all know what it’s like to be knocked about by life,” Coughlan said. “You’d never want to lose your kids, but she kept going. And that was the thing, you know, keep your faith.”

While Coughlan misses her grandmother, she is also proud to have spent the last year with her and see the positive effect she had on people around the world. 

“She loved her faith and really believed that there’s something beyond this world we’re just building toward … and we just have to hang in there when things get tough.”


Written by Mehek Mazhar. Interview with Louise Coughlan produced by Katie Geleff.


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Canada denies Chinese state media report that sailor was stopped in Northwest Passage – Nunatsiaq News

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Zhai Mo is attempting to circumnavigate Arctic Ocean


A view from the sailboat of Zhai Mo, who is trying to sail around the Arctic. Transport Canada recently warned the Chinese sailor that foreign boats are prohibited from travelling through the Northwest Passage for pleasure or recreational purposes, due to COVID-19 concerns. (Screenshot courtesy of China Global Television Network)

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David Lochead

Chinese state media is reporting the Canadian government stopped a Chinese sailor attempting to circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean last week, but Transport Canada says no such thing happened.

“Captain Zhai Mo has not entered Canadian Arctic waters,” Transport Canada stated in an email to Nunatsiaq News on Sept. 17.

Chinese media claim Mo was stopped at Lancaster Sound, in the Northwest Passage.

Mo, along with two crew members, is sailing a 25-metre boat that is fully solar powered and sponsored by Chinese telecom corporation China Mobile.

He is well known in China for his quest to sail non-stop around the Arctic Ocean and his travels are being closely covered by Chinese state media. Mo claims his journey, which he is video-blogging, will be the first of its kind.

Transport Canada told Nunatsiaq News it emailed Mo to relay that foreign boats going through the country’s waters for recreation or pleasure are temporarily prohibited due to COVID-19.

Transport Canada added it had seen reports that Mo now plans to avoid Canadian waters and the department “is monitoring the situation.”

According to Chinese state media, Mo is scheduled to return to China by the end of the year.

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Gabby Petito’s Disappearance And Clues Debated On Social Media – Forbes

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On Monday, a body thought to be that of missing Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was discovered, while authorities are still searching for her fiancé Brian Laundrie. The 22-year-old was reported missing on Sept. 11 after she failed to return from a months-long cross-country trip with Laundrie, who as of Tuesday afternoon – when he was named a person of interest – remains missing.

The case has remained in the spotlight on cable news over the past week while there have been nightly segments on the national evening news. “Gabby Petito” has also been trending on social media this week, but some users have even questioned why her disappearance has garnered so much media scrutiny while other cases fail to gain any attention.

Missing White Woman Syndrome

While Petito’s disappearance and possible death should not be taken lightly, many on the social platforms have noted that the media attention is an example of what has been labeled “Missing White Woman Syndrome.” The term is used by social scientists and media commentators to refer to the alleged disproportionate media coverage, especially on TV, of a missing person case that involves a young, white, upper-middle-class woman compared to the relative lack attention towards missing women who are not white and women of lower social classes, as well as missing men or boys.

Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) of the Huffington Post tweeted, “In the same area that Gabby Petito disappeared, 710 indigenous people— mostly girls—disappeared between the years of 2011 and 2020 but their stories didn’t lead news cycles.” via @MollyJongFast”

Some on social media have also used Gabby Petito’s disappearance to highlight other missing person’s cases. The grass roots organization Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) posted, “BREAKING NEWS: While the media obsesses over the Gabby Petito story, Jelani Day, a Black aspiring doctor and Illinois medical school student is also missing, but his disappearance is barely being covered. His abandoned car was found in the woods. Please RT to make this go viral.”

“I’m very sad and angry. Gabby could have been saved. Some are highlighting the media responses. It doesn’t diminish Gabby’s case. It’s an attempt to make sure we search for them all. Still, so many women missing. Use the same outrage to find them all,” added social media user @tbkeith.

Even with those calls to find every missing woman, this case certainly highlights yet another divide in our nation, and it further puts social media in the spotlight for its ability to get people arguing about nearly everything.

“Social media continues to have that potential to be polarizing,” said Saif Shahin, assistant professor in the school of communication at the American University.

“We see this all the time in the political space between liberals and conservatives, but it is evident on social media in different contexts such as this one,” Shahin added.

It also seems that this case has taken social media by storm unlike others, and that could potentially help break the case.

“When you combine that with America’s fascination with true crime – Serial Podcast, Don’t F**k With Cats and the latest Kristin Smart case – this is a perfect storm for the story to go viral,” said Matt Zuvella, VP of marketing at talent management services company FamePick.

“In the case of Gabby, her social media profiles might actually help solve the case, mainly because her fans became accustomed to her style of posting,” noted Zuvella. “So when there is something off or different, her fans immediately took notice and started asking questions.”

Spread Of Misinformation During Investigations

At issue too is where there is a potential for the spread of misinformation that could impact cases such as this one. How much harm it can do is a matter of debate, but past cases have shown that wild theories can stir up individuals and even put some people in harm’s way.

“Over the last few years, we have seen the dark side of social media with the spread of Covid-19 misinformation and political/election agendas,” added Zuvella. “However, in Gabby’s case we can see social media’s positive impact since her fans and fellow influencers jumped to her ‘aide’ and tried to help in any way they could.”

However, in past cases, social media has caused more harm than good, and amateur sleuths ‘debating’ potential suspects during an ongoing investigation could present serious problems.

“This happened after the Boston bombing,” explained Shahin. “There was the sharing of information on Reddit and Twitter, and other platforms. Users on social media were actively trying to figure out who were the Boston bombers.”

And they did so without the knowledge the police and FBI had access to, and as Shahin added, that was a problem as there was a zealous audience seeking information and sharing details without context. Many didn’t have investigative training either.

“They were pointing fingers everywhere,” said Shahin. “That certainly targeted people of color, and some on social media pointed fingers at a young man from India who had gone missing.”

Sunil Tripathi was wrongly accused of being a Boston Bombing suspect on Reddit, as he had been missing for a month prior to the April 15, 2013 bombing. His family had even turned to social media to assist in their search for Tripathi. That included setting up a Facebook page and sharing a video on YouTube.

Instead of helping find Tripathi, the information posted online resulted in his being misidentified as a suspect by users on social media. Thousands of individuals actually jumped on the bandwagon, and his name and details were even shared on Reddit. A BuzzFeed reporter then named the young man, who was born to Indian immigrants, as being a primary suspect.

“That led to threats against his family, while some mainstream media outlets even picked up on the story,” said Shahin. “The family was already in a lot of pain and it exacerbated it.”

In the end, Tripathi had nothing to do with the bombing, and he had killed himself by drowning.

“There is such a potential for the spread of bad information, and that could even distract the police during an investigation,” warned Shahin. “This isn’t new, but the presence of social media brings in such new dynamics.”

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Report: Suspected Chinese hack targets Indian media, gov't – 95.7 News

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BANGKOK (AP) — A U.S.-based private cybersecurity company said Wednesday it has uncovered evidence that an Indian media conglomerate, as well as a police department and the agency responsible for the country’s national identification database have been hacked, likely by a state-sponsored Chinese group.

The Insikt Group, the threat research division of Massachusetts-based Recorded Future, said the hacking group, given the temporary name TAG-28, made use of Winnti malware, which it said is exclusively shared among several Chinese state-sponsored activity groups.

Chinese authorities have consistently denied any form of state-sponsored hacking and said China itself is a major target of cyberattacks.

The allegation has the possibility of increasing friction between the two regional giants, whose relations have already been seriously strained by a border dispute that has led to clashes this year and last year.

In its report, the Insikt Group suggested the cyberattack could be related to those border tensions.

“As of early August 2021, Recorded Future data shows a 261% increase in the number of suspected state-sponsored Chinese cyber operations targeting Indian organizations and companies already in 2021 compared to 2020,” the organization said in its report.

The Insikt Group said it detected four IP addresses assigned to the Bennett Coleman And Co. Ltd. media company in “sustained and substantial network communications” with two Winnti servers between February and August.

It said is observed approximately 500 megabytes of data being extracted from the network of the privately owned Mumbai company, whose publications include The Times of India.

Insikt said it could not identify the content of that data, but noted that the company frequently publishes reports on China-India tensions, and that the hack was likely motivated by “wanting access to journalists and their sources as well as pre-publication content of potentially damaging articles.”

The Times of India did not answer repeated calls for comment.

The Insikt Group said it also observed some 5 megabytes of data transferred in a similar fashion from the police department of Madhya Pradesh state, whose chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, called for a boycott of Chinese products after June 2020 border clashes with India.

As the group was investigating the Bennett Coleman hack, it said it also identified a compromise in June and July of the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI, the government agency that oversees the national identification database.

In that case, it detected some 10 megabytes of data downloaded from the network and almost 30 megabytes uploaded, “possibly indicating the deployment of additional malicious tooling from the attacker infrastructure.”

It suggested such a database could be used by hackers to identify “high-value targets, such as government officials, enabling social engineering attacks or enriching other data sources.”

The UIDAI told The Associated Press that it had no knowledge of a “breach of the nature described.”

“UIDAI has a well-designed, multi-layered robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain the highest level of data security and integrity,” the agency said.

_____

Associated Press writers Krutika Pathi and Chonchui Ngashangva in New Delhi contributed to this report.

David Rising, The Associated Press

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