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Al Jazeera Digital wins Amnesty International Canada Media Award – Al Jazeera English



The Al Jazeera English Online interactive, First Nations Divided, has won a top prize at the 25th annual Amnesty International Canada Media Awards.  

Produced with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the interactive feature won in the Mixed Media category and centred on conflicts of interest arising from Canada’s $5.6bn expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. When completed, the pipeline will triple its current capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.


Many First Nations elders fear environmental damage from oil spills and say the pipeline is a threat to their land and traditional ways of life.

Al Jazeera English Online contributing journalists Jillian Kestler-D’Amours and freelance reporter Megan O’Toole travelled the 2,000km Trans Mountain pipeline route, from the oil refineries of Edmonton, Alberta to the shipping hubs of Canada’s Pacific Coast. Along the way, they interviewed indigenous First Nations land defenders, community leaders, legal experts and pipeline proponents.

“Jillian and Megan won for their sensitive storytelling centred on the voices of those most affected,” said Amnesty judge and former Mixed Media winner Samantha Fink. They won “for the depth of their research and sophisticated use of digital tools including photos, videos, graphics and maps that gave readers multiple access points to understanding a complex story”.

“I’m proud of our journalists who travelled for days to get to the heart of this important story,” said Soraya Salam, manager of Al Jazeera English Online, “and of our Americas Editor Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath who guided the storytelling process and coordinated with our head of interactives, Mohammed Haddad, to produce this excellent content. This Amnesty International award is an important recognition of our dedication to telling stories of forgotten communities whose lives are being impacted by the decisions of those in power.”

Winners in other categories – long and short-form video, long and short-form text and long-form audio – included APTN, The Toronto Star and CBC.

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Creating An Amazing Outdoor Space In Your Patio



With social distancing and outings being discouraged, you will probably want to find ways to spend time outdoors even as you are home. Why not create a small outdoor space in your patio? Believe it or not, this is easier than it sounds, provided that you have some creative ideas and some time to implement them. And incredibly, you need not spend a fortune to build an outdoor haven right in your living space. Here are some cool ideas you can put into action for making the most of your patio area.

Buy some double-duty furniture pieces

If you have a small living space, lightweight, double-duty furniture pieces make a great pick as you can use them both indoors and outdoors. A foldable bench and table are worth considering. You can buy a large stool for the living room and use it as a table in the patio. Another cool idea is to shop large throw pillows made in weatherproof fabric, which can work as floor cushions for patio gatherings.

Invest in a built-in bench

For homeowners looking for a one-time investment, having a built-in bench in your patio is the way to go. It could be concrete or wood, depending on your preference and budget. The best thing about built-in seating is that you have the flexibility- no matter how big or small the area is, you can have a bench that fits perfectly. You can even have a built-in or folding table to create an awesome dining area outdoors.

Have a patio garden

If you are a gardening enthusiast, try having your own little green space on the patio. A vertical garden makes a great idea for smaller areas. All you need is a frame that you can install on one of the walls and arrange potted plants over it. You can shop at Home Hardware sale to pick some stuff on a budget. Or perhaps, you can pick a flyer or promo code online to grab some cool deals. A small sitting arrangement in this tiny garden completes the decor.

Ensure privacy with outdoor draperies

Those who want some privacy even in their patio can use some outdoor drapery panels to keep intrusions at bay. Weatherproof curtains offer the shade and privacy you want and you have a space that is as good as an outdoor living room. However, you will need to have a wood frame or curtain rods to hang the drapery. This could take some time and investment but the result is worth the effort.

Buy an outdoor rug

Consider buying an outdoor rug if you love that floor picnic feel under the stars. This is the safest and most cost-effective option for those trying to refurbish your small patio space for the first time. Ensure that you buy a sturdy weather-proof one that can bear the brunt of outdoor weather. Something that you can wash and clean at home is a smart pick.

These are some cool and affordable ways to convert your patio into a lovely, little sitting space. Hang around some fairy lights, play your favourite music and get some snacks while you sit here and enjoy your evenings at home!


Author Bio: William Josh is the new editorial lead with the team Outreach Monks. His work has been featured in several magazines and news journals.

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Social media, music world go dark for Black Out Tuesday – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press

Published Tuesday, June 2, 2020 7:03PM EDT

Last Updated Tuesday, June 2, 2020 7:06PM EDT

NEW YORK – Though Black Out Tuesday was originally organized by the music community, the social media world also went dark in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, joining voices around the world outraged by the killings of black people in the U.S.

Instagram and Twitter accounts, from top record label to everyday people, were full of black squares posted in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Most of the captions were blank, though some posted #TheShowMustBePaused, black heart emojis or encouraged people to vote Tuesday with seven states and the District of Columbia are hosting the largest slate of presidential primary elections in almost three months.

Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Radiohead, Coldplay, Kelly Rowland, Beastie Boys and were among the celebrities to join Black Out Tuesday on social media.

“I won’t be posting on social media and I ask you all to do the same,” Britney Spears tweeted. “We should use the time away from our devices to focus on what we can do to make the world a better place …. for ALL of us !!!!!”

Spotify blacked out the artwork for several of its popular playlists, including RapCaviar and Today’s Top Hits, simply writing “Black lives matter.” as its description. The streaming service also put its Black Lives Matter playlist on its front page, featuring songs like James Brown’s “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,” N.W.A.’s “(Expletive) the Police,” Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.”



A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on Jun 2, 2020 at 3:06am PDT

The opening pages of Apple Music and iTunes focused on supporting Black Lives Matter, and SiriusXM said it will be silencing its music channels for three minutes at 3 p.m. EDT in tribute to “all of the countless victims of racism.”

The company said it “will continue to amplify Black voices by being a space where Black artists showcase their music and talents, and by carrying the message that racism will not be tolerated.”

Some on social media questioned if posting black squares would divert attention away from posts about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“this is the 4th completely different flyer i’ve seen for it,” Grammy-nominated singer Kehlani tweeted about Black Out Tuesday. “”this is the only one without the saying go completely silent for a day in solidarity. the messages are mixed across the board and i really hope it doesn’t have a negative effect.“

When musician Dillon Francis posted that the hashtag for Black Lives Matter was blank on Instagram because users were posting black squares, rapper Lil Nas X responded with: “this is not helping us. bro who the (expletive) thought of this?? ppl need to see what’s going on.”

Emma Watson posted three white squares followed by three black squares with captions reading #blackouttuesday and #amplifyblackvoices on her Instagram account to show her support Tuesday. But she was heavily criticized, and began to trend on Twitter, for adding white borders around her black squares to match the esthetic of her Instagram page. Others called the actress out for speaking out too late about Black Lives Matter and for not including links to guide users on where they can learn more information about the cause or donate to it.

Several music releases and events were postponed as a result of Black Out Tuesday. Interscope Geffen A&M Records said it would not release music this week and pushed back releases from MGK, 6lack, Jessie Ware, Smokepurp and others. Chloe x Halle said its sophomore album will come out June 12 instead of Friday, while the group Glass Animals postponed the Tuesday release of its new single “Heat Waves.” Instead of being released Wednesday, singer Ashnikko will drop her song “Cry” and its video on June 17.

A benefit for the Apollo Theater will take place Thursday instead of Tuesday, and South by Southwest postponed an event planned with Rachael Ray.

“At SXSW we stand with the black community and will continue to amplify the voices and ideas that will lead us to a more equitable society,” the company said.

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Trump sued over executive order targeting social media companies –



President Donald Trump’s order targeting social media companies was challenged in court by a non-profit group that claims the edict violates free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Trump’s order, issued on Thursday, might undermine the legal protections enjoyed by social media companies including Twitter and Facebook. He asked federal regulators to look at provisions, contained in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, that insulate the companies from liability for content posted by users.

The order followed on the heels of Twitter’s decision to add fact-check labels to two of Trump’s tweets. Twitter also restricted a post by the president suggesting that protesters who engaged in looting would be met with violence. Legal observers have said Trump lacks the power to modify Section 230 by executive order.

The Center for Democracy and Technology sued in Washington federal court Tuesday, claiming the order is an unconstitutional retaliation against Twitter and that it seeks to discourage other companies and individuals from disagreeing with the government.

The case is Center for Democracy and Technology v. Trump, 20-cv-01456, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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