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Chinese state media accused US Secretary of State of lying

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Chinese state media has accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of lying, after he said there was “enormous evidence” the coronavirus emanated from a laboratory in Wuhan.

Mr Pompeo made the claim on Sunday, without going into specifics.

In an editorial on Tuesday, the hawkish Global Times newspaper said Mr Pompeo was “degenerate”.

The World Health Organization says the US claims are “speculative”, and that it has seen no “specific evidence”.

What did Chinese media say?

Editorials in Chinese state media often given an insight into the direction of government thinking, but there has been no official response to Mr Pompeo’s comments as yet.

On Monday, the Global Times accused Mr Pompeo of “absurd theories and twisted facts”, and on Tuesday the attack continued.

“Pompeo aims to kill two birds with one stone by spewing falsehoods,” it said.

“First, he hopes to help Trump win re-election this November…second, Pompeo hates socialist China and, in particular, cannot accept China’s rise.”

 

The editorial admitted there were “initial problems” in China’s response to the outbreak, but claimed “the overall performance is bright enough to outweigh the flaws”.

It also said it was “conceivable that the virus first contacted humans in other places [than Wuhan]”.

The Global Times is not the only Chinese outlet to take aim at Mr Pompeo and the US.

The People’s Daily said Mr Pompeo had “no evidence”, while a piece on the CCTV site accused US politicians of “nefarious plotting”.

What did Mike Pompeo say?

In an interview with ABC on Sunday, Mr Pompeo said there was “enormous evidence” that the virus had emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running sub-standard laboratories,” he said.

Mr Pompeo – a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – said he did not think the virus was man-made or genetically modified.

The Wuhan laboratory is known to study coronaviruses in bats. In April, President Trump was asked whether “lax safety protocols” allowed such a virus to escape via an intern and her boyfriend.

Mr Trump did not confirm the theory, but said: “More and more we’re hearing the story.”

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Last week, he was asked if he had seen evidence that gave him a “high degree of confidence” that the virus emerged in the Wuhan laboratory.

“Yes I have,” he replied – but said he could not go into specifics.

Last month, the Washington Post reported that US officials visited the laboratory in January 2018, and reported back their safety concerns.

What do the experts say?

On Monday, World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan said it had received “no data or specific evidence” from the US about the virus origins.

“So from our perspective, this remains speculative,” he said.

Last week, the US intelligence community said it “concurred” that the virus “was not man-made or genetically modified”.

But it said it would “continue to examine” whether the outbreak began via “contract with infected animals, or if it was the result of an an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan”.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday that the most likely source of the virus was a wildlife market. However he said he would not rule out the theory that it originated in a lab.

“What’s really important is that we have a proper review, an independent review which looks into the sources of these things in a transparent way so we can learn the lessons,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Western “intelligence sources” have told several news outlets there is “no evidence” to suggest the virus leaked from a laboratory.

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Creators of 6ixBuzz possibly doxed via social media – insauga.com

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The enigmatic and polarizing figures behind 6ixBuzzTV, a controversial social media presence known for inciting vitriol, may have been outed and doxed—when someone releases a person’s personal information including their address.

Doxing has become an insidious part of Internet Culture—it’s often used as a weapon to incite fear and potentially violence by people hiding behind a computer screen and keyboard.

While it’s unclear whether the information is accurate, or who released it, people have been sharing a screenshot of a snapchat image that displays the names and addresses of the people behind 6ixBuzz, who have otherwise remained anonymous since their rise to prominence over the last few years.

According to the oft-shared image, two of the people behind the page are from Toronto, one is from Markham, and one is from Brampton—although all of this is still unverified.

6ixBuzz is known for sharing wild, embarrassing, and uncouth images and videos of people from around the GTA as much as it shares music and promotes artists.

It’s also known for inciting divineness through the content and captions that it shares.

Further, largely due to the fact it’s an unregulated account, many creatives have found their content stolen and repurposed by 6ixBuzz’s account, oftentimes without even an acknowledgement that it came from someone else.

The page, which started as a meme sharing platform in 2010, evolved into a major part of Toronto and the GTA’s media scene—albeit mainly among the younger generations, and mostly for the wrong reasons.

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Town of Outlook passes social media policy for employees, council – The Outlook

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The Town of Outlook recently passed a social media policy for its employees, as well as those on the local council.

The objective of the policy, which is titled ‘Social Media Practices’ is “To provide clear direction to employees and council on the Town’s standards to be observed when using social media.”

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What follows are highlights of the policy, which was provided to The Outlook by the Town:

The Social Media Practices policy is implemented to establish the roles and appropriate forms of communications to the public for all employees and council of the Town of Outlook, both professionally and personally.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Town employees and council on the following social media and networking platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, Youtube, forums, message boards, blogs, and the Town’s official website.

POLICY

1. Administration staff and selected department heads may be granted access to the Town’s social media platforms as determined by the CAO.

2. Council will not be granted authority to the administration permissions of the Town’s social media platforms, however will be able to view, share, and engage on posts from the Town.

PROCEDURE

1. All posts, comments, message initiations or replies on behalf of the Town must be communicated from the Town of Outlook’s account, not an employee’s personal account.

2. Direct messages to individuals or businesses via messenger and chat platforms must be signed with the first name of the employee who sent the message.

3. Direct messages on behalf of the Town should only be made by approved personnel and during regular working hours, except in the case of an urgent notification or request.

4. Memorandums, public notices, and social media campaigns must be approved by the CAO prior to being posted.

5. Posts, messages, comments, and any other communications containing profane, derogatory, or defamatory language will be hidden or deleted from the Town’s public social media platforms; users who initiate these forms of communications may be banned from Town pages.

EMPLOYEE GUIDELINES

Employees are welcome to engage in personal social media activities outside of working hours, however when engaging in conversations regarding the Town, we expect employees to observe the following guidelines:

• Be respectful and polite

• Avoid speaking on matters outside of your field of expertise

• Exercise caution when answering questions or making statements

• Follow the Town’s confidentiality policy

• Be mindful of copywrite, trademarks, plagiarism, and fair use standards

• Refrain from using profane, derogatory, or defamatory language

• Ensure others know that their personal statements do not represent the Town

• Advise your immediate supervisor when you come across any misleading or false information

Employees who disregard their job duties, disclose confidential information, or engage in offensive behaviour on personal or professional social media accounts may face disciplinary action as per the Town’s Progressive Discipline Policy.

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Facebook and Twitter shares fall as Trump targets social media – CNN

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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
What’s happening: Trump is set to announce an executive order targeting social media companies on Thursday, though it’s not clear what exactly the order will include. The action comes after Twitter applied a fact-check to two of Trump’s tweets, including one that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud.
Trump then accused the social media company of censorship, warning that if it continued to tag his messages, he would use the power of the federal government to rein it in or even shut it down.
Twitter (TWTR) shares closed down 2.8% and are off another 3% in premarket trading. Facebook (FB) shares dropped 1.3% Wednesday and are down another 1.5% in premarket trading Thursday.
Legal experts say Trump’s options for cracking down on Twitter and other sites over how they moderate their platforms are somewhat limited, my CNN Business colleague Brian Fung reports.
The most obvious course of action would be for Trump to seek changes to the Communications Decency Act, which shields tech platforms from legal liability for a wide range of online content.
There has been an ongoing push, led by the Justice Department and Republicans in Congress, to do just that. But changing the law would require building broad consensus in a deadlocked Congress. The Trump administration could not go it alone, according to Brian.
Trump could pressure federal agencies to take action against social media companies. But the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission have previously resisted efforts by the White House to regulate political speech.
Investor insight: The president’s clash with tech companies comes at a delicate moment. Unlike most American firms, these companies — which are used to working remotely and do not rely on physical locations for sales — have performed strongly throughout the pandemic and have helped to drive the stock market recovery.
Shares of Google’s Alphabet (GOOG), which owns YouTube, are up 6% this year, while the broader S&P 500 is down 6%. Facebook’s stock has risen more than 11% year-to-date.

China approves controversial Hong Kong national security law

China’s legislature has approved a proposal to impose a highly contentious national security law in Hong Kong, throwing the semi-autonomous city’s future as a major financial center into doubt.
China approves controversial national security law for Hong Kong
The latest: China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, passed the resolution Thursday to enact the sweeping security legislation, which bans sedition, secession and subversion of the central government and allows mainland China’s state security agencies to operate in Hong Kong.
The law has sparked widespread protests in Hong Kong and has been denounced internationally, with opponents warning it could curtail many of the rights and freedoms promised to the city when it was handed from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
It also could threaten a tenuous trade truce between Washington and Beijing. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States would no longer consider Hong Kong as autonomous from China for trade and economic purposes.
What it means: “We do not currently expect these developments to directly threaten the Phase One trade deal though pressures are rising,” Eurasia Group analysts said in a note to clients Wednesday. “Tensions over Hong Kong are part of the geopolitical rivalry that has contributed to the recent downturn in the US-China relationship, and introduction of this national security law came more quickly than we expected.”
Market reaction: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has dropped more than 5% in the past week. Elsewhere, investors have shrugged off the risks, pushing stocks higher.

More stimulus

Europe and Japan are taking big steps to ensure their economies can recover as they begin the gradual process of ending lockdowns.
More stimulus: The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a plan that would see it raise €750 billion ($825 billion) on financial markets through its 2021-27 budget. Two-thirds of the money would be distributed to countries via grants, while the remainder would be offered as loans.
And Japan is injecting another $1 trillion into its economy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Wednesday approved additional relief, doubling the amount previously committed in April.
Europe’s plan still needs to be approved by the 27 EU member states, with the aid unlikely to arrive before 2021. But the moves are a sign that countries aren’t shying away from unprecedented help at a moment of dire need. That’s helping support investor sentiment as restrictions on movement ease.
“The sweet spot for a risk-on rotation is now, as economies reopen and more fiscal programs are implemented,” Evercore ISI’s Dennis DeBusschere told clients.
The number of initial US unemployment claims filed last week arrives at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expect another 2.1 million.
Also today: US durable goods orders for April and the second estimate of US GDP for the first quarter also post at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Coming tomorrow: US personal income and spending data, along with the latest reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey, will shine a light on consumer behavior at a crucial juncture.

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