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Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown

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DUBAI — Iran was bracing for a renewed wave of protests Thursday, one day after authorities reportedly disrupted mobile internet access across the country.

Iran’s authorities have restricted mobile internet access in several provinces, an Iranian news agency reported on Wednesday, following a trend of social media posts and messages from relatives of those killed in unrest last month calling for more protests and ceremonies to commemorate the dead.

State media, meanwhile, said intelligence ministry agents had seized a cache of 126 mostly U.S.-made guns smuggled to the central city of Isfahan from abroad.

 

 

Dec. 6, 201903:37

The protests were initially sparked in November by hikes in gasoline prices but demonstrators quickly expanded their demands to cover calls for more political freedom and other issues.

The government, which launched the bloodiest crackdown on demonstrators in the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic, blamed foreign enemies for stoking tensions.

An official denied any order by the authorities to block the internet, which was shut down for about a week in the November unrest. A news agency also cited mobile operators saying their services had not been disrupted.

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The semi-official news agency ILNA quoted an informed source at the Communications and Information Technology Ministry as saying mobile internet access to overseas sites was blocked by “security authorities” in Alborz, Kurdestan and Zanjan provinces in central and western Iran and Fars in the south.

“According to this source, it is possible that more provinces will be affected by the shutdown of mobile international connectivity,” Reuters reported the ILNA as saying.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said on Twitter: “Confirmed: Evidence of mobile internet disruption in parts of #Iran …real-time network data show two distinct drops in connectivity this morning amid reports of regional outages; incident ongoing.”

The shutdown appeared to be spreading.

“I just checked myself and asked a friend, and the internet is off on our mobiles,” a resident in Ahvaz, the capital of the oil-producing Khuzestan province, told Reuters.

But a communications ministry spokesman denied there was an order to shut down the internet. “No such order has been issued by the judiciary or other relevant authorities. The Fake News are at work,” Jamal Hadian said in a Twitter post.

Iran’s three mobile operators also denied experiencing any internet disruptions, the YJC news agency reported.

An Iranian woman uses her cellphone on Dec. 23 in the capital Tehran ATTA KENARE / AFP – Getty Images

In Alborz province, one of the areas affected by the shutdown, authorities this week arrested the parents of a young man who was shot dead during the protests, after pressuring them to call off a commemoration for their son scheduled for Thursday, citing concerns it could create unrest.

The weapons seized in Isfahan included assault rifles, handguns and pellet guns, the state news agency IRNA said. “Most of the weapons carry USA badges and are American-made,” it added.

The internet blockage made it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media to generate support and also to obtain reliable reports on the extent of the unrest.

The United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s communications minister last month for his role in “widescale internet censorship,” a reference to the nationwide shutdown.

Iran has blamed “thugs” linked to exiles and foreign foes — the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia — for stirring up unrest through social media.

During the protests, hundreds of banks and public buildings were attacked and damaged.

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JONES: Oilers skip out on end-of-season media interviews after loss – Edmonton Sun

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There was no “garbage bag day.”

The Edmonton Oilers left the bubble faster than Connor McDavid can skate. Most of the them departed Hub City without having to make the walk of shame through the interview room the next day.

That’s the thing about this 24-team behind-closed door tournament. It’s the full meal deal Stanley Cup playoffs if you’re going good. It’s the COVID Cup when you lose, more a sort of a summer tournament for big kids without mini-stick games in the hallways of the hotel. For the losers it almost seems like because there were no fans there so it didn’t really happen.

The players all leave and it’s the fans who are left punched in the gut, bent over and wanting to heave.

If the Edmonton fans had been able to bring their legendary passionate playoff atmosphere that’s is such a contrast to the more studious gatherings of the regular season and the players all had to face them even by zoom via the media ir representatives from the media, would there have been some heat and meat delivered prior to their departures?

There were no fans in the building and no closure for the fans who are the most important part of the world of pro sport as everybody is about to find out when ‘Return To Play’ gets back to being ‘Return To Pay.’

Hope is the No. 1 thing to sell in sports. And where will this leave Edmonton?

When you have the top two producing talents in the league in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, a consistent and a popular supporting star in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the good times should be rolling.

The “McDavid Stanley Cup Window” should be way open now and yet it just got slammed on the fans faces again and this time Edmonton is left with an entire once-in-a-lifetime Stanley Cup hockey tournament going on behind closed doors in town and the players don’t even subject themselves to a good self-administered public grilling, even by zoom, about their failure to find what it takes to knock off a 23rd-ranked team.

There are a lot of players who came up short here.

To this point they’ve been allowed by their own management to escape even playing the garbage bag day take-your-share-of-the-blame game?

“No garbage bag day this season given the circumstances,” responded Oilers’ media relations director Andre Brin to my inquiry Saturday.

“Players started leaving last (Friday) night. Off-season is underway. Probably (G.M. Ken) Holland on Tuesday after the draft lottery.”

The fan was left sitting at home Sunday with a Dallas-St. Louis seeding game to watch from Rogers Place. If the Oilers had defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the final regular season game before the 142-day coronavirus pause, that would have been Edmonton playing in that game with the winner playing the Calgary Flames.

Remember the one exhibition game coming out of training camp? The Oilers were worthy and would have been a force to contend with in the first Battle of Alberta playoff series?

What happened to that team? Where did it go? Why did it disappear?

How does Zack Kassian explain his empty effort?

There’s a long list of Oilers who were missing in action in their four-and-out now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t, no-guts-no-glory failure to pay the price to continue to play.

Why should COVID-19 work like the witness protection program for these guys? Nowhere does it say names should not be named and they all should simply become as invisible as they were in action.

It’s like the Oilers organization wanted them to exit stage left as fast as possible so they would be around to display their local laundry and soil the scene of the rave review production that continues on without them.
Oilers fans don’t even know why Adam Larsson was “unfit to play” in Games 3 & 4. Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning and Kris Russell are four defencemen who should be having a tough time looking in a mirror after the mistakes they made in that series. Ethan Bear was a wonderful story all year and looks like he’s going to be a special player going forward. But he got an education.

Kailer Yamamoto was great from Dec. 31 to March 12 but he was overwhelmed in the playoffs.

Kassian was 0-0-0 and minus-4.

Other “zeros” were Riley Sheahan, Jujhar Kaihra, Andreas Athanasiou, Yamamoto, Kris Russell, Bear and Larsson as well as Caleb Jones in their two games each.

All year coach Dave Tippett talked about having two goalies. Neither Mikko Koskinen nor Mike Smith was good enough. The Oilers can’t bring them both back.

James Neal doesn’t make much sense either.

Edmonton has left their fans on the outside looking in on a team that didn’t come together to deliver an effort worthy of continuing on in the great television show from Rogers Place. If there was ever a time for a face-the-music garbage bag day this was it.

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Media Beat: August 10, 2020 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News

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The latest from Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman

A lot has happened since I began my self-imposed exile last month.  

   – Most fun of all was the Congressional puppet show in which some of the world’s most wealthy bullshit artists tested their bullshitting skills against some the world’s most pompous bullshit artists. Everyone lost.

   – Facebook beat the ad industry in the July “ad boycott” war by a score of 100 to 0. This means we’ll get token changes at the social network and another disreputable election.

  – From Wired this week: “If you really want to follow the money behind online hate and disinformation, you have to understand programmatic display advertising.” Bingo!

   – The ad industry has felt pretty comfortable ignoring the feckless GDPR and CCPA. But now that Apple and Google are taking steps to do something about the scourge of third party tracking, the industry is getting nervous. At the instigation of the ANA, they have created an association that includes major advertisers and trade associations (excluding Apple and Google.) It is pompously called the “Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media.” It should be called the “Conspiracy for Sanitized Surveillance.”

Stu Jeffries: Mornings on Boom 97.3

You definitely remember Stu Jeffries from Good Rockin’ Tonight if you watched CBC between 1985-1993. His radio path is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. At one point he was told he was no longer wanted but just fill in until we find someone. Turns out he was the person after all. He hosts mornings on Boom 97.3 in Toronto and you can hear his enthusiasm for radio which started way back in Winnipeg in the 70’s listening to stations like CFRW. – Matt Cundill, SoundOff Media Co.

BCE reports Q2 results

BCE operating revenue was $5,354 million, down 9.1% compared to Q2 2019, due to reduced consumer and commercial activity as COVID-19 negatively impacted financial results across all Bell operating segments. This was comprised of 7.5% lower service revenue of $4,800 million and 20.7% lower product revenue of $554 million.

  Total media operating revenue decreased by 31.2% to $579 million due to lower year-over-year advertising and subscriber revenues.

  Advertising revenue declined materially on reduced advertiser spending across all platforms – TV, radio, out of home and digital, due to the impact of COVID-19 on commercial activity, the suspension of major league sports schedules and the cancellation of other live events. – BCE earnings report

Canadian Assoc. of Journalists corrects Global layoff numbers

In a news release, With Global layoffs, Canadians losing out on vital journalism during Covid 19, issued 23-Jul-2020 by Canadian Association of Journalists over PR Newswire, “we are advised by the company that several changes were made. Furthermore, the original version of this press release stated that Global had laid off 70 journalists from across its operations. Global claims that number is incorrect but declined to say how many people were laid off. The complete, corrected release follows … – Canada News Wire

CAB seeks new president

At a time when it’s looking to revitalize its organization in the face of many challenges facing broadcasters, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) is looking for a new president to be a strong voice in Ottawa and a tireless advocate for the country’s broadcasting industry. The CAB’s de facto president Sylvie Bissonnette (officially the association’s CFO and vice-president of finance and administration) is retiring in November. The job ad for the new president’s position is posted here on Cartt.ca. Bilingualism is a mandatory requirement for this national role. Executive search firm Boyden is assisting the CAB … CARTT (subscription needed)

An MPE player webinar for Canadian radio

In this webinar Play MPE consultant Stephanie Friedman covers the Player’s main functionalities, new additions and shares tips for best practices.

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Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett explain how they came to buy Torstar and what they hope to do next

“Our goal is to change the conversation. Give journalists the tools to do the job. It can’t be fun coming in there every day wondering, is this the day they shut off the lights? Who’s being fired today? It’s about giving support and a vision for where we’re going, which I think has been lacking,’’ Bitove says. – Rosie DiManno, The Star

This moon landing news report is a fake

The MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality created the false Nixon video using an A.I. app that combines real footage with an actor’s reading of an unused speech that was actually prepared in case tragedy struck. The video, titled In the Event of Moon Disaster, was cooked up last year, but the MIT team put it online this week to mark the 51st anniversary of the July 20, 1969 moon landing.

The MIT team says it’s meant to serve as a warning of the coming wave of impressively realistic deepfake false videos about to hit us that use A.I. to convincingly reproduce the appearance and sound of real people (you may remember this deepfake of former President Obama from a few years ago). –– Aaron Pressman, Fortune Data Sheet

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Joey Zhang’s phone number links her to the fake rally in support of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested under security law – Powell River Peak

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Hong Kong authorities broadened their enforcement of a new national security law on Monday, arresting media tycoon Jimmy Lai, searching the headquarters of his Next Digital group and carting away boxes of what they said was evidence.

Two days after Chinese and Hong Kong officials shrugged off sanctions imposed on them by the U.S., the moves showed China’s determination to enforce the new law and curb dissent in the semi-autonomous city after months of massive pro-democracy demonstrations last year.

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The police action marked the first time the law was used against news media, stoking fears that authorities are suppressing press freedom. Next Digital operates Apple Daily, a feisty pro-democracy tabloid that often condemns China’s Communist Party government. Last year, the newspaper frequently urged readers to take part in the anti-government protests.

Hong Kong police arrested Lai on Monday morning, an aide to the businessman said, in the highest-profile detention under the new law since it took effect in late June. Lai, 71, is an outspoken pro-democracy figure who regularly criticizes China’s authoritarian rule and Hong Kong’s government.

Mark Simon, a Next Digital executive and Lai’s aide, said Lai was charged with collusion with foreign powers. He said police searched the homes of Lai and his son and detained several other members of the media company.

Hong Kong police said they arrested at least nine people between the ages of 23 and 72 on suspicion of violating the new security law, with offences including collusion with a foreign country and conspiracy to defraud. They did not release the names of those arrested or provide further details of the charges.

Following Lai’s arrest, about 200 police raided Next Digital’s headquarters, cordoning off the area, searching desks and at times getting into heated exchanges with staff. What police were looking for in the building wasn’t clear, although they later said they took away 25 boxes of evidence for processing.

Lai, who was arrested at his mansion in Kowloon in the morning, was also brought to the headquarters of Next Digital, where he remained for about two and a half hours before police took him away in a car.

“We are completely shocked by what’s happening now, with the arrest and followed by the ongoing raid inside the headquarters of Next Digital,” said Chris Yeung, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

“With the passage of the national security law and the really tough powers given to the police in their operations, we have seen now what we call ‘white terror’ become a reality, which will affect media organizations and journalists’ reporting.”

Police unblocked Next Digital’s headquarters at mid-afternoon, with senior superintendent of police Steve Li saying that staff were free to resume their work.

The share price of Next Digital soared over 200% in the afternoon, following posts on a popular online forum encouraging investors to support the company by buying its stock.

The reason for the charge against Lai wasn’t clear.

In May, shortly after Beijing announced its intention to pass the national security law for Hong Kong, Lai condemned the legislation in a series of tweets. The state-owned newspaper Global Times called the tweets “evidence of subversion.”

Lai also wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in May stating that China was repressing Hong Kong with the legislation.

“I have always thought I might one day be sent to jail for my publications or for my calls for democracy in Hong Kong,” Lai wrote. “But for a few tweets, and because they are said to threaten the national security of mighty China? That’s a new one, even for me.”

Lai was earlier arrested in February and April for allegedly participating in unauthorized protests last year. He also faces charges of joining an unauthorized vigil on June 4 marking the anniversary of Beijing’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Last year, Lai met U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the White House to discuss a controversial bill — since withdrawn — that would have allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial.

But Hong Kong officials have said the security law, which took effect June 30, would not be applied retroactively. The law is widely seen as a means to curb dissent after anti-government protests rocked the semi-autonomous city for months last year.

The legislation outlaws secessionist, subversive and terrorist acts, as well as collusion with foreign forces in the city’s internal affairs. The maximum punishment for serious offenders is life imprisonment.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council condemned the arrests in a statement, saying they were a tool for the Chinese Communist Party’s “political cleansing and hegemonic expansion.” It said the law is being abused to suppress freedom of speech, press freedom and the civil rights of Hong Kong people.

Last month, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said pro-democracy activist Nathan Law and five others were wanted under the law, although all six had fled overseas. Law relocated to Britain in July to continue international advocacy work for Hong Kong.

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