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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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Pitt Meadows city council uses new social media use guidelines to speak out against divisive online activity – Maple Ridge News

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The City of Pitt Meadows staff put forward a new report to council during their online meeting Tuesday (June 2) outlining a new social media use policy.

Director of corporate services, Stephanie St. Jean, who presented the report, said staff made a revision to the policy to make it more concise and provide it with a ‘more positive tone.’

“What remains is a straightforward framework intended to guide council’s use of social media,” she said.

Council used the discussion of the report to point out how difficult it can be to sit as an elected official in the age of digital harassment, and pointed out how important it was to rise above the fray with their own use of the various platforms in order to set an example.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows council’s social media policy blasted

Councillor Anena Simpson pointed out the majority of her interactions with the public online have been perfectly pleasant.

“Ninety-nine per cent of our community plays fair and they fight fair, even when there’s challenges,” she said.

“There’s of course always a very small number who don’t,” she added. “Who are aggressive and intentionally want to harm others and this is a real shame and the costs are very, very high for this as it affects those who want to be involved in our civic engagement.”

Coun. Bob Meachen agreed with his colleague and pointed out some of the hurdles he has had to face as a first time councillor.

“I took on the role of councillor to help my community… and I expected to become recipient of some criticism and that’s all fair.

“I welcome the feedback of this community and even criticism that perhaps goes against something I’ve agreed to…but what I don’t appreciate are some of the inflammatory and misleading statements that are aimed at – frankly – hurting me personally.”

Meachen said he tries to comport himself online as he does in person and expressed hope the new policy would encourage his colleagues and their critics to take the higher road.

“We’re only here to manage what we can manage on a personal level and I think that this new policy certainly helps us get there, and makes it clear as to what the policy of this council is.”

READ MORE: Spouses not in Pitt Meadows social media policy

Coun. Nicole MacDonald went into the dual nature of social media.

“It really is a double-edged sword,” she said.

“So much good is done through social media these days… it’s such an effective means of communication for us to inform the community what’s going on.”

“However it can also be a tool of toxicity, negativity, bullying, misinformation, lies and defamation.

She shared some of the negative experiences she has had to deal with since running for election in 2018.

Her character, integrity, and business and family have all been attacked, she said.

“I’ve received anonymous and threatening emails, I’ve had lies spread by a handful of people on public social media sites, and [I’ve had] my character maligned with lies and name-calling on an anonymous website.

“But I have not once engaged back and I believe this is important to share with the public.

“I signed up for this, and like I have in previous roles in my life, I have a thick skin.”

MacDonald said she is more worried about future prospective councillors being turned off the role.

“I don’t want it to deter others to from running and being a part of local government and standing up.”

To close the discussion, Mayor Dingwall weighed in on the matter.

“It is OK to provide critical and fair comments and to voice complete disagreement to a decision or a position, but in the age of social media it is easy to cross way over the line from critical and fair comment to bullying, harassment and defamation.

“Unfortunately a very small handful continue to be mean-spirited and spiteful with a relentless onslaught of negative or inaccurate misinformation that appears intent on hurting myself or my reputation, my colleagues or the good work this council is doing.”

Dingwall said he has blocked some individuals from his personal social media accounts.

“I’m choosing not to invest precious and positive energy worrying what they think of me or their negativity.

“I’m investing my energy where it needs to be as the mayor of this wonderful city. There is much more for this council to accomplish and I know our focus is on the community and leaving it in a better position for generations to come.”



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

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LA Galaxy to meet with Katai after wife's social media posts – TSN

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LOS ANGELES — The LA Galaxy will meet with new Serbian winger Aleksandar Katai on Thursday to discuss a series of alarming social media posts by his wife.

Tea Katai made the since-deleted posts on her Instagram story this week, the Galaxy confirmed Wednesday night in a statement that called the posts “racist and violent.”

The team says its meeting with Katai will “determine next steps.”

Tea Katai’s posts included a profane call, written in Serbian, to “kill” protesters. Another called protesters “disgusting cattle,” also in Serbian.

The 29-year-old Katai joined the Galaxy in December after spending his first two MLS seasons with the Chicago Fire. He has made nine appearances for Serbia’s national team, including three last year in Euro 2020 qualifying matches.

“The LA Galaxy strongly condemned the social posts and requested their immediate removal,” the statement continued. “The LA Galaxy stands firmly against racism of any kind, including that which suggests violence or seeks to demean the efforts of those in pursuit of racial equality. The LA Galaxy stand with communities of colour, and especially the Black community, in the protests and fight against systemic racism, social inequality, bigotry and violence.”

Katai signed with the Galaxy as a free agent on Dec. 31. He scored 18 goals in 62 appearances over the previous two seasons for the Fire, who acquired him from Alavés in Spain’s La Liga.

Katai got off to an impressive start to his MLS career with 12 league goals in his debut season for the Fire, but his production slumped last year, leading Chicago to decline its team option for 2020.

He spent the first eight years of his pro career in Europe, including 69 games with Serbian powerhouse Red Star Belgrade.

Katai started the first two games of the current MLS season for the Galaxy, who expected him to become a key part of their attack alongside Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Cristian Pavón.

MLS play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but several Galaxy players returned to the club’s training complex two weeks ago to begin individual workouts and rehabilitation.

MLS and its players’ union agreed to a six-year labour contract on Wednesday. The teams are expected to return to competition with a five-week tournament in Florida this summer.

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LA Galaxy to meet with Katai after wife’s racist social media posts – Sportsnet.ca

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LOS ANGELES — The LA Galaxy will meet with new Serbian winger Aleksandar Katai on Thursday to discuss a series of alarming social media posts by his wife.

Tea Katai made the since-deleted posts on her Instagram story this week, the Galaxy confirmed Wednesday night in a statement that called the posts “racist and violent.”

The team says its meeting with Katai will “determine next steps.”

Tea Katai’s posts included a profane call, written in Serbian, to “kill” protesters. Another called protesters “disgusting cattle,” also in Serbian.

The 29-year-old Katai joined the Galaxy in December after spending his first two MLS seasons with the Chicago Fire. He has made nine appearances for Serbia’s national team, including three last year in Euro 2020 qualifying matches.

“The LA Galaxy strongly condemned the social posts and requested their immediate removal,” the statement continued. “The LA Galaxy stands firmly against racism of any kind, including that which suggests violence or seeks to demean the efforts of those in pursuit of racial equality. The LA Galaxy stand with communities of colour, and especially the Black community, in the protests and fight against systemic racism, social inequality, bigotry and violence.”

Katai signed with the Galaxy as a free agent on Dec. 31. He scored 18 goals in 62 appearances over the previous two seasons for the Fire, who acquired him from Alaves in Spain’s La Liga.

Katai got off to an impressive start to his MLS career with 12 league goals in his debut season for the Fire, but his production slumped last year, leading Chicago to decline its team option for 2020.

He spent the first eight years of his pro career in Europe, including 69 games with Serbian powerhouse Red Star Belgrade.

Katai started the first two games of the current MLS season for the Galaxy, who expected him to become a key part of their attack alongside Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Cristian Pavon.

MLS play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but several Galaxy players returned to the club’s training complex two weeks ago to begin individual workouts and rehabilitation.

MLS and its players’ union agreed to a six-year labour contract on Wednesday. The teams are expected to return to competition with a five-week tournament in Florida this summer.

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