TORONTO, May 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Wearing their hearts on their sleeves and a smile on their faces, Canadians helped Rogers Sports & Media celebrate International Nurses Day earlier this week by helping surpass $1 million raised in support of the country’s frontline healthcare community through the Hearts and Smiles campaign.
Limited-edition Hearts and Smiles t-shirts and masks have been purchased by Canadians in record numbers, with proceeds going to The Frontline Fund. The four-day promotional blitz this week leveraged the company’s sports and media outlets – and its partners, athletes, and celebrity friends – to raise awareness and funds for Canada’s healthcare heroes, as they continue to keep our communities safe in the fight against COVID-19.
“I am inspired by our frontline healthcare professionals and their tremendous dedication to the safety and wellbeing of Canadians,” said Joe Natale, President & CEO, Rogers Communications. “We are blown away by the response to this initiative, and I am incredibly proud of our team’s commitment to giving back to the communities where we live and work.”
“I really believe we live in the greatest country in the world, because in times of need Canadians always rally together for the greater good,” said Jordan Banks, President, Rogers Sports & Media. “I am humbled by the courage and commitment of our frontline healthcare workers and proud of our team for joining Canadians in recognizing and celebrating this group of deserving heroes. A million thanks, Canada!”
Proceeds from Hearts and Smiles are going directly to The Frontline Fund, a national coalition that supports more than 150 hospital foundations across Canada. These funds will help provide frontline healthcare workers with personal protective equipment, supplies, and support COVID-19 basic research, clinical trials, and vaccine development.
“This is truly incredible and we are heartened by the response from Canadians this week,” said Ted Garrard, CEO, SickKids Foundation and a member of the steering committee for The Frontline Fund. “On behalf of the more than 150 participating hospital foundations from coast to coast, who support hundreds of thousands of health care providers, our sincere thanks for your generosity. Thank you for having our backs!”
Canadians can continue to lend their support for our fearless healthcare workers by purchasing Hearts and Smiles t-shirts and masks at HeartsandSmiles.ca.
About Rogers Sports & Media
Rogers Sports & Media is a diverse sports and content company that engages more than 30 million Canadians each week. The company’s multimedia offerings include 56 radio stations, 29 local TV stations, 23 conventional and specialty television stations, podcasts, digital and e-commerce websites, and sporting events. Rogers Sports & Media delivers unique storytelling through its range of powerful brands: Citytv, OMNI Television, FX, TSC, KiSS, Breakfast Television, Cityline, CityNews, Sportsnet – Canada’s #1 sports network, and the Blue Jays – Canada’s only Major League Baseball team. Rogers Sports & Media is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX, NYSE: RCI). Visit RogersSportsandMedia.com.
Andrea Goldstein, Andrea.Goldstein@rci.rogers.com, (m) 647.801.4394
How the spread of COVID-19 was censored on Chinese social media – Varsity
Social media plays an integral role in the People’s Republic of China. WeChat, for example, is the most popular messaging app in China with over one billion active users. It has become increasingly popular among doctors, who use it to share knowledge with their peers.
Nonetheless, when doctors voiced their concerns about the spread of COVID-19 back in December 2019, information on the spread of the outbreak was censored on Chinese social media. The Chinese public was kept in the dark for three weeks until January 21, when People’s Daily, China’s national newspaper, mentioned the COVID-19 outbreak the same day that China’s president, Xi Jinping, publicly acknowledged that it was a problem.
The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. In the past, its reports have uncovered digital security and human rights violations, including a co-investigation with Whatsapp into spyware targeting journalists.
Researchers from the Citizen Lab investigated COVID-19 censorship on Chinese social media — where some of the first reported cases of information control occurred during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Key findings: 516 WeChat keyword combinations censored
Reports of Chinese government suppression of COVID-19 information emerged early into the Wuhan outbreak. The Citizen Lab report released on March 3 investigates how this censorship occurred on two social media platforms: the messaging service application WeChat and the live-streaming platform YY.
The report found that as early as December 31, 2019, the day after Dr. Li Wenliang and colleagues reported the outbreak in WeChat groups, YY began censoring 45 keywords that referenced COVID-19. These included terms pertaining to factual description of COVID-19 as well as references to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, the location considered as the source of the novel coronavirus.
For WeChat, researchers found that the scope of censorship increased in the period from January 1 to February 15, in which 516 keyword combinations were censored. Censored WeChat content covered a wide range of topics, including references to the top leaders in China responsible for handling the outbreak, along with any mentions of government policies in regard to handling the outbreak.
The scope of the censorship also extended to blocking references to COVID-19 in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau; factual information about COVID-19; references to Dr. Li Wenliang; calls for petition; and related speculative information.
While some blocked keyword combinations included critical content regarding government policies or top leaders’ handling of the outbreak, the Citizen Lab reported that combinations of neutral terms, such as “肺炎 [+] 李克强 [+] 武汉 [+] 总理 [+] 北京,” which translates to “Pneumonia + [Chinese Premier] Li Keqiang + Wuhan + Premier + Beijing,” were also blocked from use on the site.
Methodology and consequences
The Varsity contacted the researchers about the evidence used to arrive at the conclusion of censorship.
“We used reverse-engineering and sample testing to track censorship on WeChat and YY,” Lotus Ruan, one of the researchers, wrote. “As such, we were able to observe what keywords triggered censorship on each platform. We then performed content analysis on these keywords to contextual [sic] our findings.”
Such censorship is damaging, given that WeChat is integral to many people’s lives in China. Having readily available information enables clinicians to optimize the treatment of their patients, and it allows epidemiologists to offer real-time guidance on how to contain the outbreak, including allowing for their assessments of various interventions.
“The broad censorship may restrict vital communication related to disease information and prevention among users and end up harming public health,” Ruan wrote.
For example, while scientific literature demonstrated human-to-human transmission, local authorities failed to promptly inform the public. As a result, more than five million people left Wuhan for Chinese New Year or other reasons, spreading the novel coronavirus both within Wuhan and internationally.
WeChat and YY did not respond to The Varsity’s requests for comment.
Unsatisfactory end to a great story
There is nothing quite as disappointing as an unsatisfactory end to a great story. This can be seen in pop culture, such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones, but it is also relevant biblically. Of the many verses and stories within the The Holy Bible, there are a few that have endings that, given the opportunity, people would change. One of these stories is Revelation 21: 5.
The story has a strong and engaging beginning, but it falters near the end. The second verse in this story even says, “ I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” It is expected that this story would have more anticipation; there should have been more exploration and excitement in the Holy City. The story essentially says that those who are corrupt, make mortal sins, or don’t believe in God will not be accepted into heaven. The important verses in this story, however, are “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” These help verses help progress God’s purpose and his creation of Earth, but it is irrelevant to the story of heaven. These verses also leave the idea of what God was creating unresolved. What exactly is ‘everything’ the man on the throne was referring to? And was that same man God? It can be presumed that he is, yet there is no solid proof.
This story could be improved by discussing what all it takes to enter heaven. It could also be improved by providing more details. Those with no background information on God’s creations will be confused by this story. How many of each animal does he create? On which day does he create them? There should be more detail, and also more enthusiasm. The creation of the world is no small feat. It should be treated with exuberance.
This story is captivating, yes, but it lacks a solid, concrete ending. It should be a bit longer. These verses don’t help the audience determine the purpose of the man on the throne, nor why he is ‘making everything new.’ It’s an interesting story, but it just needs more depth. A few added details could make this the most engaging story told in the bible. Less isn’t always more, especially in the case of Revelation 21.
The World Needs More Kindness
The state of the world is in shambles. People are constantly having disagreements, and hurting each other in the process. No one can seem to agree on anything. Because of this, pain thrives within the world. Though good things happen every day, so do bad things. Usually, the bad things account for more than the good. So how did the world come to be like this?
Life used to be much simpler. People were kind to one another because they didn’t have any reason not to be. The world today is bitter. People fight and bicker every single day. The world has become a place of suffering by refusing acceptance. Hundreds of years ago life was easier because everyone had the same opinions. Those who did disagree seldom spoke up because of their class ranking. Freedom of speech was not yet prevalent, so people helped their tongues and only talked to those they respected. There was no reason to fight because everyone was living the same life. Thankfully, the times changed and more people are allowed rights. What didn’t translate into modern society today, however, was how kindness is regarded– that I learned from the Bible.
In Proverbs 21:21, the Bible literally says, “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”The world is broken because few people are following the path of kindness. Differences aside, empathy and respect should be valued above all else. The different opinions between people are irrelevant; what matters is the attitude they exhibit toward one another. Finding kindness is no easy feat. Instead of looking for it, the world needs to practice kindness. By doing so, they will live honorable and happy lives.
Catastrophes have occurred all over the world– especially this year. The fires in Australia were traumatic, the death of acclaimed basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter was tragic, and the spread of the Coronavirus has put the whole world in a slump. The way through these times is to treat one another with a smile and friendly words. Disagreements do not have to translate to times of tragedy. The verse Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great.” No matter the situation in the world, loving everyone is inherent to achieving the same cohesion within the country from many years ago. Opinions don’t have to be the same, but attitude and behavior do. With a little kindness, the world could go a long way.
Published By Harry Miller
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