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Prosecutors search office of Japan MP in connection with bribery probe – media – Ottawa Citizen



TOKYO — Japanese prosecutors on Wednesday searched the office of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Tataki Shirasuka as part of a bribery investigation that saw another politician arrested earlier in the day, media said.

Tokyo prosecutors searched Shirasuka’s local office in Chiba Prefecture east of the capital, in connection with the probe of fellow LDP lower house lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto, who was arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes from a company interested in setting up a casino in Japan, public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo news said.

Prosecutors did not respond to a request for comment. Officials at Shirasuka’s offices in Tokyo and Chiba could not immediately be reached. (Reporting by Junko Fujita Writing by William Mallard; Editing by David Dolan)

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More Media Coverage Drives Improved Stock Performance, Researchers Find – Forbes



In turns out that stocks that attract consistent headlines offer better returns to investors of around 2.6% a year over past decades according to research.

Two researchers have published a paper on this topic of the ‘Value of Visibility’, they are Alexander Hillert of Frankfurt University and Michael Ungeheuer of Aalto University. They analyzed stock performance based on New York Times

coverage from 1924-2013 along with other relevant datasets.

They find that stocks that attract news coverage can see other benefits too. Such stocks can see higher growth in sales and profitability, as well as improvements in corporate governance.

It also appears that CEOs who perform poorly at companies with high media exposure are more likely to lose their jobs. This may not be good for them, but is considered to be good for the stock price. This may be one way in which more media coverage drives stock performance.

Types Of Coverage

The media coverage that can help drive stock performance does not need to be positive. Even stocks that receive negative media coverage generally see more positive stock price performance than those stocks that see less media attention.

There is significant variation in which firms see New York Times coverage, about 30% to 60% of firms receive some coverage annually. The rate of coverage has actually declined over time as the New York Times has shifted focus away from covering company’s financial reports to a great focus on other news events.

Controlling For Factors

Of course, it’s important to be careful when examining media coverage because it can correlate with other factors. For example, larger companies generally receive more media coverage. So maybe company size is the real driver of this effect, not media coverage. However, the researchers control for this, and do find that media coverage does appear to be a driver of returns, even after other factors are controlled for.


A secondary question is why increased media coverage should lead to improved stock price performance.

The researchers suggest two main effects here, building on prior research by Philip Tetlock. There may be two ways in which greater media coverage help firms. The first is essentially free advertising. More media coverage can drive demand for company’s products and services. They find support for this view. So the greater media coverage may help improve sales and profits.

Secondly, media coverage can improve governance. It’s likely harder for a company to commit fraud or retain an underperforming CEO when they have more media attention. The researchers find support for this view too.

It also appears that this effect may still occur today. The researchers split their dataset and found the effect to be just as strong after 1974 than before. They also looked at Wikipedia page views in recent years from 2009-2014 as a proxy for more recent media attention. They found that Wikipedia page attention too, was a good predictor of stock price performance. Therefore, the effect may still exist today and likely spans multiple forms of attention that companies receive, not just newspaper coverage by the New York Times.

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Threat of inauguration violence casts a long shadow over social media – TechCrunch



As the U.S. heads into one of the most perilous phases of American democracy since the Civil War, social media companies are scrambling to shore up their patchwork defenses for a moment they appear to have believed would never come.

Most major platforms pulled the emergency break last week, deplatforming the president of the United States and enforcing suddenly robust rules against conspiracies, violent threats and undercurrents of armed insurrection, all of which proliferated on those services for years. But within a week’s time, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google had all made historic decisions in the name of national stability — and appearances. Snapchat, TikTok, Reddit and even Pinterest took their own actions to prevent a terror plot from being hatched on their platforms.

Now, we’re in the waiting phase. More than a week after a deadly pro-Trump riot invaded the iconic seat of the U.S. legislature, the internet still feels like it’s holding its breath, a now heavily-fortified inauguration ceremony looming ahead.

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

What’s still out there

On the largest social network of all, images hyping follow-up events continued to circulate mid this week. One digital Facebook flyer promoted an “armed march on Capitol Hill and all state Capitols,” pushing the dangerous and false conspiracy that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Facebook says that it’s working to identify flyers calling for “Stop the Steal” adjacent events using digital fingerprinting, the same process it uses to remove terrorist content from ISIS and Al Qaeda. The company noted that it has seen flyers calling for events on January 17 across the country, January 18 in Virginia and inauguration day in D.C.

At least some of Facebook’s new efforts are working: one popular flyer TechCrunch observed on the platform was removed from some users’ feeds this week. A number of “Stop the Steal” groups we’d observed over the last month also unceremoniously blinked offline early this week following more forceful action from the company. Still, given the writing on the wall, many groups had plenty of time to tweak their names by a few words or point followers elsewhere to organize.

With only days until the presidential transition, acronym-heavy screeds promoting QAnon, an increasingly mainstream collection of outrageous pro-Trump government conspiracy theories, also remain easy to find. On one page with 2,500 followers, a QAnon believer pushed the debunked claim that anti-fascists executed the attack on the Capitol, claiming “January 6 was a trap.”

QAnon sign

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On a different QAnon group, an ominous post from an admin issued Congress a warning: “We have found a way to end this travesty! YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED!” The elaborate conspiracy’s followers were well represented at the deadly riot at the Capitol, as the many giant “Q” signs and esoteric t-shirt slogans made clear.

In a statement to TechCrunch about the state of extremism on the platform, Facebook says it is coordinating with terrorism experts as well as law enforcement “to prevent direct threats to public safety.” The company also noted that it works with partners to stay aware of violent content taking root on other platforms.

Facebook’s efforts are late and uneven, but they’re also more than the company has done to date. Measures from big social networks coupled with the absence of far-right social networks like Parler and Gab have left Trump’s most ardent supporters once again swearing off Silicon Valley and fanning out for an alternative.

Social media migration

Private messaging apps Telegram and Signal are both seeing an influx of users this week, but they offer something quite different from a Facebook or Twitter-like experience. Some expert social network observers see the recent migration as seasonal rather than permanent.

“The spike in usage of messaging platforms like Telegram and Signal will be temporary,” Yonder CEO Jonathon Morgan told TechCrunch. “Most users will either settle on platforms with a social experience, like Gab, MeWe, or Parler, if it returns, or will migrate back to Twitter and Facebook.”

That company uses AI to track how social groups connect online and what they talk about — violent conspiracies included. Morgan believes that propaganda-spreading “performative internet warriors” make a lot of noise online, but a performance doesn’t work without an audience. Others may quietly pose a more serious threat.

“The different types of engagement we saw during the assault on the Capitol mirror how these groups have fragmented online,” Morgan said. “We saw a large mob who was there to cheer on the extremists but didn’t enter the Capitol, performative internet warriors taking selfies, and paramilitaries carrying flex cuffs (mislabeled as “zip ties” in a lot of social conversation), presumably ready to take hostages.

“Most users (the mob) will be back on Parler if it returns, and in the meantime, they are moving to other apps that mimic the social experience of Twitter and Facebook, like MeWe.”

Still, Morgan says that research shows “deplatforming” extremists and conspiracy-spreaders is an effective strategy and efforts by “tech companies from Airbnb to AWS” will reduce the chances of violence in the coming days.

Cleaning up platforms can help turn the masses away from dangerous views, he explained, but the same efforts might further galvanize people with an existing intense commitment to those beliefs. With the winds shifting, already heterogeneous groups will be scattered too, making their efforts desperate and less predictable.

Deplatforming works, with risks

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told TechCrunch that social media companies still need to do much more to prepare for inauguration week. “We saw platforms fall short in their response to the Capitol insurrection,” Greenblatt said.

He cautioned that while many changes are necessary, we should be ready for online extremism to evolve into a more fractured ecosystem. Echo chambers may become smaller and louder, even as the threat of “large scale” coordinated action diminishes.

“The fracturing has also likely pushed people to start communicating with each other via encrypted apps and other private means, strengthening the connections between those in the chat and providing a space where people feel safe openly expressing violent thoughts, organizing future events, and potentially plotting future violence,” Greenblatt said.

By their own standards, social media companies have taken extraordinary measures in the U.S. in the last two weeks. But social networks have a long history of facilitating violence abroad, even as attention turns to political violence in America.

Greenblatt repeated calls for companies to hire more human moderators, a suggestion often made by experts focused on extremism. He believes social media could still take other precautions for inauguration week, like introducing a delay into livestreams or disabling them altogether, bolstering rapid response teams and suspending more accounts temporarily rather than focusing on content takedowns and handing out “strikes.”

“Platforms have provided little-to-nothing in the way of transparency about learnings from last week’s violent attack in the Capitol,” Greenblatt said.

“We know the bare minimum of what they ought to be doing and what they are capable of doing. If these platforms actually provided transparency and insights, we could offer additional—and potentially significantly stronger—suggestions.”

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Music producer, convicted murderer Phil Spector dead at 81: Media – Toronto Sun



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Spector had a long-standing reputation for gunplay. He carried a pistol and a biographer said he often placed it on the recording console as he worked. He reportedly fired a shot in the studio during an acrimonious recording session with John Lennon.


Born Harvey Phillip Spector on Dec. 26, 1939, he grew up in New York City and formed the Teddy Bears with three high school friends. They scored a hit single in 1958 with a song titled after the inscription on his father’s headstone: “To Know Him Is to Love Him.”

The Teddy Bears had little other chart success and disbanded the following year, allowing Spector to shift from performing to working behind the scenes at the dawn of the ’60s. He teamed with songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, co-writing the Ben E. King hit “Spanish Harlem,” playing guitar on the Drifters’ “On Broadway” and producing several top 10 hits.

In 1961 Spector and promoter Lester Sill formed Philles Records, issuing singles with what was becoming his trademark sound but also albums such as the perennial holiday favorite, “A Christmas Gift for You.”

Spector signed Ike and Tina Turner in 1966 and released what he considered one of his masterpieces – the powerful “River Deep, Mountain High” – but it reached only No. 88 on the U.S. charts.

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For a time, Spector turned his back on the record business, marrying Ronettes singer Veronica “Ronnie” Bennett, who would later say he was abusive, possessive and made her a virtual captive in their home.

Spector returned in 1969, signing a production deal with A&M Records and working with Lennon on his hit single “Instant Karma” and with the Beatles on the “Let It Be” album.

“Let it Be” was considered a major comeback for Spector, but Paul McCartney was so unhappy with it that in 2003 he oversaw the release of “Let It Be … Naked,” which removed most of Spector’s work.

Spector returned to the studio in the mid-1970s to work on records by Cher and others but by the end of the decade he had become increasingly reclusive and worked rarely after that.

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