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The toxicity of social media, COVID hypocrites and other top opinion columns of the week – USA TODAY



For your weekend reading, we’ve collected in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week’s top USA TODAY Opinion pieces.

In today’s fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we’ve started in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week’s top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, thanks for reading, and for your feedback.

— USA TODAY Opinion editors

By Theresa Olohan 

“I didn’t know at the time what a blessing it was to enjoy a childhood free of the constraints, anxiety and sadness social media often brings. Uninhibited by the expectations and consuming nature of social media, I had more time for real, in-person, screenless interaction. I had more time to spend doing the nerdy things I loved – like rereading “Anne of Green Gables” for the 10th time.”

Tim Swarens 

“On Sunday, West Coast elites gathered to award themselves trophies at the Emmys. Several hundred celebrities, not wearing masks, shuffled inside a tent where they sat toasting each other’s brilliance for several hours. After actor Seth Rogen pointed out the hypocrisy of his peers’ “we’re above it all” behavior, the show’s producers blasted him for going off script.  They also noted that the guests had to show proof of vaccination before they were allowed inside for the awards ceremony.”

By Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Brooke Adams

“In the northern suburbs of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, we are canvassing on Medicare for All. We’re doing this to connect with people about the material issues that impact them every day. We’re not asking them to vote for us; we’re not asking them whether they like us; we’re asking them to imagine a better world – a world in which they don’t have to worry about how they’ll pay for their doctor or about losing coverage if they lose their job.”

By Caitlyn Jenner

“As I traveled up and down the state meeting with Californians from all walks of life and listening to their stories, I was reminded of why I first came to the state 48 years ago to chase my California dream. I came to this state because I wanted to surround myself with the most talented athletes in the world and train with the best coaches available. On my campaign, I surrounded myself with truly good and decent people who wanted to restore the luster of the Golden State.”

By Michelle Hart

“On May 24, I received the phone call every firefighter’s spouse dreads and hopes will never come. My husband, Tim Hart, a smokejumper out of West Yellowstone, Montana, was being airlifted to a hospital after a hard landing while parachuting into a wildfire in southern New Mexico. In a daze, I traveled to the intensive care unit in El Paso, Texas, and spent the next nine days making life-altering decisions for both of us. I was grappling with emotions that changed my life, my outlook on the future, and fundamentally who I am.”

By The Editorial Board

“Reform of qualified immunity is key to holding police officers responsible for misdeeds on the job. Cops can kill, rape and steal and never face accountability in civil court as long as the Supreme Court continues to enforce this misguided legal doctrine. Fortunately, the court has several cases before the justices that offer the chance to reshape qualified immunity or to abolish it and related rulings that give federal officers even stronger protection from civil suits.”

By Connie Schultz

“Recently, my doctor described with alarming accuracy the amount of stress I was holding onto every day. The body tells its own stories. As an asthmatic, I’ve long been aware of the value of a deep breath. But like too many things I do, I had turned even that basic need into homework during the pandemic. Breathe in 1-2-3-4, hold the breath 1-2-3-4, exhale 1-2-3-4 …”

By Jill Lawrence

“Republicans have factions, but when it matters most, they are team players. This week, with giant infrastructure and social spending packages at stake, Democrats need to suppress their anarchic impulses and act more like the GOP. It is a fateful moment in Biden’s presidency and in the lives of all Americans. I’m talking to you, normal people. Maybe you’re bored or disgusted by politics, or too busy to pay attention. But this week really matters for your family’s health, finances and dreams.”

By Stefan M. Bradley

“Acknowledgment was a first step. From there, the university set about officially studying its relationship to slavery with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. Then, Brown memorialized the university’s tragic role with a monument erected on campus. Financial recompense for those families of descendants who were harmed is the logical next step.”

By The Editorial Board

“To be sure, Biden has proposed in this 10-year package so many other programs and so much more spending. The legislation also would expand Obamacare ($200 billion), affordable housing ($318 billion) and Medicare ($550 billion). And it would create free community college ($109 billion). Democrats could fight over all of it and pass nothing. Or they could act with discretion and still achieve several of the most important social changes in half a century. We urge discretion.”

By Bernie Sanders

“This reconciliation bill is being opposed by every Republican in Congress as well as the drug companies, the insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry and the billionaire class. They want to maintain the status quo in which the rich get richer while ordinary Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet. Well, I disagree. Now is the time, finally, for Congress to stand up for working families and have the courage to take on the big money interests and wealthy campaign contributors who have so much power over the economic and political life of our country.”

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Trudeau’s heritage minister has a chance to reset social media regulations. Will he take it? – Global News



Justin Trudeau’s new heritage minister has a chance to reset the Liberal government’s controversial plans to regulate social media and internet giants. The question is whether he will take it.

Trudeau tapped veteran MP and cabinet minister Pablo Rodriguez to lead the heritage portfolio Tuesday, part of a wider reset of his cabinet after September’s general election.

The heritage file has presented surprising political risks for Trudeau’s ministers. Melanie Joly ran into trouble over a deal with Netflix that saw the streaming giant promise a $500-million investment in Canadian content, but did not subject the company to Canadian sale taxes.

More recently, rookie minister Steven Guilbeault introduced Bill C-10, a poorly received attempt to modernize broadcasting rules to reflect the new internet-driven landscape.

Click to play video: 'Canadian heritage minister won’t say whether Bill C-10 could regulate users’ social media algorithms'

Canadian heritage minister won’t say whether Bill C-10 could regulate users’ social media algorithms

Canadian heritage minister won’t say whether Bill C-10 could regulate users’ social media algorithms – May 14, 2021

The legislation was meant to bring internet content under broadcasting rules, in recognition that Canadians consume media differently in the internet age than when the Broadcasting Act was last reformed in 1991.

But it became a political lightning rod after the Liberals removed protections for user-generated content, which critics argued would subject Canadians’ social media accounts to CRTC regulations. And it wasn’t just opposition parties that were critical of the bill; it was widely panned by civil society organizations and academics.

Read more:
Trudeau unveils new cabinet with 9 new faces, major shake ups to top jobs

Rodriguez, who served as Trudeau’s House leader in the last Parliament, is a longtime Quebec MP and seen as a steady hand in the Liberals’ front bench. He also remains Trudeau’s Quebec lieutenant in cabinet.

That responsibility could play a role in C-10’s fate. While the legislation was widely criticized, it was politically popular in Quebec – where C-10’s stated purpose of making Canadian content more “discoverable” on streaming platforms was well received.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Facebook, YouTube take down Bolsonaro video over false vaccine claim



Facebook and YouTube have removed from their platforms a video by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in which the far-right leader made a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were linked with developing AIDS.

Both Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube said the video, which was recorded on Thursday, violated their policies.

“Our policies don’t allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

YouTube confirmed that it had taken the same step later in the day.

“We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policy regarding COVID-19 for alleging that vaccines don’t reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), COVID-19 vaccines approved by health regulators are safe for most people, including those living with HIV, the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, known as AIDS.

Bolsonaro’s office did not respond immediately to a request for comment outside normal hours.

In July, YouTube removed videos from Bolsonaro’s official channel in which he recommended using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID-19, despite scientific proof that these drugs are not effective in treating the disease.

Since then, Bolsonaro has avoided naming both drugs on his live broadcasts, saying the videos could be removed and advocating “early treatment” in general for COVID-19.

Bolsonaro, who tested positive for the coronavirus in July last year, had credited his taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, for his mild symptoms. While Bolsonaro himself last January said that he wouldn’t take any COVID-19 vaccine, he did vow to quickly inoculate all Brazilians.

In addition to removing the video, YouTube has suspended Bolsonaro for seven days, national newspapers O Estado de S. Paulo and O Globo reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.

YouTube did not respond to a separate Reuters request for comment regarding the suspension on Monday night.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; Additional reporting by Gram Slattery in Rio de Janeiro and Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Writing by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Somali drama wins Pan-African film festival grand prize



Somalia‘s entry “The Gravedigger’s Wife” by Finish-Somali writer-director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed won the prestigious Stallion of Yennenga grand prize for best film at the Pan-African film festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Sunday.

The poignant drama about a gravedigger’s struggles to raise money to pay for his wife’s surgery, took home the 20 million franc CFA ($35,714) prize money and the golden stallion statue.

The film, which was Somalia’s first official entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2021 Academy Awards, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in July.

Ahmed, who was not in Ouagadougou to collect his prize, has previously said the film was inspired by incidents that happened in his family.

Mauritanian film director Abderrahmane Sissako, who chaired the jury for the 17 feature films in the competition, told Reuters that it was a courageous movie from a country which does not make a lot of films. “So when there is a film such as this one from there, it should be encouraged.”

“It is a beautiful film that tells a story with humanity. It is a love story also,” Sissako said after the ceremony presided over Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Roch Marc Kabore of Burkina Faso.

The Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, known as Fespaco, is the largest biannual meeting of African cinema which attracts international and African cinema and television professionals from the continent and the diaspora to the Burkinabe capital.

This 27th edition was postponed by nearly eight months to Oct. 16-23, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security challenges the country is facing.

($1 = 560.0000 CFA francs)


(Reporting by Anne Mimault and Thiam Ndiaga; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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