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Turkey turning Hagia Sophia back into mosque divides social media – Al Jazeera English



People in Turkey and around the globe have expressed mixed opinions on social media following the Turkish government’s controversial decision to turn Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia back to a mosque.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declaration on Friday came after a Turkish high court stripped the sixth-century Byzantine site’s museum status, paving the way for it to be converted into a mosque.

The court cancelled 1934’s council of ministers’ decision to turn the establishment into a museum and said Hagia Sophia was registered as a mosque in its property deeds.

Hagia Sophia was built as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire and was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453 and changed the city’s name to Istanbul.

The building, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the historical part of the metropolis, has been an attraction for tourists worldwide, and visited by millions of people every year.

Erdogan has many a time openly expressed his support to turn Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.

The decision, however, has once again revealed the polarisation between secular and religious Turks in the country.

Some social media users celebrated the decision as a victory for Muslims.

“Congratulations to the Muslim world. Hagia Sofia is no longer a Museum. It has been turned back into a Mosque. 1st AZAAN after 8 decades took place today. #Turkey Does It Again. Alhamdolillah,” a social media user from Pakistan, Mir Mohammad Alikhan, tweeted.

Engin Altan Duzyatan, a Turkish Twitter user, said “The chains around the Ayasofya have been broken.”

“Turkey will no longer be the same. The time has come for it rightfully command its sovereignty. The spirit of the Ottomans have been revived in the hearts of the Turks. Allahu Ekber! What a time to be alive in!” 

‘Hagia Sofia belongs to humanity’

However, many other social media users disagreed with the decision, saying the World Heritage Site should have stayed neutral.

Razan Ibraheem, whose account says she is based in Ireland, said “the extraordinary history” of Hagia Sofia “should have been kept for everyone from all religions and backgrounds”.

“It should have been kept as a museum and a world heritage site. Hagia Sofia is timeless and not limited to religion. It belongs to history and humanity,” she posted.

According to Ankesh Ojha from India, the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is “a declaration that Turkey is no longer secular”.

Some others compared the development with other local and international issues to make their arguments.

Joseph Lumbard, based in Doha, Qatar, said people making a big discussion out of Hagia Sophia’s status needed to check their priorities, making a reference to Uighur Muslims in China.

“If you are more worried about the fate of the #hagiasofia than of the 3 million Uiyghur Muslims who have been imprisoned and whose mosques are in the process of being destroyed by the Chinese government, you may need to check you priorities,” he wrote in a tweet, referring to the suppressed Muslim minority in China.

Haseeb Ahmed Barlas, who is based in Islamabad, Pakistan according to his social media account, referred in his tweet to an Indian mosque demolished in the 1990s, which had been a source of conflict between the Hindu and Muslim communities for a long time.

“Many Muslim Liberals are criticising Erdogan because of this [conversion of Hagia Sophia]. Where were those liberals, when Hindus were demolishing Babri Masjid?” he tweeted.

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Four in 10 Sarnia-Lambton residents believe media exaggerating COVID-19: survey – Sarnia Observer



Nearly 90 per cent of Sarnia-Lambton residents surveyed about the effects of COVID-19 are taking preventative safety measures such as physical distancing seriously, but a large segment – about 40 per cent – also believe the media is exaggerating the extent of the outbreak.

Lambton Public Health’s main office in Point Edward is shown in this file photo.

File photo / The Observer

Nearly 90 per cent of Sarnia-Lambton residents surveyed about the effects of COVID-19 are taking preventative safety measures such as physical distancing seriously, but a large segment – about 44 per cent – also believe the media is exaggerating the extent of the outbreak.

An official from Lambton public health, the agency overseeing one of the regions that’s been hardest hit by the pandemic on a per-capita basis, said this attitude could be concerning.

“While we have seen good adherence to public-health measures overall and this has helped to limit community spread in the past couple months, the sustainability of this is a concern if people don’t take it seriously,” Crystal Palleschi, a health protection supervisor, wrote Friday in an email.

When asked during the survey if the media had exaggerated the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, 17 per cent of respondents said they “strongly agree” while another 27 per cent indicated they “somewhat agree.” Men, at 49 per cent, and younger adults aged 18 to 35, at 52 per cent, were more inclined to agree, the survey suggested.

The results of the survey, commissioned by Lambton public health and conducted by market research firm Ipsos between May and June, were released Thursday. Officials said it suggested the majority of residents have followed public-health guidelines, but many have also experienced negative emotional, social and financial impacts because of the pandemic.

A total of 800 residents of Lambton County were surveyed between May 21 and June 10 using landlines and cellphones. The margin of error associated with sample size of 800 is plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health, wasn’t available Friday but in a statement said, “the results provide greater insight into the key challenges being faced and the strengths our community has demonstrated in response to COVID-19.”

Some key findings health officials pointed to include certain people, such as the unemployed, workers making lower wages or those with poor mental health, are more vulnerable to the pandemic’s negative impacts. One in four participants stated their mental health has changed or worsened since the virus arrived locally.

“Certainly mental health was a concern before the pandemic, so the added pressures it places on many individuals continues to be a concern,” Palleschi said.

While 90 per cent of people were adhering to physical distancing and avoiding large social gatherings at the time of the survey, it also suggested about 40 per cent were eager to return to their pre-pandemic lifestyle.

“So the sustainability of that high level of adherence is the question,” Palleschi said. “As we reopen, it’s still important to physically distance, to limit your social circle and to wear a mask where required or you are unable to physically distance.”

Sarnia has mandated masks for indoor public settings through a bylaw and Petrolia is considering the same, but it’s only encouraged and not compulsory throughout the rest of Lambton County.

As of Friday afternoon, the local caseload remained steady at 319, with 17 of them active. Following a surge of 15 new cases one week earlier and a couple more over the long weekend, there hasn’t been a positive test in several days.

A total of 277 cases were resolved and 25 people have died, but none since June. About 1.7 per cent of the 18,485 tests have come back positive.

Bluewater Health, with hospitals in Sarnia and Petrolia, hasn’t had a COVID-19 patient in about two months.


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Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. Statement Regarding Recent Media Coverage – Canada NewsWire



TORONTO, Aug. 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. (TSX: CF) (the “Company”) provides an update to its shareholders regarding  a recent news story published by a leading provider of financial and industry news.

The Company’s policy is that it does not comment on market rumours or speculation.

The Company regularly explores opportunities to strengthen the value of its business. We are proud of the value that all of our businesses have created and are fully committed to their success.  We remain focused on our stated strategy of operating our business for long-term stability and enhancing value for our shareholders.

All shareholders and prospective investors are encouraged to rely only on information provided by the Company in its ongoing disclosures, which are available on the Company website and on SEDAR.


Through its principal subsidiaries, Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. (the “Company”) is a leading independent, full-service financial services firm, with operations in two principal segments of the securities industry: wealth management and capital markets. Since its establishment in 1950, the Company has been driven by an unwavering commitment to building lasting client relationships. We achieve this by generating value for our individual, institutional and corporate clients through comprehensive investment solutions, brokerage services and investment banking services. The Company has wealth management offices located in Canada, the UK, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and Australia. The Company’s international capital markets division operates in North America, UK & Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. is publicly traded under the symbol CF on the TSX.

SOURCE Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.

For further information: Investor and media relations inquiries: Christina Marinoff, Vice President, Investor Relations & Communications, Phone: 416-687-5507, Email: [email protected],

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Prince Harry Compares the Danger of Social Media to Lead Paint – Vanity Fair



A few weeks ago, it emerged that in between shopping trips and keynote addresses, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had begun to call their connections with a special request. As a part of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, the couple asked CEOs and other business leaders to think about how hate online spreads and put pressure on Facebook to change their moderation strategies. On Friday, Harry published an op-ed in the business magazine Fast Company to explain their work and elaborate on his stance as a social media skeptic. In it, he comes out swinging, discussing a “coercive” attention economy and comparing the current moment to our society’s late awakening to the dangers of lead in household objects.

“In the 1970s, there was a groundbreaking study on the societal effects of lead exposure and kids,” he writes. “The research found a clear connection between lead accumulation in children and their mental development. There’s no debate over the dangers of lead today, but at the time, the development was met with strong resistance from industry leaders (lead was used widespread in products such as gas, house paint, and water pipes).” Ultimately, he compares this process to new research that suggests social media is harmful for young people.

He also mentions the impact that digital ad spending has had on the traditional media. He writes, “The standards and practices advertisers rely upon when placing their commercials on television, for example, do not apply when it comes to the online space—arguably, the largest broadcaster in the world. And for the first time in history, the ad spend in this relatively lawless space is beginning to overshadow the more traditional spaces.”

He ends the op-ed with a faint message of hope for the future. “The internet has enabled us to be joined together. We are now plugged into a vast nervous system that, yes, reflects our good, but too often also magnifies and fuels our bad,” he writes. “We can—and must—encourage these platforms to redesign themselves in a more responsible and compassionate way.” 

In some ways, the Stop Hate for Profit campaign is a fairly technical issue for Harry to get involved in, but it also ties together some of the other issues that have been important for him in the past, like mental health and opposing toxic behavior on behalf of the media

During Meghan’s time in the royal family, she and Harry relied more on social media to get their message out than ever before, even reportedly bypassing the royal press office when they announced that Meghan was in labor with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. When they started their own Instagram in April 2019, it became one of the fastest accounts to ever get 1 million followers. But in the months since their royal exit became official on March 31, Meghan and Harry have not posted to their own social media accounts, choosing to spread their messages on the accounts of their nonprofit partners

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