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Two U.S. helicopters attack Syrian army checkpoint in northeast Syria: state media –



AMMAN (Reuters) – Two U.S. helicopters on Monday attacked a Syrian army checkpoint in northeastern Syria near the Kurdish-held city of Qamishli, killing one soldier and injuring two others, state media said.

The incident happened shortly after a U.S. patrol was prevented from passing by an army checkpoint in the area, state media said.

Northeastern Syria is mainly under the control of U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces who are spearheaded by Kurdish fighters, but Syrian army forces are deployed in certain locations under agreements with the Kurds.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Anaconda Mining fires employee for racist, homophobic social media posts –



A former employee of Anaconda Mining made racist and homophobic posts on Facebook. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

A St. John’s man says he’s happy with the actions taken by a mining company with operations in Newfoundland and Labrador after he reported an employee’s racist and homophobic posts.

Earlier this month, Devon Bryan noticed anti-Black Lives Matter posts on Facebook that a former classmate had responded to by commenting, “White Lives Matter.”

The posts read “BLM is now known as Burn, Loot & Murder (pass it on)” and “F**k BLM bullshit.” Bryan decided to call out his former classmate’s comments, he told CBC News, and received an aggressive response.

“It turned into body shaming and it turned into homophobic slurs, racial slurs. And he really ticked off all of the boxes for discrimination,” said Bryan.

The classmate did not respond to CBC’s requests for comment. CBC News is not identifying him. 

Bryan, a member of the LGBT community, noticed his former classmate listed his employer as Anaconda Mining, which operates in Baie Verte, N.L., so he tagged the company in a response to his classmate’s posts, and followed up with a phone call.

“You can’t expect to represent your professional life and hold these extreme opinions and express them freely without repercussion, because once you represent your place of work on social media, it’s no longer a completely private page anymore,” said Bryan. 

Satisfied with company’s response

Bryan said the company was prompt and courteous in its response. And while, due to privacy regulations, the company would not tell him what happened, Bryan said he learned later his former classmate was no longer with the company.

Anaconda Mining declined to confirm to CBC News the employee had been let go, saying the company would not comment on matters “regarding private employment relationships. 

The fired employee had publicly identified he worked at Anaconda Mining’s operation in Baie Verte. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

In a statement, Lynn Hammond, the company’s vice-president of corporate affairs, said the company has a comprehensive respectful workplace policy and harassment prevention plan and that their employees are required to participate in training specifically related to the policy.

Employees are also required to sign a document to acknowledge that they understand and will adhere to the policy and failure to comply with any part of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

In the aftermath of Bryan’s interactions with him, members of the former employee’s family posted on Facebook that the situation had caused financial and emotional stress.

Bryan said his former classmate should have thought of the consequences before making the comments he made.

“I do feel terribly that, you know, I’m causing a whole family stress,” said Bryan. “But at the bottom line, that’s completely on him.” 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Social media deal earns advertisers' 'likes', but not yet all their dollars –



By Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) – Advertisers who boycotted social media are not all rushing back, despite an agreement by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on how to curb harmful content online.

Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, told Reuters the move this week was “a good step in the right direction,” but would not say whether it would resume paid advertising on Facebook in the United States next year after stopping over the summer.

Coca-Cola also remains paused on Facebook and Instagram and declined to say if this changed its view. Beam Suntory, maker of Jim Beam bourbon and Courvoisier Cognac, plans to stay away from paid advertising for the rest of 2020 and reassess in 2021 based on how Facebook adjusts its approach.

Over 1,000 advertisers joined a Facebook boycott over concerns it wasn’t doing enough to combat hate speech. U.S. civil rights groups enlisted multinationals to help pressure the social media giant after the June death of George Floyd, an American Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis.

“Brands are very concerned about having any affiliation with the disinformation that runs through the big tech platforms,” said Michael Priem, CEO of advertising technology firm Modern Impact.

Deciding whether to pull ads from social media can be tough. Larger brands can afford to take a stance, but for smaller businesses that have already been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, “it’s either make it or die,” Priem said.

On Wednesday, the World Federation of Advertisers announced that social media platforms and advertisers had committed to create common definitions of harmful content such as hate speech and harmonized reporting standards.

A Facebook spokeswoman said on Friday that advertisers were returning to the platform.

“For the most part advertisers are coming back because they recognize the efforts we’re making,” the spokeswoman said. “We’re never satisfied. We’ll continue to work with industry and with our clients.”

She said that 95% of the hate speech removed by Facebook is detected before being reported, up from 23% in 2017.

“Digital media is now more than half of all media spending yet is still operating with very few boundaries other than those that are self-imposed or that marketers try to enforce. It’s time for digital platforms to apply content standards properly,” Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, said on Wednesday.

The maker of Gillette razors and Pampers diapers said it will “continue to advocate for greater transparency, reporting, and enforcement” directly with platforms and through industry forums.


Many companies, such as drinks giant Pernod Ricard, returned to Facebook in August after a one-month pause aimed at sending a message.

“I feel very happy … with the outcome. I think it worked,” said Eric Benoist, global marketing director for the maker of Absolut vodka and Martell Cognac. “It was a wake-up call. They heard it loud and clear.”

Some advertisers, like spirits group Diageo, came back following direct engagement with the platform and evidence of action.

“Some progress has been made, but more needs to be done and we think we’re better able to bring about change by working together,” a Diageo spokeswoman said. “We are in the process of resuming paid media and will continue to drive accountability on these pressing issues.”

Campaign organizers remain skeptical and pledged to keep up the heat.

“We cannot assume progress from yet another commitment to change until we see the impact and breadth of policy enforcement by these companies,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, a backer of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which organized the boycott.

“As long as these companies continue to abdicate their responsibility to their most vulnerable users, we will continue to call on Congress and regulatory agencies to intervene.” 

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; Additional reporting by Sheila Dang in New York and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Carmel Crimmins)

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Social & sensible: Due to the lockdown, time spent on social media grew exponentially for everyone. So is a break the need of the hour? – The Tribune India



The lockdown left us to the mercy of social media to ensure physical distancing even while keeping one emotionally connected. But the over-dependence, lack of other channels to keep engaged to routines going haywire, led to excessive time being spent on social media. Is it time for a digital detox? Celebs share their take.

Use it right

Asis Sethi

In order to ensure that you are giving yourself and your loved ones time and energy, you have to not only switch off from social media but also put your devices away. Right now, I am not on a digital detox, but, yes, I am actively putting my phone away throughout the day. Social media can be a positive space, only if you do not get bogged down by the negativity. – Asis Sethi, filmmaker-director

Habitual behaviour

I am not dependent on social media, but, yes, I am hooked onto it! That is true because checking your social media handles every few minutes has become a habit with everybody. I have never taken a break from it because my work is related to it and I need to spread the word about it. But if I am not working for a few days, I might just take a break.

– Tarun Khanna, Raja Krishnadevaraya in Tenali Rama

No dependence

During the lockdown, I was never totally dependent on social media. I rather gave time to my family and to my own self. I started playing the casio; I was doing workouts at home and started cooking with my mother. I am still not dependent, but I love being on social media; I love interacting with my fans. I learn a lot from them; but no dependence, either during or after the lockdown. – Ansh Sinha, Rishabh Bansal in Tera Yaar Hoon Main

Set your limits

One should know how much time to invest in social media; you must set your own boundaries. The best way to detox is to keep your phone away from your reach and engage in an activity that you love. I like being connected to my close ones; it gives me positive energy. – Paritosh Tripathi, actor

Books beckon

I love interacting with people, but not completely on social media. If you focus on negative things you will have negative vibes, but if you see the talent on social media you will be happy and positive. Whenever I use social media too much, I detox by picking books.

– Jyoti Sharma, Dulari in Ram Pyaare Sirf Humare

Mental cleansing

Shamin Mannan

The lockdown made me dependent on social media, but, thankfully, I realised that and also eventually got bored of it. It is depressive at times with the fake news doing the rounds. I went for a 15-day social media detox during this time. It was great, as I could give more time to reading, painting and yoga. Also my sleep pattern improved. It was like mental cleansing for me. – Shamin Mannan, Koel in Ram Pyaare Sirf Humare

Limit yourself

Taking a detox during the lockdown didn’t occur to me. However, right now I am on a break from social media and not planning to make a comeback anytime soon. We all live in a world where we have this constant urge to keep ourselves updated. And this urge is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. Little do we realise that most times it grows to a certain level of toxicity. The idea is to cut-off when you require to or at least limit yourself. – Karan Jotwani, Neel in Qurbaan Hua

Only saviour

Liza Malik

Social media was the only platform on which we were connected. I am a social being and would have died without it! So yes, it was a saviour, but anything in excess is always harmful. So, I did give it a break. The detox experience has been like meditation. There was no competition, no updates. – Liza Malik, actor-singer

– As told to Mona

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