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U.N. decries attacks on Afghan media at time when dialogue needed most – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Abdul Qadir Sediqi

KABUL (Reuters) – The United Nations on Monday denounced attacks on Afghan journalists and human rights activists at a time when dialogue was needed more than ever amid talks to try to end two decades of war.

The Afghan government and Taliban militants began peace talks in Doha last September, but negotiations have largely stalled. Washington is reviewing a deal that would have seen Western troops leave the country by May.

“The Afghan people need and deserve a flourishing civic space – a society where people can think, write and voice their views openly, without fear,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“The voices of human rights defenders and the media are critical for any open and decent society.”

Between Jan. 1, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2021, 65 human rights defenders and media professional were killed, the UN report said. Five human rights activists and six journalists were killed in the four months after the peace talks began.

Afghanistan is experiencing a new wave of “intentional, premeditated and deliberate targeting of individuals with perpetrators remaining anonymous”, prompting professionals to quit their jobs and leave their homes, and journalists to exercise self-censorship.

Many of the attacks involve small improvised explosives called “sticky bombs,” which are typically attached to the underside of vehicles.

Few have ever been claimed by any warring party, although the government has said the Taliban are responsible. The group says it only targets government officials.

The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, are seeking to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul and reimpose Islamic rule.

Islamic State militants also operate in Afghanistan, and government officials have said they have ties to the Taliban, another charge the Taliban denies.

Afghanistan’s spy agency said it broke up two cells in the past week in Kabul that were jointly operating between Islamic State and the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. It said they were responsible for assassinations of officials and activists and rocket attacks in the capital.

(Writing by Umar Farooq; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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New ETF tracks social-media buzz from platforms like Reddit | Venture – Daily Hive

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Partnership content presented by Market Buzz.


January’s unprecedented GameStop saga completely changed the game for the stock market, as Redditors reigned over hedge fund superpowers. Who would have known that a social media community would single-handedly be responsible for the biggest short squeeze in recent history?

Although things might have simmered down on r/wallstreetbets lately, no longer is anyone underestimating the influence social media communities can have over the stock market.

This includes New York asset management firm VanEck, who is launching a new exchange traded fund (ETF) called BUZZ on Thursday. The clever business model will use AI to invest in the most-buzzed-about stocks in social media communities.

So how does it work? The index fund scours over 15 million online social media posts a month on sites like Twitter, Reddit, and StockTwits for investing hype using machine learning and artificial intelligence. It looks for patterns, trends, and sentiments that will impact the market value of certain stocks.

The algorithm will then produce a portfolio of 75 US large-cap stocks with the strongest market sentiment, which gets rebalanced once a month.

A big believer in BUZZ is Barstool Sports Founder Dave Portnoy, who excitedly shared the news of the ETF’s launch on Tuesday with a video press conference on Twitter. Portnoy is no newbie to the stock market game, tweeting daily about his stock trades and actively getting involved during the recent GameStop frenzy.

Not surprisingly, Portnoy is also part-owner and director of Buzz Holdings ULC, the business entity that licences strategy to VanEck.

Although the fund, that launches this Thursday, might just seem to be piggybacking off the success of recent Reddit-driven investing, it’s not the first time a social-media sentiment ETF has been created.

BUZZ U.S. Sentiment Leaders ETF (BUZ) launched in 2016 that tracked the same index that BUZZ will, but was shut down in 2019 because it never caught on. You could say the timing was off. But due to recent GameStop mania, the timing couldn’t be better now for BUZZ.

According to its website, BUZZ is up 89.43% versus 32.08% for the S&P 500 over the past year. BUZZ’s top holdings are Twitter, Draft Kings, Ford, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, AMD, American Airlines, Netflix, and Tesla.

The VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF, trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker “BUZZ,” will be available Thursday, March 4.


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New ETF tracks social-media buzz from platforms like Reddit | Venture – Daily Hive

Published

 on


Partnership content presented by Market Buzz.


January’s unprecedented GameStop saga completely changed the game for the stock market, as Redditors reigned over hedge fund superpowers. Who would have known that a social media community would single-handedly be responsible for the biggest short squeeze in recent history?

Although things might have simmered down on r/wallstreetbets lately, no longer is anyone underestimating the influence social media communities can have over the stock market.

This includes New York asset management firm VanEck, who is launching a new exchange traded fund (ETF) called BUZZ on Thursday. The clever business model will use AI to invest in the most-buzzed-about stocks in social media communities.

So how does it work? The index fund scours over 15 million online social media posts a month on sites like Twitter, Reddit, and StockTwits for investing hype using machine learning and artificial intelligence. It looks for patterns, trends, and sentiments that will impact the market value of certain stocks.

The algorithm will then produce a portfolio of 75 US large-cap stocks with the strongest market sentiment, which gets rebalanced once a month.

A big believer in BUZZ is Barstool Sports Founder Dave Portnoy, who excitedly shared the news of the ETF’s launch on Tuesday with a video press conference on Twitter. Portnoy is no newbie to the stock market game, tweeting daily about his stock trades and actively getting involved during the recent GameStop frenzy.

Not surprisingly, Portnoy is also part-owner and director of Buzz Holdings ULC, the business entity that licences strategy to VanEck.

Although the fund, that launches this Thursday, might just seem to be piggybacking off the success of recent Reddit-driven investing, it’s not the first time a social-media sentiment ETF has been created.

BUZZ U.S. Sentiment Leaders ETF (BUZ) launched in 2016 that tracked the same index that BUZZ will, but was shut down in 2019 because it never caught on. You could say the timing was off. But due to recent GameStop mania, the timing couldn’t be better now for BUZZ.

According to its website, BUZZ is up 89.43% versus 32.08% for the S&P 500 over the past year. BUZZ’s top holdings are Twitter, Draft Kings, Ford, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, AMD, American Airlines, Netflix, and Tesla.

The VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF, trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker “BUZZ,” will be available Thursday, March 4.


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FOMO-obsessed people risk fraud via social media investment tips: BCSC – Richmond News

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Social media is not the place to get your investment tips.

That’s the message from the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), which is detailing new research that shows younger adults and those who experience the fear of missing out – also known as FOMO – are more likely to think social media is a good place to find investment opportunities.

To mark Fraud Prevention Month, the BCSC said it surveyed more than 2,000 Canadians, including 1,000 British Columbians, to measure how age and FOMO influence investment attitudes.

“Results of this new research are particularly concerning because we’ve seen a surge in potentially fraudulent schemes peddled on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Doug Muir, the BCSC’s director of enforcement, in a news release. “We also know that fraudsters put pressure on people to act quickly. It’s important to gather as much reliable information about an investment as you can before putting your money into it, and to not rush into it.”

One warning sign of investment fraud is claiming that an opportunity is exclusive or available only to select people, said the BCSC, while in reality, most legitimate investments for ordinary British Columbians are available to anyone with the money to invest. Another warning sign is rushing would-be investors, telling them they must sign now to get in on the deal.

To educate people about the risk of letting FOMO drive their investment decisions, the BCSC is running a multi-media campaign called Hi, My Name is FOMO. 

“The younger you are, the more FOMO you have,” said the news release. “Half of B.C. residents between 18 and 34 said they experience it, compared to just 19 per cent of adults 55 or older. B.C.’s young adults also seem to have more FOMO than their peers across Canada – 50 per cent in B.C. compared to 40 per cent nationally.”
This online survey was conducted for the BCSC by Innovative Research Group among a representative sample of British Columbians from February 11 to 23, 2021 as part of an omnibus survey. A total of 1,015 British Columbians aged 18 and over completed the survey. The results are weighted to a representative sample of 1,000 by age and gender within each region of the province using the latest available Census data to reflect the actual demographic composition of the population.

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