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Facebook bans more than 790 groups tied to QAnon conspiracy theory

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(Last Updated On: August 20, 2020)

Facebook on Wednesday banned about 900 pages and groups and 1,500 ads tied to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon, as part of a drive to limit the spread of the dangerous ideology online.

Facebook also restricted the reach of over 10,000 Instagram pages and almost 2,000 Facebook groups promoting right-wing conspiracy movement QAnon, which is blamed for having sparked real-world violence.

The social media group also took down thousands of accounts, pages and groups as part of what they called a ‘policy expansion,’ seeking to limit violent rhetoric tied to QAnon, political militias and protest groups.

This comes after mounting pressure against Facebook to clamp down on hate speech and dangerous conspiracy theories.

The QAnon conspiracy theory is centered on the belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. 

For more than two years, followers have pored over tangled clues purportedly posted online by a high-ranking government official known only as “Q.”

The conspiracy theory emerged in a dark corner of the internet but has recently crept into mainstream politics. 

Trump has retweeted QAnon-promoting accounts and its followers flock to his rallies wearing clothes and hats with QAnon symbols and slogans.

Facebook meanwhile said it will only remove groups and accounts outright if they discuss potential violence.

“We will continue studying specific terminology and symbolism used by supporters to identify the language used by these groups and movements indicating violence and take action accordingly,” the company said.

As a result of the policy changes, Facebook said it had removed over 790 groups, 100 pages and 1,500 ads tied to QAnon on Facebook and has blocked over 300 hashtags across Facebook and Instagram. 

There are 1,950 other groups Facebook says it has identified that remain on the platform but face restrictions, along with 10,000 accounts on Instagram.

 

 

 

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Desert Vipers secure 7 wicket win against MI Emirates

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2023)

Alex Hales and Sherfane Rutherford’s sparkling unbeaten half centuries and skipper Colin Munro’s cameo knock carried Desert Vipers past MI Emirates in the 15th match of the DP World ILT20 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Tuesday night. 

Desert Vipers, through a fine display of intelligent bowling, had also restricted MI Emirates to 169 for 5 despite half centuries from Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran.

Hales hit an unbeaten 62 runs off 44 balls with six boundaries and two sixes while Sherfane Rutherford scored a breezy unbeaten 56 off 29 balls with four boundaries and three sixes to put on an unbeaten 94 off 52 balls for the fourth wicket. 

Desert Vipers’ skipper Colin Munro set the momentum through a fine knock of 41 runs off 22 balls with four boundaries and three sixes. 

Speaking about their performance Desert Vipers’ Sherfane Rutherford said: “I want to keep things simple and just watch the ball. I was just trying to react to the ball. The key was just to use the pace and that worked for me.”

Meanwhile, MI Emirates’ Trent Boult said: “It becomes easier to bat on in the second innings here. I thought they played extremely well. They timed their innings quite nicely. That’s a luxury when you’re chasing 170.”

 

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Iranian arrested in Germany, suspected of plotting chemical attack

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2023)

A 32-year-old Iranian man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning an attack with deadly chemicals, officials said Sunday.

Police and prosecutors said the man and another person were detained overnight in the town of Castrop-Rauxel, northwest of Dortmund.

In a joint statement they said the man is suspected to have planned a serious attack motivated by Islamic extremism, for which he had allegedly obtained the potent toxins cyanide and ricin, the Associated Press reported.

German news agency dpa reported that specialists wearing anti-contamination suits carried evidence out of the man’s home.

Tabloid newspaper Bild reported that German authorities had received a tip from an allied intelligence agency about the alleged plans for a chemical attack.

Five years ago, German police arrested a Tunisian man and his wife on suspicion of planning to carry out a ricin attack in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS) group. They were later found guilty and sentenced to 10 and eight years’ imprisonment, respectively.

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Traders expect Pakistan’s Rupee to lose ground in coming week

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2023)

Traders expect the Pakistani rupee to weaken further in the coming week owing to a sharp decline in foreign exchange reserves brought on by fresh repayments of external debt.

Traders say this is causing concern for investors who are worried about how the country’s economic situation will develop.

“We expect the rupee to depreciate much further during the course of the upcoming week due to declining foreign reserves and repayment of foreign loans. Any developments on the IMF (International Monetary Fund) front are being eagerly watched by the market,” a forex trader said.

The local currency closed at 226.94 against the US dollar on Monday while it ended the week at 227.14 against the dollar on Friday.

Pakistan paid back $600 million to the Emirates NBD Bank and $420 million to the Dubai Islamic Bank, causing the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) reserves to fall to a critically low level of $4.5 billion.

The coming week is turning out to be significant for Pakistan’s economy as a donors’ conference is set to begin on Monday, January 9, which will be led by the US in partnership with Pakistan to garner support for post-flood aid, according to Geo TV.

Currently, Pakistan’s chief of army staff is visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Experts have said “no one is second guessing what this trip is about.”

Meanwhile, the delay in IMF funding of $1.1 billion has made Pakistan struggle to allay default fears.

Islamabad and the IMF differ over a review of policy and reforms the Fund is requiring in the country. The IMF’s programe review was supposed to be finished in November, Geo TV reported.

The IMF programe is connected to another essential foreign financing, making it difficult for the country to meet its external funding requirements. Up until June, they amounted to more than $30 billion and included imports, especially energy, and debt repayments.

The decline in the forex reserves put pressure on the rupee owing to the government’s slow progress in rolling over and securing foreign inflows from international lenders.

Given that elections are slated to take place this year, the government keeps delaying the IMF’s requirements out of concern for further political capital loss.

The local currency has lost 28.3% of its value against the dollar in 2022.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has assured that the government would complete the IMF programe.

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