Nats double down on commitment to coal, Joyce rants against wind and solar | RenewEconomy

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If there were any questions over the National Party’s commitment to the coal sector after the loss of Matt Canavan from the resources portfolio, they were quickly answered by new deputy leader David Littleproud who reasserted his party’s commitment to a new coal generator in Queensland on his first day in the job.

In an interview with ABC’s RN Breakfast program on Wednesday, Littleproud trotted out the three consistent assertions of the coal lobby; that you can reduce emissions using more coal, that more coal generation is necessary to lower electricity prices and that baseload power is a necessary feature of the future energy system.

Each of these three assertions have been repeatedly debunked, but it confirms that it’s business as usual in a Morrison cabinet that will continue to face internal divisions over a need to act on climate change and the fossil fuel advocates within its ranks.

It is understood that Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt is the front runner to take over Canavan’s former positions as the minister for resources and Northern Australia when new ministerial appointments are announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday.

Pitt himself has been an outspoken advocate for a new coal-fired power station in Queensland, so while Canavan – who liked to describe himself as “Mr Coal” – has exited the federal cabinet, the pressure to push forward with the Collinsville project is likely to continue.

Pitt has also been a strong supporter of a nuclear industry in Australia, and will have the backing of failed Nationals leadership candidate Barnaby Joyce, who again argued for nuclear power to be considered as part of Australia’s efforts to reduce emissions as part of a bizarre Facebook rant against renewable energy.

“We have to recognise that the public acceptance of wind towers on the hill in front of their veranda is gone, and the public dissonance on that issue is as strong as any other environmental subject,” Joyce said.

“If zero emissions are the goal then surely nuclear energy should be supported, but it is not. If wind towers are a moral good and environmentally inoffensive, why can’t we have them just off the beach at Bondi so we can feel good about ourselves while going for a surf? It would cause a riot.”

“Do you want a 3,000ha solar farm next door to you? Lots of glass and aluminium neatly in rows pointing at the sun. I am not sure others will want to buy that view off you when you go to sell your house.”

The coal industry might have lost its most enthusiastic advocate from the federal cabinet, but the Nationals were quick to show that it won’t lead to any changes on the party’s energy and climate change policies.

In his interview, Littleproud, who is also tipped to take on the now vacant agriculture portfolio, told the ABC that investments in new coal generators would help lower emissions and lower electricity prices.

“You need to make sure that you create an environment in the marketplace with a mix of renewables and coal-fired power stations, and if you can improve the emissions of coal fired power stations, you should make that investment if it means that we hit our targets and we reduce energy prices,” Littleproud claimed.

It has been well established for some time that the cheapest source of new electricity generation capacity are renewable sources like wind and solar.

A recent update to the CSIRO’s GenCost assessment of the costs of different generation technologies re-confirmed that new wind and solar are, by far, the cheapest sources of electricity generation. Even when additional storage is accounted for, prices of firmed renewables are competitive with fossil fuel generators when the costs of carbon emissions are considered.

Renewables are already helping to drive down electricity prices.

This week, the ACT, which has recently achieved its 100 per cent renewable electricity target, is also set to see an almost 7 per cent fall in its electricity prices this year, as the territory’s investments in wind and solar projects have helped deliver lower electricity prices for Canberra households, ensuring they continue to pay some of Australia’s lowest electricity prices.

But this also didn’t stop Littleproud asserting that it is possible to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while still embracing coal.

“You can invest in clean coal technology in and reduce emissions,” Littleproud said.

“I’m not disputing the science, what I’m saying is I’m not gifted academically to have that science background myself.” – @D_LittleproudMP when asked about his recent statement that he didn’t know if climate change was man made. #abc730 @leighsales #auspol pic.twitter.com/sFh44eNP2a

— abc730 (@abc730) February 4, 2020

Again, there are fundamental limits to how much emissions from coal-fired power stations can be improved. Even with a complete transition to the Coalition’s favoured high-efficiency low-emissions (HELE) coal power station technologies, the most generous estimates put the amount of emissions reductions at 20 per cent.

In his review of the National Electricity Market, chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel compared the emissions intensity of different generation technologies, showing that the HELE coal-fired power stations promoted by the Nationals will still produce 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for each megawatt-hour of electricity produced, and is only slightly below the NEM’s current average emissions intensity.

When the science, and the international commitments made under the Paris Agreement, are calling for governments to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, a 20 per cent cut in coal power station emissions is going to be grossly insufficient.

It’s a position that leaves the Nationals at odds with science, but also the business community which is undergoing an accelerating exit from the coal industry. This includes BlackRock, which manages USD$7 trillion (A$10.15 trillion) in investments, which announced in January that it was divesting its portfolios from thermal coal companies.

Littleproud argued for the need for “baseload” power, suggesting that coal-fired power stations are necessary, as Australia currently lacks sufficient levels of battery storage.

“We’ve still got to have baseload, the thing is that we don’t have battery storage to the capacity that we need to be able to keep the lights on,” Littleproud said.

With the emergence of new energy management technologies, a growing market for energy storage that is outpacing growth in coal generation in Australia, demand response platforms and the falling prices of renewables, the concept of baseload is quickly becoming outdated.

With system planners recognising the crucial role that a ‘flexible’ energy system will have into the future, pushing new inflexible baseload power stations, like a new coal generator, into the energy system will only be counterproductive.

Chair of the Energy Security Board, which has been tasked with redesigning Australia’s energy market in response to the widescale transformation underway in the energy sector, labelled Australia’s existing “baseload” generators as “dinosaurs”, singling out coal-fired generators Bayswater and Liddell saying that their inflexibility made them poorly suited to a future energy system.

There has been a surge of installations of large-scale battery storage systems, and new investments continue to be made in deploying storage projects, while coal-fired generators are readying to exit the market.

The renewed push from the Nationals for a new coal generator appears to have been bolstered by the findings of a $10 million feasibility study into a potential new coal-fired power station in Collinsville. The feasibility study was funded as part of the government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments initiative and has yet to be released publicly.

“Collinsville, there’s a there’s now a report that’s come back to say that that business case should advance and then obviously, that will be backed by the economics of it,” Littleproud told ABC’s RN Breakfast.

The saga of the Collinsville power station has been a source of tension within the Coalition party room. Outgoing resources minister Matt Canavan had been desperate to get the project off the ground, and confronted prime minister Scott Morrison when he thought progress on the proposal was progressing too slowly.

Those tensions continue to play out in the party room, with a fiery confrontation occurring during the first coalition party room meeting of the year, and after a summer dominated by bushfires and calls for stronger climate action.

Several Nationals members shouted down calls from moderate Liberal MPs, who called for the Morrison government to demonstrate that it was taking climate change seriously.

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‘Death to America’: We will take hard and definitive revenge ― Iranians chant

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Iran is considering 13 scenarios to avenge the killing of a top Iranian military commander in Iraq by a U.S. drone attack, a senior Tehran official said on Tuesday as the general’s body was brought to his hometown for burial.

In Washington, the U.S. defense secretary denied reports the U.S. military was preparing to withdraw from Iraq, where Tehran has vied with Washington for influence over nearly two decades of war and unrest.

The killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who was responsible for building up Tehran’s network of proxy forces across the Middle East, has prompted mass mourning in Iran.

U.S. and Iranian warnings of new strikes and retaliation have also stoked concerns about a broader Middle East conflict and led to calls in the U.S. Congress for legislation to stop U.S. President Donald Trump going to war with Iran.

“We will take revenge, hard and definitive revenge,” the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, told tens of thousands of mourners in Soleimani’s hometown of Kerman.

Many chanted “Death to America” and waved the Iranian flag.

READ ALSO: Iran threatens to ‘unleash Hezbollah’ in Israel and Dubai

Soleimani’s body has been taken through Iraqi and Iranian cities since Friday’s strike, with huge crowds of mourners filling the streets.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military commanders have said Iranian retaliation for the U.S. action on Friday would match the scale of Soleimani’s killing but that it would be at a time and place of Tehran’s choosing.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said 13 “revenge scenarios” were being considered, Fars news agency reported. Even the weakest option would prove “a historic nightmare for the Americans,” he said.

Iran, whose southern coast stretches along a Gulf oil shipping route that includes the narrow Stait of Hormuz, has allied forces across the Middle East through which it could act. Representatives from those forces, including the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, attended the funeral.

Despite its strident rhetoric, analysts say Iran will want to avoid any conventional conflict with the United States but assymetric strikes, such as sabotage or other more limited military actions, are more likely.

Trump has promised strikes on 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates, although U.S. officials sought to downplay his reference to cultural targets.

Reuters and other media reported on Monday that the U.S. military had sent a letter to Iraqi officials informing them that U.S. troops would be repositioned in preparation to leave.

“In order to conduct this test, Coalition Forces are required to take certain measures to ensure that the movement out of Iraq is conducted in a safe and efficient manner,” it said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said there had been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq.

“I don’t know what that letter is,” he said.

U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the letter was a “poorly worded” draft document meant only to underscore increased movement by U.S. forces.

The letter, addressed to the Iraqi Defence Ministry’s Combined Joint Operations and confirmed as authentic by an Iraqi military source, had caused confusion about the future of the roughly 5,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq, where there has been a U.S. military presence since Saddam Hussein was toppled in a 2003 invasion.

On Sunday, Iraq’s parliament, dominated by lawmakers representing Muslim Shi’ite groups, passed a resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country.

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi told the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad on Monday that both sides needed to work together to implement the parliamentary resolution.

Friction between Iran and the United States has risen since Washington withdrew in 2018 from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other world powers.

The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Iran and Tehran said on Sunday it was dropping all limitations on uranium enrichment, its latest step back from commitments under the deal.

The U.S. administration has denied a visa to allow Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a U.S. official said.

“The United States will get the decisive, definite answer for its arrogance at the time and place when it will feel the most pain,” Zarif said in a speech broadcast on state television.

Trump’s U.S. political rivals have challenged his decision to order the killing of Soleimani and its timing in a U.S. election year. His administration said Soleimani was planning new attacks on U.S. interests but has offered no evidence.

U.S. general Milley said the threat from Soleimani was imminent. “We would have been culpably negligent to the American people had we not made the decision we made,” he said.

Trump administration officials will provide a classified briefing for U.S. senators on Wednesday on events in Iraq after some lawmakers accused the White House of risking a broad conflict without a strategy.

Reuters/NAN

The post ‘Death to America’: We will take hard and definitive revenge ― Iranians chant appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Iran Attacks U.S. Bases in Iraq; MSNBC Spews False Iranian Propaganda, Pelosi Attacks Trump From Party (Video) ⋆ Conservative Firing Line

As predicted, Iran has retaliated for the US attack that took out the terrorist Qasem Soleimani. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) sent missiles at two Iraqi military bases used by American forces, al-Asad, and Erbil.

Per the Pentagon

At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.  It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Erbil.

We are working on initial battle damage assessments.

In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region.

As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.

That the missiles were fired from Iran is a major escalation. Usually, their attacks are conducted by one of their proxies and initiate from Iraq.

The White House said President Trump was monitoring the situation and consulting with his national-security team.

Both CNN and Fox are reporting there are casualties on the Iraqi side. No word on American troops

Iran’s Press TV has released a video of the attack:

UPDATE #1 7:40PM Iran’s Press TV reports

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after vowing to retaliate the US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“Tens of surface-to-surface missiles” were fired at the strategic airbase and the attack was later confirmed by the US officials.

The IRGC has called for a complete withdrawal of US troops from the Arab country, asserting that it would not differentiate between the US and Israel in retaliating against the assassination of the Iranian national hero.

“We warn US allies providing bases for the [American] terrorist army… that any country serving as the origin of bellicose and aggressive attacks in any form against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be targeted,” read the IRGC statement

UPDATE #2 8:00 PM President Trump will address the nation tonight. Fox News has unconfirmed reports that there are no American casualties. This is a key moment for the President. His message to the country and the next steps against Iran may determine the future of his presidency.   

UPDATE #3 8:20 The IRGC says if the US responds by bombing on Iranian soil it will target the cities of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and Haifa, Israel, in the third wave of operations.

UPDATE #4 8:30 As Americans were being attacked Nancy Pelosi found time to attack President Trump.

Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020

Nancy Pelosi at Danny Meyer’s Maialino Mare opening in Navy Yard. pic.twitter.com/OMkVtxeEEk

— Anna Spiegel (@AnnaSpiegs) January 8, 2020

UPDATE #5 8:45 Trump will not deliver address tonight, White House official says

UPDATE #6 9:12 Things at the two bases seem to have calmed down but that doesn’t mean it’s over. Some sources are saying the attack was not as bad as first feared. Pentagon reports there were 15 rockets fired from Iran, four failed. The ten fired at Al-Assad did not directly hit the base. Possibly on purpose so they can say they fired back.  Pentagon is preliminarily saying no American casualties. MSNBC is reporting Iranian propaganda that 13 Americans died.

MSNBC is literally doing the work of the Iranians by airing completely unverified, untrustworthy Intel about US casualties

The Pentagon has not reported on any lives lost

Why would the Media air what is so blatantly Iranian propaganda?

— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 8, 2020

CNN is reporting that two missiles hit near Erbil. One missile landed inside the perimeter of Erbil International Airport without exploding, the second missile hit an area 33 kilometers (about 20 miles) west of the city of Erbil without causing casualties.

Iran released the picture below which they claim is the launch of the first missile.

Update #7 10:10pm 

Iraq Foreign Minister said the attack is over for now.

Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.

We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020

President Trump just tweeted “All is Well” and he will address the nation in the morning.

All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020

Per John Roberts of Fox News, the initial assessment is that the Iranian missiles struck areas of the al-Asad base not populated by Americans, according to a US military official and a senior administration official. Some in DC believe the misses were intentional. Iran needed to show a response to save face but intentionally did it in a way that would not hurt Americans.

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Why the fight against disinformation, sham accounts and trolls won’t be any easier in 2020

2020 Election

The big tech companies have announced aggressive steps to keep trolls, bots and online fakery from marring another presidential election — from Facebook’s removal of billions of fake accounts to Twitter’s spurning of all political ads.

But it’s a never-ending game of whack-a-mole that’s only getting harder as we barrel toward the 2020 election. Disinformation peddlers are deploying new, more subversive techniques and American operatives have adopted some of the deceptive tactics Russians tapped in 2016. Now, tech companies face thorny and sometimes subjective choices about how to combat them — at times drawing flak from both Democrats and Republicans as a result.

This is our roundup of some of the evolving challenges Silicon Valley faces as it tries to counter online lies and bad actors heading into the 2020 election cycle:

1) American trolls may be a greater threat than Russians

Russia-backed trolls notoriously flooded social media with disinformation around the presidential election in 2016, in what Robert Mueller’s investigators described as a multimillion-dollar plot involving years of planning, hundreds of people and a wave of fake accounts posting news and ads on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube.

This time around — as experts have warned — a growing share of the threat is likely to originate in America.

“It’s likely that there will be a high volume of misinformation and disinformation pegged to the 2020 election, with the majority of it being generated right here in the United States, as opposed to coming from overseas,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

Barrett, the author of a recent report on 2020 disinformation, noted that lies and misleading claims about 2020 candidates originating in the U.S. have already spread across social media. Those include manufactured sex scandals involving South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a smear campaign calling Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) “not an American black” because of her multiracial heritage. (The latter claim got a boost on Twitter from Donald Trump Jr.)

Before last year’s midterm elections, Americans similarly amplified fake messages such as a “#nomenmidterms” hashtag that urged liberal men to stay home from the polls to make “a Woman’s Vote Worth more.” Twitter suspended at least one person — actor James Woods — for retweeting that message.

“A lot of the disinformation that we can identify tends to be domestic,” said Nahema Marchal, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda Project. “Just regular private citizens leveraging the Russian playbook, if you will, to create … a divisive narrative, or just mixing factual reality with made-up facts.”

Tech companies say they’ve broadened their fight against disinformation as a result. Facebook, for instance, announced in October that it had expanded its policies against “coordinated inauthentic behavior” to reflect a rise in disinformation campaigns run by non-state actors, domestic groups and companies. But people tracking the spread of fakery say it remains a problem, especially inside closed groups like those popular on Facebook.

2) And policing domestic content is tricky

U.S. law forbids foreigners from taking part in American political campaigns — a fact that made it easy for members of Congress to criticize Facebook for accepting rubles as payment for political ads in 2016.

But Americans are allowed, even encouraged, to partake in their own democracy — which makes things a lot more complicated when they use social media tools to try to skew the electoral process. For one thing, the companies face a technical challenge: Domestic meddling doesn’t leave obvious markers such as ads written in broken English and traced back to Russian internet addresses.

More fundamentally, there’s often no clear line between bad-faith meddling and dirty politics. It’s not illegal to run a mud-slinging campaign or engage in unscrupulous electioneering. And the tech companies are wary of being seen as infringing on American’s right to engage in political speech — all the more so as conservatives such as President Donald Trump accuse them of silencing their voices.

Plus, the line between foreign and domestic can be blurry. Even in 2016, the Kremlin-backed troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency relied on Americans to boost their disinformation. Now, claims with hazy origins are being picked up without need for a coordinated 2016-style foreign campaign. Simon Rosenberg, a longtime Democratic strategist who has spent recent years focused on online disinformation, points to Trump’s promotion of the theory that Ukraine significantly meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, a charge that some experts trace back to Russian security forces.

“It’s hard to know if something is foreign or domestic,” said Rosenberg, once it “gets swept up in this vast ‘Wizard of Oz’-like noise machine.”

3) Bad actors are learning

Experts agree on one thing: The election interference tactics that social media platforms encounter in 2020 will look different from those they’ve trying to fend off since 2016.

“What we’re going to see is the continued evolution and development of new approaches, new experimentation trying to see what will work and what won’t,” said Lee Foster, who leads the information operations intelligence analysis team at the cybersecurity firm FireEye.

Foster said the “underlying motivations” of undermining democratic institutions and casting doubt on election results will remain constant, but the trolls have already evolved their tactics.

For instance, they’ve gotten better at obscuring their online activity to avoid automatic detection, even as social media platforms ramp up their use of artificial intelligence software to dismantle bot networks and eradicate inauthentic accounts.

“One of the challenges for the platforms is that, on the one hand, the public understandably demands more transparency from them about how they take down or identify state-sponsored attacks or how they take down these big networks of authentic accounts, but at the same time they can’t reveal too much at the risk of playing into bad actors’ hands,” said Oxford’s Marchal.

Researchers have already observed extensive efforts to distribute disinformation through user-generated posts — known as “organic” content — rather than the ads or paid messages that were prominent in the 2016 disinformation campaigns.

Foster, for example, cited trolls impersonating journalists or other more reliable figures to give disinformation greater legitimacy. And Marchal noted a rise in the use of memes and doctored videos, whose origins can be difficult to track down. Jesse Littlewood, vice president at advocacy group Common Cause, said social media posts aimed at voter suppression frequently appear no different from ordinary people sharing election updates in good faith — messages such as “you can text your vote” or “the election’s a different day” that can be “quite harmful.”

Tech companies insist they are learning, too. Since the 2016 election, Google, Facebook and Twitter have devoted security experts and engineers to tackling disinformation in national elections across the globe, including the 2018 midterms in the United States. The companies say they have gotten better at detecting and removing fake accounts, particularly those engaged in coordinated campaigns.

But other tactics may have escaped detection so far. NYU’s Barrett noted that disinformation-for-hire operations sometimes employed by corporations may be ripe for use in U.S. politics, if they’re not already.

He pointed to a recent experiment conducted by the cyber threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, which said it paid two shadowy Russian “threat actors” a total of just $6,050 to generate media campaigns promoting and trashing a fictitious company. Barrett said the project was intended “to lure out of the shadows firms that are willing to do this kind of work,” and demonstrated how easy it is to generate and sow disinformation.

Real-life examples include a hyper-partisan skewed news operation started by a former Fox News executive and Facebook’s accusations that an Israeli social media company profited from creating hundreds of fake accounts. That “shows that there are firms out there that are willing and eager to engage in this kind of underhanded activity,” Barrett said.

4) Not all lies are created equal

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are largely united in trying to take down certain kinds of false information, such as targeted attempts to drive down voter turnout. But their enforcement has been more varied when it comes to material that is arguably misleading.

In some cases, the companies label the material factually dubious or use their algorithms to limit its spread. But in the lead-up to 2020, the companies’ rules are being tested by political candidates and government leaders who sometimes play fast and loose with the truth.

“A lot of the mainstream campaigns and politicians themselves tend to rely on a mix of fact and fiction,” Marchal said. “It’s often a lot of … things that contain a kernel of truth but have been distorted.”

One example is the flap over a Trump campaign ad — which appeared on Facebook, YouTube and some television networks — suggesting that former Vice President Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine into firing a prosecutor to squelch an investigation into an energy company whose board included Biden’s son Hunter. In fact, the Obama administration and multiple U.S. allies had pushed for removing the prosecutor for slow-walking corruption investigations. The ad “relies on speculation and unsupported accusations to mislead viewers,” the nonpartisan site FactCheck.org concluded.

The debate has put tech companies at the center of a tug of war in Washington. Republicans have argued for more permissive rules to safeguard constitutionally protected political speech, while Democrats have called for greater limits on politicians’ lies.

Democrats have especially lambasted Facebook for refusing to fact-check political ads, and have criticized Twitter for letting politicians lie in their tweets and Google for limiting candidates’ ability to finely tune the reach of their advertising — all examples, the Democrats say, of Silicon Valley ducking the fight against deception.

Jesse Blumenthal, who leads the tech policy arm of the Koch-backed Stand Together coalition, said expecting Silicon Valley to play truth cop places an undue burden on tech companies to litigate messy disputes over what’s factual.

“Most of the time the calls are going to be subjective, so what they end up doing is putting the platforms at the center of this rather than politicians being at the center of this,” he said.

Further complicating matters, social media sites have generally granted politicians considerably more leeway to spread lies and half-truths through their individual accounts and in certain instances through political ads. “We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an October speech at Georgetown University in which he defended his company’s policy.

But Democrats say tech companies shouldn’t profit off false political messaging.

“I am supportive of these social media companies taking a much harder line on what content they allow in terms of political ads and calling out lies that are in political ads, recognizing that that’s not always the easiest thing to draw those distinctions,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state told POLITICO.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Hate Speech Bill: UN, UK Oppose Inclusion Of Death Penalty

As the ongoing debate on the Hate Bill speech before the Nigeria Senate continues, the United Nations and the United Kingdom have added their voice in opposition against the inclusion of the death penalty in the proposed legislation.

The Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill, according to its sponsor, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, proposes that any person who violates the law shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

But the UN and the UK insisted that the bill may act as a conduit to prevent Nigerians to exercise their right to free expression as guaranteed in the 1999 constitution (as amended).

Olusola Macaulay, spokesman of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Nigeria, said the introduction of the bill is not the most exigent matter for the National Assembly currently. He stated that public enlightenment on the dangers of hate speech is what should be communicated to Nigerians.

“I’m not sure what the government needs now is a bill or an idea to shut down people or prevent people from being able to express themselves or express their freedom of thought or information. What I think the government should do more is to enlighten the people,” he said in an interview with the Punch on Thursday.

“Every human being has the right to life and you cannot cut off people’s lives just because someone has expressed his opinion. Nobody is saying hate speech is good.

“Hate speech and fake news have been there from time immemorial and it is barbaric to say now that we want to hang people because they expressed their feelings or what they had in mind. So, censoring people or limiting people from participating in politics might not be the correct thing. As I said, the best thing to do is to educate the people.”

Macaulay disclosed that a UNESCO advocacy group, Media and Information Literacy Coalition, would soon meet with the National Assembly over the proposed legislation.

He also hinted that the UN would lobby the Federal Government on the legislation.

“We are trying to pay an advocacy visit to the government and do some lobbying. There is a coalition working already, it was formed with the support of UNESCO.

“They are working to meet with the National Assembly to express their mind and possibly advise the government to have a different narrative to the issue of hate speech and fake news,” he said.

On its part, the British government said while it unequivocally condemns hate speech, the inclusion of the death penalty in the proposed bill would stifle Nigerians from freely expressing themselves.

In a statement signed by Chris Ogunmodede, Senior Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Abuja, the UK government said it supports the right of individuals to express their opinions peacefully in a an open society.

The statement read: “The UK government is following discussions around the proposed Prohibition of Hate Speech bill closely.

“We take a strong stand against hate speech, which can incite violence and damage community relationships within society.  We also strongly support the right of individuals to express opinions and peacefully challenge authority as an essential part of a free and open society.

“The UK strongly opposes the inclusion of the death penalty in any piece of legislation, as a matter of principle.”

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UN States Position On Death Penalty For Hate Speech In Nigeria

The United Nations (UN) has opposed the death penalty clause in the proposed National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill introduced by Senator Sabi Abdullah, the Deputy Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate.

Naija News understands that the bill states that any person who violates the law shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

Reacting,the UN described the death penalty as barbaric, noting that its inclusion in the bill was unacceptable.

I’m an interview with PUNCH,  the spokesman, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Olusola Macaulay, said the UN would not support the bill, noting that a UNESCO advocacy group, Media and Information Literacy Coalition, would soon meet with the National Assembly over the proposed legislation.

His words: “We are trying to pay an advocacy visit to the government and do some lobbying. There is a coalition working already, it was formed with the support of UNESCO.

“They are working to meet with the National Assembly to express their mind and possibly advise the government to have a different narrative to the issue of hate speech and fake news.”

The spokesman also said the UN would lobby the Federal Government on the legislation, adding that what was needed is public enlightenment and education about hate speech and not a law stipulating the death penalty for violators.

“I’m not sure what the government needs now is a bill or an idea to shut down people or prevent people from being able to express themselves or express their freedom of thought or information. What I think the government should do more is to enlighten the people,” he said.

Macaulay said most Nigerians were ignorant of issues relating to media and information literacy, noting that a harsh law was not the solution to the challenge.

The global body noted, “Every human being has the right to life and you cannot cut off people’s lives just because someone has expressed his opinion. Nobody is saying hate speech is good.

“Hate speech and fake news have been there from time immemorial and it is barbaric to say now that we want to hang people because they expressed their feelings or what they had in mind. So, censoring people or limiting people from participating in politics might not be the correct thing. As I said, the best thing to do is to educate the people,” he added.

The UN agency queried the government for not holding politicians engaging in hate speech to account, noting that many of them had said things that could destabilise the country without being held liable.

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Lady beats her 13-year-old sister to death for bed wetting

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When a Lagos trader Mr. Emeka Omenka and his wife Ifeoma allowed their 13-year-old daughter Precious to visit her half-sister in Lekki, they never knew it was a decision they would regret the rest of their lives.

Precious, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 pupil died on October 25 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Metta from complications of the beating she allegedly received from her older half-sister Nneka and her mother Seki Eko on October 14.

According to the death certificate issued at the hospital, the primary and secondary causes of death were Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Cardiopulmonary Collapse.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days and causes a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body.

Other causes of AKI, the foundation said, are decreased blood flow to the kidney caused by shock, clotting, bleeding or severe diarrhoea, severe allergic reaction, overuse of pain medicines used to reduce swelling or relieve pain from headaches, colds, flu, and other ailments.

The teenager went to Nneka’s house in Ikota, Lekki on October 12 on the latter’s request.

Omenka said his 13-year-old daughter was returned on October 16 looking weak with complaints of body pains. He said Precious gave details of how she was kicked in the stomach, chest and sides several times, adding that she was beaten with a mop stick and a cable as well. They tried to relieve the pains with analgesics and hot water massage.

“I am in pain,” he said. “My heart is broken. I do not even know where to start. I am finding it so difficult to understand how my older daughter and her mother beat up my girl so badly to the point that she died as a result of wounds she sustained. Nneka is my first daughter. I had her out of wedlock with one Seki Eko I was in a relationship with. She runs a beer parlour at Oluwole Market. But Nneka was trained by my wife Ifeoma who loved her like her own child.

“When I got married to my wife, it was difficult for her to conceive and so she brought up Nneka like her own child. So, when she came and said Precious should come to her place in Ikota, we did not have any reason to deny her request. Her husband lives in Dubai. She promised to send her to a private school to appreciate my wife for taking care of her.

“Precious went to her place on October 12. It was that weekend that it rained all through. Then, on October 14, which was a Monday, it also rained and Precious said she peed on the bed. That was her offence that made my daughter and her mother to descend on her like that.

“When they finished, they brought her back and dumped her at my place in Apapa Road, Ebute Metta. She was complaining of body pains and narrated what happened to her at her sister’s place in tears. I could not bear it and I wept as she was talking.

“My wife and I bought painkillers that we gave her. My wife was also using hot water and cloth to massage her body. We did not know that it was so bad. When we saw that she was not getting better despite the painkillers, we decided to take her to FMC because that’s where she was born.

“She was already stooling on her body and her mother was cleaning it. So, at the hospital, she was rushed to the emergency room after the doctors said she was short of blood. They did so many tests and scans and discovered that she was bleeding internally and that her bladder burst too.

“She was in the hospital some days and was booked for emergency surgery. I was busy running around to raise money to save my daughter’s life. I even borrowed from friends and family members so that she could be saved but at last we lost her.

“Nneka did not tell me what happened to my daughter and did not even come to the hospital until her relative from her mother’s side who works at the FMC called her to rebuke her. That was when she came and spent about N14,000 on my daughter’s drugs that day.

“I did not go to the police station then because I was busy running around for my daughter to be alright. But after she passed on…my kinsmen advised I report at the station. I went to Denton Police Station and Iponri but they told me it did not happen in their jurisdiction and that I should go to Lekki to report.

“I just sent a message to her husband and told him what she did. My wife has been inconsolable since then.

“I want justice for my daughter. I feel very disappointed that this happened to my family. I want human rights to come and government to investigate this case. Nneka is my daughter but Precious is also my daughter and she did not deserve to die like that,” he said.

The mother of the deceased told our correspondent she was still in shock over the incident, denying insinuations that Precious might have been ill.

She said: “My daughter was very healthy and even cooked for her younger ones that day before following Nneka. Nneka and her mother should explain what happened to my daughter. Nneka was brought to my house when she was 17 and we trained her in the university. I never did any wrong to her and then, she chose to pay me back this way?”

Our correspondent contacted Nneka for her reaction to the allegation and she said she would call back because where she was in a noisy place. After 90 minutes, our correspondent called again but she asked, “Who gave you the information? I cannot answer you if you do not say who gave you information. If you are recording me, I am recording you too and we all have our exhibits.”

Later, a woman, Tolu Fagbayila who said she was Nneka’s manager and public relations person called but declined to give her client’s side of the story.

She insisted on a physical meeting for a way forward.

Our correspondent told her a physical meeting was not necessary and that Nneka’s reaction could be sent through email, WhatsApp or SMS by the lawyer or anyone speaking on her behalf but that was not done.

Nneka reportedly told those around her the teenager died as a result of ruptured appendicitis, adding that the girl was ill before she took her to her house.

Efforts to reach her mother Seki Eko on her telephone number were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, a coalition of child advocates has signified interest in the matter following The Nation online report of the case.

Mr. Omenka told our correspondent that the advocates have contacted and interviewed him, adding that they also volunteered to take over the case and ensure justice.

Sources at the police station said an order to exhume the teenager’s body would be sought so that autopsy could be conducted.

Police spokesman Bala Elkana confirmed the case was reported at Ajiwe Division in Ajah, adding that the suspects have been arrested.

He said, “The father of the girl reported the incident at Ajah Police Station. He said he has since buried the girl. We have arrested the suspects and the case has been transferred to homicide section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (SCIID) Yaba.”

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Lady beats her younger sister to death for bed wetting. – YabaLeftOnline

person

When a Lagos trader Mr. Emeka Omenka and his wife Ifeoma allowed their 13-year-old daughter Precious to visit her half-sister in Lekki, they never knew it was a decision they would regret the rest of their lives.

Precious, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 pupil died on October 25 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Ebute Metta from complications of the beating she allegedly received from her older half-sister Nneka and her mother Seki Eko on October 14.

According to the death certificate issued at the hospital, the primary and secondary causes of death were Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Cardiopulmonary Collapse.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days and causes a build-up of waste products in the blood, making it hard for the kidneys to keep the right balance of fluid in the body.

Other causes of AKI, the foundation said, are decreased blood flow to the kidney caused by shock, clotting, bleeding or severe diarrhoea, severe allergic reaction, overuse of pain medicines used to reduce swelling or relieve pain from headaches, colds, flu, and other ailments.

The teenager went to Nneka’s house in Ikota, Lekki on October 12 on the latter’s request.

Omenka said his 13-year-old daughter was returned on October 16 looking weak with complaints of body pains. He said Precious gave details of how she was kicked in the stomach, chest and sides several times, adding that she was beaten with a mop stick and a cable as well. They tried to relieve the pains with analgesics and hot water massage.

“I am in pain,” he said. “My heart is broken. I do not even know where to start. I am finding it so difficult to understand how my older daughter and her mother beat up my girl so badly to the point that she died as a result of wounds she sustained. Nneka is my first daughter. I had her out of wedlock with one Seki Eko I was in a relationship with. She runs a beer parlour at Oluwole Market. But Nneka was trained by my wife Ifeoma who loved her like her own child.

“When I got married to my wife, it was difficult for her to conceive and so she brought up Nneka like her own child. So, when she came and said Precious should come to her place in Ikota, we did not have any reason to deny her request. Her husband lives in Dubai. She promised to send her to a private school to appreciate my wife for taking care of her.

“Precious went to her place on October 12. It was that weekend that it rained all through. Then, on October 14, which was a Monday, it also rained and Precious said she peed on the bed. That was her offence that made my daughter and her mother to descend on her like that.

“When they finished, they brought her back and dumped her at my place in Apapa Road, Ebute Metta. She was complaining of body pains and narrated what happened to her at her sister’s place in tears. I could not bear it and I wept as she was talking.

“My wife and I bought painkillers that we gave her. My wife was also using hot water and cloth to massage her body. We did not know that it was so bad. When we saw that she was not getting better despite the painkillers, we decided to take her to FMC because that’s where she was born.

“She was already stooling on her body and her mother was cleaning it. So, at the hospital, she was rushed to the emergency room after the doctors said she was short of blood. They did so many tests and scans and discovered that she was bleeding internally and that her bladder burst too.

“She was in the hospital some days and was booked for emergency surgery. I was busy running around to raise money to save my daughter’s life. I even borrowed from friends and family members so that she could be saved but at last we lost her.

“Nneka did not tell me what happened to my daughter and did not even come to the hospital until her relative from her mother’s side who works at the FMC called her to rebuke her. That was when she came and spent about N14,000 on my daughter’s drugs that day.

I did not go to the police station then because I was busy running around for my daughter to be alright. But after she passed on…my kinsmen advised I report at the station. I went to Denton Police Station and Iponri but they told me it did not happen in their jurisdiction and that I should go to Lekki to report.

“I just sent a message to her husband and told him what she did. My wife has been inconsolable since then.

“I want justice for my daughter. I feel very disappointed that this happened to my family. I want human rights to come and government to investigate this case. Nneka is my daughter but Precious is also my daughter and she did not deserve to die like that,” he said.

The mother of the deceased told our correspondent she was still in shock over the incident, denying insinuations that Precious might have been ill.

She said: “My daughter was very healthy and even cooked for her younger ones that day before following Nneka. Nneka and her mother should explain what happened to my daughter. Nneka was brought to my house when she was 17 and we trained her in the university. I never did any wrong to her and then, she chose to pay me back this way?”

Our correspondent contacted Nneka for her reaction to the allegation and she said she would call back because where she was in a noisy place. After 90 minutes, our correspondent called again but she asked, “Who gave you the information? I cannot answer you if you do not say who gave you information. If you are recording me, I am recording you too and we all have our exhibits.”

Later, a woman, Tolu Fagbayila who said she was Nneka’s manager and public relations person called but declined to give her client’s side of the story.

She insisted on a physical meeting for a way forward.

Our correspondent told her a physical meeting was not necessary and that Nneka’s reaction could be sent through email, WhatsApp or SMS by the lawyer or anyone speaking on her behalf but that was not done.

Nneka reportedly told those around her the teenager died as a result of ruptured appendicitis, adding that the girl was ill before she took her to her house.

Efforts to reach her mother Seki Eko on her telephone number were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, a coalition of child advocates has signified interest in the matter following The Nation online report of the case.

Mr. Omenka told our correspondent that the advocates have contacted and interviewed him, adding that they also volunteered to take over the case and ensure justice.

Sources at the police station said an order to exhume the teenager’s body would be sought so that autopsy could be conducted.

Police spokesman Bala Elkana confirmed the case was reported at Ajiwe Division in Ajah, adding that the suspects have been arrested.

He said, “The father of the girl reported the incident at Ajah Police Station. He said he has since buried the girl. We have arrested the suspects and the case has been transferred to homicide section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (SCIID) Yaba.”

Source: The Nation.

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Progressives Are Divided On How To Approach The Impeachment Process

Algorithmia AI Generated Summary

When House Speaker support for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump last week, some of the most pointed criticism of her leadership evaporated in an instant.

Need to Impeach, the nonprofit funded by billionaire Tom Steyer that had been a thorn in Pelosi’s side for the better part of two years, only had good things to say.

“People will look back at this moment as the day Congress stood up for democracy, American values, and our constitution and fought back against the corrupt, criminal president, Donald Trump,” Nathaly Arriola, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

Need to Impeach has now turned its attention to vulnerable Senate Republicans, whom it announced on Tuesday it will be pressing to back impeachment with over $3 million in television and digital advertisements. 

But beneath the praise and comity, there is some disagreement among progressive groups as to how to proceed.

At one end of the debate is a smaller group of progressive activists and experts worried that the impeachment inquiry risks at once dragging on too long and covering too few of the president’s infractions.

And on the other side of the spectrum are groups like Need to Impeach, as well as officials, activists and strategists who see no need, for the time being, to exert additional public pressure on congressional Democrats.

“We’re getting it right here,” said Greg Pinelo, a veteran Democratic media strategist who helped develop advertisements for both Obama campaigns. “You can argue about whether we should have got here sooner. But facts on the ground change ― and the facts on the ground right now suggest a really focused effort.”

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Speaker Pelosi, right, addressed reporters alongside Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Her support for an impeachment inquiry has largely quieted critics.

Not everyone is content though. Heidi Hess, who runs the progressive phone company Credo’s issue campaigns at Credo Action, expressed disappointment in Speaker Pelosi’s press conference on Tuesday. 

Hess is calling for a timeline for completing the investigation and a deadline to vote on articles of impeachment that are reported out. She fears that allowing the process to drag on could give Trump an opportunity to sow more chaos and diminish public support for the process.

“Unless we have deadlines, then for us, that is still them telegraphing that what [Democrats] want is to stall,” she said.

Credo Action, the nonpartisan, pro-democracy nonprofit Free Speech for People and several other groups have called for the House Judiciary Committee to report out articles of impeachment against Trump by Nov. 1 and a vote on those articles by Nov. 15. They are also demanding an immediate end to the current congressional recess in the interest of expediting the process.

Another priority for these liberal critics is impeaching Trump on the broadest possible grounds, which they worry Democratic leadership is not adequately interested in. Credo Action is part of a coalition of liberal groups and legal experts, under the intellectual leadership of Free Speech for People, calling for Trump to be impeached for at least 12 different reasons. The reasons, which the groups outlined in a July 30 letter to the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, fall under the broad categories of abuse of power, corruption of the electoral process, promotion of racial hostility, and corruption and self-enrichment.

“We remain deeply concerned that Congress is not addressing this constitutional crisis with the urgency that’s required at the moment,” said John Bonifaz, an attorney and co-founder of Free Speech for People. 

Bonifaz helped develop the coalition’s list of impeachable offenses and advised Democratic Reps. Al Green of Texas and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan on their earlier efforts to initiate impeachment inquiries. He worries that failure to hold Trump accountable for the full scope of his misconduct could again set an “extremely dangerous precedent” for presidential impunity.

Hess cited the possibility of a repeat of the articles of impeachment against then-President Richard Nixon. Congress chose not to issue articles of impeachment related to Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia, which Hess and other left-leaning activists regard as a mistake that helped future presidents prosecute foreign interventions illegally.

Pelosi has not set any explicit deadlines for the House Judiciary Committee to report out articles of impeachment. But at a press conference on Wednesday, the speaker warned that refusals by the Trump administration to cooperate with the House’s investigation into Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter would be regarded as obstruction of justice. 

“We do not want this to drag on for months and months, which appears to be the [White House’s] strategy,” Pelosi said. 

A lot of the work on the other misconduct has already been done. I think [impeachment] will be broad and fast. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)

Pelosi has also said that House committees investigating other elements of Trump’s potential misconduct will report their findings to the Judiciary Committee, leaving open the possibility that impeachment will cover a broader range of matters.

Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat and vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, stood out among his colleagues with a public appeal last week for Congress to postpone its two-week recess in order to work on the impeachment inquiry. He predicted that focusing on a broad range of Trump’s misdeeds is compatible with a rapid process. 

“A lot of the work on the other misconduct has already been done,” Khanna told HuffPost. “I think [impeachment] will be broad and fast.” 

But assurances like those are not enough for Hess, Bonifaz and some other outspoken progressives who worry that the absence of firmer commitments from Pelosi right now, when the pressure to placate the grassroots is perhaps greatest, raises the risk of a looser approach going forward. 

The trouble for these Pelosi critics is that many of their normally allied organizations and activists are thus far unwilling to publicly criticize the speaker’s management of the process. 

Spokespeople for the Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Indivisible all expressed support for an impeachment process that is both prompt and broad in scope without joining in criticism of Pelosi.

Meagan Hatcher-Mays, who runs Indivisible’s democracy program, shared Hess’ commitment to a rapid process, as well as a wide-ranging inquiry. “Every day that he’s in office is a new threat to our election security,” she said. But Indivisible is not setting out a hard deadline; Hatcher-Mays said the group hopes it nears completion before Thanksgiving. 

Similarly, PCCC spokeswoman Maria Langholz called Pelosi’s approach of having committees of jurisdiction submit to the Judiciary Committee the results of their investigations into Trump “smart.”

And Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, which rivals Credo Action and PCCC in online organizing heft, suggested a middle path in terms of the scope of the impeachment articles ― something shy of 12, but more than just one about Trump’s pressure on Ukraine.

Chamberlain said he is “not really concerned” with the speed of the process so far, but he would like to see the House move on it quickly so it can proceed to the Senate. The sooner it gets there, he argued, the sooner it can be used against Republicans senators up for reelection in swing states.

“The Senate has the most to lose here,” he said.

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Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch in Saudi Arabia draws criticism

Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch in Saudi Arabia draws criticism - CNN

(CNN)The decision to stage the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia has drawn heavy criticism from human rights group Amnesty International.

“Neutral grounds — LETS GO [sic],” the 29-year-old wrote on social media about the fight which is being dubbed the “Clash on the Dunes.”
The seventh-round stoppage in Madison Square Garden was Joshua’s first defeat in his career and he will look to regain the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles he ceded to Ruiz, who was crowned Mexico’s first ever heavyweight champion.
    Saudi Arabia has hosted a number of fights in recent times, including Amir Khan’s win over Billy Dib and Callum Smith’s World Boxing Super Series victory against George Groves.
    news
    It also welcomed the opening race of the 2018-19 Formule E season, motorsport’s all-electric race series, and will stage the world’s richest horse race — with a prize purse of $20 million — next year.
    However, the middle east country’s “abysmal human rights record” has been called into question by Amnesty International UK, which urged Joshua to “inform himself of the human rights situation” ahead of the rematch.
    “If Anthony Joshua fights Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia, it’s likely to be yet another opportunity for the Saudi authorities to try to ‘sportswash’ their severely tarnished image,” said Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns.
    “Despite some long-overdue reforms on women’s rights, Saudi Arabia is currently in the grip of a sweeping human rights crackdown — with women’s rights activists, lawyers and members of the Shia minority community all being targeted.
    “There’s been no justice over the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen is carrying out indiscriminate attacks on homes, hospitals and market-places with horrific consequences for Yemeni civilians.”
    sport

      Anthony Joshua on boxing, Brexit and Nigeria

    CNN has reached out to Joshua’s promoters and the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia for comment but is yet to receive a response.
    However, in a press conference on Monday, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn officially announced that the fight would be taking place in a purpose-built, 15,000-seat venue in Diriyah.
    “Organizations bigger than us have taken events to Saudi Arabia. If [the country] is willing to invest in the sport of boxing for the right reasons, I’m in,” said Hearn.
    “Every promoter in boxing has been in talks with Saudi Arabia, Dubai etc. Mayweather and Pacquaio considered it, this is the first time it will actually happen.
    “I couldn’t believe how good the World Boxing Super Series final was there. Financially, it is viable. Formula One, the European golf tour, the Italia Cup, the biggest horse racing race, it all happens here.”
    Ruiz, who was born in California but has Mexican parents, had made calls for the rematch to be held in Tijuana where he made his professional debut in 2009.
      The Principality Stadium in Wales — the site of two professional victories for Joshua — had previously been thought of as the most likely site for the fight.
      “Ruiz had a moan about the UK,” added Hearn. “We said: there’s your neutral venue.”

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