Ahead of Delhi polls, Prashant Bhushan, Kavita Krishnan, others rake up EVM tampering

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New Delhi: Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, activist and politician Kavita Krishnan and many others have re-ignited the Electronic Voter Machine (EVM) tampering debate on Twitter ahead of the Delhi assembly elections.

It all began after Home Minister Amit Shah, at an election rally in East Delhi’s Kondli Wednesday, said, “I know your decision, the results on 11 February will shock everyone.”

Bhushan, a public interest lawyer who was part of the Aam Aadmi Party before being ousted in 2015, expressed his doubts on Twitter and wondered whether Shah was “going to pull a rabbit out of the hat by EVM tampering” in the upcoming polls in Delhi.

Why does Shah say that Delhi election results will shock everyone? It means he knows that everyone expects AAP to win and BJP to lose. Is he planning to pull a rabbit out of the hat by EVM tampering? Or is there some more sinister plan afoot?https://t.co/jf0KE4GAa5

— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) February 6, 2020

Krishnan, a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), also expressed on Twitter her concerns about possible “EVM manipulation”.

So @AmitShah says #DelhiElections2020 results will “shock” ppl. Why? If BJP is confident everyone is supporting them, voting for them, then the results should shock no one, no? They will only shock ppl, if the latter have NOT voted BJP. So is Shah hinting at EVM manipulation?

— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) February 6, 2020

Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram called Shah’s remark “shocking”.

What is the meaning of the Home Minister’s statement that the result of the Delhi elections will shock the nation.

— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 6, 2020

While Shahid Siddiqui, former Samajwadi Party leader, asserted that the “sangh” could go to any “extent to grab Delhi”.

It seems a big mischief in offing, Delhi be prepared for a “EVM-Surprise”.
Sangh ready to go to any extent to grab Delhi.
ShahJi ki naak ka sawal ban gaya hai.

— shahid siddiqui (@shahid_siddiqui) February 6, 2020

BJP defends Shah’s remarks

BJP leaders defended Shah’s remarks with National Spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi calling the accusers “losers”. BJP Mahila Morcha’s Priti Gandhi also ridiculed the matter.

Losers have already started building their case. When BJP loses an election after election from Rajasthan, MP…& AAP won elections by getting 67 seats in Delhi EVM’s were functioning right , knowing well when Shah with the team are walking in the streets of Delhi EVM’s go kaput https://t.co/2V9PHLxE7B

— Meenakashi Lekhi (@M_Lekhi) February 6, 2020

Hahaha!! The blaming of the EVM’s has already begun!!🤣🤣#BJP45PlusInDelhi https://t.co/tHXicg3aKx

— Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi) February 6, 2020

EVM tampering has been a contentious issue for the party in the past few elections, especially the 2014 and 2019 general elections, when the Modi government won a thumping majority.

Several opposition parties, including the Congress, have accused the BJP of tampering with election results in both these instances. However, the Election Commission refuted these allegations.

Ironically, it was the BJP that had first flagged concerns regarding the EVM. In 2009, veteran party leader L.K. Advani had demanded the “reintroduction of ballot papers” during the Maharashtra assembly elections. In the last few years, opposition parties have raised the issue of EVM tampering every time the BJP has won an election.

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2020 Edo Primary Elections

This edtion of #TVCThisMorning dissects the 2020 Edo primary elections as parties prepare to elect their flagbearers.

#Edo2020 #EdoPrimary #AdamsOshiomhole

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This content was originally published here.

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INEC vows not to declare results if Edo, Ondo Governorship Elections are disrupted

Hello and thank you for joining us on the Thursday edition of Journalists’ Hangout with Citizen Jones Usen, Babajide Kolade-Otitoju and Jeremiah Ozor.

Today on the programme, INEC vows not to declare results if Edo, Ondo Governorship Elections are disrupted, warns politicians against violence, President Buhari endorses tough action against rapists, as bill to protect victims passes first reading

Later on the show, President Buhari orders military to extract heavy price from Boko Haram for killing 82 persons in Borno State, as bandits kill 20 in fresh attack in Katsina State.

Journalists’ Hangout starts now.

#INEC #Military #Ondo2020 #Edo2020

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Facebook deactivates accounts of Tunisian political bloggers and activists | Global development | The Guardian

The Facebook accounts of several high-profile bloggers and activists in Tunisia were among those deactivated without warning over the weekend.

Up to 60 accounts are understood to have been deactivated, including that of journalist and political commentator Haythem El Mekki.

At least 14 accounts have since been restored, but no explanation has been given for the action by the social media giant.

“They received no warning, no advance notice and still have no explanation,” said Emna Mizouni, an activist and journalist who campaigns for an open internet. “In the end we were able to get 14 restored by going to [the anti-corruption watchdog] IWatch … but know nothing about the rest.”

Facebook use is high in Tunisia, with many people crediting the platform for providing a rallying point for activists and bloggers during the country’s 2011 revolution that overthrew Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

“In Tunisia, the internet equals Facebook,” said Mizouni. “It was a really important tool during the revolution. We used it to organise events and share videos of what was happening across the country.”

After cementing itself at the centre of much of Tunisia’s public conversation, politicians and ministries use Facebook to communicate directly with the people. According to online advocacy group AccessNow, around 60% of Tunisian are Facebook users, one of the highest uptakes of the platform within the region.

El Mekki first became aware that his account had been deactivated last Friday. “It just said that my account had been deactivated and that was my final notice,” he said. “There wasn’t really any negotiation.”

Given his high profile and occasionally incendiary comments, El Mekki is not a stranger to controversy. However, having his account arbitrarily deactivated came as a surprise.

“I still don’t know what happened,” he said. “It would be flattering to believe that we had been targeted, but I think it’s just as likely that an algorithm got out of control.”

Whatever the causes, over the past nine years the country’s relationship with Facebook has changed. “I think one of the main dangers is that it’s not transparent to Tunisians,” said Mizouni. “For instance, during last year’s elections, we were unable to find out who was paying for what political adverts and why, despite several requests from NGOs to do so.”

Facebook did eventually respond to the NGOs’ requests some months later, although its letter failed to address the specific concerns raised. 

The Guardian contacted Facebook about the deactivated accounts and the company said it was investigating. 

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Strategic approaches to credible elections in Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari says global solidarity is the hope for humanity, calling on developed nations and international financial institutions to cancel the debts of needy countries, especially in Africa.

This is to enable them reverse the devastations of covid-19 to the human race.

The president also urged major nations to provide free additional resources through an international consensus to assist poor countries fight the pandemic.

He cautioned them against adopting a ‘Me First’ and ‘Every Man for Himself’ attitude, warning that the consequences for humanity in the 21st century can only be imagined.
#Inauguration #Senate
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INEC to pilot e-voting in 2021, seeks cancellation of by-elections

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Hello and thank you for joining us on the Tuesday edition of Journalists’ Hangout with Ayodele Ozugbakun. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in Nigeria, we must do more to keep ourselves safe by maintaining social distance.

Today on the programme, Electricity generation sinks to 2,627mw, as power plants stay idle, INEC to pilot e-voting in 2021, seeks cancellation of by-elections, and later on the show, Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases pass the 8,000 mark.

Journalists’ Hangout starts now.

#JH #Lockdown #COVID-19

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This content was originally published here.

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Journalism without borders: why we are deepening our Europe coverage | World news | The Guardian

In the depth of the financial and economic crisis that was causing misery across much of southern Europe, particularly in 2011, I set off on a reporting trip that contained the germ of what, nearly a decade later, would find expression in This is Europe.

A significant new commitment to deepen the Guardian’s coverage of Europe, This is Europe is a new editorial strand aiming to explore the challenges confronting the continent, that respect no national borders, and how countries are responding to them.

Europe on the Breadline, a four-country road trip in search of some of the human stories behind the impersonal data of the eurozone crisis, took me from food banks and protest marches in Lisbon to the birth of a national citizens’ movement in Málaga.




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In Naples I met a youth worker whose projects with children in difficulty had been hammered by austerity; in Thessaloniki, a professor whose research budget had been slashed by 60% – and a young start-upper determined to succeed regardless.

That series, which led to a second one, this time confined to Greece, talking to those Greeks who were organising to help themselves, was an early attempt at the kind of transnational reporting implied in my current job title – and which This is Europe now aims to take a good deal further.

The whole idea of transnational reporting (journalisme sans frontières, anyone?) recognises that media organisations tend to report the EU from the institutions in Brussels, and from member states in isolation.

Only occasionally have we tried to make sense of issues across Europe – from the climate crisis to data security, migration to the rise of the far right, the working poor to caring for an ageing population, tax avoidance to the urban/rural divide.

It is an issue I have always been aware of, and tried to address before the paper created the role of roving Europe correspondent in 2016.

In 2013, I went back to Thessaloniki and Málaga – with a stop-off in Bologna – to talk to members of southern Europe’s “lost generation”: the 59%, 56% and 40% of under-25s who were then out of work in, respectively, Greece, Spain and in Italy.

In 2014 I made a tour of the populist, Eurosceptic and mainly far-right parties in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland that were looking to make major gains in the run-up to the European parliamentary elections of that year.

In 2015, we tried a different approach: for an article published on international labour day, 1 May, about workers taking over their factories, I reported from southern France and Greece, and Guardian colleagues contributed pieces from Spain and Turkey.

In similar efforts, for packages in 2018 and this year on the far-reaching impact of the rise of short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb, and overtourism in general, on Europe’s most historic cities, I wrote about Amsterdam and colleagues covered Berlin, Barcelona, Florence and Prague.




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But all of this has really only been a taster of what we could accomplish, and, over the past three years, my time – and that of many of our correspondents – has been massively taken up by Brexit, leaving precious little bandwidth to think of much else. This is Europe aims to rectify that.

Why is it transnational reporting important? Because it is only when you start comparing and contrasting how different countries are experiencing the same challenges, and how they are addressing them, that you start to see who is doing well, who has developed best practice.

It allows you, for example, to discover that perhaps surprisingly, Finland leads the way in tackling both fake news and homelessness. That France has a hugely successful consumers’ cooperative that is beginning to ensure farmers get paid a fair price for the food they produce.

And that while it may represent a potentially existential challenge to winemakers in Bordeaux, global heating represents a startling opportunity for their colleagues – and, in the not too distant future, rivals – in Scandinavia.

This is Europe: a new Guardian series

This is Europe is a new stream of Guardian journalism that investigates the big challenges that transcend national boundaries, and seeks out the solutions that could benefit us all. These are testing times, and crises are not limited by national borders. But then neither are we.

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Migration, climate, populism and contagious diseases are continent-wide problems. When we report on them through a pan-European lens, we not only understand the challenges better but can tease out solutions wherever they crop up: health in Denmark, for example, or teenage wellbeing in the Netherlands.

We’ve been talking about something similar to This is Europe for years at the Guardian, and now we’re doing it.

It’s a shame Brexit had to happen first, of course. But if we can now report Europe as Europe – as a continent rising (we hope) individually and collectively to the cross-border challenges it faces – more concretely and more informatively, that will be a small consolation.

Be part of the conversation. Sign up to the This is Europe email list to get a weekly selection of the most pressing stories and debates for Europeans – from identity to economics to the environment.

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Unhinged Donna Brazile Attacks GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel: ‘Go To Hell’ (Video) ⋆ Conservative Firing Line

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Fox News contributor Donna Brazile got mad at RNC chairperson Ronna McDaniel for claiming the Democrats might be trying to sabotage a Bernie Sanders candidacy.

“It does depend on how big a lead that Sanders takes out of California is,” the GOP chair said. “If he picks up a huge proportion of delegates. I don’t see anybody getting out soon. It is leading towards a brokered convention, which will be rigged against Bernie if those superdelegates have their way on that second vote.”

Former DNC chair Donna Brazile tells @GOPChairwoman to “Go to hell.” pic.twitter.com/S2SZh2Y5QE

— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 3, 2020

Donna Brazile then pitched a hissy fit.

“First of all, they don’t have a process,” Donna Brazile said. “They are canceling primaries. They have winner-take-all. They don’t have the kind of democracy that we see on the Democratic side.”

“For people to use Russian talking points to sow division among Americans is stupid,” she continued. “So Ronna, go to hell! This is not about — go to Hell! I’m tired of it.”

Twitter jumps:

Dem party is stealing the nomination from @BernieSanders & @donnabrazile knows it. @amyklobuchar & @PeteButtigieg didn’t drop out hours b4 Super Tue & betray their supporters w/o a big payoff. Dems are cheating Bernie to favor a guy w progressive Alzheimer’s disease. Corrupt!

— Val Wayne (@valwayne) March 3, 2020

FIRE Donna she doesn’t deserve to be SPEWING HER FILTH ON TV! PERIOD! Ed and Sandra DONT put her back on your show again. I will not watch you 2 again if you don’t start straightening out your guests! Key word “guest”. Donna & U 2 should conduct yourselves better! Shameful act!

— Jerry Prince (@jdp021189) March 3, 2020

Get her off. Can’t believe they hired that cheater anyway. She’s the epitome of the corruption in the DNC. What was Fox News thinking? Glad I switched to @OANN

— Margaret 🇺🇸🇬🇷 (@Margare14571757) March 3, 2020

The problem isn’t republicans getting “into” the democrat nominating process….

The problem is DEMOCRATS like Brazile screwing Democrat voters (contributors and volunteers, too) with DISHONEST tricks like feeding certain candidates debate questions in advance.

— Conservative in Marin (@JNOV57) March 3, 2020

‼️ For @donnabrazile to tell anyone how to behave during an election is hypocrisy of the highest order. She may be a nice person but how she still gets to work after what she did in the last elections seems ludicrous. AND she just showed who she really is with that outburst‼️

— KBR (@KBR_USA) March 3, 2020

Cross-posted with BB4SP

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Stephen King quits Facebook over false claims in political ads | Books | The Guardian

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Stephen King has quit Facebook, saying that he is not comfortable with the “flood of false information allowed in its political advertising”.

The bestselling horror novelist, a prolific user of social media, also said he was not “confident in [Facebook’s] ability to protect its users’ privacy”. King made the announcement on Twitter, where he has 5.6m followers. His Facebook page has been deleted.

The social network has faced backlash over its decision not to factcheck political ads, with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg arguing that “political speech is important” and should not be censored. Facebook said last month that while it had considered limiting the targeting of political ads, it felt that “people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinised and debated in public”.

Last October, the company came under fire for airing a 30-second video from the Trump campaign that falsely claimed that Joe Biden “promised Ukraine a billion dollars if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company”. CNN declined to run the ad, saying that it “makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets”. When the Biden campaign complained about the ad, Facebook invoked its “fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinised speech there is”.

Writing for the New York Times last week, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros said: “I believe that Mr Trump and Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, realise that their interests are aligned – the president’s in winning elections, Mr Zuckerberg’s in making money.” Facebook, Soros wrote, “follow[s] only one guiding principle: maximise profits irrespective of the consequences”.

Twitter, where King made his announcement, has banned all political advertising. King has long used the site as a way to air his political opinions, most recently using it to announce his support for Elizabeth Warren. “I’ll support and work for any Democrat who wins the nomination, but I’m pulling for Elizabeth Warren,” he wrote. “I’d love to see her open a large can of whup-ass on Trump in the debates.”

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President Mnangagwa & General Chiwenga fight gets serious, Chris Mutsvangwa attacks Chiwenga (PIC) | My Zimbabwe News

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally Chris Mutsvangwa ranted against Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in a chance encounter with the MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa, ZimLive can reveal.

The shock development comes as the Zanu PF Youth League has recently become vocal against “cartels”, seen as a precursor to an all-out war with Chiwenga by first targeting his financial backer, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, an influential player in the petroleum industry.

Chamisa was at the Robert Mugabe International Airport on January 29 ahead of a trip to South Africa when he came across the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association who was also at the airport on undisclosed business.

Two sources who witnessed the encounter said Mutsvangwa initially requested a photo to be taken with Chamisa, before launching into an unrestrained attack on Chiwenga, Mnangagwa’s ambitious deputy.

“He told Chamisa to disengage from Chiwenga, stating that the former army general was claiming influence that he did not have, both in the military and Zanu PF,” one source said.

Chamisa reportedly expressed surprise that Mutsvangwa was associating him with Chiwenga, remarking: “You are donating me to Chiwenga, and Chiwenga donates me to you. Which is which?”

Mutsvangwa did not care who was listening, another source who witnessed the encounter said. The war vets chief, said the source, appeared convinced that Chamisa was open to a political alliance with Chiwenga.

“He was particularly dismissive of Chiwenga, questioning his fitness for higher office,” the source, who had just walked over to greet Chamisa, told ZimLive.

Referring to Chiwenga’s nasty divorce from his former model wife, Marry Mubaiwa, Mutsvangwa told Chamisa: “Don’t be fooled by a man who has a pr0stitute running rings around him.”

Chamisa reportedly asked “who’s the pr0stitute, and who’s the man?” before the two men separated, both laughing.

The encounter reveals deepening divisions in Zanu PF, with two distinct factions – one led by Mnangagwa and the other by General Chiwenga – each seeking to take decisive control of the party before the next elections in 2023.

Chiwenga was the army general who led a coup against the former late president Robert Mugabe in November 2017. He recalled Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former deputy, from exile to make him president in a bid to sanitise the coup.

But the two men have differed sharply after Mnangagwa claimed victory in a presidential election in August 2018 by just over 35,000 votes. Chiwenga’s camp says the 76-year-old Zanu PF leader is unelectable and has failed to effectively run the country, imperilling their project with the lurking dangers of a popular uprising or annihilation in a future election.

Mnangagwa, through his son Emmerson Junior, has reportedly engaged the Zanu PF Youth League to push back against Chiwenga.

Youth League deputy secretary Lewis Matutu and Godfrey Tsenengamu, the political commissar, have taken to social media to launch thinly-veiled attacks on Sakunda Holdings boss, Tagwirei, believed to be Chiwenga’s moneyman.

Tagwirei, the local partner of global commodities trader, Trafigura, is accused of running a near monopoly in the petroleum industry and fleecing the state through the opaque Command Agriculture scheme run by Sakunda.

A parliamentary committee says agriculture ministry officials have failed to account for US$3 billion expenditure on the scheme, and Tagwirei has refused to testify before parliament.

Writing on Facebook on January 29, Matutu said: “How can a few individuals prosper on majority’s tears?”

Avoiding naming Tagwirei, he added in another post on January 31: “We will be judged by our deeds as a generation. Personally, l refuse to be amongst the cursed ones simply because l would have ignored evil things happening whilst watching and right now l have an opportunity to make things right #cartelsmustfall.”

Tsenengamu, also taking to Facebook, said: “We will pay the price, either for fighting the blood-sucking cartels or for smiling at them while they suffocate us. I choose to fight.”

Tsenengamu said Zimbabwe was being destroyed “not by those few who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing something positive.”

“Monday is the day #CartelsMustFall,” he wrote on January 31, hinting strongly that the Youth League would pursue some action soon.

Zanu PF sources told ZimLive that Matutu was also personally angry after recently going to the party’s secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, to demand that he be issued a Toyota Land Cruiser “like all other politburo secretaries”, and being rebuffed.

All Zanu PF secretaries in the politburo had Land Cruisers purchased for them by Tagwirei, and if Matutu had been granted his wish, the party would have turned to the Sakunda boss who has used his vast fortune to buy influence.

The convergence between Matutu and Tsenengamu has surprised some, who say the two men have rarely been aligned.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone, however, because Tsenengamu will do anything for money or a voucher. He’s shamelessly unscrupulous. For a thousand dollars, he would slap the president, he’s that sort of guy,” a member of the Youth League said.

Mnangagwa’s son, Emmerson Junior, is reportedly pulling the financial strings on the Youth League to do his father’s bidding.

Mnangagwa has identified Tagwirei – whose accounts were temporarily frozen by the Reserve Bank last year over allegations that he was manipulating the local currency – as the power behind Chiwenga, and hopes by targeting him, he would leave his 63-year-old deputy financially weaker and unable to mount any challenge to his rule.

The Zanu PF leader has, since taking power in 2017, been reorganising the military top brass and retiring other senior officers in moves aimed at diminishing Chiwenga’s influence.

The Zimbabwe Independent reported on Friday that “an unsettled Mnangagwa” had made moves to “coup-proof” his regime by changing the commanders of the Presidential Guard, the infantry battalion which, together with the Mechanised Brigade, played a critical role in the 2017 military coup that toppled Mugabe.

The Presidential Guard, responsible for providing protection to the president and securing Harare, is a specialised force trained to fight in built up areas. It consists of two battalions, the 1 PG Battalion commonly known as State House Battalion, and the 2 PG Battalion situated in Dzivaresekwa.

Mnangagwa has named Lieutenant-Colonel Alison Chicha as the commander of 2 PG Battalion, replacing Lieutenant-Colonel Regis Mangezi, who moves over to command the 1 PG Battalion. Mangezi takes over from Lieutenant-Colonel Solomon Murombo, removed from the unit after he clashed with Mnangagwa’s wife – an incident caught on a leaked audio tape.

Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxillia, accused Murombo of spying on her and plotting to kill the president. Her outburst betrayed the first family’s fears and concerns about their security. Murombo has been shunted off to Zimbabwe Defence House, the military headquarters.

— ZimLive

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