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Captured Indian Soldier To Be Released Says PM Imran Khan

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PM Imran Khan to release Indian officer to settle conflict with talks

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, announced earlier today that the Indian Air Force pilot captured yesterday after an escalation between Pakistan and India rose following Tuesday’s Balakot Air Strike, prompting Pakistan’s air strike to IoK, will be released tomorrow.

Indian Air Force Wing Commander, Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured by Pakistani forces yesterday after his jet was shot down following a Pakistani response strike.

“In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan said.

He added that he also called India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to de-escalate the situation and to talk about the soldier’s release.

Pakistan’s Imran Khan stressed that his country wants peace because it is “vital for the regional progress.”

According to Pakistani sources, fighter jets from Pakistan have launched a series of an airstrike near the hyper-militarized Line of Control zone, a line that divides the occupancy of India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir. The Indian forces tried to run after Pakistan fighter jets but were later shot by Pakistani planes at the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

News agencies have reported about the capture of the Indian pilot and top military officers and have shared an image of the “prisoner-of-war.” There were also videos of the blooded Varthaman that has circulated in the popular video sharing platform, YouTube.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson, Dr. Muhammad Faisal, has said that the Indian pilot held captive by Pakistan is “safe and healthy.”

“India has raised the matter of the pilot with us. We’ll decide in a couple of days what convention will apply to him and whether to give him Prisoner of War status or not,” the spokesperson said, News18 has reported.

INDIA ASKED YOUTUBE TO REMOVE CAPTURED SOLDIER’S VIDEO

Meanwhile, India’s Ministry of Information and Technology have asked YouTube to remove all the eleven video links pertaining to the capture of Officer Abhinandan Varthaman off the video platform.

It was also known that the Home Ministry ordered the IT department to request from YouTube the removal of the said video links.

‘WE ARE PROUD OF HIM’

Meanwhile, Group Captain Kambampati Nachiketa, the first and only prisoner of war of the 1999 Kargil War said that Varthaman, whom he described as ‘brave and courageous, with high professional ethos,’ will surely be released.

“It was indeed disturbing news when he was captured but we all are trained and conditioned for this, and I am sure he will be with us shortly and join back his unit soon,” Nachiketa said.

“He should be back soon and will take to the skies again to defend his motherland whenever called for,” he added.

Nachiketa further said that “we are all proud of him, ” referring to the IAF Wing Commander.

INDIA: PAKISTAN VIOLATES CEASEFIRE AGREEMENTS

On another note, India has accused Pakistan of continuously violating ceasefire agreements for the longest time after it was signed.

Earlier today, Pakistan forces were reportedly opening fire to Indian soldiers at the Sunderbani sector, Mankote sector, Khari Karmara sector, and Degwar sector. The spelling and open fires allegedly started around 6:00 AM followed with a short pause. The firing resumed at 3:00 PM, ANI reported.

A few days ago, Pakistani soldiers also opened fire at the Indo-Pak border, injuring four Indian soldiers.

The tension between the two nuclearized countries arose after Indian fighter jets bombed the training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed at the Balakot area, inside Pakistan-occupied area beyond the Line of Control.

The Indian government announced that the operation has successfully exterminated 300 Jaish terrorists including Yousuf Azhar, brother-in-law of Jaish Chief Masood Azhar, and destroyed the JeM camp, which they described as ‘the heart of training of suicide bombers.’

The ‘non-military’ and ‘pre-emptive’ air strike followed the recent Pulwama attack orchestrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed group where they detonated explosives near an Indian government envoy, killing more than 40 soldiers.

Conflicting for more than five decades, the two Asian countries, have fought three wars over the highly disputed Kashmir region.

Muscle flexing from the two countries has become a global threat because the states have developed nuclear weapons, prompting the international community lead by US, China, Russia, and the European Union to appeal for ‘maximum restraint’ to avoid a full-blown nuclear war. /apr

A Consumer Tech and Cybersecurity journalist who does content marketing while daydreaming about having unlimited coffee for life and getting a pet llama.

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Politics

Michael Cohen: President Trump’s Loyal Lawyer and ‘Fixer’ to Serve a Three-year Sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York.

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Michael Cohen

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen has now checked into the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, for a three-year sentence.

The ex-lawyer arranged hush payments for the two women who claimed to have sexual encounters with President Donald Trump. He also had been lying in Congress and had done several financial crimes.

Cohen, serving as Trump’s fixer, said that he still has more secrets to reveal about Trump as reporters outside his residence in Manhattan were ambushing him before being driven to Otisville. There is still much to be brought into the light and the right time will come for all these hidden truths are to be revealed to the world, he added.

According to surveys, Otisville is included in America’s top 10 “cushiest” prisons as it is known to cater to Jewish offenders with a touch of services of a rabbi and a kosher kitchen. This reality that Cohen will be taking for the next three years of his life will be a total change of lifestyle from the limelight that he used to have from following and being the president’s backbone in Congress and his career. But unlike any other person who gets into prison, there shall be no special treatment for the ex-lawyer.

Some former celebrities also share cells in the Federal Correctional Institution. He might be seeing Michael Sorrentino who is currently in an eight-month sentence for tax fraud, Billy McFarland who is serving a six-year sentence because of a $26 million fraud, Darren Sharper who is sentenced for drugging and raping women and is now serving for 20 years. And lastly, Dean Skelos, former New York Senate Majority Leader jailed for four years for corruption.

Serving prison is an irony to Cohen’s profession, but as for him, it is the only way that the truth may be out and justice will be served. He is sold out to clear his name as he also blames himself for helping the United States in compromise. As time went by, his loyalty to the president has blinded him from the core truth of why he was in the position to serve the country. He said in an interview that it had led him to choose the “path of darkness over light.”

He emphasized that this country is full of injustice and lies, fear of hatred from foreigners or strangers or what he calls the president has—xenophobia. He hopes that after his three-year sentence, he will be reunited with his family and friends in this country that is actually “united” rather than doing things just for the show will all the pretentions and lies.

As they say, the government along with politics will always be a dirty game, a messy place, and a messy life to protect the people and to make a nation “clean” (on the outside) for foreign countries. For Cohen, he has come to a point in his life where he has found the fine line of compromising and fighting for truth and justice for his fellowmen.

He has admitted that he was under the direction and coordination of the president to silence women who have been longing for justice from spilling the tea with his power and payments which he was found and pleaded guilty. He is also admitted to making falsification to Congress and lying about some details concerning the Trump Tower.

In February, Cohen publicly testified before the House Oversight Committee bringing with him evidences to implicate Trump, reimbursement check copies that he used signed by the president and his son, Donald Trump Jr. that were for the hush money.

He was in great dilemma of whether to serve the Trumps in loyalty as it was his duty to stand for them or to serve as a lawyer for who he pledged to be. Nevertheless, Cohen takes full responsibility for all the misconduct that he had done. It is now about telling the truth and that there is no turning back for him. If serving three years is the only solution to lift his mistakes, then he is more than ready and willing to do so.

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Arts & Entertainment

Priest Slammed And Fined For Burning Harry Potter Books In Poland

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Harry Potter books were burned at a Polish church

A Catholic organization lead by priests was under fire after a set of photos of them burning things after a mass in the Polish town of Gdansk, Sunday. The post originated from a Facebook page that belongs to the “SMS from Heaven,” a Catholic Evangelical foundation set up to spread the Christian doctrine through mobile phone text messages.

In the post with the caption “We obey the Word,” the group was seen burning items that they deemed to violate the Christian faith which includes Harry Potter books, a Hello Kitty umbrella, some Hindu figurine, and an African mask.

The group responsible for the burning justified their actions by stating quotations from the Bible, specifically from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament. The priests and other religious individuals in the burning event cited the passage that exhorts believers to destroy the enemies of God, including the passage “burn their idols in the fire.”

The viral photographs show priests carrying out a box of items as they parade towards the burning pit outside the church. The priests were also photographed as they say prayers at the hole as the said items were being burned.

The founder of the infamous organization is Father Rafal Jaroseiwicz. Fr. Jarosweiwicz said in a press statement that “that fact of burning books and other objects was unfortunate, but it was not irreverent to any social group or religion, nor was it aimed at the books as such or culture. If anyone took my action in this way, I would like to welcome him in this place to apologize.”

As if it justifies the action, the priest also said that his foundation has been distributing hundreds of thousands of books for free. He also noted that it was “unfortunate” that the burning was taken out of context because the participants of the retreat voluntarily brought the objects burned at the event.

“Unfortunate” and “shocking”

The Primate of Poland, Roman Catholic Church’s highest official in the country, condemned the act saying that it was “unfortunate” and “shocking.” He also said that books are not supposed to be burned but to be read and their contents should be discussed.

“The burning books reveals the illusory belief that removing in a spectacular way the bad or harmful spiritual contents, which – in the opinion of the organizers of the event – contain burned books or objects, at the same time will free their readers from infecting with harmful content,” the Church official added.

The Metropolitan of Gniezo also explains that “the road to freeing from what harms people is not destroying these or other books containing harmful spiritual content, but on the basis to lead, through critical thinking and openness to the grace of God, which certainly it was the content of retreats to reject what is harmful.”

The church leaders also warn that conversation will never be achieved by burning books. They said that the priests should show the faithfulness as the basis for a “critical assessment of what they read.”

Environmental Implications

It appears that the event did not just upset the heads of Church but also the Polish government following the apparent irresponsible burning of objects to get rid of everything that “brings bad power.” On April 3, the priests who took part in the burning event were fined by the municipal guards for violation of environmental laws.

“The person suspected of having committed the offense was asked by us to appear at the guard’s office and provide explanations. They presented themselves, made an explanation, admitted their guilt, and was fined,” explained Wojciech Siolkowski, a spokesperson from the City Guard of Gdansk.

However, many activists said that the punishment should not end at fining the priests involved in the event.

According to Zdzislaw Kuczma from Rybnicki Smog Alert, the burnt object has ink and plastic which causes the smoke to emit carcinogenic substances. They also said that they are not interested in the political context of the event, but only in the environmental implications of burning plastic and ink.

“The impulse was, as we saw in the pictures, children are near the campfire. Their health could have been compromised. In our opinion, a simple mandate is not enough […] It doesn’t matter if you are a priest or a construction worker,” he adds.

The environmental organization has sent the prosecutors office a notification regarding their suspicion of committing a crime against environmental protection through the event. Grazyna Wawryniuk from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Gdansk confirms that their office received the complaint on Tuesday.

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BREAKING: Facebook Removes 200 Fake News Pages And Accounts Linked To President Duterte’s Social Media Manager

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Facebook removed more than 200 pages, groups, and accounts linked to President Duterte's social media manager for proliferating fake news.

In a time with a heightened political climate in the Philippines, fake news and misleading social media contents dominate the political conversation. The country’s problem in fake news and alternative facts does not go far from what other countries experience in this age of social media.

With the rise of fake and misleading news in social media platforms prompted many tech companies to do their part to regulate and remove the fallacious content of their websites and apps. Just like today, when Facebook announced that it had removed more than 200 pages, groups, and accounts that engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on its platform as well as on its subsidiary company, Instagram. Facebook said they removed the said accounts because they are “misleading others about who they were and what they were doing.”

Fake news has become commonplace in Philippine’s political environment. The rise of the strongman Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections was highly credited to social media groups that were meant to mislead voters of facts, political experts say. According to local sources, the marketing team behind Pres. Duterte’s campaign has employed “trolls,” locally known as “ka-DDS” and colloquially called “Dutertards,” who impersonate Filipinos citizens in an attempt to sway public opinions towards voting the then-Davao City Mayor. Three years following his election to office, the fake news, and false narratives didn’t stop according to Facebook.

In a blog post dated March 28, Nathanial Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy has removed 200 Facebook pages, groups, and accounts linked to a network owned by Nic Gabunada. Nic Gabunada served Pres. Duterte’s 2016 campaign team as the social media manager. Facebook said that while the organization behind the problematic accounts and Facebook groups attempted to conceal their identities, their internal investigation has reached to a conclusion that all of them originated from a network linked to Gabunada.

“We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action,” Gleicher said in a blog post in Facebook Newsroom entitled “Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior From The Philippines.”

There were 67 Facebook pages along with 68 Facebook accounts, 40 Groups, and 25 Instagram accounts that were taken down. Facebook reveals that in total, the said fraudulent facebook content pages and groups have a reach totaling to millions.

“About 3.6 million accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 1.8 million accounts joined at least one of these Groups and around 5,300 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts,” Gleicher wrote in a blog post.

The internal investigation conducted by the California-based tech company has also revealed that the organization connected to Gabunada spent a total of USD 59,000 for ads on Facebook paid for in Philippine peso, Saudi riyal, and US dollars. The operations started paying for media space on Facebook in January 2014, two years before the infamous 2016 elections that put Pres. Duterte to the office and the most recent advertisement ran in March 2019.

The five-year operation was identified by Facebook, which includes accounts and Pages through an ongoing internal investigation into Philippines-linked coordinated inauthentic behavior. Gleicher said that their assessment came from open source reporting and they have shared relevant information with policymakers and other industrial partners as the basis for their course of action regarding Facebook’s findings.

The Philippines has been trying to suppress the proliferation of fake news and misleading contents following the boom of the criticism against the abusive behavior of some politicians in social media. In 2017, a law was proposed entitled Anti-Fake News Act of 2017 that seeks to “penalize any person who maliciously offers, publish, distribute, circulate, and spread fake news or information or cause the publication, distribution, circulation or spreading of the same in print, broadcast or online media.”

The legislation was introduced by Senator Joel Villanueva and is still awaiting decisions from both the upper and lower houses of the Congress for passing. /apr

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