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FB to turn over details of 3000 Russian election-interference ads to US Congress today

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Congressional investigators are looking into alleged Russian involvement in 2016 US presidential election

Facebook Inc. is set to turn over, on Monday, to the U.S. Congress copies of some 3,000 ads that the social network says were bought on Facebook likely by people in Russia in the months before and after the 2016 U.S. election.

Last month, in response to calls from U.S. lawmakers, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg pledged to hand over the ads to congressional investigators who are looking into alleged Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election, but he had left the timing unclear.

On Sunday, media agencies in the US had quoted Facebook officials as saying that the materials would be delivered to the U.S Congress on Monday (as per US local time).

Facebook, the world’s largest social networking website, has become a primary platform for internet political ads because it has a wide reach and gives advertisers powerful targeting capabilities. For that reason, it may possess valuable clues for U.S. investigators.

Facebook has already provided information about Russia-linked ads to U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating alleged election meddling, a source said last month.

Moscow has denied any meddling in last year’s U.S. election, in which Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Facebook said, on Sunday, it would provide to Congress copies of the ads it has found, as well as related data such as who the ads were targeted at and how much each ad cost.

The materials would be turned over to the intelligence committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, and to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Facebook said.

The USD 100,000 in ads linked to Russia focused on amplifying divisive U.S. social and political messages, Facebook said last month. Some ads mentioned Muslim support for Clinton, promoted in-person events and weighed in on the Black Lives Matter protests against police shootings, according to media reports.

The emergence of Facebook as a battleground for government-sponsored propaganda has become a major challenge for the social network’s corporate image.

Zuckerberg, in Facebook posts last month, disclosed a series of steps he said the company would take to prevent governments from manipulating it and said he had earlier been wrong to dismiss the possibility of Facebook being used in such a way.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, has likened digital political advertising to the “Wild, Wild West”, and he and others have called for legislation to impose disclosure requirements similar to what is required in the United States for political ads on television.

(With inputs from Reuters and TechCrunch)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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PM Modi condoles Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death says India stands with Iran

PM Narendra Modi extended condolences to Ebrahim Raisi’s family and the people of Iran.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condoled Iran president Ebrahim Raisi’s death and said he was deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise. The PM also said contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral ties will always be remembered.

Taking to social media X, formerly Twitter, PM Modi said deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic passing of Iran’s president, Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi. He also said, he will never forget his contribution to the bilateral ties between Iran and India. The PM said his heartfelt condolences are his family and the people of Iran, he added. PM Modi wrote, India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow.

Ebrahim Raisi was found dead a day after his helicopter went missing. He reportedly died in a chopper crash in the mountainous region of the country.

The helicopter crash claimed the lives of officials, bodyguards, and Iran’s foreign minister in addition to Raisi.

State television announced on Monday that Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, the servant of the Iranian nation, has achieved the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people, and Mehr news agency confirmed his death.

The missing helicopter was being looked for by Iranian authorities since Sunday afternoon.

Reportedly, the crash occurred in the East Azerbaijan province of Iran and claimed the lives of nine individuals, including Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

There was no proof that the passengers were still alive, according to reports from Iranian media.

Out of the three helicopters in his convoy, only two made it to their destination, including Ebrahim Raisi. He had traveled to the northwest province to join President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan at the inauguration of a dam project in Jolfa.

It was anticipated that Raisi, a devout conservative, would succeed the eighty-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Since 2021, Ebrahim Raisi has served as Iran’s president. He replaced Hassan Rouhani, the centrist president.

Under his leadership, the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian-Kurdish woman who had been detained for violating the Iranian dress code for women, sparked widespread public unrest throughout the nation.

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister safe after surviving multiple gunshot

The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

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Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed today that Prime Minister Robert Fico’s condition is stable, with his life no longer in immediate danger, following an alarming incident where he was shot multiple times.

The Prime Minister was shot by an assassin while he was leaving a meeting on Wednesday.The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

Following the attack, Prime Minister Fico was urgently airlifted to the hospital, where he underwent extensive surgery that lasted several hours. Defence Minister Robert Kalinak, addressing reporters from outside the hospital where Fico was receiving treatment on Wednesday, described the Prime Minister’s condition as critical, emphasising that he was fighting for his life.

The identity of the suspect is yet unconfirmed as the police further investigate. Unconfirmed reports from local media suggest that the assailant may have been a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

A video is currently circulating in which the alleged perpetrator can be seen. In the clip, he mentions that he does not agree with government policy.

The shooting has sparked international concern. Expressing shock over the incident, PM Modi conveyed his solidarity with the people of the Slovak Republic, wishing Prime Minister Fico a speedy recovery. He strongly condemned the shooting, denouncing it as a cowardly and despicable act while emphasising the need for unity against such violent acts and reaffirming India’s support for Slovakia during these challenging times.

Earlier, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen also expressed disapproval of the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico . On X, she stated that such acts of violence have no place in society, undermining democracy, the most precious common good. Von der Leyen extended her thoughts to Prime Minister Fico and his family, highlighting the European Union’s solidarity during this challenging time. The condemnation from EU leadership underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for a united stance against violence targeting political figures. As the investigation unfolds, international support for Slovakia remains steadfast, emphasising the importance of upholding democratic principles and ensuring the safety of leaders across Europe.

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World Earth Day 2024: Google Doodle showcases aerial view of planet’s natural beauty

Google celebrated Earth Day 2024 with a special doodle featuring an aerial view of our planet’s biodiversity.

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Google shared a doodle today to celebrate World Earth Day 2024, which showcased aerial photos of the planet’s biodiversity and natural beauty. Google reminded us of the importance of protecting planet earth for future generations with the help of this doodle.

The Google letters depict specific locations across the globe where people, communities, and governments work every day to help protect the planet’s natural beauty, biodiversity, and resources, according to the explanation of the annual Earth Day 2024 doodle on their website.

It said, these examples remind us that there’s much more to do to address the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, but also offer the promise of hope and optimism.

The islands of Turks and Caicos are represented by the letter “G.” The islands’ conservation efforts are concentrated on protecting important regions for biodiversity and addressing persistent environmental problems.

The largest reef in the southern Gulf of Mexico and a UNESCO biosphere reserve, Scorpion Reef National Park, is represented by the letter “O” in the Mexican flag.

The letter “O” features Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park, which was designated as a national park in 2008 following decades of advocacy. The ecology within and surrounding the biggest glacier in Europe is safeguarded by this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The letter “G” has the Jau National Park in Brazil on it. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest forest reserves in South America.

The Great Green Wall of Nigeria is represented by the letter “L,”  and the Pilbara Islands Nature Reserves of Australia are represented by the letter “E.”

Meanwhile, Earth Day is a worldwide event that promotes protection of the environment every year. April 22 serves as a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts and sustainable practices to guarantee a healthier world and a brighter future.

The occasion inspires people across the world to come together and take action to protect the environment, strengthening our bonds with nature and promoting good change.

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