Tuesday, July 26, 2016
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China’s top internet regulator ordered major online companies including Sina Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to stop original news reporting, the latest effort by the government to tighten its grip over the country’s web and information industries.
The Cyberspace Administration of China imposed the ban on several major news portals, including Sohu.com Inc. and NetEase Inc., Chinese media reported in identically worded articles citing an unidentified official from the agency’s Beijing office. The companies have “seriously violated” internet regulations by carrying plenty of news content obtained through original reporting, causing “huge negative effects,” according to a report that appeared in The Paper on Sunday.
The agency instructed the operators of mobile and online news services to dismantle “current-affairs news” operations on Friday, after earlier calling a halt to such activity at Tencent, according to people familiar with the situation. Like its peers, Asia’s largest internet company had developed a news operation and grown its team. Henceforth, they and other services can only carry reports provided by government-controlled print or online media, the people said, asking not to be identified because the issue is politically sensitive.
The sweeping ban gives authorities near-absolute control over online news and political discourse, in keeping with a broader crackdown on information increasingly distributed over the web and mobile devices. President Xi Jinping has stressed that Chinese media must serve the interests of the ruling Communist Party.
The party has long been sensitive to the potential for negative reporting to stir up unrest, the greatest threat to its decades-old hold on power. Regulations forbidding enterprise reporting have been in place for years without consistent enforcement, but the latest ordinance suggests “they really mean business,” said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Center for China Studies.
Xi is cementing his power base and silencing dissenters ahead of a twice-a-decade reshuffle at next year’s party congress. Lam said that he "is really tightening up his crusade to silence opponents in the media."
The regulator will slap financial penalties on sites found in violation of the regulations, the Paper cited the official as saying. A representative of Sohu declined to comment on the report. Tencent, Sina and NetEase didn’t respond to messages and phone calls seeking comment. The cyberspace administration has yet to respond to a faxed request for comment.
The government is now considering ways to exert a more direct form of influence over the country’s online media institutions. In recent months, Chinese authorities have held discussions with internet providers on a pilot project intended to pave the way for the government to start taking board seats and stakes of at least 1 percent in those companies. In return, they would get a license to provide news on a daily basis.
China’s online giants serve content, games and news to hundreds of millions of people across the country -- Tencent’s QQ and WeChat alone host more than a billion users, combined. Online news services however have always operated in a regulatory gray area. They’re not authorized to provide original content and technically aren’t allowed to hire reporters or editors. Still, outlets have recently published investigative stories on official corruption cases, and covered sensitive social issues from demonstrations to human rights. For instance, NetEase ran a feature in April after the party announced an investigation into a senior Hebei provincial official, Zhang Yue. The story was later removed from the internet.
For a Bloomberg Intelligence analysis of the latest media crackdown, click here.
“Current-affairs news” is a broad term in China and encompasses all news and commentary related to politics, economics, military, foreign affairs and social issues, according to the draft version of China’s online information law. The amended draft of the regulation is currently seeking public feedback on the CAC’s official website.
The change in the guidelines on original reporting also comes weeks after China replaced its chief internet regulator. Xu Lin, a former Shanghai propaganda chief who worked briefly with Xi during his half-year stint as Shanghai party boss in 2007, succeeded Lu Wei in June as head of the cyberspace administration.
The regulator has since tightened its grip on online news reports, such as bywarning news or social network websites against publishing news without proper verification. In another sign that the government is exerting influence over information, the publishers of a private purchasing managers index suspended that popular gauge without explanation.
— With assistance by Keith Zhai
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Some audience members booed and chanted Bernie Sanders's name when Hillary Clinton was mentioned during the opening invocation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 25. (The Washington Post)
It's common for presidential candidates to get a bump from their conventions, and two new polls Monday suggest Donald Trump did indeed get that.
But the new polls don't just show Trump's stock rising (however temporarily that may be); they also have some very bad news for Hillary Clinton and her already-declining personal image. Indeed, politically, she's doing as bad as she ever has — if not worse.
A caveat at the outset: The GOP convention was, as was to be expected, very anti-Clinton. There were chants of "lock her up" and plenty of accusations lodged against Clinton. So it's perhaps not surprising to see Clinton's numbers take a hit. But they have been steadily getting worse for months and are now basically worse than ever before.
Below, four key points:
1) 68 percent say Clinton isn't honest and trustworthy
That's according to the CNN poll, and it's her worst number on-record. It's also up from 65 percent earlier this month and 59 percent in May. The 30 percent who see Clinton as honest and trustworthy is now well shy of the number who say the same of Trump: 43 percent.
You heard that right: Trump — he of the many, many Pinocchios — now has a large lead on Clinton when it comes to honesty and trustworthiness.
2) Her image has never been worse
CBS showed just 31 percent have favorable views of Clinton and 56 percent have unfavorable ones. Even in Trump's worst days on the campaign trail, he has rarely dipped below a 31 percent favorable rating. Clinton has hit that number a few times, but her negative-25 net favorable rating here is tied for the worst of her campaign,according to Huffington Post Pollster.
In the CNN poll, the 39 percent who say they have a favorable view of Clinton is lower than at any point in CNN's regular polling since April 1992 — when she wasn't even first lady yet. Of course, back then, the reason just 38 percent of people liked her was because many were unfamiliar with her. At the time, 39 percent were unfavorable and 23 percent had no opinion.
Clinton's favorable rating in the CNN poll is currently 16 points net-negative. That's unprecedented in the dozens of CNN polls on her since 1992.
Gallup's new numbers on Monday — 38 percent favorable and 57 percent unfavorable — are also unprecedented over the course of Clinton's political career.
This also appears to be the first time ever that Clinton's image measures worse than Trump's. It does so in both polls.
3) Just 38 percent would be "proud" to have her as president
That's down from 55 percent in March 2015. Sixty percent say they would not be proud.
On this measure, she's basically on the same footing as Trump, whom 39 percent would be proud of and 59 percent wouldn't be.
4) Nearly half of Democratic primary voters still want Bernie Sanders
Clinton dispatched with Sanders and now has his endorsement, but despite 9 in 10 consistent Sanders supporters saying they'll vote Clinton in November, many of them still pine for their first love.
The CNN poll, in fact, shows 45 percent of those who voted in Democratic primaries still say they wish it was Sanders. Just 49 percent say they prefer Clinton — down from 55 percent a month ago.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets supporters at her primary night victory party on June 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
Thursday, July 21, 2016
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Welcome to Breitbart News’s live updates of Tuesday’s evening session of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will place Donald Trump’s name into nomination. Ted Cruz’s allies may try to disrupt the convention–and get their fair share of publicity–once again.
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***LISTEN TO/WATCH BREITBART NEWS’S LIVE COVERAGE OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION HERE.*** Call in: 713-955-0782.
VIDEO: TRUMP TAKES ON GOP OVER 'RIGGED' SYSTEM
Tonight’s theme is “Make America Work Again,” and featured speakers will include UFC President Dana White, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the NRA’s Chris Cox, LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, actress Kimberlin Brown, Donald Trump Jr., and Tiffany Trump. House Majority Leader Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will also speak. View the full convention schedule here.
All times eastern.
7:45: Trump will address the convention via satellite later tonight:
7:32: Never Trump agitators not trying to pull shenanigans on the floor to get attention.
It’s official. Donald J. Trump Wins GOP Presidential Nomination.
7:11: Donald Trump Jr. vows that his dad will put New York in play in the general election. He says his it is his honor to put Trump over the top with 89 of the state’s delegates. He says his dad gave average Americans a voice this election cycle.
“Congratulations Dad! We love you,” he says.
7:02: New York passes so the Empire State can put Trump over the top.
6:59: Lo and behold, Gov. Susana Martinez helps New Mexico cast its 24 votes for Donald Trump.
6:47: Michigan passes so that New York can put Trump over the top.
6:45: Trump getting close to the 1,237 delegates need to clinch nomination. He’s over 800 after Maryland.
6:28: Florida delegate booed when he says Florida is the state that gave LeBron James his first two champions. All 99 of the state’s votes to Trump.
6:25: Crowd Boos Colorado delegation/attention-seekers:
6:22: Ecstatic California Delegation (172 delegates for Trump!):
6:12: Roll call of the states has begun.
6:05: Outside the convention halls:
From Andy Badolato:
Iraq war diplomatic security style tail gunners, AKA Trunk Monkeys with M4 battle rifle variants. They look like Federal or local law enforcement CAT (counter assault team) teams.
6:03: Henry McMaster of South Carolina says he was the first elected official in the country to endorse Trump. He says it was lonely for a bit but “no more.” He says the “sleeping giant of the American spirit has been awakened.” He says Trump is a remarkable man of “uncommon strength, uncommon determination, accomplishment, and vision.” McMaster says “there’s something happening here. What it is precisely here. We are going to make America great again with Donald Trump. Thank you and God bless you.”
5:59: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) thanks Sessions for standing with him in support of Trump. He says Western New York has been devastated by “unfair trade deals” that have allowed Mexico and China to “steal our jobs.” He says we have been losing under Barack Obama. Collins says the federal government is trampling on our rights while our country has no borders. “Enough is enough,” he says. “It’s time to take back our country. The great United States of America.” He says Trump is not just a candidate but a “movement.”
5:58: Sessions says it is his distinct honor and great pleasure to nominate Donald Trump for the office of the presidency of the United States of America.
5:53: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) says Americans love our country “like no other people on earth. But we have gotten off course. And the American people know it. Our political system is not working.” He says good Americans want the political games to end. Sessions slams Obama for blaming the police while crime is rising. He blasts the political, corporate, and media establishments for being politically correct. He says Trump was not intimidated and “he would not be silenced. He spoke the truth. He gave voice to the people’s concerns.” He mentions Trump’s opposition to bad trade deals and support for law and order and police officers. Sessions says voters reward Trump’s courage. He says Trump is positive by nature and has “tremendous energy and strength.” He calls trump a “warrior” and “winner” who loves his country and is determined to see it become a “winner” again. He says he believes Trump is the singular leader who can get the country back on track.
5:50: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) says it’s an honor to be at the convention. He is going over procedural rules.
5:45: Disgusting scene outside the convention:
5:43: RNC Chair Reince Priebus calls the convention back to order.
5:35: Big Ratings for First Night of GOP convention:
5:30: When the GOP convention resumes, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will put Donald Trump’s name into nomination. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) and South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster will give seconding speeches.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016
He's says he is still regaining feeling in them three years after a four-hour beating with fists and rifle butts by municipal police in southern Mexico.
The officers tightened his handcuffs and then stood on them to inflict maximum damage to his hands, said Wooden, 46, who had set up a workshop in the hills outside the silver-mining city of Taxco along with his Mexican-born wife. Police detained him for allegedly disturbing the peace, but Wooden says the beating arose from a dispute with his neighbor, a former cop who claimed to belong to a local drug cartel.
"They beat me for close to four hours. Some would get tired and then others would come in. They were going to kill me and disappear me," said Wooden, who said he suffered nerve damage, broken ribs and injuries to his genitals.
He said what saved him was "divine intervention and the love that my family has for me." His wife, Carmen, waited outside the police station for hours until she was allowed to pay Wooden's 200-peso ($12 fine) and took him to a hospital after he was released.
Human rights groups say police torture remains all too common in Mexico, but Wooden's case from 2013 is unusual in two respects: He's an American citizen and he's won a court order for a criminal investigation into the beating.
A probe in 2014 by the governmental Human Rights Defense Commission in Guerrero state found that Taxco police illegally detained Wooden, contradicted themselves about how he sustained his injuries and essentially lied about their extent. It found that the American had been covered in bruises, scrapes and cuts.
The commission issued a directive that municipal authorities should punish those responsible and pay reparation.
After two years of no action, a federal judge on June 30 ordered Mexico's government to open a formal criminal investigation for torture and kidnapping in Wooden's case.
"This opens a new road, little explored and little used" to force authorities to investigate the thousands of torture complaints in Mexico, said Mario Santiago, a lawyer for the human rights group Idheas, which is representing Wooden. "We know there are hundreds or thousands of torture complaints all the time in the country. There is no investigation; these go unpunished."
Wooden, who had been living in Texas, was drawn to Taxco by its famed silver jewelry industry, which had been revived by American adventurer William Spratling in the 1930s. But in recent years, the colonial-era town south of Mexico City has been in the grip of drug cartels. In 2010, authorities discovered 55 rotting bodies that had been tossed into an abandoned mine shaft near Taxco.
Wooden said that as soon as he set up his shop, he began receiving threats from a neighbor who claimed to be a member of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang and demanded a 10,000-peso monthly protection payment.
When the neighbor got out a machete and threatened to send Wooden back to the United States in pieces, both men called the police, Wooden said. He said that when officers showed up, they went straight for Wooden, kicking and punching him to the ground. They arrested him for being drunk and disturbing the peace — allegations he denies.
Wooden is under no illusions about what could have happened to him: Taxco's police were so notorious that the federal government disarmed the whole force a year and a half after Wooden's arrest and handed policing over to federal officers.
The city's former police chief, Eruviel Salado Chavez, was arrested last month on charges of organized crime and kidnapping. He is accused of close ties with Guerreros Unidos, which is blamed for many of the 100 bodies found in mass graves around Taxco and the nearby city of Iguala. The federal government says 43 college students who disappeared in 2014 in Iguala were kidnapped by corrupt municipal police and turned over to Guerreros Unidos, which supposedly killed them.
"Part of what has protected me is that I'm a foreigner, and I have no fear," Wooden said. "What happened to me has happened to other people ... Whole families have disappeared in those situations."
He said that when he came to his senses in the jail cell after the beating, "I realized that there is dried blood on the floor, and it's not mine so much."
Mexico passed a law setting out punishment for police abuse in 1986 amid horror over the discovery of tortured bodies at an earthquake-damaged police headquarters. The law, on paper, was toughened in 1991, banning the use of testimony obtained under torture.
Still, scandals involving Mexican police, soldiers and marines keep mounting. And Wooden's case is an example of how hard it is to punish such abuses.
The artisan initially filed a criminal complaint after the beating. But he said he dropped the effort when a man at the magistrate's office pulled him aside, saying: "They're planning to disappear you from here if you continue to make noise and press charges.'"
Besides suffering physical damage, Wooden said some of his equipment was stolen. He and his wife left Taxco, fearing for their lives, and moved to other parts of Mexico. He said he's been unable to get new projects due to his injuries and a lack of money to buy materials.
Nobody has gone to jail for torturing Wooden. Two of the police officers got warnings and were required to take human rights classes, though Santiago said it's unclear if they did.
"There is no investigation, these go unpunished. What happened to him happened to a lot of people," said Santiago. "What we are looking for is structural changes, so these abuses don't continue to happen."
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