Iran violates nuclear deal, exceeding enriched uranium stockpile

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Israel Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria, Report Says; 16 Killed, 21 Wounded

Syrian air defenses responded to attacks on Homs and Damascus outskirts launched from Lebanese air space, Syrian state media says

Sixteen people including a baby were killed and 21 were wounded by an Israeli attack on multiple Syrian and Iranian targets on the outskirts of Damascus and Homs, Syrian state-run al-Ikhbariya broadcaster reported, citing its correspondent.

Israeli warplanes fired missiles at Syria that targeted Syrian military positions in Homs and Sahnaya, south of Damascus, the Syrian military said on Monday.

“The first assessment is that a Russian-made missile, part of the air defense system, which was part of the air defense system that took place last night in the face of an air strike against Syria, completed its range and fell into our country after it missed,” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay said in a social media post.

The object hit a mountainside north of the capital Nicosia.

Syrian air defenses confronted the attack, which was launched from Lebanese airspace, the Syrian defense ministry said in a brief report on its Telegram feed. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 people were killed, among them three children and ten Iranian militias and Hezbollah members. The observatory added that the Israeli Navy also took part in the strike, targeting ten Hezbollah bases, including compounds that were used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

SANA said the dead included a baby and that other children were among the wounded in Sahnaya. It was unclear whether the civilians were killed in the strike or in the resulting blasts.

Social media pages affiliated with the Assad regime have been sharing posts saying a man named Anas Albiat and his wife Rama Arnaout. along with their infant son, were killed in the strike.

According to the observatory, among the sites hit were Revolutionary Guards’ compounds south of Damascus, a strategic research center northwest of Damascus, Hezbollah facilities near the Syrian-Lebanese border, where large fires were reported after several arms depots were hit.

In addition, a research center in Homs was reportedly struck, in addition to an airbase south of Homs that serves Iranian and Hezbollah forces.

The Israeli army has yet to comment on the incident.

Syrian state TV station al-Ikhbariya, citing its correspondent, said the pressure of explosions over Damascus had caused damage to some homes in Sahnaya, south of the capital, breaking glass and slightly injuring a number of people.

State news agency SANA cited its correspondent as saying Syrian air defenses had brought down a number of the missiles.

In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria that it says have targeted its regional arch foe, Iran, and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which it calls the biggest threat to its borders.

Iran and Hezbollah are fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad in the Syrian war, and Israel says they are trying to turn Syria into a new front against Israelis.

On June 12, SANA reported that Syrian Air Defenses thwarted an Israeli attack on Tal al-Hara in southern Syria and shot down a number of missiles.

Located in Daraa Governorate, Tal al-Hara is considered as a strategic hill overlooking the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

The missile attack resulted only in damage and Israel then conducted an “electronic war” in which radars were subjected to interference, SANA added.

Hours after the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a message saying that Israel responds “decisively and forcibly to any attack against us,” yet did not claim responsibility for the alleged attack.

Earlier in June, Syrian state media said Israeli missiles were fired toward a Syrian military base in Homs, a day after Israel confirmed it had struck Syrian targets on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire toward the Golan Heights.

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Australian Police Raid Public Broadcaster Over Leaked Defense Documents

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ABC Director Craig McMurtrie speaks to the media as Australian police raided the headquarters of the public broadcaster in Sydney on Wednesday. ABC executives said police executed a search warrant targeting three journalists involved in a two-year investigative report.
Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Australian police raided the headquarters of the public broadcaster in Sydney on Wednesday//CRIMSON TAZVINZWA    

The Australian Federal Police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of the country’s public broadcaster, the ABC, in connection with a story the network broadcast in 2017 detailing misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

The plainclothes officers arrived at the network’s offices at about 11:30 a.m., acting on a search warrant authorizing them to look into “allegations of publishing classified material” in relation to the story, “The Afghan Files” that was based on leaked defense ministry documents, the ABC reports.

The 2017 report uncovered allegations of unlawful killings of unarmed civilians, including children, and other misconduct by Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan. It also quoted from military documents that expressed concern about a deterioration of organizational culture within the elite special forces and a “willingness by officers to turn a blind eye to bad behavior.”

The network says authorities copied hard drives and said “they want[ed] to search through email systems in relation to the people mentioned in the search warrant and were searching ‘data holdings’ between April 2016 and July 2017.”

ABC Managing Director David Anderson said the raid was “highly unusual” and “a serious development and raises legitimate concerns over freedom of the press and proper public scrutiny of national security and Defence matters.”

He said the network would “stand by its journalists, will protect sources and continue to report without fear or favour on national security and intelligence issues when there is a clear public interest.”

The search comes a day after a similar but apparently unrelated AFP raid against News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst in Canberra. Smethurst had reported on “secret plans to allow government spying,” the ABC says.

Marcus Strom, an official with the journalists’ union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying that police raids against the media were “becoming normalized and it has to stop.”

The raids represent a “disturbing pattern of assaults on Australian press freedom,” Strom told the newspaper.

 

Amazon faces investor pressure over facial recognition

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Amazon is holding a high stakes shareholder vote on whether or not to limit some of its cutting edge technology, Shareholders hold back their own company because of users’ privacy when they’re offline//Natasha Singer, The New York Times

An image on the Amazon website shows how its Rekognition software works with Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. Facial recognition software is coming… (Amazon via The New York Times) More

Facial recognition software is coming under increasing scrutiny from civil liberties groups and lawmakers. Now Amazon, one of the most visible purveyors of the technology, is facing pressure from another corner as well: its own shareholders.

As part of Amazon’s annual meeting in Seattle today, investors vote on whether the tech giant’s aggressive push to spread the surveillance software threatens civil rights — and, as a consequence, the company’s reputation and profits.

Shareholders have introduced two proposals on facial recognition for a vote. One asks the company to prohibit sales of its facial recognition system, called Amazon Rekognition, to government agencies, unless its board concludes that the technology does not facilitate human rights violations. The other asks the company to commission an independent report examining the extent to which Rekognition may threaten civil, human and privacy rights, and the company’s finances.

“This piece of equipment that Amazon has fostered and developed and is really propagating at this point doesn’t seem to us to be in the best interest of the common good,” said Sister Pat Mahoney, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a religious community in Brentwood, New York, that is an Amazon investor and introduced the proposed sales ban. “Facial recognition all over the place just makes everyone live in a police state.”

The proposals are nonbinding, meaning they do not require the company to take action, even if they receive a majority vote.

Amazon fought to prevent the votes on facial surveillance. In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission in January, the company said that it was not aware of any reported misuse of Rekognition by law enforcement customers. It also argued that the technology did not present a financial risk because it was just one of the more than 165 services Amazon offered.

The agency disagreed, ultimately requiring Amazon to allow the facial surveillance resolutions to proceed.

In a statement, Amazon said it offered clear guidelines on using Rekognition for public safety — including a recommendation that law enforcement agencies have humans review any possible facial matches suggested by its system. The company added that its customers had used Rekognition for beneficial purposes, including identifying more than 3,000 victims of human trafficking.

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AL JAZEERA’s ‘AJ Shorts’ wins human rights press award in Hong Kong

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The film is about a 14-year-old boy whose father was killed by ISIL, forcing him to abandon school [Al Jazeera]

Digital documentary Growing up too Fast in Afghanistan was recognised in the short video category

The Al Jazeera English Online unit AJ Shorts was honoured alongside fellow awards winners from The New York Times, Reuters, BBC, Washington Post and leading East Asian news outlets at this year’s Human Rights Press Awards ceremony in Hong Kong.

The AJ Shorts digital documentary, Growing up too Fast in Afghanistanwon in the Short Video (English) category, which was announced at the event on May 16. The film is the first-person narrative of a 14-year-old boy, Khudai, whose father was killed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group, forcing him to abandon school and take odd jobs to ensure the survival of his mother and five younger sisters.

Filmed and directed by Preethi Nallu, Growing up too Fast in Afghanistan also garnered two awards at the Webby Awards gala in New York City earlier this month.

Al Jazeera Media Network’s director of Digital Innovation and Programming Carlos Van Meek said he is proud of his team’s accomplishments.

“This was a great collaboration between our broadcast partners and our digital team. I credit everyone involved for thinking laterally and working together across platforms to get the most out of a great story. Much more of this to come,” said Van Meek.

The Human Rights Press Awards presented 52 awards in recognition of outstanding human rights-focused journalism from across Asia. Winning entries ranged from high-profile issues such as the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya, to under-reported topics such as the extrajudicial killing of Muslims in India, and the hardships faced by stateless minority communities living precariously along Cambodia‘s waterways.

Jailed Reuters reporters

The award for Best Investigative Feature Writing went to Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues in recognition of their chilling work Myanmar Burning, which documented military atrocities including extrajudicial killings against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Shortly after publishing the report, Myanmar authorities imprisoned the two journalists for more than 500 days.

AJ Shorts Commissioning Editor Andrew James Phillips said his team’s win provided “a big lift to continue telling stories of ordinary people in extraordinary and often extremely challenging circumstances”.

“We’re honoured to receive such an important accolade,” Phillips said.

Keynote speaker Maria Ressa, cofounder and CEO of the Philippines-based news website Rappler, summed up the role that human rights storytelling and reportage play in global media.

“Your reporting matters now more than ever,” she said, addressing the audience in Hong Kong. “We need to hold the line and show the best of human nature. That is our hope for the future.”

 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

 

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Coordinated anti-Trump campaign emerges on Instagram – study

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Don Jr accuses Instagram of Anti-Trump conspiracy, campaign//Crimson Tazvinzwa

ROME (Reuters) – Accounts tagged ‘hatetrump’ and ‘ihatetrump’ are part of a coordinated campaign to undermine U.S. President Donald Trump that has emerged on social media site Instagram, an independent study has revealed.

The photo-sharing app Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said it was investigating the report and had already removed some of the profiles it highlighted.

Malign online attacks against Trump’s opponents have been well documented, most notably in the 2016 presidential election campaign, when Russian trolls allegedly flooded social media sites to undermine the Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

Italian analytics firm Ghost Data says here the U.S. president is now facing similar illicit tactics, albeit on a limited scale, with false profiles being created and coordinated online attacks organised to spread a virulent anti-Trump message.

“We have uncovered a small operation that is very likely part of something bigger,” said Andrea Stroppa, the head of research at Ghost Data, which has previously published reports on online counterfeiting and malicious botnets.

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