COLOMBO/KATTANKUDY, Sri Lanka (Reuters) – Authorities in Sri Lanka on Monday banned women from wearing face veils under an emergency law put in place after deadly Easter Sunday attacks by Islamist militants. A Muslim woman wearing a hijab walks through a street near St Anthony’s Shrine, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Danish SiddiquiThe measures would help security forces to identify people as a hunt for any remaining attackers and their support network continues across the Indian Ocean island, authorities said. But there are concerns within the Muslim community that a prolonged ban could fuel tensions in the religiously-diverse nation that emerged from a civil war with ethnic minority Tamil separatists a decade ago. Officials have warned that the militants behind the April 21 suicide bombings on hotels and churches that killed over 250 people were planning more attacks, using a van and bombers disguised in military uniforms. “It is a presidential order to ban any dress covering faces with immediate effect,” Dharmasri Bandara Ekanayake, a spokesman for President Maithripala Sirisena, told Reuters. Separately, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is feuding with Sirisena, issued a statement saying he had asked the justice minister to draft regulations to ban the burqa. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), the top body of Islamic scholars in Sri Lanka, said they supported a short-term ban on security grounds, but opposed any attempt to legislate against burqas. “We have given guidance to the Muslim women to not to cover their faces in this emergency situation,” ACJU assistant manager Farhan Faris said after the scholars asked the government to drop plans for a law against the burqa and niqab. “If you make it a law, people will become emotional and this will bring another bad impact … it is their religious right,” he told Reuters. About 9.7 percent of Sri Lanka’s roughly 22 million people are Muslim. Only a small minority of women, usually in Muslim areas, fully hide their faces. Human Rights Watch condemned the ban. “That needless restriction means that Muslim women whose practice leads them to cover up now won’t be able to leave home,” the group’s executive director Kenneth Roth tweeted. In Kattankudy, the Muslim-majority hometown of Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran, the suspected leader of the militant group behind the attacks, there few women in the streets and none had their faces covered. Two women declined to be interviewed by Reuters. Residents said only a small percentage of women in the town wear the burqa. Owais Ibrahim, a Muslim shopkeeper, said he supported a ban on face coverings for security reasons. “If it is not allowed it is not a problem,” he told Reuters. “If we are living in Sri Lanka, we must respect their rules.” Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Darren Schuettler
We asked Trump supporters to show us their Facebook feeds – CNN Video
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Trump’s use of false content is often defended as humor. But his supporters aren’t always in on the joke
Bemidji, Minnesota (CNN)At a Trump rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, last Friday, grievances against social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were a common refrain. Many of the President’s supporters told CNN that they felt the platforms’ fact-checking processes were biased against conservative viewpoints. Others discussed social media posts that contained manipulated media as if they were…
Bemidji, Minnesota (CNN)At a Trump rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, last Friday, grievances against social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were a common refrain. Many of the President’s supporters told CNN that they felt the platforms’ fact-checking processes were biased against conservative viewpoints. Others discussed social media posts that contained manipulated media as if they were real. “Like when Joe Biden fell asleep during a live interview on television,” one supporter recalled, describing a video that went viral only a few weeks prior to the rally. The video — which appears to show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sleeping as a TV news anchor repeats, “Wake up!” — was shared on Twitter by White House social media director Dan Scavino. It was achieved by splicing together real footage of a 2011 interview between journalist Leyla Santiago, now of CNN, and entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte with footage of Biden looking down, his eyes appearing at least partially closed, to make it appear as if he were snoozing. An audio track of loud snoring was placed on the video to complete the effect. When the video was fact-checked by news outlets, including CNN, and eventually labeled as “manipulated media” by Twitter, prominent Trump supporters complained that it was an obvious joke and a meme. Asked last week why Trump shares fake videos and baseless conspiracy theories about Biden, Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign communications director, invoked a meme defense. “You call it a fake video. What it is is an internet meme,” he said. “Those are very frequently done to make a political point.” The joke was lost on Chris, the Trump supporter in Bemidji, who apparently believed the video was real footage. He acknowledged, “I missed that one,” when he was shown how the video had been manipulated. But the fact the video was faked didn’t change his impression of Biden because he believed something like that could happen, Chris said. Chris said he did not want to share his last name. The dissemination of misleading videos about Biden by the Trump campaign in an effort to make the Democratic presidential nominee seem confused or senile has happened repeatedly. On Tuesday, the campaign posted an eight-second video on Facebook that it titled “Joe Biden completely botches the Pledge of Allegiance.” But Biden was not trying to recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance as the full version of the video shows. Facebook did not take any action against the video. Despite promises from Silicon Valley to tackle election misinformation, videos that contain manipulated media often go unchecked and are viewed millions of times without context. Last week, Trump retweeted a video that was manipulated to make it appear as if Biden was dancing to the NWA song “F**k tha Police.” He wasn’t. When false claims and doctored videos are fact-checked by Facebook or labeled as manipulated by Twitter, it is possible that they have already been viewed and shared for days. And many of the Trump supporters who spoke to CNN in Bemidji said they simply do not trust the fact-checks that are deployed by Facebook. Facebook works with a number of organizations, including the Associated Press and Reuters, in the US to fact-check on its platform, all of which have signed up to a code of principles to be nonpartisan. One rally attendee, Mary Parsons, claimed her posts about the President were often removed by Facebook. While Parsons feels she is treated unfairly by Facebook’s fact-checkers, who she views as overly zealous, some Democrats think Facebook is not doing enough fact-checking. Either way, Parson says, the fact-checks do not sway her opinion.
Obama urges voters to focus on down-ballot races to combat gerrymandering
The video represents the latest attempt by top Democrats to focus attention on down-ballot races, like those for state legislatures across the country. The party hopes that they can take control of a handful of state legislatures in November, wins that could be key because the state bodies elected in 2020 will play major roles…
“You’ve heard a lot about the presidential race, maybe too much,” Obama says in a video for NowThis News, “but there is a lot more that will be on the ballot this fall.”
Obama adds: “In this election, the state leaders we elect will help redraw electoral districts all across the country.”
Obama is not new to the fight over redistricting and has focused a portion of his post-presidency work on the issue, including by folding his Organizing for Action group into the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group run by his former attorney general, Eric Holder, that looks to link Democratic issues with the need to take on gerrymandering.
“President Obama has said this is an all hands on deck moment, and one of the main drivers is redistricting that will happen based on November’s results,” Eric Schultz, an Obama adviser, said. “Now more than ever, we need to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. The Presidential campaign generally gets most of the attention, but President Obama believes these other races are mission-critical.”
The former president says in the video that he doesn’t think people “completely appreciate how much gerrymandering affects the outcome” of elections. The video then notes how Republicans swept into control in key states during the 2010 elections, allowing them to redraw maps in places like Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and Ohio.
Obama argues that many priorities of his presidency, including immigration reform and gun control measures, were thwarted, in part, because of gerrymandered districts electing Republicans to Congress.
“Those maps will stand for 10 years, that could mean a decade of fairly drawn districts where folks have an equal voice in their government, or it could mean a decade of unfair partisan gerrymandering,” Obama says in the video.
The video was made with NowThis News, a progressive mobile news outlet.
Democrats, emboldened by considerable excitement among their party’s key voters, hope they can flip at least one legislative body in Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Minnesota. And the party hopes it can make substantial inroads in states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Kansas, Georgia and Florida.
Groups like the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and Forward Majority, a super PAC that aims to pour millions into key state legislative races, have been leading the fight to focus Democratic attention to these races.
Forward Majority announced earlier this month that they would direct $15 million into state legislative races in Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona, so-called Sun Belt states where Democrats believe President Donald Trump could lead voters to reject Republicans in November.
“Without having a seat at the table next year, we will likely see an unprecedented level of gerrymandering,” said Forward Majority co-founder Vicky Hausman, who argued that these four states “represent the most powerful points of leverage in our democracy.”
The is partly a newfound focus for Democrats on down-ballot races like state legislatures. Republicans spent millions to control the legislative bodies over the last decades, leading Democrats to lose control of several state legislatures during Obama’s presidency.
But Democratic groups have been making the case, like Obama does in the video, that these local officials wield notable power on everything from how a state responds to something like the coronavirus pandemic to how they deal with issues of police brutality.
“This year, educate yourself on the candidates at every level on your ballot,” Obama says. “They can make a profound impact on your community and our country.”