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Taliban attack Kabul diplomatic quarter:Spaniard among five killed

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At least four Afghan policemen and one Spaniard were killed in an hours-long Taliban siege near the Spanish embassy in Kabul, the latest high-profile insurgent attack.

Multiple blasts and gunfire rocked Kabul’s diplomatic quarter after the brazen raid began yesterday, just hours after President Ashraf Ghani voiced optimism that a peace process with the Taliban would resume within weeks.

“Afghan special forces have killed four attackers who were involved in the terrorist attack in Kabul,” interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told

“Unfortunately four policemen were also martyred in the attack.” The government in Madrid had earlier confirmed that a Spanish policemen was also killed in the assault, which began when a huge car bomb struck during rush hour yesterday.

The powerful blast, which sent a thick plume of smoke into the sky, was followed by multiple explosions through the night along with sporadic bursts of gunfire.

Security men near the embassy ducked from gunshots as they hauled away a limp body and two wounded men through the dark to a waiting ambulance — one bleeding from the head, the other a policeman with a gunshot wound to his leg — an AFP photographer saw.

Sediqqi told  the last of the four assailants was killed in the early hours today. The attack follows a deadly 27-hour Taliban siege of Kandahar airport this week as the militants ramp up attacks despite the onset of the harsh winter season, when the fighting usually calms down.

The Taliban also claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack, saying the target was a foreign guest house.

The Spanish embassy was earlier reported to be the target of the attack, but Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy clarified that the assault was nearby and not on the compound.

“It was an attack against some guesthouses very near the embassy,” Rajoy said, confirming a Spanish policeman had been killed and all embassy staff had been evacuated as Afghan special forces cordoned off the area in Sherpur district in central Kabul.

Sherpur is home to several foreign NGOs and the residences of senior government officials, including controversial former warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s first vice-president.

The attack comes just days after president Ghani’s high-profile visit to Pakistan, where he shored up international support to restart peace talks with the Taliban.

Politics

Facebook workers stage virtual walkout over no action on Trump tweet

“We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies,” Zuckerberg wrote.

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George-Floyd

San Francisco, June 1 : Several Facebook employees on Monday staged a “virtual walkout” in protest at the social networking giant’s policies regarding a recent controversial post by President Donald Trump on its platform.

The employees took to Twitter, publicly announcing their solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter protests that have seized the nation since the death of African-American George Floyd by a white police officer on May 25.

“Today I am participating in a virtual walkout over Facebook”s recent decisions not to moderate posts that we believe violate our platform standards,” posted one Facebook employee.

Another employee tweeted: “As allies we must stand in the way of danger, not behind. I will be participating in today”s virtual walkout in solidarity with the black community inside and outside FB.”

Several Facebook employees have come out in the open to protest the social media giant”s stand on not taking action on a controversial post from Trump about the Minnesota protests.

“I believe Trump”s ”when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet (cross-posted to FB), encourages extra-judicial violence and stokes racism. Respect to @Twitter”s integrity team for making the enforcement call,” David Gillis, Director, Product Design at Facebook, said in a tweet on Sunday.

While Twitter last week put out a “public interest notice” on the tweet for violating the platform”s policies about glorifying violence, Facebook refused to take action when the tweet was cross-posted to its platform.

Defending the decision to not take action on the controversial posts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday said that its “policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force”.

“We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“Our policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force, although I think today”s situation raises important questions about what potential limits of that discussion should be,” he said.

“Unlike Twitter, we do not have a policy of putting a warning in front of posts that may incite violence because we believe that if a post incites violence, it should be removed regardless of whether it is newsworthy, even if it comes from a politician,” Zuckerberg added.

In a series of tweets, Gillis argued that policy “needs to evolve” and take more context into account.

“While I understand why we chose to stay squarely within the four corners of our violence and incitement policy, I think it would have been right for us to make a ”spirit of the policy” exception that took more context into account,” he said.

“At any rate, when we have to vigorously debate whether to make an exception to the way we interpret and enforce a given policy (as happened on Friday), this often indicates that said policy needs to evolve. I think that is the case here,” he said.

Another Facebook employee tweeted that he was not proud of how Facebook reacted.

“I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we”re showing up. The majority of coworkers I”ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard,” said Jason Toff, Director of Product Management at Facebook.

–IANS

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Tech

Did ”Anonymous” hacker group attack Minneapolis police website?

On its unconfirmed Facebook page on Thursday, hacker group Anonymous said it was targeting the department.

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Website-hack

San Francisco, June 1 : After hacker group Anonymous issued a threat of retribution for the death of George Floyd allegedly due to police brutality, the website of Minneapolis Police Department showed signs that it faced a cyber attack.

The website currently requires visitors to submit “captchas” to verify they are humans, not bots, the New York Post reported on Monday.

On its unconfirmed Facebook page on Thursday, hacker group Anonymous said it was targeting the department.

The politically-charged hacker group targeted the police department for its “horrific track record of violence and corruption” in an almost four-minute video.

“This travesty has gone on for far too long, and now the people have had enough,” a figure said in a mechanical voice.

“People have had enough of this corruption and violence from an organization that promises to keep them safe,” it added.

“Unfortunately, we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world,” said the masked figure.

Some 5,000 US National Guard troops were deployed in major states amid the ongoing protests against the death of Floyd in police custody on May 25 in the city of Minneapolis, while also demanding an end to racism and police violence.

–IANS

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Disaster

Italy’s death toll from coronavirus rises by 75 to 33,415

The rest 35,253 people, or about 84 percent of those who tested positive, are quarantined at home with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

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Italy Coronavirus

Rome, June 1 : Seventy-five more COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country”s toll to 33,415, out of total infection cases of 233,019, according to fresh figures.

Nationwide, the number of active infections dropped by 1,616 to 42,075, said the Civil Protection Department on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of those who tested positive for the new coronavirus, 435 are in intensive care, 15 fewer compared to Saturday, and 6,387 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 293 patients from the previous day.

The rest 35,253 people, or about 84 percent of those who tested positive, are quarantined at home with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

Recoveries rose by 1,874 compared to Saturday, bringing the nationwide total to 157,507.

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