Monday March 19, 2018
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No warning from Turkey, never crossed into its territory: Rescued Russian pilot


Moscow: The second pilot of the downed Russian Su-24 warplane, who was rescued on Wednesday, has revealed that the Turkish F16s gave “no warning” before shooting down their jet.

The pilot also revealed that his plane did not cross into Turkey’s territory, as claimed by the latter.

“It’s impossible that we violated their airspace even for a second,” Konstantin Murakhtin told Russia’s Rossiya 1 channel.

“We were flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters in completely clear weather, and I had total control of our flight path throughout.”

The pilot was rescued “safe and sound” by Russian and Syrian forces and taken to Syria’s Hmeimim airbase, Xinhua reported.

The Russian Su-24 fighter jet was shot down on Tuesday by Turkey near the Turkish-Syria border.

Turkey claimed responsibility, saying the warplane had violated Turkish airspace and the move was “within engagement rules”.

Russia insisted the plane was in Syrian airspace on a mission to strike at the Islamic State targets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said S-300 anti-aircraft missile system would be deployed at Hmeimim airbase, where a Russian airforce group for anti-terrorist strikes is located.

Moskva guard missile cruiser of Russia is ready at new combat duty position near Syria’s Latakia “to destroy any potentially dangerous air targets,” Putin said.

Putin on Tuesday called the downing “a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists”.

While, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday condemned Turkey for downing the warplane and warned of consequences.

“The recklessly criminal actions of the Turkish authorities would lead to three consequences,” an official statement quoted Medvedev as saying.

“First, the dangerous worsening of relations between Russia and NATO, which cannot be justified by any interests, including protection of state borders,” the prime minister said.

“Second, Turkey’s actions in fact demonstrated the protection of the militants of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group,” Medvedev said.

He said that there is “available information” about “direct financial interest” of some Turkish officials having a connection with enterprises held by the IS.

“Third, the long-standing good-neighbourly relations between Russia and Turkey, including in the economy and humanitarian spheres have been undermined,” Medvedev said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

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Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

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This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)