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Imran Khan wants President Donald Trump to extend US Travel Ban to Pakistan

The controversial U.S. ban currently applies to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen

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FILE - Pakistan’s leading opposition politician Imran Khan, seen in this file photo, is urging President Donald Trump to ban Pakistanis from entering the United States, after he suspended immigration from seven Muslim majority countries. VOA
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USA, Jan 30, 2017: Pakistan’s leading opposition politician, Imran Khan, is urging President Donald Trump to ban Pakistanis from entering the United States, after he suspended immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The controversial U.S. ban currently applies to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Addressing a rally in the central Pakistani town of Sahiwal on Sunday, Khan denounced the ban as anti-Muslim and praised Iran for its retaliatory action of banning Americans from entering the Islamic Republic.

“I want to tell all my fellow Pakistanis today, I pray that Donald Trump really bans visas for us.” Khan said, suggesting that such a move could help prevent brain drain from Pakistan.

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He went on to urge educated and skilled Pakistani youth to abandon U.S. travel plans in search of a better economic future, and to focus instead on building Pakistan.

“And then if America tells us they are stopping visas for us we will also, like Iran, tell them we are going to stop visas for Americans,” Khan vowed.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party is the third major political force in the national parliament, and rules the country’s northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhaw province.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has not yet commented about Trump’s ban on Muslim countries.

Officials in Islamabad are hoping for improvement in their usually uneasy relations with Washington under the Trump presidency.

Pakistan’s alleged support for anti-Afghanistan and anti-India Islamist militant groups sheltering on its soil has been a major irritant in tensions with Washington.

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On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus hinted that Pakistan could be included in the list of countries from which immigration has been banned.

“You can point to other countries that have similar problems like Pakistan and others — perhaps we need to take it further.” Priebus told CBS News. (VOA)

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Microblogging Site Twitter Releases Tweets Linked to Russia, Iran

"We may also release incremental additions to existing datasets if we believe the additional information could materially impact research findings," Twitter said

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Twitter
Twitter releases data linked to Russian, Iranian info campaigns. Pixabay

With the goal of improving understanding of how foreign influence campings operate on Twitter, the microblogging site has now released massive datasets of accounts linked to potential influence campaigns originating in Russia and Iran.

These large datasets released this week comprise 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA), originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran.

Totalling over 360 gigabytes – including more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts ?the data store provides a picture of how state-sponsored agencies have used the Twitter platform, technology news website Ars Technica reported on Friday.

IRA allegedly ran information campaigns on several social media platforms to undermine the political process in the 2016 US presidential election.

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The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

With Twitter coming under scrutiny for its failure to stop the spread of misinformation during the election, the microblogging site, earlier this year, committed to the US Congress and the public to provide regular updates and information regarding its investigation into foreign interference in political conversations on Twitter.

Since that time, Twitter has shared examples of these types of content posted on Twitter by IRA and provided the public with a direct notice if they interacted with these accounts.

In August this year, Twitter also disclosed details of another attempted influence campaign it identified as potentially located within Iran.

The datasets released this week are aimed at enabling independent academic research and investigation into the nature of foreign influence campaigns, Twitter said.

Twitter
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We are committed to understanding how bad-faith actors use our services. We will continue to proactively combat nefarious attempts to undermine the integrity of Twitter, while partnering with civil society, government, our industry peers, and researchers to improve our collective understanding of coordinated attempts to interfere in the public conversation,” Twitter said.

A preliminary look at the data by Ars Technica revealed that a common tactic used by the IRA was to create “local news” accounts for major US cities, seeding them with posts linking to local news outlets.

The accounts, such as “Atlanta Online,” “Baltimore Online,” “Baton Rouge Voice,” “Chicago Daily News,” and “Dallas Top News” would also include tweet-length news headlines with no link, the report said.

Also Read- Habitability Of Surrounding Planets Affected By Super Flares Of Red Dwarfs: NASA

Twitter said if it identifies additional attempted information operations on Twitter in the future, it will release similar datasets in a timely fashion after completing its investigations.

“We may also release incremental additions to existing datasets if we believe the additional information could materially impact research findings,” Twitter said. (IANS)