Monday March 19, 2018
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IS in Yemen threatens to crucify Indian priest


The conflict raging in Yemen has found an echo in India, with fears growing over the alleged abduction of an Indian priest by the Islamic State. Reports are now suggesting that he may be crucified on Good Friday on 25 March. The incident has put the spotlight back on the country, which has been seeing large-scale violence and civilian strife for a year and a half.

Here are the key facts relating to the case:

  • The priest, Father Tom Uzhunnalil was said to have been abducted after militants stormed an old age home on 4 March. The old age home is in Aden in Yemen. The gunmen killed 16 people, including four nuns, in the shootout, UK-based newspaper Daily Mirror reported. Earlier, this month, Missionaries of Charity spokeswoman Sunita Kumar said in Kolkata that Father Tom Uzhunnalil was handcuffed and taken away by the attackers when they stormed the retirement home in Aden.

  • In a Sunday message at Vatican City, Pope Francis called the nuns who were killed as “today’s martyrs” and rued that there appeared to be global indifference towards the incident. “They do not make the front pages of the newspapers, they do not make the news. They have given their blood for the Church,” he said.
  • Church officials from Bengaluru, however, have dismissed reports of his torture as rumours and said that they have “absolutely no information on the priest”, as per the report on the website UCA News. The officials have said that the church is in constant touch with the government and that the foreign ministry is said to have stepped up efforts to locate Father Uzhunnalil.
  • On 6 March, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted-

Yemen has been gripped by violence since September 2014, when Iran-backed Huthi rebels stormed the capital Sana’a and forced the internationally recognised government to flee south to the city of Aden.

More than 6,300 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led coalition began an air war in March last year to push back an offensive by the Huthi rebels, who control Sana’a.

Previous UN-sponsored negotiations between the Shiite rebels and government officials failed to reach a breakthrough, while a ceasefire went into force on 15 December, but it was repeatedly violated and the Saudi-led coalition announced an end to the truce on 2 January.


  • Shriya Katoch

    This horrific .ISIS is a major threat to humanity

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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)