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SCO would be a platform to resolve international issues, hopes Vladimir Putin

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Ufa (Russia): Moscow hopes the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) would become a platform to resolve international issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin said here.

“We hope that the SCO platform will become where we are able to gather together and look for compromises and solutions for disputed issues,” Putin said during a press conference after the concluded BRICS and SCO summits on Friday, Xinhua reported.

He mentioned that the “full-fledged inclusion of India and Pakistan” could help solve the dispute between the two countries.

A resolution was passed on Friday to start the procedures of granting India and Pakistan full SCO membership at the 15th bloc summit held in the south-western Russian city of Ufa.

Presently, both India and Pakistan are observers. Pakistan applied for a full membership in 2006 and India in 2014.

The expansion of the SCO “opens a new level in the bloc’s development”, Putin said, speaking highly of the strong momentum of the SCO in economic and financial cooperation.

Founded in 2001, the SCO now has China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its full members, with Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers, and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey as dialogue partners.

As Russia holds the rotating chairs of both the SCO and the BRICS, the summits of the two blocs were held together between July 8-10.

“We should start drafting an SCO convention on fighting extremism,” Putin stressed, as he pointed out that the activities of the Islamic State spreading into Afghanistan have added to the security threats of the SCO countries.

(IANS)

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Russia Helped Trump To Win On Every Social Media Platform: Senate Report

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election

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Former Donald Trump presidential campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, center, who triggered the Russia investigation, leaves federal court with wife Simona Mangiante, on Sept. 7, 2018, in Washington. VOA

Russia used every major social media platform to target voters with misinformation to try to get Donald Trump elected president, according to a new report that was prepared for the U.S. Senate and seen by The Washington Post.

The report says Russians working for a group called The Internet Research Agency (IRA) began experimenting with social media to influence local elections in 2009 and expanded its operations to U.S. elections in 2013 using Twitter.

It gradually added other popular social media sites to its campaign, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

For the 2016 presidential campaign, the report says Russians attempted to stir up conservative voters to back Trump by stressing such issues as gun rights and immigration.

Facebook, Trump
Conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, California, April 18, 2017. VOA

At the same time, the Russian operatives sent black voters messages and other information aimed at confusing them about the electoral process, including misleading information on how to vote.

Other groups, such as liberals, women, Muslims, Latinos, and veterans, were also targeted with similar messages either appealing to their politics or trying to discourage them from voting.

“What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says according to The Washington Post.

The newspaper says the report criticizes technology companies for what it calls their “belated and uncoordinated response” when the misinformation campaign was discovered and their delay in sharing information with investigators.

Michael Cohen, Trump
Michael Cohen walks out of federal court, Nov. 29, 2018, in New York, after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on an aborted project to build a Trump Tower in Russia. VOA

The report also warns that social media is morphing from what it says are tools for “sharing collective grievances and coordinating civic engagement,” including in the Middle East, to threats to democracy from “canny political consultants” and “politicians in democracies and dictatorships alike.”

The Post says Facebook and Google have not commented on the report. But Twitter says it has made “significant strides since the 2016 election to harden its digital defenses.”

The United States has already leveled criminal charges against Russia’s Internet Research Agency for interfering in the 2016 campaign.

Also Read: U.S. President Not Worried About Impeachment, Defends Hush Payments

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election and whether the president has tried to obstruct justice by trying to undermine the probe.

Trump denies there was any collusion and calls the Mueller probe a “witch hunt.” (VOA)