By Diálogo February 07, 2020 In early January, Twitter suspended dozens of accounts linked to the Nicolás Maduro regime citing “platform manipulations.” Maduro’s presidential office, the Bolivarian Armed Forces’ Strategic Operational Command, the Central Bank of Venezuela, including state oil company PDVSA, and other government agencies temporarily lost access to their accounts.In 2019, both Twitter and Facebook took down thousands of accounts linked to disinformation campaigns in Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. In Venezuela, Twitter removed about 2,000 accounts that were considered by the company to be engaging in “state-backed influence campaigns targeting domestic audiences.”According to a 2019 report on online propaganda by Oxford University, seven countries were singled out for using social media to control information and to influence audiences, including China, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. The report indicates that the Venezuelan regime not only relies on bots (automated software applications), but also on a large budget and large number of people tasked with manipulating public opinion online. The report estimates that “multiple brigades of 500 people” with “evidence of formal training” carry out computational propaganda for the regime.According to Venezuelan journalist Adrian González, who operates Cazadores de Fake News (Fake News Hunters), one of six Venezuelan fact-checking sites that verify materials circulating on online platforms and fight disinformation, many of Maduro’s brigades operate from two call centers in Caracas and receive orders directly from the Venezuelan Ministry of Communication and Information.“Some of those [accounts] are easy to catch, with bot behavior,” González said. “They retweet between 100 to 400 times a day, but you can see they are human operators […]. I’ve denounced these accounts thousands of times.”González said the brigades are lured with easy money earned by simply engaging in disinformation campaigns to suppress the opposition and to reinforce the regime’s message.“With prizes, that’s how they get people to tweet,” González said. “They say position this trend, get $10. With a little bit of money you can incentivize a whole lot of people and there are some who spend their entire time doing just that.”A document from the Venezuelan Ministry of the Interior and Justice, “Formation Project for the Bolivarian Revolution Army of Trolls,” leaked in 2017 to the Press and Society Institute of Venezuela detailed the regime’s online propaganda plan of action. According to the document, the “Army” consists of squadrons (1 person), pelotons (10 people), companies (50 people), battalions (100 people), and brigades (500 people), who are responsible for operating from 23 to 11,500 accounts in the most popular social media sites. The trolls are categorized as pro-government, (false) opposition (pro-Maduro trolls whose online task is to infiltrate the opposition and interfere in their conversation), neutral, distraction, and fake news. Their role is to monitor online content and spread false information.According to González, the trolls owe their social media savvy to training they received as part of the Maduro regime’s “Robinson Digital Mission“ a 2016 initiative under the Ministry of Education. State-owned media described the mission as a “new digital capability sought by the State to counter the communications warfare the national and international right is waging.”“I am creating the Robinson Digital Mission […] to defend the people of Venezuela’s right to truth, independence, and peace,” Maduro said as he approved the mission’s creation.In her late 2018 study, “Venezuelan Government Strategies for Information War on Twitter,” Iria Puyosa, a Venezuelan researcher in political communication and a visiting professor at Brown University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, identified three strategies the Maduro regime uses on Twitter to manipulate public opinion. Puyosa’s research indicates that the regime coordinates official accounts and those of its Army of trolls to ensure the reach of daily trending topics, to promote distracting hashtags with misleading or false information, and to hijack the hashtags of the opposition to alter their message and meddle in their conversations.“The combined deployment of the three strategies constitutes a systemic violation of Venezuelan internet users’ right to participate in public affairs,” Puyosa said in her report. “Furthermore, these strategies contributed to the violation of expression and association, access to information, and participation in public affairs debates, which are fundamental to a free, open, and human rights-oriented internet.”
___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports July 17, 2020 The Paraguayan soccer association says Guarani, 12 de Octubre and San Lorenzo cannot play and train until another medical examination is held.The soccer association did not say how many players or club staff members have become infected.The league had been scheduled to resume later in the day after a four-month suspension caused by the pandemic. San Lorenzo was to play General Diaz.Guarani was scheduled to play Guaireña on Saturday and 12 de Octubre was to play Sol de America.Club executives are expected to meet later in the day to discuss whether other matches will go forward. Associated Press The Latest: Paraguayan soccer league restart halted by virus Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The restart of the Paraguayan soccer league has been called off after three teams came down with cases of the coronavirus. Paraguay has done comparatively well in combating the virus. Only 27 people in the country of almost 7 million residents have died with the virus of about 3,300 infected.___Sporting events in England could be opened up to spectators starting in October.No fans have been allowed at stadiums since sports resumed in the country in June after a three-month shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says “from October we intend to bring back audiences in stadia … in a COVID-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”
By Terri Richardson, Nelson Curling ClubThe Nelson Curling Club curlers are happy to return from the Christmas break to two exciting events. One is the Mixed League, which focuses on curlers of all ages and varying levels to curl in social and non-competitive games. One only has to drop by on a Friday evening to watch the fun games while music blares out on the ice with curlers laughing and chatting it up the whole evening. Because they want to share all this fun with everyone, they are hosting an evening for curlers to invite friends to join in their games this Friday night. If you don’t know a curler, just come to the rink and before you know it, you will know many, many curlers. We look forward to seeing you this Friday (January 10) at 6:45 p.m. Please bring clean indoor shoes and curling equipment will be provided. The second event, is a bit more competitive with the Kootenay Zone playdowns for the Senior Men’s qualifier for the B.C. Provincials being hosted January 17-19. Drop by to watch as the runner-up in last year’s provincials, Tom Shypitka, defends his berth (Nelson’s, Fred Thomson is third on this team). Teams who are challenging Shypitka for the opportunity to represent the Kootenays are, Fahselt, McHargue and Bothamley from the East Kootenays and Nichol, Salviulo and Ferguson from the West. These teams promise to provide us with entertaining games and the public is invited to come and watch.Standings for the first half of the curling season are:Tuesday Mens:Beaudry (14); Meadows (11); Savliulo (11); May, R. (10); Zelonka (9); Cutler (8); Marsh (8); Thomson (8); May, A. (7); Haynes (4)Thursday Mens:Salviulo (14); Zelonka (14); Lewis (13); Wudkevich (10); McLellan (9); Cutler (6); Barnhart (6); Meadows (6); Richardson (6); Burch (4)Ladies:DeTremaudan (16); May (13); Sutherland (11); Walgren (11); Cowden (10); Dreher (5); Prentice (4); Mackenzie (0)
–30– ARCADIA, Calif. (April 4, 2015)–Undefeated WBO, IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev will present the trophy for today’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby, which will be run as the eighth race on an 11-race card at The Great Race Place. Projected post time for the 78th running of the Santa Anita Derby is 3:38 p.m., PDT.Born April 2, 1983 in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kovalev currently resides in Sherman Oaks. Undefeated in 28 bouts, Kovalev, at 175 pounds, is one of the most feared fighters in the world today with 24 knockouts to his credit.Named Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year for 2014, Kovalev defeated former champion Bernard Hopkins by unanimous decision on Nov. 8 in Atlantic City, retaining his WBO Light Heavyweight title and winning the IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight titles. In his most recent bout, Kovalev defeated Jean Pascal via TKO in the eighth round on March 14 in Montreal.Kovalev, who is currently represented by Main Events, will watch the Derby Day races from one of Santa Anita’s Luxury Suites. First post time is at 12 noon and today’s Santa Anita Derby will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The North Peace Secondary School’s Basketball teams were busy over the weekend.The Junior and Senior Boy’s and Girl’s from FSJ were in action versus teams from the Dawson Creek Secondary School. Each team played two games over the weekend in preparation for the upcoming North Zones. The NPSS teams finished the head-to-head play with a 4-1 record.Meanwhile, the Girls Curling team prepares for the BC Curling Provincials in Langley at the end of February.- Advertisement –
From K J M VarmaBeijing, Jun 18 (PTI) Yoga fever has gripped China ahead of the third UN International Day of Yoga as thousands of Chinese would participate in scores of events organised across the country which officials say will make it the second biggest celebrations of the day in the world after India.Beijings iconic Great Wall as well as numerous parks, lakes and resorts across China have become venues for the both official and unofficial yoga events being held with active support of Chinese government bodies.Though yoga has become immensely popular over the years in China vying with ancient indigenous physical fitness martial art form Tai Chi, it got an official sanction when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi here in 2015 at a joint event during the latters visit.China also backed Indias move in the UN to make June 21 as International Yoga Day, giving a fillip to hundreds of yoga clubs and organisations.A first yoga college has come up outside India with joint collaboration of India and China in Yunnan Minzu (Nationalities) University in Kunming, which has also lined up several yoga events.”Since UN declared yoga day June 21 has become a yoga festival day in all big and small cities in China,” Manmohan Singh Bhandari, an Indian yoga expert who along with his Chinese wife Yin Yan runs yoga training school Yogi Yoga, told PTI here.Yoga now has become a trend with people practicing in parks. During this time of the year, yoga is being taught free all over China, Bhandari who hails from Rishikesh said.advertisementHis Yoga Yogi school has centres all over the country.The Indian Embassy here which has a yoga specialist Umesh Babu besides Indian Consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou are organising dozens of events commemorating the events featuring Chinese officials.The main event will be held at the Great Wall on June 20.”In terms of the quality of participation of Yoga practitioners from India, the number of events at different locations in China and the expected outreach to Chinese Yoga lovers, the series of events planned for this year are poised to reach new heights,” the embassy said.For the first time ever, the Embassy, in collaboration with the Ministry of AYUSH and the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) has invited a group of 20 young Yoga ambassadors with expertise in performing advanced routines in Hatha Yoga.These young Yoga ambassadors – 10 girls and 10 boys between 22 and 30 years of age ? will capture the imagination of Chinese Yoga lovers with their dexterity and poise in demonstrating advance Yoga techniques. The young Yoga ambassadors will also enable a direct connect with the younger population in China attracted to Yoga, the embassy said in a statement.They will also hold a special demonstration of Yoga at the Opening Ceremony of BRICS Sports Meet in Guangzhou.Already few thousand people have taken part in the curtain raiser events Eastern China Region organised by the Indian Consulate in Shanghai.It planned to held 12 events in 12 cities, total estimated participants 20,000 enthusiasts.Officials said that compared to last year participation has doubled with youngsters showing more enthusiasm.The Indian Consulate in Guangzhou is organising two big yoga festivals with Yoga Gurus from India. Other events included a five-day camp in Chengdu, India-China Yoga College, cities of Dongguan, Zhongshan and Foshan. PTI KJV UZM