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Media And Entertainment Industry

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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: A Ukrainian family was killed in a Russian attack on their building in March, despite denials. A 2021 video shows President Joe Biden urging people in hurricane-prone states to get vaccinated in case they needed to evacuate or stay in a shelter, not to protect against the storm itself. Air traffic analysts say flight cancellations across China last week remained consistent with COVID-19 pandemic trends. A video shows a member of an Italian neo-fascist group tearing down a European Union flag in 2013, not after Monday's election.

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In a rare admission of sexual harassment in Japan’s military, its army chief has apologized to a former soldier for suffering caused by a group of servicemembers. Yoshihide Yoshida, head of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, says an internal investigation found evidence that several servicemen had been involved in the case brought by former soldier Rina Gonoi last month. The investigation is ongoing and further details, including the assailants and their punishment, have not been released. In a country where gender inequality remains high, sexual harassment is often disregarded in Japan. But Japanese women have started to speak up, including in the government and the film industry.

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For years, Facebook, now called Meta, has pushed the narrative that it was a neutral platform in Myanmar that was misused by malicious people and failed to moderate violent and hateful material adequately. But a new report by Amnesty International says Facebook was not merely a passive site with insufficient content moderation. Rather, Meta’s algorithms “proactively amplified" material that incited violent hatred against the Rohingya beginning as early as 2012. Amnesty found that despite years of warnings, the company not only failed to remove violent hate speech and disinformation against the Rohingya — it actively spread and amplified it until it culminated in the 2017 massacre.

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A Delaware judge heard more arguments over the exchange of information by lawyers in the Twitter lawsuit that seeks to force billionaire Elon Musk to carry through with his $44 billion acquisition of the social platform. Tuesday’s hearing came three weeks before a scheduled trial in the dispute. Musk agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. He later backed away from the deal, claiming that Twitter hadn't provided him with enough information about the number of fake accounts on its platform.

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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: President Joe Biden did not announce that the U.S. is signing a U.N. “Small Arms Treaty,” that would establish an international gun control registry. There is no scientific evidence to suggest humans or other mammals vaccinated with mRNA shots die within five years. A video shows traffic at the Finnish-Russian border last month, not Russians fleeing after Putin announced the partial mobilization of reservists to Ukraine. Florida ranks 48th in the nation in average public school teacher pay, not 9th.

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The Boston Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season. The move takes effect immediately and with no guarantee he will be back with the franchise. The Celtics said Thursday night that Udoka was suspended for “violations of team policies.” Earlier Thursday, two people with knowledge of the matter said Udoka was being sanctioned because of an improper relationship with a member of the organization. Those people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not reveal that detail publicly.

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Robert Sarver says he has started the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a move that comes only eight days after he was suspended by the NBA over workplace misconduct including racist speech and hostile behavior toward employees. Sarver made the announcement Wednesday, saying selling “is the best course of action.” He has owned the teams since 2004, when he purchased it for about $400 million. He is not the lone owner, but the primary one. Forbes recently estimated the value of the Suns at $1.8 billion.

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The expanding audio books market has a major new retailer: Spotify. On Tuesday, the music streaming service announced its long-rumored audiobook initiative, launching a store that includes more than 300,000 titles, including such popular works as Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing,” Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us.” Prices for audio books “will be competitive” with other leading sellers, according to Spotify. Other available works on Spotify include Dave Grohl’s “The Storyteller,” James McBride’s “Deacon King Kong” and Emily Henry’s “People We Meet On Vacation.”  Spotify executive says audiobooks are a “substantial untapped market.”

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed a two-year agreement supporting Idaho wheat sales to Taiwan in a deal that officials say gives wheat producers a reliable buyer and Taiwan a dependable supplier. The Republican governor on Monday participated in the signing with officials from Taiwan, the Idaho wheat industry and Taiwan Flour Mills Association. Wheat is one of Idaho’s top crops, and it's been exported to Taiwan for decades. Idaho grew 76.5 million bushels of wheat in 2021, down from 112.5 million bushels in 2020. Idaho agricultural officials say Idaho appears to have a bumper crop this year.

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A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a Texas law targeting major social media companies like Facebook and Twitter. The ruling Friday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is a victory for Republicans who accuse the platforms of censoring conservative speech. But the decision is not likely the last word on a legal battle that has stakes beyond Texas and could affect how some of the world’s biggest tech companies regulate content by their users. A similar law was also passed in Florida and ruled unconstitutional by a separate appeal court. The Texas law has been challenged by tech trade groups that warn that it would prevent platforms from removing extremism and hate speech.

Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: Germany has not discontinued the use of all COVID-19 vaccines. An Illinois law that eliminates cash bail does not make murder, kidnapping and other serious crimes “non-detainable” offenses. The U.K. did not order all funerals on the same day as Queen Elizabeth II's service to be canceled, nor are tech devices in the country being disabled amid the monarch's mourning period.

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Museums in New York that exhibit artworks looted by Nazis during the Holocaust are now required to let the public know about that dark history through signs or placards put on display with the stolen objects. Experts estimate that at least 600,000 pieces of artwork were looted from Jewish people before and during World War II. Some of those objects ended up in the world's great museums. The new rule comes as many museums in the U.S. and Europe are reckoning with collections that also contain numerous objects looted from Asia, Africa and other places during centuries of colonialism.

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A top horse racing official in New Mexico says easing rules around online betting would help to ensure the industry’s survival amid intense competition for gambling dollars. The head of the state racing commission told a panel of lawmakers Thursday that the industry in New Mexico needs to find a way out of "the dark ages” by embracing technology. New Mexico law prevents residents from betting on races in the state using their mobile devices. Track owners and horse breeders say that's lost revenue for a multimillion-dollar industry that has seen its economic effect dwindle by nearly 25% over recent years.

A new law in California will require companies that provide online services to protect children's privacy. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law on Thursday. It requires companies to not profile children or use children's personal information that could harm their physical or mental health or well-being. The bill requires tech companies to follow age-appropriate design code principles aimed at keeping children safe. Companies will eventually have to submit a “data protection impact assessment” before offering new online services attractive to children. Facebook parent company Meta said it had concerns about the bill but said it shares lawmakers' goal of keeping children safe online.

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Law enforcement officials says authorities are examining whether the employee who reported an explosion at Northeastern University may have lied to investigators and staged the incident. One official said investigators identified inconsistencies in the employee’s statement and became skeptical because his injuries didn’t match wounds typically consistent with an explosion. The officials could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. In an interview with The Boston Globe, the employee denied staging the explosion, calling the event “very traumatic.”

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Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee eked out a victory in his Democratic primary on Tuesday, beating back strong challenges from a pair of opponents as he seeks his first full term in office. The former lieutenant governor became the state’s chief executive a year and a half ago when two-term Gov. Gina Raimondo was tapped as U.S. commerce secretary. McKee will be the heavy favorite in the liberal state in November against the Republican nominee, Ashley Kalus, a business owner and political novice. McKee edged out former CVS executive Helena Foulkes in spite of her late surge in the polls and a last-minute endorsement from The Boston Globe’s editorial board. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea finished a close third.

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California will impose first-of-its-kind requirements on social media companies to publish their policies for removing disturbing content including hate speech, with details on how and when they remove that content. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he had signed the bill. He said social media has been weaponized to spread hate and disinformation. A coalition of the bill's opponents have said the companies already must make their content moderation policies public. Critics also objected to the bill's requirement that companies disclose sensitive information to the state attorney general. But the bill had bipartisan support from lawmakers. It advanced after stalling last year over free speech issues.

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Twitter’s former security chief told Congress Tuesday there was “at least one agent” from China’s intelligence service on Twitter’s payroll — and that the company knowingly allowed India to add agents to the company roster as well. These were some of the troubling revelations from Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, a respected cybersecurity expert and Twitter whistleblower who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to lay out his allegations against the company. Zatko, who was fired earlier this year, said Twitter's leadership is "misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators and even its own board of directors."

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The NBA suspended Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after an investigation found that he had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.” The findings come nearly a year after the NBA asked a law firm to investigate allegations that Sarver had a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents over his nearly two-decade tenure overseeing the franchise. The league said the results of the investigation were based on interviews with 320 individuals and more than 80,000 documents and other materials. Sarver apologized for “words and actions that offended our employees,” though he disagreed with some of the report’s findings.

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The level of online betting activity on Thursday night’s NFL kickoff game surged 77% over the level from last year’s opener. That's according to a company that most of the legal U.S. sports betting industry uses to verify that its customers are where they say they are. Data released by GeoComply recorded 22.6 million location verification transactions Thursday before and during the Buffalo Bills’ 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The company says that was up from 12.7 million such transactions from the 2021 season opener, and seems to indicate “the biggest season yet” for legal betting on the NFL.

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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: A federal court order in President Donald Trump's legal dispute over government documents does not prove that President Joe Biden ordered the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. The National Institutes of Health did not recently add ivermectin to a list of COVID-19 treatments, nor does it recommend the drug for that purpose. Experts agree that ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a major risk factor in developing skin cancer, contrary to posts online attempting to downplay the hazards.

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Bernard Shaw, CNN’s chief anchor for two decades and a pioneering Black broadcast journalist best remembered for calmly reporting the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991 as missiles flew around him in Baghdad, has died. He was 82. He died of pneumonia on Wednesday at a hospital in Washington, according to Tom Johnson, former CNN chief executive. Shaw was at CNN for 20 years and was known for remaining cool under pressure. He was also remembered for his blunt question of Michael Dukakis during a 1988 presidential debate, asking the Democrat if he would favor the death penalty for someone had raped and murdered his wife, Kitty Dukakis.

Angela Merkel, who served as chancellor of Germany for 16 years, will release her political memoirs in 2024. Her publisher announced Thursday that the former chancellor, who is co-authoring the book with her longtime adviser Beate Baumann, will provide an exclusive, personal look into her political life and work. The 68-year-old steered Germany safely through a succession of crises including the global financial crisis, the migrant crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. Merkel, a former scientist who grew up in former communist East Germany, became Germany’s first female chancellor on Nov. 22, 2005 and announced she would not run again in last year's election.

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