After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook has taken the lion’s share of scrutiny from Congress and the media for its data-handling practices that allow savvy marketers and political agents to target specific audiences, but it’s far from alone.

YouTube, Google and Twitter also have giant platforms awash in more videos, posts and pages than any set of human eyes could ever check. Their methods of serving ads against this sea of content may come under the microscope next.

Advertising and privacy experts say a backlash is inevitable against a “Wild West” internet that has escaped scrutiny before. There continues to be a steady barrage of new examples where unsuspecting advertisers had their brands associated with extremist content on major platforms.

In the latest discovery, CNN reported that it found more than 300 retail brands, government agencies and technology companies had their ads run on YouTube channels that promoted white nationalists, Nazis, conspiracy theories and North Korean propaganda.

Child advocates have also raised alarms about the ease with which smartphone-equipped children are exposed to inappropriate videos and deceptive advertising.

“I absolutely think that Google is next and long overdue,” said Josh Golin, director of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google-owned YouTube’s advertising and data-collection practices earlier this month.

YouTube has repeatedly outlined the ways it attempts to flag and delete hateful, violent, sexually explicit or harmful videos, but its screening efforts have often missed the mark.

It also allows advertisers to avoid running ads on sensitive content — like news or politics — that don’t violate YouTube guidelines but don’t fit with a company’s brand. Those methods appear to have failed.

“YouTube has once again failed to correctly filter channels out of our marketing buys,” said a statement Friday from 20th Century Fox Film, which learned that its ads were running on videos posted by a self-described Nazi. YouTube has since deleted the offending channel, but the Hollywood studio says it has unanswered questions about how it happened in the first place.

“All of our filters were in place in order to ensure that this did not happen,” Fox said, adding it has asked for a refund of any money shared with the “abhorrent channel.”

YouTube said Friday that it has made “significant changes to how we approach monetization,” citing “stricter policies, better controls and greater transparency.” It noted it allows advertisers to exclude certain channels from ads. It also removes ads …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


The Latest: Israeli DM blames Hamas for boy’s death

GAZA, Palestinian Territory — The Latest on developments related to Gaza protests (all times local):

1:05 p.m.

Israel’s defence minister says Gaza’s Hamas rulers are the “only culprits” in the death of a Palestinian boy who was killed by Israeli army fire in protests on the Gaza-Israel border.

Avigdor Lieberman alleged on Twitter that Hamas uses women and children as human shields. His comments Saturday came after a top U.N. envoy in the region, Nikolay Mladenov, said it is “outrageous to shoot at children” and demanded an investigation.

The Israeli military has not commented on the killing of Mohammed Ayyoub. Gaza health officials initially gave his age as 15, but a local rights group, citing official documents, said he was 14.

Ayyoub was one of four Palestinians killed Friday by Israeli army fire in the fourth round of weekly border protests led by the Islamic militant Hamas.


8:30 a.m.

Health officials say Israeli soldiers firing from across a border fence have killed four Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, and wounded more than 150 others as several thousand people in blockaded Gaza staged a fourth round of weekly protests on the border with Israel.

Huge black plumes of smoke from burning tires engulfed the border area on Friday. Some of the activists threw stones toward the fence or flew kites with flaming rags dangling from their tails.

The latest deaths brought to 32 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in protests since late March. More than 1,600 have been wounded by live rounds in the past three weeks, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

…read more

Source:: Nationalpost


Caledon cool beckons for a country bolthole

In regions like Muskoka or the Haliburton Highlands, the often-spectacular views naturally seem to lend themselves to grand, showy architecture. But the gently rolling hills and open vistas of Caledon call, perhaps, for a more subdued response. And that’s just what this calm and beautiful weekend home, by +VG Architects principal Peter Berton, offers.

The homeowner started life on a dairy farm in Brampton, and the property is part of a larger plot of farmland that’s been in the extended family since the 1960s. Though she moved to the city years ago to become a successful lawyer, she always planned to build a country house someday, she says.

After the land was passed on to her brother, he severed a 20-acre plot for her, turning the property into a family compound of sorts, with paths through the woods for the clan to visit each other when they were there. With a view to creating a country place that would be equally comfortable for entertaining and for accommodating her daughter and young grandchildren – but also provide a haven for herself when needed, with or without guests – she called in Berton, a longtime family friend, to help realize these varied objectives.

“The object was to create a building that fit into the more subtle scenery of this region,” recalls Berton. “She had some specific ideas, such as to create a separate area for her daughter and grandchildren to stay in. She wanted a place that would be great for entertaining and accommodate guests easily, but not feel cavernous. And she wanted a contemporary design, but with warmth.”

The first order of business was to find the perfect site. Berton and the homeowner spent several pleasant days walking the breadth of the property, to find the perfect balance of vista and topography. “The best way to organize a space for two families is to put it on two levels,” says Berton, “and to find a hillside it can nestle into, which helps to make the house feel more intimate.” The spot they ultimately chose fit these two requirements perfectly: a gentle rise behind the house, and a long, rolling view of farms, fields and woods stretching far to the south.

On the exterior, simple materials and soft, muted colours – grey ribbed metal roof, taupe-stained horizontal cedar siding, natural maple, oak and fir, stone walkways and patios, an abundance of glass – make the house feel …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


India seeks death penalty for rape of girls under 12

NEW DELHI — India’s government has decided to prescribe the death penalty for people convicted of raping girls under the age of 12 to combat an increase in crimes against women.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported Saturday that the ordinance is being sent to the president for approval. It will require the approval of Parliament within six months in order the become law.

The decision follows an outrage over the recent brutal rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu-Kashmir state and the alleged rape of a girl by a ruling party lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh state.

Countrywide protests following a 2012 New Delhi gang rape and murder case prompted the government to double prison terms for rapists to 20 years.

…read more

Source:: Nationalpost


Red Cross says shooting in Yemen kills staffer

SANAA, Yemen — The International Committee of the Red Cross says a staff member has been killed in a shooting in Yemen.

ICRC said on its Twitter account the incident took place early Saturday, without elaborating.

Yemeni security officials said the Hanna Lahoud of Lebanon was killed in the southwestern province of Taiz when gunmen shot at a vehicle carrying ICRC staff members. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

It was not immediately clear how many people were in the vehicle and if there were other casualties.

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since March 2015 pitting a Saudi-led coalition backing an internationally recognized government against Shiite rebels, known as Houthis. The stalemated war has rendered Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

…read more

Source:: Nationalpost


Natalie Portman explains refusal to travel to Israel to collect an award

Natalie Portman publicly said she will not be traveling to Israel to collect her Genesis Prize Foundation award. This caused Miri Regev, Israel’s Culture Minister to denounce the Hollywood actress’ decision to boycott the event. According to Regev, Portman is involved with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

No trip to Israel for Jerusalem-born Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem but said she would not travel to the awards ceremony due to “recent events” in Israel. Initially, Portman was not specific over the events in question. However, the EU and UN recently demanded investigations into the fact that Israel’s military used live ammunition during Gaza clashes and protests. This has led to dozens being killed and hundreds of Palestinians wounded.

…Read more …read more

Source:: blasting news


PC games that will meet players’ expectations in 2018

The gaming industry was flooded with so many PC games in 2017, and some did very well to hit the target, games like “Super Mario Odyssey” and “Starwars Battlefront 11.” Now it is 2018, and it comes with lots of expectations from game players.

The big question is “which PC games or game will most likely meet these expectations?” In an effort to meet players’ expectations, the gaming industry has churned out more captivating games this year, and Gamespot took a look at some of the best for game lovers in 2018.

…Read more …read more

Source:: blasting news


Hiroshima increases J-League lead after Patric’s 6th goal

TOKYO — Brazilian striker Patric scored his sixth goal of the season on Saturday as Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Sagan Tosu 1-0 to increase its lead in the J-League.

Patric’s right-footed shot from 17 metres (yards) in the 87th minute allowed Hiroshima to remain undefeated this season and improve to 25 points, nine ahead of FC Tokyo, which beat Shimizu S-Pulse 1-0.

In other matches, Eduardo Nieto, Kengo Nakamura and Yoshito Okubo scored second-half goals as defending champions Kawasaki Frontale thrashed Kashima Antlers 4-1.

German striker Lukas Podolski scored two goals to lead Vissel Kobe to a 3-0 win over Nagoya Grampus.

Takayuki Matsuura, Daiki Ogawa and Taishi Taguchi all scored as Jubilo Iwata beat Vegalta Sendai 3-0.

Urawa Reds and Consadole Sapporo finished 0-0 while Milos Degenek scored late to earn Yokohama F Marinos a point in a 4-4 draw with Shonan Bellmare.

…read more

Source:: Nationalpost


Hamas says man gunned down in Malaysia was important member

GAZA, Palestinian Territory — The Hamas militant group says a man who was gunned down in Malaysia was one of its members who had made “important contributions” in science.

In a statement, Hamas said Saturday that Palestinian engineer Fadi al-Batsh was a “loyal” member and a “scientist of Palestine’s youth scholars.” It gave no further details on his scientific accomplishments but said he had participated in international forums in the field of energy.

Hamas stopped short of blaming Israel, saying only that he had been “assassinated by the hand of treachery.” But relatives of al-Batsh believe Israel targeted him.

Malaysian police say Batsh was gunned down by two assailants on a motorbike as he was heading to a mosque for dawn prayers. Besides his Hamas affiliation, he was also a relative of a senior official in the Islamic Jihad militant group.

…read more

Source:: Nationalpost


AP Analysis: Good and bad news in NKorea’s latest nuke offer

TOKYO — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has finally broken his silence on what he plans to bring to the table during his summits with the South Korean and U.S. presidents — and it doesn’t appear to have a whole lot to do with tossing out his hard-won nuclear arsenal.

At least not yet.

Ending weeks of ominous silence from Pyongyang, Kim laid out a new strategy at a meeting Friday of the central committee of his ruling party that suspends underground nuclear tests and test-launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. He also said the country’s nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, already believed to be essentially inoperable, will be closed and “dismantled.”

The announcement, which also stressed Kim’s desire to turn his focus to economic development, played very well in world capitals.

President Donald Trump immediately took to Twitter to praise the announcement as “very good news for North Korea and the World.” Seoul and Beijing welcomed it. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a hard-liner on North Korea, tried to keep his response positive, though he stressed the need for vigilance to see what happens in the coming months.

Just last year, about the only messages coming out of Pyongyang were vitriolic threats of merciless retaliation and warnings of the gathering dark clouds of nuclear war. Now, Kim is claiming he can be more magnanimous because “a fresh climate of detente and peace is being created on the Korean Peninsula and the region and dramatic changes are being made in the international political landscape,” according to the North’s state-run media, which reported the announcement on Saturday.

For sure, a lot of positive results can come from Kim’s summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, set for next Friday, and Trump, expected in late May or early June. The North and South may agree to allow more reunions for families that were divided by the 1950-53 Korean War, and Kim is reportedly open to releasing three Americans now in North Korean custody.

But the big “get” — the end of North Korea’s nuclear program — isn’t looking any closer than it was before Kim’s announcement.

North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of “denuclearization” that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington offers ironclad guarantees of its security and removes its nearly 30,000 troops from the peninsula.

Kim seems to be more flexible than he had been previously regarding the troops, …read more

Source:: Nationalpost