Facebook Unveils Fresh Security Measures For 2020 US Elections

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018.  JOSH EDELSON / AFP


Facebook said Monday it was tightening its security for the 2020 US elections, with stepped up scrutiny of “state controlled” media seeking to manipulate American voters.

The moves add to a series of measures from the leading social network since 2016, when foreign entities were prominently involved in social media in the US campaign.

“The bottom line here is that elections have changed significantly since 2016, and Facebook has changed too,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told a conference call.

“We face increasingly sophisticated attacks from nation-states … but I’m confident we’re more prepared now.”

One of the new steps calls for labeling of messages coming from state-controlled media outlets, starting next month.

“We will hold these pages to a higher standard of transparency because they combine the opinion-making influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state,” a Facebook blog post said.

Facebook also said it would seek to curb the viral spread of misinformation by using a “pop-up” that will appear when people attempt to share posts on Instagram debunked by third-party fact-checkers.

“In addition to clearer labels, we’re also working to take faster action to prevent misinformation from going viral, especially given that quality reporting and fact-checking takes time,” Facebook said.

“In many countries, including in the US, if we have signals that a piece of content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker.”

Facebook said it was offering new protections against the accounts of political candidates, monitoring their accounts for hacking or hijacking. It also outlined steps to protect against “voter suppression” including any efforts to mislead people about where or when to vote.

In a related development, Facebook said it removed four separate networks of accounts from Russia and Iran for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on Facebook and Instagram.

“All of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” said Facebook cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher.

Three of the groups originated in Iran and one in Russia, and they targeted users in the United States, North Africa and Latin America.

One of the Russian groups used posts with concealed identities to make comments “on both sides of political issues including topics like US elections, environmental issues, racial tensions, LGBTQ issues, political candidates, confederate ideas, conservatism and liberalism,” Facebook said.

An Iranian account which “masqueraded as a news entity” posted on topics including race relations, US and Israeli policy on Iran and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Aisha Buhari Unveils 2020 World Para Power-Lifting World Cup

Aisha Buhari Thanks Nigerians for Supporting Husband’s Administration


First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, has unveiled the athletes that will compete in the 2020 World Para-Powerlifting World Cup being hosted in Abuja, early next year.

She unveiled the athletes at an event which held at the State House on Wednesday, October 17, 2019, as well as the mascot and logo of the competition.

The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, noted that hosting the 2020 championship will be an enormous task, with para-lifters coming from Europe, the Americas and Africa to converge in Abuja.

She, therefore, charged the organisers to put all hands on deck to ensure the success of the event.

A clothing line was also unveiled as a way to source revenue for retired athletes and the First Lady called for patronage, saying that it will help the athletes not to retire into poverty.

She vowed that “as an advocate for women, children and vulnerable groups, I will continue to champion their cause with all my strength.”

She also expressed gratitude to the Federation for naming the event after her and giving her the privilege of hosting the championships.

Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Para Power Lifting Federation, Mrs Queen Uboh, in her address said the choice of the First Lady to host the event was deliberate, because of her commitment to the cause of the vulnerable Nigerians.

She said most of the team members are also female and will draw inspiration from her involvement.

She further stated that as a result of the respect which Nigeria has in the world of para-lifting, the nation has secured an approval to host the global event for the next three years.

Uboh, therefore, called on Nigerians to support the clothing line initiative which will usher in a new phase of life for retired athletes.

Trump Golf Club In Florida To Host Next G7 Summit

From L) Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a work session in the Casino of Biarritz on August 26, 2019.  AFP


Next year’s G7 summit will take place in one of Donald Trump’s Florida golf clubs, the president’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Thursday.

The leaders’ summit is to take place in the United States, and Trump had previously suggested hosting it at one of his own golf clubs — drawing immediate criticism that he is profiteering from his presidency.


Southgate And Squad To Prepare For Potential Racist Abuse In Bulgaria

England’s midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) and England manager Gareth Southgate (R) attend a press conference at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 9, 2019, ahead of their Euro 2020 football qualification match against Kosovo. Glyn KIRK / AFP



England manager Gareth Southgate is to meet with his squad ahead of their Euro 2020 match in Bulgaria next month and discuss what measures they might take if they are subjected to racist abuse.

One Bulgarian fan was arrested for “discriminatory abuse” directed at Raheem Sterling during the 4-0 win over Bulgaria last Saturday at Wembley, although he was subsequently released without charge.

A previous England team have already experienced racist abuse in Bulgaria in 2011 — Southgate’s team also were showered with abuse in a Euro qualifier in Montenegro last year.

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Bulgaria’s Stadion Vasil Levski will be partially closed for the matches with England on October 14 and Czech Republic in November because of the racist behaviour of fans in June.

A total of 5,000 seats of the 46,000 capacity stadium will be closed off for the England visit and 3,000 for the Czech Republic match — and a banner with the wording “#EqualGame”, with the UEFA logo on it will be displayed over the seats.

“It is a concern, we’re not confident that we’ll go there and nothing will happen,” Southgate said, adding that the meeting to address the issue was “already planned.”

“We’ve already planned what our schedule looks like and we’re going to discuss it with the players before we go, because we’re aware that there is history there and we want to make sure that we’re all prepared for what might happen and how we want to respond.”

UEFA ordered the partial closure of Bulgaria’s national stadium following racist behaviour by their fans in Euro 2020 qualifying games against Czech Republic and Kosovo in June.

Last month, Bulgarian club sides PFC Levski Sofia and PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv were punished by UEFA for racism during Europa League games.

Former US VP, Joe Biden Announces Interest To Run For White House In 2020

Former US Vice President Joe Biden / AFP


Former US Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he is running for the White House, positioning the veteran Democrat as a frontrunner among the many candidates seeking to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.

The party’s 76-year-old senior statesman became the most experienced and recognized Democrat in the race, a popular former vice president dominating early polls following months — even years — of campaign planning.

In a tweet accompanied by a three-and-a-half minute video, Biden said he could not stand idly by as US President Donald Trump “fundamentally altered the character of this nation”.

“The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy… everything that has made America — America — is at stake,” he wrote in the post.

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“That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.”

Biden, whose working-class appeal remains intact despite nearly half a century in Washington politics, is seen as a comforting, known quantity for American voters who will be vetting some 20 Democrats now officially in the presidential field.

But recent controversy over his tactile style, particularly with women, could dampen a rollout that he envisioned as the final main entry to the Democratic primary battle.

Even before his official announcement, Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, led most surveys of Democratic voters.

The RealClearPolitics poll aggregate puts him a favourite with 29.3 percent support, followed by independent Senator Bernie Sanders at 23 percent.

Griezmann Stars As France Thrash Moldova In Euro 2020 Qualifier

France’s midfielder Antoine Griezmann kicks to score a goal during the Euro 2020 qualifying football match between Moldova and France, on March 22, 2019 at Zimbru stadium in Chisinau.


Winger Antoine Griezmann scored one and set up another as World Cup winners France easily beat Moldova 4-1 in Chisinau in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday.

The Atletico Madrid attacker opened the scoring in the 24th minute of the Group H encounter before crossing for Raphael Varane to double the scores three minutes later.

Olivier Giroud equalled David Trezeguet as Les Bleus’ third highest scorer of all time with his 34th international goal nine minutes before the break and Kylian Mbappe completed the rout with three minutes left, before Vladimir Ambros claimed a late consolation for Moldova.

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Left-back Layvin Kurzawa was the only member of the starting lineup without a World Cup medal as Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman pulled out during the warm-up with a muscle issue and was replaced by Blaise Matuidi.

“We played a very consummate first half in terms of control and attacking organisation. The second half was less fulfilling due to substitutions,” said coach Didier Deschamps.

“We’ve opened our campaign well and the second game comes around quickly. In three days we have to do it again,” Deschamps added ahead of facing Iceland on Monday.

Griezmann had the best of the early chances but his effort from far out failed to threaten Alexei Koselev in the home side’s goal after 17 minutes.

The shaggy-haired wide-man scored his 27th goal for France seven minutes later, Manchester United playmaker Paul Pogba picking Griezmann out inside the box with a perfectly timed chip before he hit a lob first time to beat a flat-footed Koselev.

Griezmann then turned provider, his corner finding center-back Raphael Varane, who headed to double the visitors’ advantage at the Zimbru Stadium.

Giroud put to bed when he met late call-up Matuidi’s cross a left-footed volley.

Giroud missed an opportunity to move ahead of Trezeguet’s record 34 goals shortly after the break when his header from a Griezmann cross flew past the post.

Pogba could have added a second assist to Griezmann’s account but his header was parried away superbly by Koselev on 70 minutes, and the Manchester United man went close again with 11 minutes left when his shot could only find the side-netting.

Kylian Mbappe succeeded where Pogba failed on 87 minutes.

Lemar’s challenge on Eugeniu Cebotaru fed the Paris-Saint Germain forward who easily beat keeper Koselev.

The hosts claimed a consolation goal with 90 seconds of normal time remaining when midfielder Ambros capitalised on a rebound off the post to fire past Hugo Lloris.

Next up for France is Iceland, while as Moldova, who are yet to qualify for an international tournament, head to Turkey.


US Democrat Warren Joins 2020 Presidential Race Against Trump

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), addresses the media outside of her home after announcing she formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 Presidential run on December 31, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Scott Eisen/Getty Images/AFP

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren — an outspoken critic of Wall Street and nemesis of Donald Trump — entered the 2020 race for the White House on Monday.

The 69-year-old progressive announced she was launching an exploratory committee for president, becoming the first major candidate in what is set to be an extraordinarily crowded Democratic primary, united by a singular focus on unseating the Republican Trump.

The move will help Warren raise funds and hire more staff early in the campaign cycle — an effort in which she already leads most other potential Democratic candidates.

Her announcement came 13 months before the Iowa caucuses that launch what is expected to be a boisterous primary season.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” said a video message from Warren, who has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 2013, crafting a reputation as an economic populist.

“Corruption is poisoning our democracy,” she said. “Politicians look the other way while big insurance companies deny patients life-saving coverage, while big banks rip off consumers and while big oil companies destroy this planet.”

That, she said, is why she is launching her exploratory committee.

Going on the ‘offense’ 

A former public-school teacher and then Harvard law professor, Warren has been a vocal advocate of consumer and workers’ rights. But Americans may know her best for her frequent sparring with Trump — which has had mixed results.

Warren’s searing criticisms of Trump’s trade policies, erosion of consumer protections, and openness to authoritarian regimes — not to mention her call in September for Congress to use a constitutional maneuver to remove him from office — have drawn his attention, and his disdain.

Reacting to her latest move, Trump said he was unsure whether Warren could replace him at the White House. “You’d have to ask her psychiatrist,” he quipped in an interview with Fox News.

“We’ll see how she does. I wish her well, I hope she does well, I’d love to run against her.”

At his election-style rallies, Trump took to mocking her claim to have some Native American heritage by dubbing her “Pocahontas,” a derisive reference to the 17th century Native American who lived in what is now Virginia.

When Trump offered to donate $1 million to Warren’s favorite charity if she took a test proving “you’re an Indian,” she eventually did so, hoping to put an end to his ridicule.

Instead, he seemed to relish the fact that the test showed her with only a sliver of Native American heritage.

‘Nevertheless, she persisted’ 

But another encounter with a powerful male politician gave Warren a place in political folklore.

After she clashed in 2017 on the Senate floor with top Republican Mitch McConnell over the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general and refused to back down, his phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” was quickly adopted by feminists — and turned into T-shirts and bumper stickers.

As talk of a possible presidential run grew, Warren has worked to build her foreign policy credentials, taking a seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She favors cuts in military spending and a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Her domestic policies are reliably liberal: She is staunchly pro-choice on abortion, supports gun control and has urged Democrats to go on “offense” to expand health care coverage for Americans.

But her bread-and-butter issue has been the defense of ordinary Americans against abuses by those with wealth and power. She sharply criticized Wall Street after the 2007 financial crisis and helped establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie, and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice,” she said in her video.

 Humble childhood 

With as many as three dozen Democrats weighing possible presidential bids, the road to the nomination will be arduous.

Among those who have already declared their intention to run are Julian Castro, a former housing secretary in Barack Obama’s administration, Maryland Representative John Delaney and Richard Ojeda, a former army paratrooper currently serving as a state senator in West Virginia.

Polls for now show Warren trailing veteran politicians like former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, both in their 70s — as well as rising young star Beto O’Rourke, who is 46.

But analyst Nate Silver said on Twitter that Warren “probably has a better chance than Sanders of bridging the gap between the left and the party establishment.”

“She’s always raised a ton of money. Voters know what she stands for. Women did well in the 2018 primaries,” Silver added.

Warren has built the framework of a serious campaign, with a staff of more than 70 people, $12.5 million left over from her successful re-election effort, and a nationwide network of contacts and supporters.

As she seeks to raise her profile, Warren likes to tell how she grew up in the Central Plains state of Oklahoma, in a family she said lived “on the ragged edge of the middle class.”

After her father suffered a heart attack, she went to work at age 13 waiting tables in a restaurant — life experience she says gives her a visceral connection to ordinary Americans.


Trump Appoints Campaign Manager For 2020 Re-Election Bid

US President Donald Trump speaks during the 2018 White House business session with state governors at the White House on February 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mandel NGAN / AFP


President Donald Trump has only just completed his first year in the White House, but he is already looking ahead to a 2020 reelection campaign, tapping Brad Parscale to get the ball rolling.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump’s campaign announced the 42-year-old digital expert would begin preparing the groundwork for what already promises to be a long and highly divisive campaign.

It was not immediately clear whether Parscale would still be in place as campaign manager when the race begins in earnest.

But his appointment is another sign of what analysts have called America’s “permanent campaign.”

“Brad was essential in bringing a disciplined technology and data-driven approach to how the 2016 campaign was run,” said top White House aide Jared Kushner.

“His leadership and expertise will help build a best-in-class campaign.”

Before politics, Kansas-born Parscale — who sports a ZZ Top-style beard — had worked for the Trump Organization on digital marketing.

In 2016 he made a name for himself through a controversial effort to depress voter turnout among minorities, with a heavy focus on Facebook and Twitter.

That has put Parscale at the center of questions about possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia, which tried to tilt the election in the businessman’s favor.

Responding to a request from a Congressional inquiry, Parscale said that he was “unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.”

He said the only collaboration involved working with staff from Facebook, Google and Twitter, the Republican Party and controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Trump’s decision to seek election comes as no surprise.

He filed the paperwork to register a reelection campaign less than five hours after being sworn in on January 20, 2017.


Federal Government Launches Economic Recovery Plan

Yemi-OsinbajoThe Nigerian government has launched the economic recovery growth plan; an initiative which Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, says is expected to lead to the growth of the nation’s economy by seven per cent between 2017 and 2020.

Professor Osinbajo says the all-inclusive economic policy document will help put the economy back on track, following the effects of the recession.

According to him, the focus will be on five broad areas namely: macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion, employment and governance.

Tagged ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth’, the 2017 budget is expected to help Nigeria come out of recession but many have questioned the capabilities of the document to do just that.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Senate has adjourned plenary till February 24, 2017, to allow the different committees work on the details of the 2017 budget as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, expressed optimism that the Federal Government is on the right track with its plans.

Nigeria can be among largest economy in 2020 — CBN Director

The Director of communications of the Central Bank of Nigeria; (CBN) Ugo Okoroafor on Saturday said that Nigeria has done well with the finance of the economy compared to some countries not only in Africa but in Europe as well.

Mr Okoroafor, who was a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise, cited Greece as an example of countries facing recession in the global economy.

The CBN’s director said Nigeria is controlling the Foreign Direct Investment coming into Africa as it is now the arrowhead of sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for $46 billion in foreign reserves, opening doors for foreign investment in banking with RAND Merchant Bank signifying its interest in the Nigerian economy.

He listed some of the steps the country needs to take to be among the top economies of the world come 2020.

Below is a video of the complete interview with Mr Okoroafor.