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India restores social media access in Kashmir for 2 weeks

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For the first time in eight months, people in Kashmir can use WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media services without any fear or use of specialized software — though things are not back to normal yet.

India said on Wednesday that it has temporarily lifted the ban on social media services and on the much broader internet, giving some relief to people and tens of thousands of businesses in the Himalayan region for two weeks.

New Delhi imposed a total communications blackout in the India-controlled territory in early August last year after withdrawing the special rights of Jammu and Kashmir. The government said the move was necessary to maintain peace in the region.

The move, which eventually became the biggest internet shutdown and crackdown of social media in any democracy, received wide criticism from human rights activists around the globe, as well as from lawmakers in the U.K. and the U.S.

The region, home to more than 7 million people, faced many challenges without access to the internet. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that at least 150,000 jobs were lost.

India’s top court ruled in January that the Narendra Modi-controlled government’s move to enforce an “indefinite” communications blackout amounted to abuse of power, and sought an explanation.

In the wake of the order, India opened access to about 300 websites, which did not include social media services, and capped mobile data speeds at 2G level. One analysis had found that more than a third of the whitelisted websites were largely inaccessible.

To bypass the censorship, some users began to use VPN apps on their smartphone, an act that local authority quickly deemed “unlawful” and moved to open cases against hundreds of citizens.

On Wednesday evening (local time), several people in Kashmir confirmed that they were able to access WhatsApp and other social media services again — though there remains restriction on their mobile data speed.

According to a notice issued by the region’s home secretary, the restoration of the internet will remain in effect till March 17.

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

One of George Santos’s biggest and most offensive lies was the one he told, on multiple occasions, about having grandparents who’d had to run for their lives during the Holocaust. In 2021, the then candidate claimed in a campaign video that his “grandparents survived the Holocaust.” Several months later, he told the Jewish News Syndicate: “I’m very proud of my grandparents’ story,” which he said included “fleeing Hitler.” Perhaps laying the groundwork for his explanation in the event he got caught in this specific fabrication, he told Fox News Digital in February: “For a lot of people who are descendants of World War II refugees or survivors of the Holocaust, a lot of names and paperwork were changed in name of survival.”

Like so many things that have come out of Santos’s mouth, the one about his grandparents and the Holocaust does not, in fact, appear to be true, as multiple genealogy records indicate his grandparents were born in Brazil and, according to one genealogist who spoke to CNN, “There’s no sign of Jewish and/or Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way.” Perhaps another sign that Santos does not have family members who were hunted by Adolf Hitler? His alleged willingness to joke about Hitler killing Jews, and Black people too.

Patch reports that in March 2011, Santos commented on a Facebook photo shared by a friend showing “someone making what appears to be a military salute with the caption ‘something like Hitler’.” Commenting below, Santos allegedly wrote: “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hiiiiiiiiiiiitlerrrrrrrrrrr (hight hitler) lolololololololololololol sombody kill her!! the jews and black mostly lolllolol!!! Dum.” A former friend told the outlet they recalled seeing the offensive comment, took a screenshot and sent it along. Patch says it also “verified through another former friend, Gregory Morey-Parker, that the original Facebook post under which Santos wrote the Hitler comment existed.” Presumably that will not be the case for very long. Morey-Parker, who was also once roommates with Santos, also told Patch that the newly sworn-in congressman would regularly make offensive jokes, typically about paying the bill for meals, “but he brushed it off saying he was Jewish. He’d always say that it was okay for him to make those jokes because he was Jewish,” Morey-Parker recalled. (Santos has copped to the fact that he is not actually Jewish, by insisting he never said he was. “I never claimed to be Jewish,” he said in an interview with the New York Post shortly after many of his lies initially came to light. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”)

In an email, Santos’s attorney claimed to Patch that the comment was somehow fake, writing: “the Facebook comment that you reference…is completely false, absolutely disgusting — There is absolutely nothing to talk about.”



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Sui-Based Ethos Wallet Raises $4.2M in Seed Round

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Sui-Based Ethos Wallet Raises $4.2M in Seed Round

“When we first set our sights on developing a wallet on the Sui blockchain, it became our mission to evolve what a crypto wallet is. Currently, they are viewed as a place to store crypto assets, however, they have the capability to do much more,” Eldeib said in the press release. “With Ethos, we’re working on developing, discovering and interacting with blockchain-based applications and to make those interactions safer and easier to use.”

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Donald Trump allowed back on Instagram and Facebook, Meta announces

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Donald Trump allowed back on Instagram and Facebook, Meta announces

Donald Trump will be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram, as parent company Meta announced it would be ending its two-year suspension of his accounts. His suspension will end “in the coming weeks”, the social media company confirmed, with Sir Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, saying the public “should be able to hear what their politicians are saying”. Sir Nick added that the company will add “new guardrails” to Mr Trump’s account “to deter repeat offences” just over two years after he used social media to incite an attack on the US Capitol. Sign up for our newsletters.

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