Connect with us

The United Kingdom will deploy its new aircraft carrier, loaded with two squadrons of F-35 aircraft into the politically-fraught South China Sea.

British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson confirmed in a speech Monday morning that the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail into waters that are the subject of dispute between China and other nations.

At an address given to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, Williamson said Britain was the second largest investor in the region and it must display “hard power” and “lethality” to help protect interests.

The £3 billion ($3.9 billion) carrier’s outing will also sail into the Middle East and Mediterranean and will be officially a mixed U.K./U.S. deployment.

“Significantly British and American F-35s will be embedded in the carrier’s air wing. Enhancing the reach and lethality of our forces (and) reinforcing the fact that United States remains the very closest of partners,” Williamson said.

The U.K. defense minister did not confirm exact dates for the mission.

Source link

World

Explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

Published

on

At least 129 people were killed and nearly 500 hospitalized from injuries in near simultaneous blasts that rocked three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the state-run Daily News reported.

A security official told The Associated Press that the death toll was 138 people, and included worshippers and hotel guests.

Two of the blasts were suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak with reporters.

It was the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war a decade ago. The magnitude of the bloodshed recalled the random bombings perpetrated by the separatist Tamil Tigers that targeted a bank, a shopping mall, a Buddhist temple and hotels popular with tourists.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

St. Anthony’s Shrine and the three hotels where the blasts took place are in Colombo, and are frequented by foreign tourists. A National Hospital spokesman, Dr. Samindi Samarakoon, told AP they received 47 dead, including nine foreigners, and were treating more than 200 wounded.

Local TV showed damage at the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels.

The Shangri-La’s second-floor restaurant was gutted in the blast, with the ceiling and windows blown out. Loose wires hung and tables were overturned in the blackened space.

A police magistrate was at the hotel to inspect the bodies recovered from the restaurant. From outside the police cordon, several bodies could be seen covered in white sheets.

Alex Agieleson, who was near the shrine, said buildings shook with the blast, and that a number of injured people were carried away in ambulances.

Other blasts were reported at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a majority Catholic town north of Colombo, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa. St. Sebastian’s appealed for help on its Facebook page.

The explosion ripped off the roof and knocked out doors and windows at St. Sebastian’s, where people carried the wounded away from blood-stained pews, TV footage showed.

Sri Lankan security officials said they were investigating. Police immediately sealed off the areas.

Sri Lankan security forces in 2009 defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought to create an independent homeland for the country’s ethnic minority Tamils. The U.N. initially estimated the death toll from 26 years of fighting to be about 100,000 but a U.N. experts’ panel later said some 45,000 ethnic Tamils may have been killed in the last months of the fighting alone.

Government troops and the Tamil Tigers were both accused of grave human rights violations, which prompted local and international calls for investigations.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Explosions hit two churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

Published

on

Two Sri Lankan churches and two hotels were hit by explosions on Easter Sunday, wounding several people, police sources said.

The hotels and one of the churches are in the nation’s capital Colombo. The other church is in Negombo, north of Colombo.

A source in the police bomb squad said that one of the explosions was at St Anthony’s Church in Kochcikade, Colombo. “Our people are engaged in evacuating the casualties,” the source said.

Sources from two leading tourist hotels in Colombo also confirmed the explosions but did not give any details.

Colombo National hospital said several wounded had been brought in for treatment. According to the hospital director, there are more than 20 dead, and 280 injured from the blasts.

St. Sebastian’s church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Facebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

World Federation of Advertisers ask tech companies to be responsible

Published

on

Advertisers haven’t been afraid to pull money out of Facebook or YouTube campaigns, following the exposures of controversial content hosted on the platforms, but they always seem to come crawling back.

They’re caught in a Catch-22. Tech companies may get caught hosting content like terrorist videos or targeted comments from pedophiles, but their massive audiences make their platforms next to impossible for advertisers to quit in the end.

But at least one major advertising group, representing close to a trillion dollars worth of buying power a year, has started to formulate plans to get tech companies to clean up their mess.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), whose members include PepsiCo, P&G and Diageo, called on its members to put pressure on platforms to do more to prevent their services and technology from being “hijacked by those with malicious intent” in brands’ capacity as “the funders of the online advertising system.”

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s CMO, took the role of president of the WFA in late March. Since the internet companies receive so much revenue from advertising, “They cannot completely ignore the rightful preferences of the advertisers,” he said in an interview with CNBC this week.

And he said it’s about a broader issue than just providing a “safe” place for brands. For something like the New Zealand shooting that was live-streamed on Facebook and passed around on YouTube and Twitter, “it is not a brand safety issue. It’s a societal safety issue, and as marketers we have a responsibility to society.”

The WFA in late March urged its members to “think carefully about where they place advertising” and consider a moral responsibility bigger than the effectiveness than social media platforms for brands. The call came after reports of comments from pedophile groups on YouTube videos, content regarding self-harm and suicide on Instagram and the live-streaming of a mosque shooting in New Zealand on Facebook.

But despite the problems, walking away isn’t as obvious as it might seem to be, Rajamannar said.

“There are these big social media giants who have got a humongous reach, they’ve got a humongous ability to precisely target the right kind of an audience, which you cannot ignore,” he said. “You cannot walk away from that scale just like that.”

The potential trade-offs to that scale have been more evident for marketers in recent months.

“Do you want live streaming of a shooting happening? You definitely don’t want that,” he said. “There is some tangible action that is happening. Is it adequate? No. And should it be expedited? Yes.”

He said the request for platforms in the near-term is a clear plan.

“We are saying, ‘Show us the game plan.’ We want to see the game plan clearly,” he said.

Rajamannar said one common answer from platforms to how they’re fixing content issues is that the companies are adding more people. Facebook and YouTube have hired thousands of individuals in recent years to monitor content on their respective platforms.

“That’s not exactly a plan. So we are saying, is it a technology-based solution … Is it people-based? Is it a hybrid? We are asking them to think through their strategy and come and share with us,” he said.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending