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A former Uber driver was responsible for torture while serving as a colonel in the Somali army in the 1980s, a jury has found.

Yusuf Abdi Ali, known as “Tukeh” or “Tokeh”, is alleged to have shot a teenager multiple times and left him for dead when an interrogation was interrupted by an insurgent attack in the east African country.

Earlier this month it emerged that Ali, who now lives in the US, was driving for taxi firms Uber and Lyft.

On Tuesday, a civil jury in Virginia awarded Farhan Mohamoud Tani Warfaa $500,000 (£395,000) after finding Ali was responsible for his torture.

Mr Warfaa, a member of the Isaaq clan in northern Somalia, told the court that he was herding camels and cattle for his family’s farm when he was rounded up in a mass arrest In December 1987 over a missing water-tanker truck.

According to the lawsuit, Ali ordered soldiers to bury Mr Warfaa but they realised the then-17-year-old was still alive and instead solicited a bribe from the teenager’s family to let him live.

During the case, Ali, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, acknowledged he had been a Somali colonel but denied torturing Mr Warfaa.

In its ruling, the jury rejected an allegation that Ali was responsible for the attempted extrajudicial killing of Mr Warfaa, even though the Somali citizen testified directly that it was Ali who shot him.

Ali’s lawyer, Joseph Peter Drennan, said the jury’s verdict indicated that it did not believe parts of Mr Warfaa’s testimony.

He added that Ali was only held responsible for torture under the theory that the soldiers who carried out the acts were under his command.

Mr Warfaa, who was helped by the Centre for Justice and Accountability to bring his case to court, said in a statement that the verdict was “a vindication not only for me, but also for many others in Somaliland who suffered under Col Tukeh’s command”.

Earlier this month, CNN reporters went undercover to take an Uber ride with Ali, who told them he worked for the firm and Lyft full-time.

Asked if the application process for drivers was difficult, Ali replied: “They just want your background check, that’s it.”

Ali drove for Uber for about 18 months after passing a screening process which included a review of his criminal history and a scan of government watchlists from the FBI and Interpol, according to the BBC.

Uber told the corporation that Ali has now been “permanently removed” from the app, while Lyft also reportedly said he had been banned from working for the company.

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Artists challenge Facebook’s fake video policy with Mark Zuckerberg speech | Science & Tech News

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Artists are challenging Facebook’s policy of refusing to take down videos which have been manipulated to misrepresent their subjects by creating one about Mark Zuckerberg.

The stunt follows criticism of Facebook for refusing to remove a video of US Democratic politician Nancy Pelosi, a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, which had been slowed down to make her appear inebriated.

Artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, working with an advertising company, created the video featuring Facebook’s founder and chief executive giving a speech about his desire to control the world’s data.

The so-called “deepfake” speech features the Facebook founder appearing to revel in knowing social media users’ “secrets” before thanking the artists behind the clip.

“Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data,” Mr Zuckerberg appears to say.

“All their secrets, their lives, their futures. I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data, controls the future.”

As in many manipulated videos which use artificial intelligence software to manipulate the frames of an existing video to change someone’s appearance, there are strange movements around Mr Zuckerberg’s mouth which give the game away.

Journalists who check the origin of such footage can see that it is a doctored version of a speech which Mr Zuckerberg gave in September 2017, fittingly about manipulation on Facebook during the US presidential election.

The video was created, alongside others featuring Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump, by advertising company CannyAI’s video dialogue replacement (VDR) technology for an exhibition in Sheffield.

Although it is possible to detect the VDR technology in the clip of Mark Zuckerberg, the Kim Kardashian clip is exceptionally convincing.

The sophistication of the technology is expected to improve with time which has prompted concerns that it will be used to spread fake news and disinformation.

At the time Ms Pelosi’s altered video was spreading online – amplified by a tweet from Donald Trump – critics noted that Facebook was alone among social media companies refusing to take it down.

Instead the company merely de-prioritised it so that it did not appear high in users’ news feeds, and was presented alongside information from third-party fact checkers.

Currently no such information appears alongside the Mark Zuckerberg video, but it may be coming if the video gains traction.

A spokesperson for Instagram told Sky News they would not be removing the video.

They said: “We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram. If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram’s recommendation surfaces like Explore and hashtag pages.”

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Beijing’s surveillance apparatus pushing Hong Kong protesters analogue | Science & Tech News

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The Chinese government’s surveillance apparatus is driving protesters away from digital technologies while police activity ramps up in Hong Kong.

An estimated million demonstrators have gathered in recent days to peacefully protest against an extradition bill which they fear Beijing would use to attack political opponents.

Panic spreads as riot officers fire tear gas

Panic spreads as riot officers fire tear gas

Officers warn they “will use force” as tens of thousands of demonstrators gather outside government buildings

LIVE: Hong Kong protests

The protests are the largest in Hong Kong since the former British colony’s handover to China in 1997 and turned violent on Wednesday as police used tear gas and rubber bullets on the crowds.

Journalist Mary Hui, of business news website Quartz, tweeted an image of long queues at train ticketing machines to buy paper tickets rather than use their smart cards.

Ms Hui reported that the demonstrators were attempting to avoid leaving digital records through the metro system, which Beijing could use to accuse them of attending the protests.

One 18-year-old protester who spoke to Sky News, only giving her name as Jacky, said: “We’re young but we know that if we don’t stand up for our rights, we might lose them.”

Some demonstrators are reluctant to be identified by their full names and professions, with many wearing surgical masks over fears of being identified from images of their faces.

They appear particularly mindful of Beijing’s growing use of facial recognition technology to build files on those it considers politically unreliable.

One of the most pervasive forms of surveillance which the Chinese government utilises is through social media and apps, notably WeChat – one of the largest social networks in the world.

Individuals who have been detected referencing censored topics on WeChat are forced to provide their facial image to the app in order to reactivate their accounts after the suspensions.

Among the most censored of topics in China is the anniversary of the Tiananman Square protests in which the Chinese army fired on unarmed student protesters.

Despite the protests in Hong Kong, which do not yet appear to have turned fatal, the region’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has vowed to press ahead with the legislation.

Ms Lam has insisted that extradition cases would be decided by Hong Kong courts and that, without the changes, Hong Kong could become a haven for criminals evading justice.

Many in Hong Kong fear that residents sent to China could face ambiguous national security charges and would not be given a fair trial.

They note that courts on the mainland are controlled by the Communist Party and have been accused of using torture, arbitrary detentions and forced confessions.

Protesters occupy two main highways near the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019
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Protesters occupied two main highways near the government headquarters

Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a lawyer and member of Ms Lam’s administration advisory committee, warned that Beijing’s patience for Hong Kong was limited.

He said: “We need to gain the trust and confidence of Beijing so they can allow us the freedom of political reform.

“They don’t want to see Hong Kong as a base of subversion. And I’m sorry – we’re doing exactly that.”

The legislature’s president, Andrew Leung, has scheduled a vote on the extradition law for 20 June, although it is not clear if this date will also be postponed.



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Boy, 5, dies after spreading Ebola to Uganda in first cross-border case of new outbreak | World News

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A five-year-old boy has died after spreading Ebola to Uganda in the first cross-border case in the latest deadly outbreak of the virus.

The child, who had been vomiting blood, was receiving treatment in western Uganda after his family entered the country from Congo.

He died overnight, according to an official.

Two more cases of Ebola have been detected in Uganda after the family entered the country.

Those with the virus are believed to be relatives of the boy.

The child’s mother had returned to Congo to nurse her father who died of the disease, the health minister said on Tuesday.

The World Health Organisation has confirmed that the boy is the first Ebola case outside Congo since the latest outbreak began in August 2018.

Nearly 1,400 people have died in what has become the second-deadliest outbreak of the virus in history.

Authorities in Congo are trying to determine how the boy’s family, who were exposed to the Ebola, managed to cross into Uganda.

Congo’s health ministry has said dozens of members of the family had showed symptoms of the virus and were put in isolation.

But six managed to leave while awaiting transfer to an Ebola treatment centre.

The boy and his family have been isolated and are being treated in Uganda
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The boy’s family have been isolated and are being treated in Uganda

Authorities say they entered Uganda where they have since been isolated.

Experts have long-feared the virus could spread to neighbouring countries because of unrest hampering response work in Congo, one of the world’s most unstable regions.

Ebola can spread quickly via close contact with bodily fluids of those infected and can be fatal in up to 90% of cases.

Henry Mwebesa, a physician and the national director of health services in Uganda, has said health teams “are not panicking”.

He added that the virus in Uganda “is not going to go beyond” the patient’s family.

The Congolese family are not likely to have passed through official border points, where health workers screen all travellers for a high temperature and isolate those who show signs of illness.

Uganda is more stable than eastern Congo and for the first time an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine is being widely used, with more than 130,000 doses distributed.

Ebola has been especially feared in the country, where multiple outbreaks have occurred over the years.

An outbreak in the north in 2000 infected 425 people and killed more than half of them.

Medical staff dress in protective clothing for a weekly rehearsal in Uganda in December 2018
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Medical staff dress in protective clothing for a weekly rehearsal in Uganda in December 2018

It comes as Texas health officials said there were no “suspected or confirmed cases” of Ebola in the state.

Social media posts falsely suggested the virus had arrived in Texas with immigrants arriving from Africa, including Congo, where the outbreak has surpassed 2,000 cases.

The false claims, ranging from there is an Ebola “outbreak” in Texas to reports of a few confirmed cases, have been circulating since April.

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