Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

A general view shows Ramlet al Bayda, Beirut's last remaining public beach, Lebanon November 20, 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

  • A weekly round-up of bogus reports and phony facts in the mainstream and social media.

1 Fears flow over dihydrogen monoxide — aka “water” 

A deadly pollutant in Lebanon’s spring waters has been detected, according to social media rumors.

But the toxin in question — the scary-sounding “dihydrogen monoxide” — is in fact … water.

The chemical term is technically correct, though rarely used in common conversation, and has often been used in parodies, or to evoke fear in the minds of people.

Such was the case in the Middle East recently, after the South Lebanon Water Establishment recently moved to deny social-media rumors claiming spring waters are polluted with the compound.

“Some are circulating on social media a report attributed to the establishment saying that spring waters are polluted with dihydrogen monoxide — which is another unfamiliar chemical name for water,” the organization was quoted as saying by Lebanese media.

“The establishment denies what is being circulated regarding the alleged pollution or its claimed consequences,” it said in a statement quoted by An-Nahar newspaper. 

It described the rumors as a “silly joke” that will “not pass and will be prosecuted lawfully.”

 

2 France denies suspending visas for Algerians 

The French Embassy in Algeria has denied reports claiming that visa applications for Algerian citizens have been suspended in Algiers.

A statement by the embassy said: “Recently, false and strange information has been circulated, which the consul general of France in Algeria has completely denied.”

The statement, cited by Al-Ahram newspaper, described the reports as “false allegations,” adding that consulates across Algeria have not suspended issuing visas. 

 

3 Truth about Egypt student ‘disappearance’

A deputy head at a branch of Azhar University in Egypt has denied rumors claiming that a female student at the college has disappeared.

Osama Abdel Raouf said in statements quoted by Youm7 newspaper that they have contacted the college student’s family and that they confirmed she did not disappear. 

He added: “All the names and numbers of female students on campus have been reviewed and no absence cases have been registered.”

Abdel Raouf warned students of engaging in circulating such rumors, saying that those who will do so will be “immediately dismissed” from campus.


Afghan radio station closes down following Taliban threats

Updated 16 July 2019
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Afghan radio station closes down following Taliban threats

  • Ramez Azimi, director of the Samaa station in the city of Ghazni, the capital of eastern Ghazni province, says he received phone calls as well as written warning notes
  • The station was closed four days ago; its third closure in the past four years

KABUL, Afghanistan: The head of a local radio station in eastern Afghanistan says it was shut down after repeated threats from the area’s Taliban commander.
Ramez Azimi, director of the Samaa station in the city of Ghazni, the capital of eastern Ghazni province, says he received phone calls as well as written warning notes purportedly from the Taliban commander.
Azimi says the Taliban, who control several districts in Ghazni province, threatened them because three of the station’s 16 employees are women. The Taliban are against women’s rights to education and work.
He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the station was closed four days ago. It was its third closure in the past four years.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, denied the insurgents had threatened Samaa.