NZ PM welcomes Facebook bans on white nationalism, separatism

Ardern said 59 countries will send diplomatic representatives to a national remembrance service on March 29, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 28 March 2019
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NZ PM welcomes Facebook bans on white nationalism, separatism

  • Facebook’s ban was a shift in policy after criticism by civil rights groups that it was failing to confront extremism

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday that she welcomed Facebook Inc’s decision to ban praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on its social media platforms.
“Arguably these categories should always fall within the community guidelines of hate speech, but nevertheless it’s positive the clarification has now been made in the wake of the attack in Christchurch,” she said at a press conference.
Facebook’s ban was a shift in policy after criticism by civil rights groups that it was failing to confront extremism.
Ardern said 59 countries will send diplomatic representatives to a national remembrance service on Friday.


More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

Updated 38 min 51 sec ago
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More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

DURBAN: At least 60 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have fled their homes after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides along South Africa’s eastern coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province. Flooding also killed at least three people in neighboring Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.
The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban. Multiple dwellings collapsed in mudslides, said Robert McKenzie, a KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped.
Authorities in southern Tanzania ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of schools and offices ahead of landfall of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth on neighboring Mozambique’s coast on Thursday.
“We’ve decided to evacuate all residents of valleys and other low-lying areas and we advise them to seek refuge at public spaces,” Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa, told reporters.
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbor, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.