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Microsoft blames ‘accidental human error’ for Tank Man censorship on Tiananmen Square anniversary | World News

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Microsoft has blamed “accidental human error” for its search engine Bing failing to produce any results for ‘Tank Man’ on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

Users in the UK, US, Germany and Singapore were met with the message “There are no results for tank man” when they searched for it on Friday – the 32nd anniversary of the demonstrations.

‘Tank Man’ refers to an image of a lone protester standing in the path of an oncoming tank during the suppression of student-led protests in Beijing‘s Tiananmen Square in June 1989.

Although the man was never identified, it has become the defining image of the military crackdown, which many refer to as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and killed between hundreds and thousands of people.

Microsoft has been accused of censoring the image and co-operating with China, which refers to the suppression as the ‘June 4 incident’ and bans any discussion of it.

Although China applies censorship to search engines operating in its jurisdiction, it has no power to ban content beyond its borders.

A large number of Microsoft employees who work on Bing are located in China.

Pic: AP
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Tiananmen Gate in Beijing is pictured on 4 June. Pic: AP

Kenneth Roth, of Human Rights Watch, tweeted to say the “inadvertent error” was “hard to believe”. “Outrageous,” he posted.

David Greene, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that content moderation often poses challenges for search engines and “egregious mistakes are made all the time”.

But he added: “At worst, this was a purposeful suppression at the request of a powerful state.”

Pic: AP
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Protesters in Hong Kong still gathered despite restrictions. Pic: AP

Chinese communities across the world gathered in solidarity to remember those lost in the protests, who were fighting against rapid socio-economic change in the post-Mao era.

In Hong Kong, where China passed national security laws earlier this year, protests were less busy than usual after authorities banned them. People wore masks and held up their smartphones in lieu of the usual candlelit vigil.

The organiser barrister Chow Hang Tung, 36, was arrested hours before it took place.

Microsoft said in a statement that the issue was “due to an accidental human error” and the site was “actively working to resolve this”.

The ‘Tank Man’ images had returned to the search engine in the UK early on Saturday.



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‘Several injured and one dead’ after building partially collapses in Miami Beach | World News

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A huge emergency operation is under way after a partial building collapse in Miami Beach, with reports of at least one person killed and several injured.

More than 80 fire and rescue units were at the scene of the collapse in the Florida city, with images showing a pile of rubble with debris spilling down from what was left of the balconies of the building.

CBS reported that at least one person had died, while ABC News said eight people were being treated for injuries in hospital.

Sergeant Marian Cruz of the Surfside Police Department said: “We’re on the scene so it’s still very active.

“What I can tell you is the building is 12 floors. The entire back side of the building has collapsed.”

Police have cordoned off nearby roads, with scores of fire and rescue vehicles, ambulances and police cars deployed in the area.

NBC said the rescue teams included a unit that is trained in the removal of victims trapped in complex or confined spaces.

NBC Miami showed a video of a young boy being pulled alive from the rubble.



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HMS Defender: Moscow releases footage it says shows Navy vessel being ‘chased out’ by Russian military | World News

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The Russian Defence Ministry has released footage it says shows HMS Defender being “chased out of Crimea waters” by military aircraft and vessels.

It comes as Britain dismissed Moscow’s claims that warning shots were fired at the Royal Navy destroyer and that bombs were dropped in the warship’s path.

The Russian Defence Ministry said a border patrol boat fired the shots at HMS Defender after it entered the country’s territorial waters in the Black Sea.

It also said that a Su-24M warplane dropped four bombs close to the ship.

The ship has been carrying "own set of missions" in the Black Sea
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HMS Defender has been carrying its “own set of missions” in the Black Sea. File pic

But the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the 152 metre-long, 8,500-tonne vessel was “conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law”.

In a statement posted on Twitter, it said: “We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior warning of their activity.

“No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”

The confrontation is thought to have taken place near Cape Fiolent, a landmark on the coast of Crimea.

Sky’s Moscow correspondent Diana Magnay said: “To a large extent this is about testing each other’s mettle, seeing how far Russia is prepared to go to defend what it claims are its territorial waters – and how far the UK and NATO are prepared to go to defend Ukrainian sovereignty.

A map showing the route of HMS Defender
Image:
A map showing the route of HMS Defender

“These are not Russian territorial waters, whatever Russia says. Crimea was annexed illegally in 2014; its waters are Ukrainian. Russia in April tried to restrict for six months access to warships around its port at Sevastopol which drew strong condemnation from NATO

“The UK says it was passing through an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor; Russia clearly doesn’t see it that way.”

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned by the West, which still considers it Ukrainian territory.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement that the ship – whose Sea Viper missiles can destroy jets and drones from up to 70 miles away – “carried out a routine transit from Odessa towards Georgia across the Black Sea”.

He said: “As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor. She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST. As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity.”

Appearing later before the Commons Defence Committee, Mr Wallace said the crew of HMS Defender did hear “training noises” to the rear of the ship, but it was “beyond visual range”.

He said the Russians had previously made false claims to have “chased out” another British warship, HMS Dragon.

“These are the things that come and go with Russia. Disinformation, misinformation is something that we have seen regularly. We are not surprised by it,” he said.

“We plan for it and we take all steps to make sure we are not escalatory or provocative.

“However we will not shy away from upholding international law and our rights on the sea.”

Mr Wallace also confirmed that the British ambassador to Russia has been summoned by Moscow authorities.

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British defence attache summoned in Moscow

The Russian ministry said earlier in a statement: “The destroyer was warned in advance that weapons would be fired in case of a violation of the Russian state border. It disregarded the warning.

“As a result of joint actions of the Black Sea Fleet and the Border Service of the Russian Federal Security Service, HMS Defender left the territorial sea of the Russian Federation at 12.23pm.”

Sky News’ foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes said: “Even if the ship wasn’t directly fired at, as the Russian defence ministry is claiming, the fact that these exercises were taking place so close to a transiting Royal Navy ship is clearly going to be seen from the UK side as a provocation.”

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “It’s incorrect to say either that it was fired upon or that the ship was in Russian waters. HMS Defender was taking the most direct and internationally recognised route between Ukraine and Georgia.

“As you know, the UK does not recognise Russia’s claim to Crimea and we continue to uphold the international consensus that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said the incident showed Russia’s aggressive and provocative policy that constituted a threat to Ukraine and its allies.

HMS Defender – one of six navy Type 45 destroyers – is part of the UK Carrier Strike Group currently heading to the Indo-Pacific region.

However, it was announced earlier this month that it would be temporarily breaking away from the group to carry out its “own set of missions” in the Black Sea.

The Royal Navy says HMS Defender – based out of Portsmouth and launched in 2009 – is “one of the most advanced warships ever constructed”.

Type 45 destroyers carry Sea Viper missiles, with the navy saying they can “can knock moving targets out of the sky from up to 70 miles away”.

The destroyers can fire eight missiles in less than 10 seconds and simultaneously guide up to 16 missiles at a time.

Sukhoi Su-24M bombers pictured over Moscow in May 2019
Image:
Sukhoi Su-24M bombers pictured over Moscow in May 2019

They also have conventional weaponry, such as the 4.5-inch Mark 8 gun and up to six machine guns.

The Su-24M warplane said to have dropped the bombs near HMS Defender is a 22-metre-long aircraft made by Russian firm Sukhoi, and first entered service in 1983.

It carries weaponry such as laser-guided bombs of up to 1,500kg, as well as laser-guided missiles.



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John McAfee: Antivirus software entrepreneur found dead in Spanish prison cell | US News

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Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee has been found dead in his prison cell after Spain’s National Court approved his extradition to the US, the Catalan justice department has said.

Prosecutors in the US state of Tennessee had charged the 75-year-old with evading taxes after allegedly failing to report income made from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did consultancy work.

He was also charged with evading tax in relation to income from speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

In a statement obtained by Reuters news agency, the Catalan justice department said “everything points” to suicide.

Security personnel at the Brians 2 prison near Barcelona tried to revive McAfee before his death was confirmed by the jail’s medical team, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.

The entrepreneur, who was the creator of the McAfee antivirus software, was arrested in October 2020 at Barcelona’s international airport.

He was about to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, with a British passport.

In a hearing earlier this month via videolink, McAfee claimed the charges were politically motivated and said he feared he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he was taken back to the US.

McAfee linked the charges filed by the Internal Revenue Service to his failed bid to run as a Libertarian Party candidate in the 2020 US presidential election.

It was his second such attempt.

Shortly after his arrest McAfee posted a tweet from prison where he made reference to the billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in jail in August 2019.

His death sparked conspiracy theories that he had been murdered because of his connections to powerful figures including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew.

McAfee tweeted in August last year: “I am content in here. I have friends.

“The food is good. All is well. Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine.”

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.



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