YouTube says it will redirect people searching for “violent extremist propaganda” and offer them videos that denounce terrorism.
People searching for certain terms relating to the so-called Islamic State group will be offered playlists of videos “debunking its mythology”.
YouTube said it wanted to help prevent people being radicalised.
The company told the BBC that uploading IS propaganda was already against its terms and conditions.
In a blog post, the video-streaming giant said it was implementing ideas from the Redirect Method, a campaign that tries to steer the IS audience towards videos that debunk the group’s recruitment tactics.
The themed video playlists challenge claims by the so-called Islamic State group that it provides good governance, is a strong military force, and that world powers are conspiring to harm Muslims.
Rather than producing new material, the playlists contain videos already uploaded to YouTube that present an opposing point of view, such as:
testimony from people who have left IS, describing what life in the group was really like
footage of a suffering elderly lady confronting two IS fighters and telling them to “return to the way of God”
speeches by imams denouncing violence and extremism
footage from inside IS-controlled areas, showing the reality of life there
The Redirect Method says pre-existing videos, rather than specially commissioned content, are more effective because they are seen to be more trustworthy.
“Media created by governments or Western news outlets can be rejected on face value, for a perception of promoting an anti-Muslim agenda,” the organisation says in its methodology.
It said videos uploaded by the public “would not be be rejected outright by our target audience”.
YouTube told the BBC that it would begin redirecting users searching for particular terms in English, but would later add other languages including Arabic.
Algorithms will help determine whether other search keywords need to be included in the scheme, and the company will monitor whether people are engaging with the curated playlists.
While anybody searching for terrorist propaganda would be redirected, including academics and journalists, YouTube said such content was already against its terms and conditions and was removed when discovered.
The UK government has announced plans to introduce drone registration and safety awareness courses for owners of the small unmanned aircraft.
It will affect anyone who owns a drone which weighs more than 250 grams (8oz).
Drone maker DJI said it was in favour of the measures.
There is no time frame or firm plans as to how the new rules will be enforced and the Department of Transport admitted that “the nuts and bolts still have to be ironed out”.
The drone safety awareness test will involve potential flyers having to “prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations”, it said.
The plans also include the extension of geo-fencing, in which no-fly zones are programmed into drones using GPS co-ordinates, around areas such as prisons and airports.
‘Protect the public’
“Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones,” said Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callanan.
“Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.
“But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”
“Registration has its place. I would argue it will focus the mind of the flyer – but I don’t think you can say it’s going to be a magic solution,” said Dr Alan McKenna, law lecturer at the University of Kent.
“There will be people who will simply not be on the system, that’s inevitable.”
Dr McKenna said there were also issues around how a drone’s owner could be identified by police and whether personal liability insurance should also be a legal requirement in the event of an accident.
DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg said the plans sounded like “reasonable common sense”.
“The fact is that there are multiple users of the airspace and the public should have access to the air – we firmly believe that – but you need systems to make sure everybody can do it safely,” he said.
“In all of these issues the question is, where is the reasonable middle ground? Banning drones is unreasonable, having no rules is also unreasonable.
“We’re encouraged that [the British government] seems to be recognising the value drones provide and looking for reasonable solutions.”
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Things got awkward during Tuesday’s hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology when a congressman queried if aliens once lived on Mars. The committee was discussing about NASA’s upcoming planetary-missions when the topic was brought up.
After listening to a lengthy discussion of NASA’s programs, California Republican Dana Rohrabacher asked scientists whether there was a civilization on the Red Planet thousands of years ago. “You indicated that Mars was totally different thousands of years ago,” he began. “Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars?” he went on to say.
Before replying, Ken Farley, project scientist for Mars 2020 rover mission, corrected the statement by saying “the evidence is (that) Mars was different billions of years ago.” He then went on to answer by saying “there is no evidence that I’m aware of.”
“Would you rule that out?” Rohrabacher went on to ask. To which Farley quipped: “I would say that is extremely unlikely.” The exchange immediately went viral as many of the 800,000 followers of Popular Science flooded its Twitter account @earthskyscience with comments mocking the congressman.
“Was he for real?” @earthskyscience asked. Another accompanied his post with the hashtag #StupidQuestionsForAstronauts. But others didn’t laugh like dudewithbatman who wrote that Rohrabacher did a favor to average people who have the same question but can’t ask.
Scientists who spent decades studying Mars’ soil and atmosphere to determine if it once held life determined that the Red Planet was wetter and warmer billions of years ago. During its wet Noachian period about 4.1 to 3.7 billion years ago, it is presumed that the entire planet was underwater with a depth of 450 feet.
The presence of rivers and lakes prompted scientists to speculate that Mars may have hosted microbial life despite evidence showing otherwise by decades of exploration by orbiters, landers and rovers that haven’t detected any signs of life. Other scientists believe microbes may have survived to this day buried deep in its soils.
The faith-based youth addiction recovery group, His Hope Teen Challenge, is meeting local resistance from an Ohio city over its plan to move into a vacant church building.
Residents of Miamisburg expressed their concern at a city council meeting on Tuesday over Teen Challenge moving into the former Branch of the Vine Church.
Gary Giles, public information office with the city, told The Christian Post that the overall concern from residents was “related to safety in the neighborhood and their future property values.”
“There was a general sense from the speakers that bringing recovering addicts into their neighborhood would adversely affect these things,” said Giles.
“Several referred to the proposed use of the church as a ‘rehab center.’ Several said that they understood the general need for such a program, but it was not appropriate for a residential area.”
Giles explained to CP that in the “legal opinion” of the city, “the proposed use of the building, as provided to us by the applicant, meets the zoning code’s definition of a church.”
Local media outlet My Dayton Daily News quoted one local resident who objected to the outreach center as he saw it as “importing recovering addicts into our neighborhood.”
“We feel our neighborhood is a bit fragile. While we know there is a need for this type of facility, we feel it should not be in a residential area with children and grandchildren riding their bikes and playing on the sidewalk,” he said.
“We’re concerned about our safety, our freedom of movement and our property values. … To think that our property values are not going to be negatively impacted is burying your head in the sand.”
His Hope Teen Challenge was founded in 2015 and is a local chapter of the national Teen Challenge USA network.
Teen Challenge was created in 1958 in New York City by the Rev. David Wilkerson as a way to evangelize and help disadvantaged youth.
The founding of the organization was documented in the famous best-selling book The Cross And The Switchblade, which was authored by Wilkerson and published in 1962.
“We offer hope to individuals struggling with addiction in the Dayton area by helping them get into one of our long term residential programs as quickly as possible,” noted His Hope Teen Challenge on their website. “We also offer support groups for individuals who are unable to enter into one of our residential programs. We disciple people one relationship at a time.”
Rusty Toadvine, director of His Hope Teen Challenge, told CP that his organization is moving into the area in the hopes of combating the local drug epidemic.
“One of the many reasons why we chose this building is because we can meet hurting families right where they are at,” explained Toadvine.
“His Hope believes in offering His hope to these families who live in our residential neighborhoods. We believe that the God we serve cares for these families and desires to meet them right where they are at.”
Regarding the local concerns over their use of the building, Toadvine told CP that he welcomed the opportunity to form relationships with the residents.
“It takes time to build trust in relationships. It is our aim to communicate with our neighbors who have concerns,” he added.
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The state of Oregon has taken away the two children of a couple, one of them directly from the hospital, saying the parents are too mentally limited to be good parents.
The Department of Human Services has put the two boys of Amy Fabbrini, 31, and Eric Ziegler, 38, in foster care, according to The Oregonian, which says no abuse or neglect has been found but each parent allegedly has a degree of limited cognitive abilities.
The couple’s older son, Christopher, was taken away soon after he was born, and five months ago, the state took their second child, Hunter, directly from the hospital soon after he was born.
Fabbrini’s IQ was evaluated at about 72, and Ziegler’s about 66, while the average IQ is between 90 and 110.
But Fabbrini says she loves children. “I was raised around kids, my mom was a preschool teacher for 20-plus years, and so I’ve always been around kids,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s my passion. I love to do things with kids, and that’s what I want to do in the future, something that has to do with kids.”
Ziegler, who has a driver’s license, admits he has a learning disability “but it’s very, very mild,” he says. “Everybody learns at their pace.”
Sherrene Hagenbach, a former volunteer with the state agency who oversaw visits with the couple and Christopher from last June through August and who is a professional mediator and a board member of Healthy Families of the High Desert, pointed out that officials are saying the parents are intellectually incapable “without any guidelines to go by.”
When Hagenbach told state caseworkers the parents were capable of raising Christopher, she was told her services were no longer required.
“If we’re going to get on that train, Bill Gates should take my children. There’s always somebody better than us, so it’s a very dangerous position to be in,” Hagenbach said.
Fabbrini earlier worked as a grocery clerk and Ziegler as a carpet layer. They now receive Social Security benefits for their mental disability, but both have standard high school diplomas.
In another parental rights case from back in May, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Minnesota mother against her teenage child along with school officials and healthcare providers on the grounds that they violated her parental rights by treating her son with a hormone therapy to start transitioning into a girl, even though he hadn’t been granted court approval to be legally emancipated from his parents.
Senior U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson dismissed the suit saying Anmarie Calgaro’s claim was “meritless.”
Calgaro filed the suit, with the help of lawyers from the Thomas More Society, against St. Louis County, the St. Louis County School District, the county’s Health and Human Services, Fairview Health Services and Park Nicollet Health Services, accusing the parties of usurping her parental rights by granting her 17-year-old son de-facto emancipation from his mother even though a court never awarded his son legal emancipation.
The lawsuit challenged a state law that allows minors to access medical care and procedures without their parent’s consent.
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Members of President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory council have directly voiced their concerns to the administration about its efforts to deport over 100 Iraqi Christians back to a nation in which they could face persecution for their faith in Christ.
Members of Trump’s evangelical advisory board who took part in the all-day meeting told The Christian Post that the gathering lasted from about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Throughout the day, members of the administration would come in and give briefings and generate discussion around certain issues.
The evangelical leaders, who act as informal advisers to the president and administration, discussed a number of issues and raised concerns with administration officials over certain issues.
Johnnie Moore, a human rights advocate and a former vice president at Liberty University who is a member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, told CP that last Monday was the first time the evangelical leaders participated in an “all-day workday” at the White House.
Among the issues discussed by the group was the administration’s attempt to deport Iraqi Christian and other Iraqi immigrants with unauthorized status back to Iraq, an issue that prominent evangelicals and humanitarians have called “disturbing.”
“It was brought up during the work day and discussed openly and a number of us disclosed that this decision — that we know was not a White House decision but a mid-level decision at the Department of Homeland Security — was a decision that we had received a lot of criticism for,” Moore, a CP senior editorial advisor, said. “We talked about it openly and we talked about it with administration people in the room.”
Moore, who provides media relations for a number of the pastors involved with the evangelical advisory board, explained that the conversation about the deportation of Iraqi Christians created subsequent conversations about the issue and eventually led to an agreement between the leaders involved in the meeting to submit legal memos to the White House on the matter.
Pastor Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told CP that he was involved in the agreement to send written documents to the administration on the issue.
“We were all involved and I was there in that moment and yes, we reached an agreement that was what we were doing,” Floyd, the pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, explained.
“We shared our concern with those that were there [in the room] and the administration took our concerns and the administration is considering what we have said. They are hoping to work toward a solution. They are working toward a solution.”
Moore added that in the days following last Monday’s meeting, “we have delivered memos and legal documents” to the White House
“Without disclosing too many confidential details, the administration gets it and they are taking it seriously and working on a plan to address it,” Moore explained. “That is precisely because we have the type of relationship where we raise our voice when something could have been done differently. We also understand how it happens. We get it. The president of the United States is not responsible for every single decision that every bureaucrat makes across the United States government, a government with 20 million employees.”
Moore stated that the “memos were sound legal arguments, rooted in genocide declarations passed by both houses of Congress to show a legal justification for treating these particular individuals differently.”
Floyd told CP that the evangelical leaders involved in the all-day workday, which reportedly included televangelist Paula White, social conservative activists Tony Perkins and Ralph Reed, megachurch pastors Robert Jeffress and Jim Garlow, Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and others, are “men and women of compassion.”
“We believe that anyone within the border of the United States need to be dealt with in compassionate ways and to trust all of the processes involved in that. We believe that holy Scripture teaches that the government is there to keep the nation secure and that our role is to pray for and encourage any matters of the way that we would treat people in relation to the dignity of human life,” Floyd said. “By no means is there compromise on that with any minister that I know that is in that room at all. They are very committed to that and we believe that deeply.”
Last week, a U.S. District Court judge halted the administration’s efforts to deport as many as 1,400 Iraqi nationals until courts can review the deportation orders. The ruling means that the over 100 Iraqi Christians who have been detained can not immediately be deported.
The White House did not respond to The Christian Post’s media inquiry for this article before press time.
Update, 7/10/2017, 3:40 pm.
Shortly after publication, The Christian Post received the following statement from a White House official: “This involves a very small number of Iraqi nationals in the country illegally and already subject to orders of removal, the vast majority of whom have been convicted of serious crimes, including rape, kidnapping and murder. Previously, Iraq refused to accept these individuals when they were ordered deported but now they are following negotiations with the U.S. government.”
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Evangelical leaders involved in last week’s prayer over President Donald Trump at the White House have responded to left-leaning Christian critics who claim that they are “bordering on heresy” and embracing a “pragmatism that could damage the Gospel” by praying for and offering advice to Trump and his administration.
“The Gospel is not being compromised,” Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told The Christian Post. “I believe firmly in the Gospel. I never one time compromised the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I built a church on that Gospel. So nobody is compromising anything.”
Headlines were made last Monday after a photo emerged on Twitter showing a group of nearly 30 faith-based leaders, including a number of evangelical pastors like Floyd, Tony Perkins, Paula White, Robert Jeffress and others, praying and laying hands on Trump in the Oval Office.
Participants of the meeting told The Christian Post that the Christian leaders, many of which serve as informal advisers to the president and administration, were in the West Wing of the White House for an all-day gathering to discuss a number of issues with administration officials.
Although the prayer was just a small, unscheduled part of the evangelical leaders’ day at the White House, pundits on the political left did not take too kindly to the photo of religious leaders laying hands on Trump.
John Fea, the chair of the history department at Messiah College in Pennsylvania who once argued that Barack Obama may be the “most explicitly Christian president in American history,” suggested in an op-ed for The Washington Post that “Trump has forced them to embrace a pragmatism that could damage the gospel around the world, and force many Christians to rethink their religious identities and affiliations.”
“It seems as though Christians are not changing Trump, but rather that Trump could be changing Christianity,” Fea wrote.
However, Christian leaders who took part in the meeting told CP that critics like Fea could not be more “wrong” and “off-base.”
“These evangelical leaders that were in that room, they are men and women who believe that the Bible is the Word of God. They are not compromisers in relationship to that,” Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Arkansas, said. “In relationship to that, we are going to stand strong. We are going to speak forth matters of that.”
Floyd assured that he would serve in such an advisory capacity even if it were another president or party in power and assured that the access that he and the other Christian leaders currently have with the president and members of the administration just shows the “incredible light” Christians can have in an “extremely dark world.”
“I believe all of those leaders that I know in that room, I don’t know all of them, but of the ones that I know pretty well, that’s their very strong commitment,” Floyd stated. “They are going to do what is right. They are not for sale. They are there to serve and they are there to pray and they are there to help when called upon to do so.”
Johnnie Moore, an author, human rights activist and a former vice president at Liberty University, told CP that the relationships that many of the evangelical leaders have with the administration were not forged in the last year but are personal relationships that go back years.
Moore, who was also involved in last Monday’s meeting, asserted that the evangelical influence is coming from within the administration, not just from evangelical leaders serving as unofficial advisers.
“We all have relationships that didn’t begin during the 2016 campaign. They pre-dated the campaign. In my case, I met Donald Trump back in 2009 and 2010. James Dobson has known Mike Pence for 25 years. Not to mention, all the people that were staffers in various levels. This is just how administrations are,” Moore explained.
“It’s just that the evangelical influence [in this administration] is particularly potent. We have a cabinet that is more evangelical than any cabinet before. It just is. That is a fact. They pray regularly. There is a weekly private prayer meeting among many of them. It is real. I don’t know why certain people want to disparage it. It is real and it is substantive.”
Moore added that he and the other Christian leaders who have the ear of the administration feel that the evangelical influence on the administration is “making a difference.”
Moore and Floyd stated that evangelical influence was evident in Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to be a Supreme Court Justice.
“There was a point where the general opinion within the administration was [to pick] another justice and this evangelical board that existed during the campaign and continues its engagement as an informal group with the administration was very influential in changing the decision,” Moore said. “We ended up with Gorsuch and we didn’t end up with someone else.”
Earlier this year, the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era guidance instructing public schools to allow transgender children to decide which bathrooms and showers they access, a policy that was highly criticized by prominent evangelicals.
Additionally, Moore stated that evangelical influence can be found in policies relating to the Middle East and Israel and decisions related to the president’s first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican in May.
“A number of us who are advisers, very informally so, to the administration were actively involved in decisions related to the president’s overseas trip to Saudi Arabia and to Israel and to Rome and we were involved in all those discussions and there were some changes made, based upon conversations that we had,” Moore, a CP senior editorial adviser, explained.
But even on issues in which the president and administration are in disagreement with many of the evangelical advisers, Moore stated that the leaders “feel like we have been heard out.”
Moore and Floyd also explained that in last Monday’s White House meeting, the leaders specifically addressed their concerns with the administration’s efforts to deport over 100 Iraqi Christian immigrants with illegal status back to a country where they could face persecution.
Gary Bauer, a prominent conservative activist who participated in the meeting and is the president of the conservative nonprofit American Values, told CP that he finds it “distressing” that “self-described progressive Christian leaders” are condemning the idea that pastors would pray for and provide counsel to the president.
“The scriptural direction on praying for our leaders is fairly clear. I totally reject the idea that some of the folks have promoted that unless you believe in big government redistribution of money from one group of people to another that somehow you are not following the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Bauer said. “That is just absurd.
“There is no teaching in Christ’s ministry in which He advocates for government to care for the poor. Every message in His ministry is a call to individual Christians and, by implication, churches, to do that.”
“You hate to see efforts to hijack Christianity by some on the left for what is essentially socialism,” he added.
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United States Senator for Arizona and war veteran John McCain has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor, his doctors confirmed this week.
McCain initially underwent a surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye that was detected during his annual physical checkup. While the doctors only said it was a medical procedure at the time, they also announced that they were still waiting for the results of a tissue pathology test.
The operation was done at one of the Mayo Clinic hospitals located in Phoenix.
On Wednesday, McCain’s doctors from the Mayo Clinic said in a statement that the tissue pathology result indicated the blood clot was primarily linked to a brain tumor called glioblastoma. While the doctors did not specify McCain’s condition, brain tumor-focused organizations provided an insight on what a glioblastoma is.
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, glioblastoma is a tumor known for being “highly malignant” since its characteristics make its cells quickly reproduce and they get support from “an ample blood supply.” “Because these tumors come from normal brain cells, it is easy for them to invade and live within normal brain tissue,” the ABTA added.
It can be recalled that McCain’s initial surgery prompted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to defer the deliberation and voting process on the revised “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017″ this week.
Meanwhile, the doctors’ statement also said: “The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.”
Mayo Clinic doctors added that the Senator was recovering well from the surgery and “his underlying health is excellent.”
Right now, the senator’s office stated that he is staying in his family home in Arizona and “is confident that any future treatment will be effective.”
In a Twitter post, McCain thanked the people who have shown him support and promised that he will “be back soon” in Washington.
Since the confirmation of McCain’s brain tumor, various U.S. politicians have shown their support through heartfelt messages for McCain.
John McCain is an American hero one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.
In a social media post via Twitter, McCain’s presidential opponent in 2008, Barack Obama, reminded everyone “John McCain is an American hero one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known.” He added: “Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”
Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) is set to take on more responsibilities in the upcoming season of NCIS.
In a recent interview with Parade, Valderrama spoke about the changes happening in his character in the next installment. According to him, Torres is done doubting why someone like Gibbs (Mark Harmon) chose a person like him to be part of the team. As a deep undercover agent, Torres was used to working solo. The first months of his work in the NCIS were more of a trial-and-error phase, where he found it a bit difficult to suddenly transform from a loner to a team player.
Valderrama also hinted that his character will soon be handling missions that will test his capacity as a leader. This fuelled speculations that Gibbs may be considering retiring from the force. Rumors of Harmon’s exit from the show have also been circulating for months now. An NCIS without Gibbs is difficult to imagine, but perhaps having Torres as the squad leader will appease the viewers? The agent definitely has the skills to become one.
“Why does someone who is a loner, and an undercover guy, someone who is such a wildcard, such a bad boy, what is his purpose? Can he be shaped into a real leader? Does Gibbs see something special in him? But most importantly, does Gibbs see something of himself in this young agent? Gibbs has been through some of the stuff that Torres has and can relate to it on a firsthand basis. Gibbs sees him as a possible leader and as a true asset to the team,” Valderrama told Parade in the interview.
Meanwhile, production for the new season is currently ongoing. According to Blasting News, Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby, recently updated her Twitter account to tell the fans that the cast and crew were busy shooting for season 15. She also hinted that her character would be playing a vital role in the new storyline.
“NCIS” season 15 is expected to air on Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. EDT on CBS.