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Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Tue, 24 Apr 2018 11:42:23 GMT2018-04-24T11:42:23Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
 



Sean Hannity's real estate venture linked to fraudulent property dealer

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 11:09:59 GMT2018-04-24T11:09:59Z

Shell company tied to the Fox News host bought homes through Jeff Brock, who was charged in 2016 with fraud and conspiracy for his role in a scheme to rig auctions on foreclosed properties

Sean Hannity’s real estate venture bought houses through a property dealer who was involved in a criminal conspiracy to fraudulently obtain foreclosed homes, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.

In 2012, a shell company linked to the Fox News host bought 11 homes in Georgia that had been purchased by the dealer, Jeff Brock, following foreclosures. Brock transferred the properties to corporate vehicles that sold them on to the Hannity-linked company at a profit.

Related: Michael Cohen case shines light on Sean Hannity's property empire

Related: Sean Hannity revealed as Michael Cohen's mystery third client

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Global crackdown on fake news raises censorship concerns

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:03:54 GMT2018-04-24T10:03:54Z

Hastily drawn-up measures outlawing false or misleading information may prove counterproductive, campaigners say

In a world where false and misleading information reaches billions instantly and online manipulation is becoming ever more sophisticated, governments are increasingly turning to legislation to combat fake news.

Related: Tech firms could face new EU regulations over fake news

Related: Experience: I write fake news

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Is white America ready to confront its racism? Philosopher George Yancy says we need a 'crisis'

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:00:18 GMT2018-04-24T10:00:18Z

In his new book, philosopher George Yancy uncovers just how unprepared even well-meaning whites are for a courageous conversation about race

George Yancy’s new book, Backlash, grew out of “Dear White America”, a piece on the pervasiveness of white racism that he wrote for the New York Times’ philosophy column, The Stone. After the piece was published on Christmas Eve 2015, Yancy received an extraordinary number of responses from white readers, many of which were aggressively defensive and included racist epithets and threats of physical violence. Backlash extends the argument made in “Dear White America”, and turns personal and philosophic lenses on the vile responses it received.

What was the message of “Dear White America”, and why do you think it proved so provocative?

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Tech firms could face new EU regulations over fake news

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 08:45:13 GMT2018-04-24T08:45:13Z

EU security commissioner says new regulations may have to be brought in if tech firms fail to tackle issues voluntarily

Brussels may threaten social media companies with regulation unless they move urgently to tackle fake news and Cambridge Analytica-style use of personal data before the European elections in 2019.

The EU security commissioner, Julian King, said “short-term, concrete” plans needed to be in place before the elections, when voters in 27 EU member states will elect MEPs. The Cambridge Analytica affair had “served to highlight how important [the issue] is”, he told the Guardian.

Related: New Europe law makes it easy to find out what your boss has said about you

Related: How Europe's 'breakthrough' privacy law takes on Facebook and Google

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Facebook urged to use face recognition to block scam ads

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 05:00:12 GMT2018-04-24T05:00:12Z

Media committee chair says Martin Lewis’s case shows yet another failure to protect users

Facebook is facing calls to deploy facial recognition technology to block scam adverts featuring celebrities, after consumer campaigner Martin Lewis launched legal proceedings against the social network over fake promotions claiming his endorsement.

Damian Collins, the chair of the parliamentary committee investigating online disinformation, told the Guardian he would ask the social network to consider new ways to block fake promotions when the company’s chief technology office appears to answer questions in parliament on Thursday.

Related: The Guardian view on ad tech: a tangled web | Editorial

Related: Martin Lewis is right to take on Facebook – it has too much power | Ellie Mae O’Hagan

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Facebook says its free news feed is helping journalism

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 00:47:51 GMT2018-04-24T00:47:51Z

Company tells Australian regulator that news makes up just 5% of content shared, and downplays its collection and use of people’s data
Sign up to receive the top stories in Australia every day at noon

Facebook has told the Australian competition regulator that news makes up just 5% of the content shared on the platform, and the social media giant is helping journalism by providing a free global distribution service for publishers.

In its submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into the impact of digital platforms on media and advertising, Facebook also downplayed its collection and use of people’s data, saying many organisations, including newspapers, collected similar data.

Related: Google tells Australian regulator it is not contributing to 'the death of journalism'

Related: Facebook and Google must be held to account, TV networks say

Related: Australians ignorant about social media data, ACCC chief warns

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YouTube reveals it removed 8.3m videos from site in three months

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 23:30:04 GMT2018-04-23T23:30:04Z

Video-sharing site responds to criticism over objectionable content by publishing report into scale of its moderation process

YouTube says it removed 8.3m videos for breaching its community guidelines between October and December last year as it tries to address criticism of violent and offensive content on its site.

The company’s first quarterly moderation report has been published amid growing complaints about its perceived inability to tackle extremist and abusive content.

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Fatberg 'autopsy' reveals growing health threat to Londoners

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 23:01:04 GMT2018-04-23T23:01:04Z

Potentially deadly bacteria thriving in huge clots of waste in sewers, Channel 4 study shows

Fatbergs, the congealed mass of fat and discarded items that are increasingly blocking Britain’s sewers, are the consequence of the plastic crisis in Britain and contain potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria, tests show.

A study by Channel 4 in conjunction with Thames Water has analysed the contents of one supersize fatberg discovered underneath the streets of South Bank in central London.

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Mirror takeover of Express and Star faces fresh investigation

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 17:27:51 GMT2018-04-23T17:27:51Z

Culture secretary considers intervention to address concerns about editorial independence

The government has dealt a blow to the Daily Mirror publisher’s £200m takeover of the Express and Star titles by signalling its intent to launch an investigation into the deal over issues including editorial independence.

The culture secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Monday he was “minded to” issue a public interest intervention notice for an in-depth inquiry and would come to a final decision “shortly”. The move follows the decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this month to open an initial investigation into the deal.

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‘Unlike Hillary Clinton, I have never wanted to be someone’s wife’

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 17:05:03 GMT2018-04-23T17:05:03Z

After writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grilled the former US presidential candidate about why the first word on her Twitter bio is ‘wife’, Clinton said she would think about changing it. Why do women still let their domestic roles define them?

Hillary Clinton: “Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, Flotus, senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate.” To be clear, this is not how Wide Awoke would describe Clinton. It’s her own Twitter biography and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – writer, Nigerian, feminist, woman … screw it, let’s just go with writer, like Martin Amis does – is not happy that the first woman in history to have had a shot at the US top job is leading with “wife”.

“I have to confess that I felt just a little bit upset,” Adichie admitted during an interview with Clinton at the PEN World Voices festival. “And then I looked at your husband’s Twitter account, and the first word was not ‘husband’.” Of course, it wasn’t. His bio is: “Founder, Clinton Foundation and 42nd president of the United States.” Because that’s who he is and how he is valued. We live in a world where presidents are men and their wives are first ladies: a job so inherently sexist it demands the women – sorry, ladies – who acquire it to abandon professions and opinions of their own in order to further their husbands’ careers.

Related: Hillary Clinton attacks Trump for 'all-out war on truth, facts and reason'

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The Guardian view on ad tech: a tangled web | Editorial

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 17:01:18 GMT2018-04-23T17:01:18Z

Martin Lewis is suing Facebook. The question is whether companies can be held responsible for the behaviour of their software

Martin Lewis, the consumer advice and money-saving expert, is suing Facebook in a case that threatens the dominant business model of publishing on the internet. It raises in a very sharp form the question of responsibility for what appears on a user’s screen: is the owner of the site responsible for the content that appears there, even though no human eye may ever have seen it? Facebook and in fact all the ad-supported businesses on the internet maintain that they are platforms, not publishers. Their responsibility extends only to content they know about. Is this enough? Should they also be responsible for content they might reasonably anticipate?

Facebook’s defence is that it has taken down individual adverts as they are reported; Lewis counter charges that they are soon, predictably, replaced with almost identical ones. It does appear odd that Facebook, which is extremely keen on facial recognition and can label the people in friends’ photograph feed with sometimes disconcerting accuracy, is apparently unable to recognise the face of a television personality made as recognisable as possible or to kill automatically any ad in which it appears. In a similar way, YouTube, owned by Google, is far more successful at keeping pornography off the site than it is at keeping off incitements to hatred or bullying. All that really frightens them is the thought of driving advertisers away.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia murder: EU justice chief to press case during Malta visit

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:21:12 GMT2018-04-23T15:21:12Z

Věra Jourová says she will travel to island in coming months, piling pressure on authorities

The EU will put the Maltese authorities under renewed pressure to identify those behind the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia during a visit to the island by the bloc’s most senior justice official.

After calls from politicians across Europe for the widening of the police investigation into the journalist’s death, the European commissioner for justice, Věra Jourová, announced she would be travelling to Malta within weeks.

Related: Maltese politicians face pressure over $1.6m paid to offshore firms

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We’re grateful for your Windrush work – but the fight for justice goes on | Letters

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:08:28 GMT2018-04-23T15:08:28Z

Guy Hewitt, high commissioner for Barbados, thanks Amelia Gentleman for exposing the Windrush scandal, Gideon Ben-Tovim says too many bodies colluded in creating a hostile environment, immigration solicitor Sheona York says it was clear from 2013 that people in the UK lawfully would be affected, and Diane Astin says the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (Laspo) has much to answer for

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” This wartime quote by Winston Churchill, who was also British prime minister during the first waves of West Indian migrants to Britain, is to me the most apt way of expressing the gratitude of the Caricom high commissioners and the West Indian diaspora for the incredible work by Amelia Gentleman on the issues confronting elderly, Caribbean-born, long-term, UK residents.

In less than a week, a story that was for too long begging for attention became front-page news and in the process won the hearts of a nation and engaged the mind of a government. I want to recognise this seminal work by Amelia in almost singlehandedly leading the charge.

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Martin Lewis is right to take on Facebook – it has too much power | Ellie Mae O’Hagan

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:54:30 GMT2018-04-23T13:54:30Z

As some publishers try to clean up rogue online advertising, the platform has been slow to act on complaints. Time for regulation

One of the ways Facebook has been able to get away with some pretty questionable behaviour over the years is that exploiting users’ data is an abstract problem that doesn’t seem to impinge on our daily lives, and for which there is no obvious solution. What can we really do if Facebook figures out our commute time to work and uses that information to sell advertising? And is it worth doing anything if we don’t even notice it’s happened?

This is why the news that Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com is planning on suing Facebook for defamation – after it failed to stop scam adverts appearing on its site that featured his face – presents an opportunity for campaigners seeking to impose regulations on Facebook. Lewis is an eminently recognisable figure, who is largely seen to be on the side of those who oppose swindling corporations. He has said he isn’t planning on keeping any potential damages from the case, but is partly using it as an opportunity to raise awareness about fake adverts. Facebook’s assertion that it is Lewis’s responsibility to report scams exploiting his image looks absurd.

Related: Martin Lewis sues Facebook over fake adverts with his name

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No frills over 40? Why you should ignore age-based fashion rules

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:26:19 GMT2018-04-23T13:26:19Z

Former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman would like to ban frills and bows on anyone over the age of 40. Where’s the fun in that?

My mother made many of our clothes when we were small and, in her book, frills and little girls were a match made in heaven. Also, she believed women went into sartorial retirement the moment they had their first baby. Having had five kids before she was 30, she wisely relented on the latter point. Unfortunately, however, either her dressmaking skills, or the speed at which she felt compelled to work, meant her frills never appeared quite where they were designed to, and the item of clothing itself generally fitted only where it touched. So probably my only rule in life is: no frills.

That said, other people look lovely in frills, so it seems silly to smack a blanket ban on them for anyone over the age of 40, as Alexandra Shulman, the former long-time British Vogue editor, says. She would also ban bows and, while I am more instinctively sympathetic to that, if women, or men, want to channel their inner Margaret Thatcher, I’d say that’s their choice.

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Nailed It! The cooking show that bakes capitalism to a crisp | Jack Bernhardt

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:30:09 GMT2018-04-23T10:30:09Z

It may look like another Netflix reality show, but beneath the melting fondant lies a tasty satire of our hyper-combative world

What’s the greatest satire of capitalism? For some it’s A Tale of Two Cities, for others it’s Catch-22, and for a minority it’s that Frankie Goes to Hollywood video where Ronald Reagan is wrestling the leader of the Soviet Union. Up until this year, I probably would have said the last one (it’s the way Reagan gets Konstantin Chernenko into a chokeslam that does it for me). But recently I’ve discovered a new show that has made me reconsider my perception of the hyper-combative world that we live in. It’s not a satire, or a documentary. It’s the brilliant competitive baking show Nailed It!, and it is both the funniest thing on television and the most devastating, absurdist criticism of capitalism in modern times.

Related: Schools can’t work miracles. But with a little help, parents can | Gaby Hinsliff

The entire show, in fact, is beautiful anarchy: it is to Bake Off what Mario Kart is to Formula One

Related: What a surprise that two Arab women were kicked off My Kitchen Rules | Ruby Hamad

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Flickr bought by SmugMug as Yahoo breakup begins

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 09:51:41 GMT2018-04-23T09:51:41Z

Photo-sharing pioneer and web cultural beacon now part of independent, family-run firm

One of the first and best-known photo-sharing services, Flickr, has been bought by the independent image-hosting firm SmugMug, as Verizon begins the breakup of Yahoo.

The deal, terms of which have not been disclosed, sees Flickr – with its tens of billions of photos and 75 million users – become part of a similar family-run service in SmugMug.

Related: Yahoo says all of its 3bn accounts were affected by 2013 hacking

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Michael Cohen case shines light on Sean Hannity's property empire

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 06:36:14 GMT2018-04-23T06:36:14Z

Fox News host who said Trump’s fixer ‘knows real estate’ has a portfolio that includes support from Department of Housing, a fact he did not mention when interviewing Ben Carson last year

Sean Hannity’s real estate venture linked to fraudulent property dealer

When Sean Hannity was named in court this week as a client of Donald Trump’s embattled legal fixer Michael Cohen, the Fox News host insisted their discussions had been limited to the subject of buying property.

“I’ve said many times on my radio show: I hate the stock market, I prefer real estate. Michael knows real estate,” Hannity said on television, a few hours after the dramatic hearing in Manhattan, where Cohen is under criminal investigation.

Related: Will Sean Hannity's ties to Michael Cohen be his undoing?

I doubt you would find it very surprising most people prefer to keep their legal and personal financial issues private

Related: Fox News gives Sean Hannity 'full support' over Michael Cohen revelation

I know you’ve done a good job

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Martin Lewis sues Facebook over fake adverts with his name

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 06:32:28 GMT2018-04-23T06:32:28Z

MoneySavingExpert founder says firm failed to stop false adverts luring victims into scams

Martin Lewis, the consumer advice and money-saving expert, is suing Facebook for defamation after it published dozens of fake adverts featuring his face and name.

He is seeking exemplary damages in the high court, arguing that Facebook failed to prevent or swiftly remove false advertising that has both tarnished his reputation and lured unwitting victims into costly scams.

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Newsagents are suffering in a sorry game of monopoly | Roy Greenslade

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 06:05:09 GMT2018-04-23T06:05:09Z

My local retailer, efficient and amiable, has decided to shut his business. This is why

This is an achingly sorry tale about thwarted personal effort, the slow death of an industry, the worrying nature of changes in employment practice and, most of all, about the dangers of monopoly.

The fact that the central character in this story is my own newsagent, does not indicate special pleading because, after looking deeper into the issue, it is clear – as will emerge – the crisis is a national one.

Independent news retailers feel under siege from all corners of the supply chain

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