If you are a journalist, of all the East African armies, Uganda’s is the one you have to like.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) loves to either leak or officially provide information — especially if it has won a good victory or wants to demoralise the enemy with propaganda.
The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) will, typically, set up an efficient information operation and give you lots of material, but it will not be dramatic news. However, it will also establish a good leaking network. The problem is that it will be an arms-length operation, so that it can credibly deny it if necessary.
The Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) hasn’t been to war since it chased Ugandan military ruler Idi Amin out of power in 1979, so we haven’t seen its propaganda capabilities on display for a long time.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), however, has surprised many with how old school it is in its approach to information sharing. Though it has taken journalists inside Somalia to cover its campaign there, it has kept them safely away from the frontline where the shooting and killing is taking place.
It has reduced the regular press briefings to a drip. And even when it brings the generals out to speak to the media, they give very little away. There are rarely any leaks.
A few days ago a juicy leak came through. The KDF, according to a leading general, has been surrounding the Kismayu port, seen as the big prize in Kenya’s military expedition in Somalia, for several days. According to the general, they have “slowly been closing in the port and the town, and the Al Shabaab militants.”
Not surprisingly, a hint of the squeeze on Kismayu first came on the social media site Twitter, when a tweet suggested that the current pile-up of goods at the Mombasa port is because in recent weeks the KDF had made it too risky for ships to dock at Kismayu.
Kismayu plays an important role in financing Al Shabaab activities, but it’s also a major landing port for East African smugglers, especially Kenyan ones, seeking to avoid high port charges and big bribes in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports.
The fall of Kismayu, therefore, could mean that East Africa’s taxmen and women could collect more revenues; but the profits of several businessmen could dip.
I am not sure whether that is a desirable thing. One good thing will definitely come out of it, though.
Kismayu is the main transit point for East African charcoal exports to the Gulf and Middle East states. According to a report last year by the UN news service IRIN, although Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government has banned charcoal, exports had reached their highest level ever. Almost 80-90 per cent of charcoal exported through Somalia goes via Kismayu.
Tree cutting, once a low-tech affair, has become highly sophisticated, and in areas controlled by the militants, tree cover is being slashed at an alarming rate. An activist told IRIN that tree felling in Somalia had become “more dangerous than the piracy problem.”
You might say Somalia’s and East Africa’s trees desperately need an Al Shabaab defeat!
Charles Onyango-Obbo is Nation Media Group’s executive editor for Africa Digital Media. E-mail: email@example.com. Twitter: @cobbo3
Article source: http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/OpEd/comment/Kenya+army+is+on+Twitter++but+it+is+not+sharing+much/-/434750/1324598/-/ov7sls/-/
10 February 2012
Last updated at 18:32 ET
Kim Jong-un took over as leader when his father died last year
A rumour that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was assassinated in Beijing has spread across social media websites all over the world.
The story apparently originated on Chinese microblog site Sina Weibo and was later picked up by Twitter users.
The reports were also carried on at least two fake BBC Twitter accounts, which have since been closed.
Analysts say the story, claiming he was killed by gunmen at the North Korean embassy, is highly implausible.
Kim Jong-un took over leadership of the reclusive state after the death of his father Kim Jong-il late last year.
By Friday night, Sina Weibo had more than 380,000 posts referencing the rumour, which became a trending topic on Twitter.
However, many of the tweets were sceptical of the story.
No officials have commented on the rumour, and no reliable sources have given it any credence.
Rumours of deaths of celebrities and world leaders commonly spread on social-media sites like Twitter.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16993394
“Can Jeremy Lin fix the Eurozone debt crisis?” “Who put sports in my Twitter again?” “Wow, just wow.”
Just some of the posts on Twitter as the twitterverse reacted to the most amazing – yes, the most amazing – rags-to-riches, feel good sports story of the century. (One of the benefits of living in 2012 is that I can say that without starting too much of a bar fight).
The sudden emergence of the unheralded New York Knicks guard as the top sports story across the nation is predictably reflected on this Twitter stats page generated by Twitter Counter. Given that Lin punches a clock in the nation’s media capital and that he’s playing like the reincarnation of Walt Frazier – he scorched Kobe Bryant and the Lakers Friday night – you can discount some of the excitement as predictable hype.
But the real intrigue over the Lin story has lit up the social media world.
In four days, the number of people following @JLin7 surpassed 150,000 and and is projected to net more than 400,000 within 15 days. Not bad for a guy who was a media nobody before “Linsanity” abruptly entered the lexicon.
Anyway, put Feb. 23 on your calendar: Jeremy Lin versus LeBron on national TV.
Article source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-400_162-57375740/jeremy-lin-crushing-it-as-overnight-twitter-star/
National Interest – US
Published February 11, 2012
Police nationwide are still searching for the missing 11-year-old who was allegedly abducted by her mother four days ago. But messages that appeared online Friday have family members hopeful.
Fort Worth police confirm they are investigating activity on Jessica Smith’s Facebook page.
A message posted at about 3 p.m. said, “Everyone I’m fine you all can stop worrying about me.Just stop trying to contact me. I’m just done. I’m done with everyone.”
Later the message, “Noo!! Guys it’s really me! Just remember I’m safe I’ll be home soon.. And thanks for all the support! ” was added to the page.
Police said they are trying to determine who posted the messages and who has access to the girl’s account.
Jessica and her mother Kimberly Smith disappeared late Monday or early Tuesday from their home in north Fort Worth. That was after family members said Smith threatened to hurt Jessica on Monday night.
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Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/11/facebook-message-appears-on-missing-texas-girls-page/
WASHINGTON â€” A video of an angry American father pumping nine slugs from a handgun into his daughter’s laptop has gone viral on YouTube and sparked an impassioned online debate over his parenting skills.
Watch the video below, then continue on to the story.
Tommy Jordan, of North Carolina, explains in the video, which he titled “Facebook Parenting: for the troubled teen,” that he was upset by a Facebook post by his 15-year-old daughter in which she complained about her parents.
“This is for my daughter, Hannah, and more importantly for all her friends on Facebook who thought her little rebellious post was cute,” Jordan says, speaking into a video camera apparently set up on a tripod.
Wearing a cowboy hat and smoking a cigarette, the video opens with Jordan sitting in a chair and reading with unconcealed outrage from the Facebook post, in which his daughter complains about having to do chores around the house.
“Pay you for chores? Are you out of your mind?” he says. “You don’t have that hard a life, but you’re about to.”
Jordan describes the Facebook post as “disrespectful” and says he’s “going to put a stop to it.” He then picks up the camera and points it at a laptop lying on the ground.
“That right there is your laptop,” he says. “This right here is my .45.”
Jordan then begins to pepper the laptop with bullets.
Pausing at one point, he addresses his daughter: “You have to pay me back for these, too, because these are about a dollar apiece.” After plugging the laptop full of holes Jordan tells his daughter “you can have a new laptop when you buy a new laptop.”
The video, which was posted to YouTube Wednesday, has attracted more than two million views in just two days.
Article source: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/With+shoot+video+Father+shoots+daughter+laptop+after+disrespectful/6136684/story.html
Bango, the mobile apps payment services provider based in the United Kingdom, already has a deal with Research in Motion (manufacturer of the BlackBerry) and Amazon. Facebook officials feel they are missing out on huge revenue opportunities in the $37 billion mobile commerce market, and with Facebook’s plan to go public, Zuckerberg needs to start making decisions that make Facebook attractive to investors. While this entry presents Facebook with promising growth potential, the Facebook community will have resistance to accepting the changes.
There are 425 million Facebook users who access the social media platform on their mobile devices and smartphones. When users begin to feel inundated by ads, especially on mobile platforms, they may begin to lose interest and deviate away from the platform. Even if they do not completely deviate from Facebook, they may cut back on their engagement time if it becomes overrun with advertising. Mobile allows for quick, on-the-go access and this could potentially harm that experience.
Zuckerberg is in a tough place now that he has to appeal to shareholders. As CEO, there are strategic business opportunities that his company can capitalize on (mobile advertising and payments); however, the Facebook community may not be the appropriate audience to accept this. It seems Facebook has rushed into this decision and attempted to “fit-it-in” sometime between its IPO filing and its public offering date.
This is not to say that mobile advertising and payments cannot work on Facebook, but the move does leave the company open to potential backlash from its users. Twitter, for example, took an extended amount of time before introducing its Promoted products, which were applauded by its users as non-intrusive and well-designed.
The Facebook community has not been an audience that accepts change well. When Facebook introduced changes in the display layout in the fall, users were confused and took a while to accept the change. Privacy concerns on Facebook remain a constant issue and can have an even greater impact on consumers feeling overwhelmed when they begin seeing targeted ads show up on their smartphones and mobile devices beginning in March.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski is founder and chief executive of WebiMax
, an online marketing firm in Mount Laurel, N.J., specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing, pay per click management and social media marketing.
Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/commentary-facebooks-bango-ad-deal-isnt-right-for-its-users/2012/02/10/gIQAYsEC4Q_story.html
10 February 2012
Last updated at 21:08 ET
Micah Richards plays right back for table-topping Manchester City
Manchester City defender Micah Richards has left social network Twitter after being the victim of racist abuse, reports suggest.
Last year police investigated the posting of offensive comments on the footballer’s official Twitter page.
The Daily Mail and Daily Mirror report that the footballer has now decided to close his Twitter account as a result of abuse by a number of people.
The 23-year-old right back has also played for England.
However, he was largely ignored by former England manager Fabio Capello and has not won an international cap since November 2010.
Checks by the BBC confirm that the footballer’s official account has been closed, although there is no indication of when this took place.
Abuse on Twitter investigated by police in November was thought to have been posted on the website by someone based in Lincolnshire.
At the time, Lincolnshire Police posted a warning on its Twitter page to anyone who might be tempted to post abusive comments.
It said “deleting comments does not work”.
And a spokesman for Manchester City said the club was aware that police were investigating the matter.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16994086
(CNN) — Websites affiliated with the CIA, Mexico’s mining ministry and the state of Alabama were down Friday, allegedly done in by hackers, government officials and a well-known hacking group reported.
A message Friday on a Twitter page and Tumblr feed affiliated with the hacking group known as Anonymous celebrated that the Central Intelligence Agency’s website had been taken down.
The posting read: “CIA TANGO DOWN: https://www.cia.gov/ #Anonymous.” A later one pointed to a news story indicating “#Anonymous hackers hit CIA, U.N., Mexico websites.”
Numerous outside reports indicated the CIA’s website was down, and CNN’s attempts from late Friday afternoon into the evening to get onto the site failed.
A look at hackers and the Occupy movement
A look at hackers and the Occupy movement
Asked about the outage, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said Friday night, “We are aware of the problems accessing our website, and are working to resolve them.”
By early Saturday morning, the website was back.
Who is Anonymous? Everyone and no one
Additionally, information was “compromised” in a hacking of Alabama state websites, the Alabama Department of Homeland Security said in a news release.
“We are aware of the current situation regarding individual(s) claiming responsibility for hacking into a state of Alabama … public website,” Alabama Department of Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier said in the release.
Jack Doane, director of Alabama’s Information Services Division, told CNN later by e-mail that state technology experts “are conducting a forensic analysis to determine what if any information has been compromised.”
It was not immediately clear what websites were hacked or who was responsible. A web page that included Anonymous’ signature tag line stated the hacking was in response to Alabama’s “recent racist legislation in an attempt to punish immigrants as criminals” — referring to legislation, signed last June, aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration in the state.
The Anonymous-related Twitter page also provided links to documents, messages and other files that it said it had taken off a website tied to Mexico’s mining ministry.
“Hello Mexican Chamber of Mines,” a related Twitter post read. “Want to see your emails exposed?”
That said, another later item on the same feed added, “We’d remind media that if we report a hack or ddos (distributed denial of service) attack, it doesn’t necessarily mean we did it…FYI.”
The Mexican mining ministry’s website — which is distinct from the Chamber of Mines, or Caminex, a trade association — appeared to be down early Friday evening.
CNN’s Barbara Starr and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.
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Article source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/10/us/government-websites-hacked/index.html
A squirrel sits in a trap laid by the Emert family of Jersey Shore, Pa., in their garden.
We may never know what made the purple squirrel of Jersey Shore purple, but experts don’t doubt that it really was a squirrel of a different color.
“It’s not typical, but it’s not impossible,” said Harold Cole, a warden with the Pennsylvania Game Commission who investigated the case.
Percy Emert, a resident of the town in central Pennsylvania, said he and his wife caught the squirrel on Sunday in a trap, using peanuts as bait.
“At first I thought somebody around here was playing tricks,” he said. The family took pictures of the animal in its cage and posted them on Facebook. Then, on Tuesday, they set the squirrel free.
Percy Emert and family
Pictures of the squirrel suggest that its fur isn’t purple all the way through.
What do you think made the squirrel purple?
The pigment really hit the fan once the online pictures were featured on AccuWeather’s website. Now the Purple Squirrel has its own Facebook page with more than 3,800 fans. It didn’t hurt that a “purple squirrel” also happens to be engineering slang for an impossibly ideal job candidate.
The only problem is that beyond the Emerts and their friends, no one actually saw the squirrel or was able to study it. The family did hang onto some of the fur that was left behind in the cage, along with some tail trimmings — and they gave those samples to Cole when he was called to the scene.
Cole said the hairs could be passed along to a lab for an analysis, but the game commission itself won’t be pursuing the case any further. As purple as it is, the squirrel doesn’t appear to pose a hazard or be suffering from disease.
“The squirrel looks healthy in the picture there, except that he doesn’t want to be in that cage,” he said.
Percy Emert and family
The Pennsylvania purple squirrel wasn’t happy about being kept in a cage.
Cole also doesn’t think the Emerts dyed the critter, which would be illegal. But he wouldn’t rule out the possibility that someone else may have colored the squirrel previously to keep track of it. In fact, there are several possible explanations for the purpleness.
One is that the squirrel picked up a purple stain in the course of its perambulations. In 2008, a purple squirrel was sighted near a school in England, and experts suggested that the animal got into some discarded containers of printer ink toner. AccuWeather meteorologist Henry Margusity joked that the Pennsylvania squirrel “could have been looking for somewhere warm and fallen into a Port-a-Potty or something similar.”
Cole said it’s also possible that the squirrel ingested something that lent a purple tinge to the fur — maybe the local pokeberries, maybe an industrial compound, maybe even a food containing purple pigment. The game warden pointed to the example of flamingos, which get their pink or orange color from the food they eat.
Unless the purple squirrel makes a reappearance and gets a scientific going-over, the case will remain up for debate, much like the fabled Minnesota sighting of 1997. In the meantime, Harold Cole and Percy Emert are continuing to field phone calls and press inquiries about the mystery — so much so that Emert’s wife, Connie, is sorry that the poor critter was caught in the first place.
“She just wishes we let it go,” Percy Emert said.
More about animal colors:
Alan Boyle is msnbc.com’s science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by “liking” the log’s Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter or adding Cosmic Log’s Google+ page to your circle. You can also check out “The Case for Pluto,” my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for other worlds.
Article source: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/10/10376734-purple-squirrel-goes-free-leaving-mystery-behind
(AP) PITTSBURGH — A married father used phony Facebook profiles to pose as two different Florida surfers to solicit sexually graphic messages and photos from seven teenage girls in western Pennsylvania, and two of the girls eventually agreed to meet for sex with the surfers’ middle-aged “friend” — yet another fake persona he used, the state attorney general said Friday.
William R. Ainsworth, 53, of Mars, was charged Thursday with 68 counts, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and multiple counts of charges that include attempted unlawful contact with a minor, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a computer.
Ainsworth has been jailed in Butler County, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, since he was arrested on similar charges in September, when authorities say he traveled to the home of a 14-year-old girl for sex.
Ainsworth’s September arrest led authorities to uncover “an elaborate and disturbing false identity scam” in which Ainsworth concocted profiles depicting two 15-year-old high school dropouts who had run away to become surfers, Attorney General Linda Kelly said at a news conference Friday. The profiles were created using pictures of anonymous teens investigators believe Ainsworth lifted from MySpace pages.
The girls were psychologically manipulated because the “surfers” would pretend to share whatever experience the girls were going through. “If they were having family problems, (one surfer) would say he was having family problems. If they were thinking about running away, he’d talk about running away,” said Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for Kelly.
Authorities said the psychological manipulation included killing off the first surfer so the girls would become more sympathetic and likely to comply with requests from the second “surfer,” who typically introduced the girls to a friend named “Glenn Keefer.” ”Keefer” was essentially Ainsworth’s alter-ego, a 50-something man from Pennsylvania who would offer the girls money for pictures or sex so they could run away to join the surfers, investigators said.
“These three personas he created were all connected and had a purpose in the scheme,” Kelly said.
The phony Facebook pages have been taken down, and the girls are not identified in the 68-page criminal complaint. The alleged victims were 13 to 15 years old, although one girl was 12 when the computer contacts began, Kelly said.
“Given the nature and extent of the psychological manipulation, we’re being extremely careful not to re-victimize these girls,” Frederiksen said. He confirmed that Ainsworth is married with children, but Kelly refused to say whether Ainsworth’s children knew any of the alleged victims or provide other details.
Ainsworth does not have a phone number listed at the address on the criminal complaint. One listing his name in Mars led to a business, where Ainsworth was a used car salesman, but that call was not immediately returned. Ainsworth’s public defender also didn’t immediately return comment.
Ainsworth allegedly posed as surfers “Bill Cano” and “Anthony ‘Rip’ Navari,” and it was the Cano persona who typically first contacted the girls through Facebook, authorities said. Cano claimed to be a runaway from the area, and sometimes claimed to have previously attended their school. Sometimes, though, Cano was contacted by girls he didn’t solicit who saw his profile on their friends’ Facebook pages. Altogether, prosecutors said Ainsworth’s phony profiles garnered him more than 600 Facebook friends.
Cano would eventually flirt with the girls or ask for nude photos. Although the charges pertain to just seven girls, investigators have interviewed more than 30 and have gotten more than 18 search warrants to access records of his online contacts with them.
Navari would eventually begin contacting the girls as a fellow surfer and sometimes even step-brother of Cano, authorities said. At some point, Navari posted a Facebook alerts that Cano was attacked by a mob, had fallen into a coma and died.
“Some of the girls were really emotionally distraught about it,” Kelly said. “When he was deceased, the shoulder to cry on became Rip.”
Navari would play on the girls’ emotions and introduced them to Keefer who, himself or through Navari, would promise to either send the girls money to run away — or send money to support Navari’s living expenses — in exchange for nude pictures or sex.
The Keefer character introduced himself to the girls as a “Sugardaddy looking for Sugarbabies.”
Kelly said the parents of most of the girls didn’t closely monitor their Internet habits and noted some of the girls frequently accessed Facebook away from home using smartphones or other portable devices. All of the girls were vulnerable due to issues ranging from divorce and custody disputes, substance abuse, or bullying, and Ainsworth exploited those concerns, Kelly said.
“People you meet online may not always be who they say they are,” Kelly said, also warning parents to pay attention to their children’s online activity.
Article source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501363_162-57375394/ag-pa-mans-facebook-surfer-page-lured-teens/
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