French ‘The Voice’ singer quits show after tweets about Israel spark backlash

Mennel Ibtissem


A French singer has quit the TV reality show ‘The Voice’ after her tweets about terrorism and Israel sparked a backlash.

Mennel Ibtissem was a popular contestant on the show. However, she came under pressure to leave the competition after tweets were uncovered in which she appeared to question the official narrative of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and the 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice.

“Here we go, it’s become a routine, an attack a week, and, as usual, the ‘terrorist’ takes his ID with him,” Ibtissem wrote after the Nice truck attack, Nice-Matin reported. “It’s true that when you’re plotting something nasty you never forget to take your papers with you.”

In another post, Ibtissem reportedly said: “The real terrorists are our government,” after two attackers slit a priest’s throat in Normandy. Ibtissem’s posts included support for Palestine and, during the 2014 assault on Gaza, she condemned Israel for “terrorizing innocent civilians.”

Ibstissem announced her decision to leave the show in a Facebook video in which she apologized for her comments. “I never meant to hurt anyone and the mere thought that my remarks hurt others hurts me, so I have taken the decision to quit this adventure,” she said.

She added she joined the show “with the intention of gathering people, not dividing them, of opening people’s minds, not narrow[ing] them.”

When reports emerged about her posts earlier in the week, she was called into a meeting with producers who wanted “clarifications” about her statements on Tuesday, le Parisienne reports.

Promenade des Anges: 14 July 2016, an organization supporting Nice victims, released a statement condemning her comments. “It is unacceptable to question what we have experienced. We were terrified, our own bodies were affected and/or lost our loved ones.”

The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism took issue with Ibstissem’s comments about Israel, and demanded she be removed from the show, JPost reports. “Mennel cannot serve as a role model for uninformed fans. She is not a good role model, she is not a good choice, she is dangerous,” it said. The group pointed to a song she sang in 2015 called, Smile Palestine, which references the “slaughter of mothers, fathers, little sisters and little brothers.”

Ibstissem posted an apology to her Facebook page on Tuesday before she decided to leave the show. In it, she explained: “These messages were the expression of a fear that I shared only at that time with my friends on this network. I deeply regret these messages.”

“On the evening of the Nice attacks, I had family on the Promenade des Anglais and I was shocked, upset, and did not understand why this attack could not be prevented by the authorities.”

“Two years later, I grew up and I measure the lack of reflection on these messages. I understand that these messages shock and I apologize.”

Source Article from

Are you following? Tillerson admits using Trump’s tweets for setting foreign policy issues

In a world when so much hinges on the simple press of a button – from launching a controversial tweet to launching a ballistic missile – it may come as no surprise that the US State Department closely watches President Trump’s tweets.

Few, however, could have imagined that Trump’s social media obsession with hammering out daily tweets to his millions of followers has come to play a crucial part in formulating American foreign policy.

Until now, that is.

During a speaking engagement hosted by Stanford University, Tillerson was asked by Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state in the Bush administration, “how do you deal with the constant pressure of social media, especially out of the White House?”

Tillerson gave an answer that certainly raised some eyebrows, while underscoring the important role that social media plays for the current administration.

“The challenge is getting caught up because I don’t even have a Twitter account that I can follow what he is tweeting, so my staff usually has to print his tweets out and hand them to me,” he admitted.

“By the time I find out about it, there’s actually been some period of time – and depending on where I am in the world, it might be five minutes or it might be an hour – before somebody hands me a piece of paper and says, ‘hey, the president has just tweeted this out.’”

Tillerson said he is then forced to consider whether the Trump message, “is…a foreign policy issue? What is it he’s tweeting about, and how do we take that and now use it?”

He explained that once a particular tweet by the president goes out, “I don’t know it’s going to go out, so there’s not a whole lot I’m going to do until it’s out there.”

The former ExxonMobil CEO said that on the one hand people might criticize the method and say, “well, that’s nuts. Why don’t you get an account?”

Tillerson said that he eventually concluded that being provided Trump’s tweets by his staff is “not a bad system.”

The secretary of state explained that he is able to respond to the “early reactions” generated by any given Trump message. At the same time, however, Tillerson suggests that he is occasionally taken by surprise by the president’s social media comments, which may potentially put Trump and Tillerson at loggerheads on critical issues at critical times.

Perhaps the best example of the president and his secretary of state working at cross purposes came in late September when talk of imminent war with North Korea was in the air.

Tillerson, in an apparent effort to defuse the tensions, said the US had “a couple of, three channels open to Pyongyang.”

“We can talk to them. We do talk to them,” he told a group of reporters, without elaborating.

Trump immediately scuttled Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts on Twitter.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” the president exclaimed via Twitter.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Source Article from

After Trump’s First 2018 Tweets, CNN’s Stelter Predicts Year of ‘Madness’

Anderson Cooper 360
January 2, 2018
8:55:06 PM Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER: Tonight’s tweet from President Trump on the size and power of his nuclear button is one thing this tweet is another. It also came moments ago from the President, quote: “I will be announcing the most dishonest and corrupt media awards of the year on Monday at 5:00. Subjects will cover dishonesty and bad reporting in various categories from the fake news media. Stay tuned.” Joining us is CNN Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter. Any idea exactly what he’s talking about?

BRIAN STELTER: This is something he seemed to propose before the new year, Anderson, the idea of a fake news trophy that should be awarded. The RNC then picked up on it and said they would take nominations. It seems the President, right out of reality TV here, wants to create a moment of drama where he will announce the winners. Obviously in the grand scheme of things, probably the least important tweet of the day. But this came a few minutes after the nuclear button tweet. So, what’s on the President’s mind? We know what’s on the President’s mind. 16 tweets today to start the new year. Some of them deeply disturbing.

COOPER: Right, considering how the new year has started, what does it say about the year?

STELTER: Madness. And I think we should start to call it that. Shouldn’t we? You know, when President Trump was inaugurated last January, some writers, some columnists like Andrew Sullivan started right away to raise concerns about the President’s mental health; about fitness for office. In the months that followed, we saw Republican senators like Jeff Flake bring these issues up, try to ask about his fitness for office. Bob Corker, another name that comes to mind. I think we could apply a test to his 16 tweets today. The Test would be: If this were the leader of Germany or China or Brazil, what would we say? How would we cover these tweets? We would see these are the messages from a person who is not well, from a leader who is not fit for office.

COOPER: Well, the counterargument to that is: Look, he has a different style and other presidents have tried more diplomatic language, more presidential language vis-a-vis North Korea, and his supporters will say: “Well look, that didn’t work and maybe this is the way to go.”

STELTER: And certainly on Twitter, any president, whether it’s former President Obama, now President Trump, future presidents of the U.S., they can use Twitter and Facebook and other social media tools to great effect to achieve legislative victories, to persuade the public to come to their side. But I don’t think that’s what we’re seeing his use of Twitter tonight. In fact, I’ve asked Twitter spokesman, does this violate Twitter’s terms of service—Making this kind of threat to North Korea. So far, no immediate comment from the company, still waiting to hear. I think they are trying to decide if whether this tweet referring to a nuclear button that he knows how to use and it works, whether that is a violation of the term of service because it may threaten violence. These are the questions that social media companies now have to ask themselves.

Source Article from

Donald Trump Rages Against Iran, Pakistan In First Tweets Of 2018

President Donald Trump dedicated his first tweets of the new year to lashing out at Pakistan and Iran.

The president first blasted Pakistan on Monday for giving the United States “nothing but lies & deceit.” Minutes later, he tweeted that Iran was “failing at every level.”

Pakistani officials were preparing a response to the accusations, the country’s foreign minister said about an hour after Trump’s tweet. 

Trump has been severely critical of the Pakistani government’s handling of terrorist networks. The New York Times reported Saturday that his administration was considering withholding $225 million in aid from Pakistan to punish the country for failing to cooperate with counterterrorism operations.

Vice President Mike Pence said last month that Trump had “put Pakistan on notice.”

“For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organizations, but those days are over,” Pence said during a speech to troops in Afghanistan. “As the president said, so I say now: Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with the United States, and Pakistan has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.”

Trump’s heated criticism of Iran on Monday was the latest attack in a war of words between the president and Iranian leadership. 

The country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday accused the U.S. government of “supporting ISIS and the like” and spending a “tremendous” amount of money to sow “discord” among Americans.

Trump tweeted Sunday that it was “TIME FOR CHANGE” in light of deadly nationwide protests sweeping across Iran. Iranian demonstrators, frustrated by government corruption and a lack of improved economic conditions following the 2015 nuclear deal, have called on Khamenei to step down.

Trump has been staunchly against the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under the Obama administration. He has threatened to kill the agreement, which required Iran to reduce its nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of nuclear-related economic sanctions.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from

Chrissy Teigen Live-Tweets Nightmare Flight After Bizarre Passenger Mishap

Model Chrissy Teigen and her husband, singer John Legend, were on a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Tuesday when the plane suddenly turned around and headed back to the states. Turns out a fellow passenger had boarded the wrong plane.

Flight attendants told Teigen the displaced passenger had a United Airlines boarding pass. 

As Teigen’s flight saga continued, she kept her Twitter followers updated. According to the model, the plane was taken to a secure area of the LAX runway.

Authorities apparently questioned certain passengers before allowing them to deplane.

Eventually, Teigen and Legend deplaned and went to an airline lounge.

While waiting, Teigen took solace in an episode of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and ate a bowl of ramen.

At the time of this posting, it’s unknown how a passenger boarded the wrong plane, but one thing is for sure: Teigen is on the case. 

HuffPost reached out to United for comment and has not yet heard back. Hours later, Teigen and Legend boarded another flight to Tokyo.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from

Forecasting urban inundation with a sunny day flood of tweets

If your community floods, what do you do? If you are like many people, as soon as you are safe you tweet. If you are an active citizen scientist, you may also post your pics to MyCoast, an ap designed to collect reports of flooding and subsequent impacts.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): “In 2016, global sea level was 3.2 inches (82 mm) above the 1993 average—the highest annual average in the satellite record (1993-present).”

That might not sound like a lot, but for many communities built on the edge, the reduced efficiency of water drainage dominoes until water backs up into significant floods. And with sea levels rising further, the peak events today will become the average of the future.

But current sources of flood data – such as insurance reports, satellite monitoring, local sensor networks or eyewitness reports – cannot fuel hyper-resolution mathematical models capable of supporting detailed risk analysis, flood control planning, and early warning systems.

Dr Roger Wang and colleagues from the University of Dundee’s School of Science and Engineering have shown how data deciphered by using AI tools on tweets and MyCoast images correlates with traditional measures of flood severity such as quantity of precipitation or road closures. Dr. Wang explains that,

“We were particularly interested in the increased incidence of what we call sunny day flooding – flooding that occurs in the absence of any extreme weather event due to the mean sea level being higher.”

While the AI assessment of the images needs improvement to help differentiate flood zones from photos of coastal waters or other normal wet areas, the paper concludes that the “big data” available via these social media avenues could enhance the monitoring networks and enhance the granularity of data available for improving computer models of urban flood events.

The technique will be especially useful if global sea level rise makes the existing flood maps obsolete faster than scientists can rewrite them.

The full paper, Hyper-resolution monitoring of urban flooding with social media and crowdsourcing data, appears in Computers & Geosciences, Volume 111, February 2018, Pages 139-147.

Source Article from

Trump tweets 'thank you' to head of group accused of illegal political activity, racial bias

President Trump gave a shoutout to Turning Points USA on Twitter Friday, just one day after the New Yorker published a damning report on the conservative nonprofit’s alleged campaign law violations and racial bias.

Turning Points founder and executive director Charlie Kirk, who told the New Yorker he considers Trump’s son Don Jr. to be a “personal friend,” appeared on Fox & Friends Friday morning to praise the president for accomplishing “some absolutely historic things in the last year.”

Not long after, Trump — an avowed viewer of Fox & Friends — quoted Kirk’s segment, tweeting:

“Thank you Charlie Kirk of Turning Points USA. Sadly, the Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews. We are compiling a long & beautiful list.”

Never mind the fact that a number of news outlets, including Yahoo News, have recently published articles and op-eds acknowledging certain successes of the Trump administration’s first year in office, Trump’s commendation of Kirk comes on the heels of the New Yorker report which, citing internal documents and interviews with former employees, suggests that Turning Points — a registered nonprofit that supports conservative student movements on college campuses — may have violated campaign finance laws with its involvement in political activity during the 2016 presidential election.

Former employees also described an environment of racial bias within the organization’s ranks, where the sole African-American employee says she was fired on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Turning Point’s former national field director Crystal Clanton, who stepped down last summer shortly after reportedly texting a fellow employee, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. ”

She continued: “[F***] them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.”

Though Turning Points USA staffers were reportedly involved in political activity on behalf of several Republican presidential candidates in 2016, the New Yorker notes that the group makes an effort to promote its particularly close ties to the now-first family.

Kirk met Donald Trump Jr. at the Republican National Convention last summer, where he was invited to speak, and the two “hit it off,” prompting Kirk to start working for the Trump campaign as a “specialist in youth outreach,” performing duties ranging from coordinating events with the elder Trump son to carrying his bags. Kirk and Turning Points have reportedly maintained their close relationship with the Trump family since the election. Both Don Jr. and his brother Eric’s wife, Lara Trump, spoke at the group’s annual conference in West Palm Beach this week and, according to the New Yorker, “When friends threw Kirk a surprise birthday party earlier this year, Don Jr., attended, as did Sebastian Gorka, the former Trump White House adviser.”

Moments after Trump thanked Kirk for his kind words on Fox & Friends, Kirk tweeted in response: “Thank you Mr. President!”

Read more from Yahoo News:

Source Article from

Moscow sees Trump tweets as official statements – Kremlin

I don’t see myself as having the right to comment on the actions of the US president, but in any case, everything that is being posted on Donald Trump’s official Twitter account is perceived in Moscow as official statements of the president of the United States and is reported to President Putin along with statements of leaders of other nations of the world,” Peskov told the press on Tuesday.

Deputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration added that President Putin did not have a personal Twitter account, had no desire to set one up, and considered it wrong to charge someone else with this task.

The comments followed a recent report in the New York Times which alleged that Trump was excessively absorbed with television and social media. In particular, the newspaper reported that the US president dedicated a significant amount of time to maintaining his personal Twitter account and sometimes started tweeting before 6am while still in bed.

After the NYT had released the story, Trump described it as “false” – in the form of a tweet.

In late November, Trump criticized UK Prime Minister Theresa May over her statements on anti-Muslim materials that he had retweeted. Twitter users quickly noticed that Trump had used the wrong @theresamay handle in his tweet, addressing a woman called Theresa Scrivener. A few minutes after the post, Trump deleted it and reposted the tweet using the correct hashtag “@Theresa_May.”

Source Article from

Homeless Read Mean Tweets From People Who Don’t Appreciate Their Good Fortune

By Vic Bishop, Waking Times

How do you help the homeless in a society where those who have it all don’t even appreciate it?

Homelessness in the U.S. and Canada has skyrocketed in recent years, much of it caused by skyrocketing housing prices in our largest cities.  The divide between the haves and the have-nots is increasing as the world’s billionaires are seeing their wealth increase exponentially. Below this, the middle class is fracturing into those who can afford to get by and those who cannot. Both the wealthiest and the middle class, however, often show callousness to those less fortunate than they, indicating that people with abundant wealth and prosperity often don’t appreciate it.

“Meanwhile, municipal governments backed up by police forces are increasingly shutting down Good Samaritan efforts to feed those out on our streets, demonstrating an institutional callousness to people who have fallen down on their luck.”

This problem is exemplified in a moving video produced by Raise the Roof in Canada. It spoofs on a late night TV skit where celebrities read mean tweets about themselves, although this version tells us more about the society we’ve created.

The video series continues with a closer look at the stories of these people, giving them a chance to share something with the world.

Source Article from

Top Democrat Says Trump May Have Obstructed Justice, Based On His Own Tweets

For more news videos visit Yahoo View.

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that she believed there might be an obstruction of justice case against President Donald Trump based in part on the president’s own tweets related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

“The Judiciary Committee has an investigation going as well, and it involves obstruction of justice, and I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice,” Feinstein said on “Meet the Press.”

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian government. Trump tweeted Saturday that he “had to fire” Flynn because of those false statements. But if Trump knew Flynn had lied, then, legal experts have said, his reported attempt to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Flynn could constitute obstruction of justice.

The president’s tweet was problematic enough for him that his personal attorney publicly took credit for writing it, calling the tweet “sloppy.”

Feinstein said she saw the potential for an obstruction case against Trump in part from his own Twitter account.

“I see it in the hyper-frenetic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continual tweets. And I see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of [FBI Director James] Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to ‘lift the cloud’ of the Russia investigation. That’s obstruction of justice.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (Aaron Bernstein / Reuters)Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (Aaron Bernstein / Reuters)

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) asked on Sunday why Trump didn’t act sooner if he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI.

″Well, if he knew that then, why didn’t he act on it earlier?  It raises a whole series of additional questions,” Warner said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“This president has been obsessed with this investigation,” Warner said, “always saying there’s nothing there, but each week another shoe drops, where we see more evidence of continuing outreach from Russians and some response from the Trump campaign and Trump individuals.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from