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Agrizzi’s hate speech case set to resume
27 June 2019, 7:48 AM

The hate speech case against former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer (COO), Angelo Agrizzi, resumes in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court sitting as the Equality Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The case was brought by the Human Rights Commission after an audio recording played at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in which Agrizzi is heard allegedly using the K-word several times during a conversation.

During the previous hearing, the Equality Court asked the lawyers for Agrizzi and the Commission to sit around the table and negotiate a settlement agreement.

The Commission’s Buang Jones says the parties met earlier in June and the outcomes of the meeting will be presented before the  court on Thursday.

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Facebook struggling to deal with ‘deepfake’ videos
27 June 2019, 6:47 AM

Facebook chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said Wednesday the leading social network is struggling to find ways to deal with “deepfake” videos which have the potential to deceive and manipulate users on a massive scale.

Zuckerberg said Facebook is trying to determine whether deepfakes are “a completely different category” of misinformation and added, “there’s a very good case that they are.”

Speaking at an on-stage interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, Zuckerberg said Facebook and others will face a challenge in dealing with deepfakes as they ramp up efforts to eliminate misinformation and that his company is still evaluating what to do.

“I do think that saying deepfakes are different from misinformation, is a reasonable perspective,” he said.

“It is likely sensible to have a different policy and to treat this differently than how we just treat normal, false information on the internet.”

The comments come amid growing concern over deepfakes, which are altered by using artificial intelligence to appear genuine, being used to manipulate elections or potentially spark unrest.

Earlier this month, Facebook’s Instagram network decided not to take down a fake video of Zuckerberg himself, saying the CEO would not get special treatment.

Online platforms have been walking a fine line, working to root out misinformation and manipulation efforts while keeping open to free speech.

Zuckerberg said this is a constant challenge, repeating his position that Facebook should not be an arbiter of truth on the internet.

“I do not think we want to go so far towards saying that a private company prevents you from saying something that it thinks is factually incorrect to another person,” he said.

Zuckerberg said Facebook has been stepping up efforts to combat manipulation efforts from governments including Russia but that its options are limited.

“As a private company, we don’t have the tools to make the Russian government stop,” he said.

“We’ve ramped up massively on the security side, but there’s very little that we can do on our own to change the incentives for nation states to act. That’s something that is a little bit above our pay grade.”

New York’s World Pride opens with benefit concert hosted by Whoopi Goldberg
27 June 2019, 6:24 AM

New York’s highly anticipated World Pride festivities officially opened Wednesday with a benefit concert hosted by performer Whoopi Goldberg and featuring headliner, Cyndi Lauper.

The event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center arena launches days of celebrations including more concerts, exhibitions, movie screenings, theatre shows and workshops as the city pays homage to those who took part in the 1969 Stonewall riots, a week-long protest against police harassment of the New York gay community at the time.

Ticket proceeds from Wednesday’s concert will go to three New York-based organizations supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) rights in the city.

Also set to perform are singers Chaka Khan and Ciara as well as Billy Porter, known for his showstopping red carpet looks and role on “Pose,” a television series about the primarily Black and Latino underground drag ball scene of the 1980s and early 1990s.

“We’ve come a long way and we have a long way to go,” Porter said on the rainbow carpet prior to the show. “And these moments right now, where we have all of the people together, when we’re reminded of our strength, reminded of our strength inside of our unity, is what pride is about.”

“I’m really really happy to be here and I can’t wait.”

On Friday, a large crowd will gather outside Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn where on June 28, 1969 hundreds of gay and transgender people pushed back against the latest police raid on the establishment, sparking six days of unrest.

Laverne Cox, a transgender actress who rose to fame for her role on the hit series “Orange is the New Black,” emphasized the obstacles that remain for the LGBTQ community.

“There’s an attack on transgender people in our country right now and really all over the world,” she said. “Violence against trans people, globally, is an epidemic.”

The weekend celebrations will feature concerts by Madonna and Grace Jones, winding up with a giant World Pride Parade on Fifth Avenue. It will be the sixth edition of World Pride, which began in Rome in 2000 and brought together droves of people from across the world.

New York’s Gay Pride is regularly one of the largest such events globally but for this year’s milestone anniversary, authorities expect an additional two to three million visitors to attend.

Few municipalities took steps against mismanagement: AG
27 June 2019, 5:55 AM

Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, says only 26% of the country’s municipalities took adequate steps on allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud.

Presenting the local government audit outcomes for 2017/18 financial year, Makwetu placed the blame on the leaders in local and provincial government.

He says the current governance lapses in municipalities could only be turned around if the leadership took matters in hand.

Makwetu announced that there are 18 municipalities with clean audits out of 257, saying this is a significant reversal from previous years.

He says more than half of municipalities failed to investigate the Audit office findings.

“When the tone at the top is not being set to deal with matters like this and affect the requisite consequences we may just as well close shop. Because if the leaders of the organisation do not do it, the auditors are not the enforcement authority to make them do it, but we have sufficient tools provided to them, what they didn’t have before to enable them to act as required by law,” says Makwetu.

Rand Water hopeful that maintenance work will be completed by Wednesday
26 June 2019, 12:48 PM

Rand Water says it is hopeful that it will be able to complete the maintenance work on its pipeline by Wednesday afternoon.

The bulk water supplier says the work to install a valve on its pipeline is progressing as per schedule and on target.

The maintenance work, which started on Monday, is scheduled to be completed on Wednesday.

Rand Water spokesperson Eddy Singo has urged consumers to continue using water sparingly.

“We have also been looking at our reservoir as well. Reservoirs are in good levels and we also know that we will be able to maintain the system beyond,” says Singo.

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