YouTube has taken down a music video that criticized President Joe Biden for the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan because the clip included graphic images of violence from the Taliban.
Grammy-nominated singer John Ondrasik’s song; “Blood on My Hands;” had more than 250,000 views before its removal, a move the singer claimed was an attempt to stifle free speech.
The video referred to Biden as “Uncle Joe;” Secretary of State Antony Blinken as “Winkin’ Blinken” and Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley as “Willy Milley.’”
Ondrasik shared to Twitter the news that his video had been taken down and included a statement about the incident.
“Before posting, I placed a ‘Graphic Warning’ disclaimer at the front of the video to let the audience know that the content would not be suitable for younger audiences due to images of Taliban atrocities;” he said in his statement. “YouTube reviewed the video and inserted a child content restriction which I appreciated and found appropriate.”
I have just received notification that @YouTube has taken down the Blood on My Hands – White House Docu-Music video. pic.twitter.com/SIFy13ftE4
— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) January 7, 2022
ALSO READ: ‘I have been made a scapegoat’: Ashraf Ghani recalls the day he fled Afghanistan, denies taking money
He noted that Youtube censored the video, as it was racking up views; over its violation of the platform’s “graphic content policy,” just five days after the clip was posted.
The singer said Youtube’s attempt to censor him was a “gross injustice” and a danger to anyone who values the freedom of expression.
“To not show said Taliban atrocities in any artistic statement on Afghanistan would be a gross injustice to the victims and enable the Taliban’s ongoing persecution of 40 million Afghan citizens,” Ondrasik said. “That YouTube took down the video after 5 days; as it was growing in reach, should concern anyone who values free speech and advocacy for humanitarian causes.”
He also pointed out that a number of other videos on Youtube; which the platform is monetizing, included imagery of “similar Taliban atrocities” and emphasized that his video had been raising money for private organizations rescuing high-risk Afghans; Veteran’s wellness charities as well as Afghan refugee foundations.
Youtube later responded to Ondrasik’s tweet; saying that the removal of the video was made in error and that it had also been reinstated.
Afenifere to FG: Ensure release of Igboho, Kanu forthwith
From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has called on the Federal Government to ensure the release of the Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, and the leader of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, even if it is on political consideration.
The organisation noted that releasing Kanu on political consideration is not unprecedented because the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007 did the same thing by releasing the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo in such manner.
The request was contained in a communique issued at the end of the first annual general meeting of Afenifere held on Tuesday, at the country home of its Acting Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State.
Afenifere also noted that restructuring of Nigeria into a true federalism is achievable before the 2023 general elections, if President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government would adopt the reports of the 2014 National Conference and the 2018 Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on True Federalism with desirable modifications where necessary.
The communique, which was made available to journalists by the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Jare Ajayi, stated that the meeting deliberated extensively on various issues pertaining to the Nigeria nation, especially in the way they affect the Yorubas, adding that “The meeting reviewed the various challenges that Nigeria has been facing since independence. The meeting felt that while the country had never met the dream of its founding fathers, the situation had never been this bad socially, economically and politically. The situation is particularly worse on the security front as no part of the country is safe at any time of the day any more.
After extensive deliberations, Afenifere “considered Sunday Adeyemo Igboho as a Prisoner of Conscience. Afenifere called on all men and women of conscience, particularly the international community to which human rights and freedom are abiding faith, to prevail on the Governments of Nigeria and Benin Republic to release Sunday Igboho forthwith.
Not only that, the federal government should also pay Sunday Igboho the damages awarded to him by the court upon the savage attack on his person and property.
“The meeting also called on the federal government to release Nnamdi Kanu even if on political consideration as happened in the case of Asari Dokubo under the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.”
The communique further stated that “before and after independence, various efforts have been made to have a country, Nigeria, that everyone would be proud of. A country in which every one lives a happy life and there is life more abundant for all.
Afenifere however has no doubt whatsoever that the country can never get out of its present logjam, let alone, develop, unless there is restructuring.
“The meeting felt that one of the things that has been a great cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress today was the rubishing of true federalism, meaning that true federalism must be allowed to be effectively operational immediately. In other words, states and local government councils must be allowed to enjoy self governance as provided for them in the constitution.
“Afenifere is convinced that restructuring of the Nigerian State before the 2023 general elections is achievable. It is achievable through the adoption of the Reports of the 2014 National Conference and the 2018 Mallam El-Rufai Committee of the APC on True Federalism with desirable modifications where necessary.
“In recent times, we have consistently expressed concern on the situation of insecurity in Nigeria today. We have also always recommended what we consider as the ways out of the unprecedented security challenges facing us. In this respect, we strongly call on the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the introduction of State Police equipped with requisite means to enhance security in the states and that of the federation ultimately.
“The performance of Amotekun Security Network in the South West in conjunction with the Nigeria Police has shown clearly that all the criticisms against State Police are unfounded and self serving.”
The meeting was attended by some leaders and members of Afenifere from all the states in Yorubaland including Delta, Kwara and Kogi. Among the leaders in attendance were the former Governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo; former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele; Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Chief Supo Sonibare, Chief Sola Ebiseni, and the Secretary General, Dr. Gbola Adetunji.
The list also comprised Chief Korede Duyile, Abagun Kole Omololu, Hon. Leke Mabinuori, Chief Kofoworola Doherty, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, Chief Tunde Onakoya, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, Chief Segun Olawoyin and Deacon Owolabi Oladejo, Chief Olu Pesu, Reverend Goke Omigbodun, and others.
Adevanjo, however, welcomed members and congratulated them for surviving the turbulent 2021.The meeting also looks forward to a more benign year in 2022.
2022 Beijing Olympics: Xi Jinping meets IOC President Thomas Bach
From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Chinese President Xi Jinping, yesterday, met with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, in a statement on its website, said, noting that today marks the Minor New Year’s Day in the Chinese lunar calendar and that the Chinese New Year officially starts in just a few days, President Xi welcomed President Bach to the celebration of the Spring Festival in China.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry further said President Xi pointed out that after more than six years of preparations and with everything falling into place, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be held on schedule as promised.
“China will honor its commitment to present to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games. This is the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that a comprehensive global sporting event is held as scheduled. It is a successful example of acting upon the new Olympic motto: ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together,’” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Xi noted that in hosting the Olympic Winter Games, China has received support from not only the Chinese people, but also the international community.
“Nearly 3,000 athletes from about 90 countries and regions will attend this year’s games which includes more events and will produce more gold medals than any previous games, providing opportunities for more athletes to realize their dreams in Beijing. By putting the athletes front and center, China is making every effort to ensure sound hardware and software for the Games including venues, facilities and all-round services. President Xi expressed full confidence in keeping the participants, stakeholders and the Chinese people safe and healthy,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry also said.
President Xi stressed that he had identified, early in the bidding stage, the primary purpose of hosting the Games as engaging 300 million people in winter sport.
“Thanks to continuous efforts, this vision has become a reality. “Ice and snow are also as valuable as gold and silver.” The hosting of the games has also driven the growth of winter sport industries and the ice and snow economy in China. By hosting the Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008, the Youth Olympic Games Nanjing 2014 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, China has awakened the passion for the Olympic Movement in the Chinese people, boosted the development of sports in China, and played an important role in promoting the Olympic spirit around the globe. The notion of “Together” championed by the Olympic Movement is needed more than ever. Instead of riding separately in some 190 small boats, countries around the world should stay together in one giant vessel and sail toward a brighter future. That is why we put forth “Together for a Shared Future” as the official motto for the Beijing 2022 Games. China will make new and bigger contributions to the Olympic Movement and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind,” the statement read.
“I look forward to witnessing the important moment of the Games’ opening with you, President Bach,” Xi said.
On his part, Bach wished the Chinese people a happy Spring Festival and best luck in the Year of the Tiger in Chinese.
Bach commended the joint efforts by relevant Chinese authorities and the Chinese people which ensured excellent and smooth preparations for the Games, saying that he was impressed by the outstanding venues, thorough COVID-19 countermeasures and advanced concept of sustainability.
He also applauded China’s efficiency, determination and dynamism. Bach thanked China for the hospitality and thoughtful arrangements accorded to the IOC and athletes from around the world.
Bach expressed full confidence that the strong measures taken by China will ensure the delivery of a safe, smooth and successful Games, a great event that athletes from around the world have all come to Beijing to enjoy.
“China’s objective to involve more than 300 million people in winter sport has been realized. This is an unprecedented, great achievement and will become an important legacy of Beijing 2022 for the Chinese people and for the Olympic Movement. It will also start a new era for global winter sport. Some countries are sending athletes to the Olympic Winter Games for the first time, which fully demonstrates the extensive support of the international community for the Beijing 2022 Games, in contrast to the overwhelming international opposition to the politicization of sports. President Bach expressed his wish that the Year of the Tiger would be a year of courage and strength and a year of health and happiness for the Chinese people. He said that the Beijing 2022 Games would be the world’s best New Year gift to the Chinese people, and wished for a world of greater unity,” the statement further read.
Tesla fights back against JPMorgan over Musk tweet
Tesla submitted a filing in Manhattan federal court on Monday; accusing JPMorgan of “bad faith and avarice” for demanding $162.2 million; after the bank had unilaterally changed the terms of warrants it received when the electric carmaker sold convertible bonds back in 2014.
Warrants allow holders to purchase company stock at a set “strike” price and date.
“JPMorgan pressed its exorbitant demand as an act of retaliation against Tesla both for it having passed over; JPMorgan in major business deals and out of senior JPMorgan executives’ animus toward Mr. Musk,” Tesla said, adding that; by changing the terms the banking multinational “dealt itself a pure windfall” after receiving a “multibillion-dollar payout” from Tesla’s soaring share price.
Tesla’s countersuit escalates the conflict between the US’ biggest investment bank and the world’s most valuable automaker; which have hardly done any business with each other since the disputed contract.
ALSO READ: Musk issues ‘final warning’ to JPMorgan
The legal battle began last November, when JPMorgan took Tesla to court for “flagrantly” violating a stock warrants contract.
The bank alleged that the car manufacturer sold warrants to JPMorgan in 2014; which were to be paid off if their strike price, or guaranteed fixed price, was below Tesla’s share price upon the warrants’ expiration in June and July 2021.
JPMorgan claimed that the tweet shared by Tesla’s eccentric CEO Elon Musk on August 7, 2018; made the automaker’s share price more volatile.
Musk tweeted that he might take Tesla private and had “funding secured,” but backtracked his comments 17 days later.
Tesla’s share price had risen nearly ten-fold by the warrants’ expiration date.
Musk’s tweets led to a civil lawsuit by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The litigation resulted in Musk giving up Tesla’s chairmanship, and he and the company each being fined $20 million.
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