‘I’d receive 200 messages threatening rape every day’: Online abuse of women laid bare in new report

From tweets threatening violence to emails detailing graphic descriptions of rape, a new survey has revealed that one in five women has experienced online harassment. Amnesty International UK says it is causing psychological distress for thousands of women.

An Amnesty poll asked 504 women aged 18 to 55 in the UK about their experiences of online abuse to “investigate this emerging violation of … human rights.” It found that one in five women said they had experienced abuse or harassment through social media.

Young women aged between 18 and 24 are particularly affected, Amnesty says, with more than one in three (37 percent) saying that they had experienced online abuse. One-third (36 percent) felt their physical safety had been threatened, while more than half (55 percent) suffered stress, anxiety or panic attacks as a result of the abuse.

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© Rolf Kremming / Global Look Press

Barbara Ntumy, race campaigner and executive of pro-choice charity Abortion Rights, says she has received numerous messages harassing her online. She added that she has also been abused on live TV for saying Britain should open its borders to refugees. Former British National Party (BNP) member Jack Buckby told her: “Take in a Syrian refugee. I hope you don’t get raped.”

“[The interaction with Jack Bucky on Channel 4 in February] proceeded with several tweets for several weeks implying I was too ugly as a black woman to be raped,” Ntumy told RT. She added that as a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, “that too has come with lots of online abuses along racist and sexist lines.”

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, said when she started the project – before it had become particularly high profile – she was receiving around 200 abusive messages a day. She said those messages would include detailed, graphic and explicit descriptions of rape and domestic violence. She added that in some cases, they would post as her online and post very explicit, sexual stories.

“I found it difficult not to be scared about my safety initially. When people started talking about how they would track me down using the IP address of Everyday Sexism Project, my partner and I actually moved out of our flat for a short time. I also received a number of [threatening] messages about snipers and found it difficult to walk around the city with tall buildings without looking over my shoulder,” Bates told Amnesty.

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© Jamie McCarthy

She added that young women and teenage girls are experiencing online harassment as a normal part of their existence online. “Girls who dare to express opinions about politics or current events often experience a very swift, misogynistic backlash. This might be rape threats or comments telling them to get back in the kitchen. It’s an invisible issue right now, but it might be having a major impact on the future political participation of those girls and young women.”

Seyi Akiwowo, a London councillor and founder of Glitch UK, which aims to end online violence against women, has also spoken out about abuse she has received. After a video of her speaking on the refugee crisis at the European Parliament went viral earlier this year, she was “caught up in a storm of abusive comments and mob-style harassment.”

She told Amnesty researchers: “I was called several variations of the N word, N*gger, Negros, N*ggeress. They told me to ‘f*ck off back to Africa and die there you useless parasite’ and … ‘Lol kill yourself.’ They also asked me: ‘Which STD will end your miserable life? And ‘what a giant gas chamber! When will it be commissioned?’

“They hoped for: ‘the nest Ebola outbreak,’ that I ‘get lynched you stupid nog,’ and that ‘if all whites agreed that the best course of action would be to exterminate blacks, we could do it in a week.’ Throughout this experience I learned a new word – ‘misogynoir.’ It is racialized misogyny that many black women face. This word perfectly captured by horrible experience.”

Amnesty has said that online abuse against women is not just an experience of gender. Women of color, religious or ethnic-minority women, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex women, women with disabilities or non-binary individuals who do not conform to traditional gender norms of male and female will also experience online abuse.

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Witch hunters target 6yo ‘sorceress’ 4 years after her mother was burned alive

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has called on tribes to end ritualistic torture, after a six-year-old child was attacked with knives on the suspicion she brought a hex on her community.

O’Neill said violent abuse, largely perpetrated by men, against women and girls accused of sorcery must stop. His call comes after the Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation, a charity to help indigenous peoples, revealed the rescue of a young girl from a village in Enga province last week.

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Murali Muthyalu © torontopolice.on.ca

The girl had been accused of ‘sanguma,’ a fabled practice of witchcraft. According to the charity, the girl received burns and slash wounds from heated knives.

“Let’s be clear, sanguma beliefs are absolute rubbish,” said Prime Minister O’Neill. “In the modern day sanguma is not a real cultural practice, it is false belief and involves the violent abuse and torture of women and girls by pathetic and perverted individuals.”

He described those associated with ritualistic murder and torture as “cowards”.“These violent acts are against our values as a nation and are completely unacceptable,” he said, thanking the “brave people” who rescued the child.  

“The nation needs more of these unsung heroes who do the right thing, even when it means standing up against people in their own communities,” O’Neill added. “At the same time, any community leaders who allow this abuse to continue are just as bad as the men who carry out the crimes.”

The victim, nicknamed Justice, is now recovering well from her injuries, according to an updated statement from the foundation.

READ MORE: UK explorer ‘didn’t need rescuing’… despite going missing in Papua New Guinea jungle with malaria

“After Justice heals she will be taken to a safe place where she will receive loving care and ongoing counseling for the trauma she experienced. She will not be returned to the village where she was tortured,” it read.

Justice has been targeted by witch hunters before and her mother was reportedly burned alive on Mount Hagen in 2013. On Friday, the governor of Enga province appealed for locals to stamp out sorcery accusations, which he said have resulted in attacks on at least 20 women in the space of one month.

“I condemn this violence and these false accusations. The accusations must stop now. The torturing and murdering must stop now. Enough is enough,” governor Peter Ipatas said.

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FIFA announce star-studded World Cup final draw for Kremlin ceremony

FIFA have announced the full line-up of assistants for the 2018 World Cup Russia Final Draw ceremony, which sees some of world football’s most adored icons take the stage at the State Kremlin Palace, Moscow, on December 1.

Laurent Blanc, Gordon Banks, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan, Diego Maradona and Carles Puyol comprise the star-studded helpers at the event, representing World Cup winning nations. They will join Nikita Simonyan, the Soviet footballing legend who was earlier announced as the representative of host nation Russia.

The eight will decide the fate of the 32 participating teams in next year’s football showpiece, which is the first to be held in Russia, and will share the stage with presenters Gary Lineker, the former England international, and Russian TV journalist Maria Komandnaya.

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© komandnaya

Just seven months remain until the tournament, which will be held from June 14 to July 15 at 12 host venues across 11 host cities. The draw is the final major FIFA event before the tournament kicks off.

Argentine great Maradona will be reunited with a familiar foe in Lineker. The two former Barcelona stars played against each other in a quarter-final match between their respective nations at the Mexico ‘86 tournament, now most famous for the ‘Hand of God,’ which saw Maradona brazenly punch the ball over ‘keeper Peter Shilton to open the scoring.

That match ended 2-1 to Argentina, courtesy of a further Maradona goal, this time a wondrous solo effort beginning inside his own half. Lineker netted a late consolation for the ‘Three Lions.’ Maradona went on to lead ‘La Albiceleste’ to World Cup glory in Mexico, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final, and Lineker claimed the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer.

Only Simonyan and Uruguay’s Diego Forlan are the only draw assistants not to have won the tournament. Forlan was instrumental in Uruguay’s run to the 2014 semi-finals, which earned him the Golden Ball trophy as the best player in Brazil. Spartak Moscow great Simonyan, 91, had his finest hour with the national side at the 1958 Olympic Games, where the Soviet team won gold.

Brazil legend Cafu, who captained his side to World Cup 2002 success in Japan and South Korea, will reprise his assistant role of four years ago before the World Cup in his home country.

“The Final Draw is a moment when the whole planet joins in enthusiasm and expectation, so it makes me happy to be a part of that once again,” said the former full-back, who appeared in three finals – a joint record he shares with compatriot Pele.

“I was fortunate enough to come to Russia several times over the course of this World Cup cycle and I am quite certain that the country will deliver yet another fantastic event in Moscow.”

Carles Puyol, Spain’s victorious captain in 2010, wrote on social media: “I’ve been part of many great teams throughout my career, but this one is simply from another world. It’s an honour to share the stage with these FIFA Legends and be there to help decide the groups for the Russia 2018.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “It is a great line-up and I am delighted to have FIFA legends from all of the former World Cup winning countries represented in the Final Draw show.”

Infantino was one to heap praise on Russia for their hosting of the 2017 Confederations Cup last summer, which is a dress rehearsal tournament for the World Cup.

READ MORE: ‘We heard about hooligans & racism, but no incidents, all ran smoothly’ – FIFA chief Infantino

“[Before the tournament], we heard about a lot of problems: that no one would care, that the teams don’t want to come, they don’t want to play. We heard about violence, hooligans, incidents, racism – we had nothing, we had no incidents, everything ran smoothly,” he said at a press conference after the Confed Cup final.

“If this is what a problematic tournament looks like, then I hope there are many problematic tournaments, because it went very well. We can expect same warm welcome next year. This is what it is about – enjoying football,” he added.

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Guns to plowshares: Kalashnikov targets Russia's grain shipping market

The Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern wants to master a new market niche. Kalashnikov is planning to start a cargo transportation company to ship grain, according to company sources, as quoted by Russian business daily Kommersant.

The renowned gun maker will reportedly invest up to 10 billion rubles ($ 16.8 million) to build eight dry-cargo carriers with a cargo tonnage of seven thousand tons each. The freighters will ship grain products through the Volga – Caspian Canal, Azov and Black Seas and the Mediterranean basin. The shipments are expected to start by 2022.

The cargo ships would be built at the Brothers Nobel Shipyard, owned by Kalashnikov. The concern is planning to develop a new Volga-Don ship operator in cooperation with the agricultural firm Agro-Delta, based in the Russian southwest city of Volgograd. The company plans to transport up to 900,000 tons of grain annually.

“The project will help agricultural businesses in Central and Volga federal districts to significantly boost export turnover, as well as to keep down transport costs for long-term contracts,” said Kalashnikov chief executive Aleksey Krivoruchko, as quoted by the media.

He stressed that Kalashnikov’s shipbuilding group “had considerable experience in manufacturing marine and river craft.”

Due to the high freight costs and an appreciable shortage of ‘river-sea’ cargos, some agricultural businesses have to face severe difficulties in selling grain, according to Sergey Egorov, who will reportedly head the new ship operator.

“The project will help to provide wall-to-wall production, including shipping and selling in domestic and international markets,” he said.

The Kalashnikov Concern is Russia’s largest producer of military automatic and sniper weapons and guided artillery shells, as well as a wide range of civilian products including hunting and sporting rifles, machinery and tools. The group was created in 2013 with the merger of two gun makers, Izhmash and Izhevsk Mechanical Plant.

The company exports products to 27 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, and Italy. Its iconic assault rifle, the AK-47, designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1947, is one of the most popular and mass-produced firearms in the world.

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Outsourcing the problem: UK to pay France millions to block new wave of Calais migrants

Britain will give France extra cash to bolster the UK border at Calais after a surge in attempted illegal crossings. Migrants and refugees spend their days huddled under bridges around the French port, hoping to smuggle themselves into the UK.

Sources in France told The Times that ministers are looking to spend £80 million ($ 106 million) on a renewed security contract for the Eurotunnel terminals at Calais, Dunkirk and Coquelles. Britain has already paid a reported £124 million ($ 164 million) to boost security on the other side of the channel since 2015, as the migration crisis across Europe exploded.

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A child plays in the dirt in Dunkirk, near Calais © Zoie O'Brien

Evidence has emerged of a rise in the number of smuggling attempts in recent weeks as winter weather conditions worsen. Over the last few months, there has been a steady increase in the number of arrivals to France, as migrants wait to be smuggled over the border.

While some pay crime rings to help them across the border, the majority – mostly teenage boys – wait for the opportunity to sneak inside goods vehicles bound for the UK.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd and her French counterpart, Gerard Collomb, met last week to discuss the issues of terrorism, illegal migration and border security. In a joint statement, the pair hinted at the cash boost.

“The ministers discussed the situation in northern France and the challenges linked to illegal migration,” it said.

“The ministers acknowledged the importance of UK support in reinforcing the security arrangements in coastal cities of northern France and the need for continued efforts to manage jointly the shared border between the UK and France.”

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FILE PHOTO: Migrants stand in line to receive free food outside a derelict customs warehouse in Belgrade © Marko Djurica

With as many as 100 new arrivals every week, and fresh determination among migrants to reach the UK as weather worsens, the number of crossing attempts is rising. The situation is extremely dangerous. Young men and women have been killed after being struck by trucks on Calais roads.

The move to bolster border security comes as French police are once again accused of brutality and attacks on the migrant communities. Every day Syrians, Afghans and Iraqi migrants say they have their tents destroyed and are frequently threatened, hit and set upon by dogs.

Many have been given temporary status in Italy or Greece but are unable to find work and cannot afford a decent living, so they are attempting to reach Britain, where many speak the language and have already have family based there.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We work closely with the French authorities at all levels to reduce migrant pressures and target criminal gangs involved in people trafficking, both in northern France and farther afield in source and transit countries.”

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Pro-ISIS propaganda poster depicts ‘beheaded’ Pope Francis

A pro-Islamic State media group has threatened Christians and published a menacing poster depicting a masked jihadist with a “beheaded” Pope Francis. Last week, jihadist supporters allegedly vowed to launch a Christmas terrorist attack on the Vatican.

The poster was revealed on Friday by the SITE Intelligence Group, a Maryland-based company that tracks the online activity of extremists. The image released by an unidentified pro-Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) media group shows a masked figure, apparently a jihadist, standing with a knife in front of damaged buildings, mostly skyscrapers. 

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St Peter's Square with St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City © Global Look Press

The extremist is seen standing over the body of a prisoner in orange jumpsuit, with an image of the Pope’s head superimposed on it.

“It’s not surprising to see threats like this against Pope Francis and Christianity, especially during the holiday season. ISIS and its supporters know how to play the media game, and often time the releases of their threats to get the highest amount of attention as possible,” SITE Intelligence Group Director Rita Katz told Newsweek on Monday. 

Earlier in November, a pro-IS group known as Wafa Media Foundation allegedly vowed to launch a Christmas terrorist attack on the Vatican. 

Another pro-ISIS group on Telegram recently released a poster showing a Santa Claus hat and beard, threatening lone-wolf attacks during Christmas and New Year.  

In 2016, Anis Amri, an IS supporter, rammed his truck into the Christmas market in Berlin, leaving 12 people dead and dozens injured. The perpetrator, who turned out to be a rejected asylum seeker from Tunisia, was killed days later in a shootout with police near Milan, Italy.

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China’s Tencent overtakes Facebook to become world's biggest social network

Chinese tech giant Tencent’s mega-rally has turned it into the world’s fifth-largest company and the first Asian firm to enter the half trillion dollar club.

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© Siphiwe Sibeko

The Hong Kong-listed internet giant, known for its WeChat messaging app and online games, has seen its stock price soar nearly 120 percent this year. It has reported better-than-expected third-quarter net income up 69 percent on the year.

With a market cap of $ 523 billion, Tencent surpassed Facebook ($ 522 billion) on Tuesday, joining the ranks of the world’s five largest corporations that include Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Amazon. It is also bigger than its Chinese rivals: e-commerce giant Alibaba ($ 474.15 billion), and web services company Baidu ($ 82.97 billion).

One of Tencent’s key products, WeChat, was the main revenue contributor in the third quarter. China’s most popular messaging service has expanded to an all-in-one platform with almost one billion users. It could be the “killer product” to spearhead expansion abroad, according to Tencent senior vice president S.Y. Lau.

The 19-year old company’s other businesses include Spotify equivalent Tencent Music and YouTube equivalent Tencent Video.

Overseas acquisitions will remain a key way of enhancing Tencent’s global access and competitiveness, S.Y. Lau told Reuters. Tencent has made a “breakthrough” in gaining an e-payment license in Malaysia for local transactions, and plans to start early next year, he added.

“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm toward internet products from China,” said Lau.

Tencent president Martin Lau said the company would keep investing in digital content, especially online video, to draw more time from more paying customers.

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Kadyrov finds way to free Russia of ‘Stalin’s spirit’

The head of the Chechen Republic has proposed handing Joseph Stalin’s remains over to Georgia, suggesting that the move would bring relief to Russians as the spirit of the late Soviet dictator would leave the country.

As for Stalin’s remains, we should express our goodwill and hand them over to Georgia so that he can be buried in his home country. Georgia was a part of the Soviet Union that Stalin headed, and it would be logical and just if Georgia gets an opportunity to bury him. And millions of Russian residents would breathe freely knowing that Stalin’s spirit has left Russia,” Ramzan Kadyrov said in an interview with Interfax.

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© Said Tsarnaev

The Chechen leader also reiterated his position that Vladimir Lenin’s body should be taken out of its Red Square Mausoleum and buried. He added that this is just his personal opinion and he was not seeking to insult anyone’s feelings.

In the same interview, Kadyrov noted that he would consider it fair if Russian authorities decided to honor the memory of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev by installing a monument or by giving his name to some site of national importance.

It is possible that Khrushchev has had some negative pages in his biography – I have never got any interest in this. Some people told me that his memory should not be honored in Chechnya … I strongly disagree with this. He has made a tremendous contribution to the restoration of justice in regard of the Chechen and Ingush peoples,” he said.

I personally am confident that Russia must remember Khrushchev’s name and in some form on the federal level it must make a decision to erect a monument to him or to give his name to some site that is of national importance,” Kadyrov told reporters.

Over 500,000 ethnic Chechens and Ingush were forcefully resettled from their native lands in the Caucasus Mountains to the Soviet republics of Central Asia in 1944. In 1957, the order of resettlement was canceled by Khrushchev as part of the general reversal of Stalin’s harsh policies, known as the ‘Khrushchev Thaw’. By 1961, most of the resettled people had returned to the Caucasus.

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Students study Mein Kampf in 'unsafe space' as 'antidote to poison of political correctness'

A school notorious for inviting alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos to speak has introduced a controversial new program called ‘unsafe space,’ where students will study Mein Kampf and learn that not all cultures, genders, and sexual orientations are equal.

Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury, where Yiannopoulos was once a student, is causing another stir after creating the ‘unsafe space’ forum for sixth-form students. The program is described as the “antidote to the poison of political correctness” and will examine “the most beautifully disturbed and disturbing ideas, all of them presented without trigger warnings.”

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 David Irving (L) and Milo Yainnopoulis © Reuters / wikipedia.org

Simon Langton is an all-boys school until sixth form, when it becomes co-ed. Multiple female students have complained to the Guardian about the ‘unsafe space’ course.

One girl told the paper that Professor James Soderholm, the director of humanities and teacher in charge of the controversial program, had previously made jokes about the LGBT community by adding extra letters and numbers to the acronym in mockery.

It is understood that Soderholm told pupils that the first session of the course would look at a memo sent out by axed Google employee James Damore. In the memo, Damore claimed that female engineers are inferior and less skilled compared to their male peers.

Sarah Cundy, 18, said the teacher told students the forum would highlight the pros and cons of Damore’s argument.

“To hear a teacher say there are any pros at all in the argument did make me feel pretty uncomfortable,” she said. “I think female and minority students are going to face more issues. I think there will be a rise in sexism, which I would say is already an issue at the school – especially with it being an all-boys school except sixth form.”

Another student echoed Cundy’s concerns. Connie Kissock, also 18, said she was “worried” by “teachers promoting anti-feminist ideas.” Kissock also said while she “definitely support[s] discussing a broad range of ideas in academic environments” she thinks that the invited speakers and lectures organized by Soderholm have “become an attack on what they see as leftist bias. We’ve had a speaker on women’s anti-feminism, we’re going to have one on why all cultures aren’t equal, implying that non-Western cultures are inferior.”

Headteacher Matthew Baxter said the Kent school “encourages free speech,” defending the course on the grounds that it was designed to help students prepare for university, where pupils will discuss ideas outside of the conventional curriculum.

“These are topics which sixth form students routinely discuss in their own time and ones which they should be able to discuss with adults in a school which encourages ‘free speech’ in all the highest academic traditions of such a phrase,” Baxter said. “This does not mean that inappropriate language is permitted – as this is checked and modelled when students are much younger.”

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© Dado Ruvic

In 2016, the school cancelled their lecture with Yiannopoulos after significant backlash from the public. The school was also contacted by the Department of Education’s (DfE) counter-terrorism unit in relation to the talk. The school said the talk had been cancelled due to safety concerns.

“The decision was taken following contact from the DfE counter-extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public, and our overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community,” a school spokesman told the Press Association in 2016.

“We note that, within 24 hours of advertising the event, 220 Langton sixth-formers had, with parental consent, signed up for the event and that objection to our hosting Mr Yiannopoulos came almost entirely from people with no direct connection to the Langton. The staff and students of the school were overwhelmingly in favor.

“While disappointed that both the pastoral care and intellectual preparation we offer to our students has been called into question, we at the Langton remain committed to the principle of free speech and open debate and will resist, where possible, all forms of censorship.”

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Skid row! Cars slide down slippery slope, slamming into others after heavy snowfall (VIDEO)

Heavy snowfall in Russia’s Far East had car owners showing some extreme driving while negotiating a slippery slope in Vladivostok – but none of them succeeded. Multiple cars skidded downhill and rammed into each other, all caught on camera.

A narrow one-way road down a hill has become a nightmare for drivers. Stunning footage released by RT’s Ruptly video news agency shows some drivers tried to simply slide down the road, but failed and ended up slamming into parked cars. Slow driving didn’t help much either, as others simply smashed into moving traffic.

More than 250 car accidents were reported earlier last week on the icy up-and-down roads of Vladivostok during the 24 hours after the first massive snowfall of the season. The city was almost brought to a standstill, with many commuters spending hours trying to get home.

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