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China and Russia urge independent probe into Canada’s treatment of indigenous people as anger over mass-grave discovery rages

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Amidst unabating public anger in Canada over the discovery last month of a mass grave of indigenous children, a coalition of countries, including China and Russia, has called for a “thorough and impartial” probe into the tragedy.

The remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found in May by the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation in the province of British Columbia at the site of what was once the largest residential school for the forced assimilation of indigenous children.

An estimated 150,000 children were forcibly boarded in, and many were subjected to abuse at, the infamous government and church-run school system – which was operational from the 1830s to as recently as the 1990s – in what Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission termed in 2015 as a “cultural genocide.”

In a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Jiang Duan, a senior official at China’s mission to the UN, urged for a “thorough and impartial investigation into all cases where crimes were committed against the indigenous people, especially children, so as to bring those responsible to justice, and offer full remedy to victims.”

The statement, which was supported by Russia, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela, comes at a time when Canada has seen outrage boil over regarding the abuses and the prolonged absence of transparency and accountability on the part of either the government or the church.

Despite its closure in 1978, the deaths of the 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School had reportedly been undocumented until the discovery. Nor were they included in the rough death-tally of over 4,100 children who died while attending residential schools across the country.

In response to the “heartbreaking” discovery, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had tweeted that it was “a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history.”

On Monday, as the country marked its annual National Indigenous Day, Trudeau reiterated that the mass grave serves as a “stark reminder of the systemic oppression, inequalities, and discrimination that Indigenous peoples have endured over the past years, decades, and centuries, and the injustices and challenges they continue to face today.”

However, over the past month, indigenous protesters and rights groups have called for an apology and acknowledgement of guilt from both Ottawa and the Catholic Church, denominations of which ran the majority of the residential schools.

For instance, the Kamloops school was operated for the most part under a Catholic order called the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, founded in 1816.

On occasion, the expressions of anger towards the church and figures of colonial authority have been dramatic. Earlier this month, a statue of Egerton Ryerson – considered one of the primary architects of the controversial school system – was toppled and beheaded by demonstrators following a rally at the university that bears his name in Toronto.

Across Canada, there have been reports of Catholic Churches and statues being defaced with graffiti – the links of which to indigenous protests continues to be a matter of speculation in the national media.

In the city of Vancouver, a church and memorial of Queen Victoria were splattered with painted signs that read “killers” and “release the records” – ostensibly in reference to a long-standing demand by indigenous groups for the church to publish archival material about the school system.

The most recent of these incidents occurred on Monday night as two Catholic churches on indigenous community land in British Columbia were burned down in suspected cases of arson. The churches were located less than 100 kilometers from the site of the Kamloops school.

While he would not speculate on the cause of the fires, Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band told the Canadian Press, “There’s a lot of anger, a lot of hurt in every First Nations, Indigenous community throughout Canada.”

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Tokyo governor taking a week off, suffering from ‘excess fatigue’ as Olympics loom and Covid-19 lingers

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The Tokyo government has announced that its governor will be taking a break due to “excess fatigue” with the Olympics just one month away and the metropolis battling persistent Covid as vaccinations remain low.

“A deputy governor will serve official duties on her behalf this week as Governor Koike needs a rest due to excess fatigue,” a metropolitan government spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday.

The announcement of Koike’s break comes as the Japanese capital is due to host the delayed Olympic Games in just one month while the city fights Covid-19.

Last week, amid concerns that the games would lead to a further increase in infections, the government elected to cancel all public viewing events in Tokyo for its upcoming Olympics.

A poll published in May highlighted opposition to the event, with over 80% of the Japanese public saying they are against hosting the postponed Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics.

On Tuesday, Japan reported 435 new cases of Covid-19, substantially below the average in most other developed nations. Healthcare services have struggled under the pressure despite having one of the world’s highest numbers of hospital beds per capita.

Government data suggests that only 4.18% of Japan’s citizens have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In May, the head of a Japanese doctors union warned that the presence of people from all around the world in Tokyo for the games could lead to the emergence of an “Olympic” coronavirus strain.

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YouTube secures victory in copyright challenge at EU’s top court over publishing of unauthorized content

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The EU Court of Justice handed a win to Google’s YouTube on Tuesday in a case over the publishing of unauthorized content on its platform. But it warned that sites could be liable if they do not act swiftly to remove such content.

The court case was the latest challenge against the tech company over the publishing of copyrighted material on its platform and the level of culpability YouTube has when its users share unauthorized content.

“As currently stands, operators of online platforms do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms,” the EU Court of Justice said in its ruling.

While the court did not hold the company responsible for unauthorized content being uploaded, it did warn that tech companies like YouTube could be held liable if they do not act quickly to remove or block such material when it’s flagged by the copyright holders.

The EU judges called on the company and similar platforms to ensure that they put relevant tools in place to tackle or prevent copyright breaches committed by users.

YouTube “is a leader in copyright and supports rights holders being paid their fair share,” a Google representative said in response to the ruling. “We’ve invested in state of the art copyright tools which have created an entirely new revenue stream for the industry.”

The case had been sparked by a lawsuit filed by a music producer, Frank Peterson, who was suing YouTube after several users uploaded phonograms that he is the copyright holder of. After a separate court case was launched in a German court against file-hosting platform Cyando over similar concerns, Berlin sought advice from the EU Court of Justice, leading to the ruling on Tuesday.

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Content-sharing platform Disclose.tv accuses Google and Apple of temporarily ‘censoring’ content on its Telegram group chat

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Disclose.tv, a Reddit-like service for people who seek “true insight into what is actually happening in the world” has accused Google and Apple of censoring its group chat on Telegram messenger.

The service blamed “Big Tech oligarchs at Google and Apple” for the apparent glitch in the display of its Telegram chat on devices running Android and iOS operating systems. On Android, all comments were replaced with a notice stating that they “cannot be displayed on Telegram apps downloaded from the Google Play Store.” The iOS version of the messenger simply refused to display the channel.

The web version of Telegram could still access the Disclose.tv channel as normal. The Android variant installed directly rather than through Google’s App Store worked fine as well, the platform said. About an hour after the warning was posted, the display of comments went back to normal.

It was not immediately clear whether the malfunction was indeed an act of censorship by the US tech giants, as claimed by Disclose.tv, or some bug in Telegram code. If the former is true, it would apparently mean that the owners of the stores have the power to selectively suspend content on apps that they distribute to users.

Unlike Google, Apple does not allow users to install apps it has not approved, so the ramifications of the censorship scenario are more profound for iPhone owners.

Disclose.tv is a German-based content sharing platform that has been operational since 2007. It caters for an audience that wants “to gain true insight into what is actually happening as the world becomes increasingly complex,” according to its own description. Its Telegram channel has more than 270,000 subscribers.

Some of the posts on the platform include an observation that four ‘progress pride’ flags with a triangle lapel can form a swastika if placed in a certain way, and a suggestion that the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games foreshadowed the Covid-19 pandemic. With Silicon Valley obsessed with rooting out what they consider misinformation, one can see how Disclose.tv could fall foul with Google and Apple.

After the chat was fixed, the platform called for “breaking up Big Tech.”

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