ASIA/MYANMAR – The religious stop the military: “Every life is precious. Do not kill” – Agenzia Fides

As Fides has learned, even in the city of Loikaw, capital of the Burmese state of Kayah, where the baptized are 90% of the state population, hundreds of young demonstrators marched today, 9 March, on their way to the Catholic Church of Christ the King. The police tried to stop the demonstrators with street blocks. At that point, the Catholic priest Father Celso Ba Shwe, who has administered the diocese since the bishop’s death, and a Protestant pastor, tried to avoid the clash.
They asked the security officers not to shoot the marching demonstrators. “We will convince them to go home. Give us some time. We do not want any more blood to be shed”, said Father Celso Ba Shwe while trying to prevent the violence. His heartfelt and courageous attempt at mediation had an effect: the military only used water cannons and firecrackers to disperse the crowd and there were no victims.
“Every life is precious. This is what we want to say today with our actions that are only inspired by faith”, Father Celso Ba Shwe told Fides. Source: ASIA/MYANMAR – The religious stop the military: “Every life is precious. Do not kill” – Agenzia Fides

Meet the Arab-Israeli, Palestinian women making an impact on society: Khaled Abu Toame – Nadia Issam Harhash

NADIA HARHASH, a Palestinian journalist and author from east Jerusalem, is known for her criticism of Palestinian Authority leaders and corruption. As a result, the mother of four has received numerous threats. Last year, an unidentified arsonist set her car on fire in front of her home in the Beit Hanina neighborhood.

“Palestinian women continue to face many challenges,” Harhash said. “Our entire life is one big challenge. However, I am here to live up to my expectations. I cannot do that without fulfilling my own aspirations. We are born to be free, to make life better. In my case, it is not taken for granted.

“Life is a daily struggle for women like me. After all, I am a mother, and it is not just about me; it is about this generation that is growing and deserves a better life, to live better.”

Harhash is determined to pursue her role as a writer with the hope of improving living conditions for women and all Palestinians.

Source: Meet the Arab-Israeli, Palestinian women making an impact on society: Khaled Abu Toame – Nadia Issam Harhash

Instagram’s algorithm pushes users towards COVID-19 misinformation, study finds

Instagram‘s algorithm is recommending COVID-19 and anti-vaccination misinformation to potentially millions of users, according to new research. The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) used test accounts to investigate the recommendations on Instagram’s Explore page and new Suggested Post feature. They found that the tools encourage users to view misinformation and then push those who engage with the posts towards other extremist content: If a user follows anti-vaxxers, they are fed QAnon conspiracism and antisemitic hate; if they engage with conspiracies, they are fed electoral and anti-vaxx misinformation. The researchers generated the recommendations by creating 15 Instagram profiles and following different lists of accounts, from health authorities to anti-vaxxers.  Source: Instagram’s algorithm pushes users towards COVID-19 misinformation, study finds

Mexico to Rely on Chinese-Made COVID-19 Vaccines

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said the Mexican government has signed agreements for 12 million doses of the yet-to-be-approved Sinopharm vaccine and “increased to a total of 20 million doses its contracts for the Coronavac dose made by China’s Sinovac,” according to the LA Times . However, Ebrard has continued to refuse to answer any question on the vaccine’s efficacy.

Sinopharm has said its vaccine is 79% effective based on interim data from clinical trials (which according to the LA Times, was kept a secret), but like other Chinese firms, it has not publicly released its late-stage clinical trial data. Experts in Hong Kong have assessed the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine at about 51%. That shot has already been approved for use in Mexico.

Source: Mexico to Rely on Chinese-Made COVID-19 Vaccines