India defends Internet blocking.
India on Friday defended itself against accusations of heavy-handed online censorship, saying it had been successful in blocking content blamed for fuelling ethnic tensions. The government over the past week has ordered Internet service providers to block 309 webpages, images and links on sites including Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, news channel ABC of Australia and Qatar-based Al-Jazeera.
The orders were an effort to halt the spread of “hateful” material and rumours that Muslims planned to attack students and workers who have migrated from the north-east region to live in Bangalore and other southern cities. “We have met with success. These pages were a threat to India’s national security and we demanded their immediate deletion,” Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia, a spokesman for India’s home ministry, told AFP.
“Spreading rumours to encourage violence or cause tension will not be tolerated. The idea is not to restrict communication.” The government has blamed Internet activity for fanning fears that resulted in tens of thousands of migrants fleeing back to the north-east last week from Bangalore and elsewhere.
But Twitter users, legal experts and analysts criticised the government’s approach, which appeared to have resulted in only partial blocking of material, much of which was still accessible. “The officials who are trusted with this don’t know the law or modern technology well enough,” Pranesh Prakash, programme manager at the Centre for Internet and Society research group, told AFP.
“I hope that this fiasco shows the folly of excessive censorship and encourages the government to make better use of social networks and technology to reach out to people.” Among the blocked content were photographs by AFP and other news agencies from Myanmar in the British Daily Telegraph, a parody Twitter account pretending to be from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and dozens of YouTube videos.
Katy Perry and John Mayer ‘dating’.
Katy Perry and John Mayers were spotted on what looked very much like a date on Thursday night.
The pair had dinner at Pace restaurant in Los Angeles before moving onto favourite celebrity haunt the Chateau Marmont Hotel.
They were first spotted together at Soho House on July 19th where eagle-eyed sources reported that they were “affectionate and cuddling”.
On Thursday, the ‘Hot ‘n’ Cold’ hitmaker met up with the long-haired love machine just hours after landing from Brazil where she’s been promoting her autobiographical film, ‘Part of Me 3D’.
“I’m a woman that who likes to be courted. Strongly. Never say never, I guess you’d say. I’ll let love take the lead on that,” the Mirror quoted her as telling the September issue of US Ele magazine. (ANI)
Breaking news: Branson girls volleyball team wins third consecutive state title
With the favorites’ label firmly attached, the Branson School girls volleyball team knew there were expectations on them to succeed Saturday in the Division V state championship match at Concordia University.
Despite the pressure, the unflappable Bulls delivered.
With KathleenWallace claiming MVP honors for the second consecutive year after recording 27 kills – including six in an 8-0 run by the Bulls to close out the match – Branson beat Tri-City Christian of Vista to claim its third consecutive state championship, this one by a 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 score.
So, coach Michelle Brazil, how do you celebrate such a feat?
“We’re going to Disneyland, we actually are,” the Branson coach said. “I kind of lied for a minute and said, oh , only if we win we’re going to Disneyland. But I felt bad so I let it go.”
Even if Brazil had been serious about her plan to only award her team a trip with a win, Branson was never really in jeopardy of losing its chance to head to Anaheim.
The Bulls (40-1) jumped to a 10-2 lead in Game 1 and had an early 11-3 lead in Game 2. Tri-City Christian finally got some momentum in Game 3, but it was too little and too late.
“I think we were a little nervy,” Tri-City Christian coach Kristen Wright said. “They were a fast team and we started to adjust in Game 3. We had an idea of what was coming at us, but we were a little slow to start. I think we adjusted. They’re a very good, team, though.”
Though the Eagles (27-14) did take
their first lead of the match and still held a 21-17 edge as Game 3 neared its end, Branson was undaunted. Having a weapon like Wallace for the closing run was more than Tri-City Christian could handle.
“I think we got a little tentative when Wallace got I the front row,” Wright said. “She played out of her mind. Good for her. She’s one of the best (that we faced this season). Definitely I mean, 27 kills in three games is pretty incredible.”
Wallace’s effort “was pretty awesome,” Brazil agreed.
But Wallace said her heroics were a byproduct of teamwork.
“At that moment, I just felt this was the time to get it done,” said Wallace, who plans to play at Harvard next year. “But I couldn’t really do it without my teammates. I feel like sometimes they support me more than I support them. At that moment, I wanted it for the team. I wanted it for all the hard work we put in this year. This was our senior year I really wanted it for us.” Teammate Lauren Alper said Wallace’s humble outlook was something that made her such a special player.
“She’s obviously an amazing player and MVP twice in a row, but I don’t think anyone understands how humble and how good of a teammate that she is,” Alper said. “That she can be that ‘rock star,’ that awesome, and then be such a good teammate, so kind and so supportive It’s really cool that she can help us end the game and be that great of a teammate.”
Brazil acknowledged her confidence in Wallace, but added that she also believes in the rest of her teammates.
“The truth is I’m confident in every single person on this team,” said Brazil, whose teams now own 75 percent of the state titles won by Marin teams (Marin Academy in 2004 is the only other state champ from the county).
“Regardless of who was in the front row, who was serving, who was in the back row, I know they’re all capable of doing what we need to do to win.”
That team feeling is one that leaves a lasting feeling, the players said.
Setter Meghan Wentzel, who will play at Bucknell University next year, said Branson’s three-year run will be tough to top.
“Going off to play college volleyball is going to be very exciting,” Wentzel said. “But I’m never going to have a team this great. This is like family.”