Elon Musk has announced a general amnesty for suspended Twitter accounts in a move that brought a warning that “superspreaders of hate” will return to the social media platform.
Twitter’s new owner said an amnesty for blocked users would begin next week after a majority of votes in a poll on his account backed the move. Accounts suspended on Twitter include Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, the rightwing UK commentator Katie Hopkins and David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.
Musk launched a poll on Wednesday asking if a general amnesty should be offered to accounts provided they have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam”. Musk did not specify which laws he meant. More than 3.1m votes were recorded by the poll, with 72% in favour of an amnesty.
‘The people have spoken’. Announcing the result, Musk tweeted: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people [is] the voice of God.” It came days after he reinstated Donald Trump’s account as well as the accounts of Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate, and unlocked Kanye West’s.
Joe Biden renews call for assault weapons ban after latest mass shootings
Joe Biden has reiterated his calls to ban assault weapons after mass shootings at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday and a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, on Tuesday left 11 people dead.
While visiting a firehouse on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, to thank first responders on Thanksgiving, Biden told reporters he would attempt to pass some form of gun control before a new Congress is seated in January, possibly renewing his attempt to ban assault weapons.
“The idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value, zero, none. Not a single solitary rationale for it except profits for gun manufacturers,” Biden said. “I’m going to try. I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons.”
More than 600 mass shootings so far this year across the US. That’s according according to the Gun Violence Archive, using the definition of four or more shot or killed, not including the shooter.
Iranian security forces arrested one of the country’s most famous footballers on Thursday, accusing him of spreading propaganda against the Islamic republic and seeking to undermine the national World Cup team.
Voria Ghafouri, a former member of the national football team and once a captain of the Tehran club Esteghlal, has been outspoken in his defence of Iranian Kurds, telling the government on social media to stop killing Kurdish people. He has previously been detained for criticising the former Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.
The Iranian team has already been warned of reprisals after refusing to sing the national anthem before their game against England four days ago, and Ghafouri’s arrest is likely to be seen as a warning to the players not to repeat their protests.
Iran’s players sang their national anthem before Friday’s World Cup game against Wales. There was again heavy booing and whistling of the anthem by Iran supporters inside the stadium in Qatar and some fans could be seen crying.
Arrested after football training. Ghafouri was detained after a training session with his club, Foolad Khuzestan, on charges of having “tarnished the reputation of the national team and spread propaganda against the state”, the Fars news agency said.
In other news …
France has moved a step closer to becoming the first country in the world to enshrine abortion as a constitutional right, after lawmakers approved a resolution in the lower house to guarantee access to “the right to voluntarily end a pregnancy”.
An Algerian court has sentenced 49 people to death for the brutal mob killing of a painter who was suspected of starting devastating wildfires – but had actually come to help fight them, according to lawyers and state news.
A small island school in New Zealand recently ran a competition encouraging children to catch and kill hundreds of rats in an effort to preserve the island’s birdlife. Forty students caught more than 600 rats over the 100-day challenge.
Deliberate starvation tactics used by South Sudan government forces and allied militia, and by opposition forces, are driving civilians out of their homes, exacerbating Africa’s largest refugee crisis, according to a report.
World Cup: US to face England later today
After four games on Thursday – including a convincing win for five-time champions Brazil – all 32 teams at this year’s tournament have now played. They’ve only played one game each but, based on that limited evidence, Spain, France, England and Brazil look like the teams to beat. But there are plenty of examples of teams getting off to good starts before coming horribly unstuck in the knockout rounds.
Despite plenty of negative attention over off-field issues in Qatar, Fifa reported that TV viewing figures for this year’s opening game were up on the same fixture at the 2018 World Cup. One note of caution: Russia 2018 started on a Thursday, while Qatar 2022’s first game was on a Sunday (for most parts of the world) when fewer people were at work.
Elsewhere at the World Cup:
No doubt about the biggest match of the day on Friday: the US take on England. The US actually have a pretty good record against England at the World Cup: they drew with the Three Lions in 2010 and beat them in 1950, in one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history. Today’s match kicks off at 2pm ET and you can follow it with our liveblog here.
The hosts try to get their first points – and goals – of the World Cup after a convincing defeat to Ecuador in their opener. They have invested millions in player development since winning the right to host the tournament but they struggled badly against Ecuador. Senegal, one of the best teams in Africa, will be an equally stern test when the teams kick off at 8am ET.
Colorblind fans suffered through Switzerland and Cameroon’s match on Thursday. Both teams wore their home jerseys, red and green respectively, even though Fifa dictates such clashes should be avoided. Research by Colour Blind Awareness showed that 6% of elite male players are colourblind, meaning there’s a good chance one of the players on the pitch may have been at a disadvantage.
Stat of the day: record heat over Great Barrier Reef raises fears of second summer of coral bleaching
Ocean temperatures over parts of the Great Barrier Reef have reached record levels this month, sparking fears of a second summer in a row of mass coral bleaching. Data from the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows sea surface temperatures over the northern parts of the reef have been the highest for any November on a record going back to 1985.
With the peak period for accumulated heat over the reef not expected until February, cooler weather conditions and cyclone activity before then could stave off a mass bleaching event. Prof Terry Hughes, a leading expert on coral bleaching at James Cook University in Australia, said he had never seen heat stress accumulating on the reef this early, but a “well-timed cyclone” in December could reduce the risk of bleaching.
Don’t miss this: the row in Paris over rented e-scooters
Paris is considering a ban on rented electric scooters, warning that its fleet of 15,000 for-hire scooters presents safety concerns, is stressing pedestrians, clogs up city streets and is yet to prove its positive impact on the environment, Angelique Chrisafis writes.
Last week, Maud Gatel, a centrist MoDem party councillor, told a Paris council meeting that rental e-scooters had turned the city into a “jungle” where “pedestrians are afraid to cross a street or even walk along the pavement”. But Nicolas Gorse, the chief business officer of the operator Dott, said Paris’s “massively regulated market” was the most organised in the world. “There is no other city where you have 2,500 micro-mobility parking spots – there is one every 200 metres in Paris.”
Climate check: over 20,000 died in western Europe’s summer heatwaves, figures show
More than 20,000 people died across western Europe in this summer’s heatwaves, in temperatures that would have been virtually impossible without climate breakdown, figures show. Analysis of excess deaths, the difference between the number of deaths that happened and those expected based on historical trends, reveals the threats posed by climate change-induced global heating, scientists said.
During the summer heatwaves temperatures exceeded 40C (104F) in London, areas in south-west France reached 42C and Seville and Córdoba in Spain set records of 44C. Analysis from the World Weather Attribution group of scientists found that such high temperatures would have been “virtually impossible” without the climate crisis, Sandra Laville writes.
Last Thing: morale the key in Kyiv as winter sets in
Russia has used the iconography of the second world war to maintain Russian public support for the invasion, writes Julian Borger. Ukrainians are quick to point out that ultimately victorious struggle is their legacy too, and they draw from it lessons in resilience.
“We are Ukrainians. We’re strong and we can get through this,” said Angelina Anatolieva, a 50 year-old Pecherskyi resident. “Do you remember the siege of Leningrad? They lived through that and we can live through this. We can live through anything.”
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