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Iranian midfielder joins Swedish football club

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TEHRAN, Jan. 14 (MNA) – On a three-year contract, Iranian midfielder Bakhtiar Rahmani joined second-tier Swedish team Dalkurd FF.

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Statues to be removed in London over links to slavery

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Statues of two British politicians in central London will be removed over their links to the slave trade.

The City of London Corporation voted on Thursday to re-site monuments to William Beckford and Sir John Cass in Guildhall because they accrued wealth through the slave trade and symbolise “a stain on our history”.

This comes days after the UK’s Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said Britain should not try to edit its past, as new legal protections meaning historic statues will be removed only in “the most exceptional circumstances”, came into force on Monday.

Under the new legislation, if a council intends to grant permission to remove a statue and Historic England objects, Mr Jenrick will be notified so he can make the final decision.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick (Yui Mok/PA)

The City Corporation said it will remove and replace the statues in Guildhall, and is considering commissioning a new memorial to the slave trade.

Catherine McGuinness, the City Corporation’s policy chairwoman, said the decision was the result of “months of valuable work” by their Tackling Racism Taskforce, which was set up in June following Black Lives Matter protests in central London.

She said: “The view of members was that removing and re-siting statues linked to slavery is an important milestone in our journey towards a more inclusive and diverse city.”

The death of George Floyd while in the custody of police in Minneapolis sparked protests across the world, with the statue of Edward Colston dumped into Bristol Harbour and a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill vandalised with the words “is a racist”.

The Tackling Racism Taskforce co-chairwoman Caroline Addy said she is “really pleased” the committee voted for the “correct response to a sensitive issue”.

The toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol last year marked a wider discussion on the place for controversial monuments in modern Britain (Ben Birchall/PA)

She said: “The slave trade is a stain on our history and putting those who profited from it literally on a pedestal is something that has no place in a modern, diverse city.”

The statue of William Beckford, a two-time lord mayor of London in the late 1700s who accrued wealth from plantations in Jamaica and held African slaves, will be rehomed and replaced with a new artwork.

Ireland

‘Slave’ statues to be reinstalled outside Shelbour…

Meanwhile, the likeness of Sir John Cass, a 17th and 18th century merchant, British MP and philanthropist who also profited from the slave trade, will be returned to its owner, the Sir John Cass Foundation.

Responding to their planned removal, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “For hundreds of years, public statues and monuments have been erected across the country to celebrate individuals and great moments in British history.

“Any removal should require planning permission and local people given the chance to be properly consulted – that’s why we are changing the law to protect historic monuments to ensure we don’t repeat the errors of previous generations.”

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Parler loses bid to require Amazon to restore service

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A US federal judge on Thursday rejected Parler’s demand that Amazon.com Inc restore web hosting services for the social media platform, which Amazon had cut off following the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol.

US District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle said Parler was unlikely to prove Amazon breached its contract or violated antitrust law by suspending service on January 10th, and that it was “not a close call.”

She also forcefully rejected the suggestion that the public interest would be served by a preliminary injunction requiring Amazon Web Services to “host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the US Capitol.”

“That event,” she added, “was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can – more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped – turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection.”

Parler and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ignored warnings

Amazon had said Parler ignored repeated warnings to effectively address growth in violent content, including calls to assassinate prominent Democratic politicians, leading business executives and members of the media.

Researchers have said far-right groups at the Capitol had a vigorous online presence on platforms including Parler, where they spread violent rhetoric.

Parler said there was no evidence apart from anecdotes in the press that it had a role in inciting the riots, and that it was unfair to deprive millions of law-abiding Americans a platform for free speech.

Threatened extinction

It also said Amazon had no right to threaten its “extinction” by pulling the plug, and accused it of doing so out of “political animus” to benefit Twitter, a larger Amazon client that Parler said did not censor violent content targeting conservatives.

Rothstein rejected that argument, saying Parler had merely raised the “specter of preferential treatment” for Twitter.

Many supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump favor Parler, which has claimed it had more than 12 million users.

Parler remains largely offline after being dropped by Amazon, and removed from the app stores of Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google after the Washington unrest.

Those companies also cited Parler’s poor record of policing violent content in explaining their decisions.

Pledged to return

Parler Chief Executive Officer John Matze told Reuters on January 13th that Parler may be offline for good, but later pledged it would return and be stronger.

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Parler partially reappears with support from Russi…

Matze and his family were forced to “go into hiding” after receiving death threats, his lawyer said on January 15th.

A static version of Parler’s website recently returned, including a notice saying Parler was having technical difficulties, and a handful of posts from people like Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.

Jeffrey Wernick, Parler’s chief operating officer, said on Tuesday the company was posting comments on behalf of “friends who reached out.”

The site’s internet protocol address is owned by DDos-Guard, which is controlled by two Russian men and provides services including protection from distributed denial-of-service attacks, according to infrastructure expert Ronald Guilmette. – Reuters

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