Cuba has restricted access to social media including Facebook and Whatsapp in the wake of unprecedented anti-government protests
Dozens of people have been arrested in Cuba after thousands joined the biggest protests for decades against the island’s Communist government.
Images on social media showed what appeared to be security forces detaining, beating and pepper-spraying some of the protesters.
Unauthorised public gatherings are illegal in Cuba and protests are rare.
The White House has offered support to the cuban people calling for freedom, meanwhile Senator Ted Cruz described the protestors as brave.
Cuba is striking back against protesters by barring access to several major social media sites, including Facebook at Whatsapp
The government enacted the ban after huge anti-government demonstrations protesting an economic crisis that’s led to mass power outages and food shortages.
Mobile internet has only been available in Cuba for two years. Many activists agree that the new access to social media in the country has been a major contributing factor to the protests. In Cuba’s capital city, atypical power outages have become increasingly common.
“The pattern of restrictions observed in Cuba indicate an ongoing crackdown on messaging platforms used to organize and share news of protests in real-time,” NetBlocks director Alp Toker told Reuters.
However, the government is yet to confirm or deny whether they are intentionally causing the outages. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the situation is “complicated”.
“Our weapon is the internet. If they take away the internet we are unarmed”
“The government does not want people to see the truth,” said one protester, Gino Ocumares.
Dissident has also been rising in the country over the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and increasing restrictions on civil liberties in the country. However, the Cuban government rejects these claims. Rather, they say the US orchestrated and funded by the demonstrations.
Hundreds took part in these protests, chanting ‘down with communism’ and ‘freedom for the people of Cuba’. One resident said that the protesters were met with gunfire. The activist say the government is using ‘rapid reaction brigades’ to counter the protests. The government organises these groups of civilian fighters.
“I think the Communists have lost control, they won’t have a solution to this situation,” said one of the protesters. “The people are tired of so much humiliation, so much repression.”
Counter pro-government rallies
Protests such as these are rare in a country such as Cuba, which has a tight handle on expression of public dissent. State-run media report that at least one man died at the protests. Several people also sustained serious injuries. Although the state has confirmed no other deaths, the number is likely higher.
However, many counter-rallies have also been taking place across the country. Around 100 supporters carrying the Cuban flag gathered in one of these demonstrations yesterday.
Adidas faces potential $320M Yeezy shoe write-off post-Kanye split
Adidas is contemplating a significant financial blow as it considers writing off $320 million worth of Yeezy shoes following its separation from music and fashion icon Kanye West.
The sportswear giant’s decision to sever ties with West’s Yeezy brand has left a mountain of unsold merchandise, threatening to dent the company’s balance sheet.
The partnership between Adidas and Kanye West, which began in 2013, had been immensely successful, with Yeezy shoes becoming a highly sought-after fashion statement.
However, recent controversies and disagreements between West and Adidas prompted the sportswear company to distance itself from the celebrity designer.
The massive inventory of Yeezy shoes now presents a dilemma for Adidas, as it grapples with finding a solution to deal with the surplus stock. A $320 million write-off could significantly impact the company’s financial performance in the short term.
Adidas is currently exploring various options, including discounting, donating, or repurposing the unsold inventory to mitigate the financial hit.
Warner Bros discovery warns of Hollywood’s ‘real risk’ post-strikes’
Warner Bros Discovery, has issued a stark warning regarding the ‘real risk’ that Hollywood faces in the aftermath of the recent strikes that have taken a considerable toll on the industry’s financial health.
The strikes, which disrupted film and television production for several weeks, resulted in substantial financial losses for studios, production companies, and countless industry professionals.
Warner Bros Discovery emphasised the necessity for a resilient and adaptable approach to navigate the ongoing challenges and uncertainties facing the film and television sector.
The conglomerate stressed the importance of implementing measures to mitigate such risks in the future, which include fostering better labour relations and contingency planning to safeguard against potential disruptions.
The message underlined the need for the industry to adapt to the evolving landscape of content creation and distribution, particularly in the digital era.
This warning from Warner Bros Discovery highlights the need for the entertainment industry to recognise the ever-changing dynamics and economic challenges, and the importance of preparedness to maintain its prominent position in the global market.
MrBeast’s monumental 100 African wells sparks controversy
Philanthropic YouTuber MrBeast, known for his outlandish and extravagant charity stunts, recently financed the construction of 100 wells in Africa, providing clean drinking water to thousands of people.
While the philanthropic gesture is commendable on the surface, it has ignited a wave of controversy and criticism from various quarters.
Critics argue that MrBeast’s approach, although well-intentioned, might not be the most sustainable solution to Africa’s water crisis.
They question the long-term viability of these wells, raising concerns about maintenance and local ownership. Some have even labelled it as a publicity stunt, arguing that it merely scratches the surface of a much deeper issue.
On the other hand, MrBeast’s supporters laud his efforts in raising awareness and mobilising his enormous following to contribute to a worthy cause. They argue that any effort to alleviate the water crisis is a step in the right direction.
In the end, whether MrBeast’s 100 wells in Africa are a game-changing philanthropic success or a mere spectacle remains a subject of intense social debate.
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