GLOBAL PULSE: Trump’s PR problem, banned groups in Pakistan are alive online and a TV ad about terrorism in the Middle East

TRUMP HAS A PR PROBLEM.

Donald Trump’s communication director Michael Dubke has quit and many anticipate a broader shake-up of his staff in the coming days.

The changes are intended to deal with the growing inquiries into contacts between associates and family members of Trump and Russia in the past year. A damage control plan includes setting up a war room and appointing team of high-powered lawyers to deal with the charges.

People around Trump believe he has been poorly served by his communications staff, in particular in the aftermath of the firing of FBI director.

“Labeling it a communications problem’ is the last refuge of every failing president. Let’s face it: The most talented people won’t take jobs with this president. The talent pool, already shallow, evaporates as scandals wash over the remains of Trump’s agenda”, wrote a columnist in The Washington Post.

 

PAKISTAN’S BANNED GROUPS HAVE AN ONLINE FACE

An investigation carried out by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper revealed that 41 of Pakistan’s 64 banned outfits are present on Facebook in the form of hundreds of pages, groups and individual user profiles.

Their network, both interconnected and public, is a mix of Sunni and Shia sectarian or terror outfits, global terror organisations operating in Pakistan, and separatists in Balochistan and Sindh.

About 90 per cent of user profiles identified themselves publicly as male; about 160,000 users have liked pages of these banned outfits; some Facebook pages claim to be ‘official’ representatives of the banned outfits, others appear to be managed by members and supporters who share the same ideology.

In general, the Facebook updates are in Urdu or Roman Urdu rather than English, suggesting the content is primarily for local consumption.

 

U.S. POLITICIANS TAKE DOWN KEY PRIVACY LAW

Congressional Republicans in the U.S. had a potentially explosive plan. They wanted to kill Barack Obama’s landmark privacy regulations that would force Internet providers to stop the practice of storing and selling customers’ browsing histories without their express consent.

Weeks after Donald Trump’s election victory, the campaign to kill the rules began. The Republican evolved a secret strategy. While Americans were distracted by the pending repeal of Obamacare, the Senate Republicans would schedule a vote to wipe out the privacy protections.

On March 23, the measure passed in the Senate. Five days later, a majority of House Republicans voted in favour of it, sending it to the White House, where Trump signed the bill to roll back privacy in early April without ceremony or public comment.

 

A TV COMMERCIAL ABOUT TERRORISM

A TV commercial by a telecom company has created quite a buzz in the Middle East. It is about terrorism.

It shows a suicide bomber strapping on an explosive vest and boarding a bus, but the passengers challenge him with exhortations to love and be tolerant.

The advertisement was released just before the start of Ramadan, and drew nearly three million views and shared widely on social media.

It showed men stream out of a mosque and children leave a school to confront the bomber. He falls to his knees, and a UAE pop star sings:

Let’s bomb violence with mercy,

Let’s bomb delusion with the truth,

Let’s bomb hatred with love,

Let’s bomb extremism for a better life.

Terrorism has become more prominent in pop culture in the Arab world since the rise of the Islamic State.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U49nOBFv508?ecver=2]

 

ISLAMIST LEADER IN INDONESIA CAUGHT SEXTING

In Indonesia, a public figure caught up in a scandal involving pornography or an extramarital affair would usually expect to be denounced by the Islamic Defenders Front, an influential hard-line Muslim organisation.

This week, however, the public figure at the centre of a scandal is Rizieq Shihab — leader of the Islamic Defenders Front.

Human rights groups in the country generally show little sympathy for the rising Islamic group, which has used aggressive language and sometimes even violence against religious minorities, smashing up bars and restaurants.

Now they say that Rizieq should be charged for more substantial crimes like intolerance, hate speech, hate crimes.

Meanwhile, Rizieq has fled to Saudi Arabia. Earlier, the police summoned him to testify as a witness in the pornography case. Now the police says he is wanted as a suspect.

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