New York, Nov 1 (AP/UNB) — The far-right Proud Boys and their founder, Gavin McInnes, have been banned from Facebook and Instagram because of policies against hate groups, the company announced.
McInnes criticized the ban in an email Wednesday, saying it was a way to drum up "hysteria" prior to the midterm elections next week.
"The left knows they are going to lose this election so they are ramping up the hysteria with fake news and censorship in a last ditch effort to win," he said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the all-male Proud Boys a hate group, but the Proud Boys reject the label and describe themselves as "Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world."
Members of the group brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club on Oct. 12, resulting in arrests of both Proud Boys' members and anti-fascists. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, criticized the statewide Republican Party for inviting McInnes.
A spokeswoman for Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said in a statement, "Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve."
The loss of the platforms will likely hurt the Proud Boys' ability to recruit. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in August that regional Proud Boys chapters were vetting new members through private Facebook chatrooms.
When asked Wednesday if the social media platforms have been a major recruiting tool, McInnes said, "I guess."
McInnes, 48, was a co-founder of Vice Media but left the company in 2008. He now hosts a podcast called "Get Off My Lawn."
New York, Oct 31 (AP/UNB) — Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason is planning to tour North America next year to perform some classic Floyd songs, but don't expect "Comfortably Numb" or "Another Brick in the Wall."
Mason instead will be digging deep into the Pink Floyd archives to offer tunes not heard live in America for a long time, if ever. Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets will be jamming to pre-"Dark Side of the Moon" material.
"I really wanted to find something different and a bit quirky," Mason told The Associated Press by phone from London. "I think, for me, what's most interesting is to revisit the thinking behind some of these pieces."
The band — which includes Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, longtime Pink Floyd touring bassist Guy Pratt, guitarist Lee Harris and keyboardist Dom Beken — formed this year in the United Kingdom after bandmates nudged Mason to make music again.
The name of the new band comes from "A Saucerful of Secrets," released in June 1968. Some of the songs they play live include "See Emily Play," ''Arnold Layne," The Nile Song," ''Bike," ''Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and "Obscured by Clouds."
U.S. and Canadian audiences can expect those and more. "Frankly, we feel there's still more to do and can be explored," Mason said. "The set list that we've done in Europe will almost certainly be the basis for what we do, but we certainly intend to add a few more tracks."
Mason said he's not worried that Floyd fans will turn up and expect to hear hits from such later albums as "The Wall" or "Animals." He cites social media for making it clear what will be played, something he noticed after the band's first concert.
"Almost two hours after doing the very first pub gig, everything was all over the web and everyone had a pretty good idea of what they were going to get," he said. "So if it wasn't what they wanted, they didn't turn up."
The new 25-date tour will kick off March 12, 2019, in Vancouver and take the band to Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, DC.
Mason is the only member of Pink Floyd who has performed on all of the band's studio albums. He said he isn't trying to compete with Floyd alumni Roger Waters and David Gilmour or any Floyd tribute bands.
"The world is absolutely stuffed with Pink Floyd tribute bands, let alone Roger and David. So I think it's very important to say, 'This is not version No. 297. This is something a bit weird and a bit different.'"
The tour will mark Mason's first performances in North America since Pink Floyd played Giants Stadium in New Jersey in 1994 as part of the Division Bell Tour. The 74-year-old musician said he's having more fun behind the drum kit that he initially expected.
"I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy it. This is not a grand scheme that I created. This is me being nudged into it by the rest of the band. That's my entire career — not leading so much as being gently prodded."
Dhaka, Oct 31 (UNB) - A five-day-long interactive exhibition focusing marine wildlife ‘Healthy Ocean, Healthy People’ will begin at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) here on Thursday.
The Wildlife Conservation Society Bangladesh (WCS) will organise the first-of-its-kind interactive exhibition aiming to exhibit about marine wildlife in the Bay of Bengal and Bangladesh’s efforts to conserve them.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor will attend in the inaugural ceremony as the chief guest while country representative of WCS Bangladesh Dr Zahangir Alam will preside over the session.
Organisers said that visitors can explore the amazing diversity of dolphins, whales, sharks and other Ocean Giants in Bangladesh’s marine waters and to discover why the survival of these threatened Ocean Giants in the Bay of Bengal is critical to the continued growth and well-being of our nation.
They also said their exhibition will combine life-size animal models, games, a documentary movie, captivating photographs and fascinating facts in attractive displays.
A premiere of short documentary film on Marine conservation in Bangladesh by Helal Sujon commissioned by BCAS Bangladesh will be screened in the opening ceremony.
The exhibition is open to all from November 1 to 5 from 11 am to 8 pm.
New Zealand, Oct 31 (AP/UNB) — Prince Harry and wife Meghan examined the navel, nostrils and whiskers on New Zealand's flightless kiwi bird and got to name two tiny chicks on the final day of their 16-day tour of the South Pacific.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited a kiwi hatchery in the town of Rotorua on Wednesday and learned about the breeding program for the threatened birds, which are considered national icons.
They gave the 3-day-old kiwi chicks indigenous Maori names: "Koha" meaning "gift" and "Tihei" meaning "sneeze," from the Maori saying "tihei mauri ora" meaning "the sneeze of life" or the right to speak. The names were gender neutral because their sexes haven't yet been identified.
The couple also visited a Maori meeting grounds or "marae," went for a public walkabout and strolled through a redwood forest as they finally enjoyed sunny weather after their stop in New Zealand had earlier been dampened with rain.
At the Te Papaiouru Marae, the couple attended a formal welcoming ceremony and luncheon and were each given striking Maori cloaks, or "korowai."
Harry and Meghan arrived in New Zealand on Sunday after earlier visiting Australia, Fiji and Tonga. During public walkabouts they have been greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic fans.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this week there seems to be little appetite for changing New Zealand from a constitutional monarchy that recognizes Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to a republic.
"I do not pick up from the New Zealand public that this is high on their agenda. That this is an issue that they see of such importance that we need to be debating it in the current environment for New Zealand," she said. "And I take my steer from them."
On the trip, Meghan has shown she is prepared to continue speaking out about feminist issues in her new role as a royal. In Wellington, she gave a speech congratulating the country on becoming the first in the world to allow women to vote some 125 years ago.
Tokyo, Oct 31 (AP/UNB) — Godzilla is stomping back into theaters as a fire-breathing animated character, though the movie chosen to close this year's Tokyo International Film Festival is more focused on human drama than the monsters that have made the franchise famous.
The two directors of "Godzilla: The Planet Eater" acknowledge that their film is so different it might turn off hard-core fans. But they say that's an intentional attempt to reach out to new audiences.
"We welcome getting bashed by the traditionalists," Hiroyuki Seshita, one of the directors, told The Associated Press last week. "That proves more than anything we succeeded in creating something different."
A mutation caused by nuclear testing, the first Godzilla emerged from the ocean in a 1954 film directed by Ishiro Honda. Godzilla flattened much of Tokyo as crowds fled in terror, and went on to become an eternal symbol of human fallacy in the atomic age.
The latest film completes a three-part animated saga that began last year. It premiers Nov. 3, Godzilla's official birthday, the date the first film was released.
Seshita and co-director Kobun Shizuno said that rather than simply transferring the well-known tale into a computer animation, they have focused on what they call Shakespearean "human drama." They tackle complex issues, including the meaning of religion, in a futuristic post-apocalyptic universe.
While Godzilla still has its screech and menacingly gigantic shape, it hardly engages in battles with other monsters, a trademark of the mega-series from Toho Co.
"We kept all that is Godzilla-like — its design and how it's portrayed on film. We have kept its essence," said Seshita, who has served as art director of the "Final Fantasy" movies.
Although some viewers may find the story rather complicated, Seshita said the film chose to interpret the Godzilla saga as what he called "a kind of animism," or a godlike force that is bigger than human existence, a perspective he said was integral to Japanese culture and storytelling.
The hero is a doe-eyed, rock-star-like Japanese man who is selflessly determined to reclaim planet Earth, which has been left in shambles from Godzilla's havoc.
Humans have been relegated to wandering around in space, surviving in a gigantic spaceship that's factory-like and sterile, unlike the lush greenness that was once home.
"I'm not a Godzilla expert and so I simply made a film I thought would be enjoyable," said Shizuno, who has also directed the "G.I. Joe: Sigma 6" and "Detective Conan" animation series.
Yet the film is scattered with tributes to Godzilla, according to the directors, who declined to disclose too many specifics. For one, the hero's name is Haruo, the same as the actor Haruo Nakajima, who was inside the rubber Godzilla suit in the original 1954 film. Nakajima died last year.
Toho has made 29 Godzilla films, not counting the animation trilogy. The last work, released in 2016, used an actor skilled in traditional Japanese theater known as Kyogen, whose movements were interpreted into computer graphics that brought a terrifying Godzilla to life.
There are two Hollywood Godzilla films, the most recent in 2014. A third is promised for next year.
Ryota Fujitsu, an expert on Japanese animation, said the animated trilogy was commendable for its visual beauty, as well as for tackling Godzilla as a science fiction movie.
"So much has been tried in the long-running series that taking a new approach was inevitable," he said, noting the work explores the dilemma between civilization and the individual. "This work is facing the Godzilla theme head-on."
The first two films of the animated trilogy are available on Netflix.