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Inside the Kremlin’s War to Control Google Search Rankings

Polipace Staff

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When it comes to improving your search rankings on Google, there are endless theories and strategies used by marketers around the world. One that is new, however, is making direct threats against Google itself, but that is the strategy that Alexander Zharov, the head of media regulator Roskomnadzor, is taking.

Just hours after it was revealed Google will be down-ranking stories from the Kremlin-owned media properties Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, Russia has announced that it will retaliate against the search giant if it carries through with its plans, Reuters reports. Alexander Zharov, the head of Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, told Interfax that his agency sent a letter to Google on Tuesday requesting clarification on their intentions.

This started last week when Executive Chairman of Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Eric Schmidt, said that Google would be giving less prominence to ‘those kinds of websites’ when asked a question about the rankings of Russian sites Sputnik and Russia Today. The less prominent rankings is instead of delisting them entirely.  RT—formerly known as Russia Today—routinely shapes its coverage portray Russia in the best possible light, and to make the West, and especially the United States, look bad.

Russian media in the US have been under increased pressure in the wake of the probe into Moscow’s alleged interference in the US presidential election, with Twitter blocking advertising from the channels owned by RT and Sputnik. At the same time, at a Congress hearing as part of the so-called Russia probe, tech giants, namely Twitter, Facebook and Google, have confirmed the lack of evidence of Russian media’s interference in the US elections. For its part, Moscow has repeatedly called such claims groundless

Google has discovered that Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on YouTube, Google search, Gmail and other outlets promoting Russia Today stories, among other things.

In response, Zharov said, “We will receive an answer and understand what to do next. We hope our opinion will be heard, and we won’t have to resort to more serious” retaliatory measures.

It is obviously not clear exactly what they will be able to do. He went on to say that he would be monitoring, ‘how discriminating this measure will be in its practical embodiment. It is obvious that we will defend our media.’

Most recently, US Congressional Press Galleries took away credentials from RT America after it had been forced to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act earlier in November.

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International

Christian Leader Robert Jeffress Condemns Jews to Hell During Speech at Jerusalem Embassy Opening.

Polipace Staff

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Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s personal religious leaders decided to insult the entire National of Israel today, by condemning all Jews to hell during the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam,” Said Mitt Romney, who is running for a Senate seat representing Utah, wrote. “Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.”

The Anti-Defamation League also criticized Jeffress on twitter, writing: “Today is a day of celebration as the US Embassy opens in Jerusalem. The choice of Pastor Robert Jeffress to offer a prayer sends exactly the wrong message. Jeffress has a history of bigoted comments about LGBTQ people, Jews, Muslims, Christians and other religions.”

Other’s agreed

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GOP

Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica has been Suspended by Board

Polipace Staff

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Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the heart of the data-mining scandal, has been suspended.

The company said in a statement: “The board of Cambridge Analytica has announced today that it has suspended CEO Alexander Nix with immediate effect pending a full, independent investigation.

“In the view of the board, Mr Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.”

Cambridge Analytica said its chief data officer Alexander Tayler had been appointed acting chief executive while an investigation was carried out by Julian Malins QC whose findings they would “share publicly in due course”.

“The board will be monitoring the situation closely, working closely with Dr Tayler, to ensure that Cambridge Analytica, in all of its operations, represents the firm’s values and delivers the highest-quality service to its clients.”

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Crime

Ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy arrested over campaign financing

Polipace Staff

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Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is being held by police in connection to alleged campaign funding from late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Mr Sarkozy is being questioned as part of an investigation into “irregularities” in election campaign financing, a French court source told Reuters.

He is said to have accepted €50m from Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, claims which have been repeated by the late Libyan dictator’s son and French businessman Ziad Takieddine.

The amount would be more than double the legal spending limit in French elections at that time, which was €21m.

Alleged payments would also violate French laws on foreign financing and declaring the source of campaign funds.

Mr Sarkozy and his campaign manager have repeatedly denied accepting money from Libya.

According to Le Monde, this is the first time Mr Sarkozy has been questioned in relation to this investigation, which was opened in April 2013.

He can be held for up to 48 hours and presented to a magistrates’ court for indictment if police seek charges.

Mr Sarkozy has already been ordered to stand trial in a separate case, concerning the financing of his 2012 re-election campaign, when he lost to Francois Hollande.

In March 2011, Saif al Islam Gaddafi, the late dictator’s son, told Euronews: “Sarkozy has to give back the money he accepted from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We financed his campaign and we have the proof…

“The first thing we’re demanding is that this clown gives back the money to the Libyan people.”

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