Daily News Roundup

February 11, 2021



Twitter will not allow former president Donald Trump back on the platform, even if he runs for office again, the company’s chief financial officer has said.

“The way our policies work, when you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform, whether you’re a commentator, a CFO, or a current or former public official,” Ned Segal said in an interview with television network CNBC.

Mr Trump’s ban came after a violent uprising by his supporters led to a deadly siege at the US Capitol on January 6.

After the event, he referred to those responsible as “very special” and continued to repeat baseless claims about election fraud.

Five people died in the riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, whose death is now the subject of a homicide investigation.

Facebook and other social networks also banned Mr Trump after the incident, which formed the basis for the Republican party member’s current impeachment trial.

Twitter cited the “risk of further incitement of violence” and Mr Trump’s past breaches of the company’s rules as the reason for their decision.

“Our policies are designed to ensure that people are not inciting violence,” Mr Segal said.

“And if anybody does that we would have to remove them from the service and our policies don’t allow people to come back.”

Mr Trump was a prolific user of Twitter during his campaign and in his four years at the White House, using the platform for policy announcements, to settle scores and for his political campaign.

During and after the 2020 election campaign, Twitter added a fact-check link under many of his tweets, including ones that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and allegations that the result had been “rigged”.

Mr Trump’s account had just been reinstated following a 12-hour freeze, when Twitter again reviewed the former American leader’s tweets, ultimately deciding to block them permanently last month.

Meanwhile, at Mr Trump’s Impeachment trial, impeachment managers have been playing previously unseen footage of the Capitol Hill riot and linking the former President’s public statements to the actions of his supporters.

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, warned that his team would show videos of the Capitol assault that would include scenes of “shocking violence and bloodshed” against police officers.

“We do urge parents and teachers to exercise close review of what young people are watching here, and please watch along with them if you’re allowing them to watch,” Mr Raskin said.

“The impeachment managers will try to give warnings before the most graphic and disturbing violence.”

A Democratic aide told reporters that the House managers “will be using footage never seen before that shows a view of the Capitol that is quite extraordinary and a view of the attack that has never been public before.”

Prosecutors at trial trial played police radio traffic in which officers described multiple injured officers, said “they’re throwing metal poles at us” and called for immediate reinforcements.

After playing increasingly desperate calls from police, Democrats showed footage of rioters breaking down windows with a riot shield to climb into the Capitol


Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been released from a Saudi prison nearly three years after being arrested on charges that have drawn international condemnation.

Ms al-Hathloul, 31, was detained in May 2018 and sentenced in December to nearly six years in prison on charges that UN rights experts called “spurious” under broad counter-terrorism laws.

The court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence, most of which had already been served.

She still faces a five-year travel ban ordered by the court.

“Loujain is at home !!!!!!” her sister Lina al-Hathloul tweeted on Wednesday local time.

Another sister, Alia, said Ms al-Hathloul was at their parents’ home in Saudi Arabia.

She posted a picture of Ms al-Hathloul smiling in a garden, looking much thinner and with grey streaks in her hair.

Rights groups and her family said al-Hathloul, who had campaigned for women’s right to drive and to end Saudi’s male guardianship system, was subjected to abuse, including electric shocks, waterboarding, flogging and sexual assault.

Saudi authorities denied the accusations.


An Australian virus expert who recently travelled to China to investigate the coronavirus pandemic is convinced it originated there.

NSW Health infectious diseases expert Professor Dominic Dwyer was part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 14-strong virus investigation team which visited Wuhan for two weeks to study the outbreak’s source.

While the investigation did not definitively declare China as the source, Prof Dwyer, who is now in quarantine following his return to Australia, told Nine he believed COVID-19 “started in China”.

“I think the evidence for it starting elsewhere in the world is actually very limited. There is some evidence but it’s not really very good,” he said.

The WHO team visited a number of places linked to the initial outbreak, including the Huanan Seafood Market, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Hubei Province Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Hubei Provincial Hospital.

Prof Dwyer also added bats were the “most likely” source of the virus but that it had been active in the community for “weeks’ before the outbreak connected to the wet market in late 2019.

It comes as NSW Health researchers uncovered a virus breakthrough which will help authorities across the globe contain coronavirus outbreaks faster, after experts from NSW Health Pathology successfully grew the live virus from NSW patients.

“Early and accurate diagnosis of infectious and deadly viruses is critical because undiagnosed patients can unknowingly transmit it to others,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said following the announcement. 

In other Covid 19 news, Queensland is reimposing border declarations for people travelling into the state from Victoria, but Acting Health Minister Steven Miles stopped short of declaring Melbourne a hotspot following the outbreak at a quarantine hotel.

Mr Miles said the changes would come in from 1:00am Saturday.

So far, eight people have been linked to the Holiday Inn cluster at the Melbourne Airport.

“It is too early from our perspective to declare a hotspot in Melbourne because all of those cases at this stage were contracted within the hotel quarantine on level three,” Mr Miles said.

“So, there’s no cases of community transmission outside of that location.”

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