mfioretti: fact checking*

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  1. “Of course, I wouldn’t want my sons to take such risks. Nobody wants that. But there is no other way for our families to survive,” said Singhateh.

    His third son made it to Spain. He will send back €50 whenever he can, usually once every month. Just enough for a bag a rice for the family in Sabaa to live on.

    With a population of 2 million, the Gambia is the smallest country in Africa. Yet Gambians are in the top five nationalities to cross the Mediterranean to Italy. In the first six months of this year, 4,920 Gambians reached Italy, by far the highest number per capita.

    Remittances have grown fourfold over the past 10 years and now make up a staggering 22% of the Gambian GDP, according to World Bank estimates. By comparison, the entire agricultural sector, providing income for 70% of the population, accounts for 30% of GDP.

    The government and the international community are relying on groups like Activista to spread the message. They mobilise returnees to come forward and give their account of hardships endured and the high probability of capture and return to the Gambia. They also mobilise successful young Gambians to demonstrate a viable alternative.

    But often the real issue is not the mindset of young people but rather that of their parents, especially the mothers, the group has found – confirming personal experience.

    “All of us are under pressure to leave,” said the 26-year-old activist Fatou Fofene.

    “For mothers, it has become a matter of prestige to have their kids in Europe. They have no respect for young people who decide to stay here,” she said.

    Mothers can use all sorts of tactics. Some openly call their offspring useless, ridiculing the financial contribution they bring home to the family. Others are subtler, giving little or no attention to the kids at home while praising the ones who left, either to their own family or to the neighbours.

    “That, too, can be very persuasive in our culture,” said Forfene.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-06)
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  2. Il Cavallo di Troia non era un cavallo, ma una nave. È quanto sostiene, da circa un anno, un nostro “cervello in fuga”, l’archeologo navale Francesco Tiboni, dottore di ricerca dell’Università di Marsiglia, collaboratore di diverse università e enti stranieri ed italiani.

    L’equivoco millenario sarebbe nato da un errore nella traduzione dei testi successivi a Omero, ai quali si ispirò lo stesso Virgilio (avvalendosi di un traduttore) per comporre l’Eneide. Secondo Tiboni, il manufatto realizzato dai greci per penetrare nelle mura di Troia non sarebbe stato letteralmente un cavallo, in greco hippos, bensì un tipo di nave fenicia che veniva abitualmente chiamata “Hippos”, appunto.

    Plinio il Vecchio sembra spiegare il perché di questa denominazione riferendo che tale imbarcazione fu inventata da un maestro d’ascia fenicio il cui nome era Hippus. Queste navi, non a caso, erano dotate di una caratteristica polena: una testa equina.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-03)
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  3. The number of persons not on the electoral register was calculated by subtracting the size of the electorate as of 22 June 2016, from the ONS record of total UK population published on 26 February 2016.

    A person may not be on the register by their own choice, or due to ineligibility such as not yet being old enough, being in prison, or not possessing UK citizenship.

    EU Citizens living in the UK were ineligible unless they were from Malta, Cyprus, or the Republic of Ireland.

    Members of the House of Lords are usually ineligible to vote at UK General Elections, but were allowed to vote in the EU Referendum.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-01)
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  4. the new World Bank poverty figures may tell a very different story from what has been suggested elsewhere: The numbers in poverty outside China rose during the heyday of neoliberal policies, and began to fall as the grip of those policies was loosened after 2005.
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  5. According to Peter Edwards of Newcastle University, if people are to achieve normal life expectancy, they need roughly double the current IPL, or a minimum of $2.50 per day. But adopting this higher standard would seriously undermine the poverty reduction narrative. An IPL of $2.50 shows a poverty headcount of around 3.1 billion, almost triple what the World Bank and the Millennium Campaign would have us believe. It also shows that poverty is getting worse, not better, with nearly 353 million more people impoverished today than in 1981. With China taken out of the equation, that number shoots up to 852 million.

    Some economists go further and advocate for an IPL of $5 or even $10 - the upper boundary suggested by the World Bank. At this standard, we see that some 5.1 billion people - nearly 80 percent of the world's population - are living in poverty today. And the number is rising.

    These more accurate parameters suggest that the story of global poverty is much worse than the spin doctored versions we are accustomed to hearing. The $1.25 threshold is absurdly low, but it remains in favour because it is the only baseline that shows any progress in the fight against poverty, and therefore justifies the present economic order. Every other line tells the opposite story. In fact, even the $1.25 line shows that, without factoring China, the poverty headcount is worsening, with 108 million people added to the ranks of the poor since 1981. All of this calls the triumphalist narrative into question
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  6. Le proiezioni fatte con tutti e quattro i panel hanno mostrato che negli stati in cui le leggi sul porto d'armi sono meno restrittive, ci sarebbe stata una diminuzione ancora maggiore del tasso di criminalità se quelle stesse leggi fossero state più restrittive.

    "Le conclusioni così ottenute suggeriscono che non ci sia alcuna conseguenza positiva da una legislazione più favorevole al diritto a portare armi," ha detto Donohue.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-10-04)
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  7. La relazione dell’Autorità garante per la protezione dei dati personali non fa alcun riferimento con quei toni così banali ad “allarmi”, sottolinea invece le grandi questioni in campo, anzi raccontando i risultati ottenuti lavorando sulle discipline, le garanzie, il dialogo coi player, seguendo le linee guida dei gruppi dell’Unione. Se il mainstream dev’essere sempre quello dell’allarme e dei titoli fuorvianti, inutile lamentarsi della disintermediazione e dello strapotere delle piattaforme di social media.
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  8. One way to think of today’s disinformation ecosystem is to picture it as a kind of gastrointestinal tract.

    At the top end — the mouth, let’s call it — enter the raw materials of propaganda: the memes cooked up by anyone who wants to manipulate what the media covers, whether political campaigns, terrorist groups, state-sponsored trolls or the homegrown provocateurs who hang out at extremist online communities.

    Then, way down at what we will politely call the “other end,” emerge the packaged narratives primed for widespread dissemination to you and everyone you know. These are the hot takes that dominate talk radio and prime-time cable news, as well as the viral Facebook posts warning you about this or that latest outrage committed by Hillary Clinton.

    How do the raw materials become the culturewide narratives and conspiracy theories? The path is variegated and flexible and often stretches across multiple media platforms. Yet in many of the biggest misinformation campaigns of the past year, Twitter played a key role.

    Specifically, Twitter often acts as the small bowel of digital news. It’s where political messaging and disinformation get digested, packaged and widely picked up for mass distribution to cable, Facebook and the rest of the world.

    This role for Twitter has seemed to grow more intense during (and since) the 2016 campaign. Twitter now functions as a clubhouse for much of the news. It’s where journalists pick up stories, meet sources, promote their work, criticize competitors’ work and workshop takes. In a more subtle way, Twitter has become a place where many journalists unconsciously build and gut-check a worldview — where they develop a sense of what’s important and merits coverage, and what doesn’t.

    This makes Twitter a prime target for manipulators: If you can get something big on Twitter, you’re almost guaranteed coverage everywhere.
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  9. Vorrei dirlo subito, chiaro e tondo: il Blue Whale Challenge, la serie di sfide che porterebbero al suicidio di cui si parla tanto ultimamente, soprattutto dopo un servizio trasmesso da Le Iene il 14 maggio scorso, per ora è un mito senza prove; ma rischia di trasformarsi in realtà se si continua a parlarne in modo irresponsabile, sensazionalista e acchiappaclic, quasi compiacendosi di raccontarne i dettagli, di descrivere l'elenco preciso delle sfide da superare, come stanno facendo tanti giornali e come ha fatto appunto Le Iene con un servizio agghiacciante, durato oltre mezz'ora, che ha indugiato lungamente su immagini scioccanti ma ha portato ben pochi elementi concreti e ha spesso creato accostamenti falsi e ingannevoli.
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  10. Al momento della mia elezione, nel giugno 2013, Roma gestiva i rifiuti attraverso la più grande discarica d’Europa, situata nella tenuta di Malagrotta, all’interno della riserva naturale Litorale Romano. Malagrotta era una vera e propria bomba ecologica, una fonte costante di contaminazione e inquinamento, tanto che l’Unione Europea ne aveva già chiesto la chiusura entro il 31 dicembre 2007. Nei periodi estivi, con i rifiuti in decomposizione, l’area di Malagrotta diventava nauseabonda e la montagna d’immondizia era visibile a chilometri di distanza dal volteggiare di decine di migliaia di gabbiani. Uno scenario infernale.

    Se al mio arrivo in Campidoglio, nel giugno del 2013, Malagrotta era ancora attiva, lo si doveva ad una serie di proroghe irresponsabili. Diventato sindaco, nei primi 100 giorni di governo, presi subito la decisione di chiuderla, predisponendo contemporaneamente un piano rifiuti, come del resto avevo annunciato in campagna elettorale.
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