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The president of Uganda temporarily banned Facebook and Twitter from the country this week in the final hours leading up to elections on Thursday, arguing the platforms engaged in unfair censorship to prop up the opposition candidate.

Don Wanyama, a spokesman for Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, on Monday took aim at Facebook in particular in an interview with the Associated Press for stripping accounts linked to the incumbent’s campaign.

“Facebook is interfering in the electoral process of Uganda,” Wanyama said. “If people wanted to have evidence of outside interference, now they have it.”

Facebook told the AP that the global platform took down users promoting Museveni because the campaign “used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were. Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”

The censorship, however, prompted Museveni to implement a ban on all big tech operations in the African country as its voters head to the polls, concluding a campaign described by Reuters as wrought with intimidation and “marred by brutal crackdowns on opposition rallies that have left scores dead.”

NetBlocks told Reuters its analysis showed that Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Skype, Snapchat, Viber, and Google Play were among a long list of online platforms that were down.

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Twitter, which joined Facebook and Instagram to permanently ban President Donald Trump from its platform last week, condemned the censorship on Tuesday.

“We strongly condemn internet shutdowns,” the Silicon Valley tech giant released in a statement, while shutting down thousands of conservative accounts in an online purge.

This week’s Ugandan censorship of Facebook and Twitter is not the first time Museveni’s government has blocked the big tech platforms as voters headed to the polls. Museveni banned each platform on election day in 2016.



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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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Son of prominent conservative leader Bozell arrested in connection with Capitol siege

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Leo Brent Bozell IV, the son of conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III, is facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 breech of the U.S. Capitol.

Bozell is charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, according to a federal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The official affidavit includes photos and videos that appear to show Bozell inside of the U.S. Capitol Building, including the Senate chambers.

At least one photo shows Bozell wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with a logo for a Christian school at which he once coached girls basketball, according to the Huffington Post.

The FBI obtained a photo of him posing with a student of a school, in Hershey, Pa.

His father founder, who founded the Media Research Center and other conservative groups, has condemned the riots, saying, “You can never countenance police being attacked. You cannot countenance our national capitol being breached like this. … I think it is absolutely wrong,” according to NewsBusters.

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