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Twitter users are being detained by Chinese authorities

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xi jinpingPresident Xi Jinping.Thomas Peter/Getty

  • Chinese authorities and detaining and interrogating dissident Twitter users in what seems of be an escalation of its internet censorship, The New York Times reports.
  • While Twitter is officially not available in China, a small percentage of Chinese internet users access it using software to circumvent the Great Firewall.
  • The Times interviewed nine people who’ve been questioned by police over their tweets, including a human rights activist who was manacled to a chair.

Chinese Twitter users have been detained, interrogated, and threatened for their tweets, The New York Times reports.

Twitter, like many internet platforms including Facebook and Google, is not available in China. Nonetheless, a small percentage of Chinese internet users circumvent the Great Firewall using software to access the site.

Now it seems that Chinese authorities are cracking down.

The Times spoke with nine Twitter users who have been questioned by the police, and reviewed a recording of a four-hour long interrogation. Officers showed people printouts of their tweets complaining that they were critical of the government or of President Xi Jinping, and advised them to take down their tweets or delete their accounts.

Those interviewed told the Times that officers sometimes resorted to threats. An activist with a Twitter following of 8,000 said he was interrogated for eight hours while manacled to a chair. Afterwards, he signed a promise to stay off Twitter.

Read more: Google is likely to end its efforts to build a censored search engine for China, says report

A construction company employee told the Times that he was interrogated for 20 hours over a dissident cartoon he posted. He was released, but officers later showed up at his work demanding he sign a document saying he had disturbed the social order. After he signed, they showed him another document saying he was to be detained. He then spent two weeks in a cell watching propaganda videos.

“We’re like lambs,” he told the Times in a phone interview. “They’re taking us one after another. We have no ability to fight back.”

Another human rights activist, Wang Aizhong, told the Times: “If we give up Twitter, we are losing one of our last places to speak.”

He said that police demanded he delete tweets critical of the government. He refused, but last month Twitter started sending him messages with backup codes to his account and he found 3,000 of his tweets had been deleted. Wang believes they were taken down by state-affiliated hackers.

A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment on the government campaign when contacted by the Times. Business Insider has contacted Twitter for comment.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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