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Award-winning Iranian director released on bail 2 days after starting a hunger strike

Award-winning Iranian director released on bail 2 days after starting a hunger strike

Acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi was released on bail Friday, two days after going on hunger strike to protest his imprisonment last summer, his supporters said.Panahi was arrested last July and later ordered to serve six years on charges of propagandizing against the government, a sentence dating back to 2011 that had never been enforced.He is among a number of Iranian artists, sports figures and other celebrities who have been detained after speaking out against the theocracy. Such arrests have become more frequent since nationwide protests broke out in September over the death of a young woman in police custody.Panahi, 62, had continued making award-winning films for over a decade despite being legally barred from travel and filmmaking. His latest film, “No Bears,” was released to widespread praise in September while he was behind bars, a week before the protests erupted.Yusef Moulai, Panahi’s lawyer, confirmed he had been released on bail and returned home. He said Panahi was in good health after two days without food. He declined to provide further information.The semiofficial ISNA news agency said several artists had welcomed him as he departed the notorious Evin Prison in the capital, Tehran.IRANIAN FILM DIRECTOR WHO WAS ARRESTED LAST SUMMER GOES ON HUNGER STRIKE IN PRISONPanahi had issued a statement earlier this week saying he would refuse food or medicine starting Wednesday “in protest against the extra-legal and inhumane behavior of the judicial and security apparatus.”He was arrested in July when he went to the Tehran prosecutor’s office to inquire about the arrests of two other Iranian filmmakers. A judge later ruled that he must serve the earlier sentence.
Iranian director Jafar Panahi is pictured during a photocall for the film “Offside” at the 56th Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 17, 2006. Panahi was released on bail on Feb. 3, 2023, two days after going on hunger strike to protest his sentence.
(AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz)In “No Bears,” he plays a fictionalized version of himself while making a film along the Iran-Turkey border. The New York Times and The Associated Press named it one of the top 10 films of the year, and film critic Justin Chang of The Los Angeles Times called it 2022’s best movie.DIRECTOR PAUL HAGGIS LEADS PACK OF HOLLYWOOD STARS PROTESTING IMPRISONMENT OF IRANIAN FILMMAKER JAFAR PANAHIThe protests erupted after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, died while being held by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code. The demonstrations rapidly escalated into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics, a major challenge to their four-decade rule.At least 527 protesters have been killed and more than 19,500 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the unrest. Iranian authorities have not released official figures on deaths or arrests.Several prominent Iranian filmmakers and other artists have expressed support for the protests and criticized the violent crackdown on dissent. Rights groups say authorities have used live ammunition, bird shot and tear gas to disperse protesters.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPIran has executed four men on charges linked to the protests, and rights groups say at least 16 others have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings.Taraneh Alidoosti, the 38-year-old star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning 2016 film, “The Salesman,” was arrested in December after taking to social media to criticize the crackdown on protests. She was released three weeks later on bail.

Elon Musk surprise appearance as Tesla tweet trial wraps up

Elon Musk surprise appearance as Tesla tweet trial wraps up

A high-profile trial focused on a 2018 tweet about the financing for a Tesla buyout that never happened drew a surprise spectator for Friday’s final arguments — Elon Musk, the billionaire who is being accused of misleading investors with his usage of t…SAN FRANCISO — A high-profile trial focused on a 2018 tweet about the financing for a Tesla buyout that never happened drew a surprise spectator Friday — Elon Musk, the billionaire accused of misleading investors with his usage of the Twitter service he now owns.Musk, the CEO of both Tesla and Twitter, strode into the San Francisco federal courtroom moments before closing arguments from the opposing attorney in the case were scheduled to begin and took a seat alongside his legal team. Like everyone else in the courtroom, he was wearing a mask, as required by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, but briefly dropped it as he chuckled and whispered something to one of his lawyers.Although an August 7, 2018 tweet disclosing he had “funding secured ” is the at the center of the trial, Musk wasn’t required to show up for Friday’s proceedings. His presence in court while he is trying to reverse huge losses at Twitter and overseeing Tesla amid stiffening competition underscores the importance of the trial’s outcome to him.If the nine-person jury decides to hold him liable for misleading Tesla shareholders during a 10-day period in August 2018 for the funding secured tweet and a follow-up tweet indicating a deal was imminent, Musk and Tesla could be on the hook for billions in damages.Those 2018 tweets already have cost Musk and Tesla $40 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations of misconduct. Chen had decided last year that Musk’s 2018 tweets were false and has instructed the jury to view them that way.During roughly eight hours on the stand, Musk insisted he believed he had lined up the funds from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to take Tesla private after eight years as a publicly held company. He defended his initial August 2018 tweet as a well-intentioned communication to ensure all Tesla investors knew the automaker might be on its way to ending its then-eight-year run as a publicly held company.“I had no ill motive,” Musk testified. “My intent was to do the right thing for all shareholders.” The jury is expected to begin its deliberations in the afternoon after the closing arguments are finished.

China’s Xi has ordered military to be ready for Taiwan invasion by 2027, CIA Director Burns says

China’s Xi has ordered military to be ready for Taiwan invasion by 2027, CIA Director Burns says

CIA Director William Burns has revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed his country’s army “to be ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion” of Taiwan. Burns made the remark Thursday during an event at Georgetown University, where he also said he believes that Xi has been closely watching Russian President Vladimir Putin’s prolonged and costly invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has been engaged in a tense territorial dispute with the island, which it claims is part of China. “On Taiwan, I guess I would say our assessment at CIA is that I wouldn’t underestimate President Xi’s ambitions with regard to Taiwan. He has been pretty clear about that over the years,” Burns said. “I think he has watched very carefully – it seems to us – Putin’s experience in Ukraine and been a little bit unsettled and sobered by that as well. “We know as a matter of intelligence he has instructed the People’s Liberation Army to be ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion,” Burns continued. CHINESE MILITARY AIRCRAFT ENTER TAIWAN’S AIRSPACE AS US TRACKS SURVEILLANCE BALLOON 
CIA Director William Burns speaks on “Addressing the Global Threat Landscape,” during an event as part of the Trainor Award ceremony at Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center on Feb. 2, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)”Now, that does not mean that he’s decided to conduct an invasion in 2027, or any other year, but it’s a reminder of the seriousness of his focus and his ambition,” Burns added. AFTER CHINESE BALLOON ENTERS US AIRSPACE, BIDEN SECRETARY OF STATE POSTPONES TRIP TO CHINA “Therefore, I think it’s very much in our interest as a policy matter in the United States to make clear our commitment to the status quo, to make clear we are not interested as a country in changing that status quo, that we are deeply opposed to anyone trying to change that unilaterally, especially by the use of force,” the CIA director also said.  
FILE – Chinese military helicopters fly past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest points from Taiwan, in Fujian Province on Aug. 4, 2022, ahead of massive military drills off Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island.
(HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP “And to continue to do all we can to help Taiwan defend itself and think through how best to do that to deter what would be a sort of deeply unfortunate conflict for everyone involved, including China as well,” he concluded. 
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on Nov. 19, 2022. 
(Ju Peng/Xinhua via Getty Images)Burns comments came as more than a dozen Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels were detected around Taiwan on Friday morning, defense officials said. Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report. 

Ethiopia’s PM meets Tigray leaders for first time since war

Ethiopia’s PM meets Tigray leaders for first time since war

NAIROBI, Kenya — Ethiopia’s prime minister has met the leaders of rival Tigray forces for the first time since a devastating two-year conflict ended with a peace deal late last year.State media on Friday showed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed meeting with the Tigray side’s lead negotiators and others. It didn’t say when the meeting occurred. National Security Adviser Redwan Hussein tweeted that the prime minister made decisions on increasing flights and banking services to the northern Tigray region along with issues to “boost trust and ease lives of civilians.”The conflict cut off the Tigray region of more than 5 million people, with humanitarian aid often blocked and basic services severed while health workers pleaded for the simplest of medical supplies. Pressure over the fate of civilians helped lead to the peace deal.The conflict is estimated to have killed a half-million civilians in Tigray, according to researchers with Ghent University in Belgium, and others were killed in neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.There was no immediate statement by the Tigray leaders on the meeting.

UN rights chief concerned about Israel’s moves amid violence

UN rights chief concerned about Israel’s moves amid violence

GENEVA — The U.N. human rights chief expressed concerns Friday that steps taken by the new Israeli government, the most far-right in the country’s history, could fuel further violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the wake of a recent spike in bloodshed in the region. Volker Türk cited steps such as forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes and government moves to expedite Israelis’ access to firearms. He called on leaders, officials and everyone else on both sides to stop using language that incites hatred, and to shun violence.“Rather than doubling down on failed approaches of violence and coercion that have singularly failed in the past, I urge everyone involved to step out of the illogic of escalation that has only ended in dead bodies, shattered lives and utter despair,” said Türk, who took office in October as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.Israel’s ambassador in Geneva accused the rights office of condemning a “legitimate response” by her country — instead of condemning “heinous terrorist attacks” against Jewish worshippers and Israeli civilians.The region is facing one of the deadliest periods of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in years. An Israeli military raid last week killed 10 Palestinians — most of them militants — but also a 61-year-old woman. A Palestinian gunman in a shooting attack a day later outside an east Jerusalem synagogue killed seven people, including a 14-year-old.Israel’s firebrand national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, responded by taking steps to demolish the home of the gunman and other Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem built without permits, and called for granting more gun licenses to Israelis.On Thursday, Israeli aircraft struck a rocket production workshop in the Gaza Strip, after Palestinian militants fired a rocket toward Israel. Over the weekend, a shooting in east Jerusalem by a 13-year-old Palestinian wounded two Israelis.“I fear that recent measures being taken by the government of Israel are only fueling further violations and abuses of human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law,” Türk said.Such laws prohibit “collective punishment,” including punitive forced evictions and demolition of homes, he said, warning that expanded licensing of firearms to civilians plus a rise in hateful rhetoric “can only lead to further violence and bloodshed.”Israel has long accused United Nations institutions of anti-Israel bias, and the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council — a 47-member-state body, which like the rights office is based in Geneva — has passed more country-specific resolutions involving Israel than any other single country. The office of Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, lashed out at the statement from Türk’s office, saying that he broke his silence over the attacks against Israeli civilians “not by condemning these acts of terrorism, not by offering his condolences to the victims’ families, not by even describing these attacks as acts of terrorism, but by solely condemning the State of Israel.”The statement from Türk’s office “does not even have the decency to describe the attacks last week for what they were, acts of Palestinian terrorism targeting the Jewish people,” Eilon Shahar said.“Its prejudice towards Israel means it chooses to turn a blind eye to the daily incitement of children by the Palestinian Authority and their support for terrorism,” she added. “This must end now.”

Spanish court: Amazon violated labor law with delivery app

Spanish court: Amazon violated labor law with delivery app

MADRID — A Spanish court has ruled that Amazon broke labor laws by forcing more than 2,000 delivery drivers to use an app that the company controlled for scheduling work and payments and requiring them to use their own cars and cellphones on the job.Amazon could not treat workers using its Flex app as self-employed because the e-commerce giant’s Spanish subsidiary “assumes the authority to make all decisions regarding the service, setting the conditions of execution and remuneration, and the circumstances of the day, time and duration” of labor, according to the Madrid labor court’s decision released Friday. Amazon stopped using the Flex app in Spain in 2021.Friday’s ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought by Spain’s social security body following a 2019 labor inspection at an Amazon facility. The government agency is seeking to recoup payments that it says Amazon should have made on behalf of the drivers. Amazon has long argued that Flex was an intermediary platform between freelance delivery workers and clients in Spain, rather than a delivery service in its own right. “We respect the court ruling, but we disagree and will be filing an appeal,” the company said in a statement, adding that it worked with a range of delivery companies. “Between 2018 and 2021, we also collaborated with some freelancers through the Amazon Flex program, which accounted for a small percentage of packages delivered in Spain,” it added.The court decision is the latest in a series of legal measures in Spain that are designed to stop e-commerce and delivery app companies from designating workers as self-employed when they have little control over their hours and earnings. Spain’s socialist coalition government in 2021 passed the “Riders Law,” which classified food delivery riders as employees of the digital platforms they work for.“This is another step forward for jurisprudence as a corrective mechanism for new ways of working” using apps, said Spain’s UGT union, which backed the lawsuit. The ruling referenced a Spanish Supreme Court decision from 2020, which found that Barcelona-based food delivery app Glovo was illegally treating “riders” as self-employed.Spain’s labor ministry fined Glovo 57 million euros ($62 million) last month for violating the same labor laws. The company has since signed a deal with the Madrid regional government to deliver food to vulnerable people in the city.

Iranian director freed on bail after going on hunger strike

Iranian director freed on bail after going on hunger strike

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi was released on bail Friday, two days after going on hunger strike to protest his imprisonment last summer, his supporters said.Panahi was arrested last July and later ordered to serve six years on charges of propagandizing against the government, a sentence dating back to 2011 that had never been enforced.He is among a number of Iranian artists, sports figures and other celebrities who have been detained after speaking out against the theocracy. Such arrests have become more frequent since nationwide protests broke out in September over the death of a young woman in police custody.Panahi, 62, had continued making award-winning films for over a decade despite being legally barred from travel and filmmaking. His latest film, “No Bears,” was released to widespread praise in September while he was behind bars, a week before the protests erupted.Yusef Moulai, Panahi’s lawyer, confirmed he had been released on bail and returned home. He said Panahi was in good health after two days without food. He declined to provide further information. The semiofficial ISNA news agency said several artists had welcomed him as he departed the notorious Evin Prison in the capital, Tehran. Panahi had issued a statement earlier this week saying he would refuse food or medicine starting Wednesday “in protest against the extra-legal and inhumane behavior of the judicial and security apparatus.”He was arrested in July when he went to the Tehran prosecutor’s office to inquire about the arrests of two other Iranian filmmakers. A judge later ruled that he must serve the earlier sentence.In “No Bears,” he plays a fictionalized version of himself while making a film along the Iran-Turkey border. The New York Times and The Associated Press named it one of the top 10 films of the year, and film critic Justin Chang of The Los Angeles Times called it 2022’s best movie.The protests erupted after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, died while being held by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code. The demonstrations rapidly escalated into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics, a major challenge to their four-decade rule.At least 527 protesters have been killed and more than 19,500 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the unrest. Iranian authorities have not released official figures on deaths or arrests.Several prominent Iranian filmmakers and other artists have expressed support for the protests and criticized the violent crackdown on dissent. Rights groups say authorities have used live ammunition, bird shot and tear gas to disperse protesters. Iran has executed four men on charges linked to the protests, and rights groups say at least 16 others have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings.Taraneh Alidoosti, the 38-year-old star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning 2016 film, “The Salesman,” was arrested in December after taking to social media to criticize the crackdown on protests. She was released three weeks later on bail.