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Murdoch’s News Corp. cements ties with Saudi prince

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Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal has been described by Forbes as the worlds fifth richest man. He is known for his financial ties to the Bush family and the Carlyle Group and for owning a fair-sized stake in Disney and in Citigroup.

These connections were not enough to keep al-Waleed out of trouble, however, when he suggested immediately after September 11 that US policies might have contributed to the attack. Then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani refused to accept a $10 million disaster relief contribution from the prince — and Fox News applauded Giuliani for his stance.

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Since then, al-Waleed has formed multiple connections with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., the owner of Fox News. In September 2005, he acquired 5.46% of voting shares in News Corp., and just a few months later, when Fox ran coverage of riots in Paris under the banner “Muslim riots,” he allegedly phoned Murdoch and had him change the heading to “civil riots.”

Now the partnership is growing even closer, with News Corp. acquiring a 10% stake in al-Waleed’s media conglomerate, Rotana, along with an option for another 10%. Rotana, which already broadcasts Fox programming in the Middle East, is involved in producing films, television, recordings, and magazines, and it is thought that Murdoch is hoping to get a toehold in the growing Arab market through the deal.

Glenn Beck on the air in Saudi Arabia? Probably not anytime soon. But it remains to be seen what really will come of the partnership.


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Privacy rights may become next victim of killer pandemic

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Digital surveillance and smartphone technology may prove helpful in containing the coronavirus pandemic -- but some activists fear this could mean lasting harm to privacy and digital rights.

From China to Singapore to Israel, governments have ordered electronic monitoring of their citizens' movements in an effort to limit contagion. In Europe and the United States, technology firms have begun sharing "anonymized" smartphone data to better track the outbreak.

These moves have prompted soul-searching by privacy activists who acknowledge the need for technology to save lives while fretting over the potential for abuse.

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards honors staffer who died from COVID-19

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Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) offered a moving tribute to a member of his staff who died from COVID-19.

"On behalf of the first lady and my entire administration, it is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April, who succumbed to complications from COVID-19," he posted on Twitter, along with photos.

"She brightened everyone’s day with her smile and was an inspiration to everyone who met her," he continued.

"She lived her life to the fullest and improved the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities as a dedicated staff member in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs. April worked hard as an advocate for herself & other members of the disability community," he wrote.

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Washington state nurses share shocking stories from their war against coronavirus

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by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila

Nurses at one hospital in southeastern Washington state have alleged that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they were ordered by supervisors to use one protective mask per shift, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus.

At another hospital, just east of Seattle, nurses had to use face shields indefinitely.

At a third hospital, on Washington’s border with Oregon, nurses reported that respirators were expired. The hospital responded, the nurses said, by ordering staff to remove stickers showing that the respirators might be as much as three years out of date.

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