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Oman bans audio chat app ‘Clubhouse’

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Oman has banned the audio-chat phone application Clubhouse. The popular mobile app, which features unfiltered and relatively unregulated conversations, recently came into wide use throughout the Middle East.

The sultanate’s telecommunications authorities confirmed they cut off access to the popular mobile app, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

Clubhouse is an audio-only smartphone application where users can join and speak in “rooms” with anyone else using the app. Anyone can start a room and then name other moderators to it, and the moderators of a room regulate who can speak and when. Clubhouse says it temporarily records conversations in case an incident is reported. Users cannot record the conversations through the app, nor can they find the rooms once the discussions are finished. These features make Clubhouse a less regulated social media platform than its Silicon Valley competitors.

At present, Clubhouse is invitation-only and also only available for iPhones.

Oman’s telecommunications regulator told The Associated Press that the state has “forbidden the app because it was operating without the proper license.” It us unclear whether the the ban is permanent. Omani users had trouble accessing Clubhouse in recent days and used virtual private networks to do so.

Clubhouse is used throughout the Middle East. In Turkey, its conversations on politics are popular among young people. This month, a Turkish diplomat fielded questions for hours in a room about Turkey’s policies in the Arab world, touching on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Kurdish-led autonomous region in neighboring northeast Syria.

Clubhouse is also popular in Iraq and there are many conversations in Iraqi Arabic rather than the formal Arabic used on television in Iraq and other countries. Palestinians, Syrians and others are also well represented.

Other countries in the region may follow Oman’s lead in curbing access. The Iraqi Parliament debated banning Clubhouse last month, the Kurdish news outlet in Iraq Rudaw reported.

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Bus accident in Peru; 20 were killed and 14 were injured

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Peru: At least 20 people were killed and 14 others injured in Peru after an interprovincial bus skidded and overturned in Sihuas province in the northern Ancash region, authorities said on Monday.

According to the Parobamba district municipality on its Facebook page, the “accident left 18 people dead on the spot, with two more dying while being transferred.”

The accident occurred at about 7:00 am local time on Monday in the Palo Seco area, when the bus, from the “Fama Tours SA” transport company, skidded and overturned.

It was returning from the areas of Huanchayllo and Parobamba and heading to Chimbote and Lima, after the passengers had voted in the general elections on Sunday, a local radio station reported.

Peru’s transport authorities said in a statement that it “has activated all intervention protocols to gather information related to the accident for determining appropriate measures.”

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‘The Science of Compliance’: Pastor Responds to Police Barricade of GraceLife Church

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“They are not interested in the science called virology. It is more like the science of compliance.”

Pastor Doug Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, took to his blog this morning to respond to the show of force against GraceLife Church in Canada.

Wilson, who became more widely known after his series of high profile debates with famed atheist Christopher Hitchens, in which Wilson offered stiff competition and a steady stream of witty comebacks.

Wilson’s piece, titled ‘Putting on Our Coates Coats’ confronts the disturbing news that spread across social media last week.
Coates recently served over a month in jail, only to be released and see his GraceLife Church building surrounded by fencing put up by the government. They were shut down, resulting in protests and an even larger police response.

Wilson argued that “ideas have consequences” and highlighted the differences between worldviews.

People act the way they do for reasons. As Richard Weaver taught us, ideas have consequences.

If you believe in God, if you think that the cosmos was created from nothing, if you believe that mankind was created in the image of God, then it is possible for you to believe that we have rights. And by rights, I do not mean privileges, but rather actual rights. These rights cannot be revoked by bureaucratic fiat, they cannot be abridged by executive order, and they cannot be adjusted or trimmed by the winners of elections, stolen or otherwise.

But if you don’t believe in God, if you believe that this material universe is a meaningless concourse of atoms, if you believe that life originated all by itself accidentally in a primordial goo-pond somewhere, and that we are simply simians that learned to shave, then it follows of necessity that we do not have any rights at all. We are nothing more than meat and bones and protoplasm.

Wilson said “the real travesty” occurs when followers of God go along with “the dictates of those who affirm the second scenario” and shouldn’t leave us surprised when a pastor like Coates stands up and “acts like a real pastor.”

He went on to argue that “flat refusal to cooperate” is the only way out.

“We have no business appealing to their god with any hope of getting the kind of determination that we would get if we were appealing to our God,” Wilson said.

“You can’t gather figs from thistles. You can’t get sweet water from a brackish spring. You know. You can’t order a Whopper at MacDonalds. You will not get Christian blessings from pagan gods.“
Siurces:faithwire

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