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Ottawa councillor denies sending inappropriate messages on Twitter

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OTTAWA —
Embattled Ottawa Coun. Rick Chiarelli is facing criticism again, after a woman in Chicago says she received sexually suggestive messages from the councillor’s official Twitter account.

Chiarelli’s office tells CTV News Ottawa his Twitter account was hacked and he did not send the direct messages on the social media site.

There are at least three women sharing similar messages allegedly from Chiarelli’s Twitter account referencing a trip to Spain, one of them including mentions of topless beaches. The messages were sent over the span of several days.

The first woman to go public was Cass Kulhanek, a comedian from Chicago.

Kulhanek says she has no connection to Ottawa or the veteran College Ward councillor, but says she received a message from Chiarelli’s account stating he was a politician and referencing media work she could do in Europe.

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Kulhanek tweeted the images publicly on Thursday afternoon. The direct messages reference topless sunbathing, and a person saying, “I want fun! Not just work.”

“I mean I thought it was peculiar that he immediately made a note of wanting to go to places that had topless beaches, or topless sunbathing, because that’s not my initial thought when I think about Europe,” said Kulhanek in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.

“I think about lots of other things first. He immediately started talking about topless sunbathing and how his staffer didn’t want to go places that had topless sunbathing or had night life, late dinners, things like that. So it seemed kind of clear from the start there were ulterior motives or something.”

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Kulhanek says she can’t prove the messages came from the councillor, but said she decided to share them in support of other women who have previously alleged the Councillor used inappropriate and/or sexual harassing language in the workplace.

Two other women, including at least one from Ottawa, shared similar messages from Chiarelli’s account.

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In a statement to CTV News Ottawa Thursday evening, Chiarelli’s office said the councillor’s Twitter account was hacked.

“Please note that it appears that we have experienced a breach in our Twitter access and our passwords are being updated as we speak. Our staff is largely responsible for the management of our Social Media accounts including Twitter, Facebook as well as our website,” said the statement from Chantal Lebel, director of Strategic Affairs and Communications in Chiarelli’s office.

“Our office has conducted an analysis of the recent usage of our Social Media channels mainly accessed through a third-party app as well as a review of the alleged messages which seem to have been copy pasted to multiple users. We have determined the writing pattern and poor grammar to be inconsistent with that of the Councillor’s. As such we have proceeded to a review of our security protocols.”

Chiraelli’s office says it has reached out to Twitter to determine the source of the unauthorized access to his account.

The statement also addressed the contents of the direct messages on Twitter.

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“Coun. Chiarelli currently does not have the authority to hire/fire staff, contractors/vendors or volunteers nor does he have oversight of the Ward 8 Operating Budget until the end of the term. He is also restricted from incurring any travel-related expenses and as per the Dec 2020 report by the City Clerk it was anticipated that there would be no reason for the Ward 8 Councillor, his staff to travel given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic nor that any travel would be authorized,” said the statement.

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“Additionally, Coun. Chiarelli has not travelled since undergoing a quadruple bypass open-heart surgery in December of 2019 nor does he have any plans to travel in the near future with the recent passing of his father-in-law, his daughter’s upcoming wedding in a few weeks and the birth of his first grandchild later this fall.”

Last year, Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner ruled twice that Chiarelli breached sections of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council for alleged improper conduct involving two former staff members and three women applying for jobs in his office. Chiarelli has denied all allegations relating to that matter.

hey @ottawacity it sure seems like councilman @RickChiarelli is trying to take me on a vaguely sexual trip to Europe using state funds ??? pic.twitter.com/vjKXwsAfpP

— cass city (@HeavenlyGrandpa) September 2, 2021

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Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.

If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.

Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.

For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021

But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.

A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.

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Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021

Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021

Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.

In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”

He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.

Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.

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The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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