Recent Updates & News
Site Changes, May 2019:
Religious Group News, April 2019:
- Stuff reports that "Another 18 institutional investors, including a huge British pension fund, have joined a Kiwi-led push to pressure social media companies to strengthen content controls in the wake of the Christchurch shootings." Stuff also reports "A senior Google executive has thrown his support behind globally consistent privacy legislation as he acknowledged public opinion had soured after videos of the Christchurch terrorist attack overwhelmed the digital behemoths."
Religious Group News, March 2019:
- On Friday 15 March 2019, 50 people were killed in well-planned attacks at two Muslim mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The victims were at Friday prayers and completely defenceless. A 28 year old Australian with extreme white supremacist beliefs has been arrested and charged with murder. Police and security services in New Zealand and Australia had no information about him and he was on no watch lists.
- Following the Christchurch shootings New Zealand musician Neil Finn has announced he will no longer use social media. The NZ Herald reports: "Out of respect for the grieving families of Christchurch and in consideration of their vast public tragedy I will no longer take part in social media," he posted. "These platforms have enabled the spread of hateful ideology and I will not participate anymore." This is relevant to the NZ Cult List because of the way ideologies are spread, and how people can be radicalised. Coincidentally the featured topic for this month is Techniques of mind control.
- Update: More pressure is coming on social media, with Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees all asking "social media giants to "urgently discuss" a solution to the problem of videos such as live footage of the Christchurch shootings being upload and shared on their platforms" – as reported by Stuff. Meanwhile, Lotto, Westpac, TSB and Ford New Zealand have cancelled their social media advertising, ASB and Burger King are "believed to be reconsidering their advertising spend", and BNZ has suspended its advertising. Read more on Stuff here and here.
- Update: The NZ Herald reports Kiwisaver fund manager Milford Asset Management sold its $14 million Facebook shares the Monday after the shootings, and other funds are also putting pressure on social media to shape up.
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund, ACC, the Government Superannuation Fund Authority, the National Provident Fund, and Kiwi Wealth put out a joint statement late Wednesday saying the social media companies should "fulfil their duty of care to prevent harm to their users and to society".
Meanwhile, Facebook appears to be blaming anyone and anything else, including users and the media.
- Update: The New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has slammed Facebook executives for their lack of response. The NZ Herald reports that he wrote to Facebook executives one week after the shootings:
It would be very difficult for you and your colleagues to overestimate the growing frustration and anger here at Facebook's facilitation of and inability to mitigate the deep, deep pain and harm from the live-streamed massacre of our colleagues, family members and countrymen broadcast over your network.
Your silence is an insult to our grief.
The Herald continues: Edwards says sharing the clip is an "egregious" violation of the victim's [sic] privacy, in violation of NZ's Privacy Act.
- Major contractor Downer Group has been found in Wellington to be using dowsing to try to find underground water pipes. Dowsing has been thoroughly discredited, so it's quite astounding that anyone is using it, let alone such a large company as Downer Group. Stuff reports: However Wellington City Council spokeswoman Vic Barton-Chapple said "there is no additional cost to the customer" for the service. Maybe Wellington City Council hasn't heard that time is money. Read more in this Stuff article.
Site Changes, March 2019:
- New Books
- Updated Listings
Site Changes, February 2019:
- New Listings
- Updated Listings
Religious Group News, December 2018:
- Maori TV has screened Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, a 2015 documentary featuring Mark "Marty" Rathbun (former senior executive of the Church of Scientology, Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center), Mike Rinder (Australian former senior executive of the Church of Scientology International and the Sea Organization based in the United States, Executive Director of Office of Special Affairs), and others. They explain just how bad Scientology is.
- The Orthodox Church in Ukraine has split from Russia, forming a new denomination (AP News).
Site Changes, December 2018:
Religious Group News, November 2018:
The NZ Herald has published (Tuesday 6 November 2018) an editorial about the writer's perceived need to change New Zealand's abortion laws. Once again the unborn children which face the end of their lives are given no consideration:
The earlier the abortion, the easier and quicker it is for woman (sic) and health practitioners.
This is a horribly selfish view of something involving the death of human life, and reduces the value of life to mere convenience. As Ken Ham has pointed out, abortion "is really child sacrifice to the god of self."
One option is to repeal all specific law on abortion and make it subject to the same regulations as any other health treatment.
Once again, the Big Lie. (See Karl du Fresne's article below.) Abortion is not merely a health treatment. Abortion delivers death.
Karl du Fresne writing on Stuff highlights some of the inconsistencies in the position and arguments used by those who would kill unborn children. He writes:
The Big Lie, which you can expect to hear repeated endlessly, is that abortion is a health issue. This is now a feminist article of faith. But no amount of repeating makes it true, because pregnancy and childbirth are not illnesses or disorders, and it's impossible to imagine anything less healthy for the unborn child than to have its life terminated.
Indeed, abortion is fatally unhealthy for unborn babies. When did so many New Zealanders become so callous about life? He finishes:
Journalist Alison Mau gave an early example of the fatuous arguments likely to be deployed when, in a one-sided panel discussion on Radio New Zealand, she proposed that men should be required to get permission from certifying consultants before getting prostate checks, as women seeking an abortion have to do.
This reduced the whole issue to a puerile game of gender tit-for-tat. It got her a cheap laugh, but the nature and purpose of the two procedures are fundamentally different. Prostate checks are about identifying and treating a potentially fatal disease. Their purpose is to save life.
But pregnancy is not a disease, a foetus is not a tumour, and the consequence of an abortion is that life is extinguished, not saved. If a high-profile journalist like Mau can't grasp that crucial difference, we're in bigger trouble than I thought.
Alison Mau (who we note has a history of making poor choices) is not the only columnist to compare abortions to prostate checks. This underlines the problem that those in favour of abortion are promoting an ideology, and pushing an agenda. They don't have a well thought-out position, and it's not a position that for a moment considers the well-being of the unborn child.
Site Changes, November 2018:
- New Listings
- Updated Listings
- New Movies