1 Isis rebels declare ‘caliphate’ (BBC) Islamist militant group Isis has said it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, on the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria. It also proclaimed the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as caliph and “leader for Muslims everywhere”. Setting up a caliphate ruled by the strict Islamic law has long been a goal of many jihadists.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s army continued an offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from the Isis-led rebels. The city was seized by the insurgents on 11 June as they swept across large parts of northern-western Iraq. In a separate development, Israel called for the creation of an independent Kurdish state in response to the gain made by the Sunni rebels in Iraq.
Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) announced the establishment of the caliphate in an audio recording posted on the internet. It said the Islamic state would extend from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group said, would become the leader of the state and would be known as “Caliph Ibrahim”.
In the recording, Isis also said that from now on it would be known simply as “the Islamic State”. On Sunday, Iraqi government jets struck at rebel positions and clashes broke out in various parts of Tikrit, witnesses and officials said.
2 Honda’s first business jet (Straits Times) Honda’s first business jet has logged its maiden flight ahead of its expected certification and delivery next year, the Japanese company said.
The 84-minute flight of the first production HondaJet took place on Friday near the world headquarters of Honda Aircraft, the aviation subsidiary of the automobile giant, in Greensboro in the US state of North Carolina, the statement said.
“With this first flight, the HondaJet programme has entered the next exciting phase as we prepare for delivery,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said. The HondaJet is currently offered for sale in North America and Europe through the HondaJet dealer network, the company said.
3 Anger over Facebook secret study (Colin Daileda/Mashable, Sydney Morning Herald) A recently published study that manipulated Facebook News Feeds has sparked outrage among users who are criticising the ethics behind the experiment, which was conducted by Facebook and several universities.
Researchers tweaked the feeds of 689,003 users to show a disproportionate number of positive or negative statuses for one week in January 2012. They found that the emotions of others on your News Feed can affect your mood, and published the results in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). However, the researchers did not inform users that they were manipulating News Feeds, and many questioned the study’s ethics.
Legally, Facebook is allowed to do this. As soon as users sign up for the social network, they agree to give up their data for analysis, testing and research. In this case, however, it’s not the research people are criticising — it’s the manipulation of data without users’ prior consent or knowledge.