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Gawker settles Hulk Hogan privacy case for $31m

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The defunct US news website Gawker has settled a lawsuit won by retired US professional wrestler Hulk Hogan for $31m (£25m).

The privacy case forced Gawker to declare bankruptcy earlier this year, after a jury awarded Mr Hogan $140m over a leaked sex tape.

Mr Hogan’s legal bill was paid by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who said he wanted to curb Gawker’s “bullying”.

Gawker shut down in August following the judgement.

The website, launched in the early 2000s, was known for its acerbic tone and aggressive coverage of celebrities.

The case involved a video posted by Gawker in 2012 after Mr Hogan was secretly recorded having sex with his friend’s wife.

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton arrives in a courtroom in St. Petersburg, March 2016

The settlement was announced on Wednesday in a blog post by Gawker founder Nick Denton, who called the conclusion of the case “a hard peace”.

He said the company and staff were confident the appeals process would reduce the judgement against Gawker, but that “all-out legal war would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight.”

Mr Denton also said that as part of the settlement, three “true stories ” would be “removed from the web”.

Press freedom

Mr Thiel co-founded PayPal and was an early stakeholder in Facebook.

In a New York Times article in August explaining why he had funded the case, he said his own privacy had been violated when Gawker outed him as a gay man in 2007.

Peter Thiel

Campaign group Reporters without Borders, however, criticised Mr Thiel’s “secret” involvement in the case, calling it a “serious threat” to press freedom.

As part of the settlement deal, two other cases against Gawker journalists were also dropped, Mr Denton said in his blog post.

He said it was “a settlement that allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation.”

Mr Denton, who was also held liable along with the journalist who wrote the article, filed for personal bankruptcy following the $140m judgement.

Gawker media also filed for bankruptcy, and shuttered the long-running blog Gawker.com in August.

Its sister sites on the media network – including popular special interest sites Deadspin, Polygon and Jezebel – were acquired by Univision, and continue to operate.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Israel election: Netanyahu, Gantz battle too close

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Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.

An official result was still hours, perhaps days off. But with more than 63 percent of votes counted, theis  Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc was, as expected, more or less even with Gantz’s center-left.

With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed.

The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

Lieberman has been pushing for a unity government comprised of the biggest parties. He declined to back Netanyahu’s bid to form a narrow right-wing and religious coalition after an April election, bringing about Tuesday’s unprecedented repeat vote.

Addressing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, sipped water frequently and spoke hoarsely. He made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he would await final results.

His dead-of-night appearance was a far cry from his triumphant – and in the end premature – declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.

Gantz was more upbeat, telling a rally of his Blue and White party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work toward forming of a unity government.

Reuters

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Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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