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   ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's prime minister has threatened drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shutting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption have been leaked in the past weeks, dealing him a major blow ahead of this month's local elections.
   In a late-night interview Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ATV station that his government is determined to stem the leaks he insists are being instigated by followers of an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric. He has accused supporters of Fethullah Gulen of infiltrating police and the judiciary and of engaging in "espionage," saying that the group even listened in on his encrypted telephone lines. The Gulen movement denies involvement.
   "We are determined on the issue, regardless of what the world may say," Erdogan said. "We won't allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others. Whatever steps need to be taken we will take them without wavering."
   Asked if the steps could include shutting those sites down, Erdogan replied: "That included. Because these people or institutions are (using social media) for all kinds of immorality, all kinds of espionage and spying."
   Erdogan this week acknowledged some of the leaked recordings, including two where he is heard meddling in a court case against a media proprietor and in a tender for the construction of warships. He has rejected as "fabrication" five recordings purported to be of Erdogan instructing his son to dispose of large amounts of money on the day that prosecutors and police carried out raids on the homes of three former ministers' sons as part of a corruption and bribery investigation.
   Erdogan, claiming to be a victim of a Gulen-orchestrated plot, has taken a series of steps to stall the corruption investigation, including removing hundreds of police officers and prosecutors and expanding government controls over the judiciary and the Internet. The new Internet restrictions sparked violent protests in Istanbul.
Published in National News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A man who confessed in an online video to killing a man in a drunken driving crash has been sentenced to six and a-half years in prison.

The sentence came at a hearing today in Columbus, Ohio, where Matthew Cordle apologized to the family of his victim, Vincent Canzani. Cordle said, "It should have been me that night, the guilty party, instead of an innocent man."

Canzani's daughter asked the judge to sentence Cordle to the maximum -- eight and a-half years -- saying, "My father got a death sentence and did nothing wrong." But the judge also read a letter from Canzani's ex-wife who said she believed he would not have wanted a maximum sentence. She said she thinks Cordle will keep his promise never to drink and drive again.

In the three and a-half-minute video posted in early September, Cordle admitted he killed a man and said he "made a mistake" when he decided to drive that night. At the hearing last month where he pleaded guilty, he told the judge that he drank so much, he was "blacked out" -- and that he had no recollection of the crash.

 
Published in National News
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — YouTube says more than 1 billion people are now visiting its online video site each month to watch everything from zany clips of cute kittens to sobering scenes of social unrest around the world.

The milestone announced Wednesday marks another step in YouTube's evolution from a quirky startup launched in 2005 to one of the most influential forces in today's media landscape.

YouTube crossed the 1 billion threshold five months after Facebook Inc. said its online social network had reached that figure for the first time.

The vast audience has given YouTube's owner, Google Inc., another lucrative channel for selling online ads beyond its dominant Internet search engine.

Google bought YouTube for $1.76 billion in 2006 when the video site had an estimated 50 million users worldwide.
Published in National News

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