The world of news is complex - and false stories and visuals are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’ editorial team spots the most popular hoaxes and misleading information every week to help you discern truth from falsehood . Here are the most shared claims of this week, of which none are legit.

Ethiopia

Claim: Late South African President Nelson Mandela stating the world is divided into “wise people and fools”- with the latter dividing themselves along racial lines

Facts: “Our world is not divided by race, color, gender, or religion. Our world is divided into wise people and fools.

And fools divide themselves by race, color, gender, or religion,” is the quote shared widely on social media and attributed to former South African President, Nelson Mandela.

Truth: As AFP Fact Check reports, the quote has been misattributed. The words were shared in a tweet on August 7, 2020, by Mohamad Safa, a permanent representative to the United Nations. After seeing the misattribution of his words, Safa shared a post saying: “I don't like those who always spread false information or pass our quotes under someone else name,” he said on Facebook. “I don't know who put Nelson Mandela's name on my words and shared it online.”

USA

Claim: During the second and last U.S. presidential debate of the 2020 election, Trump said about Coronavirus: “2.2 million people modeled out were expected to die.

We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease.

Facts: In his first line in the debate, U.S. President Donald Trump shared numbers showing the presumed expected death toll from the pandemic in the U.S being of 2.2 million people.

Truth: Trump re-used numbers found in a study made by the Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team in which they mention that: “In an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in G.B.

and 2.2 million in the U.S.”

Thus, 2.2 million people is the high toll projection and the death toll occurring if no preventative measures were taken, as AFP Fact Check explains. The U.S. imposed health measures such as lockdowns and social distancing, therefore this prediction is not accurate. As AFP Fact Check shares, John Hopkins University’s research shows that the U.S.

coronavirus death toll stands at more than 223,000, not 2.2 million.

USA

Claim: The Paris accord meant the U.S. “were going to have to spend trillions of dollars” and would have “taken away business”

Facts: U.S. President Donald Trump declared during the presidential debate against candidate Joe Biden that he made the U.S. leave the Paris accord by explaining: “We were going to have to spend trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly. ” He added: “They did a great disservice. They were going to take away our business.”

Truth: As AP reports, the Paris accord to fight climate change is “based on voluntary emission reductions. No nation was forced to do anything.”

FRANCE

Claim: The active solidarity income now exceeds the minimum wage

Facts: On October 17, French President Emmanuel Macron declared that the government will offer to give an “exceptional aid of €150” and an additional €100 per child, up to a limit of €450 in total to beneficiaries of the active solidarity income (RSA) following the COVID-19 crisis that pushed many households into poverty.

After this declaration, a post has been widely shared on social media saying: “It’s official the active solidarity income now exceeds the minimum wage, what’s the point of working ! Make kids and stay warm, it is more profitable!”.

Truth: According to the French Ministry of Health and the ATD Quart Monde association which “aims to eradicate poverty to allow everyone to live with equal dignity”, the difference is on average €700 between an active solidarity income and a minimum wage, once social benefits are taken into account, reports AFP Fact Check. In this sense, the active solidarity income does not exceed the minimum wage, even by adding the exceptional aid announced by Macron.

Australia/France

Claim: Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urged 'Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia' to leave the country

Facts: A speech attributed to Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard starts by saying: “IMMIGRANTS MUST ADAPT. Take it or leave it”, was shared on French nationalist Facebook groups.

Truth: On July 6, 2010, Gillard affirmed her intention to fight against illegal immigration and had mentioned the possible creation of a detention center for “boat people”. However, she never mentioned anything about muslims specifically or Islam. AFP Factuel reports that no trace of this speech by Julia Gillard was found.

United Kingdom

Claim: Coronavirus is no more lethal than seasonal flu

Facts: On October 13, London mayoral candidate David Kurten said in a video posted on Facebook: “The politicians and the media have a very, very poor understanding of science and mathematics and they’ve pursued and pushed a narrative that the coronavirus —Covid-19— is far, far worse and more dangerous than it actually is.

The reality is that it’s no worse than a bad flu season”.

Truth: According to information from the fact-checking agency Fullfact, Kurten's claim does not correspond to reality. According to data from Public Health England, on average 12,117 people have died in the country due to seasonal flu since 2015. These numbers range from a minimum of 3,966 deaths to a maximum of 22,087 deaths per season. With regard to deaths from coronavirus, the most recent data from the British government, published on October 19, show that there were 38,783 deaths in England caused by Covid-19. This figure does not include people who may have died from Covid-19 but did not enter the statistics because they didn’t take a test to confirm the infection, especially during the first months of the pandemic.

It is also good to have in mind that the number of deaths due to the coronavirus would certainly be bigger if social distancing measures were not being applied.

SPAIN

Claim: WHO confirmed that coronavirus is no more deadly than seasonal flu

Facts: Posts circulating on Facebook use a statement made by WHO Health Emergencies Programme director, Michael Ryan, to claim that “the World Health Organization (WHO) finally confirmed what we were saying months ago: coronavirus is no more deadly or dangerous than seasonal flu.” On October 5, Ryan stated during a meeting that “our current best estimates tell us that about 10% of the global population may have been infected by this virus”. The posts also claim: “The world population is approximately 7.8 million people, if 10% were infected, there are 780 million cases.

The global number of deaths currently attributed to Sars-Cov-2 infections is 1,061,539. This is an infection mortality rate of about 0.14%. In line with seasonal flu and forecasts from many experts around the world.”

Truth: According to information from the Spanish fact-checking agency Newtral, the calculation presented in the posts is incorrect, since the data released by WHO are provisional. “I used this percentage to illustrate the fact that most people are still susceptible to contagion,” said Ryan in a press conference held on October 12. According to WHO data, seasonal influenza is responsible for the deaths of 290.00 to 650.00 people annually. Meanwhile, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), between December 31, 2019, and October 19, 2020, 1,110,902 deaths from coronavirus were recorded.

BRAZIL

Claim: India sues China and charges $20 trillion for coronavirus damage

Facts: Facebook posts claim that the Indian government allegedly filed a lawsuit against China in the “International Court,” demanding payment of $20 trillion for the damage caused by coronavirus.

Truth: According to information from the Brazilian fact-checking agency Lupa, a consultation of the lawsuits filed with the International Court of Justice shows that there is no action in which India is suing China, either because of the Covid-19 pandemic or for any other reason.

PORTUGAL

Claim: 19-year-old boy is appointed minister in Rwanda

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that Rwanda President Paul Kagame has appointed a 19-year-old boy minister.

A collage featured in the posts shows on the right-hand side an image of Kagame and on the left-hand side a young man allegedly named Patrick Nkuriza. “Patrick NKURIZA, a 19-year-old boy, was appointed Minister of New Technologies and Development by Paul KAGAMÉ,” reads part of the caption of the posts.

Truth: A spokesman for the Rwandan government told AFP that the claim is false. According to the official website of the government of Rwanda, there is no New Technologies and Development Ministry in the country. The collage featured in the posts actually shows the image of President Kagame on the right-hand side, but the young man on the left-hand side is not Patrick Nkuriza, but Ramarni Wilfred, a british teenager who got famous in 2014 for having an IQ higher than Albert Einstein and Bill Gates.

LATIN AMERICA

Claim: Canada legalized zoophilia

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook say Canada has legalized sexual relations between humans and animals. “The world was shocked by the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to legalize zoophilia or sex with animals. What does world society expect 20 or 30 years from now?,” reads the caption of the posts.

Truth: According to the fact-checking service of the Peruvian newspaper La República, the origin of the rumor goes back to June 2016, when a man was sentenced to 16 years in prison for abusing two stepdaughters, but was eventually acquitted of a zoophilia charge, because, according to Canadian legislation at the time, the crime only occurs if the animal is penetrated, which was not the case.

In 2019, however, the Canadian Parliament enacted Law C-84, which amended the Criminal Code to include any sexual contact between animals and people as a crime of zoophilia.

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