Merkel pushes Brexit talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday urged Britain to quickly launch Brexit talks with the EU after Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a harsh election setback. “We are ready for the negotiations. We want to do it quickly, respecting the calendar,” Merkel said during a visit to Mexico. “We were waiting for the election in Britain, but in the next few days, these talks will begin. We will defend the interests of the 27 member states, and Britain will defend its own interests,” she told a news conference. “At the same time, we say that we want to remain a good partner to Britain. Britain is part of Europe, even if it will no longer be part of the European Union.”
Senator uses salty slogans
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday used salty language to express her frustration with Washington politics. “If we are not helping people, we should go the fuck home,” the Democrat declared in a speech to activists. “And that should be our North Star. That should be our framing principle of what we are doing in public service.” It is rare for members of Congress to swear in public, but it is not the first time for Gillibrand. The 50-year-old New Yorker cursed several times in her 2014 book and used the f-word in a recent magazine interview. She faces re-election for her Senate seat next year and is also among several Democrats who could run for president in 2020. Gillibrand’s fiery language prompted cheers and applause from those gathered for the Personal Democracy Forum, a New York City conference of political activists and technology enthusiasts. She also lashed out at President Donald Trump for failing to follow through on promises to improve healthcare and the tax system for working families. “Has he kept any of his promises?” she asked. “No. Fuck no.”
Opposition files new cases
Opposition lawmakers on Friday filed fresh court cases against planned crisis reforms, raising pressure on the government in a deadly political struggle after a similar challenge by a senior official. The opposition filed a case with prosecutors alleging that the government, judges and electoral officials were conspiring “to violently change the constitution,” lawmaker Tomas Guanipa said. The move came after Attorney General Luisa Ortega on Thursday mounted a separate challenge in the Supreme Court against President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to rewrite the constitution. Various opponents of Maduro also went to the court on Friday to try to add their names to the list of plaintiffs in that lawsuit, but found the tribunal closed and blocked by riot police vans.
Seven arrested for attacks
State television is reporting that authorities have arrested seven suspects for supporting the Islamic State-claimed dual attacks that killed 17 people in Tehran. The state TV’s Web site iribnews.com quotes Alborz Province Chief Justice Ahmad Fazelian as saying: “These agents who were supporters of the two terrorist groups and had full coordination with them were arrested and they were delivered to Tehran’s judicial and security authorities.” The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for dual attacks on Wednesday on Iran’s parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Iranian authorities on Thursday said the assailants were Iranian nationals and they have arrested six suspects, including one woman, since the attacks. More than 40 people were wounded in the attack.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting