Minister to quit politics
Minister of Finance Sigrid Kaag yesterday said she would leave politics after the upcoming elections to relieve her family of the burden of threats made to her. “My work has been a heavy burden for my husband and my children,” Kaag said in an interview with the Trouw newspaper. “I’m not quitting because my security is an issue for me. But it is for them. I would like it for them if things would quieten down.” On a recent local TV program Kaag’s two daughters talked about their concerns for their mother because of threats made to her, causing the minister visible emotion when she was confronted with the recording. Kaag’s decision to leave comes three days after Prime Minister Mark Rutte unexpectedly announced he would quit politics once a new government is formed.
Delhi faces water shortage
The Delhi government said supplies of drinking water would fall by one-quarter yesterday and today, because three treatment plants have been flooded, as the Yamuna River overflowed after incessant rain. Delhi’s river is at its highest level in 45 years after unusually heavy downpours in neighboring states like Haryana. The city of 20 million people also saw heavy rain over the weekend with flooding in low-lying communities that forced hundreds of people to seek shelter in relief camps. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote on Twitter that the water level in the river could peak later yesterday and that people were being evacuated from flooded areas. Delhi has recorded 112 percent above-average rainfall, the Meteorological Department said.
Kim has foldable phone
When North Korean leader Kim Jong-um guided the launch of his country’s newest and most powerful ballistic missile on Wednesday, a shiny gadget lay on his table: a foldable smartphone. Photographs released by Rodong Sinmun yesterday showed what looked like a silver foldable handset in black leather casing, strikingly similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip devices or China’s Huawei Pocket S phones. The picture from the launch of the solid-fuel Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile instantly unleashed speculation about where the phone came from. “If the object in the photo is a foldable phone, it is highly likely that it was secretly smuggled to North Korea via China,” South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported. The nation is banned under UN sanctions from importing or exporting electronic devices.
Extradition to Turkey blocked
The Supreme Court yesterday said it was blocking the extradition of two people wanted by Turkey for involvement in the so-called Gulen movement, a key demand by Ankara to ratify Stockholm’s NATO membership. The ruling comes days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced he was ready to allow Sweden to join the alliance. However, on Wednesday, Erdogan said Turkey would not be able to ratify Sweden’s NATO candidacy until at least October, when the Turkish parliament reopens after its summer break. The two cases concerned individuals wanted for being members of the Gulen movement, which Erdogan blamed for masterminding a bloody coup bid in July 2016. The court said the evidence provided by Turkey was that they had downloaded an app for encrypted communication used by members of a “terrorist” group. The court said downloading the app would not by itself be enough to convict someone of participating in a terrorist organization under Swedish law.
Apps and Web sites that use artificial intelligence (AI) to undress women in photos are soaring in popularity, researchers said. In September alone, 24 million people visited undressing Web sites, the social network analysis company Graphika said. Many of these undressing, or “nudify,” services use popular social networks for marketing, Graphika said. For instance, since the beginning of this year, the number of links advertising undressing apps increased more than 2,400 percent on social media, including on X and Reddit, the researchers said. The services use AI to recreate an image so that the person is nude. Many of the services only
IN ABSOLUTE CONTROL: About 80 percent of Russians approve of Putin, a survey shows, but that might be misleading due to his intolerance to criticism Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday moved to prolong his repressive and unyielding grip on Russia for at least another six years, announcing his candidacy in the presidential election in March that he is all but certain to win. Putin still commands wide support after nearly a quarter-century in power, despite starting an immensely costly war in Ukraine that has taken thousands of his people’s lives, provoked repeated attacks inside Russia — including one on the Kremlin itself — and corroded its aura of invincibility. A short-lived rebellion in June by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin raised widespread speculation that Putin could be
TAKING STOCK: It was not yet clear how damaging the espionage, dating to 1981, has been, as authorities are still assessing the situation, the State Department said A former US ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested and charged with spying for Cuba over a 40-year span, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday, detailing a shock betrayal by a suspect who called the US “the enemy.” US Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the allegations against Victor Manuel Rocha, a onetime member of the White House’s National Security Council now accused of using his positions within the government to support Cuba’s “clandestine intelligence-gathering mission” against the US. The charges against Rocha, 73, expose “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign
As pro-EU parties prepare to take power in Poland, a new star has shot to fame: a parliament speaker whose wit has drawn thousands of new followers to the chamber’s social media channels. Polish Marshal of the Sejm Szymon Holownia is no stranger to a wide audience as a former TV personality who notably hosted the Polish edition of the Got Talent! franchise. The 47-year-old left show business for politics four years ago, and now enjoys the spotlight chairing plenary proceedings following his success in the Oct. 15 parliamentary elections. “Ladies and gentlemen, stock up on popcorn ... because I suspect there will