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Twitter, as a private company and not the government, can choose what it does and does not publish. But whether or not the decision was wrong, it wasn't a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. "Twitter is not a state actor and the First Amendment applies only to state actors." So whether or not Twitter could violate the First Amendment, depends on whether or not it can be considered the government. "Both the state, the Trump White House, and the Biden team were asking Twitter, and Twitter was under no obligation to either oblige or refuse those requests," Kalir said.
COLLEGE PARK, Md., Dec 5 (Reuters) - Top European Union officials intend to complain loudly to their U.S. counterparts at a trade meeting on Monday about the bloc's electric vehicles being cut off from tax credits in U.S. President Joe Biden's signature climate law. "The Inflation Reduction Act will be part of the range of discussions on trade," a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said in a statement. The U.S. side was "committed to continuing to understand EU concerns" through a newly established task force, the spokesperson added. European and South Korean officials criticized the Inflation Act at the G20 Summit in Indonesia last month. French officials say they are hopeful an executive order from the White House could give European nations a break, without the need for seeking revisions from Congress - a move the White House wants to avoid.
read moreUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's top aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, said that it is the world that needs security guarantees from Russia, not the other way around. "Civilized world needs 'security guarantees' from barbaric intentions of post-Putin Russia," Podolyak said on Twitter on Sunday. "Someone wants to provide security guarantees to a terrorist and killer state?" "The only security guarantees we should focus on are essentially non-Russian," he said on his Twitter account. "After that, we are ready to sit down at the negotiation table and talk about security guarantees."
UAE president visits Qatar in sign of warming ties
  + stars: | 2022-12-05 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
DOHA, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) president arrived in Qatar on Monday on the first such visit since Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies ended a boycott of Doha nearly two years ago. Qatar is currently hosting soccer's World Cup,The visit "is another step towards strengthening Gulf solidarity and joint action," Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, said on Twitter. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt early last year ended a 3-1/2 year embargo of Qatar, but ties between Doha and Abu Dhabi have not warmed at the same pace as those with Riyadh and Cairo, which re-established diplomatic ties with Doha. UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan visited Doha twice as part of Abu Dhabi's push to manage regional differences. Abu Dhabi, like Manama, has not appointed an envoy to Doha, but restored travel and trade links between the UAE and Qatar.
The U.S. has been putting pressure on the Netherlands to block exports to China of high-tech semiconductor equipment. The Netherlands is home to ASML, one of the most important companies in the global semiconductor supply chain. Instead, it makes and sells $200 million extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines to semiconductor manufacturers like Taiwan's TSMC. ASML has not been able to ship an EUV machine to China since 2019 due to various Dutch export restrictions, according to a company spokesperson. According to a Reuters report from 2020, the Dutch government withdrew ASML's license to export its EUV machines to China after extensive lobbying from the U.S. government.
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the U.S. will not shrink from its unwavering support for Israel despite stark differences with Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu and concerns the Biden administration may have about potential members of his incoming right-wing government. Blinken said the Biden administration would engage with Netanyahu’s government based on its policies and not on personalities, including potential senior Cabinet ministers who have expressed vehement anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab views in the past. He said those would be detrimental to Israel’s long-term security or future as a Jewish democratic state. We will hold it to the mutual standards we have established in our relationship over the past seven decades,” Blinken said. He lauded the recent completion of a maritime border accord between Israel and Lebanon.
Russian forces in Ukraine are burning through ammunition faster than the country’s defense industry can replace it, U.S. National Intelligence Director Avril Haines said Saturday. Asked how fast Russia was using up ammunition, Haines said: “I don’t think I can give you precise numbers in this forum. Echoing previous statements from Biden administration officials, Haines said that Russia was using up precision munitions even faster than its conventional ammunition. The Biden administration previously said Russia has turned to North Korea to secure more supplies of artillery ammunition. Russian President Vladimir Putin was “surprised” at his military’s disappointing performance after its invasion of Ukraine in February, according to Haines.
The answer is simple, according to more than a dozen Washington insiders, FTX employees, and crypto industry observers who spoke with Insider. I don't think anyone believed that he was going to fund candidates who were, quote unquote, committed to ending pandemics who were also hostile to the crypto industry." Alex Wong/Getty ImagesRebuffed by the SEC, Bankman-Fried turned his attention to Congress. "It's not that he was welcoming regulation," says the senior figure in the crypto industry who attended meetings with Bankman-Fried. But while Bankman-Fried was busy wooing Washington, FTX was about to become Exhibit A in the case for more effective oversight of the crypto industry.
Former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard left the Democratic Party before campaign with far-right Republicans. "Nope," Sanders said when Insider asked if he'd like to talk about former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an early supporter of his 2016 presidential campaign. "I'm not surprised," said Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, another former Armed Services Committee colleague of Gabbard's. Hawaii's two Democratic senators — Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz — both declined to speculate about what may be driving Gabbard's political movement, despite serving with her in the Hawaii delegation. "I think she's home," Hirono said repeatedly when asked what she thought had happened, referring to Gabbard's political home.
DUBAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Iran on Sunday executed four men convicted of cooperating with Israel's spy agency Mossad, Iranian state media reported. The Islamic Republic has long accused arch-enemy Israel of carrying out covert operations on its soil. Tehran has recently accused Israeli and Western intelligence services of plotting a civil war in Iran, which is now gripped by some of the biggest anti-government protests since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranian state media reported on Wednesday that the country's Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence handed out to the four men "for the crime of cooperating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and for kidnapping". Tasnim news agency reported that the detainees had been arrested in June - before the current unrest sweeping the country - following cooperation between the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.
Tweets with slurs, antisemitic, and racist content have skyrocketed since Elon Musk's takeover. Federal officials have warned that Twitter posts will translate to real-world acts of violence. Musk claims the total number of impressions on tweets containing hate speech are down. The New York Times reported antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the first two weeks while accounts supporting ISIS came roaring back. Researchers have consistently found that online rhetoric feeds real-world behavior, with hate speech online being linked to increases in violence toward minorities, "including mass shootings, lynchings, and ethnic cleansing," according to the nonpartisan think tank Council for Foreign Relations.
Madrid-based human rights campaigner Safeguard Defenders says it found evidence China was operating 48 additional police stations abroad since the group first revealed the existence of 54 such stations in September. When approached by CNN last month about Safeguard Defenders’ original allegations, China’s foreign affairs ministry said the overseas stations were staffed by volunteers. However, the organization’s latest report claims one police network it examined had hired 135 people for its first 21 stations. The organization also sourced a three-year contract for a worker hired at an overseas station in Stockholm. The NGO determines Italy has hosted 11 Chinese police stations, including in Venice and in Prato, near Florence.
The Saudi government did not respond to requests for comment on Xi's visit and its agenda. It is China's top oil supplier, although fellow OPEC+ producer Russia has increased its Chinese market share with lower-priced fuel. The Chinese delegation is expected to sign dozens of agreements with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states covering energy, security and investments, diplomats have told Reuters. U.S. officials have declined to comment when asked about Saudi-China bilateral relations ahead of Xi's visit. "The relationships with China pale versus those with the United States in terms of both complexity and intimacy," he said.
Nearly two months after President Joe Biden vowed "there will be consequences" for Saudi Arabia’s actions to cut oil production, the U.S. is not actively considering any significant retaliatory actions against the kingdom, according to two U.S. officials. U.S. and Saudi relations hit a low point after Saudi Arabia pushed OPEC members to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day at their Oct. 6 meeting. Officials, however, also anticipate calls for imposing a cost on Saudi Arabia to ramp back up if OPEC again cuts oil production. The Biden administration's about-face on the oil issue is not the first time it has failed to follow through on a threat to Saudi Arabia. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Biden vowed to treat Saudi Arabia as a "pariah" state in response to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Mexico, U.S. plan pitch by early 2023 to lure firms from abroad
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
[1/2] Mexico's economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro smiles during an event with business association representatives to discuss targets for "Black Friday" shopping season, in Mexico City, Mexico, October 19, 2022. REUTERS/Edgard GarridoMEXICO CITY, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Mexican Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Friday agreed to set out a plan by early 2023 for the relocation of companies from Asia to North America, Mexico's government said. On Thursday, Buenrostro discussed efforts to resolve a bilateral spat over Mexico's energy policies with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Tai also stressed the importance of avoiding disruptions in U.S. corn exports to Mexico. Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom Editing by Dave Graham and Cynthia OstermanOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
SEOUL, Dec 3 (Reuters) - A former South Korean national security advisor was arrested on Saturday over his suspected manipulation of a 2020 case where a fisheries official was killed at sea by North Korean troops. The incumbent President Yoon Suk-yeol's government has reversed that interpretation, saying there was no evidence of a defection attempt. Prosecutors also launched an investigation into Lee's death and a 2019 case in which two North Korean fishermen were deported to the isolated country against their will. Yoon's ruling People Power party said Moon and his aides "not only let Lee die but killed his honour by claiming his defection while treading on eggshells around (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un's regime." He criticised Moon for demanding evidence to show why his brother did not defect, without presenting any proof to back his own claim.
FBI Director Chris Wray said on Friday that he has national security concerns about TikTok, per AP News. Wray warned that China could use TikTok to collect user data for espionage operations, AP News said. He added that China could collect users' data for traditional espionage operations, the news agency reported. TikTok said in June that it started routing American users' data via US-based servers owned by Oracle, per The Verge. However, BuzzFeed News reported that US user data was still being repeatedly accessed from China.
Pentagon debuts its new stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.cnbc.com   time to read: +7 min
The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years. Both the Air Force and Northrop also point to the Raider's relatively quick development: The bomber went from contract award to debut in seven years. And we will build the bomber force in numbers suited to the strategic environment ahead," Austin said. The B-21 Raider, which takes its name from the 1942 Doolittle Raid over Tokyo, will be slightly smaller than the B-2 to increase its range, Warden said. Northrop Grumman has also incorporated maintenance lessons learned from the B-2, Warden said.
TEGUCIGALPA, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The government of Honduras announced on Saturday that it will suspend some constitutional rights in areas of two main cities controlled by criminal groups. The cities have been struggling with a so-called "war tax", in which gangs offer protection or say that those who pay up will not be killed. The gangs have torched buses and killed drivers who did not pay the fee, prompting businesses and people to pay out of fear. The measure, which is expected to be endorsed by the council of ministers, is part of President Xiomara Castro's plan to deal with violent gangs. Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Edited by Noé Torres and Sandra MalerOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The vote came about after California passed a law last year requiring law enforcement departments to seek approval for use of military-style equipment. We live in a time when unthinkable mass violence is becoming more commonplace," San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in the statement. "We need the option to be able to save lives in the event we have that type of tragedy in our city.”Police Chief William Scott speaks during a news conference in San Francisco in 2019. “We run a very serious risk of misuse by police of a robot to inflict deadly force,” he said. Preston said he hoped that outrage following the first vote in San Francisco would sway more of his fellow board members to vote against the measure Tuesday.
But Wray said the FBI continues to be concerned about Chinese government “talent programs” that sometimes pay American professors through secret relationships. “At the same time, you also stated, as you’ve just done, that this effort isn’t about the Chinese people or Chinese Americans. But of course, Chinese Americans are part of the U.S. society that you believe needs to be mobilized against China. He also returned to talking about Chinese government operations that have targeted Chinese Americans. “We view Chinese Americans here as being with us.
NEW YORK, Dec 2 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed an indictment against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co [RIC:RIC:HWT.UL], formally ending a criminal sanctions case that strained U.S.-China relations. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn dismissed Meng's indictment with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought again. A lawyer for Meng and a spokeswoman for Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment. On the day Donnelly approved that agreement, Meng flew home to Shenzhen. On Nov. 25, the Biden administration banned approvals of new telecommunications equipment from Huawei and China's ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) because they posed an "unacceptable risk" to national security.
If security forces abandon the prisons and refugee camps, thousands of ISIS fighters could be released into Syria and threaten the region and the West, say U.S. military officials. Syrian Kurdish Asayish security forces inspect tents at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp on Aug. 28, during a security campaign by the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS "sleeper cells" in the camp. Three U.S. military officials say, however, that patrols with the SDF continued at a reduced rate and without aggressive counter-ISIS missions. So far, the Syrian rebels and the U.S. military say they have not seen signs of de-escalation from the Turks. But if Turkish military operations escalate, say U.S. officials, more SDF fighters will move toward the border, leaving detention facilities and refugee camps with inadequate security, say U.S. officials.
Each new B-21 is pegged at roughly $729.25 million, and the U.S. Air Force expects to procure at least 100 of them. Factoring in inflation, it’s half the price of the exorbitantly expensive B-2 stealth bomber it’s meant to replace. Factoring in inflation, it’s half the price of the exorbitantly expensive B-2 stealth bomber it’s meant to replace. (China’s military grasps the benefit of long-range stealth bombers in the Pacific context and is developing its own Raider-like stealth bomber intended to expand its strike range.) That isn’t to say the Raider program should be written a blank check.
Polish Ambassador to the EU Andrzej Sados on Friday told reporters Poland had backed the EU deal, which included a mechanism to keep the oil price cap at least 5% below the market rate. A spokesperson for the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency and oversees EU countries' negotiations, said it had launched the written procedure for all 27 EU countries to formally greenlight the deal, following Poland's approval. The G7 price cap will allow non-EU countries to continue importing seaborne Russian crude oil, but it will prohibit shipping, insurance and re-insurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for less than the price cap. The White House on Friday welcomed news that the EU was "coming together" on the oil price cap and said it should limit Russian revenues. The initial G7 proposal last week was for a price cap of $65-$70 per barrel with no adjustment mechanism.
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