Tag Archives: political

Joe Biden’s Inauguration: DIA New Zealand deploys counter-terror team online | Instant News


A National Guard soldier stands at a roadblock outside the Capitol in Washington DC as security is stepped up ahead of the inauguration ceremony of US President-elect Joe Biden. Photo / AP

The warning of acts of political violence in the United States has prompted New Zealand authorities to deploy an online counter-terrorism team.

The Department of Home Affairs assigned staff to monitor online platforms before, during and immediately after Joe Biden’s Presidential inauguration.

Warnings from US law enforcement about the increased risk of domestic terrorism or acts of violence in America prompted the move.

Concerns arose after a crowd supporting defeated President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol two weeks ago.

Jared Mullen, DIA’s director of digital security, said a staff of specialists was ready to detect and respond to content that could harm New Zealanders.

“This includes potentially illegal content, such as videos or images that clearly promote terrorism or extreme violence.”

A protester releases smoke grenades in front of the US Capitol building during the January 6 attack.  Photo / Bloomberg via Getty Images
A protester releases smoke grenades in front of the US Capitol building during the January 6 attack. Photo / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The counter terrorism monitoring team involved staff working in shifts to monitor the situation until at least Friday afternoon.

“Our first priority is to limit the availability of hazardous or potentially illegal materials, especially in cases where the spread of the virus poses a high public risk,” said Mullen.

“After this period, DIA will reassess the need for further monitoring.”

President Donald Trump addresses members of the media while departing from the White House on January 12.  Photo / Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Donald Trump addresses members of the media while departing from the White House on January 12. Photo / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Supporting security precautions in New Zealand in response to an incident in Washington DC is an extraordinary step, said University of Otago political scientist Dr Robert Patman.

It is also a sign of how seriously the current government is taking the threat of right-wing extremism, he added.

Patman said the pictures, the content of the killings were shared on Facebook after Christchurch mosque shooting has surprised many people.

President-elect Joe Biden spoke at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, earlier this month.  Photo / AP
President-elect Joe Biden spoke at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, earlier this month. Photo / AP

Social media platforms are rushing to shut down gruesome content such as the now banned terrorist live streaming, which proliferated after the mosque attacks on March 15, 2019.

Patman said before the Christchurch mosque shootings, local intelligence agencies were more concerned with the threat of Islamic terrorism.

“White supremacist terrorism or extreme white nationalism is not seen as a big problem. That perception has now changed significantly.”

The surge in violent or potentially illegal content has prompted DIA to deploy a team that tracks online traffic before, during and after Joe Biden's inauguration.  Photo / 123RF
The surge in violent or potentially illegal content has prompted DIA to deploy a team that tracks online traffic before, during and after Joe Biden’s inauguration. Photo / 123RF

Patman said the relationship between conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters who refuse to accept the US election results is not isolated internationally.

And he says many members of the group carrying out the deadly Capitol siege appear to have gotten most of their information from conspiracy theory sites.

Martin Cocker, executive director of Netsafe, said the DIA initiative was a possible way to get ahead of malicious content instead of catching up.

In the days following the Capitol riots, security was reviewed at Parliament in Wellington after a glass door was smashed in an ax strike.  Photo / Provided
In the days following the Capitol riots, security was reviewed at Parliament in Wellington after a glass door was smashed in an ax strike. Photo / Provided

“There is intelligence [indicating] likely people want to interfere with the inauguration, “he said.

Cocker understands that groups identified in US intelligence include entities that previously produced harmful and objectionable content.

“Most groups, even with very extreme ideologies, have followers around the world.”

Cocker said news media attention to the inauguration meant some attention-seekers might engage in provocative or extremist action to gain mainstream media coverage.

The Capitol attack also raises questions about security in the Wellington Parliament area.

The Parliamentary Service finally announced a security review – but only after the man with the ax broken glass door in Parliament on December 13.

The attack on Congress earlier this month was the first time the US Capitol was violated since 1812, when British troops invaded.

Joe Biden’s inauguration as United’s 46th President begins at 6am on Thursday New Zealand time.

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Germany prohibits the practice of killing newly hatched chicks | Instant News

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE – In this March 17, 2015 file photo, ground chickens are raised at a farmer in Breckerfeld, Germany. The German government plans to ban the practice of killing male chicks after hatching, resulting in the death of an estimated 45 million birds per year in the country. (AP / Frank Augstein Photo, File)

BERLIN – The German government plans to ban the practice of killing male chicks after hatching, resulting in the death of around 45 million birds per year in the country.

The cabinet on Wednesday approved a law that would ban the practice from January 1 next year. Government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said Germany would be the first country in the world to do so.

The second step, killing chicken embryos in eggs will be prohibited after the sixth day of incubation starting January 1, 2024.

Fietz said the government has invested more than 8 million euros ($ 9.7 million) over the past few years to help research on alternative procedures for identifying the sex of chicks before hatching.

In June 2019, a federal court ruled that chicken farmers could continue to kill male chicks after they had hatched but only until new procedures to avoid it were put in place. It is argued that the company’s economic interests do not justify the killing of roosters.

This is decided in long-term cases involving specialized hatcheries of laying hens. Hatcheries kill male chicks because they are rendered useless because they will not lay eggs and the breed is deemed unsuitable for raising for meat.

Germany’s animal protection law states that no one is allowed to cause an animal pain, suffering or damage “without cause”.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Fashion at Biden-Harris Inauguration Showcases Commitment to American Designers | Instant News

AMERICAN The fashion industry suddenly came back to life. For today’s inauguration, President Joe Biden, first lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and second man Douglas Emhoff all chose to wear work by American designers or labels, including Ralph Lauren, Christopher John Rogers, and Markarian. “These moments on Day One are very important for an industry that has been hit hard and hit by the pandemic,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “By wearing these American designers, they are not only increasing the businesses of those individuals, but they are actually raising a $ 373 billion industry … We have a new government that clearly welcomes and wants to support our industry. “

Whether you realize it or not, the color purple – which can be seen as a symbolic marriage with red and blue – is also the theme, with Ms. Harris, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama all loved the colors for today’s ceremony.

VP Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden Display Intention to Support American Designers

For today’s inauguration, the upcoming first lady, Dr. Biden, wearing a custom blue woolen dress, coat and matching face mask from the New York Markarian brand, designed by Alexandra O’Neill. Ms. Harris wore an elegant purple coat and dress by Christopher John Rogers, a black New York designer known for his striking use of color. Mr. Rogers has recently been in the spotlight for making the structured blue suit the Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in her December 2020 Vanity Fair cover story about women congressmen. Ms. Obama, whose fashion choices as first lady were covered in breathless media coverage and in the J.Crew case, increased sales of certain items, also selected a black American designer for today’s inauguration. The former first lady wore a burgundy ensemble by Sergio Hudson.

At the pre-inauguration ceremony of the Corona virus last night, Dr. Biden and Mrs. Harris also gave a firm statement in choosing a designer. Dr. Biden wore a purple dress, coat, and mask from up-and-coming New York designer Jonathan Cohen, whose parents are Mexican. Ms. Harris wore a custom camel coat from Pyer Moss, a label founded by Kerby Jean-Raymond, a socially conscious black designer of Haitian descent.

Ms. stepdaughter. Harris, Ella Emhoff, an art student who is interested in fashion, got buzz on social media for her experimental looks. Yesterday she was wearing a sophisticated skirt and tie suit from American designer Thom Browne. For the inauguration, she wore a plaid coat emblazoned by the Italian label Miu Miu.


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Google and Fitbit say “I do,” but marriage can still be annulled | Instant News

Google and Fitbit Inc. announced last week that the merger of the two companies has ended, but Alphabet Inc.’s antitrust dilemma may make this huge transaction far from complete.

Controversial acquisition conclusion It triggered immediate opposition from a ranking member of the Senate’s Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee and possible future chairperson Senator Amy Klobuchar, as well as some privacy organizations, who opposed Fitbit’s Personal information can be fed into letters
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“Although Fitbit is a personal health care device in the first place, it collects information and uses it to collect highly personal information,” St. John’s University law professor Anthony Sabino told MarketWatch. “I can see that Justice is deeply concerned about Google’s ability to access this kind of caring customer information through Fitbit, at least as an issue in antitrust litigation, which does not surprise me at all.”

The Wall Street Journal stated that, for its part, the US Department of Justice believes that it has not yet formally approved the transaction and is still under review, even though the transaction allowed the deadline to be formally opposed last week. report. The next steps may depend on who elected President Biden to install in key locations.

Antitrust experts are keen to watch who will lead the antitrust efforts of the Biden Administration’s Justice Department-candidates include Terrell McSweeney, who is considered business-friendly, and Jonathan Kanter, who is progressive. The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Joseph Simons, will step down on January 29 and will be responsible for the antitrust investigation of Facebook Inc.

And Amazon.com Inc.
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His successor will not only “play an important role in the investigation,” but will also face pressure from a five-member committee of two Democrats, which said Simmons was not active enough. FTC Financial Practice Department.

The federal government and state attorneys general are conducting antitrust investigations into Google, as well as the acquisitions of the White House and the Senate controlled by the Democratic Party. These are all things at stake.

Legal proceedings against other members of Big Tech are becoming more popular. last weekThe Connecticut Attorney General, William Tong, revealed that in the distribution agreements between the state and some publishers for e-books, “an antitrust investigation has been conducted on Amazon regarding potential anti-competitive provisions.”

However, the current focus is on Google, U.S. Department of Justice prosecution, A group of state AG Led by TexasAnd another group Led by Colorado and Nebraska AG In recent months.

Google and antitrust: Big Tech’s first goal is to face more and more legal actions

Google has always (as in most actions) insisted that Fitbit transactions will greatly benefit consumers and are subject to appropriate scrutiny by regulators.

“Google will continue to protect the privacy of Fitbit users, and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users’ health data will not be used for Google ads, and that this data will be stored separately from other Google ads Data,” Fitbit CEO James Park said in a letter to Fitbit users on Thursday.

However, under the leadership of the new government and the Democratic-controlled Senate, will lawsuits by the Justice Department or these two states undermine the status of the transaction? “Technically speaking, yes, although it has been very unusual since it was approved,” said Douglas Gansler, an expert on antitrust law and the former attorney general of Maryland.

According to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976, the transaction can proceed if there is no formal objection from the Department of Justice during the waiting period. Google has completed the waiting period and is therefore entitled to complete the transaction. Similarly, the Ministry of Justice can continue the investigation after the waiting period. Miller believes that it is unusual for regulators to withdraw transactions after the waiting period, but there are certain risks.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of the School of Global Business at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, put forward a theory that Democrats can apply a “Glass Steger Act” to the Internet . The 1933 law forced banks to separate their commercial and investment banking operations to ensure that the merger would not weaken competition. On the technical side, this could mean forcing social media companies to run their platforms separately from applications and businesses that benefit from user data.

He said: “Any transaction made by Google, especially with equipment manufacturers, has a certain inherent instability.”

Legal scholars said that despite this, the Justice Department took the opportunity to raise an objection before the transaction was completed, which made the reversal process extremely difficult.

Sabino of St. John’s University said that the Justice Department would revoke approval of the transaction as “very unlikely.” Even when an investigation led to its filing of an antitrust lawsuit in October, it encountered opposition, and the European Union approved the acquisition last month. Sabino told MarketWatch: “It’s simply unfair to go back now.”

He added that, however, the Fitbit purchase “will have an impact on the pending case. [DoJ] Antitrust litigation. After all, the key to federal lawsuits (now about a dozen or more states have joined) is Google’s ability to collect information about users through Google searches, YouTube usage, etc. “

Then there is the historical pandemic and economic chaos inherited by the Biden administration, which may put antitrust cases against big technologies into trouble.

“Technical antitrust issues will not get the necessary push and push from the White House. Therefore, even if many House Democrats and prominent senators like Amy Klobuchar are keen to pursue this goal, the entire agenda may be possible. Will be on it.” Chakravorti said.

Klobuchar seems very keen on closing deals.

Klobuchar said in a statement last week: “Google announced that it will close its acquisition of Fitbit, and the transaction is still under review by the Department of Justice, which once again shows the company’s lack of concern about compliance with antitrust laws.”

The senator opposed to the senator’s acquisition of large technology companies said: “Before Biden’s executive officers took over, the rush to complete the transaction is even more disturbing.” “Although the merger was completed prematurely, I still urge the department to comply with the law. Seek all appropriate remedies to protect competition and consumers from any anti-competitive effects caused by this transaction.”

Privacy advocates are still very willing to question mergers on antitrust issues, and they worry about the consequences of big deals like Fitbit.

The Department of Justice’s failure to prevent Google from acquiring Fitbit is not only incoherent and embarrassing, but also dangerous. This transaction poses a serious security risk to the personal data of Fitbit consumers,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Freedom Project. “Google uses its extensive portfolio of Internet services to monitor its users and Profit from highly personal information. There is no reason to believe that they will not do the same to Fitbit. “

“In fact, Google had previously lied about data to antitrust enforcers. Just like an antitrust lawsuit against Google last month, the company promised to the Federal Trade Commission and Congress how it would manage DoubleClick’s Acquisition, but then Google ignored the acquisition.”

“President-elect Biden should ensure that the role of his government is to reverse this transaction as quickly as possible,” Miller said.


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The new political arrangement in Punjab | Instant News

The ice has finally melted away in a year-long strained relationship between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chaudhrys of Gujrat after back-to-back meetings and phone conversations in less than two months demonstrated the importance of background political developments in the country.

This could lead to new political arrangements in Punjab before local body elections in mid-2021 including a possible replacement of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. Despite being coalition partners in the Center and in Punjab since 2018, the PM and Chaudhrys have practically not spoken for the past year. One of the reasons was Imran Khan’s refusal to accept Ch Moonis Elahi in the cabinet. The PM, during the days of the opposition, called them as corrupt as Zardari and Sharif.

PTI’s dilemma in Punjab over the years has been its internal grouping which even resulted in accusations and contra charges against each other in the single PTI election in 2013.Now, with the departure of Imran’s closest aide, Jehangir Tareen and his poor performance and governance in sitting CM Buzdar, IK has now started to consider other options, one of which is to rebuild his relationship with his allies Ch Shujaat and Ch Pervaiz Elahi and the ice starts to melt when he visits their residence to inquire about the situation of the elder Chaudhry.

In his recent telephone conversation with Pervaiz Elahi, the prime minister went ahead and asked his help in the upcoming Senate elections and received a positive response. Apart from that, he also gave her additional responsibilities. The two also agreed to meet immediately on the backdrop of the selection of local bodies and steps to counter the PML-N opposition.

Sources close to both parties confirmed that the prime minister will hold several more meetings with Q-leadership and the first will also bring his Punjab party leaders such as Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ch Sarwar, Aleem Khan and others into confidence before making important political decisions. including change options in major provinces.

The sources also hinted that some powerful parties unhappy with Buzdar’s long-standing performance are also pursuing the PM to consider a new political engagement in Punjab, if he is to fight against the powerful PML-N, which is still the largest single party in Punjab and will do so. It is not easy for the government to continue LB’s opinion polls with the existing political order.

In the last two years, the Center brought some drastic changes but some was hasty like replacing four or five IGPs, the chief secretary but none of which could produce the desired results. To build a positive image of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the prime minister also replaced his spokesperson from Fayyazul Hasan Chohan (twice), Shahbaz Gill, Samsam Bokhari, Mian Aslam and now Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan but they all failed or if anyone included this method. couldn’t lift the inexperienced image of Buzdar.

The PM himself frequently visits Lahore amid criticism that he does not attach enough importance to other provincial capitals and that in the end he has no other choice and has told Buzdar that he cannot ‘market’ his image in the media despite some good works.

When the prime minister for the first time decided to nominate Buzdar as CM Punjab, he sought support from the Chaudhrys but for some unknown reason he began to feel uncomfortable with them to the point that he allegedly used some derogatory comments against Ch Moonis Elahi and refused to make it. he’s a federal minister. For almost a year he visited Lahore but never met the Chaudhry family.

A few months ago when Chaudhrys boycotted the PM’s dinner in Islamabad and through the MNA and federal minister Tariq Bashir Cheema held separate dinners on the same day, the message was well received by the PM, which was followed by ‘confidence-building steps’ thereafter. some PML-N leaders met with Ch Pervaiz Elahi.

Although it was too late, the prime minister finally met Chaudhrys at their residence in Lahore to inquire about how Ch Shujaat Hussain was and after a long period of time they discussed steps to clear up the misunderstanding. Now, under the new political arrangements, the prime minister has returned to his faith in PML-Q and Pervaiz Elahi may soon assume important responsibilities. But now, the prime minister has asked him to ensure a smooth run in the upcoming Senate elections which will be followed by major political decisions before local body elections, which will determine the good fortunes of the PTI and PML-Q as defeats in this poll at the hands of PML-N. could cause unbearable harm to the ruling coalition and PM Imran in particular.

Thus, the PM finally started to consider the changes that were so desirable in Punjab and although still somewhat reluctant but now more or less convinced that his choice was not right at first and second, it would take two and a half years for someone to deliver.

A well-informed source said in a recent telephone conversation with a speaker from the Punjab Assembly, he asked Pervaiz Elahi to guide the chief minister regarding Senate elections and the former minister agreed. He also directed the CM to do as suggested by Chaudhrys and the latter assured IK that the ruling coalition would get a percent yield per arrangement and strength. Apart from that, Pervaiz Elahi also hinted at a possible defection from the PML-N, which might vote for the ruling coalition. Sources said PML-Q did not demand much in the Senate and recommended Kamil Ali Agha who was trusted as his candidate where PM assured his party’s full support.

The source further said that the PML-Q leader also advised the PM to review the new local body system before the election and the latter agreed that he would consider his proposal. Chaudhrys wanted local bodies based on the 2001 LB system pattern. It is known that PML-Q will discuss the same with other PTI leaders such as Pervez Khattak, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Punjab Governor Ch Sawar.

Thus, in the coming weeks and months PML-Q will have a more dominant role in overcoming challenges in Punjab, be it politically, administratively in an effort to fight against the main opposition party, PML-N, which is still considered the main political force. entities in Punjab and the PTI government cannot break any of the parties or their vote banks.

Sources say those important to major decision-making have finally succeeded in catching up with the prime minister to reconsider his decision to retain Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and rebuild his relationship with Chaudhrys whom they trust and are probably the only people who still have close contact with PML-N MNA and MPA. .

We may see a new ‘political order’ in Punjab as PM Imran Khan’s PTI government has tried different options and despite the latter’s direct and personal involvement it cannot lead to a major drop in PML-N’s vote bank. While some circles within the PTI are still unsure whether giving all the important provinces to an ally would be a good idea, but with so many groupings within the party the PM may lose his options as 2021 could be a good or devastating year for him and himself. government.

The author is a senior columnist and analyst for Geo, The News and Jang.

Twitter: @MazharAbbasGEO


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