France recalls Rome envoy over worst verbal onslaught ‘since the war’

France recalls Rome envoy over worst verbal onslaught ‘since the war’ | World news | The Guardian



Germany orders Facebook to change the way it gathers data

In future, Facebook will have to seek German users’ explicit consent to collect and combine such data. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office ordered Facebook to come up with proposals for how to do this. If it doesn’t comply, the regulator can impose fines of up to 10% of the company’s annual turnover, or roughly $5.5 billion in this case.

“We are carrying out what can be seen as an internal divestiture of Facebook’s data,” said Andreas Mundt, the president of the antitrust office. “Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook user accounts.”

…The case could have significant implications for Facebook, particularly if other antitrust regulators follow suit. Europe’s top antitrust regulator, the European Commission, said Thursday it took note of the German decision.

“Regulators are starting not just to show their teeth but to actually bite,” said Paul Bernal, a lecturer in media law at the University of East Anglia.

He said cases like this could eventually lead to regulators trying to break up Facebook because of the enormous control over data it has accumulated over the years.

Germany orders Facebook to change the way it gathers data – CNN

The NRA Welcomed Maria Butina—Even As She Worked to Arm Anti-American Thugs Abroad – Mother Jones

Butina wasn’t just a gun rights fan who attended American University, romanced a veteran Republican operative, and pitched US-Russian collaboration at NRA conventions.

…In the immediate aftermath of the invasion and annexation in March 2014, Butina denounced retaliatory sanctions by the Obama administration and traveled to Crimea to promote the arming of pro-Russian separatists. Her efforts there included pledging support to a leader of a militia group that violently seized a Crimean news outlet it deemed “pro-American” and swiftly repurposed for a Kremlin propaganda operation.

…Butina’s role in Crimea raises additional questions about why the NRA—known historically for its hawkish “freedom loving” image—spent years getting close with a Russian national who was doing work hostile to US national security interests.

…In America, she enthused about gun rights and international friendship. But in Moscow, she used fervently nationalistic rhetoric to endorse the takeover in Crimea and called for backing Russian separatists fighting elsewhere in Ukraine. Ethnic Russians throughout the region, she said, were being culturally oppressed—a theme long pushed by Putin’s regime.

…During an audience Q&A at a political conference in Las Vegas, she asked about foreign policy. Specifically, she wanted to know whether the candidate at the podium might back off from “damaging” US sanctions against Russia.

The answer Donald Trump gave Butina was yes.

The NRA Welcomed Maria Butina—Even As She Worked to Arm Anti-American Thugs Abroad – Mother Jones


Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovych found guilty of treason

A Ukrainian court has found the former president Viktor Yanukovych guilty of treason for his efforts to crush the 2014 pro-western demonstrations that eventually toppled his government.

Yanukovych was also charged with asking Vladimir Putin to send Russian troops to invade Ukraine after he had fled the country.

The verdict came almost five years after Yanukovych was overthrown, and could serve as an important symbolic conclusion to the events of 2014. More than 100 people were killed, many by sniper fire, on Kiev’s Maidan Square in clashes between protesters and police.

The charges will have little real effect on Yanukovych, 68, who has lived in exile in the Russian city of Rostov since fleeing Ukraine under armed guard nearly five years ago.

Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovych found guilty of treason | World news | The Guardian