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World News Today: Trump signs executive order attempting to control social media

09:12 | 29/05/2020

World News Today May 29: Trump signs order that could punish social media companies for how they police content, drawing criticism and doubts of legality, the UK soon to lift coronavirus restrictions. Otherwise, US brings massive North Korea sanctions case focusing on bankers, etc are also the notable headlines of today’s world news. 

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Trump signs order that could punish social media companies

world news today trump signs executive order attempting to control social media
1 of 3 | President Donald Trump holds up a copy of the New York Post as speaks Thursday, May 28, before signing an executive order... (Evan Vucci / The Associated Press).

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that could give green light for the U.S. government to assume oversight of political speech on the Internet, Washington Post reported. 

The new directive seeks to change a federal law that has spared tech companies from being sued or held liable for most posts, photos and videos shared by users on their sites. Tech giants herald these protections, known as Section 230, as the bedrock of the Internet. But Trump repeatedly has argued they allow Facebook, Google and Twitter to censor conservatives with impunity — charges these companies deny.

Speaking from the Oval Office ahead of signing the order, Trump said the move was to "defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history."

"A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States," he claimed. "They've had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences." CNN quoted Trump as saying.

The order signed Thursday encourages the Federal Communications Commission to rethink the scope of Section 230 and when its liability protections apply. The order also seeks to channel complaints about political bias to the Federal Trade Commission, an agency that the White House has asked to probe whether tech companies’ content-moderation policies are in keeping with their pledges of neutrality.

UK soon to lift coronavirus restrictions

world news today trump signs executive order attempting to control social media
 

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined additional measures to ease England’s coronavirus lockdown Thursday, amid mounting pressure to fire his closest aide over an apparent breach of the restrictions, CNBC reported.

From June 1, primary schools will be able to reopen to more children, Johnson said in the government’s latest daily briefing. Secondary schools are set to begin some face-to-face contact time from June 15, he added.

Outdoor markets and car dealerships will be allowed to reopen from June, with more non-essential shops to follow on June 15. The prime minister had initially announced some of these reopening steps over the weekend.

But he also unveiled plans to allow more people to meet with family and friends outdoors. Whereas people in England were previously only permitted to meet with one other person from a separate household distanced six feet apart outside, from Monday six people will now be able to meet up.

Those people will also now be allowed to meet in private backyards in addition to parks, Johnson said, but are not permitted to be inside another person’s home “unless it is to access the garden.”

North Korean bankers accused of laundering $2.5 billion 

world news today trump signs executive order attempting to control social media
 

The US Justice Department on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against more than two dozen North Korean bankers, alleging they were behind an international money laundering scheme that moved some $2.5 billion in violation of US sanctions, CNN reported. 

Twenty-eight North Korean nationals face a slew of charges related to bank fraud, money laundering and criminal enterprises, in what appears to be the first case brought against members of the North Korean financial system.

The 50-page indictment, which was signed in February and unsealed Thursday morning in Washington, DC, federal court, details a web of front companies and "cover branches" of a state-sponsored bank that were stood up in foreign countries to help skirt international restricts on the regime's ability to spend globally. The plan, dating back to 2013, was allegedly built amid several years of escalating sanctions placed by the US and other world powers on North Korea that aimed to deter the country's growing arms capacity and have crippled their economy. The bank at the center of the Justice Department's allegations, the Foreign Trade Bank of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea State, is the country's main financial institution, and in 2013, was designated as a blocked entity by the US Treasury Department.

In another story, Britain has shuttered its embassy in North Korea and all its diplomats have left the country, its ambassador said Thursday as Pyongyang maintains strict entry controls to try to prevent a coronavirus outbreak, according to Japan Times. 

The North has closed its borders and insists it has not had a single case of the virus that emerged in neighboring China late last year and has since swept the world.

The closure was a temporary move and came because Pyongyang’s “restrictions on entry to the country have made it impossible to rotate our staff and sustain the operation of the embassy”, a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

Britain intends to maintain diplomatic relations with the North “and will seek to re-establish our presence in Pyongyang as soon as it is possible to do so”, the Foreign Office stressed.

UK considers extending Hongkongers' visa rights if China pursues security laws

world news today trump signs executive order attempting to control social media
 

The UK government is mulling giving greater visiting rights to certain Hong Kong residents unless the Chinese government suspends a controversial proposed national security law.

The UK will extend visa rights for as many as 300,000 Hong Kong British national (overseas) passport holders if China continues down the path of imposing repressive security laws on the former British colony, said the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, The Guardian reported.

The move, which appears in outline to stop short of giving the BN(O)s a right of abode, is a response to growing Conservative backbench pressure on the Foreign Office to do more to help Hong Kong citizens fearful that China is about to extinguish their independence and political freedoms.

Boston Marathon canceled, will be held as a virtual event

world news today trump signs executive order attempting to control social media
Runners join in the Boston Marathon. 

The 2020 Boston Marathon has been canceled and turns into an unprecedented virtual race for the first time in its traditional format of 124 years and slated to take place on September 14.

According to Boston Herald, a virtual run will still be held Sept. 14, Boston Athletic Association officials said Thursday instead of April 20, 2020 as initial schedule. 

“It became clear as this crisis developed that Sept. 14 was less and less plausible,” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said. “The potential second surge could happen anytime between August and October.”

Walsh, speaking at a news conference outside of City Hall, announced that the race “would not be feasible for public-health reasons” in September or at any point this year.

The Boston Athletic Association has determined that the traditional one day running of the 124th Boston marathon will not be feasible this year, he said during a news conference.

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