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Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration.
Facebook issues first correction notice at Singapore’s request
30 November 2019, 8:06 AM

Facebook issued its first correction notice on a user’s post at the request of the Singapore government on Saturday, according to the notice seen by Reuters.

The government said on Friday that it ordered Facebook to publish a correction on a user’s social media post under a new “fake news” law, raising fresh questions about how the company will adhere to government requests to regulate content.

“Facebook is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information,” the notice said.

The correction notice was embedded at the bottom of the original post without any alterations to the text.

Forensics officers work near the site of an incident at London Bridge in London, Britain.
London attacker previously convicted of terrorism offenses
30 November 2019, 7:05 AM

British police named the man who stabbed two people to death in London on Friday in what the authorities called a terrorist attack as 28-year-old Usman Khan, who had been convicted of terrorism offenses and was released from prison last year.

“This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offenses,” Britain’s top counter-terrorism police officer, Neil Basu, said in a statement.

“He was released from prison in December 2018 on license and clearly, a key line of enquiry now is to establish how he came to carry out this attack,” Basu said.

A person who is released on license is subject to conditions for the duration of their sentence after leaving prison. The Times newspaper reported that Khan had agreed to wear an electronic tag.

The attacker went on the rampage just before 2 pm, targeting people at Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge in the heart of the city’s financial district – the scene of a deadly attack by Islamist militants two years ago.

In addition to the man and the woman who were killed, a man and two women were injured and remain in hospital, Basu said.

Just before news broke of the suspect’s previous conviction, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is seeking re-election on December 12, said criminals must be made to serve their sentences.

“It is a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early, and it is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists,” he said.

Johnson leads opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to opinion polls.

During the 2017 election campaign, London Bridge was the scene of an attack when three militants drove a van into pedestrians and then attacked people in the surrounding area, killing eight and injuring at least 48. The attack focused attention on cuts to policing since the governing Conservatives took power in 2010.

“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to our police and emergency services, and the brave members of the public who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others,” Corbyn said late on Friday.

Iran stages pro-government rallies after days of violent unrest
25 November 2019, 8:21 PM

Thousands of supporters of Iran’s clerical establishment rallied in Tehran on Monday, accusing the United States and Israel of instigating the most violent anti-government protests for over a decade in the Islamic Republic.

Thousands of young and working-class Iranians took to the streets on Nov. 15 after gasoline price hikes of at least 50% were announced, voicing outrage at a further squeeze on living costs compounding hardships imposed by renewed U.S. sanctions.

Protesters quickly expanded their demands to include a removal of leaders seen as unaccountable and corrupt. Violence erupted with at least 100 banks and dozens of buildings torched, the worst disturbances since unrest over alleged election fraud was crushed in 2009, with dozens killed by security forces.

Hossein Salami, the top commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, warned the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia not to push Tehran into devastating retaliation over what it sees as their support for protesters.

“We have shown restraint…We have shown patience towards the hostile moves of America, the Zionist regime (Israel) and Saudi Arabia against Iran…But we will destroy them if they cross our red lines,” Salami told pro-government demonstrators in Tehran’s Revolution Square, state television reported.

State TV carried live footage of crowds chanting “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel”. It and Iranian officials had promoted the state-sponsored rally since Sunday in response to Western statements of solidarity with fuel price protesters.“I recommend they (foreign countries) look at the marches today, to see who the real people in Iran are and what they are saying,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

The Islamic Republic has maintained that “thugs” linked to exiles and the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stirring up the street unrest, during which Amnesty International said around 115 protesters were killed.

“Death to the dictator. Time for you to step down!” chanted protesters in social media videos posted by Iranians from inside the country.

The images could not be verified by Reuters.

Greenhouse gases surge to record in 2018, exceeding 10-yr average rate: U.N.
25 November 2019, 4:15 PM

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2018, rising faster than the average rise of the last decade and cementing increasingly damaging weather patterns, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday.

The U.N. agency’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is one of a series of studies to be published ahead of a U.N. climate change summit being held in Madrid next week, and is expected to guide discussions there.

It measures the atmospheric concentration of the gases responsible for global warming, rather than emissions. “There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases’ concentration in the atmosphere – despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“This continuing long-term trend means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather, water stress, sea level rise and disruption to marine and land ecosystems.”

The concentration of carbon dioxide, a product of burning fossil fuels that is the biggest contributor to global warming, surged from 405.5 parts per million in 2017 to 407.8 ppm in2018, exceeding the average rate of increase of 2.06 ppm in2005-2015, the WMO report said. Irrespective of future policy, carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for centuries, locking in warming trends.

“It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago,” Taalas said.

Levels of methane – a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 – and nitrous oxide also hit new records, the report said.

The U.N. Environment Programme’s annual “emissions gap” report, due on Tuesday, assesses whether countries emissions reduction policies are enough.

LVMH swoop on Tiffany will boost operating profits: Chairman
25 November 2019, 3:55 PM

Acquiring Tiffany will lift LVMH’s operating profits by 500 million to 600 million euros ($661.32 million) in the first 12 months, the luxury goods group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Bernard Arnault said on Monday.

The $16.2 billion deal is expected to close mid next year, the companies said earlier.

Arnault told Reuters that LVMH would finance the purchase with debt, adding the group could currently pay interest of less than 1% to issue bonds.

LVMH would follow a similar pattern to its 2011 acquisition of Bulgari by investing in communication, stores and new products at Tiffany, Arnault said. He added that a management shake-up was not on the cards for now.

“It’s a little early to decide on that, we have an excellent relationship with them,” Arnault said.

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