«Сьогоднішнім рішенням Стокгольмського арбітражу Україна виграла 4 мільярди 600 мільйонів доларів США»


Facebook Inc has told a British parliamentary committee that further investigations have found no new evidence that Russia used social media to interfere in the June 2016 referendum in which Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Facebook UK policy director Simon Milner in a letter Wednesday told the House of Commons Committee on Digital, Culture Media and Sport that the latest investigation the company undertook in mid-January to try to “identify clusters of coordinated Russian activity around the Brexit referendum that were not identified previously” had been unproductive.

Using the same methodology that Facebook used to identify U.S. election-related social media activity conducted by a Russian propaganda outfit called the Internet Research Agency, Milner said the social network had reviewed both Facebook accounts and “the activity of many thousands of advertisers in the campaign period” leading up to the June 23, 2016 referendum.

He said they had “found no additional coordinated Russian-linked accounts or Pages delivering ads to the UK regarding the EU Referendum during the relevant period, beyond the minimal activity we previously disclosed.”

At a hearing on social media political activity that the parliamentary committee held in Washington earlier in February, Milner had promised the panel it would disclose more results of its latest investigation by the end of February.

At the same hearing, Juniper Downs, YouTube’s global head of public policy, said that her company had “conducted a thorough investigation around the Brexit referendum and found no evidence of Russian interference.”

In his letter to the committee, Facebook’s Milner acknowledged that the minimal results in the company’s Brexit review contrasted with the results of Facebook inquiries into alleged Russian interference in U.S. politics. The company’s U.S. investigation results, Milner said, “comport with the recent indictments” Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller issued against Russian individuals and entities.

Following its Washington hearing, committee chairman Damian Collins MP said his committee expected to finish a report on its inquiry into Social Media and Fake News in late March and that the report is likely to include recommendations for new British laws or regulations regarding social media content.

These could include measures to clarify the companies’ legal liability for material they distribute and their obligations to address social problems the companies’ content could engender, he said.


Національна служба здоров’я – це новий орган, створений у рамках медичної реформи


Iran is a major threat to U.S. interests and the long-term stability of the Mideast, the head of U.S. military’s Central Command warned U.S lawmakers Tuesday.

“Iran is generating instability across the region, and the Iranian Threat Network continues to increase in strength, enhancing its capacity to threaten U.S. and partner nation interests,” General Joe Votel said in a 45-page set of prepared remarks he presented to the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing on terrorism.

Votel said the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State has made significant gains over the last three years, and the terror group has lost control of more than 98 percent of territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria.

With these gains, Votel said, the U.S. military’s focus will be to “neutralize, counterbalance and shape the destabilizing impact that Iran has across the region”; complete the campaign to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria; and enforce the implementation of the South Asia strategy in Afghanistan to help the Afghan government consolidate its control.

Iran over the years has attempted to use instability in the Middle East as a springboard to gain power beyond its border. The events subsequent to the Arab Spring in 2011 and the emergence of IS have helped Tehran establish a foothold in several neighboring countries, including Iraq, Syria and Yemen. An assessment by the U.S. intelligence community this month asserted that Iran remained the most prominent state sponsor of terrorism and was trying to expand its influence in those three countries. 

‘Shiite crescent’

The report said Iran could attempt to exploit the fight against IS to translate its battlefield gains into political, security and economic agreements with other actors in the region. It said Tehran was seeking to establish a corridor, or “Shiite Crescent,” across the Middle East.

U.S. officials have said they intend to keep troops in Iraq and Syria even after IS is completely defeated, not only to prevent the re-emergence of the militant group but also to disrupt an Iranian dominance and threat to the U.S. allies in the region.

“U.S. disengagement from Syria would provide Iran the opportunity to further strengthen its position in Syria,” said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month as he laid out a U.S. strategy in Syria after the removal of IS. 

“As we have seen from Iran’s proxy wars and public announcements, Iran seeks dominance in the Middle East and the destruction of our ally, Israel. As a destabilized nation and one bordering Israel, Syria presents an opportunity that Iran is all too eager to exploit.”

Israel and Iran are already in a standoff over Tehran’s presence in Syria and Lebanon.

The tension further escalated this month after Israel’s military shot down an Iranian drone and bombed a control unit in Syria. The Syrian government responded by shooting down an Israeli jet involved in the operation.

While things have calmed down, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, warned Tuesday that Lebanon could soon become a battlefield between Israel and Iran over a Hezbollah rocket factory on Israel’s border.

“Southern Lebanon is where the next war is coming,” Graham told reporters Tuesday at a news conference after a trip last week to the Middle East.


The Russian Embassy in Washington has a new address, at least symbolically.

A one-block section of Wisconsin Avenue directly in front of the embassy was officially renamed Boris Nemtsov Plaza on Tuesday, in what amounts to a D.C.-sponsored effort to troll the Russian government.

A former deputy prime minister, Nemtsov became an opposition activist and vocal public critic of President Vladimir Putin. He was shot dead while walking on a bridge near the Kremlin three years ago.

The move to rename the street started in the U.S. Congress at the urging of Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and others.

“This serves as an enduring reminder to Vladimir Putin and those who support him that they cannot use murder and intimidation to suppress dissent,” Rubio said.

Such politicized street-naming games are not new to Washington. In recent years, there have been moves to name the street on which China’s embassy is located after famed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died in prison in 2017. Members of Congress have also supported a similar effort to rename a portion of the road that is home to Cuba’s embassy after Oswaldo Paya, a pro-democracy activist who died in a 2012 car accident that some believe may have been set up by the Cuban government.

Tribute to Sakharov

And this isn’t even the first time that Russia has been targeted by provocative street naming. Back in the Cold War days, when what was then the Soviet embassy was located on 16th Street, the city named a portion of the street after famed dissident Andrei Sakharov.

The United States is not alone in such trolling. There is a long history of both national and municipal governments trying to score political points by renaming streets to irritate other countries.

During the Vietnam War, India renamed the street where the U.S. consulate in Kolkata is located after North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh. Iran and Egypt had no diplomatic ties for decades, and restored them only after Iranian officials agreed in 2004 to change the name of a Tehran street that had been named after the man who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. 

More recently, some Russian politicians have suggested retaliating for the Nemtsov change by renaming a street outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow “North American Dead End.”

The decision to create Boris Nemtsov Plaza also represents a rare moment of harmony between Congress and Washington’s city government, which normally chafes under the federal government’s oversight power over all District of Columbia decisions.

Turned to D.C. Council

When the original street-renaming bill stalled in the Senate, Rubio turned to the D.C. Council for help. Councilwoman Mary Cheh agreed to sponsor the bill, which breezed through the council in January after public hearings that included testimony from Nemtsov’s daughter, Zhanna Nemtsova.

Cheh on Tuesday noted that Moscow police have prevented Nemtsov supporters from maintaining a shrine at the site of his killing, repeatedly clearing away candles and flowers from the bridge.

“This commemoration will not be removed,” Cheh said. “Let them steal the candles. Let them steal the flowers. They can never steal his memory.”

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the nonvoting representative of Washington in Congress, noted with satisfaction that the council was able to quickly accomplish what the Senate couldn’t.

“We might have been here in time for next year’s anniversary [of Nemtsov’s killing] if we were dependent on the Congress,” she said.

Several speakers, including Rubio, took the opportunity to criticize Putin, not only for his repression of dissent but also for Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Rubio condemned both Putin’s “aggressive policies inside Russia” and his “effort to interfere in the democratic process inside the United States.”


A California man has been charged with trying to travel to Libya to join Islamic State, New York federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

In a criminal complaint unsealed in Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors said that Bernard Augustine, 21, traveled to Tunisia in February 2016 and from there attempted to reach Islamic State-controlled territory in Libya.

Augustine, of Keyes, California, has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

A lawyer for Augustine could not immediately be identified.

Prosecutors said that Augustine was arrested and imprisoned in Tunisia before Tunisian authorities turned him over to the United States.

In March 2016, U.S. authorities searched Augustine’s laptop and found that he had viewed Islamic State videos in the months leading up to his trip and made online postings supporting the group.

Authorities also interviewed a person who lived with Augustine, who told them Augustine was constantly on the internet and that he had no legitimate reason to travel to Tunisia, according to the complaint.

As of January, 157 people had been charged in the United States in connection with Islamic State, according to the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. The militant group has lost most of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria.


Ford Motor Co. is making Miami-Dade County its new test bed for self-driving vehicles.

The automaker and its partners — Domino’s Pizza, ride-hailing company Lyft and delivery company Postmates — are starting pilot programs to see how consumers react to autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. Self-driving startup and Ford partner Argo AI already has a fleet of cars in the area making the highly detailed maps that are necessary for self-driving. Ford also will establish its first-ever autonomous vehicle terminal in Miami, where it will learn how to service and deploy its test fleet.

More services will likely be introduced as the partnership goes on, including Chariot, an app-based shuttle service owned by Ford. It’s all part of Ford’s effort to find viable business models for fully autonomous vehicles and get them on the road by 2021.

“This is, I think, the future of any automotive company or mobility company. If a majority of the world’s population is going to be living in cities, we need to understand how to move those people around,” said John Kwant, Ford’s vice president of city solutions, who inked the deal with Miami-Dade.

Ford isn’t the first automaker to run test fleets of autonomous vehicles. General Motors Co. will start testing autonomous vehicles in New York City this year, while Nissan Motor Co. is launching an autonomous taxi service in Yokohama, Japan, next week. Technology companies like Waymo — a division of Google — are also testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in Phoenix, San Francisco and Singapore, among other cities.

But the partnership with a specific metropolitan is less common. Both sides envision a deep relationship where Ford can help Miami-Dade solve specific issues, like how to most efficiently move people from its suburbs to its downtown monorail, and Miami-Dade can offer solutions like dedicated lanes for automated vehicles or infrastructure projects like advanced traffic lights that can send signals to connected cars. 

“We want to be on the forefront of this because we want to give our people choices,” said Carlos Gimenez, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, which is home to 34 cities and 2.7 million people. 

Traffic congestion a concern

Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, says the company also intends to work closely with local businesses. The company wants to learn, for example, how a florist might use an autonomous delivery vehicle.

“Autonomous vehicle technology is interesting, but it’s a whole lot more interesting with a viable business model,” he said.

The city of Miami is the fifth-most congested in the U.S., according to a recent traffic study by the consulting firm Inrix. After more than a century of selling people vehicles, Kwant says Ford now wants to figure out ways to move people more efficiently in order to cut down on that time in traffic.

Making money

Sam Abuelsamid, a senior research analyst with the consulting firm Navigant Research, says Ford and others must figure out how to make money on self-driving cars.

“If this does take off, if people do adopt automated vehicles and use them for ride-hailing, that’s going to result in a decline in retail vehicle sales,” Abuelsamid said. “They need to figure out, if we’re going to have a decline in the number of vehicles we sell to consumers, how do we keep our business stable?”

Kwant says the testing will also help Ford determine what its future self-driving vehicles need to look like and how they must perform.

“If you don’t have steering wheels, how do you begin to use that package space? How do you begin to look different in terms of carrying more people?” he said.

Ford won’t say how many vehicles it will have on the road in Miami-Dade, but says it will be Ford’s largest test bed for autonomous vehicles by the end of this year. 

Backup safety drivers

All of the vehicles will have backup safety drivers. Domino’s experimental vehicles aren’t even technically autonomous; they’re equipped to be, but for now they have actual drivers. The windows are blacked out so customers can experience how to get pizza from the car without dealing with a person.  

Miami will give Ford new challenges. Previously, it tested Domino’s cars in suburban Michigan, where parking wasn’t an issue. But in busy Miami Beach, the cars will have to figure out where they can go to allow apartment-dwellers to safely retrieve their pizzas. An autonomous delivery vehicle from Postmates might have to switch between Spanish and English commands when it picks up a meal and delivers it to a customer. Self-driving Lyft vehicles will be tasked with mapping out the best places to wait for customers without causing more traffic headaches.

Kwant says Ford will announce more city partnerships as this year progresses. But Miami-Dade was a natural, since it has good weather, lots of different urban and suburban terrain and support from Gimenez and other government leaders.

Cheaper and safer

Gimenez, who began talking to Ford in 2017 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, says he’s not worried about consumer acceptance of self-driving cars. He thinks his community will embrace them as companies prove that shared autonomous vehicles can be cheaper and safer than regular ones.

Gimenez says self-driving vehicles also can potentially improve traffic flow without significant new investments in roadways. They can travel more closely together, for example, because they’re always watching the car in front of them and can brake automatically.

“That’s why I’m really high on this technology,” he said.

 

 

 


Український режисер Олег Сенцов, як і раніше, перебуває в колонії російського міста Лабитнангі, його нікуди не перевозили, заявив «Крим.Реалії» із посиланням на адміністрацію закладу адвокат Сенцова Дмитро Дінзе.

«Я зв’язався з офіційними представниками колонії. Вони мені сказали, що Сенцов нікуди не перевозився й перебуває зараз у колонії», – сказав адвокат.

Вдень 27 лютого стало відомо, що на лист на адресу Сенцова за останнім відомим місцем перебування ув’язненого (колонія), відправник отримав відповідь про те, що «одержувач не перебуває в цій установі».

В українських ЗМІ з’явилась інформація про можливий швидкий обмін режисера Олега Сенцова й журналіста Романа Сущенка на ув’язнених в Україні. Офіційного підтвердження такої інформації немає.

Представник України в гуманітарній підгрупі Тристоронньої контактної групи, перший віце-спікер Верховної Ради Ірина Геращенко заперечувала наміри обміняти засуджених у Росії громадян України Романа Сущенка й Олега Сенцова на колишніх українських військовослужбовців Олександра Баранова й Максима Одинцова.

Перед цим адвокат засуджених у Києві колишніх українських військовослужбовців Баранова й Одинцова Валентин Рибін заявив, що найближчим часом може відбутися обмін на ув’язнених у Росії українців.

Українського режисера Олега Сенцова затримали представники російських спецслужб у Криму в травні 2014 року за звинуваченнями в організації терактів на півострові. У серпні 2015 року російський Північно-Кавказький окружний військовий суд у Ростові-на-Дону засудив Сенцова до 20 років колонії суворого режиму за звинуваченням у терористичній діяльності на території Криму. Він не визнав свою провину. Правозахисний центр «Меморіал» вніс Сенцова до списку політв’язнів.


Дзеркальну версію проекту «Закону про співробітництво з Україною з питань кібербезпеки» внесла до Сенату США група американських сенаторів, повідомляє на сторінці у Facebook посольство України у США.

«Двопартійна група американських сенаторів на чолі з демократом Шерродом Брауном та республіканцем Патриком Туумі представила на розгляд Сенату дзеркальну версію проекту «Закону про співпрацю з Україною з питань кібербезпеки», схваленого Палатою представників 7 лютого цього року. Документ спрямований на надання допомоги Україні в удосконаленні власної стратегії кібербезпеки, зокрема, що стосується посилення захисту комп’ютерних мереж органів державної влади, зменшення залежності України від російських інформаційних та комунікаційних технологій», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Для набрання чинності документ має бути підтриманий Сенатом і підписаний президентом США, зазначили в посольстві.

Раніше українські дипломати в США повідомляли, що Палата представників Конгресу США 404 голосами 7 лютого схвалила законопроект про підтримку кібербезпеки України в умовах російської агресії. Повідомлялося, що співавторами документа стали конгресмен-демократ Брендан Бойл та конгресмен-республіканець Браян Фітцпатрик.

5 жовтня 2017 року Верховна Рада ухвалила закон про основні засади забезпечення кібербезпеки України. Він визначає основні об’єкти кіберзахисту, які в сукупності складають критичну інфраструктуру, принципи забезпечення кібербезпеки і нацсистему кібербезпеки. 7 листопада документ підписав президент України Петро Порошенко. Закон набере чинності 9 травня 2018 року.


У зоні бойових дій на Донбасі 27 лютого підтримувані Росією бойовики здійснили 5 обстрілів, в результаті ніхто із українських військовослужбовців не постраждав, повідомляє штаб української воєнної операції.

«На луганському напрямку противник вів вогонь зі 120-міліметрових мінометів, гранатометів та великокаліберних кулеметів по позиціях біля населеного пункту Луганське. З мінометів калібру 82 міліметри ворог обстрілював опорні пункти сил АТО в районі Троїцького. По захисниках Новоолександрівки загарбники застосували 82-міліметрові міномети, гранатомети різних видів, великокаліберні кулемети та стрілецьку зброю», – йдеться в повідомленні штабу на сторінці у Facebook.

На сайтах угруповань «ЛНР» та «ДНР» не пишуть про порушення режиму тиші упродовж дня.

Тристороння контактна група щодо врегулювання ситуації на Донбасі оголосила черговий «режим тиші» з півночі 23 грудня 2017 року. Нинішнє нове перемир’я, як і попередні, порушується практично щодня. Сторони заперечують свою вину в цьому і звинувачують противників у провокаціях.


Authorities in China have launched an intense crackdown on online commentary in the wake of a proposal by the country’s communist party leaders to amend the constitution and scrap a two-term limit on the president’s time in office.

A wide range of phrases in Chinese have been banned such as “constitutional amendments,” “constitution rules,” “emigration” and “emperor.” Even the phrase “I disagree” has been blocked from China’s SinaWeibo social media site.

Many were caught off guard by the announcement and the response online has been persistent, despite efforts to silence the debate.

The announcement comes a little more than a week ahead of meetings for China’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress. During the gathering, which wraps up around mid-March, the proposal is widely expected to become China’s new reality.

And while party backed media have said the amendments have the public’s broad support, clearly there is much more to the debate than the communist party is letting on.

On social media, some phrases and comments were taken down shortly after they were posted. However, phrases in Chinese such as “lifelong tenure,” “emigration” and “disagree” are blocked immediately when a user attempts to post the phrase.

Of those posts that managed to make it past authorities’ dragnet, some called the decision to allow Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely a “step backward,” others argued that China is becoming more like North Korea.

In one comment, a user said: “5,000 years of civilization and in one night, a step backwards 5,000 years.”

For some critics, the proposal to allow Xi to stay in office indefinitely and scrap what has become a predictable system of two five-year terms, marks a worrisome return to the days of Mao Zedong. Some argue the move is a sign that Xi may want to become emperor for life.

On the streets in Beijing, those we spoke with, who were willing to talk — despite the sensitivity of the issue — voiced similar concerns.

“It was a very sudden and bold move that has raised many questions and concerns and there are some who cannot understand,” why the change is needed, said one man surnamed Ding, who works in the finance sector.

Ding said China’s communist party leaders need to answer the public’s questions and concerns and clarify whether the move is meant to give Xi lifelong tenure or just to allow him to stay in office a little longer.

“The public will undoubtedly draw comparisons and have thoughts about what is happening now and China under the leadership of Mao Zedong,” Ding said.

One said emigration was something he was now considering. Others said they were taking a wait and see approach, and that they were willing to see how Xi used his extra time in office to promote more difficult reforms.

One woman surnamed Gan, an unemployed petitioner, said more time in office could be a good thing.

“If a leader is constantly being changed every two to three years, can they really do a good job and be responsible? If a leader can really focus on his work more can get done,” Gan said.

But now, given that the proposal is unlikely to be stopped, that is something that will only become clearer over time.

The New York-based rights advocacy group Freedom House warns that the end of term limits is a sign that stepped up control and repression under Xi is likely to worsen.

And the implications are both regional and global.

In a statement, Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz said, “the decision sends a chilling message to democratic voices in Hong Kong and to Taiwan, both of which have come under intense pressure from Beijing.

He said it also “signals that Beijing’s drive to create a new world order in which democratic institutions and norms play little or no role will be accelerated.”

Party controlled media in China have rejected suggestions that the proposed amendments mean Xi is aiming to become China’s next emperor or its leader for life.

Willy Lam, a veteran China watcher based in Hong Kong said that it looks like Xi will at least stay on for a third term until 2028, and perhaps one more until 2033 if health permits. At that point, Xi would be 80 years old.

Yang Kai-huang, head of Ming Chuan University’s Cross-Strait Research Center in Taiwan said that Xi does not strike him as someone who wants to repeat the mistakes of Mao, nor is he someone who wants to honor the two-term limit former leader Deng Xiaoping established.

“Judging from Xi’s past traits, the abolishment [of term limits] may have paved an easy path for Xi to seek his third term, but I don’t think Xi wants to be an emperor for life,” Yang said.

Xi is impatient and eager to get things done and put his own thoughts of governance into practice, Yang adds. And that’s why the announcement of the constitutional amendment package was so sudden.

Allen Ai contributed to this report.

 


The U.S. Justice Department and Microsoft will face off against each other Tuesday when the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether tech companies’ desire to protect user data is at odds with the government’s interest in pursuing criminals who use the internet.

The case, known as United States v. Microsoft Corp., has global implications and could potentially trigger an international backlash, subjecting Americans’ data to seizure by foreign governments, legal and digital rights experts warn.

“The case is important for privacy, it’s important for security, it’s important for the future of the internet,” said Jennifer Daskal, a professor at American University Washington College of Law.

At issue is whether a U.S.-based email provider can be forced, under the 1986 Stored Communications Act, to turn over communications stored outside the United States.

Email records

Federal prosecutors believed it could when they went to Microsoft in 2013 with a court warrant, demanding that the tech giant turn over the email records of a suspect in a drug-trafficking investigation. But there was a problem.

Although Microsoft kept the account’s metadata such as address books on servers in the U.S., the contents of the user’s emails were stored at a data hub in Ireland — one of over 100 such data centers the company operates in more than 40 countries.

U.S.-based internet providers had long cooperated with government requests for foreign-stored data.

But in 1993, Microsoft, under fire along with other tech companies for their role in a secret government surveillance program exposed by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, drew a line.

The company handed over the metadata to prosecutors but refused to disclose the actual emails, arguing that the data was beyond the warrant’s reach because it was stored overseas. That set off a legal battle that eventually led the Supreme Court to take up the case last year.

The case has galvanized international attention.

The governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom have both filed briefs in the case as have the European Commission and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy (SRP).

The central dispute is whether a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act can be applied outside the United States.The government says it has long relied on the law to obtain electronic communications regardless of their location and that it needs the authority to secure such data for criminal investigations.

Microsoft argues that the Stored Communications Act does not have extraterritorial application. It says that the laws of the country where the data is stored — in this case, Ireland — not the laws of the United States, govern its disclosure.

Digital rights advocates and some transnational legal experts have weighed in on the side of Microsoft, arguing that a decision in favor of the government could encourage foreign governments to seize Americans’ private communications. 

“You can bet many other governments in the world will come knocking on the doors of providers in the United States,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based organization that has filed a brief in support of Microsoft.

European governments are already pushing back.

Belgium recently ordered U.S. providers to destroy data that the providers store in the United States, Nojeim said.

Austen Parrish, dean of the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, noted that past attempts by the U.S. government “to extraterritorially seize documents or information from foreign countries (have) led to protests (and) blocking statutes.”

“It upsets a lot of countries because they view it not only as a violation of international law but as a violation of their own sovereignty,” Parrish said. On both counts, there is an assumption that the laws passed by Congress are designed for Americans and that they don’t violate international law, he added.

“In this case, the best result is to read the 1986 Stored Communications Act as only applying to communications within the United States,” Parrish said.

Ways to obtain data

Proponents of Microsoft acknowledge the U.S. government’s interest in foreign-stored data and point to other ways U.S. law enforcement agencies can obtain the data.One is the so-called Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an international agreement that allows for the exchange of evidence in criminal investigations.

Another is a bilateral cross-border data sharing agreement. The U.S. and U.K. recently negotiated such an agreement, and Congress is working to clear the way for its approval.

Regardless of how the court rules, the issue could become moot if Congress passes a recently proposed bill called the CLOUD Act. The bill would enable the U.S. government to obtain user data from email providers regardless of its location while allowing providers to decline a request if it violated the host country’s laws.

Daskal, the professor at American University, said the bill “strikes the right balance.”

But critics say it can be used by foreign governments to gather data from U.S. providers for intelligence purposes.

Both the Justice Department and Microsoft have endorsed the proposed legislation.

Short of congressional action, the court should try to strike a balance between the U.S. government’s need for data in criminal investigations and foreign governments’ need to protect the privacy of citizens, Daskal said.

“My hope is that if the court rules in favor of the government, that it does so in a way that reminds the lower courts of the importance of issuing warrants in a way that also respects conflicting rules in foreign governments as well,” she said.


The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration for separating a 7-year-old migrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo from her mother.

The girl, called S.S., is in detention in Chicago, while her mother, Ms. L, remains in custody 3,200 kilometers away in San Diego. They have spoken by telephone only a handful of times.

The ACLU called the separation a “flagrant disregard of the Constitution and common sense” and is suing for their release from custody or their reunification in a family detention center.

“The government has no legitimate interest in separating Ms. L from her daughter since there’s been no evidence or even accusation of abuse or neglect,” the group said Monday.

It said the mother and daughter arrived in San Diego seeking asylum from violence in the DRC, fearing for their lives if forced to go back.

The ACLU contends they were separated five days later without any explanation, and that both mother and child were terrified, knowing no one and having no idea what would happen to them.

The lawsuit contends the pair’s constitutional rights were violated because they were split up without a hearing.

The ACLU also says the separation could have lasting psychological harm on the child.

The Department of Homeland Security does not comment on individual cases or pending lawsuits.

Tom Homan, acting head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, told The Associated Press last month that many migrants who seek asylum in the United States have weak claims that are ultimately thrown out by judges.

“I’d be a fool to say that none of them have a case of credible fear. They’re really escaping danger,” he said. “But I can tell you — many of them are taking advantage of a low threshold.”


The Trump Organization said Monday it has made good on the president’s promise to donate profits from foreign government spending at its hotels to the U.S. Treasury, but neither the company nor the government disclosed the amount or how it was calculated.

 

Watchdog groups seized on the lack of detail as another example of the secrecy surrounding President Donald Trump’s pledges to separate his administration from his business empire.

 

“There is no independent oversight or accountability. We’re being asked to take their word for it,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Most importantly, even if they had given every dime they made from foreign governments to the Treasury, the taking of those payments would still be a problem under the Constitution.”

 

Trump Organization Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Counsel George Sorial said in a statement to The Associated Press that the donation was made on Feb. 22 and includes profits from Jan. 20 through Dec. 31, 2017. The company declined to provide a sum or breakdown of the amounts by country.

 

Sorial said the profits were calculated using “our policy and the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry” but did not elaborate. The U.S. Treasury did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

 

Watchdog group Public Citizen questioned the spirit of the pledge in a letter to the Trump Organization earlier this month since the methodology used for donations would seemingly not require any donation from unprofitable properties receiving foreign government revenue.

 

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said that the lack of disclosure was unsurprising given that the Trump’s family businesses have “a penchant for secrecy and a readiness to violate their promises.”

 

“Did they pay with Monopoly money? If the Trump Organization won’t say how much they paid, let alone how they calculated it at each property, why in the world should we believe they actually have delivered on their promise?” Weissman said.

 

Ethics experts had already found problems with the pledge Trump made at a news conference held days before his inauguration because it didn’t include all his properties, such as his resorts, and left it up to Trump to define “profit.” The pledge was supposedly made to ameliorate the worry that Trump was violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans the president’s acceptance of foreign gifts and money without Congress’ permission.

 

Several lawsuits have challenged Trump’s ties to his business ventures and his refusal to divest from them. The suits allege that foreign governments’ use of Trump’s hotels and other properties violates the emoluments clause.

 

Trump’s attorneys have challenged the premise that a hotel room is an “emolument” but announced the pledge to “do more than what the Constitution requires” by donating foreign profits at the news conference. Later, questions emerged about exactly what this would entail.

 

An eight-page pamphlet provided by the Trump Organization to the House Oversight Committee in May said that the company planned to send the Treasury only profits obviously tied to foreign governments, and not ask guests questions about the source of their money because that would “impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand.”

 

“It’s bad that Trump won’t divest himself and establish a truly blind trust, and it’s worse that he won’t be transparent,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, ranking member on the House Oversight Committee. He called the Republicans refusal to do oversight, such as subpoena documents, that would shed light on Trump’s conflicts of interest “unconscionable.”


The first openly transgender recruit has passed both the physical and medical exams and signed a contract to join the U.S. military, the Pentagon confirmed.

“[The Pentagon] confirms that as of Feb. 23, 2018, there is one transgender individual under contract for service in the U.S. military,” said Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman.

The recruit was not immediately identified by gender or service.

Such a contract was made possible after a federal judge ruled in January that the military must accept transgender recruits. The ruling came after President Donald Trump announced in a tweet his desire to prevent transgender people from serving.

In July 2017, Trump surprised military leaders by tweeting, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

A number of federal judges — in Baltimore, Washington, Seattle and Riverside, California — issued rulings blocking Trump’s ban. The judges said the ban would likely violate the right under the U.S. Constitution to equal protection under the law.

The Pentagon began allowing transgender recruits to seek enlistment on Jan. 1.

Advocates have said they believe dozens, if not hundreds, of transgender people will seek to join an estimated 4,000 already serving.


Російська журналістка і правозахисниця Зоя Свєтова звернулася до президента Франції Емманюеля Макрона з проханням посприяти у звільненні українського кінорежисера Олега Сенцова, засудженого в Росії.

У листі до Макрона, опублікованому 26 лютого французькою газетою Liberation, Свєтова пише, що не було ніяких терактів в Криму, як і не було жодного пам’ятника Леніну, в підриві якого російський суд звинуватив Олега Сенцова.

Звернення російської правозахисниці з’явилося у зв’язку з проведенням сьогодні в Парижі заходу на підтримку українського кінорежисера, яку організувала група «Нові дисиденти». На акцію з демонстрацією фільму «Суд: Російська держава проти Олега Сенцова» запросили французьких та інших іноземних діячів культури та кіно.

Олег Сенцов разом з Олександром Кольченком були затримані російськими спецслужбами в анексованому Криму в травні 2014 року. Їх звинувачують в організації терактів на півострові.

У серпні 2015 року суд у російському Ростові-на-Дону засудив Сенцова до 20 років колонії суворого режиму за звинуваченням у терористичній діяльності на території Криму. Кольченко отримав 10 років колонії. Обвинувачені провину не визнали.

Сенцов і Кольченко визнані правозахисним рухом «Меморіал» політичними в’язнями.