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Curated top stories of the day
- Russia warns UK at UN meeting – Russia warned Britain at the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that it was “playing with fire” by blaming Moscow for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter. Russia called the Security Council meeting (CNN) on Thursday to discuss the use of a nerve agent in an English city that has sparked a global diplomatic crisis. The British government blames the Kremlin for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and 28 UK allies backed its conclusion that Russia is responsible for the attack. Twenty-four countries expelled Russian diplomats in a display of solidarity with London. Moscow has denied any involvement in the attack. (Read more of WikiTribune’s coverage on the Salisbury attack and its fallout here.)
- Nerve agent victim makes first statement – Yulia Skripal, a recovering victim of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, said in a statement issued on her behalf by London police that the “entire episode is somewhat disorientating” but that her “strength is growing daily.” Yulia and her father, former double agent Sergei Skripal, were poisoned in the English city a month ago, sparking an international diplomatic crisis. Russian state TV also reported that Yulia phoned her cousin in Moscow to say they are both recovering. “Everything is fine, everything is fixable, everyone is getting better, everyone is alive,” Yulia apparently said in the call which the state-owned Rossiya 1 broadcaster said it was unable to verify. (Read our analysis: “Russia’s ‘disinformation campaign’ on Salisbury attack follows familiar script”.)
- Trump threatens $100 billion in additional tariffs – The tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China escalated after President Donald J. Trump said his administration is considering $100 billion in tariffs on top of two separate protectionist plans that he’s already announced. The Trump administration previously announced 25 percent tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods on Tuesday, according to the New York Times., which can be amended until May 15.
- Verdict for ousted South Korean President to arrive – Former President Park Geun-hye faces a possible 30-year jail sentence for corruption charges relating to her relationship with national business leaders. The verdict will be announced on Friday. Park was the first democratically elected head of state of South Korea to be deposed.
- Trump denies knowing about payment – President Donald Trump said he was unaware that his lawyer paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump (Washington Post). The president said he did not know where his attorney, Michael Cohen, got the money for the payment, and he declined to say if he ever set up a fund for Cohen to cover expenses like that.
- Facebook says most of 2bn users could have had data scraped – Facebook said that “malicious actors” used search tools on its platform, in theory, making it possible for them to discover the identities and harvest information on most of its 2 billion users worldwide. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy firm employed by the Donald J. Trump’s campaign, effectively harvested the data of 87 million users, 37 million more than previously thought. Zuckerberg says he accepts full responsibility for the incident and has vowed to tighten developer access to user data.
- Brazilian court rejects ex-president’s bid to avoid jail – Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could be jailed within the week after the country’s supreme court rejected his bid to avoid prison while appealing his conviction for corruption. Lula faces 12 years in jail on bribery charges, with six other trials against him pending. Judge Sergio Moro ordered da Silva to turn himself into police to begin his sentence. The decision is expected to prevent Lula from running in presidential elections later this year, in which he would be the most popular candidate, according to opinion polls.
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- Four Singaporean universities appear to have become the latest targets of nine Iranian hackers, reports Esan Swan. They are believed to have stolen 31 terabytes of academic and intellectual data from 52 staff accounts. Late last month, the United States announced criminal charges and sanctions for the group, accused of working for the Iranian government.
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- More people in the United States died from opioid use in 2016 than traffic accidents and the White House said tackling the crisis is a priority. WikiTribune is exploring different ways we could report on government policy toward the war on drugs.
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- Maltese investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia died in October when her car exploded, but her death has drawn attention to the complex web of financial transactions she was investigating. This Financial Times piece (may be behind a paywall) looks into Caruana Galizia’s work and the many enemies it made her. – Jack Barton
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