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Curated top stories of the day
- Daughter of ex-spy ‘rapidly improving’ – Yulia Skripal, the daughter of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, is “rapidly improving” and is no longer in critical condition, according to the Salisbury NHS Trust, four weeks on from a nerve agent attack on both on March 4. Her father remains in critical but stable condition (The Guardian).
- It was revealed on March 28 that the pair first made contact with a military grade nerve agent on the front door of his home, according to police. A BBC security correspondent said the highest concentration was found on the door handle and the nerve agent could have been administered by a “gloopy substance,” possibly explaining why it may have been found in the Skripals’ car or the restaurant they later visited. The British government has said it’s “highly likely” the Russian state is responsible for the attack but Moscow has said it suspects the British secret services are trying to frame the Kremlin. A number of Western countries have expelled over 100 Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity with London. (Read: Who is Sergei Skripal, target of the nerve agent attack in Britain?)
- Jail riot kills 68 in Venezuela – Prison violence has been a serious and long-standing problem in Venezuela, but Thursday’s riot is one of the nation’s bloodiest. A fire broke out during rioting at a police station in the Venezuelan city of Valencia. The blaze reportedly started after prisoners set mattresses on fire as part of an attempt to break out on Wednesday. At least 68 people, including relatives of inmates who were visiting, were killed by the fire and the clash with guards. President Nicolas Maduro has yet to comment on the incident. His opposition sees it as further evidence of his socialist government’s failure to curb violence.
- Russia says Ghouta campaign almost over – Russia’s Defense ministry told RIA, a Russian state-owned media outlet, that the fighting in Ghouta is coming to a close, as rebel forces continue to lose control of the Damascus suburb. Thousands of insurgents have accepted a deal to be safely driven in government-owned buses to other rebel-held regions, according to Reuters.
- Kenyan opposition leader deported for second time – Miguna Miguna was deported by Kenya, writing: “I was dragged, assaulted, drugged and forcefully flown to Dubai,” in a Facebook post. Kenyan officials argued Miguna, who holds dual Canadian nationality, is not a citizen, and took away his Kenyan passport. This is the second time he has been deported.
- North and South Korea to meet – North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27. South Korean officials made the announcement after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged his commitment to denuclearization. The leaders of the two Koreas have only held talks twice since the 1950-53 Korean War, in 2000 and 2007.
- Egypt presidential election’s final day – Egyptians go to the polls on the third day of voting in the presidential elections, in which President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi is widely expected to win a second term by a landslide. He faces no serious opposition (The New York Times) and the election has been marked by state measures which saw all credible opponents prevented from getting on the ballot (The Guardian). Given that the result was not in question, focus was on the turnout, which is estimated to be about 40 percent, 7 percent lower than when Sisi was first elected in 2014. The incumbent’s only opponent is the largely unknown centrist politician Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who said he supports Sisi’s re-election.
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- A U.S. district judge in California has ruled in favor of Google, dismissing a lawsuit alleging the tech giant censored politically conservative content uploaded to its YouTube subsidiary. Prager University, a nonprofit media group run by conservative author and radio talk show host Dennis Prager, failed to prove that Google unlawfully censored or unlawfully infringed on freedom of speech. Help us report on this story on political speech
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- Political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica recently made headlines for harvesting data from 50 million Facebook users for a political campaign. However, the mining of personal data, unbeknownst to the user, is common practice for tech companies, according to Carl Miller, research director at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media. SoWikiTribune is brainstorming on how to report on the future of “Your Data.” Help add to the project here.
What we’re reading
- In 1833, Britain passed a law to abolish slavery. As part of the legislation, the government had to pay millions of pounds in compensation. However, as this Guardian piece says, every penny of it went to slave owners, and nothing to those they enslaved. Now, the piece argues, is time for Britain to acknowledge its brutal history. – Charles Anderson
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