France imposes anti-terror law, Hamas hands over Gaza border crossings

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  • President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-terror law came into force after France ended its two-year state of emergency, which was imposed after the 2015 Paris terror attack. The new law gives the police more power to search or shut down properties, such as mosques, suspected of preaching hate.
  • Meanwhile, Russia has imposed its own law which regulates technologies enabling anonymous internet browsing. These tools include virtual private networks (VPNs) and anonymous proxy servers which are often used by journalists and human rights activists. The law is part of a wider crackdown on communications — last month messaging app Telegram was fined for failing to register with Russian watchdogs — and comes months before the March 2018 election.
  • The Islamist-Palestinian militant group, Hamas, handed over administrative control of five border crossings in Gaza to the Palestinian authority. The handover is the first in a decade-long conflict between Hamas and political party Fatah, and is part of a deal in reconciliation talks to end their conflict in Palestine.


  • More details are emerging about the deadly truck attack in Manhattan. The Associated Press, citing officials, said the suspect was an Uzbek immigrant who came to the United States legally in 2010. There is now a narrative of the events leading up to the deadliest attack in the city since September 11, 2001. Police said the alleged suspect rented a truck in New Jersey and later sped along a New York City bike path toward the World Trade Center. He killed eight people, including five friends from Argentina, and injured 11 before crashing into a school bus. The suspect got out of the truck carrying two imitation handguns before being shot by police and is currently in critical condition in hospital, according to authorities.
    • President Donald Trump responded to the attack with a tweet.
  • Trump also stated that his administration will end the diversity visa lottery, the program that the suspect used to enter the U.S. The diversity visa lottery is designed to give people from countries with a small presence in the U.S. a better chance of being admitted.
  • Allegations of fraud have prompted Liberia’s supreme court to delay a presidential-runoff election. Several political parties – including the president’s own – have accused President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of interfering in the vote. The court’s move comes after its Kenyan counterpart annulled presidential election results, signaling a greater role for judiciaries in African election.
  • The opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime rejected a Russian-led attempt at peace talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has supported Assad’s rule, scheduled the summit for this month. The civil war has devastated Syria since it began in July 2011. The opposition High Negotiations Committee insisted any peace talks be held under UN sponsorship in Geneva, as opposed to Russia’s proposal which was to take place in Sochi. Ahmad Ramadan, a spokesman for the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition (SNC) political opposition group, told Reuters: “The Coalition will not participate in any negotiations with the regime outside Geneva or without UN sponsorship.”

What we’re reading

  • The botulinum toxin is so powerful that a tiny amount can suffocate a person by paralyzing the muscles used for breathing. It’s considered one of the world’s most deadly potential agents of bioterrorism and it forms the basis of Botox — a drug that has created a $2.8 billion empire for a company that had its start in a tiny town Ireland. Here Bloomberg’s Businessweek goes behind the doors of the little-known company known as “Fort Botox.”  — Charles Anderson
  • Trump declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency last week but stopped short of declaring a full national emergency or committing funds to tackle the epidemic. The state of Vermont has declared an emergency over the problem and Vox visited to see how they are taking on opioid addiction. — Geoff Goodfellow


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