Syrian rebels begin evacuation deal; Trump targets China

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  • Syrian rebels begin leaving eastern Ghouta in evacuation deal – The BBC reported Syrian state media said 88 rebels and 459 civilians left the city of Harasta on Thursday morning, as part of an evacuation deal with the government, arranged by its ally Russia. The rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham, which had controlled Harasta, agreed to stop fighting in return for safe passage to the northern rebel stronghold of Idlib. Similar deals are on the table with other rebel factions in eastern Ghouta, but have yet to be accepted.
  • Africa agrees Continental Free Trade Area – At a summit in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, 44 African country leaders have signed a deal to create a free trade area, which they hope will come into effect within six months. The deal needs to be ratified by each of the 44 countries’ national parliaments to take effect. Ten countries, including Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, refused to sign the deal, reportedly because some businesses and trade unions were not consulted. The editor of the BBC’s Africa Business Report says the Continental Free Trade Area’s ambition is to create a customs union, common market, and single currency, similar to the European Union.


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  • Europe is about to stake a claim to protect the privacy of individual data on the internet that far outstrips the norm in the United States. What’s more, against a background of fresh uproar over misuse of data centered on Facebook, it sets the stage for a confrontation with Washington and the giant American corporations that dominate the internet. Here WikiTribune reports on the far-reaching set of rules focused on the shielding of individual privacy and exchange of data across borders

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  • Christopher Wylie, now regretful over his role in turning data on an estimated tens of millions of U.S. voters into a high-tech political persuasion machine, has delivered revelations that have triggered government investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, sent Facebook’s stock price plunging and pushed long-simmering privacy concerns to a boil. Here, he tells the Washington Post about how he became a whistle-blower on Cambridge Analytica.

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