In a fateful swipe at telecommunications giant Huawei, the Trump administration issued an executive order Wednesday apparently aimed at banning its equipment from U.S. networks and said it was subjecting the Chinese company to strict export controls. The executive order declares a national economic emergency that empowers the government to ban the technology and services of “foreign adversaries” deemed to pose “unacceptable risks” to national security — including from cyberespionage and sabotage. The order addresses U.S. government concerns that equipment from Chinese suppliers could pose an espionage threat to U.S. internet and telecommunications infrastructure.
The White House said on Wednesday it supported the Christchurch Call’s aims but was “not in a position to join”, citing the need for freedom of speech. The comments came as five of the world’s biggest tech companies pledged to tackle extremist material. The Christchurch Call is a voluntary commitment by governments and tech companies to improve their efforts to tackle extremist content. The Christchurch Call was launched in response to a deadly terror attack that was live streamed on Facebook.
Austrian lawmakers have approved plans to ban girls in elementary schools from wearing headscarves, a move that would add to existing restrictions on veils. The measure bans wearing “ideologically or religiously characterized clothing” that covers the head, and specifies that it refers to items “that cover the whole or large parts of the hair.” Austria’s previous government prohibited full-face veils in courts, schools and other “public places” and banned police officers, judges, magistrates and public prosecutors from wearing headscarves.
The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran. A high-ranking British general said there was no new threat from Iran or its regional proxies, something immediately rebutted by the U.S. military’s Central Command, which said its troops were on high alert, without elaborating.
A former leader of the Basque terrorist group Eta has been arrested in France after spending more than 16 years on the run, the Spanish government said on Thursday. Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea Bengoetxea, better known as Josu Ternera, was once Eta’s political chief. Eta, which stands for “Basque homeland and freedom”, killed more than 800 people in more than four decades of violence aimed at establishing an independent Basque state. It abandoned its armed struggle in 2011 and formally dissolved itself last year.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned Conrad M. Black, a friend and former business associate who wrote a flattering book about the president last year. Black, a Canadian-born citizen of Britain, was found guilty of mail fraud and obstruction in 2007 in a ploy to swindle millions of dollars from investors in his media company. Black served more than three years in prison and was legally barred from re-entering the United States, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.