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Posted by On 4:42 AM

Republicans want Trump's VA nominee to withdraw

  1. Republicans want Trump's VA nominee to withdraw The Hill
  2. Ambien should not be handed out 'like candy,' experts say of Ronny L. Jackson's alleged practices Washington Post
  3. White House prepares for possible Jackson withdrawal CNN
  4. New Allegations Emerge Against Ronny Jackson as White House Digs In New York Times
  5. Commentary: What Ronny Jackson reveals about our politics CBS News
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Posted by On 4:41 AM

Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain, CTO says

Facebook will introduce new measures to boost transparency around adverts in Britain by June this year and require political ads to be clearly labelled, the firm’s Chief Technology Officer told a British parliamentary committee.

In a written submission to the UK parliament’s media committee, Mike Schroepfer said those wanting to run political adverts would have to complete an authorization process and the messages would also have to display who paid for them.

Facebook has said that the personal information of about 87 million users might have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign.

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Lawmakers have also raised concern over the use of social media in Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union in 2 016.

“I want to start by echoing our CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: what happened with Cambridge Analytica represents a breach of trust, and we are deeply sorry. We made mistakes and we are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Schroepfer wrote.

Earlier this month, Zuckerberg apologised to U.S. senators for issues that have beset Facebook, including shortcomings over data protection.

But the 33-year-old internet mogul managed to deflect any specific promises to support any congressional regulation of the world’s largest social media network and other U.S. internet companies.

Schroepfer, who was appearing before the British media committee on Thursday, said it was clear Facebook had not done enough to ensure its tools from “potentially being used for harm” or take a broad enough view of its responsibility.

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Posted by On 4:41 AM

Van attack prompting 'talk about misogyny' as motive

Van attack prompting 'talk about misogyny' as motiveTheories are emerging about whether a hatred of women could have played a role in Monday's attack in Toronto, in which the driver of a van plowed into pedestrians down a busy street.

Federal ministers call on web giants to rein in online hatred

Police gather after a van driver rammed pedestrians on Monday in north Toronto. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

Theories are emerging about whether a hatred of women could have played a role in Monday's attack in Toronto, in which the driver of a van plowed into pedestrians down a busy street.

One day after 25-year-old Alek Minassian allegedly tore down Yonge Street with a rental van, killing 10 and injuring 14, police revealed that the ma jority of the victims were women, ranging in age from their 20s to 80s.
  • Facebook post linked to Toronto van attack points to insular, misogynistic world of 'incels'

Police have so far offered no details on a possible motive, but at a news conference Tuesday referred to a "cryptic" message posted on the Richmond Hill, Ont., man's Facebook account, moments before the deadly attack.

"Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys. All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!" reads the post.

Police haven't quoted the post specifically, but did say one was written before the accused began driving the rental van.Suspect Alek Minassian allegedly made a reference in a Facebook post to Elliot Rodger, above, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, had left a trail of YouTube videos and a 140-page manifesto ranting against women and couples and lamenting his lack of a sex life. (YouTube/Associated Press)

Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. A 14th charge of attempted murder is expected, police said Tuesday.

Time to speak up about hate, MP says

Asked about the theory that misogyny may have been behind the attack, federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu responded by saying it's time Canadians speak up about what she called a troubling trend of hate directed at women.
  • Police say van attack victims were mostly women â€" but offer no details on motive

Hajdu, who was at a weekly caucus meeting along with Prime Minister Trudeau, said people are too silent about misogyny and it's time to speak up.

"From my perspectiv e, we have to have a conversation about misogyny, about the rise in hate and the connection to what some call the alt-right," said Hajdu. "I think it's a conversation that's just not being had loudly enough in our society."

A statement from Hajdu's office later sought to distance her remarks from the investigation.

"The minister respects the ongoing investigation the police are doing and agrees it is inappropriate to comment on it," Carlene Variyan said in an email. "She was simply speaking in broad terms, from her experience as status of women minister, about the impacts of misogyny on society writ large. She was not commenting on the ongoing investigation."

'May not be actual answers,' says Trudeau

Asked for his thoughts on the reasons for the attack, Trudeau withheld comment, saying the investigation was ongoing. "A lot of people have questions as to why, and there may or may not be actual answers," he said.

Speaking to reporters at Queen's Park earlier in the day, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also steered clear of speculation about motive for the attack.Premier Kathleen Wynne said Wednesday there continues to be no threat of any national security issue in Toronto following Monday's van attack. (CBC)

"I think it's early days for us to jump to any conclusions about that," she said.

  • These are the victims of Toronto's deadly van attack

Pressed further, Wynne said it was "very disturbing that we have venues where this kind of hateful, misogynist language is used, where those attitudes are given permission in some way."

"But I don't think that we can pre-empt or speculate on what the motivation is," she said.

Calls for web giants t o act

Asked about online sites where hateful views against women are espoused, federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said criminal behaviour cannot be tolerated online.

"People's behaviour must be the same online and offline. And therefore, we call upon the web giants to make sure that they counter any form of hate speech and any form of discrimination," Joly said. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale had called upon web giants to act during the G7 Ministers of National Security Summit in Toronto, said Joly. A woman writes a note at a memorial on Yonge Street Tuesday the day after a driver in Toronto drove a rented van down sidewalks, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, striking pedestrians in his path. (Galit Rodan/Canadian Press)

Street reopens

Meanwhile, as the investigation continues, the stretch of Y onge Street that became the site of tragedy just two days ago has fully reopened, the remaining yellow tape and display of signs and flowers a reminder of both the carnage seen by the city and its resilience.

Toronto police say they continue to have an "investigative presence" in the area and cannot speak to when the identities of those killed might be released.

It could be days yet before the names of the deceased are made public, Ontario's chief coroner said Tuesday.
  • 'I hope she survived,' says man who aided victim of van attack

"Many families have asked for privacy and the official list of names will not be released until they have all been confirmed," the premier said.

CBC News has confirmed the identities of some of the deceased victims, while court records identified those who were injured.

Mayor John Tory's office announced Wednesday that the city will host a #TorontoStrong vigil Sunday evening a t Mel Lastman Square.

This city-hosted vigil, organized in collaboration with community groups Faith in the City and the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, will be a demonstration of Toronto's diverse communities and a display of the city's resiliency.

Anyone missing a friend or family member is asked to call Toronto police at 416-808-8085. Anyone with information for investigators can contact 416-808 8750. Police have also set up a video/photo portal at: torontopolice.on.ca/yongefinch/. If you're seeking mental wellness help, you can call 416-808 7066.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Posted by On 4:41 AM

Kim Jong Un: US intelligence builds profile on secretive leader ahead of Trump meeting

World April 26, 2018 7:05 am Updated: April 26, 2018 7:07 am Kim Jong Un: U.S. intelligence builds profile on secretive leader ahead of Trump meeting

ABOVE: Trump promises tough stand on North Korea ahead of expected meeting with Kim Jong Un.

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U.S. intelligence experts are trying to build a profile of Kim Jong Un to give U.S. President Donald Trump a competitive edge in one of the most consequential summits since the Cold War, but they face a huge challenge â€" figuring out a secretive North Korean ruler few people know much about.

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Following a long tradition of arming U.S. presidents with political and psychological dossiers of foreign leaders ahead of critical negotiations, government analysts are gathering every new bit of information they can glean about Kim and making adjustments to earlier assessments of what makes him tick, U.S. officials told Reuters.

READ MORE: Donald Trump calls Kim Jong Un ‘very honourable’ ahead of high-stakes meeting with North Korean dicta tor

They will rely in part on the impressions drawn by CIA director Mike Pompeo, who just weeks ago became the first Trump administration official to meet Kim. Pompeo, Trump’s pick to become secretary of state, came back from Pyongyang privately describing the young North Korean leader as “a smart guy who’s doing his homework” for the meetings, according to one U.S. official, who described Pompeo’s personal view of Kim for the first time.

The profile will also include intelligence gathered in past debriefings of others who have interacted with Kim, including ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman, Kim’s former classmates at a Swiss boarding school and South Korean envoys, other U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

WATCH: Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in recent trip to North Korea

All of this is being used to update the U.S. government’s classified file on Kim’s behavior, motives, personality and leadership style to help Trump and his aides develop a strategy for dealing withKim at the expected first-ever meeting of U.S. and North Korean leaders.

A White House official declined to confirm any specifics about the drive to better understand Kim, except to say: “There is a robust whole of government effort under way to prepare for the president’s summit,” which is targeted for late May or early June.

Despite that, direct knowledge of Kim remains limited â€" a “black box,” according to one U.S. official familiar with the profiling efforts â€" especially given the scarcity of spies and informants on the ground and the difficulties of cyber-espionage in a country where Internet usage is minimal.

READ MORE: Why North Korea’s move to halt weapons testing is a show of strength from Kim Jong-Un

When Kim first came to power, the CIA predicted that Kim’s rule might be short-lived. Seven years later that prediction has been dropped and he is now seen as a shrewd and ruthless leader. More recently, many U.S. experts were caught off-guard by how nimbly Kim shifted from his saber-rattling drive to build a nuclear missile arsenal to diplomatic outreach.

‘Rational actor’

The emerging U.S. consensus on Kim is similar to what many outside experts have publicly concluded. He is seen as a “rational actor,” said U.S. officials â€" not the “total nut job” that Trump once branded him. He craves international stature but his main aim is “regime survival” and perpetuating his family dynasty, suggesting it will be hard for him to agree to full nuclear disarmament, the officials said.

He is ruthless enough to have had relatives executed but now feels secure enough in power to gambl e on Trump, they said. In terms of personality, he is seen more like his charismatic grandfather, Kim Il Sung, than his more camera-shy father.

WATCH: Donald Trump’s promise to meet with Kim Jong Un sparks optimism, but also disbelief

His dispatch of his sister to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February and a rare appearance by his wife when South Korean envoys visited in March demonstrates an effort to humanize his leadership abroad, they added.

Shielded by North Korea’s extreme opaqueness, Kim has posed a special set of profiling problems for U.S. spy agencies. U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a speech earlier this month that North Korea’s leadership was “one of the hardest collection components out there” for intelligence gatherin g.

U.S. experts will be closely studying both Kim’s words and body language at his historic summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, officials said.

READ MORE: Donald Trump says ‘good relationship formed’ in meeting between Mike Pompeo, Kim Jong Un

U.S. intelligence analysts have spent years examining Kim’s family history, speeches, photos and video, and they are now closely analyzing images and reports of his recent high-profile meetings with South Korean and Chinese officials.

U.S. authorities have also interviewed North Korean defectors and even resorted to second-hand sources such as the memoir of a Japanese sushi chef who once worked for the Kim family, several officials and experts said.

Amid the scramble to put together the Kim profile, the U.S. officials said another challenge was determining how much information to give Trump â€" known to have little patience for detailed bri efings or lengthy documents â€" and then persuading him not to act purely on gut instinct, as he often does with foreign leaders.

WATCH: North Korea expert raises speculation around Trump-Kim Jong Un

Briefers are expected to limit their presentation to an abridged version, accompanied by photos, maps, drawings and video, the officials said.

It will not be the first time intelligence officers have relied on visual aids to help get him up to speed on North Korea.

Early in his administration, Trump was shown a scale model of North Korea’s sprawling nuclear bomb test site with a removable mountaintop and a miniature Statue of Liberty inside so he could grasp the size of the facility, two U.S. officials said.

A White House official declined comment on the episo de.

Trump’s defenders say he is adept at absorbing facts visually. “His successful building career means he was very good at studying architectural renderings and floor plans. So he’s a visual learner, and it works well for him,” the White House official said.

‘It’s never perfect’

For decades, U.S. administrations have ordered up profiles of foreign leaders, especially those of adversaries such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Fidel Castro of Cuba. Many other governments conduct similar studies.

Such assessments, which originated with the U.S. government’s efforts to better understand Germany’s Adolf Hitler, have sometimes been deemed helpful to U.S. policymakers.

READ MORE: Kim Jong Un takes in performance by South Korean K-pop stars

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wrote in his memoir “Keeping Faith” that in-depth profiles of Israeli Prime Minister Mena chem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat paid “rich dividends” in helping him reach a 1978 peace accord.

But the “know thy enemy” practice has been far from fool-proof.

For instance, initial bare-bones assessments of Kim put together soon after he took power in 2011 suggested he was possibly too inexperienced to survive internal struggles but that if he did he would likely be more interested in reforming North Korea’s battered economy than pursuing nuclear weapons. “It’s never perfect,” acknowledged Jerrold Post, a psychiatrist who founded the CIA’s center for the study of political personality and has profiled both Kim and his father. “But we need to do our best to understand how Kim sees the world.”

WATCH: Death of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother sparks row between Malaysia, North Korea

Post, now in private psychiatric practice in Maryland, said he was consulted recently by a Trump aide who was due to brief the president. He declined to elaborate on what advice he gave.

“We all listen to the forensic psychiatrists of the intelligence community,” said Wendy Sherman, a former U.S. negotiator with North Korea who traveled to Pyongyang with then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000 to meet Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il.

But she suggested face-to-face contact was the best way to take the measure of a North Korean leader. “I’m sure Mike Pompeo, having gone with an intelligence team, came back with a lot of useful information,” she told Reuters.

© 2018 Reuters

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