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Kim Jong Un in 'vegetative state,' Japanese media report says – New York Post

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is in a “vegetative state” after he underwent heart surgery earlier this month, a Japanese magazine says.

The weekly Shukan Gendai reported Friday that a Chinese medic sent to North Korea as part of a team to treat Kim believed a delay in a simple procedure left the leader severely ill, Reuters reported.

North Korean media hasn’t mentioned Kim’s health or whereabouts, even though reports by other media have sparked international speculation about his well-being.

The Chinese expert told the magazine that Kim clutched his chest and fell to the ground on a visit to the countryside earlier this month. A doctor accompanying Kim performed CPR and took him to a nearby hospital.

Kim, believed to be 36, needed a stent procedure, which calls for placing a tube into a congested blood vessel to allow blood to keep flowing to the heart, according to Shukan Gendai.

The hashtag #KimJongUndead was trending on Twitter but without any proof of the leader’s death.

Earlier this week, Seoul-based website Daily NK reported that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. The outlet cited one unnamed source in North Korea.

South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery, Reuters said. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea.

President Donald Trump has downplayed reports that Kim is ill, and an official familiar with U.S. intelligence said the government had no reason to conclude he was seriously ill or unable eventually to reappear in public, Huffington Post reported.

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Town of Outlook passes social media policy for employees, council – The Outlook

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The Town of Outlook recently passed a social media policy for its employees, as well as those on the local council.

The objective of the policy, which is titled ‘Social Media Practices’ is “To provide clear direction to employees and council on the Town’s standards to be observed when using social media.”

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What follows are highlights of the policy, which was provided to The Outlook by the Town:

The Social Media Practices policy is implemented to establish the roles and appropriate forms of communications to the public for all employees and council of the Town of Outlook, both professionally and personally.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Town employees and council on the following social media and networking platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, Youtube, forums, message boards, blogs, and the Town’s official website.

POLICY

1. Administration staff and selected department heads may be granted access to the Town’s social media platforms as determined by the CAO.

2. Council will not be granted authority to the administration permissions of the Town’s social media platforms, however will be able to view, share, and engage on posts from the Town.

PROCEDURE

1. All posts, comments, message initiations or replies on behalf of the Town must be communicated from the Town of Outlook’s account, not an employee’s personal account.

2. Direct messages to individuals or businesses via messenger and chat platforms must be signed with the first name of the employee who sent the message.

3. Direct messages on behalf of the Town should only be made by approved personnel and during regular working hours, except in the case of an urgent notification or request.

4. Memorandums, public notices, and social media campaigns must be approved by the CAO prior to being posted.

5. Posts, messages, comments, and any other communications containing profane, derogatory, or defamatory language will be hidden or deleted from the Town’s public social media platforms; users who initiate these forms of communications may be banned from Town pages.

EMPLOYEE GUIDELINES

Employees are welcome to engage in personal social media activities outside of working hours, however when engaging in conversations regarding the Town, we expect employees to observe the following guidelines:

• Be respectful and polite

• Avoid speaking on matters outside of your field of expertise

• Exercise caution when answering questions or making statements

• Follow the Town’s confidentiality policy

• Be mindful of copywrite, trademarks, plagiarism, and fair use standards

• Refrain from using profane, derogatory, or defamatory language

• Ensure others know that their personal statements do not represent the Town

• Advise your immediate supervisor when you come across any misleading or false information

Employees who disregard their job duties, disclose confidential information, or engage in offensive behaviour on personal or professional social media accounts may face disciplinary action as per the Town’s Progressive Discipline Policy.

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Facebook and Twitter shares fall as Trump targets social media – CNN

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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
What’s happening: Trump is set to announce an executive order targeting social media companies on Thursday, though it’s not clear what exactly the order will include. The action comes after Twitter applied a fact-check to two of Trump’s tweets, including one that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud.
Trump then accused the social media company of censorship, warning that if it continued to tag his messages, he would use the power of the federal government to rein it in or even shut it down.
Twitter (TWTR) shares closed down 2.8% and are off another 3% in premarket trading. Facebook (FB) shares dropped 1.3% Wednesday and are down another 1.5% in premarket trading Thursday.
Legal experts say Trump’s options for cracking down on Twitter and other sites over how they moderate their platforms are somewhat limited, my CNN Business colleague Brian Fung reports.
The most obvious course of action would be for Trump to seek changes to the Communications Decency Act, which shields tech platforms from legal liability for a wide range of online content.
There has been an ongoing push, led by the Justice Department and Republicans in Congress, to do just that. But changing the law would require building broad consensus in a deadlocked Congress. The Trump administration could not go it alone, according to Brian.
Trump could pressure federal agencies to take action against social media companies. But the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission have previously resisted efforts by the White House to regulate political speech.
Investor insight: The president’s clash with tech companies comes at a delicate moment. Unlike most American firms, these companies — which are used to working remotely and do not rely on physical locations for sales — have performed strongly throughout the pandemic and have helped to drive the stock market recovery.
Shares of Google’s Alphabet (GOOG), which owns YouTube, are up 6% this year, while the broader S&P 500 is down 6%. Facebook’s stock has risen more than 11% year-to-date.

China approves controversial Hong Kong national security law

China’s legislature has approved a proposal to impose a highly contentious national security law in Hong Kong, throwing the semi-autonomous city’s future as a major financial center into doubt.
China approves controversial national security law for Hong Kong
The latest: China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, passed the resolution Thursday to enact the sweeping security legislation, which bans sedition, secession and subversion of the central government and allows mainland China’s state security agencies to operate in Hong Kong.
The law has sparked widespread protests in Hong Kong and has been denounced internationally, with opponents warning it could curtail many of the rights and freedoms promised to the city when it was handed from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
It also could threaten a tenuous trade truce between Washington and Beijing. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States would no longer consider Hong Kong as autonomous from China for trade and economic purposes.
What it means: “We do not currently expect these developments to directly threaten the Phase One trade deal though pressures are rising,” Eurasia Group analysts said in a note to clients Wednesday. “Tensions over Hong Kong are part of the geopolitical rivalry that has contributed to the recent downturn in the US-China relationship, and introduction of this national security law came more quickly than we expected.”
Market reaction: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has dropped more than 5% in the past week. Elsewhere, investors have shrugged off the risks, pushing stocks higher.

More stimulus

Europe and Japan are taking big steps to ensure their economies can recover as they begin the gradual process of ending lockdowns.
More stimulus: The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a plan that would see it raise €750 billion ($825 billion) on financial markets through its 2021-27 budget. Two-thirds of the money would be distributed to countries via grants, while the remainder would be offered as loans.
And Japan is injecting another $1 trillion into its economy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Wednesday approved additional relief, doubling the amount previously committed in April.
Europe’s plan still needs to be approved by the 27 EU member states, with the aid unlikely to arrive before 2021. But the moves are a sign that countries aren’t shying away from unprecedented help at a moment of dire need. That’s helping support investor sentiment as restrictions on movement ease.
“The sweet spot for a risk-on rotation is now, as economies reopen and more fiscal programs are implemented,” Evercore ISI’s Dennis DeBusschere told clients.
The number of initial US unemployment claims filed last week arrives at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expect another 2.1 million.
Also today: US durable goods orders for April and the second estimate of US GDP for the first quarter also post at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Coming tomorrow: US personal income and spending data, along with the latest reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey, will shine a light on consumer behavior at a crucial juncture.

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Trump threatens to remove 'shield' protecting social-media giants from liability for online content – The Globe and Mail

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters about an executive order regarding social media companies as Attorney General Bill Barr listens, in the Oval Office of the White House, on May 28, 2020.

JONATHAN ERNST/Reuters

President Donald Trump escalated his feud with Silicon Valley Thursday, accusing tech giants of censorship and issuing an executive order threatening to end the legal protections that shield social-media companies from being liable for content published on their platforms.

Legal experts say Mr. Trump’s executive order, which essentially asks federal U.S. agencies to start policing the content-moderation policies of major tech firms, is likely unenforceable and will inevitably spark court challenges. But the move intensified a political backlash over the growing powers of tech giants that has drawn bipartisan support heading into a presidential election.

The executive order was issued just days after Twitter decided for the first time to fact-check the President. The social-media network flagged a series of Mr. Trump’s tweets that alleged that California’s plans to expand mail-in ballots for the November presidential election would encourage voter fraud.

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Twitter drew fire for posting an alert about those tweets while refusing to flag a separate series of Mr. Trump’s tweets promoting a conspiracy theory that MSNBC host and former congressman Joe Scarborough had been involved in the death of a political staffer. The muddled response and the President’s backlash have highlighted the challenges that social-media companies face in policing political speech, particularly that of Mr. Trump, who has more than 80 million followers on Twitter.

The dispute between Mr. Trump and Twitter also highlighted a growing schism among social-media companies about how far they should go to police political speech.

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he disagreed with Twitter’s decision to fact-check Mr. Trump. “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he said.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey shot back on Thursday to defend his company’s decision. “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally,” he wrote on Twitter. “And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make. This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’ “

The President’s executive order targets the broad protections that internet companies enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that gives websites the right to police their platforms, but also prevents them from being held responsible for content posted by users.

President Donald Trump said he will introduce legislation that may scrap or weaken a law that has long protected internet companies, including Twitter and Facebook. Reuters

Supporters of the law argue it has been instrumental in encouraging the growth of the U.S. tech industry by protecting small start-ups from costly lawsuits. But as companies such as Google and Facebook have grown into international behemoths, those protections have increasingly alarmed politicians on both sides of the aisle. Republicans argue the law gives companies a licence to censor conservative voices, while Democrats fear it has allowed tech giants to avoid responsibility for the spread of misinformation and hate speech.

The law has been the focus of several recent congressional inquiries and, in February, Attorney-General William Barr told a meeting of the Justice Department, which is conducting its own investigation of tech firms, that the Section 230 provisions should be re-examined.

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“Currently social-media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they’re a neutral platform, which they’re not,” Mr. Trump said Thursday. “They have a shield, they can do what they want. They have a shield. They’re not going to have that shield.”

The executive order calls on federal agencies to review their spending on social-media ads and asks the Federal Communications Commission, the telecommunications watchdog, to issue new regulations with a narrower interpretation of the law.

But legal scholars say the President lacks the power to order changes to a law passed by Congress and can’t force federal agencies to comply with requests.

“There’s actually very little of substance in the executive order,” said Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman. “But that never was the point. Like everything else the Trump administration is done, it’s far more about the atmospherics than it is about actually improving our country.”

The order also raises questions about the tech companies’ First Amendment rights, which protect individuals and companies from government censorship. And experts warn Mr. Trump’s order could help reaffirm the power of major companies such as Facebook and Google, which have the resources to comply with complex federal regulations, while harming smaller competitors.

But the executive order still has the power to send a message to Silicon Valley that there is a growing political will to curb their powers. “I think it does this signalling in an effective way to the businesses in Silicon Valley and to the supporters of the President. And maybe that’s the ultimate goal here.” said University of Buffalo law professor Mark Bartholomew.

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