Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Tuesday, July 16, 2019, 11:47 AM

In response to planned U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, the North Korean government said it is “gradually losing our justifications to follow through on the commitments we made with the U.S.,” which include North Korea’s voluntary suspension of nuclear and missile tests, the Washington Post reports.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that “the room for negotiation is wide open," if the Trump administration withdraws the sanctions it has imposed on the Iranian economy since 2017, NBC writes.

Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stepped down, returning to his position as secretary of the army in order to then be nominated by President Trump for Secretary of Defense, the Associated Press reports. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer assumed the role of acting secretary of defense pending Esper’s confirmation by the Senate and will return to his previous role should Esper be confirmed. A livestream of the hearing is available here.

Boris Johnson, current frontrunner in the contest for U.K. prime minister, rejected proposals for retaining the “backstop” between the U.K. and Ireland, a regulatory and administrative arrangement to prevent security checks and controls at the border between the two countries; Johnson’s comments raised fears that the U.K. will leave the European Union without a deal, according to the Associated Press.

Journalists in Pakistan staged nationwide demonstrations to protest censorship by the country’s security services. The protesters also argue that the security services have slashed their advertising budgets in order to deprive news outlets of vital revenue, thereby pressuring them into mass layoffs and months-long delays in wages, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned about the possibility that Facebook’s cryptocurrency could be used for illicit purposes and said the company must establish proper safeguards against such abuse, Reuters writes. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is scheduled to hold a hearing today with Facebook’s head of Libra to examine the project; in his prepared remarks David Marcus said the cryptocurrency project will not proceed without full governmental approval and regulation, the Post says.

A hack of Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency compromised the personal and financial data of millions of Bulgarians, Reuters informs. The attack occurred at the end of June and surfaced after an alleged Russian hacker contacted local media offering access to the data.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Andrei Gribakov examined the constitutional challenges to California’s quest to apply for adequacy under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Vishnu Kannan shared an announcement from the Justice and Homeland Security Departments that they were amending their regulations to prevent Central Americans travelling through Mexico from applying for asylum.

Christina Arabia argued that U.S. arms sales and military assistance to foreign countries are becoming increasingly secretive.

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