Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Friday, October 8, 2021, 3:18 PM

A bomb exploded Friday at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 50 people and wounding dozens, according to the Washington Post. The attack was the latest security challenge to the Taliban since their seized control of the country.

Senior members of the Biden administration and their Mexican counterparts are negotiating a security arrangement to replace the Merida Initiative on Friday, says NPR. The Merida Initiative, originally implemented under the Obama administration,  failed to address its purported goals of combating threats of drug trafficking, cartels and violence. Administration officials said that the new security agreement will emphasize the commitment of “the United States in this regard to work, to deal with the flow of arms into Mexico.”

Google will no longer allow advertisements on YouTube videos and other content that spread misinformation about climate change, reports the New York Times. Google restricts advertising on certain sensitive topics such as firearms or content about a tragic event. Facebook, Google’s main competitor in the digital advertising space, does not have a ban on climate change denial.

Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Trump, has refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, says the New York Times. Robert Costello, Bannon’s lawyer, broke the news through a letter to the committee, in which said that Trump had instructed his former aides not to comply with the subpoenas and keep the information confidential through executive privilege. This refusal will slow the work of the committee.

The World Health Organization said on Thursday that it had started shipping medical supplies to North Korea to help its coronavirus response, in what appears to be a sign that the country is easing its strict pandemic border closures, according to AP News. North Korea has yet to report a single case of coronavirus and has turned down several vaccine offers. Analysts say the North Korean government is uncomfortable about international monitoring requirements that would be attached to vaccine imports and that leader Kim Jong Un has incentives to tighten the country’s borders as he tries to solidify his grip on power.

U.S. forces have been secretly training Taiwan’s military for at least a year amid increasing concern over potential Chinese encroachment of the island, reports the Wall Street Journal. Although the United States has sold billions of dollars of military hardware to Taiwan in recent years, current and former officials believe Taiwan’s defense system is still lacking. China’s Foreign Ministry pressed the United States to adhere to prior agreements and to stop its military aid to Taiwan.

AP News shared a new poll from The Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, showing that nearly all Americans believe that the spread of misinformation is a problem. More Americans believe social media companies, social media users, and U.S. politicians are responsible for spreading misinformation than the U.S. government or foreign governments.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alina Polyakova and Anastasiia Zlobina to discuss Russia’s crackdown on social media platforms and the consequences of increasing Russian control over the internet.

Bryce Klehm shared the Senate Judiciary Committee’s report on former President Trump’s efforts to use the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election.

Klehm also announced this week’s Lawfare Live, in which Adam Klein, Benjamin Wittes and Jacob Schulz will discuss the recent inspector general’s report examining flaws in the FISA application process.

Ethan Paul wrote a book review of Rush Doshi’s “The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order.”

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