Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 1:45 PM

AP News shared findings from the RIVM health institute that found the new omicron variant of the coronavirus in samples in the Netherlands from Nov. 19 and 23, indicating that the virus was spreading in western Europe before the first cases were identified in southern Africa. The World Health Organization warned Monday that the omicron variant may be more contagious. While many nations rushed to impose travel restrictions, particularly from visitors from southern Africa, these findings make clear that the measures will not be enough to stop the spread of the variant. 

Security officials in China’s Henan province are building a surveillance system with face-scanning technology to track journalists and other “people of concern,” such as foreign students and migrant women, says BBC. The system will classify individuals into three tiers of a “traffic-light” based on perceived danger, and those labeled as key concerns will be surveilled. Documents discovered by the surveillance analyst firm IPVM reveal that the Chinese company Neusoft won the bid for a contract to build the system.

The European Union made a statement Tuesday asking China to release “verifiable proof” that tennis player Peng Shuai is safe, reports Newsweek. The three-time Olympian disappeared from public view for over two weeks after she took to Weibo claiming she had been sexually assaulted by Zhang Gaoli, a former member of the Communist Party's ruling Standing Committee. Although Peng has since released statements, an EU spokesperson said “[h]er recent public reappearance does not ease concerns about her safety and freedom” and called on China to fulfill its “human rights obligations.” Peng is among a growing number of people who disappeared from public view after criticizing party officials or participating in pro-democracy and labor rights campaigns.

Talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed Monday, but the Iranian negotiators have made clear that their country would only be willing to make a deal after a complete lifting of sanctions, according to the New York Times. Iran is also insisting the United States and its allies guarantee they will not impose new sanctions.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack announced Monday that it is preparing to recommend contempt of Congress charges against Jeffrey Clark, writes CBS News. Clark served as the head of the Environment and Natural Resources division of the Justice Department under former President Trump. The vote, scheduled for Wednesday, may make Clark the second Trump ally to be charged in contempt of Congress after failing to comply with a subpoena. Clark reportedly pushed to pursue unfounded claims of voter fraud and corruption in the weeks after the 2020 election.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Dominic Cruz Bustillos sat down with Timothy Frye to talk about challenges to the conventional wisdom on Putin's Russia, Russia's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the European energy crisis, the recent State Duma elections and U.S.-Russia relations.

Charles Capito, Brandon L. Van Grack and Logan Wren examined how the Commerce Department’s additions to the export control Entity List highlights accelerated efforts to target spyware.

Laura Bate and Matthew Cordova discussed what the State Department should do to prepare for the future of U.S. cyberspace and center it as a core feature of American diplomacy and foreign policy.

Samantha Lai shared an episode of TechTank in which Samantha Lai, Nicol Turner Lee and Niam Yaraghi to talk about their upcoming paper on telehealth and the important elements of a telehealth 2.0 roadmap coming out of the pandemic.

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