Six In The Morning Thursday 2 May 2019

Barr ensures Congress can’t stop Trump now

Updated 0519 GMT (1319 HKT) May 2, 2019

Donald Trump was right: He can get away with almost anything — a factor that is likely to mean an even more unchained presidency over the next 18 months.

All the reasons why Democratic efforts to check the President will likely fail were revealed in Attorney General William Barr’s trial by fire on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and his refusal to submit to a second round before the fired-up House majority on Thursday.
The drama also showed that in the short span of a White House term, given certain partisan conditions, the modern political system will find it almost impossible to constrain a President — especially one who poses such an overwhelming challenge to congressional custom as Trump.

‘Seldom uses front door’: report reveals how China spies on Muslim minority

Authorities use an app to collect personal data on Uighurs as part of a vast surveillance network, Human Rights Watch says
Simina Mistreanu

Using too much electricity or having acquaintances abroad are among a list of reasons that prompt authorities in China’s western Xinjiang region to investigate Uighurs and other Muslims who might be deemed “untrustworthy” and sent to internment camps, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

The report, released on Thursday, analyses a mobile app used by authorities in Xinjiang to collect personal data from ethnic minorities, file reports about people and objects they find suspicious, and carry out investigations.

The app is connected with the integrated joint operations platform (IJOP), a Xinjiang policing program that aggregates people’s data and flags those deemed potentially threatening. IJOP is part of a vast surveillance network currently employed in the restive region that includes frequent checkpoints equipped with face scanners, so-called “convenience” police stations, and surveillance cameras inside homes.

Revolution in the streets, army in power

Sudan tries for democracy one more time

Two previous popular uprisings in Sudan brought in democratic governments that lasted only a few years, until the next military coup. With the fall of Omar al-Bashir, will it be different now?
by Giovanna Lelli
Omar al-Bashir’s government announced a bread price increase from 1 to 3 Sudanese pounds on 19 December 2018, one rise among many in its tough austerity policy. This had been in place since 2013, to fight inflation (70% by December 2018) and the collapse of the national currency (one pound was worth $0.42 in 2009, $0.02 in 2018). Ordinary Sudanese were already suffering under the Structural Adjustment Programme, adopted in 2017 under the aegis of the IMF, and from constant shortages of basic foodstuffs and petrol. They reacted to the bread price rise by taking to the streets with placards calling for ‘freedom, peace and justice’, the end of the regime and even revolution.

Austrians lack crucial Holocaust awareness, study finds

Most Austrian adults do not know 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, according to a new survey. While some described the findings as disturbing, an education expert at Yad Vashem also sees reasons for hope.

The majority of Austrians adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, according to a study released Thursday.

“We are seeing disturbing trends pointing to the lack of Holocaust knowledge,” Julius Berman, the president of the Claims Conference, said in a statement.

The survey, commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, comes against a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism and far-right movements gaining footholds across Europe, including in Austria, which long downplayed its role in the Holocaust and where a right-wing populist party is part of the national governing coalition.

Venezuela crisis: Opposition leader Guaidó vows crippling strikes

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has called for an escalating series of strikes to force President Nicolás Maduro to relinquish power.

Mr Guaidó urged public employees to act on Thursday, saying the stoppages would lead to a general strike.

A woman was killed and dozens were injured when protesters and security forces clashed in Caracas on Wednesday.

Mr Maduro meanwhile dismissed suggestions he had been ready to flee and accused the US of directing a coup.

Those involved would be punished, he said.

Texas lawmakers want to make clear guns allowed in churches


Some Texas legislators want to make it clearer in state law that licensed handgun holders can carry weapons in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship, nearly a year and a half after a gunman killed 26 people at a small-town Texas church during a Sunday service,

The effort comes as places of worship around the world face targeted attacks by extremists, including a shooting at a California synagogue last week that left one worshipper dead and injured three others. In October 2018, a gunman killed 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The Texas bill would codify an opinion state Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a little over a month after a gunman killed more than two dozen people at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in November 2017. Paxton determined then that licensed handgun holders can legally carry in places of worship unless given “effective oral or written notice” or warning that weapons were banned from the property.