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Facebook Fake Pages | U.S.-China Trade War | Russian Journalists Killed in CAR


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. August 1, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Facebook Uncovers Disinformation Operation Social media giant Facebook said it shut down thirty-two fake pages and accounts yesterday that were part of a “coordinated inauthentic campaign” to spread politically divisive material ahead of U.S. midterm elections in November. The pages, which included titles such as Aztlan Warriors and Black Elevation, had some 290,000 followers (Wired). Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the activity was similar to that of campaigns carried out by Russian firm Internet Research Agency before the 2016 U.S. presidential election but that the company had not yet identified who was behind the operation. A White House spokesperson said (NYT) the Trump administration “will not tolerate foreign interference into our electoral process.” ANALYSIS “Similarities [with earlier campaigns] included language patterns that indicate non-native English and consistent mistranslation, as well as an overwhelming focus on polarizing issues at the top of any given news cycle with content that remained emotive rather than fact-based,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which has partnered with Facebook on an election watch program. “It's entirely possible that there are many others out there that the company may not be particularly confident about and for which it is not ready and willing to disclose that they are disinformation operators,” former Facebook advisor Dipayan Ghosh said in an interview with National Public Radio. “They post whatever they need to create a following, then try to hype up partisan divisions that already exist in the US. The playbook isn’t new, everyone is just getting better at it,” tweets the New York Times’ Sheera Frenkel. CFR Quizzes This week’s test: How much do you know about immigration in the United States?   PACIFIC RIM China Warns U.S. Against Tariff ‘Blackmail’ The foreign ministry said China will retaliate with countermeasures if the United States escalates a trade war between the countries. The United States is reportedly considering more than doubling (Bloomberg) planned tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. CFR’s Brad W. Setser looks at the backstory of the U.S.-China trade war. THAILAND: The ruling military junta requested that the United Kingdom extradite Yingluck Shinawatra (NYT), Thailand’s last elected prime minister, after she was convicted on negligence charges. The extradition order was reportedly made in early July. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Civilians Killed in Jalalabad Refugee Office Attack At least fifteen people were killed in an attack on a government refugee office (NYT) in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, prompting the Afghan national army to take over security in the area. Local officials said the self-proclaimed Islamic State was likely behind the attack (Tolo). In Foreign Affairs, Barnett R. Rubin writes that great powers can end the war in Afghanistan. INDIA: The Reserve Bank of India raised a key interest rate (Nikkei) for the second time in two months following four and a half years with no increase. The move comes amid rising concerns over inflation. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Migrant Return to Libya May Be Illegal, Says UN The UN refugee agency said a Monday operation by an Italian vessel, in which it reportedly rescued 108 migrants on the Mediterranean and returned them to Libya (Guardian), their country of departure, may have violated international law prohibiting the transfer of people to places where they would be in danger. SYRIA: The Japanese government said it will “utilize every network” to secure the release (Japan Times) of a Japanese journalist believed to have been kidnapped in Syria in 2015 following the release yesterday of a video appearing to show him. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Russian Journalists in CAR Killed Three Russian journalists working on a documentary film about a private Russian security firm in the Central African Republic were killed in an ambush (RFE/RL) on Monday, their news outlet reported. ANGOLA: Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, failed to appear in court (Reuters) for questioning by prosecutors about her time running state oil company Sonangol. If dos Santos misses two more summons, she could face arrest. EUROPE Turkey’s Erdogan Decries U.S. Threats President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that “threatening remarks will not earn anyone anything.” The statement comes after the United States demanded that Turkey release a jailed American pastor (Hurriyet) and the U.S. Congress passed legislation that could halt the sale of fighter jets to the NATO ally. In Foreign Affairs, Amanda Sloat discusses how to save the U.S.-Turkey relationship. UK: Amnesty International said a member of its staff was targeted in a “sophisticated surveillance campaign” by a foreign government it believes is hostile to its human rights advocacy work. AMERICAS All Passengers Survive Mexico Plane Crash An Aeromexico airliner that took off in the northern state of Durango yesterday was hit by a gust of wind and lost speed, forcing it to crash. All 103 passengers escaped the plane (AP) before it caught fire. The pilot is in critical condition due to burns, the state governor said. BRAZIL: Police announced that the country’s three largest fuel distribution companies are under investigation for price-fixing at gas stations (Reuters). The announcement comes two months after a strike by truck drivers over soaring diesel prices paralyzed much of the country.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: August 01, 2018 at 09:58PM