Twitter CEO Vows to Police Sexual Harassment, Hate, Violence

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is promising the company will do a better job weeding out sexual harassment, hateful symbols and violent groups from its short messaging service.

The pledge issued in a series of tweets late Friday followed a boycott organized by women supporting actress Rose McGowan after she said Twitter temporarily suspended her account for posting about the alleged misconduct of film producer Harvey Weinstein. The movie mogul was fired last Sunday by the company he co-founded amid accusations that he sexually harassed or sexually assaulted women.

Dorsey acknowledged Twitter hasn’t been doing enough to ensure voices aren’t silenced on the service despite policy changes made since 2016. He said the new rules will be announced next week, with the changes taking effect soon after.

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Mystery Hacker Steals Australian Defense Data

A  mystery hacker who was given the alias of a TV soap opera character has stolen sensitive information about Australia’s multi-billion dollar warplane and navy projects.  Intelligence officials say the break was significant, although the Australian government insists that only low-level data was taken.  The identity of the cyber criminal is not known. 

The virtual break-in saw cyber thieves take illustrations of a major Australian naval project. About 30GB of data was stolen.  Details about new fighter planes, submarines and Australia’s largest warships were also compromised.  The breach began in July last year, but the Australian Signals Directorate, a domestic spy agency, was not alerted until November.  Intelligence officials say the hack, which targeted a private defence contractor in South Australia state, was – in their words – ‘extensive’ and ‘extreme.’

But the government is insisting there was no threat to national security.

Australia’s Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne, says only low-level data was taken.

“I am pleased in a way that it reminds Australian business of the dangers that lurk out there,” said Pyne. “The information that has been stolen is commercial information.  It is not classified information, so it is not military information.  The government is doing its job.  Australian businesses need to be thorough in providing for their cyber security otherwise they will not get contracts with the government.”

It is thought the hacker had exploited a weakness in software being used by the government contractor in the city of Adelaide, which had not been updated for 12 months.

Australian cyber security officials humorously dubbed the mystery attacker “Alf”, after a character on the popular TV soap opera ‘Home and Away’.  They haven’t said if they suspect a foreign state was involved.

Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said cyber security was “the new frontier of warfare” and espionage, while announcing new measures to protect Australian governments and businesses from foreign interference.

Last year, a foreign power, reported in sections of the Australian media to be China, installed malicious software on computers at Australia’s national weather bureau. 

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Kerry on Trump Nuclear Deal: ‘Reckless Abandonment of Facts’

John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State, had harsh criticism for President Donald Trump’s decision not to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal signed by six world powers in 2015.  

Kerry said the decision is a “reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology.” Kerry, who negotiated the deal, added that Trump “weakens our hand, alienates us from our allies, empowers Iranian hardliners, makes it harder to resolve North Korea and risks moving us closer to military conflict.”

Iran’s president said Friday the nuclear deal it signed with six world powers in 2015 could not be revoked.   

In a nationally televised speech following Trump’s remarks, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged all signatories to the agreement to honor their commitments. He called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “an outstanding achievement” in international diplomacy and said Iran would continue to comply with it.

 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first to withdraw from the deal. But if its rights and interests in the deal are not respected, it will stop implementing all its commitments and will resume its peaceful nuclear program without any restrictions” Rouhani said.

 

The Iranian leader also hit back at Trump’s characterization of Iran as a “dictatorship” and “rogue regime,” calling the American president a “liar” and a “dictator.”

 

“Today the U.S. is more isolated than ever against the nuclear deal, isolated than any other time in its plots against [the] people of Iran,” Rouhani said.

He rejected Trump’s remarks listing Tehran’s support for international terrorism, calling the examples “baseless accusations” and adding that the “Iranian nation does not expect anything else from you.”

Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, said the president’s decision was “a grave mistake” that threatens U.S. security and credibility.  

She said Trump ignored “the overwhelming consensus of nuclear scientists, national security experts, generals and his own Cabinet, including, reportedly, his secretary of defense and secretary of state.”

EU reaction

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the Iran agreement “has shown for the first time that it is possible to prevent war by negotiations and, above all, to prevent a country from arming itself with nuclear weapons.” Gabriel added, ” We need such examples, for example, to convince countries like North Korea , but perhaps also others, that it is possible to create security without obtaining nuclear weapons.”  

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said, “It is not in the hands of any president of any country in the world to terminate an agreement of this sort.  She said, ” The president of the United States has many powers (but) not this one.”

 

She noted the multilateral agreement was unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

 

The EU foreign policy chief noted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified eight times that Iran is meeting all its nuclear-related commitments in line with the “comprehensive and strict” monitoring system.

 

IAEA Director Yukiya Amano released a statement, saying Iran is already subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime and is implementing the deal’s requirements.

In a joint statement British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they are concerned by the possible implications of Trump’s decision not to recertify the Iran nuclear deal.

 

“Preserving the JCPOA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step toward ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program was not diverted for military purposes,” the European leaders said in the statement.

Sees opportunity

Asked if he was confident he could get the Europeans to renegotiate the Iran deal, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday he thinks there is a real opportunity to address all the threats that are posed by Iran.

“I fully expect that our allies and friends in Europe and in the region are going to be very supportive in efforts undertaken to deal with Iran’s threats,” Tillerson told reporters.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow is committed to supporting the Iran nuclear deal.

Ahead of Trump’s remarks, the Kremlin warned that if the United States abandons the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran would be likely to quit it as well. Russia is a signatory to the JCPOA, along with the United States, Iran, Britain, Germany and France.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying also voiced support for the Iran nuclear deal Friday.

“China’s position on the Iranian nuclear issue has been consistent. The JCPOA has played a key role in upholding international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the peace and stability of the Middle East region,” she said. “We hope that all relevant parties will continue to uphold and implement the JCPOA.”

Praise for Trump’s tough stance on Iran came from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who released a video statement.

 

“I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime,” Netanyahu said.  The Israeli leader has long been one of the deal’s fiercest opponents.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also expressed their strong support for Trump’s shift in policy toward Iran.

The Saudi Press Agency said Riyadh praised Trump’s “vision” and commitment to work with U.S. allies in the region in order to face common challenges, particularly “Iran’s aggressive policies and actions.”

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he backs Trump’s decision, describing the Obama administration deal as “fatally flawed.”

Nobel winner

 

But the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, strongly criticized Trump’s decision.

 

The group’s executive director, Beatrice Fihn, said Trump’s “attempt to disrupt” the Iran deal, despite Tehran’s compliance, is a reminder of the “immense nuclear danger now facing the world” and the  “urgent need” to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

 

“In a time with great global tension, with increasing threats of nuclear war, the U.S. president is igniting new conflict rather than working to reduce the risk of nuclear war,” Fihn said.

 

 

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Winemaker Vows to Rebuild After Losing Battle With Wildfire

Throughout Northern California, where wildfires have raged for almost a week, killing at least 36 people and destroying about 6,000 buildings, residents are taking stock of what they have and what they have lost.

Many are feeling lucky to have survived with their lives. The fire’s path of destruction lacked rhyme or reason, destroying an entire winery in one case but leaving patio furniture outside the tasting room untouched.

Pierre Birebent, who has been a winemaker at the Signorello Estate for the past 20 years, said he feels lucky.

WATCH: Winemakers Vow to Rebuild Destroyed Winery

When the fire came to his winery on the Silverado Trail, the main artery of Napa’s Wine Country, Birebent grabbed a hose and tried to fight the flames himself. One of the winery’s owners, who was in the residence above the winery, had fled after alerting the staff to the fire.

Birebent lost the battle to save the winery, the tasting room, an office and the residence. 

“It was like fighting a giant,” he said.

​Damage unknown

It’s too early to know the extent of the damage to Northern California’s wine industry. Fires still burn around the hillsides, and pickers hurry to get the grapes off the vine before they are damaged by smoke, a condition known as “smoke taint.”

At Signorello, employees reported for work Friday, their first chance to see the damage.

Ray Signorello, the winery proprietor, went into Napa to rent temporary office space. He planned to keep the business going and rebuild.

“We can continue somewhat business as usual,” Signorello said.

“Our house is gone,” said Jo Dayoan, allocation director at the winery. “Our soul is not. We are family.”

Much to be thankful for

For Birebent, there are many things to be thankful for, among them, the 30-year-old vineyards, which didn’t burn.

“This is very important because it takes five years to plant the vineyard to get the first crop,” Birebent said.

Also spared by the fire was a warehouse where Signorello stored its 2016 vintage, as well as the last of the 2017 cabernet sauvignon grapes, which had been harvested just days before the fire and sat fermenting in 14 tanks at the edge of the parking lot.

But whether the wine inside the tanks is drinkable remains to be seen. Workers cleared leaves and ash from the outside of the tanks.

The wine from each of the tanks will be tasted and tested at a laboratory. The tanks hold 80 percent of the winery’s 2017 reds, which Birebent said was worth millions.

“It was so hot, we don’t know if the wine is still good or no,” he said.

As they take stock of the damage, the winemaker and the staff here are thinking about rebuilding, even as others continue to face wildfire dangers. The winery workers say they are lucky even as they stand in its ruins.

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Trump Says Iran Non-Compliant with Nuke Deal

President Donald Trump has announced that he is decertifying Iran’s compliance with a multinational 2-year-old nuclear deal and slapping Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with new counter-terrorism sanctions. VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman reports, however, the president is stopping short of calling for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to be scrapped.

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US Special Counsel Questions Trump’s Former Chief of Staff

A lawyer representing former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said a team of US government investigators interviewed Priebus on Friday as part of an ongoing probe on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia

during last year’s US presidential election.   

“He was happy to answer all of their questions,” said Priebus’ lawyer, William Burck.

Priebus was head of the Republican National Committee during Trump’s presidential campaign and served as the president’s chief of staff when Trump took office, before he resigned in July.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators are also looking into some of the actions the US President has taken since assuming office in January, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey.  Among other things, Mueller’s

team is trying to see whether the president might have obstructed justice earlier this year by persuading Comey to drop an investigation on then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.  

Flynn resigned in February following reports he had met with the Russian ambassador .  

Investigators expect to speak to a number of current and former officials in the coming weeks.  

President Trump has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

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Transcript of Trump Speech on Iran Nuclear Deal

THE WHITE HOUSE

 

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                            October 13, 2017

 

 

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

ON IRAN STRATEGY

 

Diplomatic Reception Room

 

 

 

12:53 P.M. EDT

 

 

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  My fellow Americans:  As President of the United States, my highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.  

 

History has shown that the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes.  For this reason, upon taking office, I’ve ordered a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran.  That review is now complete.

 

Today, I am announcing our strategy, along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon.  

 

Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.

 

Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule.  This radical regime has raided the wealth of one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant nations, and spread death, destruction, and chaos all around the globe.

 

Beginning in 1979, agents of the Iranian regime illegally seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held more than 60 Americans hostage during the 444 days of the crisis.  The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah twice bombed our embassy in Lebanon — once in 1983 and again in 1984.  Another Iranian-supported bombing killed 241 Americans — service members they were, in their barracks in Beirut in 1983.

 

In 1996, the regime directed another bombing of American military housing in Saudi Arabia, murdering 19 Americans in cold blood.

 

Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and two years later, killing 224 people, and wounding more than 4,000 others.

 

The regime harbored high-level terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden’s son.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, groups supported by Iran have killed hundreds of American military personnel.

 

The Iranian dictatorship’s aggression continues to this day.  The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks.  It develops, deploys, and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies.  It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea.  It imprisons Americans on false charges.  And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system, and military.

 

The United States is far from the only target of the Iranian dictatorship’s long campaign of bloodshed.  The regime violently suppresses its own citizens; it shot unarmed student protestors in the street during the Green Revolution.  

 

This regime has fueled sectarian violence in Iraq, and vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria.  In Syria, the Iranian regime has supported the atrocities of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and condoned Assad’s use of chemical weapons against helpless civilians, including many, many children.

 

Given the regime’s murderous past and present, we should not take lightly its sinister vision for the future.  The regime’s two favorite chants are “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

 

Realizing the gravity of the situation, the United States and the United Nations Security Council sought, over many years, to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons with a wide array of strong economic sanctions.

 

But the previous administration lifted these sanctions, just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime, through the deeply controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.  This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

 

As I have said many times, the Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.  The same mindset that produced this deal is responsible for years of terrible trade deals that have sacrificed so many millions of jobs in our country to the benefit of other countries.  We need negotiators who will much more strongly represent America’s interest.

 

The nuclear deal threw Iran’s dictatorship a political and economic lifeline, providing urgently needed relief from the intense domestic pressure the sanctions had created.  It also gave the regime an immediate financial boost and over $100 billion dollars its government could use to fund terrorism.

 

The regime also received a massive cash settlement of $1.7 billion from the United States, a large portion of which was physically loaded onto an airplane and flown into Iran.  Just imagine the sight of those huge piles of money being hauled off by the Iranians waiting at the airport for the cash.  I wonder where all that money went.

 

Worst of all, the deal allows Iran to continue developing certain elements of its nuclear program.  And importantly, in just a few years, as key restrictions disappear, Iran can sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout.  In other words, we got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term and temporary delay in Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.

 

What is the purpose of a deal that, at best, only delays Iran’s nuclear capability for a short period of time?  This, as President of the United States, is unacceptable.  In other countries, they think in terms of 100-year intervals, not just a few years at a time.  

 

The saddest part of the deal for the United States is that all of the money was paid up front, which is unheard of, rather than at the end of the deal when they have shown they’ve played by the rules.  But what’s done is done, and that’s why we are where we are.  

 

The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement.  For example, on two separate occasions, they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water.  Until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges.   

 

The Iranian regime has also intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for.  

 

Iranian officials and military leaders have repeatedly claimed they will not allow inspectors onto military sites, even though the international community suspects some of those sites were part of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.

 

There are also many people who believe that Iran is dealing with North Korea.  I am going to instruct our intelligence agencies to do a thorough analysis and report back their findings beyond what they have already reviewed.

 

By its own terms, the Iran Deal was supposed to contribute to “regional and international peace and security.”  And yet, while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond.  Importantly, Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.

 

So today, in recognition of the increasing menace posed by Iran, and after extensive consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address the full range of Iran’s destructive actions.

 

First, we will work with our allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region.

 

Second, we will place additional sanctions on the regime to block their financing of terror.

 

Third, we will address the regime’s proliferation of missiles and weapons that threaten its neighbors, global trade, and freedom of navigation.

 

And finally, we will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.

 

Today, I am also announcing several major steps my administration is taking in pursuit of this strategy.  

 

The execution of our strategy begins with the long-overdue step of imposing tough sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia.  It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad.  This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region, and even plotting to bomb a popular restaurant right here in Washington, D.C.

 

I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates.  I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran’s continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior, including thorough sanctions outside the Iran Deal that target the regime’s ballistic missile program, in support for terrorism, and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many.  

 

Finally, on the grave matter of Iran’s nuclear program: Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the regime’s dangerous aggression has only escalated.  At the same time, it has received massive sanctions relief while continuing to develop its missiles program.  Iran has also entered into lucrative business contracts with other parties to the agreement.

 

When the agreement was finalized in 2015, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure that Congress’s voice would be heard on the deal.  Among other conditions, this law requires the President, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is “appropriate and proportionate” to measure — and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program.  Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.

 

We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.

 

That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.  These include the deal’s sunset clauses that, in just a few years, will eliminate key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

 

The flaws in the deal also include insufficient enforcement and near total silence on Iran’s missile programs.  Congress has already begun the work to address these problems.  Key House and Senate leaders are drafting legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to strengthen enforcement, prevent Iran from developing an inter- — this is so totally important — an intercontinental ballistic missile, and make all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity permanent under U.S. law.  So important.  I support these initiatives.  

 

However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.  It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time.

 

As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the worse that threat becomes.  It is why we are determined that the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons.

 

In this effort, we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people.  The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders.  The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.

 

We hope that these new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship will compel the government to reevaluate its pursuit of terror at the expense of its people.

 

We hope that our actions today will help bring about a future of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East –- a future where sovereign nations respect each other and their own citizens.

 

We pray for a future where young children — American and Iranian, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish — can grow up in a world free from violence, hatred, and terror.

 

And, until that blessed day comes, we will do what we must to keep America safe.

 

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.  Thank you.

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