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iPhone Users in 92 Countries Receive Spyware Attack Alert from Apple

iPhone users in 92 countries have received warnings from Apple about potential spyware attacks targeting their devices, according to a report by TechCrunch.

The message informs users that they may be targeted by a mercenary spyware attack attempting to compromise their iPhones remotely. The notification reads, "Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-."

Apple's alert provides further details about the incident, stating, "This attack is likely targeting you specifically because of who you are or what you do. Although it's never possible to achieve absolute certainty when detecting such attacks, Apple has high confidence in this warning — please take it seriously."

Apple clarified that it could not disclose specific details that triggered the warning due to concerns that sharing more information could aid attackers in evading detection. The company relies on internal information and investigations to identify such attacks. 

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Legal Scrutiny Surrounds Prince Harry's US Visa Application Amid Drug Use Lawsuit

The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, is facing legal scrutiny over his US visa application following a lawsuit initiated by The Heritage Foundation.

The lawsuit seeks to determine whether Prince Harry misrepresented information regarding his drug use on his visa application, which could potentially impact his immigration status in the United States.

Joe Biden’s legal team has complied with a court order to submit Prince Harry’s visa documents, marking a significant development in the ongoing legal battle. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initially declined to release the documents, citing privacy concerns.

However, The Heritage Foundation argues that there is a public interest in revealing whether Prince Harry provided accurate information, given his admissions of drug use in his memoir titled 'Spare.'

In a recent court filing, The Heritage Foundation pointed out Prince Harry’s voluntary admissions of drug use in his memoir, suggesting that such disclosures could have adverse immigration consequences for non-citizens.

Judge Carl Nichols, overseeing the legal proceedings, ruled in March for an in-camera review of Prince Harry's documents to assess whether they should be made public. The court order stated: "Having reviewed the parties' written submissions and heard oral argument on the motions, the court concludes that in camera review is necessary to determine whether the records in dispute come within the scope of the claimed exemptions.”

Prince Harry's memoir provides insight into his experiences with drug use, including magic mushrooms, cocaine, and marijuana. He described using psychedelics as a way to uncover truth and challenge the illusion of daily life, stating, "There was only truth. After the psychedelics wore off my memory of that world would remain: This is not all there is.”

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Trump Media Director Accused of File Hacking in Corporate Coup Attempt: Lawsuit

Investment firms led by the former CEO of the SPAC that merged with Donald Trump’s media company allege that their files were hacked and stolen by a current member of the media company’s board of directors.

In a federal civil lawsuit filed in South Florida last month, the firms accuse board member Eric Swider of plotting a coup in early 2023 to replace Patrick Orlando as CEO of the special purpose acquisition company, Digital World Acquisition Corp.

As part of that attempted ouster, Swider and others allegedly “stole access” to the firms’ computer systems and then “used the stolen information to attack” Orlando, according to the lawsuit.

It was “an audacious scheme to seize control of and enlarge their holdings,” claims the suit, which was filed by Benessere Investment Group and ARC Global Investments II.
The suit seeks damages and an injunction “prohibiting the use of the stolen information and to stop the defendants hacking” the firms’ files.

Orlando was fired from Digital World in March 2023 and replaced by Swider. That blank check company last month completed a merger to take Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. public, allowing it to trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The company, which owns the Trump-centric social media app Truth Social and trades under the ticker DJT, soared in its stock market debut but those gains have since erased.

The Florida lawsuit is just one in a series of messy and dramatic legal disputes that have come to define Trump Media’s rocky road to an IPO, and its equally turbulent first weeks as a public company.

DWAC in July settled fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, though the agency found the SPAC had submitted “materially false and misleading” filings.

Trump Media in late March sued its co-founders over alleged mismanagement of the merger, and is seeking to bar them from owning the company’s stock.
Those co-founders have sued Trump Media in Delaware Chancery Court over their stake in the company.

Critics, meanwhile, have labelled the company a meme stock and a “scam.” They point to the company’s reported net loss of $58.2 million on revenue of just $4.1 million in 2023.

In an interview with media earlier Wednesday, Swider denied all of the allegations against him. “I just think he’s never let go [of] the fact that I replaced him,” Swider told the outlet. “I don’t know why it offends him so bad.”

The Lawsuit

The Florida lawsuit, which was filed shortly before the late March merger, presents Orlando as successful in his efforts to bring DWAC into a merger agreement with Trump Media.

It alleges that Swider misled DWAC’s directors and business partners by publishing “false and misleading representations of what was occurring” at the company. He also allegedly “offered outsized compensation to the other directors he enlisted to collude with him in exchange for supporting his coup d’état.”

Swider stood to massively increase his compensation through his accession to CEO of DWAC — but he also wanted to take control of ARC II, which owned about 19 per cent of DWAC prior to the merger, according to the lawsuit.

Trump Media in an April 1 regulatory filing reported that ARC II owns 6.9 per cent, or about 9.5 million shares, of the post-merger company. Information about ARC II was held in an account on an electronic file storage website owned by Benessere, the suit says.

To access the account, which “stores the lifeblood” of both investment firms, Swider allegedly enlisted Cano, Orlando’s former assistant. The firms accuse Swider of promising to make Cano the president of DWAC in exchange for access to the account.

Cano agreed, and Swider “made good on his promise,” while also providing Cano with a convertible note worth 165,000 shares of DWAC’s stock — an award valued at more than $6 million at the time, the suit alleges.

Swider said in the interview with Wired that Orlando voted for Cano’s award, adding that he never hired Cano as his assistant, as the suit alleges. The lawsuit says that Cano since February 2023 repeatedly accessed the storage account and “immediately” provided the information within it to Swider.

Swider then used it to email “false and defamatory claims” about Orlando to ARC II’s members, according to the suit. In a March 5 email — included in the lawsuit as “Exhibit A” -- Swider accused Orlando of “failure to maintain a fiduciary responsibility” to ARC II, among a litany of other claims.

“Patrick has threatened me with pending litigation for speaking out to fellow membership holders so I want to be clear about this. I am not disparaging Patrick,” Swider wrote in the email.

“I am sure he is an amazing Human being, Honest. Hardworking. Looking out for your best interest. He is good looking. He is cool. I like him. Nothing in this email is meant to be defamatory. He has been great as a leader. Patrick- you are Awesome!!”

Orlando later discovered the email because Swider “failed to remove Orlando’s wife from the mailing list,” according to the lawsuit.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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FAA Investigates Boeing Whistleblower's Claims Regarding Safety of 787 DreamlinerJets

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently investigating serious allegations brought forth by Boeing whistleblower Sam Salehpour regarding the safety of Boeing's highly regarded 787 Dreamliner jets.

Salehpour, a seasoned engineer, has raised alarming concerns, suggesting that Boeing may have disregarded fundamental safety and quality standards during the production process of these aircraft, which are extensively utilised by airlines for their long-haul international flights.

In a statement issued by Salehpour's legal representatives, it was revealed that Salehpour had identified issues that could potentially compromise the structural integrity and overall longevity of the Dreamliner jets.

Shockingly, Salehpour claims that instead of addressing these concerns promptly, Boeing chose to sideline him from the 787 programme and even went as far as threatening him with termination.

Salehpour's legal advocates, have vehemently criticised Boeing's alleged prioritisation of profit over safety, suggesting that this approach has led to the negligent oversight of crucial safety issues Salehpour had flagged.

The FAA, having previously suspended deliveries of 787 jets for over a year due to quality concerns and production discrepancies until August 2022, has now launched a renewed investigation into the matter.

In response, Boeing has staunchly refuted Salehpour's allegations, maintaining unwavering confidence in the safety and reliability of the 787 Dreamliner. Nevertheless, the aerospace giant's stock experienced a noticeable decline, reflecting investor apprehensions and uncertainties surrounding the situation.

Boeing finds itself under intensified scrutiny from regulatory bodies due to persistent safety and quality concerns, resulting in notable production slowdowns and delayed deliveries.

Notable incidents involving Boeing aircraft, including the recent in-flight blowout of a door plug on an Alaska Airlines plane, have further exacerbated concerns within the aviation industry.

The company's deliveries during the March quarter registered a significant decline compared to the prior year period, prompting discussions of a management restructuring. CEO Dave Calhoun's announcement of his intended departure by the end of 2024 underscores Boeing's commitment to addressing these challenges while prioritising safety and quality as paramount concerns

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Trump's Classified Documents Case Faces Delays Amid Dispute Over Legal Basis

The legal battle surrounding Donald Trump's retention of classified information after his presidency is experiencing delays as prosecutors and defense lawyers clash over the interpretation of the law.

At the heart of the issue is whether Trump can claim immunity under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) regarding the possession of classified documents. Special Counsel Jack Smith contends that Judge Aileen Cannon is operating under a flawed legal premise, suggesting that her rulings could compromise the integrity of the trial.

Legal Analysis

The crux of the legal debate revolves around the applicability of the PRA in Trump's defense against charges related to the possession of classified information. Smith argues that the judge's reliance on the PRA's distinction between personal and presidential records is misplaced, as it does not determine the legality of possessing classified information under the Espionage Act.

On the other hand, Trump's legal team asserts that the PRA authorises his possession of the documents, challenging the prosecution's position.

Implications

The ongoing dispute raises concerns about the potential impact on the trial timeline, with the possibility of further delays pushing proceedings beyond the upcoming November election. Trump faces a myriad of charges, including those related to hush-money payments, election subversion and federal election violations.

Smith's filing suggests that if Cannon's rulings are deemed erroneous, he could seek her removal from the case through a writ of mandamus, an extraordinary legal remedy reserved for exceptional circumstances.

The contentious legal standoff underscores the complexities surrounding Trump's alleged misconduct and highlights the pivotal role of judicial interpretation in shaping the outcome of the case.

As the legal saga unfolds, it remains to be seen how the courts will navigate the intricate legal arguments and whether Trump's defense will withstand scrutiny in the courtroom.

The outcome of this dispute could have far-reaching implications for the broader legal landscape and the accountability of public officials in handling sensitive information.

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Facebook Parent Meta Planning to label all AI-generated Content Starting Next Month

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Threads, announced plans to introduce labels for artificial intelligence-generated audio, image, and video content starting next month. The labelling initiative aims to address concerns about misleading content on its platforms.

The company clarified that it will specifically label content generated using AI technology and will refrain from removing it unless it violates platform policies or presents significant risks.

Meta acknowledged that its current policy, established in 2020, is too narrow as it only addresses videos altered or created through AI. Monika Bickert, Meta's vice-president of content policy, highlighted the rapid evolution of AI technology, noting the emergence of realistic AI-generated audio and photos over recent years.

In response to feedback from its oversight board, which engaged with over 120 stakeholders across 34 countries, Meta conducted a public opinion poll involving more than 23,000 respondents from 13 countries. The poll revealed strong support (82 per cent of respondents) for adding warning labels to AI-generated content.

The global AI industry is projected to attract investments of up to $200 billion by 2025, potentially significantly impacting GDP, according to a report by Goldman Sachs Economic Research in August.

Despite the industry's growth, regulatory bodies are struggling to keep pace with technological advancements. In December, the EU introduced the landmark Artificial Intelligence Act, imposing fines exceeding €35 million ($38.4 million) for non-compliance.

Meta emphasised a commitment to freedom of expression and revealed that its oversight board recommended a "less restrictive" approach to addressing manipulated media through contextual labelling.

Meta will employ its own detection methods to identify AI-generated content and will label media based on user disclosures of AI use during uploads.
In cases where digitally-created or altered content poses a significant risk of public deception, Meta may apply more prominent labels to provide additional context.

Meta clarified that content removal, whether AI-generated or human-created, will be reserved for select cases violating platform rules, such as those pertaining to voter interference, bullying, violence, or incitement as outlined in its community standards.

Additionally, Meta employs nearly 100 independent fact-checkers who can demote false or altered content in users' feeds and attach overlay labels to provide further context.

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Two Anti-graft Groups File Complaint Against Lebanon's Billionaire Prime Minister in France

Two anti-corruption groups have filed a complaint in France against Lebanon's billionaire caretaker premier Najib Mikati and his relatives, seeking an investigation into alleged financial crimes including money laundering.

In a statement issued by his office, Mikati said he had not been formally notified of the complaint and that his family's wealth was acquired transparently and legally. It said the accusations were part of a "media campaign" aimed at "insulting him and his family members".

Forbes lists Mikati and his brother Taha as Lebanon's two richest men, tied for the top with $2.8 billion net worth each. The complaint, dated April 2, was lodged at the National Financial Prosecutor's office in France by anti-corruption groups Sherpa and the Collective of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices in Lebanon.

The National Financial Prosecutor's office in France said it could not immediately confirm receipt of the complaint, and declined further comment.

The complaint lays out an array of companies and real estate owned by Mikati and relatives in France, or registered in other countries, saying they warrant further inquiry to establish alleged acts of money laundering and receiving stolen goods.

"That's the kind of mechanical consequences of being a billionaire politician - you consider your position to be a kind of shelter against prosecution," William Bourdon, a lawyer for Sherpa, told news agencies.

Bourdon said he expected an investigation to be opened, and that it would also establish links between Mikati and Lebanon's former central bank governor Riad Salameh, whose 30-year legacy at the Banque du Liban (BdL) ended last year in tatters.

France and Germany have issued arrest warrants for Salameh as part of their investigations into him and his brother Raja for allegedly taking hundreds of millions of dollars from Lebanon's central bank, to the detriment of the Lebanese state, and laundering the funds abroad.

The Salameh brothers have denied any kind of wrongdoing. "The complaint particularly draws the attention of the authorities to the financial transfers between the former prime minister, his relatives and the (Central) Bank of Lebanon," a press release issued by Sherpa on Thursday said.

The statement by Mikati's office said he "confirms that what the family owns as a result of the business of its commercial companies that go back many years is characterised by complete transparency and adherence to applicable laws and the highest ethical principles".

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Detained Binance Executive in Nigerian Court over Money Laundering Charges

In an Abuja court on Thursday, one of the two executives from Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, who was detained in Nigeria, appeared to face charges of tax evasion and money laundering.

Binance, along with its executives Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen and Binance's head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, are accused of four counts of tax evasion and laundering over $35 million.

The executives were detained on February 26 during a criminal investigation into Binance's Nigerian activities upon their arrival in the country. Anjarwalla fled the country while Gambaryan remained in detention.

During his court appearance, Gambaryan was served with the charges for the first time since his detention and refrained from entering a plea. He is scheduled to be formally arraigned for the money laundering and tax charges on April 8 and 19, respectively.

While Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did not charge Binance directly, it suggested that Gambaryan could represent the exchange in court.

However, Gambaryan's lawyer, Chukwuka Ikuazom, objected, citing Gambaryan's lack of authority within Binance and the absence of written instructions to represent the company.

Ikuazom argued that Gambaryan could not plead until Binance, the primary defendant, had been served, as per Nigerian law. Despite Binance's absence in court and lack of immediate comment, the company stated on Wednesday its request for Gambaryan not to be held responsible, emphasising his non-decision-making role while ongoing discussions with the Nigerian government continue.

Meanwhile, Gambaryan has petitioned a Nigerian court for his release. Nigeria attributed its currency challenges to Binance after cryptocurrency platforms became popular for trading the Nigerian naira amid chronic dollar shortage.

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Taylor Swift Strikes a Billion Chord: Forbes' List Unveils the World's Wealthiest

Billionaires are amassing wealth at an unprecedented rate, as indicated by Forbes' yearly assessment of the world's richest individuals, revealing a combined net worth of $14.2 trillion (£11.3bn) among this elite group.

Forbes' latest report unveils a record-breaking count of 2,781 individuals possessing fortunes surpassing $1 billion, marking a significant surge from previous years. This annual compilation, initiated in 1987, highlights the staggering wealth accumulation within this exclusive cohort.

In the 2024 listing, 265 newcomers made their debut, including notable figures such as pop icon Taylor Swift, renowned fashion designer Christian Louboutin and Sam Altman, the visionary behind ChatGPT's developer, OpenAI.

The collective wealth of the world's billionaires surged by $2 trillion in the span of 2023 alone. However, this exponential growth has ushered in a new hierarchy within the top one per cent.

A staggering 14 individuals now boast fortunes exceeding $100 billion, with the twenty wealthiest individuals witnessing a combined wealth escalation of $700 billion in the past year alone. Notably, the top 0.5 per cent of billionaires now command 14 per cent of the entire group's wealth.

Leading the pack for the second consecutive year is Bernard Arnault, the esteemed French magnate at the helm of LVMH, with an estimated fortune of $233 billion. Elon Musk follows closely behind with a net worth of $195 billion, trailed by Jeff Bezos at $194 billion and Mark Zuckerberg at $177 billion.

The United States continues to dominate in billionaire residency, followed closely by China. Despite experiencing a decline of 125 Chinese billionaires, largely attributed to sluggish consumer spending and a collapse in the property market, China maintains its position as the world's second-largest economy.

Conversely, the US has widened its lead over China, with a notable increase in ultra-rich individuals. Presently, the US harbours 813 billionaires boasting a collective wealth of $5.7 trillion, while China claims 406 billionaires with a combined net worth of $1.3 trillion.

In Britain, 55 billionaires call it home. Among them, Gymshark founder Ben Francis, aged 31, stands as the youngest, with a current estimated net worth of $1.3 billion. However, no new British entrants joined the Forbes ranking in 2024.

Chase Peterson-Withorn, a senior editor at Forbes, remarked, "It's been an extraordinary year for the world's wealthiest, with an unprecedented surge in billionaires worldwide. Even amid economic uncertainty for many, the super-rich continue to prosper."

Contrarily, Luke Hildyard, executive director for the High Pay Centre, voiced concern, stating, "The billionaire list underscores the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by a select few, rather than its equitable distribution for the betterment of humanity. Rectifying this wealth disparity should be a paramount objective in the years to come."

India Adds 25 New Billionaires

India added 25 new billionaires this year, increasing the total number of billionaires in the country to 200 as compared to 169 last year, according to the Forbeslist.

The combined wealth of these Indians stands at $954 billion, which is 41 per cent higher as compared with $675 billion last year.

Among Indians, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) CMD Mukesh Ambani topped the billionaires’ list with a total networth of $116 billion, followed by Gautam Adani ($84 billion), Shiv Nadar ($36.9 billion), Savitri Jindal & Family ($33.5 billion), and Dilip Shanghvi ($26.7 billion).

Mukesh Ambani is the only Indian in the top-10 list, at 9th rank globally.

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Former US President Donald Trump Posts $175million Bond in New York Civil Fraud Case

Former US president Donald Trump has posted a $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case, as revealed in a court document on Monday, thereby avoiding potential asset seizures while awaiting the appeals process.

Previously, a New York appeals court had reduced the bond requirement from the original $454 million to $175 million, granting Trump a 10-day period to meet this revised sum. Originally facing the risk of asset seizure if unable to fulfill the half-billion-dollar bond, Trump secured a significant reduction and swiftly found a company, Knight Specialty Insurance Company from California, to provide the required bond, as confirmed in a court document released on Monday.

In response to the appellate division's decision, Trump stated, "I greatly respect the decision... I will post $175 million in cash and bonds or security or whatever is necessary very quickly, within the 10 days."

This development marks a temporary reprieve for the 77-year-old real estate tycoon, who, despite securing the Republican nomination once again, faces legal challenges stemming from allegations of fraud.

The case revolves around accusations that Trump and his two adult sons misrepresented the value of assets, including Trump Tower and a building at 40 Wall Street, to obtain favourable bank loans and insurance terms.

Trump, along with his family company, was found guilty in a non-jury trial by Judge Arthur Engoron, resulting in a $454 million judgment against him. While Trump is appealing this order, he remains under scrutiny for various alleged crimes, including attempting to overturn the 2020 election and falsifying business records.

In a separate case, Trump is accused of making pre-election hush money payments to a porn star, Stormy Daniels. The presiding judge has expanded a gag order to include family members of those involved, following Trump's attacks on the judge and his family members on social media platform Truth Social.

Facing a criminal trial scheduled to begin on April 15, Trump has expressed willingness to testify. This trial marks a historic event as the first-ever criminal trial of a former US president. Trump's legal battles continue to mount, with four criminal indictments and 88 felony counts against him, reflecting the extensive legal challenges he currently faces.

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Microsoft to Separate Teams and Office Globally Amid Antitrust Scrutiny: Report

Microsoft has announced plans to globally separate its chat and video app, Teams, from its Office product, following antitrust scrutiny.

The decision comes six months after the company unbundled the two products in Europe to avoid potential fines from the European Commission, which has been investigating Microsoft's tying of Office and Teams since a complaint filed in 2020 by Slack, a competing workspace messaging app owned by Salesforce.

Teams, originally added to Office 365 for free in 2017, replaced Skype for Business and saw increased popularity during the pandemic, particularly for its video conferencing capabilities. However, rivals argued that bundling the products gave Microsoft an unfair advantage.

To address concerns and provide clarity to customers, Microsoft has decided to extend the separation of Teams from Office globally, a move initially implemented in the European Economic Area and Switzerland on October 1 last year. The decision aims to offer multinational companies more flexibility in their purchasing decisions across different regions.

Analysts suggest that while Microsoft's previous concessions in response to antitrust scrutiny, notably regarding Internet browsers in 1998, led to significant changes in the market, the impact of separating Teams from Office might not be as dramatic given the entrenched nature of enterprise products like Teams.

Despite the separation, Microsoft's user base for Teams has remained relatively stable, according to data from Sensor Tower. The company has also introduced new commercial Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites without Teams for regions outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, along with standalone Teams offerings for enterprise customers in those regions.

Customers have the option to continue with their current licensing agreements or switch to the new offerings, with prices for Office without Teams ranging from $7.75 to $54.75 for existing customers and $5.25 for standalone Teams. However, exact pricing may vary by country and currency.

While Microsoft's efforts to unbundle Teams from Office may not fully alleviate antitrust concerns, proactive measures could potentially influence regulators' stance. The company faces the risk of significant fines, up to 10 per cent of its global annual turnover, if found guilty of antitrust breaches, having accumulated 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in EU antitrust fines over the past decade.

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Archegos Capital Lawsuit Against Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley Dismissed

Several lawsuits filed by investors against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley have been dismissed by a US judge.

The investors accused the banks of misconduct that contributed to the swift collapse of Bill Hwang's $36 billion firm, Archegos Capital Management, in March 2021.

The US District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan dismissed the investors' claims of market manipulation and insider trading with prejudice, stating that they cannot be refiled. The lawsuits were previously dismissed by a different judge but were allowed to be brought again against Goldman and Morgan Stanley.

Hwang's utilisation of financial instruments triggered Archegos' downfall called total return swaps to amass significant stakes in companies such as ViacomCBS, Discovery, and Baidu. This approach led to an estimated $160 billion exposure in stocks.

The investors alleged that Goldman and Morgan Stanley were aware of Hwang's need to sell stocks to meet margin calls, yet still sold them, resulting in substantial losses for the investors while the banks avoided significant losses.

Judge Rakoff did not provide an explanation for his decision in a brief order, stating that an opinion would follow later. Representatives for the investors, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley did not immediately comment on the dismissal.

The collapse of Archegos caused substantial losses for various banks, including Credit Suisse and Nomura Holdings. Hwang and former Archegos CFO Patrick Halligan are scheduled to face trial on May 8 in Manhattan on charges related to the collapse, including securities fraud and weaving conspiracy. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Bankman-FRIED!: FTX Fraud Lands Crypto Mogul 25-Year Prison Sentence

Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a judge for embezzling £8 billion from customers of the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange he founded, marking the final chapter in the former billionaire wunderkind's dramatic downfall.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan delivered the sentence at a Manhattan court hearing after dismissing Bankman-Fried's assertion that FTX customers hadn't genuinely lost money and accusing him of dishonesty during his trial testimony.

A jury found Bankman-Fried, 32, guilty on Nov. 2 on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy related to FTX's 2022 collapse, described by prosecutors as one of the most significant financial frauds in US history.

"He was aware it was wrongful," Kaplan remarked of Bankman-Fried before pronouncing the sentence. "He knew it was criminal. He regrets having made a very misguided bet on the likelihood of being caught. However, he refuses to admit any wrongdoing, as is his entitlement."

Bankman-Fried stood with clasped hands as Kaplan read out the sentence. Dressed in a beige short-sleeved jail t-shirt, Bankman-Fried acknowledged during a 20-minute address to the judge that FTX customers had suffered and extended an apology to his former FTX colleagues.

The sentence marked the climax of Bankman-Fried's descent from an ultra-wealthy entrepreneur and significant political donor to the most prominent target yet in a U.S. crackdown on wrongdoing in cryptocurrency markets. Bankman-Fried has pledged to appeal his conviction and sentence.

Kaplan stated he had determined that FTX customers lost £8 billion, FTX's equity investors lost £1.7 billion, and lenders to the Alameda Research hedge fund, which Bankman-Fried founded, lost £1.3 billion.

"The defendant's claim that FTX customers and creditors will be fully reimbursed is misleading, logically flawed, and speculative," Kaplan declared. "A thief who takes his spoils to Las Vegas and successfully gambles the stolen money is not entitled to a sentence reduction by utilising his Las Vegas winnings to repay what he stole."

The judge also accused Bankman-Fried of lying during his trial testimony when he denied knowledge that his hedge fund had utilised customer deposits obtained from FTX.

Federal prosecutors had sought a prison term of 40 to 50 years. Bankman-Fried's defence lawyer, Marc Mukasey, argued that a sentence of fewer than 5-1/4 years would be appropriate.

Addressing the judge, Bankman-Fried said, "Customers have been enduring... I did not mean to downplay that at all. I also believe that's something I have failed to adequately express throughout this process, and for that, I am sorry."

Speaking of his FTX colleagues, Bankman-Fried told the judge, "They invested a lot of themselves in it, and I squandered it all. It haunts me every day."
Three of his former close associates testified as prosecution witnesses at trial, asserting that he had instructed them to use FTX customer funds to cover losses at Alameda Research.

Nicolas Roos, a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, informed the judge, "The scale of criminality here is immense. It permeated all aspects of the business."

During the hearing, Mukasey attempted to distance his client from notorious fraudsters like Bernie Madoff. "Sam was not a heartless financial serial killer who set out every morning to harm people," Mukasey contended, portraying his client as an "awkward maths enthusiast" who diligently worked to refund customers after FTX's collapse.

"Sam Bankman-Fried doesn't make decisions out of malice," Mukasey added. "He makes decisions based on calculations." Bankman-Fried testified in his own defence, admitting to errors such as failing to implement a risk management team but denying any intent to defraud or steal customers' funds.

He was escorted into the courtroom for the hearing by members of the U.S. Marshals Service. His parents, Stanford University law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, were in attendance.

Crypto Boom

A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bankman-Fried rode the surge in the values of bitcoin and other digital assets to amass a net worth of £26 billion, according to Forbes magazine, before his 30th birthday.

Bankman-Fried became known for his wild mop of curly hair and dedication to a movement known as effective altruism, which encourages talented young individuals to focus on earning money and donating it to deserving causes. He was also one of the most significant contributors to Democratic candidates and political causes in the run-up to the 2022 US midterm elections.

However, prosecutors allege that the responsible persona he projected concealed his embezzlement of customer funds over several years. Several FTX customers have written to Kaplan expressing disappointment that they will be compensated based on the value of their cryptocurrency at the time of FTX's bankruptcy rather than the higher levels at which those assets currently trade.

Bankman-Fried has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since August 2023, when Kaplan revoked his bail after finding evidence of witness tampering on at least two occasions.

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Woman Who Joined IS as a Teen Loses Bid to Challenge Citizenship Removal

Shamima Begum, the London-born woman who lost her British citizenship after joining the Islamic State group, or IS, failed in a second attempt to challenge the decision at the Supreme Court.

Begum, 24, left the UK for Syria with two friends at the age of 15 in 2015. The British government revoked her citizenship in 2019, rendering her stateless.

Married to a Dutch IS member, Begum had three children, all of whom have since died while with the group. Since 2019, she has been held in Al-Roj prison camp in northern Syria for former IS members and their relatives.

Her legal team argued earlier this year that the deprivation of her citizenship had been unlawful and that she was a victim of human trafficking. They also highlighted the dire conditions in Al-Roj, stating that detainees are effectively trapped and subjected to torture and inhuman treatment.

However, the Court of Appeal rejected Begum’s appeal to have her case heard by the Supreme Court. Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr stated in an earlier ruling in February: “It could be argued that the decision in Begum’s case was harsh. It could also be argued that Begum is the author of her own misfortune.

But it is not for this court to agree or disagree with either point of view. Our only task is to assess whether the deprivation decision was unlawful. We have concluded it was not, and the appeal is dismissed.”

Begum still has the option to directly appeal to the Supreme Court to have her case heard. However, she also failed in an appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in February, which upheld the Home Secretary's authority to strip her of citizenship regardless of the circumstances surrounding her journey to Syria.

Sir James Eadie KC, representing the Home Office, acknowledged that the former Home Secretary Sajid Javid “was well aware of the possibility” that Begum had been groomed or trafficked. However, he emphasised that the decision to revoke her citizenship was within the secretary of state's discretion.

Begum’s legal team maintains that she “has yet to receive justice in a British court” and vows to continue fighting for her rights and a safe return home.

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South Africa's Arbitration Framework Garners Esteemed International Recognition

South Africa is swiftly emerging as a prominent jurisdiction in the arbitration sector. A recent affirmation of the caliber of South Africa’s arbitration framework is the announcement that the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa will serve as the model for the long-awaited BRICS Dispute Resolution Framework, confirmed at the Eighth BRICS Legal Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in early December 2023.

Representatives from the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association, the Association of Lawyers of Russia, the Bar Association of India, the China Law Society, and the Law Society of South Africa resolved to incorporate the Framework, which will be modeled on the AFSA modified Rules, ready for adoption and ratification at the next BRICS Legal Forum in 2024.

International arbitration in South Africa is governed by the International Arbitration Act (2017), which incorporates the UNCITRAL Model Law. Domestic arbitrations in South Africa are governed by the Arbitration Act (1965).

The AFSA and the Association of Arbitrators Southern Africa remain the primary domestic arbitration organisations used to resolve commercial disputes in South Africa.

Joining IFCAI

In a development that further solidifies South Africa’s reputation as a hub of international arbitration, the AFSA joined the London Court of International Arbitration and the ICC International Court of Arbitration to become a full member of the International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI) in 2023.

With 52 members worldwide, IFCAI aims to foster relationships among commercial arbitration centers through the exchange of information and the sharing of best practices in arbitration.

Additionally, the recent AFSA-Southern African Development Community (SADC) alliance, which aims to encourage member states to align their arbitration laws with international conventions and standards, celebrated a recent milestone with the adoption of the International Arbitration Bill, 2023 (Bill) by the Malawian Parliament.

The Bill is the culmination of proposals put forward by the collaboration between AFSA and the Malawi Law Society and its adoption opens the way for Malawi to become a part of the esteemed AFSA alliance.

Young AFSA

AFSA also recently launched Young AFSA, a new arbitration association with a focus on promoting knowledge-sharing, skills-building and networking among legal professionals and students between the ages of 18 and 40. Membership is free, making it a highly accessible forum for young professionals interested in arbitration.

Young AFSA aims to organise skills-focused programmes, seminars and social events for knowledge exchange, as well as to encourage and foster relationships between young professionals across Southern Africa. Young AFSA hosted its inaugural event in November 2023.

These significant developments underscore South Africa’s reputation and commitment to advancing arbitration across Southern Africa.

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European Union Investigates Apple, Google and Meta under Digital Markets Act

Apple, Google and Meta Platforms are under scrutiny for potential violations of the EU's new Digital Markets Act (DMA), European antitrust regulators announced on Monday.

This could lead to substantial fines for these tech giants. The law, in effect since March 7, seeks to challenge the dominance of these companies by facilitating easier transitions between competing online services, such as social media platforms, internet browsers and app stores, ultimately fostering an environment for smaller companies to compete.

Breaches could result in fines of up to 10 per cent of the companies' global annual turnover. Concurrently, US antitrust regulators are also investigating Big Tech for alleged anti-competitive practices, potentially leading to divestitures.

Tech companies claim to have allocated significant resources to meet the Digital Markets Act's requirements, particularly concerning the designation of six "gatekeepers." However, the European Commission expressed doubts about the adequacy of their efforts, as reported by Reuters.

In response to queries about the rapidity of the investigations post the act's implementation, EU industry chief Thierry Breton emphasised the importance of upholding the law promptly, stating, "The law is the law. We can't just sit around and wait."

The investigation centres on whether Apple complies with obligations regarding the uninstallation of software applications, changing default settings and providing choice screens for rival services on its iOS operating system.

Additionally, regulators are concerned about "steering," assessing whether Apple limits app developers from informing users about offers outside its App Store.

Apple expressed confidence in its compliance with the DMA, highlighting its responsiveness to the Commission and developers' feedback.

The Commission highlighted Apple and Alphabet's fee structures, stating they contradict the DMA's "free of charge" requirement, particularly as both companies recently introduced new fees for some services.

Breton urged Meta to offer free alternative options, following criticism of its no-ads subscription service introduced in Europe.

Google and Meta stated their commitment to comply with the act's guidance, with Google asserting significant changes to its services and readiness to defend its approach.

The Commission is also investigating Apple's new fee structure for alternative app stores and Amazon's ranking practices on its marketplace.

Amazon, designated as a DMA "gatekeeper," affirmed its compliance with the act and ongoing collaboration with the European Commission.

The EU executive aims to conclude investigations within a year, as outlined under the DMA, directing companies to retain relevant documents for current and future probes.

These investigations follow mounting criticism from app developers and business users regarding perceived shortcomings in the companies' compliance efforts.

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American Express Faces Lawsuit in Rhode Island Federal Court Over Swipe Fees

American Express is facing a proposed class action lawsuit in Rhode Island federal court, which alleges that the company has overcharged several US merchants for credit and debit card fees on consumer transactions.

Filed by 10 retail plaintiffs, including a delicatessen, fine clothier, florist and furniture store, the lawsuit seeks a court order to halt American Express policies that allegedly violate US antitrust laws.

According to the lawsuit, American Express employs "non-discrimination provisions" to prevent merchants from encouraging customers to use payment cards with lower transaction fees, thereby limiting competition. American

Express and the plaintiffs' attorneys have not yet commented on the lawsuit. The merchants' allegations echo similar claims made against Visa and Mastercard regarding swipe fees in a coordinated legal proceeding in Brooklyn federal court.

While Visa and Mastercard abandoned their rules prohibiting merchants from steering customers towards lower-cost payment methods by the end of 2013, American Express's policies allegedly persist.

The lawsuit asserts that American Express's rules exclusively prohibit US merchants from utilising discounts, surcharges, verbal prompting, signage and other techniques to incentivise customers to use cheaper payment cards.

Furthermore, the presence of binding arbitration clauses between American Express and merchants has reportedly impeded efforts to address the plaintiffs' claims.

Initially, the 5,155 merchants involved in the lawsuit pursued individual claims through arbitration. However, American Express declined to cover a $16 million arbitration invoice, resulting in the cases being administratively closed.

The merchants argue that American Express's default in the arbitration proceedings precludes it from preventing them from pursuing their claims in US court.

According to the lawsuit, credit card swipe fees significantly diminish the earnings of many small business owners, consuming approximately half of their monthly profits.

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Prince Harry's Landline Calls were Bugged by Murdoch’s Tabloids, Say Lawyers

Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid papers allegedly intercepted Prince Harry’s landline phones and accessed the messages on the pager of his late mother Princess Diana, as disclosed by the British royal’s legal team to the London High Court.

Harry, the younger son of King Charles and the late Princess Diana, along with more than 40 others, are suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) over allegations of unlawful activities by journalists and private investigators associated with its tabloids, the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, spanning from the mid-1990s until 2016.

In a ruling last July, Judge Timothy Fancourt allowed Harry to proceed to trial with claims of unlawful information gathering, while dismissing allegations of mobile phone hacking due to being filed too late.

During a hearing at the High Court on Thursday, Harry’s legal team sought to amend his lawsuit in response to the ruling, and to introduce additional allegations.

These new claims include assertions that the Sun commissioned private investigators to target his then-girlfriend and now-wife Meghan in 2016, as well as accusations of widespread phone bugging.

According to court documents, Harry's lawyers stated: “The claimant also brings a claim and seeks relief in relation to the interception of landline calls, the interception of calls from cordless phones and analogue mobile calls and the interception of landline voicemails, as distinct from phone hacking.”

The claim also involves allegations regarding Diana, who "was under close surveillance and her calls were being unlawfully intercepted by NGN, which was known about by its editors and senior executives."

NGN is contesting the addition of what they referred to as a “significant number of new allegations” for various reasons, including their late submission, lack of evidence, and their overlap with previously dismissed phone-hacking claims.

NGN’s lawyers argued in court filings: “They cover time periods falling outside the scope of the current pleading and the generic statements of case, and in many cases relate to allegations which have been well-publicised for as long as 30 years.”

NGN’s lawyers also expressed doubts about the feasibility of Harry's case being heard at a trial expected to commence in January next year if his new allegations were to be included.

In 2011, NGN issued an apology for widespread phone hacking by journalists at the News of the World, a publication that Murdoch subsequently shut down due to public outcry. Despite settling over 1,300 claims since then, NGN has consistently denied any wrongdoing by Sunstaff.

During proceedings on Wednesday, lawyers representing Harry and other claimants asserted that Murdoch and other senior executives were complicit in covering up widespread misconduct, providing false evidence to courts, parliament and a public inquiry.

NGN contends that some claimants are utilising these lawsuits as a means to attack the tabloid press and dismisses allegations against its current and former staff as “a baseless and cynical assault on their integrity.”

Since stepping back from royal duties in 2020 to relocate to California, Harry has focused on confronting the British press, alleging intrusion into his private life since childhood and dissemination of false information about him and his loved ones.

In December, Harry won a lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers over allegations of phone hacking and unlawful activities, with the judge acknowledging that senior figures were aware of the wrongdoing.

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Italy PM Giorgia Meloni Seeks $100k in Damages for Deepfake Pornographic Videos

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is taking legal action and seeking €100,000 ($109,345) in damages after explicit deepfake videos depicting her were created and circulated online without her consent.

Deepfake technology involves digitally superimposing one person's face onto another's body. The videos in question emerged in 2022, predating Meloni's appointment as Italy's Prime Minister.

Authorities have identified and charged a 40-year-old man and his 73-year-old father with defamation for allegedly creating and uploading the manipulated videos, which superimposed Meloni's face onto pornographic material.

According to a report by the BBC, the police were able to locate the accused individuals by tracking the smartphone used to upload the videos. Under Italian law, certain forms of defamation can constitute criminal offenses, potentially resulting in imprisonment. Meloni is slated to testify before a court on July 2.

The indictment asserts that the altered videos were uploaded to a pornographic website based in the United States, amassing "millions of views" over several months.

Meloni's legal team has characterised the €100,000 damages claim as "symbolic," affirming that the Prime Minister plans to donate the entire sum to organisations aiding women who have suffered gender-based violence.

Maria Giulia Marongiu, Meloni's attorney, said: "The demand for compensation will send a message to women who are victims of this kind of abuse of power not to be afraid to press charges."

Deepfakes represent a type of synthetic media generated using artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate visual and audio content, often with malicious intent, to appear genuine.

The term "deepfake" originated in late 2017 on Reddit when a user by the same name established a platform for sharing pornographic videos created with open-source face-swapping technology.

As AI capabilities advance, deepfakes have become increasingly realistic and widespread, posing a significant threat to public trust and information integrity.

These highly convincing fake audio and video recordings can be exploited to spread misinformation, sway public opinion, and damage reputations by depicting individuals engaging in actions or making statements they never actually did.

The proliferation of deepfakes has prompted global leaders to express concerns about their potential for misuse and the propagation of disinformation.

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US Files Landmark Case Against Apple For Monopolising Smartphone Market

The US Department of Justice filed a landmark lawsuit against Apple, alleging the tech giant's monopolistic practices in the smartphone market.

The lawsuit, supported by several US states, contends that Apple has unlawfully maintained its dominance in the iPhone realm, stifling competition and burdening consumers with excessive costs.

This highly anticipated legal action marks a significant clash between Apple, founded by Steve Jobs in 1976, and the US government, following decades of limited scrutiny from Washington.

Apple now joins other tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Meta (formerly Facebook) facing antitrust scrutiny in the United States. Upon news of the lawsuit, Apple's shares plummeted by as much as 3.75 per cent on Wall Street.

Central to the case are allegations of Apple's exclusionary tactics, which impose stringent and often opaque conditions on firms and developers seeking access to the iPhone's vast user base of 136 million in the US.

The lawsuit claims that these practices compel consumers to remain within the Apple ecosystem and invest in the company's pricier hardware, notably the iPhone.

Apple swiftly refuted the lawsuit's validity, asserting that it is "wrong on the facts and the law," and vowed to vigorously defend against it. The company contends that a favourable ruling for the government would establish a concerning precedent, granting excessive regulatory control over technological innovation.

The lawsuit specifically targets Apple's alleged suppression of "Super Apps," comprehensive web portals that could offer various services on iPhones beyond the confines of the App Store.

Additionally, it accuses Apple of monopolising tap payment technology through its proprietary wallet app and impeding interoperability between messaging apps on iPhones and Android devices.

The broad scope of the case extends to other products and services, including smartwatches and web browsers, where Apple's practices allegedly hinder competition and innovation.

Despite Apple's efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond the iPhone, the company faces mounting pressure amid slowing sales growth. The Department of Justice highlighted Apple's unprecedented profits, surpassing those of any other company in the Fortune 500 and exceeding the GDP of over 100 countries.

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US Secretary of State Blinken Unveils Draft US Resolution for Immediate Gaza Ceasefire

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced the introduction of a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council, urging for an "immediate ceasefire linked to the release of hostages" in the Gaza Strip.

"We have presented a resolution to the United Nations Security Council, advocating for an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of hostages. We hope for broad support from member states," stated Blinken during discussions with Saudi media outlet Al Hadath while visiting Saudi Arabia to address the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Blinken held meetings with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and later engaged in talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman upon his arrival in the kingdom. This visit marks the beginning of a regional tour, with scheduled stops in Egypt on Thursday and Israel thereafter.

This trip marks Blinken's sixth visit to the Middle East since the conflict commenced on October 7. Blinken emphasised the necessity of prioritising the safety and well-being of civilians caught in the crossfire. "We stand with Israel in its defence, but it's imperative to prioritise the safety of civilians and provide them with necessary humanitarian assistance," he stressed.

Following the rejection of an Algerian proposal for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza in late February, US officials have been engaged in negotiations for an alternative resolution, focusing on diplomatic efforts for a six-week truce in exchange for the release of hostages.

The revised draft, circulated among Security Council members, emphasises "the urgent need for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides, facilitate the delivery of essential humanitarian aid, and mitigate suffering... in conjunction with the release of hostages still held." However, no vote has been scheduled for this text.

Simultaneously, discussions are ongoing in Qatar, where mediators convened for a third consecutive day on Wednesday in a renewed attempt to broker a ceasefire, although signs of an imminent agreement remain elusive.

Blinken expressed cautious optimism regarding the mediation efforts in Doha, stating, "Progress is being made. There's narrowing of differences and reaching an agreement seems feasible." He further noted ongoing negotiations with Hamas, highlighting their recent counterproposals.

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Donald Trump Says Prince Harry Could be Deported from US Over Drug Use

Former US President Donald Trump stated that if Prince Harry had lied on his visa application regarding drug-taking, he would pursue "appropriate action" if he were to win November's presidential election, refusing to rule out the possibility of Harry leaving the United States.

Trump made these remarks in an interview with British right-leaning media outlet GB News, conducted by presenter and frequent Harry critic Nigel Farage.
US visa applicants are obligated to disclose any history of drug use, as it can impact their application status. Providing false information on an application can lead to penalties, including deportation.

Harry, who has resided in California since 2020, openly admitted to past illegal drug use in his memoir "Spare." Subsequently, the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, filed a lawsuit against the US Homeland Security Department to obtain access to Harry's immigration records. Earlier this month, a judge ruled in favour of disclosing the details related to Harry's visa application in that case.

Farage, a long-time ally of Trump, asked the former president if Prince Harry should be granted any "special privileges" if it was discovered that he had lied on his application.
Trump responded: "No. We'll have to determine if they have information regarding the drugs, and if he indeed lied, appropriate action will be taken."

When pressed on whether this might entail Harry "not staying in America," Trump replied, "Oh, I don't know. You'll have to inform me. It's surprising they didn't know this earlier."

Since Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle stepped back from their royal duties and relocated to California, they have frequently criticised the treatment they received from the British royal family.

From their revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 to a Netflix documentary series and Harry's forthcoming book, the couple has asserted that the royals and their aides failed to shield them from a hostile press and leaked negative stories.

Since departing for the United States after their marriage in 2018, the couple has seldom returned to Britai.

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UK Police Urged to Investigate Attempted Breach of Kate Middleton Medical Records

The UK Police have been asked to look at claims that at least one worker attempted to access the confidential medical records of Catherine, Princess of Wales during her hospitalisation for abdominal surgery, a minister said on Wednesday.

The request follows a report in the Daily Mirror newspaper which said at least one attempt was made to access the private information at The London Clinic, a private hospital in central London.

Catherine, who is widely known as Kate and whose husband is heir to the throne Prince William, spent two weeks there in January. Details of her condition have not been released but her Kensington Palace office previously said it was not cancer-related and that the princess wished her personal medical information to remain private.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said the rules on accessing patient information were "very, very clear". "Unless you're looking after that patient, or unless they've given you their consent, you should not be looking at patients' notes," she told LBC radio.

"My understanding is that police have been asked to look at it," she said. A statement from London's Metropolitan Police said it was "not aware of any referral... at this time".
Meanwhile, the UK's data protection watchdog meanwhile said it would examine the matter.

"We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided," a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said.
In a statement to the Mirror, The London Clinic said: "We firmly believe that all our patients, no matter their status, deserve total privacy and confidentiality regarding their medical information."

Kate was at the centre of controversy last week after she admitted editing an official portrait of her and her three children that was released by Buckingham Palace on Mothering Sunday.

It further stoked online speculation about her health and whereabouts after she had not been seen at a public event since a Christmas Day church service. The palace had said in January she would require a lengthy recuperation and would not return to royal duties until at least April.

But instead of calming fears over her health, the edited picture sent the rumour mill into overdrive as media scrambled to pull the picture. Kate apologised but faced criticism even from usually supportive media.

British media have said that Kate is still not due to return to public duties until mid-April.

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UN Announces World's Happiest Countries List: Finland Retains First Position

The innate desire for happiness is inherent in every individual, travelling through various cultures and heritages. This process acts as a crucial instrument for governments, policymakers and institutions, enabling a comprehensive grasp of the elements that influence citizen satisfaction.

In celebration of World Happiness Day, the UN has unveiled its list of the world's happiest countries.

Finland proudly retains its title as the world's happiest country for the seventh consecutive year. This recognition comes as part of the UN-sponsored index, an annual ranking of global happiness levels.

For the first time since the report was published more than a decade ago, the United States and Germany were not among the 20 happiest nations.

The report examines six factors affecting life satisfaction: wealth (GDP per capita), social connections, health, freedom, generosity, and minimal corruption.

Additionally, Nordic countries kept their places among the 10 most cheerful, with Denmark, Iceland and Sweden trailing Finland.

Notably, Kuwait is the happiest country in the Gulf region, securing an impressive 13th position worldwide. This marks Kuwait's debut in the global top 20, showcasing a remarkable leap from its previous rank of 50th.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) maintains its status of relative contentment, climbing to the 21st position from last year's 26th. This positive shift underscores the ongoing happiness trends within the Emirates.

India currently holds the 126th position among 146 countries in the World Happiness Report, with a happiness score of 4.054.

This places India among the nations with lower levels of happiness globally. Notably, India's ranking in the happiness index falls behind that of neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, and China.

As nations worldwide celebrate the pursuit of happiness, these rankings offer insights into the factors contributing to overall well-being on both a global and regional scale.

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US Government Capturing Mythical Monsters! How AI conspiracies are flooding TikTok?

From vampires and wendigos to killer asteroids, TikTok users are pumping out outlandish end-of-the-world conspiracy theories, researchers say, in yet another misinformation trend on a platform whose fate in the United States hangs in the balance.

In the trend reported by the nonprofit Media Matters, TikTok users seek to monetize viral videos that make unfounded claims about the US government secretly capturing or preserving mythical monsters that include - wait for it - King Kong.

It is the latest illustration of misinformation swirling on the platform - a stubborn issue that has been largely absent in recent policy debates as US lawmakers mull banning the Chinese-owned app on grounds of national security.

Often accompanied by spooky background music, the videos - many of which garner millions of views - feature imperious AI-generated voices, sometimes mimicking celebrities.

“We are all probably going to die in the next few years. Did you hear about this?” said a voice impersonating podcaster Joe Rogan in one viral video.

“There’s this asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth,” the voice claims, citing information leaked by a government official who stumbled upon a folder titled “keep secret from the public.”

At least one account peddling that video appeared to be deactivated after AFP reached TikTok for comment.

Highly Engaging

Conspiracy theory videos, often posted by anonymous accounts, typically had the tell-tale signs of AI-generated images such as extra fingers and distortions, said TikTok misinformation researcher Abbie Richards.

Peddling such theories can be financially rewarding, Richards said, with TikTok’s “Creativity Program” designed to pay creators for content generated on the platform.

It has spawned what she called a cottage industry of conspiracy theory videos powered by artificial intelligence tools including text-to-speech applications that are widely - and freely - available online.

A TikTok spokeswoman insisted that “conspiracy theories are not eligible to earn money or be recommended” in user feeds.

“Harmful misinformation is prohibited, with our safety teams removing 95 percent of it proactively before it’s reported,” she told AFP.

Still, tutorials on platforms such as YouTube show users how to create “viral conspiracy theory videos” and profit off TikTok’s Creativity Program.

One such tutorial openly instructed users to start by making up “something outrageous” such as “scientists just got caught hiding a saber-toothed tiger.”

“Financially incentivizing content that is both highly engaging and cheap to manufacture creates an environment for conspiracy theories to thrive,” Richards wrote in the Media Matters report.

Threat of AI

Such concerns, driven by rapid advancements in AI, are particularly high in a year of major elections around the world.

Last week, the European Union wielded its powerful Digital Services Act (DSA) to press several platforms including TikTok on the risks of AI - including from deepfakes - for upcoming elections in the 27-nation bloc.

In the United States, where the app has some 170 million users - roughly half the country’s population - lawmakers last week overwhelmingly backed a bill to ban TikTok unless Chinese parent company ByteDance divested itself within six months.

The bill, which still needs to pass the more cautious upper house of the US Congress, risks riling young voters in a key election year.

US policymakers have repeatedly expressed concerns about TikTok’s user data safety and its apparent impact on national security.

According to a report from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Chinese government is using TikTok to expand its global influence operations to promote pro-Beijing narratives and undermine American democracy, including through disinformation.

“Disinformation should be part of the debate about TikTok,” Aynne Kokas, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia, told AFP.

Many experts, however, as well as young users who rely on the app as their primary source of news, oppose banning TikTok, saying it’s unfair to single out the platform.

“There’s lots of misinformation on TikTok, just as there is on other social media platforms. Some of that misinformation is dangerous,” Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, told AFP.

“(But) investing the government with the authority to suppress misinformation - or to ban Americans from accessing platforms that host misinformation - is not a sensible response to this problem. Nor would it be a constitutional one,” he added.

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Man Who Claimed he Invented Bitcoin is not ‘Satoshi Nakamoto,’ UK Judge Rules

A judge at London’s High Court ruled on Thursday that Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who asserts he created bitcoin, is not “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the pseudonymous inventor of the cryptocurrency.

Wright has long maintained authorship of a 2008 white paper, the foundational text of bitcoin, published under a pseudonym.
The Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) brought Wright to court to prevent him from suing
bitcoin developers, asking for a ruling that Wright was not Satoshi.

Judge James Mellor concluded that the evidence disproving Wright’s claim to being Satoshi was substantial. “Dr Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin white paper... Dr Wright did not operate under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto during the period of 2008 to 2011,” he stated.

COPA, whose members include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s payments firm Block, hailed the ruling as a victory for developers, the open-source community, and truth.

A COPA spokesperson emphasised that Wright and his supporters had propagated falsehoods about his identity for over eight years to intimidate bitcoin developers, and this ruling exposed the truth.

Wright’s spokesperson declined to comment at this time. Allegations of perjury were levelled against Wright by COPA, who claimed he repeatedly forged documents, including during the trial itself, an accusation Wright denied during his testimony.

COPA’s lawyer accused Wright of fabricating evidence on a large scale, even employing ChatGPT forgeries.

Wright’s legal team argued that he provided substantial evidence proving his authorship of the white paper and creation of bitcoin.

COPA’s lawyers requested Judge Mellor to refer the case to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service for potential prosecution on charges of perjury and obstructing justice, though Mellor did not indicate whether he would do so.

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Dutch Footballer Arrested in Dubai for Involvement in Cocaine Smuggling Case

Dutch football star Quincy Promes, who was convicted in absentia last month by an Amsterdam court of involvement in cocaine smuggling and sentenced to six years in prison, has reportedly been arrested by authorities in Dubai at the request of Dutch prosecutors who will seek his extradition.

Prosecutors did not confirm Promes' name but said in a statement that a 32-year-old man who lives in Moscow was arrested in Dubai, Associated Press reported.
Promes, 32, lives in the Russian capital, where he plays for Spartak Moscow. Dutch prosecutors rarely release the names of suspects in criminal cases.

"The arrest was made based on a Red Notice issued by the Netherlands. The Netherlands will request the extradition of the man," the Amsterdam Public Prosecution office said.

A Red Notice is a global request, based on an arrest warrant or court order, for law enforcement authorities to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action, prosecutors said.

"The arrested man was reportedly staying in luxury in Dubai according to various media reports. However, he has been taken into custody thanks to the efforts of the authorities in both countries," they added.

"At this time, it is not possible to provide additional information to avoid disruption of the ongoing investigation." Spartak recently played friendly matches in the United Arab Emirates. Promes hasn't appeared in recent games.

Promes, who scored seven goals in 50 international matches for the Netherlands before legal issues derailed his international career, was convicted last month of complicity in cocaine smuggling and sentenced in his absence to six years in prison.

Amsterdam District Court ruled that Promes was involved in the import and export of hundreds of kilogrammes of cocaine in 2020. It was not his first conviction. Last year, Promes was found guilty of stabbing his cousin in the leg and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Promes, a former player for Ajax and Sevilla, lives in Moscow and did not appear at his trial in the Dutch capital. His lawyers told judges he denied the allegations.

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Ex-PM Bhutto, Hanged in 1979, was Denied Fair Trial, Says Pakistan Supreme Court

Pakistan's highest court has declared that former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was executed in 1979, did not receive a fair trial.
Bhutto, the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was hanged in a Rawalpindi prison on April 4, 1979, after being found guilty of orchestrating the murder of a political opponent.

The Supreme Court's Chief Justice, Qazi Faez Isa, made the announcement in response to a presidential reference filed 12 years ago. He stated, "We didn’t find that the fair trial and due process requirements were met."

Bhutto's hanging occurred under the rule of military dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul Haq, who had ousted him from power two years earlier and continued to rule until his death in a plane crash in 1988.

The court's ruling concludes a lengthy hearing initiated by Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's son-in-law and the husband of Benazir Bhutto, who served as prime minister twice before being assassinated in 2007. Zardari sought the court's opinion on whether Bhutto's murder trial adhered to due process and fair trial standards.

Bhutto's execution was widely condemned by legal experts in Pakistan as a "judicial murder" carried out under military influence. Chief Justice Isa acknowledged past instances where the judiciary's actions had been influenced by fear or favor, emphasising the need for accountability and commitment to justice.

Bhutto's grandson, Bhutto Zardari, expressed relief at the court's decision, stating, "Our family waited 3 generations to hear these words." However, he also highlighted the challenges faced by the Pakistani people in trusting the court to deliver justice, especially in high-profile cases.

The court's verdict has been hailed by politicians and human rights advocates as a significant step towards rectifying past injustices. Taj Haider, a PPP leader, described it as "massive in its impact," expressing hope for positive changes in the judicial system's approach to delivering justice.

Saroop Ijaz, a senior counsel for Human Rights Watch, emphasized the importance of the court's acknowledgment of past injustices, particularly under Zia-ul Haq's regime. He urged for meaningful reforms and the rebuilding of public trust in the justice system.

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Super Tuesday: Trump and Biden Near Rematch After Dominating State Primaries

US President Joe Biden from the Democratic Party and his Republican predecessor Donald Trump have swept in their parties’ presidential nomination primaries held in 15 states across the country, paving the way for a rematch between them in November and putting pressure on Indian-American candidate Nikki Haley to quit.

After Super Tuesday’s election results, Trump, 77, is hoping to establish a commanding lead in the delegate count and vanquish his only Republican opponent, Haley.

Seeking his re-election, Biden, 81, swept almost all the Democratic primary states. He lost to Jason Palmer in American Samoa.
“Joe Biden isn’t facing any major competition in the primary cycle, and has won all the Democratic contests so far tonight, CNN projects, as he gears up for a likely rematch with  Trump in November,” CNN said.
Haley, 52, the former US envoy to the UN failed to make a mark Tuesday even as she showed strong support in the states of Vermont, where she won.

That victory, however, will do little to dent Trump’s primary dominance. Trump prevailed in most of the Super Tuesday states: California, Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, Arkansas and Maine.

Super Tuesday is an important phase of presidential primaries when the early contests are over, and voters from multiple states cast ballots in primaries timed to occur on the same date. Almost all the results were one-sided in favour of Trump except for Vermont, where the winning difference was about one per cent.

More than a third of all the Republican delegates were at stake on Super Tuesday, the biggest haul of any date on the primary calendar.

To win the presidential nomination of the Republican party, either of the two candidates needs 1,215 delegates, who are elected during the primaries. Before Super Tuesday, Trump had 244 delegates in his kitty, while Haley had 43.

Speaking from Palm Beach, Florida, Trump claimed that “we have a very divided country,” and vowed to unify it soon.
“This was an amazing night and an amazing day, it’s been an incredible period of time in our country’s history,” Trump said at his election night watch party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

“We have a very divided country. We have a country [where] a political person uses weaponisation against his political opponents,” he said. He compared the state of the US political system to “third-world countries”.

“Never happened here. It happens in other countries, but they’re third-world countries. And in some ways, we’re a third-world country.” Talking up some of his achievements from his time in office, notably the half-built border wall between the US and Mexico,  Trump claimed he delivered “the safest borders in the history of our country” and went on to rail against what he described as “migrant crime”, without citing any evidence. “And so the world is laughing at us, the world is taking advantage of us,” he said.

Biden Slams Trump

Earlier, Biden touted the work his administration has accomplished in its first term in office while issuing a stark warning that a second Trump term would mean a return to “chaos, division, and darkness.” “Four years ago, I ran because of the existential threat Donald Trump posed to the America we all believe in,” Biden wrote in a statement, highlighting progress under his administration on jobs, inflation, prescription drug prices and gun control.

He then warned that if Trump returns to the White House, the progress his administration has made will be at risk.

 Haley Bid in Trouble

Haley, the former South Carolina governor, said she has not made a final decision as to whether or not she would endorse her ex-boss Trump if she ends her presidential bid, but her campaign is receiving a lot of feedback on the subject, sources familiar with recent discussions tell CNN.

People who are close to Haley have different opinions. Some believe that it would be good for her to back Trump because she would be viewed as a team player. Others ardently oppose her endorsing him because that would give Ms. Haley the freedom to be critical of Mr. Trump and build her own movement. They have shared those opinions with Ms. Haley and her campaign in recent days and weeks, sources said, CNN said.

Haley herself has recently said she is not focused on endorsing anyone because she is focused on winning herself.
Trump, however, in an interview on Tuesday bashed Haley, saying she was angry because her campaign is “just getting nowhere.” 

Trump’s campaign is also hoping that a definitive win in Super Tuesday will effectively force Ms. Haley to drop out of the race.
“President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump romped through the opening contests of Super Tuesday, piling up wins in states including Texas, the second-largest delegate prize of the night, as they moved inexorably toward their parties’ nominations and a rematch for the White House in November,” The New York Times reported.

“Former president Donald Trump and President Biden are dominating Super Tuesday contests with roughly one-third of the delegates at stake that will determine the Republican and Democratic party nominations. Voters in 15 states are participating in primaries or caucuses,” The Washington Post said.

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Celebrity 'Monk' Jay Shetty Under Scanner for Fabricating His Life Story

Renowned life coach and influencer, Jay Shetty, who presided over the wedding of Hollywood stars Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in 2022, faces scrutiny following allegations by The Guardian that he fabricated elements of his life story and plagiarised multiple social media posts.

The 36-year-old, also well-known in Bollywood circles, currently leads a meditation startup valued at approximately $2 billion. Additionally, he is the author of two bestselling books: Think Like a Monk, a memoir and self-help manual based on his exploration of Hinduism, and 8 Rules of Love, offering guidance on romantic relationships.

According to Shetty's official website, he spent school vacations living with monks in India, absorbing their teachings and wisdom. However, The Guardian alleges that Shetty falsely claimed to have spent three years in an Indian temple.

Shetty has shared his life journey on talk shows and in his books, recounting a pivotal spiritual awakening during his time at a business school in London, inspired by a talk given by Gauranga Das, a monk from Iskon.

However, discrepancies emerged as Shetty's age varies in his narrative, with conflicting accounts of his interactions with Das. The Guardian found various inconsistencies in his story. For example, Shetty often changes his age in the tale. At times he says he was 18, and on other occasions, he said he was 21 and 22 when he attended Das's talk. While Shetty's legal team and Gauranga Das confirm the 2007 talk, indicating Shetty was 19 at the time, other sources suggest he was involved with Iskcon before then.

Moreover, Shetty's associates, including a former girlfriend, said that he was in Iskcon before meeting Das in 2007. “It doesn’t make sense,” The Guardian quoted Chaitanya Lila, a member of Iskcon who was in a romantic relationship with Shetty from June 2008 to December 2009, as saying. “He was in Iskcon before 2007.”

Former associates assert that while Shetty did travel to India, his time there was shorter than he claims. Some suggest he primarily stayed at Bhaktivedanta Manor outside London, rather than in Mumbai as he asserts. Shetty's travel blog from the time indicates he spent several months in India, followed by activities in London.

The controversy surrounding Shetty raises questions about the authenticity of his personal narrative and underscores the importance of transparency and honesty in public figures.

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Donald Trump Wins Supreme Court Battle over Colorado Primary Vote

Former President Donald Trump emerged victorious in a pivotal Supreme Court battle concerning his eligibility for the Colorado Republican primary ballot.

The Supreme Court unanimously overturned a prior decision by Colorado's top court, which had barred Trump from the state's ballot due to his alleged role in inciting and supporting the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.

The justices' ruling paved the way for Trump's inclusion in Colorado's Republican primary, slated for the same day as the ruling. With Trump positioned as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, his only remaining competitor, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, now faces an uphill battle.

Notably, Trump had also faced disqualification from primary ballots in Maine and Illinois based on the same constitutional provision, pending the outcome of the Colorado case. However, those decisions were temporarily stayed pending the Supreme Court's judgment.

While the Supreme Court justices unanimously concurred, liberal and conservative justices alike emphasised that the opinion exceeded the immediate case's scope by indicating that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars individuals who engaged in insurrection from holding office, could only be enforced through federal legislation.

The landmark case marked the Supreme Court's first encounter with a provision of the 14th Amendment, adopted post-Civil War to prevent former insurrectionists from holding public office.

Observers warn that the requirement for congressional action to enforce Section 3 could lead to renewed battles, potentially even sparking a constitutional crisis if Democrats were to challenge Trump's election under the clause in a Democrat-controlled Congress.

The legal skirmish is just one among several legal entanglements Trump has faced since leaving office. He currently faces criminal charges related to election interference and mishandling of confidential documents, as well as civil cases involving fraud and sexual abuse, with significant financial penalties looming.

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Elon Musk Sues OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman for Breach of Contract

Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO, Sam Altman, as well as others, alleging a breach of contractual agreements when Musk helped establish the ChatGPT-maker in 2015.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, claims that Altman and OpenAI's co-founder, Greg Brockman, initially approached Musk to create an open-source, non-profit organisation focused on developing artificial intelligence technology for the betterment of humanity.
According to Musk's lawyers, OpenAI's shift towards profit-seeking activities violates the original agreement. Although Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015, he resigned from the company's board in 2018.

OpenAI responded to Elon Musk's lawsuit by rejecting its validity. The company asserted that Musk, a former investor, expressed regret for no longer being part of the organisation leading the artificial intelligence revolution.

ChatGPT, OpenAI's chatbot, experienced rapid growth within six months of its launch in November 2022, making it the fastest-growing software application globally. Its success prompted competing chatbots from major tech companies like Microsoft and Alphabet and numerous startups to capitalise on the trend and secure significant funding.

Since its introduction, ChatGPT has found utility across various industries, from summarising documents to coding, sparking a race among tech giants to develop their generative AI-based offerings.

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Prince Harry Loses High Court Challenge over UK Security Downgrade

Prince Harry has lost a High Court challenge against the government over his security when in the UK. The Duke of Sussex was contesting a decision to downgrade his security status when he stopped being a working royal.

He argued that the downgrade was unjust given the ongoing security risks he faced. Despite his legal team asserting that he was not seeking special treatment, they maintained that the decision-making process concerning his publicly-funded police protection lacked fairness.

Following his transition away from being a working royal and relocating to the US, Prince Harry found himself subjected to a case-by-case evaluation for security arrangements, similar to other high-profile visitors to the UK.

Despite his efforts to contest this approach, the court upheld the actions of the security oversight committee, known as "Ravec," which includes representatives from the Home Office, Metropolitan Police, and the Royal Household.

The court ruled that there was no unlawful conduct in the decision-making process or any irrationality in the changes to Prince Harry's security arrangements in February 2020. Despite some portions of the hearing being held privately for security reasons and parts of the ruling being redacted, the court deemed the tailored security arrangement for Prince Harry as legally sound.

In a separate ruling, Prince Harry's attempt to make private financial payments for police protection during his UK visits was also rejected. These legal battles underscore Prince Harry's concerns for his safety and that of his family, especially highlighted by incidents such as encountering paparazzi at public events.

Despite the court's decision, Prince Harry's legal team plans to appeal, arguing that the Ravec committee didn't adhere to its own regulations and dismissing the bespoke security approach. Meanwhile, Prince Harry, although refraining from commenting directly on the ruling, released a video supporting awards for children with complex health needs, tying back to the WellChild awards event where security concerns arose.

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Donald Trump Ranked as the Worst US President in History, with Biden 14th Greatest

Former US President Donald Trump, embroiled in a multitude of critical legal challenges, ranked at the bottom as 45th on a list assessing US presidents by their greatness, trailing behind even "historically calamitous chief executives" who either failed to prevent the Civil War or mishandled its aftermath.

Worse for the likely Republican nominee this year, his probable opponent, Joe Biden, debuted at No 14.

“Biden’s most important achievements may be that he rescued the presidency from Trump, resumed a more traditional style of presidential leadership and is gearing up to keep the office out of his predecessor’s hands this fall,” Justin Vaughn and Brandon Rottinghaus, the political scientists behind the survey, wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

Rottinghaus, of the University of Houston, and Vaughn, from Coastal Carolina University, considered responses from 154 scholars, most connected to the American Political Science Association.

The aim, the authors said, “was to create a ranking of presidential greatness that covered all presidents from George Washington to Joe Biden”, in succession to such lists compiled in 2015 and 2018.

“To do this, we asked respondents to rate each president on a scale of 0-100 for their overall greatness, with 0=failure, 50=average, and 100=great. We then averaged the ratings for each president and ranked them from highest average to lowest.”

At the top of the chart, there was little change from previous surveys – the latter of which also saw Trump, then in office, placed last.

Abraham Lincoln, who won the civil war and ended slavery, was ranked first, ahead of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who saw the US through the Great Depression and the second world war. Next came George Washington, the first president, who won independence from Britain, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and Harry Truman.

Barack Obama, the first Black president, to whom Biden was vice-president between 2009 and 2017, was seventh, up nine places.

Considering drops for Andrew Jackson (ninth in 2015 to 21st now) and Woodrow Wilson (10th to 15th), Rottinghaus and Vaughn noted the impact of campaigns for racial justice.

“Their reputations have consistently suffered in recent years as modern politics lead scholars to assess their early 19th and 20th century presidencies ever more harshly, especially their unacceptable treatment of marginalised people,” the authors wrote.

Jackson owned enslaved people and presided over the genocidal displacement of Native Americans. Wilson oversaw victory in the first world war and helped set up the League of Nations, but was an avowed racist who segregated the federal workforce.

Other major movers included Ulysses S Grant (17th, up from 26th in 2015), whose administration generated significant corruption but whose attempts to enforce post-civil war Reconstruction in southern states, including fighting the Ku Klux Klan, have helped fuel reconsideration.

Grant succeeded Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor and the first president to be impeached. Like Johnson, Lincoln’s predecessor, James Buchanan, who failed to stop the slide to civil war, also sits higher than Trump on Rottinghaus and Vaughn’s list.

Trump is a uniquely divisive figure, his legislative record slim, his refusal to accept defeat by Biden leading to a deadly attack on Congress, and his post-presidential career dogged by 91 criminal charges arising from actions in office or on the campaign trail.

In the presidential survey, Trump is also ranked behind “such lowlights as Franklin Pierce, Warren Harding and William Henry Harrison, who died a mere 31 days after taking office,” Rottinghaus and Vaughn wrote.

“Trump’s impact goes well beyond his own ranking and Biden’s. Every contemporary Democratic president has moved up in the ranks – Barack Obama  (No 7), Bill Clinton (No 12) and even Jimmy Carter (No 22).

“Yes, these presidents had great accomplishments such as expanding healthcare access and working to end conflict in the Middle East, and they have two Nobel prizes among them. But given their shortcomings and failures, their rise seems to be less about reassessments of their administrations than it is a bonus for being neither Trump nor a member of his party.

“Indeed, every modern Republican president has dropped … including the transformational Ronald Reagan (No 16) and George HW Bush (No 19), who led the nation’s last decisive military victory”, the Gulf war of 1991.

Accounting for Democratic climbs and Republican drops, the authors acknowledged that academics tend to lean left but also said, with a nod to Trump: “What these results suggest is not just an added emphasis on a president’s political affiliation, but also the emergence of a president’s fealty to political and institutional norms as a criterion for what makes a president ‘great’.

“… As for the Americans casting a ballot for the next president [in November], they are in the historically rare position of knowing how both candidates have performed in the job.”

Trump has not yet secured the Republican nomination but Biden trails in most polls, prey to public concern that at 81 he is too old for a second term, even though Trump is 77 and equally vulnerable to public gaffes – never mind his insurrectionist past.

Rottinghaus and Vaughn said: “Whether (voters) will consider each president’s commitment to the norms of presidential leadership, and come to rate them as differently as our experts, remains to be seen.”

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EU’s Landmark DSA Aims to Safeguard Public From Illegal Content

In an attempt to ensure a safe digital environment, the European Union (EU) has passed a landmark Digital Services Act (DSA) that upholds user’s safety and fundamental rights. The act requires digital companies to take action against illegal and problematic content.

The regulations outlined in the DSA have been enforced across all platforms from February 17, 2024. However, since the end of August 2023, these regulations have been in effect for designated platforms with over 45 million users within the EU, referred to as Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) or Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs), which account for approximately 10 per cent of the EU's population. Failure to comply may result in substantial fines for the world's largest tech firms.

The DSA oversees various online intermediaries and platforms, including marketplaces, social networks, content-sharing platforms, app stores and online travel and accommodation platforms. Its primary objective is to mitigate illegal and harmful activities on the Internet as well as combat the dissemination of disinformation.

According to Sunil Ambalavelil, Chairman of Dubai-based NYK Law Firm, “the DSA established by the EU represents a significant stride in consumer protection, ensuring fair treatment and access to quality digital services, but its broad scope and intricate provisions may pose challenges for businesses in compliance and adaptation to the evolving digital landscape”.

 What is in it for the public?

The new regulations have been introduced to provide better protection of fundamental rights, grant users more control and choice and offer stronger safeguards for children on the Internet.
It aims to empower users by providing them with greater control over their online experience and choices. This includes measures to enhance user privacy and data protection as well as mechanisms for managing content preferences and personal information.

Talking about the UAE laws to regulate the digital space, Sunil said: “The principles delineated in the EU's groundbreaking digital content law are remarkably relatable to the UAE legal framework, reflecting a shared commitment to enhancing consumer rights and fostering trust in the digital marketplace.”

How does DSA affect big companies?

All platforms must promptly remove illegal content or make it inaccessible upon becoming aware of its presence. Additionally, they must swiftly alert authorities if they suspect criminal activities posing threats to individuals' lives or safety.

Annually, companies should publish reports detailing their content moderation actions, including response times to notifications of illegal content. They are also obliged to disclose decisions made in user disputes.

Furthermore, platforms must suspend users who frequently share illegal content like hate speech or fraudulent advertisements. Online shopping platforms must verify user identities and block repeat offenders of fraud.

The major tech companies operating in the EU, like Google, Meta and TikTok have already confirmed that they are developing strategies to comply with DSA.

The law introduces stricter regulations on targeted advertising, prohibiting such ads for children aged 17 and under. Users must also be informed about how their data is utilised, with targeted advertising based on sensitive data such as ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation being banned.
These stringent obligations do not apply to small companies, which are defined as having fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover of less than 10 million euros.

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