People Convicted of Terror Offenses Must Serve Full Prison Terms: UK PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people convicted of terrorism offenses should not be allowed out of prison early after it was revealed the London Bridge attacker was released from jail last year before the end of his sentence.Wearing a fake suicide vest and wielding knives, Usman Khan went on the rampage on Friday afternoon at a conference on criminal rehabilitation beside London Bridge.“I think that the practice of automatic, early release where you cut a sentence in half and let really serious, violent offenders out early simply isn’t working, and you’ve some very good evidence of how that isn’t working, I am afraid, with this case,” Johnson said on Saturday.

Dutch Police Continue Hunt for Attacker who Stabbed 3

Dutch police on Saturday continued looking for an attacker who stabbed three teens on a street in The Hague that was crowded with Black Friday shoppers.The victims, two 15-year-old girls and a 13-year-old boy, were treated in a hospital and released late Friday. Police said in a statement that they did not know one another.The victims have spoken to detectives.“We are using all our available means — visible and unseen — to find the suspect in this stabbing as soon as possible,” police said in a statement, as they appealed again for witnesses.That included studying video footage from the area, where many surveillance cameras are located.The attack in the Netherlands came hours after a man wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people in London, killing two, before he was fatally shot by officers. Police are treating it as a terrorist attack.Dutch police say the motive for the stabbing in The Hague remains unknown. “We are keeping all scenarios open,” their statement said.The stabbing occurred around 7:45 p.m. in an area teeming with shoppers and close to the city’s most popular nightlife centers.Police cordoned off the area until deep into the night as forensics experts combed the street for clues.The street was opened again Saturday.

Rosa Parks Statue to be Unveiled Sunday

A new statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks will stand in downtown Montgomery.The city said the statue will be unveiled Sunday at 1 p.m. at Montgomery Plaza at the Court Street Fountain.The unveiling coincides with the anniversary of Parks’ historic Dec. 1, 1955 arrest for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement.FILE – The statue of African-American civil rights activist Rosa Parks is seen in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Dec. 1, 2014,There will also be four granite markers to honor the plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle – the landmark case that ruled segregation on Montgomery buses unconstitutional.The civil rights memorials are a partnership among the city and county, the Alabama tourism department and the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts.

France Summons Turkish Envoy Over Erdogan jab at Macron

The French government summoned the Turkish ambassador Friday to seek explanations after his president described French President Emmanuel Macron as “brain dead.”Ahead of a NATO summit next week that both men will attend, tensions have mounted around Turkey’s military operation in Syria, and its role within the trans-Atlantic defense alliance, which is also a member of the fight against so-called Islamic State.Macron, complaining of a U.S. leadership vacuum, recently lamented the “brain death” of NATO and says the allies need “a wake-up call.” And on Thursday, he reiterated criticism of Turkey’s operation in northeast Syria against Kurdish fighters who were crucial in the international fight against IS extremists.“I respect the security interests of our Turkish ally … but one can’t say that we are allies and demand solidarity, and on the other hand, present allies with a fait accompli by a military intervention which jeopardizes the action of the coalition against IS,” Macron said at a meeting with the NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg.The comments angered Turkey’s leadership and prompted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to shoot back Friday: “You should get checked whether you’re brain dead.”“Kicking Turkey out of NATO or not, how is that up to you? Do you have the authority to make such a decision?” Erdogan asked, characterizing Macron as “inexperienced.”Turkey also criticized Macron for agreeing to talks with a Syrian Kurd politician whom Ankara considers an extremist.The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ambassador Ismail Hakki Musa was summoned Friday to explain “unacceptable statements … that have no place in Turkish-French relations and cannot substitute for the necessary dialogue between the two countries.”An official in Macron’s office said that NATO allies are expecting “clear answers” from Turkey about its intentions in Syria.The Macron-Erdogan spat comes amid other problems within NATO that are expected to come to the fore at next week’s summit in London, including U.S. President Donald Trump’s complaints that other members don’t spend enough on defense and differences over the alliance’s post-Cold War mission.

After Devastating Earthquake, Albania Begins to Bury Victims

Albanians began the week on a high note, as they prepared to celebrate the country’s Independence Day, and finished it in heartbreak, Friday burying loved ones who perished in the worst earthquake to hit the Balkan country in decades.Forty-nine people died, including seven children ages 2 to 8, and 900 were injured; 5,200 people are without shelter; and 1,200 buildings were destroyed in the 6.4-magnitude quake Tuesday. The panic has been palpable as people refuse to go home. They also have been rattled by several aftershocks, including one that registered at 5.0.Seismologist Rexhep Koçi told VOA that while there was the likelihood for more aftershocks, they would be increasingly weaker.The port city of Durrës, 33 kilometers west of the capital, Tirana, saw the highest death toll, with 25 people killed. Farther north, in the small town of Thumanë, the quake killed 23 people, six of whom belonged to one family, and all but one younger than 30. They were buried Friday. One person also died in the nearby small town of Kurbin.WATCH: A vigil for quake victims in Tirana
Vigil for quake victims in Tirana, Nov 29 video player.
Embed” />Copy LinkTirana residents turned out in the city center to honor the victims, placing candles in a makeshift memorial by the statue of Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti, known as Skanderbeg.The state of emergency declared Wednesday for Durrës and Thumanë was extended to the heavily damaged town of Laç. Prime Minister Edi Rama said he made the decision after opposition leader Lulzim Basha suggested it. Rama appeared to put on hold the acrimony often on display between the two political rivals.“In this case, our concerns and ideas converge,” Rama said, inviting the opposition to participate in the Committee for Earthquake Relief.For Rama, the tragedy hit close to home as his office confirmed that among the dead was his son Gregor’s fiancée, Kristi Reçi, who died along with her parents and brother in Durrës.Volunteers distribute food at a makeshift camp in Durres, after an earthquake shook Albania, Nov. 29, 2019.Helping handsAs search-and-rescue operations were closing, with one person unaccounted for in Durrës, providing aid to survivors has become the focus.WATCH: Drove Video of Aid Distribution in Durres, Albania
DRONE VIDEO – AID DISTRIBUTION DURRES, ALBANIA video player.
Embed” />Copy LinkPhysician Shkëlqime Ladi said doctors are on hand to help with immediate needs.“We are focusing more on the psychological aspect of the affected. Their psychological state is aggravated,” she told VOA in Laç.In Durrës, volunteers and residents are offering condolences and support.“We feel very bad for the families, people who have lost their lives. If needed, we can take people in. We have a house, it is not a problem at all,” Durrës resident Hysen Mnalla told VOA.Erald Peposhi is one of a group of students from Tirana who went to Durrës to help. They delivered 180 meals and 300 sandwiches.“We are here to help those who are left homeless. As you can see, there are people that need food, and we hope the situation improves soon,” he said Friday.A rescue dog is seen on a collapsed building in Durres, after an earthquake shook Albania, Nov. 29, 2019.For the second time since the earthquake, the European Union has activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to help Albania.Right after the earthquake, EU sent crews from Greece, Italy and Romania to help with search and rescue and now the government has asked for experts to help assess the damage.EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca said Friday that the European Union and its member states are standing with Albania and working nonstop to provide assistance “in this very difficult moment.”“It is a week of deep sorrow and tragedy for Albania,” Soreca said in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences go once again to the Albanian people and especially to the families, friends and communities of those who have lost their lives.”Neighboring Kosovo, Italy, Greece and Montenegro have sent in crews. The United States has also offered help.A woman carries her belongings from a damaged house in Thumane, western Albania, Nov. 29, 2019.‘Repaying the help I received in 1999’Her voice trembling and in tears, Emine Imeri, a volunteer from the Drenica region in Kosovo, told VOA in Thumanë the situation reminded her of 20 years ago when Albania welcomed thousands from Kosovo as they fled ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces in the Balkans conflict.“The entire Drenica, the entire Kosovo, has mobilized. We regret that we had to repay the favor in such circumstances. We would have preferred to repay what they did for us 20 years ago for a happy occasion,” she said.She also said she hoped the aid they brought would help.“People took their coat off their back to send it here,” she said.It was just one example of the outpouring of help from the new country, 90% of whose population are ethnic Albanians.People spontaneously came from Kosovo, operated mobile kitchens, gathered donations and opened their homes for those in Albania wanting to find shelter or to escape the aftershocks. On Friday alone, individuals and businesses from Kosovo delivered 100 tons of much needed necessities.Kosovo’s Security Force sent troops across the border to help, and outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj allocated 500,000 euros for earthquake relief. He visited Durrës on Friday, as did his likely successor, Albin Kurti.Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi visited Thumanë the day after the tragedy.Subdued independenceThe earthquake struck two days before Albania’s 107th anniversary of independence. There was no celebration, but a show of solidarity gave solemnity to the day.Albanian President Ilir Meta and Prime Minister Rama, who have been fighting bitterly over political matters, appeared together in Vlora Thursday, where independence was declared.The Independence Day coincided this year with the U.S. Thanksgiving Day, and many Albanian Americans rallied to collect donations, holding several fundraisers to help one of the poorest countries in Europe.“I am so heartbroken for my people back home, for those who have lost lives and loved ones,” New York City Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, an Albanian American, told VOA.Marko Kepi, of the Albanian American organization Albanian Roots, organized a fundraiser that raised nearly $1 million in less than a day.“This fundraiser is simply to help those who have lost their homes and to help those families who lost their loved ones, do whatever we can so they can have some sort of peace of mind, that they are not alone, they have support and they are not going to be left out in the street,” he said.Armand Mero reported from Tirana, Ilirian Agolli reported from Durrës, Pëllumb Sulo reported from Laç.

Poland’s Leaders Want New Top Auditor to Go Amid Scandal

Poland’s government is calling for the resignation of the head of the audit office amid a swelling scandal over his contacts and dealings.Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Friday he has read a classified report on the dealings and financial status of Marian Banas and expects him to resign. The right-wing ruling party also said its powerful leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, wants Banas to go.Banas insisted the allegations were “lies” and continues in his job. Under the constitution, he cannot be fired.Government critics say the stalemate exposes the chaos that the ruling Law and Justice party has brought to the state, with policies of ignoring the constitution and undermining judicial independence and the democratic system of checks and balances.Banas, a former finance minister and tax administration head, was nominated and praised as “crystal clean” by the ruling party and approved by parliament as head of the Supreme Audit Office in August.But recent media reports said a house that he owned in the southern city of Krakow was rented at the time to an apparent sex business; the reports he was required to make as a state official of his financial status were incomplete; and his former subordinates at the finance ministry claimed sales tax that was not due.The state Anti-Corruption Office on Friday notified prosecutors of irregularities in Banas’ financial reports, alleging he has failed to list all of his property and real estate.Banas denies allegationsBanas said he “categorically” denied the allegations and declared he was ready to give all needed explanations.Morawiecki said if Banas won’t resign, the government has a Plan B, which he did not disclose.Opposition parties warned they would not help Law and Justice, which won power in 2015, end the impasse it had built.They claimed the ruling party had failed to properly vet Banas for the sensitive job, while being quick to punish and discredit various judges who had criticized the party’s policies and defended judicial independence.
 

Trump to meet Macron, Merkel at NATO summit

The White House says President Donald Trump will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of next week’s NATO summit in London.
                   
The summit comes at a critical moment for the 29-member military alliance, which has been fraying in the face of Trump’s complaints that too many NATO members are spending too little on defense.
                   
Trump also has meetings scheduled during the summit with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte.
                   
The summit is scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday.
                   
Trump has no meeting scheduled, as of now, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit host. Britain holds parliamentary elections Dec. 12.
                   
Johnson has said he doesn’t want “loving allies” to get involved in Britain’s politics.

South Korean K-pop Stars Sentenced to Prison for Illicit Sexual Relations

A South Korean court sentenced two K-pop stars to prison terms Friday for sexual relations with a woman who was unable to resist.Thirty-year old Jung Joon-young and 29 year old Choi Jong-hoon were convicted of committing “special quasi-raping,” which means multiple people collaborating to have illicit sexual intercourse with a person who was unconscious or unable to resist, the Seoul Central District Court said in a statement.Jung who was sentenced to six years behind bars, was convicted of raping the woman, filming the act, and sharing it with friends in a group chat.
 
Choi was sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in the crime.The two singers were also ordered to undergo 80 hours of sex offender treatment programs.South Korea’s lucrative entertainment industry has produced pop songs, TV dramas and films hugely popular in Asia and beyond, but many sexual scandals in recent years have revealed its dark side. 

Міжбанк: гривня йде на новий рекорд щодо долара

На українському міжбанківському валютному ринку короткочасне посилення долара знову змінилося послабленням американської валюти. Як повідомляє сайт Finance.ua, станом на 13:25 котирування становили 23 гривні 94–96 копійок.

Опівдні посилення гривні частково відбив Національний банк України у своєму довідковому значенні курсу 23 гривні 98 копійок, що на 6 копійок менше за офіційний курс на 29 листопада і є повторенням зафіксованого раніше цього тижня рекордного за 46 місяців значення.

«Торги по долару ближче до обіду на піку активності. Йдуть операції по лотах до 1 мільйона доларів при зростанні пропозиції валюти в останні 30 хвилин сесії, що поки не відбилося на котируваннях», – вказують фахівці сайту «Мінфін».

 

Надмірне посилення гривні щодо долара є не менш небезпечним, ніж стрімка девальвація національної валюти. Зокрема, посилення понад рівень, закріплений у розрахунках уряду, ставить під загрозу виконання дохідної частини державного бюджету. Саме через це НБУ, викуповуючи надлишок пропозиції долара, намагається не допустити більшого посилення гривні.

British Police Dealing with Shooting Incident at London Bridge

British police shot dead a man on London Bridge on Friday, Sky news reported.The BBC said two shots had been fired. Videos and photographs on Twitter showed several police cars and buses on the bridge and a truck straddling several lanes.”We are in the early stages of dealing with an incident at London Bridge,” police said in a statement.
A spokesman said: “It appears somebody has been shot.”The ambulance service said it had crews at the scene.London Bridge was the scene of an attack in June 2017 when three militants drove a van into pedestrians and then attacked people in the surrounding area, killing eight people.Earlier this month, Britain lowered its national terrorism threat level to “substantial” from “severe,” its lowest level since 2014.

NATO Seeks to Head Off Budget Row Saying Spending is Rising

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that European allies and Canada are spending even more than previously thought on defense, just days before U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to demand once more that other leaders boost their military budgets.Trump meets with his NATO counterparts in London on Dec. 3-4. The previous two NATO summits were dominated by his allegations that other allies are not pulling their weight. While they do not owe the United States any money, Washington does spend more on defense than all its allies combined.In what appears to be a pre-emptive political strike, Stoltenberg said that European allies and Canada are now projected to increase spending on their national military budgets by around $130 billion between 2016 and 2020. Previously, the figure was forecast to be “more than $100 billion.””The trend is up. Year by year we are increasing, and year by year we are adding billions to our defense spending,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels, where the 29-member trans-Atlantic military alliance has a new billion-dollar headquarters.NATO countries agreed in 2014 to halt the defense spending cuts they introduced after the Cold War and boost their budgets in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to unilaterally annex the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.The aim was for each ally to be spending at least 2% of their GDP on defense by 2024. Stoltenberg said that Bulgaria has now joined a list of nine member countries that respect that target.It’s the third day in a row that NATO has announced some new budget or defense measure likely to please Trump. On Wednesday, Stoltenberg unveiled a new contract for an upgrade of the alliance’s aging fleet of U.S.-made surveillance planes worth $1 billion.Then on Thursday, he said that Washington will in future pay less into NATO’s common budget for running its headquarters and other operations. That budget is worth about $2 billion. Germany and Washington will from next year each pay 16% — a 6% bonus for the U.S.Germany, often a target of Trump’s ire, is forecast to reach just 1.5% of GDP by 2024 but does intend to move to 2% by around 2031. Indeed, Berlin’s hike in contributions to its national defense budget accounts for around 20% of the $130 billion increase trumpeted by Stoltenberg.French President Emmanuel Macron has said he hopes NATO leaders can move beyond the seemingly endless spending debate next week and focus on important strategic interests, like who the alliance’s adversaries are, how to cope with an unpredictable member like Turkey and improve ties with Russia.

NATO at 70: Internal Tensions, External Threats as Leaders Set to Gather

NATO leaders are preparing to gather in London for a two-day meeting Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the alliance, but growing tensions among members could overshadow the celebrations.The war in Syria and the ongoing Russian threat will serve as the backdrop to the summit. Fellow NATO members the United States and Turkey came close to confrontation in northern Syria last month, rattling the alliance.”The position of Turkey in the North Atlantic alliance is a difficult one,” said Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute in London in an interview with VOA this week.”Turkey’s decision to become involved in military operations in the Middle East against the wishes of most of its allies, including the United States, [and] Turkey’s decision to buy Russian military equipment … [are] riling with many countries in Europe.”NATO members say it’s better to have Turkey inside than outside the alliance.”NATO is about European security, it’s not about coordinating policies in the Middle East,” Eyal said.Where American troops once kept the peace, Russian forces now patrol northern Syria. The U.S. withdrawal has fueled concerns over America’s commitment to NATO. French President Emmanuel Macron recently called the alliance “brain dead” and urged Europe to create its own security architecture. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Nov. 28, 2019.The comments elicited a sharp rebuke from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg this week.”European unity cannot replace transatlantic unity. We need both. And we have to also understand that, especially after Brexit, the EU cannot defend Europe,” Stoltenberg told reporters.Europe still sees Russia as the biggest threat following its 2014 forceful annexation of Crimea and ongoing campaigns of espionage, cyberwarfare and disinformation.European concerns over the U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, on collective defense, are not borne out by facts on the ground, Eyal said.”The reality is the Pentagon’s spending in Europe is increasing, the number of U.S. troops is increasing.”The deployment of U.S. troops in Europe is seen differently in Moscow.”Some of the Eastern European nations are trying to get American boots on the ground despite the fact that Article 5 should cover their security, which suggests that they trust the United States more than they trust NATO,” Andrey Kortunov of the Russian Council on International Affairs in Moscow told VOA in a recent interview.U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded that European NATO members “share the burden.” Germany on Wednesday pledged to meet the NATO defense spending target of 2% of GDP, but only by the 2030s.”The U.S. president should be credited with actually banging the table hard enough for the United States to be heard,” Eya said, “This is, and it’s important sometimes to repeat the cliché, the most successful alliance in modern history.”NATO will hope that is cause for celebration as leaders gather for its 70th anniversary.

Aftershocks Rattle Albania, Leaving Residents on Edge

Residents remained on edge Thursday in the earthquake-stricken areas of Albania, as aftershocks continued to rattle the area.Thursday afternoon, another 5.0-magnitude quake was registered near the city of Thumane just hours after authorities called off search-and-rescue operations in the area after recovering the bodies of the last people who had been reported missing.The 6.4-magnitude temblor that struck Tuesday caused the most devastation in Thumane, where 23 people were killed, including seven from one family.“God let us keep two (members of the family) but took seven from us,” survivor Sul Cara told VOA. “Now we are focused on paying our respects to the dead, as honor and tradition demands of us. We will try our best to show strength as we send off seven loved ones to burial. This is a heavy tragedy to bear, but at the same time we have found strength in the outpouring of support, not just from this town but from the whole country.”Albanians sit at a makeshift camp in Durres, Nov. 28, 2019, after an earthquake shook Albania.The death toll rose to 47 as search operations continued in other locations, but rescuers are increasingly pessimistic survivors will be found.Residents in many neighborhoods remain in tents or have chosen to move in with relatives in other towns, as authorities warn that buildings remain unsafe.Dangerous aftershocksAlbanians should heed the warnings, Stanford University geophysics professor Ross Stein told VOA’s Albanian Service.Stein said that the days, even months after a major earthquake, aftershocks are a very serious threat.“The risk of another large shock today is much higher than it was a few days ago before the 6.4 struck. The likelihood of a large aftershock is much higher than the likelihood of the same shock had there not been a main shock at all,” he said.Stein, who has extensively studied seismic activity in the Balkans, said Tuesday’s earthquake was not a surprise from a geological point of view. He said Albania is “the most seismically active part of the Balkan region,” which has exhibited historically “larger and more frequent earthquakes even than Italy.”The seismic activity is the reason for Albania’s natural beauty, he said.“The reason why Albania is so beautiful is because it has this wonderful hill-valley topography and that is produced because the region is being compressed to the east and west. Think of a carpet and you’re a pushing a carpet across the floor and you’re producing folds,” Stein said.A rescue dog searches for survivors in a collapsed building in Durres, Nov. 28, 2019, after an earthquake shook Albania.Quake preparationBut despite the area’s history of earthquakes, scientists can’t predict where and when the next one will strike.The only possible thing people can do, he said, is have a good preparation strategy.He said there is a need to prioritize earthquake protections, “and the region around Tirana and along the coast of Albania have the highest hazard and indicate to us, in a broad sense, this is where we need to focus our attention.”Thursday marked Albania’s 107th independence anniversary. President Ilir Meta called on his countrymen to use the moment “to help heal the wounds caused by the earthquake.”

Germany to Tighten Laws Against Anti-Semitic Crimes

Germany intends to strengthen its laws against anti-Semitic crimes as part of the government’s response to a deadly attack in the eastern part of the country. Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told parliament Thursday of her planned amendment to the country’s current law that would make anti-Semitism an aggravating factor for hate crimes in the nation’s criminal code.Currently, discrimination against particular groups is considered an aggravating factor, but the law does not specifically refer to Jews. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) defines hate crimes or “bias crimes” as those “motivated by intolerance towards certain groups in society.” “We have to send a clear signal against anti-Semitism,” Lambrecht told lawmakers. 
 
A proposed change to the law would need to be approved by parliament, where the government holds a majority of seats.  Halle attackThe change is part of the government’s strategy to tackle anti-Semitism in the country following a deadly October attack in Halle, Germany. A gunman opened fire on a kebab shop after failing to storm a synagogue on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. The shooter killed a customer in the shop and a passerby. FILE – An apparent explosives cache is seen in a bag inside the vehicle used by a gunman in an attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, Oct. 9, 2019, in this still image taken from the gunman’s helmet camera video stream.The shooter confessed to German police that he was motivated by right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism. Other elements of the plan are stricter gun control measures and requirements for social media companies to report hate speech to authorities. The police plan to establish a new department that would collect the reported content and the internet addresses of the posters. The attack was part of a greater trend of crimes against Jews in the country. 
Anti-Semitic offenses rose by almost 10 percent in Germany last year, with violent attacks going up more than 60 percent, according to preliminary police data released in February. Police recorded 1,646 violations motivated by hatred against Jews, the highest level in a decade. Perceived rise in anti-SemitismIn addition to rising hate crimes, studies show a perceived increase in anti-Semitism in German society. After the Halle attack, a survey sponsored by public broadcaster ARD showed 59% of voting-age Germans believed that anti-Semitism was spreading in their communities. More than a quarter of Germans hold anti-Semitic beliefs, according to a study by the World Jewish Congress. “I am ashamed that Jews in Germany no longer feel safe and that so many are even thinking of leaving the country,” said Lambrecht. 

Video App TikTok Unblocks Teen Who Posted on China’s Muslims

Chinese-owned video app TikTok says it has unblocked a U.S. teenager and restored her viral video condemning China’s treatment of its Muslim minority.
                   
The video was removed for 50 minutes Wednesday due to a “human moderation error,” according to a statement from Eric Han, an American who heads TikTok’s U.S. content-moderation team. The site’s guidelines don’t preclude the video’s content, Han said.
                   
TikTok is popular with millions of U.S. teens and young adults but several U.S. senators have raised concerns about data collection and censorship on the site of content not in line with the Chinese government. The U.S. government has reportedly launched a national-security review of the site.
                   
The 40-second video, which news reports identified as the work of 17-year-old Feroza Aziz of New Jersey, starts off as an innocuous tutorial on how to get long eyelashes.
                   
It then segues into an appeal for viewers to inform themselves of plight of the Muslim minority in China. “This is another Holocaust, yet no one is talking about it,” Aziz says.
                   
China is estimated to have detained up to 1 million minority Muslims Uighurs in prisonlike detention centers. China’s government insists the detention sites are “vocational” centers aimed at training and skills development. It has sharply criticized Western countries that called for an end to mass arbitrary detentions and other abuses of Uighurs and other Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
                   
TikTok has said its data is not subject to Chinese law and that it does not remove content based on “sensitivities related to China.”
                   
Han said Aziz was locked out of her account because of an earlier video she posted featured a photo of Osama bin-Laden, which violated polices against imagery related to terrorist figures.
                   
Aziz asked rhetorically on Twitter if she believed she was blocked after posting the video about Uighurs because of the unrelated earlier “satirical” video. “No,” she said.

UK Police Explain Decision on Prince Andrew Case

London police are defending the decision not to pursue a full investigation of allegations made against Prince Andrew by a woman who says she was trafficked by the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.Police acknowledged Thursday that they received a complaint in 2015 from a woman alleging she was the victim of trafficking for sexual exploitation.The woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has said she was trafficked by Epstein and had sex three times with Prince Andrew starting in 2001, including once in London. She says she was 17 when they first had sex.Metropolitan Police Commander Alex Murray said police concluded in 2016 after looking into the matter and consulting prosecutors that the London-based force was the wrong agency to investigate.“Following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the U.K.” he said.The London police, he added, would not be the “appropriate authority” to investigate.Epstein, a wealthy financier, died in prison in August in what the New York City coroner ruled as a suicide. He faced trafficking charges.The Met’s Murray said police reviewed its decision after Epstein’s death and decided not to change policy.Andrew, 59, has repeatedly denied the allegations, most recently during a televised interview broadcast nearly two weeks ago in which he lost public support by defending his friendship with Epstein and by not expressing sympathy for Epstein’s many young female victims. The prince has since stepped down from royal duties because of the scandal.A television interview with Giuffre is scheduled to be broadcast Monday in Britain. She has said Andrew must take responsibility for what he’s done.Murray also said that London police have not received a formal request for assistance from other law enforcement agencies investigating the case.U.S. officials are still looking into the case and a number of civil lawsuits against Epstein’s estate are in progress. 

Ban Black Friday? French Activists, LAwmakers Want to Try

Dozens of French activists blocked an Amazon warehouse south of Paris in a Black Friday-inspired protest, amid increased opposition to the post-Thanksgiving sales phenomenon that has seen a group of French lawmakers push to ban it altogether.Protesters from climate group Amis de la terre (Friends of the Earth) spread hay and old refrigerators and microwaves on the driveway leading to the warehouse in Bretigny-sur-Orge on Thursday. They held signs in front of the gates reading “Amazon: For the climate, for jobs, stop expansion, stop over-production!”The activists were later dislodged by police.More demonstrations are expected as Black Friday looms into view. French climate groups are planning “Block Friday” demonstrations Friday.Their objections are garnering some support within France’s National Assembly. Some French lawmakers want to ban Black Friday, which has morphed into a global phenomenon even though it stems from a specifically U.S. holiday: Thanksgiving Thursday.A French legislative committee passed an amendment Monday that proposes prohibiting Black Friday since it causes “resource waste” and “overconsumption.”The amendment, which was put forward by France’s former environment minister, Delphine Batho, will be debated next month. France’s e-commerce union has condemned it.On Europe 1 radio Thursday, France’s ecological transition minister, Elisabeth Borne, criticized Black Friday for creating “traffic jams, pollution, and gas emissions.”She added that she would support Black Friday if it helped small French businesses, but said it mostly benefits large online retailers.

Міжбанк: долар розвернувся і знову дорожчає

На українському міжбанківському валютному ринку змінився тренд. Після посилення гривні щодо долара до рекордного за останні 46 місяців значення (23 гривні 98 копійок за долар) американська валюта частково відіграє втрачені позиції.

Як повідомляє сайт Finance.ua, станом на 12:30 котирування склали 24 гривні 4–6 копійок за долар.

Національний банк України опівдні встановив довідкове значення курсу 24 гривні 4 копійки за долар, це на 6 копійок більше за офіційний курс на 28 листопада.

«Торги по долару продовжують залишатися малими за обсягами на 12:00, але спекулянти вже починають поступове розхитування котирувань», – відзначають фахівці сайту «Мінфін».

Раніше цього тижня експерти прогнозували, що вже цього тижня «загальний позитивний настрій щодо зміцнення гривні видихнеться як за рахунок нівелювання чинника аукціону по ОВДП, так і за рахунок зростання попиту на валюту перед закінченням місяця і скорочення її пропозиції через надходження основних сум відшкодувань ПДВ експортерам». Експерти припускають, що долар «відштовхнеться від дна», і ринок піде вгору.

Надмірне посилення гривні щодо долара є не менш небезпечним, ніж стрімка девальвація національної валюти. Зокрема, посилення понад рівень, закріплений у розрахунках уряду, ставить під загрозу виконання дохідної частини державного бюджету. Саме через це НБУ, викуповуючи надлишок пропозиції долара, намагається не допустити більшого посилення гривні.