US diplomats in Cuba had inner-ear damage early on

(12 Dec 2018) American diplomats affected by mysterious health incidents in Cuba showed damage in the inner ear shortly after they complained of weird noises and sensations, according to their earliest medical exams, publicized Wednesday. (Dec 12)

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DOJ: China poses serious national security threat

(12 Dec 2018) U.S. national security officials say China’s cyber threats and the theft of intellectual property from American companies pose one of the largest economic and national security challenges for the United States. (Dec. 12)

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China’s “Social Credit System” Can Create More Than Just Public Shaming (HBO)

China is testing a new plan to urge its citizens to do more good and be more trustworthy – the Social Credit System. It’s kind of like the American credit score, except it tracks far more than financial transactions. It tracks good — and bad — deeds.

Part of the system is a neighbor watch program that’s being piloted across the country where designated watchers are paid to record people’s behaviors that factor into their social credit score. A high score could bring you lower interest loans and discounted rent and utility bills, but if your score is low, you can be subjected to public shaming or even banned from certain kinds of travel, life gets hard.

China’s economy has exploded over the past decades, economic reforms required banks to be able to evaluate individuals looking to borrow money to buy houses or start new businesses. Fraud and excess borrowing were rampant because most people didn’t really have much of a credit history. To measure its citizens’ trustworthiness, in 2014, The State Council laid out a plan that aims to build a centralized database to evaluate individuals and organizations based on their financial and social behaviors.

The program is scheduled to be nationwide by 2020, which means every Chinese citizen will be tracked, scored, and receive perks and restrictions accordingly.

VICE News went to a village in one of the first pilot cities to see how the local office funnels the behaviors of 3,000 residents in this neighborhood into social credit scores.

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GOP House leader notes ‘gap of distrust’ in Google

(11 Dec 2018) House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy kicked off a congressional grilling of Google CEO Sundar Pichai by noting a “widening gap of distrust” between tech companies and the American people. (Dec. 11)

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Huawei exec faces US fraud charges linked to Iran

Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s chief financial officer faces US fraud charges related to sanctions-breaking business dealings with Iran, a Canadian court heard Friday, a week after she was detained on an American extradition request.

Shooting victim’s family joins Trump for Hannukah

(7 Dec 2018) The father of a Florida school shooting victim helped the White House celebrate Hanukkah on Thursday. Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, lauded President Donald Trump as a “fighter” who has “retaken Washington for the American people.” (Dec. 7)

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Rain doesn’t stop Texans from seeing ‘Bush 4141’

(7 Dec 2018) Despite periodic rains, hundreds carrying American flags gathered on either side of the train tracks in Navasota, Texas, to watch the “Bush 4141” go by. (Dec. 6)

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US priest accused of abuse in the Philippines

(6 Dec 2018) The U.S. attorney for Ohio’s southern district says an American priest accused of sexual abuse in the Philippines lived with multiple boys and insisted they bathe with him. (Dec. 6)

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