By: Trevor Steele, SFU Student
Venezuelan president wins dubious second term
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has won a second term in office, in an election that involved an opposition boycott and widespread claims of electoral fraud. The election’s result was immediately rejected by the opposition, which boycotted the election after several candidates were jailed and the election date was brought forward. Dismissal of the result was echoed by the European Union and several Latin American nations, who have warned that they will take action against Maduro’s government. Maduro, who took over from the controversial former President Hugo Chavez in 2013, has overseen Venezuela’s plunge into severe economic crisis and food shortages, which have led to mass migration into neighbouring nations.
Amazon provides facial recognition technology to police
Amazon has begun to promote and sell facial recognition systems to police in North America, being one of the first major companies to do so. This has led to concern from civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, who claimed that Amazon’s software guide “read like a user manual for authoritarian surveillance.” Amazon’s response — “our quality of life would be much worse today if we outlawed new technology because some people could choose to abuse the technology” — has done little to allay fears over privacy. The technology which can be used to identify people in videos and images is already used extensively in countries such as China.
Trump cancels North Korea nuclear summit
A planned summit to discuss North Korean denuclearization was cancelled. Donald Trump cited North Korea’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” as the reason for the abandonment of the talks and promised to toughen sanctions on the regime. However, Trump still suggested that a meeting could take place. The stalling of talks with North Korea is not without precedent. Former President George W. Bush advisor Michael J. Greene suggested that such talks have been initiated by North Korea in the past as a ploy to ease sanctions, and establish recognition of their nuclear threat.
Ireland votes to repeal abortion ban
66% of voters voted to strike down Ireland’s abortion ban in a referendum held on May 25. In a nation where abortion was previously banned even in cases of sexual assault, the result marks a changing of the times. The Catholic Church, which was the main voice against a change to the abortion laws, has seen its influence wane in Irish society after years of child sex abuse scandals. Media focus now shifts to Northern Ireland, which now has the strictest abortion laws in the United Kingdom.With files from Reuters.