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Edward Snowden set for video ‘appearance’ at South By Southwest festival

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An undated handout file picture received from Channel 4 on Dec. 24, 2013 shows US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden [AFP]

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Former security contractor Edward Snowden, facing arrest if he steps foot on U.S. soil, will participate remotely in a panel discussion next week in Texas about governmental intrusion into privacy, conference organizers said on Tuesday.

Snowden, who is in Russia, will answer questions via video conference at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin on Monday on how the U.S. National Security Agency uses technology to keep tabs on people.

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“Hear directly from Snowden about his beliefs on what the tech community can and must do to secure the private data of the billions of people who rely on the tools and services that we build,” the organizers said.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he currently has asylum. The White House wants him returned to the United States for prosecution.

Last year, Snowden, who had been working at an NSA facility as an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked a raft of secret documents that revealed a vast U.S. government system to monitor phone and internet data.

The leaks deeply embarrassed the Obama administration, which in January banned U.S. eavesdropping on the leaders of close friends and allies and began reining in the sweeping collection of Americans’ phone data in a series of limited reforms triggered by Snowden’s revelations.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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GOP’s use of Kanye West to help Trump has been a spectacular flop: CNN host

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On CNN Saturday, Michael Smerconish examined rapper Kanye West's presidential campaign — and how the GOP efforts to boost it to siphon voters from former Vice President Joe Biden don't appear to be working.

"Is Kanye West serious about running for president or is it all part of a dark twisted fantasy?" said Smerconish. "NPR has documented how several operatives, some with Trump ties, are actively helping the superstar get on general election ballots in various states. Kanye West officially on the ballot in Vermont, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and has filed recently in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Jared Kushner met privately with West in Colorado, where the two par took in a friendly conversation ... the RNC and Trump has denied involvement in West's campaign. but the president isn't exactly discouraging the competition."

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Greenland’s ice sheet has melted past the point of no return

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Greenland's ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests.

Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting.

That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimeter on average per year. If all of Greenland's ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average of 6 meters -- enough to swamp many coastal cities around the world. This process, however, would take decades.

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Trump targets TikTok again with new executive order

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US President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.

The order builds on sweeping restrictions issued last week by Trump that TikTok and WeChat end all operations in the US, his latest explosive moves aimed at countering China's rising global power.

ByteDance bought karaoke video app Musical.y from a Chinese rival about three years ago in a deal valued at nearly a billion dollars. It was incorporated into TikTok, which became a global sensation.

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