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News Wrap: EU’s top court voids data-sharing deal with U.S. tech companies

In our news wrap Thursday, the European Union’s top court voided an agreement that let big tech companies share data on EU citizens with the U.S. Privacy activists in the region welcomed the decision. Also, the Trump administration criticized China as part of a growing pressure campaign, and Attorney General William Barr said some Americans have become too reliant on Chinese goods and services.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    In the days other news: The U.S., Canada and Britain accused Russian hackers of trying to steal research on possible COVID-19 vaccines. The three nations said a group known as Cozy Bear, linked to Russian intelligence, is targeting academic and pharmaceutical groups. It's unclear whether any information was actually stolen.

    The FBI announced today it is investigating a sweeping security breach at Twitter. That comes after hackers accessed high-profile accounts on Wednesday, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates and Kanye West, among others. They then tweeted from those accounts, promoting the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. We will get more details on this and the alleged Russian hacking of COVID research later in the program.

    The European Union's top court has voided an agreement that let big tech companies share data on E.U. citizens with the U.S. Privacy activists in Europe welcomed the decision.

    Austrian activist Max Schrems said he hopes the two governments will guarantee that users' data is protected in the U.S. as strongly as it is in Europe.

  • Max Schrems:

    Silicon Valley will simply realize that either U.S. laws are going to be changed to a certain extent, or they will literally have to move a lot of their operation to Europe and even split their systems into two parts.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The case grew out of disclosures by Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the U.S. National Security Agency. In 2013, Snowden revealed that Facebook was giving U.S. security groups access to European users' data.

    The Vatican is telling bishops they should report all claims of clergy sexual abuse to police, even if local law does not require it. That new guidance issued today aims to force church leaders to investigate such cases. It also urges them not to dismiss allegations made anonymously through social media.

    For the second time this week, the United States has executed a federal death row inmate. Wesley Ira Purkey died by lethal injection today at a federal prison in Indiana. He'd been convicted in 2003 of kidnapping and murdering a teenage girl in Kansas City. This week's federal executions are the nation's first in 17 years.

    The Trump administration fired off new warnings about China today, in a growing pressure campaign. Attorney General William Barr said Americans have become too reliant on Chinese goods and services. And in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he accused the ruling Chinese Communist Party of mounting a — quote — "economic blitzkrieg" to get ahead of the United States.

  • William Barr:

    Globalization does not always point in the direction of greater freedom. A world marching to the beat of communist China's — Chinese drums will not be a hospitable one for institutions that depend on free markets, free trade, or the free exchange of ideas.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Already this week, the U.S. stripped Hong Kong of preferential trading status. It also rejected Chinese claims in the South China Sea and imposed travel curbs on employees of the telecom giant Huawei. Beijing said today it will stand up to what it called gangster logic.

    The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to intervene in a fight over convicted felons' right to vote in Florida. A state law requires that they pay all court costs, fines and restitution before they can vote. A lower court had upheld that law, and the Supreme Court has now left that order in place.

    The head of Medicaid and Medicare, Seema Verma, is under fire over alleged mismanagement of $6 million in communications contracts. An inspector general's report says she let a Republican media consultant have too much authority over federal employees. Verma says the findings are based on — quote — "unsubstantiated assumptions" and incomplete analysis.

    The pro football team in Washington, D.C., is facing allegations of long-running sexual harassment. The Washington Post reports tonight 15 former employees, female employees, say they suffered suggestive comments, verbal abuse and sexual overtures. They say it was routinely ignored or condoned.

    The Post reports, three top employees with the franchise who have resigned in the past week are among those accused. The team says it has hired a law firm to investigate.

    In economic news, another 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last week. That's unchanged from a week earlier.

    On Wall Street, the jobless news helped to push stocks lower. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 135 points to close at 26731. The Nasdaq fell 76 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 11.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": the Trump administration rolls back environmental reviews to speed up construction; a widespread hack of high-profile Twitter accounts exposes big tech's weak points; the racial gap in COVID-19 death rates reveals a health care system failing black Americans; and much more.

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