GLOBAL PULSE: Trump’s withdrawal from Paris deal may not be so bad, boyish Macron is now all grown-up and China’s cybersecurity law is vague


If the U.S. pulls out of the Paris climate deal, many fear that it will have a domino effect and inspire others to backslide on their climate goals. But a small group of experts has begun to argue that a withdrawal may actually be for the best. They say that it is quite clear that the Trump administration will fail to meet the Paris pledge, and remaining a part of the accord while blatantly ignoring it could do more damage than simply leaving altogether. If it remains in the accord as a laggard, it will weaken the commitment of others. But if he quits, other nations might actually be inspired to step up their game in its place. Some in the EU are already saying that China may prove a steadier ally on climate change than Trump.


France’s boyish president, Emmanuel Macron, is assuming “a presidential attitude”. Seeking to shatter his campaign image of youthfulness and inexperience, Macron already has faced down Donald Trump, lectured Vladimir Putin and confronted the formidable French labour unions — all in less than three weeks. Macron, 39, has shown himself punchier and more decisive than his avatar of the bland candidate in the campaign. That aura of authority is partly a response to the menacing international context Macron repeatedly referred to during the campaign, with France and its partner Germany threatened on two sides by unpredictable behemoths of uncertain attachment to European values. But it is also a function of Macron’s deeply held belief that France in some sense has been missing its king since the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, and that his job is to fill the gap.


As China moves to start enforcing a new cybersecurity law, foreign companies face a major problem: They know very little about it. The law is part of wide-ranging efforts by Beijing to manage the internet within China’s borders. Chinese officials say the new rules will help guard against cyberattacks and terrorism, but companies worry that parts of the new law will make their operations in China less secure or more expensive. The law would require that companies store their data within China, and would impose security checks on companies in sectors like finance and communication. Executives have complained that the wording of the law is ambiguous, fearing that it gives China’s ruling Communist Party substantial leeway to target them. For instance, the government has said it wanted to regulate “critical information infrastructure”, but had not defined what that meant.


In Pakistan, an activist has been arrested by the authorities for the first time for criticising the armed forces on social media. The Federal Investigation Agency obtained a two-day physical remand of Adnan Afzal Qureshi for interrogation.  He was booked under the electronic crimes law of defamation and cyber stalking. He had posted a series of anti-military tweets and ran a Facebook page containing such content. Authorities said he is a member of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. But the party said he quit supporting it in 2009. In the past few days, authorities have interrogated over a dozen people suspected of running an anti-military campaign. A crackdown was launched after the government noticed growing criticism following a tweet by the Inter-Services Public Relations rejecting a government notification in connection with a story published in Dawn newspaper.


Trump’s Twitter account was the centre of much chatter. Experts observed a sudden, mysterious surge in his following – rising in May from 28.6 million to more than 31 million. That’s an increase of 2.4 million, an average of nearly one each second of every day, around the clock. But a large number are “egg followers” — that have only the most rudimentary account information, with no profile picture, few followers and never having tweeted. Then there was the guffawing over the “covfefe” word in his Tweet – a typographical gobbledygook when he actually meant to type “coverage”. A columnist in The Washington Post explained why so many Americans spent so much time talking and laughing about it. “First, we are a nation of morons. Second, Americans choose to laugh so hard about ‘covfefe’ because there is so little to laugh about.”


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