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US And UK Announce Sanctions Over China Linked Hacks On Election Watchdog And Lawmakers

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LONDON / CHINA— The U.S. and British governments imposed sanctions on Monday against a firm and two people tied to the Chinese government for a series of malicious cyberattacks on the U.K.’s election watchdog and politicians in both countries.

Officials claimed those sanctioned were responsible for a hack that may have gotten access to information on tens of millions of U.K. voters kept by the Electoral Commission, as well as cyber espionage against politicians who have been vocal about the China danger.

US And UK Announce Sanctions Over China Linked Hacks On Election Watchdog And Lawmakers

According to the Foreign Office, the hack of the election rolls “has not had an impact on electoral processes, has not affected the rights or access to the democratic process of any individual, nor has it affected electoral registration.”

The Electoral Commission stated in August that it discovered a breach in its system in October 2022 but added that “hostile actors” have been able to access its systems since 2021.

At the time, the watchdog stated that the data included registered voters’ names and residences. However, it stated that much of the information was already in the public domain.

In Washington, the Treasury Department sanctioned Wuhan Xiaoruizhi Science and Technology business Ltd., describing it as a Chinese Ministry of State Security front business that has “served as cover for multiple malicious cyberoperations.”

It cited two Chinese nationals, Zhao Guangzong and Ni Gaobin, who worked for the Wuhan company for cyber operations that targeted vital infrastructure sectors in the United States, “directly endangering U.S. national security.”

Separately, British cybersecurity officials reported that Chinese government-affiliated hackers “conducted reconnaissance activity” against British legislators critical of Beijing in 2021. They stated that no parliamentary accounts were successfully compromised.

Three legislators, including former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, told reporters on Monday that they had been “subjected to harassment, impersonation, and attempted hacking from China for some time.” Duncan Smith stated that in one instance, hackers impersonating him used bogus email accounts to send messages to his contacts.

US And UK Announce Sanctions Over China Linked Hacks On Election Watchdog And Lawmakers

The lawmakers are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international pressure group dedicated to resisting Beijing’s expanding influence and exposing alleged human rights violations by the Chinese government.

Before the announcement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that China is “behaving in an increasingly assertive way abroad” and is “the greatest state-based threat to our economic security.”

“It’s appropriate that we take precautions to protect ourselves, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said without revealing any specifics.

China opponents, notably Duncan Smith, have long urged Sunak to adopt a stronger stance on China, labeling it a threat rather than a “challenge” to the United Kingdom, but the government has refrained from using such harsh rhetoric.

US And UK Announce Sanctions Over China Linked Hacks On Election Watchdog And Lawmakers

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the findings, saying that countries should base their assertions on evidence rather than “smear” others without a factual basis.

“Cybersecurity issues should not be politicized,” ministry spokesman Lin Jian stated. “We hope all parties will stop spreading false information, take a responsible attitude, and work together to maintain peace and security in cyberspace.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

Election News

Britain’s Populist Right-Wing Reform UK Party Surges in Popularity

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The reemergence of staunch conservative Nigel Farage has given Britain’s populist right-wing Reform UK party a boost, with the latest poll showing it closing in on the ruling Conservatives ahead of the country’s impending general election.

According to the most recent YouGov survey of the election campaign for Sky News, Reform is now only two points behind the Conservatives.

According to online polling, Labour is likely to win 40% of the vote, followed by the Conservatives at 19% and the Reform Party at 17%.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Tory party was already largely projected to lose next month’s election to the opposition Labour Party, ending its long and turbulent 14-year reign.

Nigel Farage’s return

Nigel Farage’s sudden return as Reform leader on Monday dealt a fatal blow to the Tory party, threatening to grab a sizable share of right-wing votes.

The last-minute change would leave the Conservatives with even fewer seats than previously projected in the House of Commons, potentially sparking a reckoning within the weakened party. Some observers believe it would push the party even further to the right, maybe with Farage at the head.

Farage, for his part, has not ruled out ultimately joining a “reset and realign[ed]” Conservative Party, stating last year, “never say never.”

Euroskeptic Farage, who led the Leave campaign in the United Kingdom’s 2016 EU referendum, has announced his candidacy for a parliamentary seat in Clacton-on-Sea, a coastal town in eastern England with strong Brexit support. A previous YouGov poll showed the Conservatives winning that seat.

It is the politician-turned-media personality’s seventh attempt to be a member of Parliament, having never previously succeeded.

A separate Ipsos survey issued Thursday predicted that Reform would receive only 9% of the vote, compared to Labour’s 43% and the Conservatives’ 23%. The survey includes attitudes questioned as of Tuesday, one day after Farage’s return.

Voters rethinking Reform UK party

Just over half of participants (53%) in the poll claimed they had already chosen how they would vote on July 4, with others indicating they would change their minds.

Farage is bitterly opposed to the Conservatives. In the 2019 election, his then-Brexit Party promised not to run candidates in hundreds of seats to ensure a Conservative victory. He has since accused the party of abandoning the political right, declaring Monday that it was time for a “revolt.”

“What I’m really calling for—or intend to lead—is a political revolt,” he said at a so-called emergency news conference in London.

The announcement undermines Sunak’s previous efforts to capture right-wing support by strengthening the Conservatives’ stance on migration and the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Convention on Human Rights. Recent pronouncements regarding the resumption of obligatory national service, tax breaks for elderly, and new gender definitions were also interpreted as an attempt to win potential Reform supporters.

Reform The UK Party is a political group in the United Kingdom that seeks to improve the country’s governance. Their primary focus is on improving the political system to make it more open and accountable. They also want to lower taxes and minimize government waste.

One of their major concerns is Brexit, and they believe the UK should have complete sovereignty over its laws, borders, and trade without intervention from the European Union. They also push for improved public services, such as the NHS, but believe these services should be more efficient.

They say that too much money is squandered on bureaucracy while insufficient funds are allocated to frontline services. Reform UK believes that smaller government results in a better economy and greater freedom for individuals and businesses.

They commit to work for policies that they feel will result in a more equitable, affluent society for all.

Source: CNBC

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Election News

France’s Right-Wing Leader Le Pen Projected to Win Snap Election

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Marine Le Pen: Getty Images

France’s National Rally, led by firebrand Marine Le Pen, is expected to win a sudden election called by President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron dissolved France’s national legislature following a crushing defeat for his Renaissance party in Sunday’s European Parliament election. The first round of elections is slated for June 30, less than three weeks away, with a runoff on July 7.

Marine Le Pen‘s anti-immigrant, right-wing National Rally party, or RN, is expected to win 235 to 265 members in the National Assembly.

According to Toluna Harris Interactive’s study for Challenges, M6, and RTL, this is a significant increase from its present 88, but it falls short of the 289 required for an absolute majority.

According to the poll, Macron’s centrist alliance might see its number of lawmakers cut in half, from 250 to 125-155. Left-wing parties might control 115 to 145 seats combined, although each could run on its own.

There is no guarantee that the RN would lead the government, with or without a partnership with others. Other alternatives include a broad coalition of mainstream parties or a hung parliament.

Stocks drop in France

However, Macron’s unexpected move gives the increasingly popular extreme right a legitimate shot at power. This amounted to a gamble on his political destiny, and the euro instantly fell, as did French stocks and government bonds. RN got 31.4% of the European Parliament vote, while the Renaissance party coalition had 14.6%.

Even if the RN gains a majority in the French parliament, Macron will stay president for three more years and continue to be in charge of defense and foreign policy.

However, he would lose control of the domestic agenda, including economic policy, security, immigration, and finance, which would have an impact on other measures, such as aid to Ukraine, because he would need parliament’s approval to fund any assistance as part of France’s budget.

“We’re still in shock,” Emmanuel Pellerin, a Renaissance Party legislator, told Reuters. “Everything points to the RN achieving a relative or absolute majority. But this forces the French to consider what is at risk.

In that setting, political parties were rushing to field candidates and negotiate potential coalitions.

On Monday, RN leaders Jordan Bardella and Le Pen met with Marion Marechal of the minor far-right group Reconquete. Marechal is Le Pen’s niece and was a senior member of her party prior to their split.

Left-wing fractured

Following the meeting, Bardella stated that talks were underway to form an alliance. He also mentioned that he was speaking with several members of the conservative Les Republicains.

“I fervently wish that we can all find ways to come together,” Marechal told Reuters.

Leaders of France’s very split left, including the hard-left LFI (France Unbowed), Communists, Socialists, and Greens, were also in negotiations.

“We don’t have time to procrastinate,” LFI’s Manon Aubry told reporters. “The objective is to be able to meet again, to build the future and above all to go and win.”

According to a source close to Macron, the 46-year-old leader, whose power has dwindled since losing his absolute majority in parliament two years ago, reckoned that he might regain a majority by surprising everyone.

For Le Pen and Bardella, the goal is to turn popularity into victory. The vote is expected to center not only on dissatisfaction with Macron’s leadership style, cost of living, and immigration policies, but also on whether the RN can be trusted to manage a major European government.

Among the party’s policies, the RN has supported increased public spending, despite already high levels of French debt, threatening to increase bank funding costs.

The RN also wants to expel more migrants, end family reunification, limit childcare subsidies for French citizens, give French nationals priority in access to social housing and jobs, and revoke residency for migrants who have been out of work for more than one year.

The euro plunged by up to 0.6%, while Paris blue-chip stocks fell by 1.4%, led by heavy losses in banks BNP Paribas.

The early election will take place shortly before the July 26 start of the Paris Olympics, when all eyes will be on France.

Source: CTN News

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Election News

France’s Macron Calls Snap Election After Huge EU Election Losses

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly and called for a snap general election on Sunday, following the release of polls projecting a terrible result by his Renaissance party in the EU parliament election.

Macron’s supporters are expected to be thoroughly defeated by the right-wing National Rally (RN) party, led by Marine Le Pen.

According to exit polls and early estimations, Jordan Bardella’s National Rally in France received almost one-third of the vote, while Macron’s alliance received approximately 15%.

Explaining his decision, the president stated that he could not operate as if “nothing happened,” conceding that the expected election outcome did not auger well for his administration. Macron also warned against the apparent rise of nationalist movements, seeing it as a threat to both France and the European Union as a whole.

“This is a serious, difficult decision, but above all it is an act of trust,” Macron said, adding that he believes in “the French people to make the best choice for themselves and for future generations.”

“By giving us more than 30% of their votes, the French have delivered their verdict and marked our country’s determination to change the course of the EU,” Bardella said in a victory speech from his campaign headquarters, describing the anticipated result as “only the beginning.”

France’s Le Pen Hails Decision

Marine Le Pen, the long-time leader of the National Rally party and the current head of its section in parliament, hailed Macron’s decision to hold a quick election. She also stated her willingness to become France’s Prime Minister if the party wins the upcoming national elections.

Raphael Glucksmann, the frontrunner for the France socialist alliance, which is expected to finish third in the EU polls, blasted Macron’s decision.

Meanwhile, Right-wing parties are resurging across Europe, shaking up political landscapes in Italy, France, and Germany. They ride waves of anger over topics like as immigration, economic injustice, and national identity.

In Italy, Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party has gained popularity, seizing on dissatisfaction with the current government. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France continues to gain support by emphasizing tight immigration policies and national sovereignty.

In Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AFD) party has gained popularity, particularly in districts where economic suffering is more severe.

These parties have successfully tapped into voters’ strong discontent with traditional political establishments. They employ direct, often confrontational rhetoric to engage with their supporters, promising to fix issues that mainstream parties have either ignored or mishandled.

While detractors warn of the dangers of radical right-wing ideas, supporters claim that these parties provide genuine solutions to long-standing issues. This shift echoes a broader trend in Europe, where many people are looking to the right for change.

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