×
May 15, 2019

China has expanded its country-wide Wikipedia ban to include all non-Chinese languages versions of the website.

The full Wikipedia ban comes on the cusp of the Tiananmen Square protests' 30-year anniversary, when Chinese authorities killed thousands of students protesting. It's not uncommon for China's government to add heightened censorship ahead of major political anniversaries or milestones, reports the South China Morning Post.

Wikipedia's Chinese-language site has been banned in the country since 2015, but the proliferation of easy-to-use translation tools likely contributed to the language-wide ban, per the Morning Post. Additionally, blocking the Chinese-language version of the site doesn't stop users from seeing images of the Tiananmen protests that are available on Wikipedia pages in other languages.

The ban, which reportedly went into effect in late April, shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with China's internet censorship history, since the one-party country has given LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat some variation of the censorship treatment over the last several years. The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, said in a statement that it didn't receive any advance warning about the ban, reports Time. Marianne Dodson

4:48 a.m.

President Trump placed 14th in an annual survey of the world's most admired men, far behind top pick Bill Gates and No. 2 Barack Obama, Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live. But "this might boost the president's admirability factor: Over the weekend, he involved himself in a high-profile legal battle with authorities in Sweden. Trump is using his clout to try to secure the release of A$AP Rocky, the rapper, who was arrested after a street fight — not a joke — in Stockholm a few weeks ago."

Trump got involved at the behest of Kim and Kanye West, and "I feel like we don't fully appreciate how weird it is that Kim and Kanye have a direct line to the president," Kimmel said. Trump even offered to "personally vouch for his bail," which Kimmel translated as "a long-winded way of saying 'See, I'm not a racist!'" He turned to Trump's most recent attacks on "the Squad" of four Democratic congresswomen, in case you were persuaded.

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, for one, found Trump's comments on intervening to free A$AP Rocky a little rich. "That's right, folks, we're all one," he said in Trump voice. "And anyone who doesn't agree with that can go back to their sh-thhole country. Send her back!"

"This is one of those moments where I genuinely cannot believe that we're living in real life," Noah said. "Listen to the story: Donald Trump, who is the president of the United States, got a call from his friend Kanye West to save a rapper from a Swedish prison. This sounds like a headline written by a newspaper on LSD." Still, things should have gotten better here, "but just like Melania, it turns out Sweden appears to be immune to Trump's charms," he said. "Sweden is saying that in their country, a president can't interfere with an ongoing investigation. Imagine how hard it must have been to try to explain that too Donald Trump." Watch below. Peter Weber

3:20 a.m.

The police chief of Grenta, Louisiana, announced Monday that he had fired two police officers for violating the department's social media policy. One of the fired officers, Charlie Rispoli, posted on Facebook a parody news story about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) with the comment: "This vile idiot needs a round ... and I don't mean the kind she used to serve." Ocasio-Cortez, a former bartender, has "the IQ of a Chiclet," he added, according to a screenshot of Rispoli's post captured by The New Orleans Advocate. Grenta is a city of about 18,000 outside New Orleans.

The second fired officer, Angelo Varisco, "liked" Rispoli's post, said Grenta Police Chief Arthur Lawson. It's not clear if either officer understood that the linked article was fake, even though it identified itself as a parody site. The entire incident "has been an embarrassment" to his department, Lawson added. "These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. (congresswoman), a member of our government," and although he did not believe they made a credible threat, both officers had signed the department's social media policy and been warned about such posts.

Ripoli posted his perceived threat on Ocasio-Cortez amid President Trump's repeated attacks on her and three fellow Democratic freshmen congresswomen. On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that the Grenta incident "is Trump's goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don't agree w/ his political agenda. It's authoritarian behavior."

In recent weeks, a series of reports have also shone a spotlight on racist, violent, and misogynistic posts by law enforcement. The nonprofit Plain View Project found such posts on the accounts of 3,500 current and former police officers in eight departments, and Philadelphia has suspended 72 of them, 13 of whom are slated to be fired. Lawson said he had sent all his officers new articles on those 72 Philadelphia Police officers. Peter Weber

2:03 a.m.

Venezuela has once again been plunged into darkness, with a massive blackout leaving most of the country without electricity.

It is believed 19 of 24 states are affected, with the blackout hitting Caracas during rush hour Monday night, shutting down the subway system and causing heavy traffic jams. Government authorities claim the opposition conducted an "electromagnetic attack" against dams in southern Venezuela; during a huge blackout in March, President Nicolás Maduro blamed the U.S., accusing the country of sponsoring an attack on Guri Dam, which provides nearly 80 percent of Venezuela's electricity.

Venezuela is experiencing food and medicine shortages and extreme inflation, and opposition leader Juan Guaidó has called for protests across the country on Tuesday. Guaidó and other opponents say blackouts are proof Maduro has not invested in the country's infrastructure, and its electrical grid is in serious jeopardy. Catherine Garcia

1:42 a.m.

"Today we got a disturbing reminder" of what it means that Donald Trump is president, Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show, when Trump told Pakistan's prime minister he could win a war in Afghanistan in a week, but he'd kill 10 million people and "Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth." Yeah, "where's my Nobel Peace Prize?" Colbert added in Trump voice, after showing the clip. "Or at least my Nobel I-Could-Have-Killed-10-Million-People-But-I-Didn't Prize."

Trump also bragged about how he's "the best thing" that's ever happened to protest-fueled Puerto Rico. "Excuse me, 'the best thing'?" Colbert protested. "I've got two words for you: Ricky Martin. You, sir, are living La Vida Loca." He tied it back to Afghanistan with Trump's comment he could probably land a plan on America's new aircraft carrier. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:36 a.m.

South Korean fighter jets fired warning shots on Tuesday morning when a Russian military aircraft twice violated the country's airspace, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The Russian aircraft flew over an island off South Korea's eastern coast at 9:09 a.m. and 9:33 a.m. local time, each time for a few minutes, CNN reports. The Ministry of Defense said this was the first time Russia has ever violated South Korean airspace, and the shots were fired using a 20mm weapon. This all took place over Dokdo, islands that South Korea controls but have been claimed by Japan.

Earlier in the morning, two Chinese military aircraft entered South Korea's Air Defense Identification Zone, and were later joined by two Russian planes. It remains unclear if the jets purposely entered the airspace. Catherine Garcia

1:10 a.m.

The skills he learned as a firefighter emergency medical technician in the U.S. Air Force often come in handy as James Golia volunteers with the Sea Lions for Service Members program.

Golia served in the Air Force for 20 years, and lost track of how many times he was deployed to places like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Now retired, Golia was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and a military friend recommended he volunteer with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center's Sea Lions for Service Members program. The facility is in Laguna Beach, California, and rescues injured marine mammals, who are then rehabilitated and released back into the ocean.

Volunteers do everything from feed the sea lions to clean out their pens. Golia originally planned on only helping out one day, but immediately fell in love with the work, and now volunteers once a week. The program's organizers say the veterans are able to empathize with the injured animals, and it encourages them, showing what can be done via rehabilitation. Golia told NBC Los Angeles he considers the time he spends at the center his therapy, and it has made him a different person. "Sometimes in life, a person should feel compelled to give back, and I'm doing just that," he said. Catherine Garcia

12:53 a.m.

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller won't testify before two House committees until Wednesday morning, but the pregame show has already started on cable news. CNN's Anderson Cooper deconstructed President Trump's lies about Mueller and then had a panel of experts, including former White House counsel and Watergate star witness John Dean, preview Mueller's testimony. Dean argued that if Mueller had been the Watergate prosecutor, Richard Nixon would have gotten away with his alleged crimes.

On MSNBC, Ari Melber pointed to reports that Attorney General William Barr "is stepping in again" and trying to limit what Mueller says. And Mueller will not be "standing with the president's critics," he added. "Remember, as a legal matter, when Mueller steps in front of the world Wednesday, he will be a hostile witness under subpoena. He is prepping to be pressed and to push back."

"There are damning facts in the Mueller report, but some Democrats want more than a dry, factual presentation," Melber said. "They want to press Bob Mueller under oath to say in English what the Mueller report only said in lawyer jargon: That there is substantial evidence against Trump, that it comes from his own staff, and that it suggests he committed multiple crimes in office."

Former Solicitor General Neal Katyal told Melber he's "extremely concerned" about the reports Barr is, in his analysis, "trying to gag Mueller and trying to say that anything that's not in the report is 'presumptively privileged.' And you know, Mueller is so by-the-book, I suspect that will influence him greatly, what Barr and others are trying to say in terms of squelching him." At the same time, Mueller's "by-the-book" nature could also work against Trump, Katyal suggested, because "the book's actually changed" since Mueller turned in his report, specifically because Barr has since said he could have reached a conclusion about whether Trump has committed crimes.

Whether Mueller would have said Trump committed crimes is "exactly the kind of question the Democrats should be leading the hearing with," Katyal said. Melber said Katyal was engaging in "a little bit of wishful thinking," but Katyal said given Barr's comments, Mueller "absolutely should go further" than what's in his report, "and indeed I don't see how he can't answer that question." Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads