World News Brief, Tuesday October 22

France demands explanation for NSA tapping Frenxh phones; China seeks to clarify scope of government debt; China and South Korea plan consultative body to address North Korea's nuclear programme; Ukraine close to signing shale gas deal with Chevron; vigilantes defeat Boko Haram; and more

Top of the Agenda: France Reacts to Latest NSA Revelations

The French government summoned the U.S. ambassador to explain a report in Le Monde that revealed the U.S. National Security Agency swept up 70.3 million French telephone records in a thirty-day period (AP). Prosecutors in Paris opened a preliminary inquiry into a different NSA program in July and may expand their investigation to include the latest revelations (Guardian). German magazine Der Spiegel reported over the weekend that the NSA has intercepted communications of the Mexican government for years, including the text messages and phone calls of its current president (Spiegel).


"It used to be that 'checks and balances' referred to one branch of the government checking and balancing the other branches—like the Supreme Court deciding whether laws are constitutional. Now the NSA, the CIA and the White House use the term to refer to a secret organization reviewing the actions it has taken and deciding in secret by itself whether they were legal and constitutional," writes Andrew Rosenthal in the New York Times.

"The French already know the power of these surveillance programs—because according to Le Monde they've been running a similar surveillance program themselves; though perhaps only focused on its own nationals," writes Christian Fraser for the BBC.

"'Journalist changes jobs' is not usually the kind of headline that merits much attention. But the news that Glenn Greenwald is moving from The Guardian to a new media venture, funded by a Hawaii-based billionaire with libertarian views, is something that the British and American governments have reason to worry about," writes Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times.


China Seeks Clearer View of Government Debt

The Chinese government is expected to release the total amount of loans that local governments have borrowed from banks and investors over the past few years, a figure that could range from $2.5 trillion to nearly $5 trillion (WSJ).

SOUTH KOREA: China and South Korea are planning to establish a new consultative body of diplomats and defense officials to address the growing threat of a nuclear North Korea (Yonhap).

This CFR Backgrounder explains the Six Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear program.


Ukraine close to signing shale gas deal with Chevron

Vigilantes defeat Boko Haram

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