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Strangest Tour de France Ever Enters Day 2

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There was a feeling of loss, guilt, and fear as the oldest Tour de France cycling race kicked off on Saturday amidst fears of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, riders peeled off their face masks and pedaled off from the start in the Mediterranean city of Nice and the Tour begin to look like its old, pre-COVID self, immediately delivering thrills and spills as storms made the roads as slippy as ice. The French government cautioned fans that staying home and watching from their TV sets was the best way to keep safe…but those that lined up on the tarmac had their own measures- they kept at arm’s length as they cheered off their cycling stars peddling in a drizzle.

Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff won the first stage with a fearsome final sprint. He powered past thin crowds on the finishing straight in Nice that would usually have been crammed with spectators rows deep. Kristoff won the first yellow jersey of the 2020 Tour which he is wearing as the race leader on Sunday’s Stage 2 that loops into the mountains behind Nice.

In Yellow Jersey; Tour de France Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff

“An amazing feeling,” he told reporters at the finish. “It means a lot for my career and a stage win shows I can still be up there even at 33 years old and with four kids.” Kristoff stood alone on the winner’s podium, flanked by a host and a hostess a safe distance away. He then disappeared backstage to wriggle into the jersey himself, before coming back out to pose for photos. Still, the thrill of wearing the jersey for the first time in his eight Tours more than outweighed the weirdness.

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Europe

New Zealand’s Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill Passes Into Law

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New Zealand’s new counter-terror law passed its third reading at the parliament Thursday, giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect the country from terrorist activities.

It is expected that the bill, following royal assent, will come into effect from October 4.

The bill amends the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, and the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 to criminalize planning or preparation for a terrorist act and apply warrantless powers of entry, search, and surveillance to that offence.

The new law extends the terrorism finance offences to also criminalize providing wider forms of support to terrorist individuals or groups, such as goods and services.

Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi welcomed the bill, saying “the bill strengthens our laws to fight the ever evolving nature of terrorism and closes longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation to better protect New Zealanders.”

“The new counter terrorism law’s major change is to add the criminal offence of planning or preparation for a terrorist act. “The Justice Select Committee also fully endorsed a recommended change to the definition of a terrorist act to include the intention to intimidate, rather than to induce terror, as is defined in the current law.

“These changes bring our definition of a terrorist act into line with counter terrorism laws in other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, and mean we have the tools we need so we can act early to prevent, respond to, and disrupt terrorist activity.

“The nature of terrorism has changed. Across the world there are more lone actors, rather than larger organized groups; as we saw with the March 15 attack on mosques in Christchurch two years ago, and the attack on shoppers in a West Auckland supermarket earlier this month,” Faafoi said.

The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill was introduced in April this year and received its first reading and referral to the Justice Committee on May 5.

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Europe

CGTN Kicked Out Of United Kingdom For Promoting Communism

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Chinese news network CGTN has been kicked out the United Kingdom because its state-backed ownership structure flouted British law.

“Following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster’s and audience’s rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK,” the British government Office of Communications (Ofcom) said in a statement.

The English-language satellite broadcaster has long faced criticism for parroting the Communist Party line in its global broadcasts.

Ofcom added, “We have given CGTN significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules. Those efforts have now been exhausted.”

Ofcom added that it would conclude an ongoing investigation into alleged breaches by CGTN of impartiality, fairness and privacy requirements “shortly”.

On Thursday,the UK’s broadcast regulator revoked the licence of Chinese news network CGTN after finding its state-backed ownership structure flouted British law, and warned of punishment ahead after it aired an alleged forced confession.

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Business

A New Britain Outside Europe’s Customs Union

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2021 is an unforgettable year for Britain after successfully walking out of Europe’s Customs Union and single market bringing an end to almost fifty years of corrosive relationship with her neighbours.

“We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson as his country ushered in the New Year.

This entire move means EU rules have become invalid and the free movement of more than 500 million people between Britain and the 27 EU states has suddenly ended.

The EU has lost 66 million people and an economy worth $2.85 trillion, but Brexit, with its appeal to nationalist populism, also triggered fears other disgruntled members could follow suit.

As well as ensuring tariff- and quota-free access to the EU’s 450 million consumers, Britain has recently signed trade deals with countries including Japan, Canada, Singapore and Turkey.

It is also eyeing another with India, where Johnson plans to make his first major trip as prime minister next month, and with incoming US president Joe Biden’s administration.

However, Fear of disruption at the ports has stoked concerns about food and medicine shortages, as well as delays to holidaymakers and business travellers used to seamless travel in the EU.

The British government said some border controls will not be implemented for months as part of Britain’s staged plan, and it was not expecting much disruption around the ports until next week, with traffic light due to the holiday period.

However, it also warned that around 50 percent of small and medium exporters might not yet be ready for the new trading arrangements.

British fishermen are disgruntled at a compromise to allow continued access for EU boats in British waters.

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