Defying lockdown, Londoners protest against George Floyd's death outside US embassy

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A demonstrator is removed by police officers from outside the US embassy after people marched there from Trafalgar Square in central London on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (AP)
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Police officers remove two protesters they handcuffed from outside the US embassy after people marched there from Trafalgar Square in central London on Sunday, May 31, 2020, to protest against the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA. (AP)
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Demonstrators hold up placards as they lean out of a car waiting at traffic lights up the road from the US embassy in central London on Sunday, May 31, 2020, to protest against the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA. (AP)
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Updated 31 May 2020

Defying lockdown, Londoners protest against George Floyd's death outside US embassy

  • A few hundred had earlier gathered in Trafalgar Square in the heart of London for a vigil that saw everyone kneel for nine minutes
  • UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called footage of the incident “very distressing”

LONDON: Hundreds of Londoners defied coronavirus restrictions and rallied outside the US embassy on Sunday in solidarity with protests raging across the United States over the death of an unarmed black man during an arrest.
The death of George Floyd in Minnesota has sparked five consecutive nights of often violent protests that resulted in National Guard troops patrolling majority US cities on Sunday.
The London protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and held up “Black Lives Matter” signs outside the US embassy compound on the southern bank of the Thames River.
A few hundred had earlier gathered in Trafalgar Square in the heart of London for a vigil that saw everyone kneel for nine minutes — the amount of time the policeman kneeled on Floyd’s neck.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called footage of the incident “very distressing.”
But he refrained from commenting on US President Donald Trump’s explosive tweets and controversial public statements about the protests.
“I’ve long kept to the self-imposed guidance not to comment on what President Trump says,” Raab told the BBC.
Authorities will officially allow groups of up to six to gather in England — and up to eight in Scotland — starting on Monday as more than two months of restrictions begin to ease.


US ‘cloud’ supremacy has Europe worried about data

Updated 6 min 28 sec ago

US ‘cloud’ supremacy has Europe worried about data

PARIS: Europe is sitting on a wealth of data that is the 21st century equivalent of a precious metal mine during the gold rush.
But instead of exploiting it themselves Europeans may be allowing American tech giants to gain control of all the excavation equipment, some experts say, pointing to a flurry of European companies announcing deals with US tech players for cloud services.
Renault, Orange, Deutsche Bank, and Lufthansa recently plumped for Google Cloud. Volkswagen signed up with Amazon Web Services. The French health ministry chose Microsoft to house its research data.
The cloud is a term for offering data storage and processing services externally so clients don’t need to invest as much in costly gear.
This trend has sparked concern particularly in Germany, which has a rich trove of data thanks to its powerful industrial sector.
The EU is “losing its influence in the digital sphere at the moment it is taking a central role in the continent’s economy” warned a recent report by a group of experts and media leaders under the leadership of the former head of German software firm SAP, Henning Kagermann.
“The majority of European data is stocked outside of Europe, or, if stocked in Europe, is on servers that belong to non-European firms,” it noted.

A senior French official recently delivered an even more blunt assessment in a meeting with IT professionals.
“We have an enormous security and sovereignty issue with clouds” said the official at the meeting, which AFP attended on the condition of respecting the anonymity of participants.
“In many cases it is convenience or a sellout” by European companies and institutions “because it is simpler” to sign up with US tech giants than find European options, said the official.
“However we have very good firms offering cloud and data services,” he added.
One of the causes of concern for Europeans comes from the Cloud Act, a piece of legislation adopted in 2018 that gives US intelligence agencies access in certain cases to data hosted by US firms, no matter where the server may be physically located.
“My company is American and I know very well what the implications are of the legislation,” said a Franco-American executive.
“And given what is happening in US policy debates, that situation won’t be getting better.”
Beyond the integrity of data, it is the capacity to analyze and exploit that information that worries many European experts and policymakers.

If in Europe “we are just capable of generating data and need others to exploit it then we are going to end up in the same situation as countries with mineral resources that rely on others to process it and end up with meagre economic benefits,” said the French official.
The French and Germans unveiled in June the GAIA-X project that aims to develop a competitive European cloud offer.
Rather than encourage the development of a European champion — in the mold of Airbus in response to Boeing — that would offer the full gamut of services, the project takes a different tack.
It aims to set standards so different firms could offer storage, processing, security and artificial intelligence services seamlessly. It would operate as a marketplace of sorts where each client could find the services they need without having to leave European jurisdiction.
It is hoped GAIA-X’s decentralized model might prove a better fit with the issues raised by treatment of data from connected devices.