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Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon speaking at the announcement of the new Government in NZ in the Banquet Hall in Parliament Buildings in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, November 24, 2023.

AAP Image/Mark Coote/REUTERS

Kiwi durry ban goes up in smoke

Angsty teens in New Zealand can breathe wheezy about this news: The country’s plan to ban cigarettes entirely for anyone born after 2008 has been tossed into the ashtray of history, after newly elected Conservative PM Christopher Luxon scrapped the proposal ahead of his swearing-in on Monday.

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Christchurch Call had a global impact on tech giants - Microsoft's Brad Smith
Christchurch had a global impact on tech giants: Microsoft's Brad Smith | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Christchurch Call had a global impact on tech giants - Microsoft's Brad Smith

The Christchurch killer livestreamed his heinous crimes, highlighting a macabre threat ensconced within the relatively new field of social media. Extremists could use the technology to get the attention of millions of people — and perhaps even find some incentive for their violence in that fact.

Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith, in a recent Global Stage livestream, from the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly, says the technology industry set out to ensure extremists could “never again” reach mass audiences during massacres. Tech companies, governments and civil society groups work together on the so-called Content Incident Protocol, a sort of digital emergency response plan.

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Hearing the Christchurch Call
Hearing the Christchurch Call | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Hearing the Christchurch Call

After a terrorist attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, was live-streamed on the internet in 2019, the Christchurch Call was launched to counter the increasing weaponization of the internet and to ensure that emerging tech is harnessed for good.

Since its inception, the Christchurch Call has evolved to include more than 120 government and private sector stakeholders. The organization, pioneered by the French and New Zealand governments, will hold its next major summit at the Paris Peace Forum in November.

Dame Jacinda Ardern, former Prime Minister of New Zealand who led the response to the Christchurch attack; Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; and Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft sat down with CNN’s Rahel Solomon for a Global Stage livestream on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The event was hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Microsoft.

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Watch our livestream from the UN General Assembly

WATCH LIVE: A deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand was livestreamed in 2019, horrifying the world. The result was an international movement to end extremism and hate online. Join us live today at 11 am ET to learn about the Christchurch Call to Action, how it can create a safer and more secure world, and what global collaboration will look like in the AI era.

CNN's Rahel Solomon will moderate our livestream conversation during the 78th UN General Assembly, with Dame Jacinda Ardern, former prime minister of New Zealand and Special Envoy for the Christchurch Call; Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; and Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft.

Hearing the Christchurch Call: Collaboration in the Age of AI

Wednesday, September 20th | 11:00 am -12:00 pm ET

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US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (left) , US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles


AUKUS for all of us?

New Zealand may be on its way to joining AUKUS – the 2021 security pact between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. On a visit to the country as part of a three-day Pacific tour, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says “the door is very much open for New Zealand and other partners to engage as they see appropriate going forward.” New Zealand has said it wants no part of the nuclear submarines attached to the security partnership, but it may be keen on the second-phase of AUKUS, which focuses on advanced military technology sharing.
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AI generated images of armed rats

DALL-E and the human Ari Winkleman

New Zealand declares war … on rats

It is a truth universally acknowledged that where there are humans there are, generally, rats. As humans have moved about the world, the rats have followed to feast on their crops, their garbage – and in the case of New Zealand – their native birds.

There are, to be fair, a few exceptions. Two, to be precise. One is Alberta, Canada, which launched a massive anti-rat mobilization in the 1950s and has been rat-free since. The other is South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, which was declared rat-free in 2018, after the government deployed helicopters to rain poison pellets from the sky.

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Mexican authorities and firefighters remove injured migrants, mostly Venezuelans, from inside the National Migration Institute (INM) building during a fire, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 27, 2023.

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Hard Numbers: Deadly Mexican fire, ZAUKUS, terror in the Sahel, Luke Skywalker saves Ukraine

38: Migrants fearing deportation set an immigration detention center ablaze in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, killing 38 asylum-seekers and critically injuring dozens. The blaze was one of the deadliest incidents ever for Mexico's immigration system, which is accused of mistreating migrants as it struggles to accommodate the rising number of asylum-seekers arriving at the U.S-Mexico border.

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A view shows Batman logo on a box of cocaine, said to be recovered by New Zealand Police.

New Zealand Police/Handout via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Batman found on cocaine, Disney censors Simpsons, Nicaragua jails priests, Bard flub costs Google billions

3.2: In a possible indication that the Marvel universe is winning, Batman is now on cocaine. New Zealand’s navyintercepted a haul of 3.2 tons of the drug floating in the pacific. Many of the packets were labeled with the Dark Knight’s symbol, evidently a trademark of certain producers in South America.

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