UK election landslide: So is Brexit decided now?

In the end it wasn't even close. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won a stunning victory in the UK's snap elections yesterday, taking at least 364 seats out of 650, delivering the Tories their largest majority since 1987.

Johnson read the public mood correctly. After three years of anguish and political uncertainty over the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union, he ran on a simple platform: "Get Brexit Done." In a typically raffish late-campaign move, he even drove a bulldozer through a fake wall of "deadlock." Despite lingering questions about his honesty and his character, Johnson's party gained at least 49 seats (one seat still hasn't been declared yet).


His main rival, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, promised a second Brexit referendum but focused mainly on a socialist program to improve healthcare and reduce income inequality. Dogged by a sloppy campaign and charges of anti-Semitism, he won Labour just 202 seats, losing 60. He has already said he'll step down as party chief. The decisively anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats took just 11 seats. Their leader, Jo Swinson, is out too.

With turnout of more than 67 percent, the landslide gives Johnson a clear mandate to pull the UK out of the EU on his terms. He will be the most powerful British Prime Minister in years.

There are now two big things we do know and two that we still don't.

Who will run the next British government? The Conservative Party, alone. For the past 30 months, they've had to rely on support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order to govern. The DUP's views on the famously complex Irish border issue have limited the Conservatives' room for maneuver on Brexit. Not anymore.

Is Brexit is going to happen? Yes. Johnson will easily win parliamentary approval for the Brexit deal that he negotiated with Brussels earlier this fall. Once that's done, the UK will leave the European Union by 31 January 2020, the (thrice-extended) deadline to do so.

But what sort of Brexit will it be? Too soon to say. The deal Johnson struck with the EU in October covers important things like the so-called "divorce bill" (the tab that London will pay to Brussels to cover existing and future obligations) and the Irish border. But there's still no UK-EU agreement on key issues like trade ties, military and security relations, and digital privacy rules.

Those are supposed to be set by the end of 2020, but there isn't even a laughing chance that this deadline will be met. Just crafting a trade deal covering annual commerce worth more than half a trillion dollars could take years. Both sides will almost certainly agree to an extension by next summer.

What's the lasting impact of Brexit on British politics? Another unknown. For the past three years, Brexit was the single most important issue in the UK, wrenching open deep divides within the major political parties and scrambling voters' political loyalties. But once Brexit is done – even if unhappily – what will come next?

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.

As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.

More

Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.

It's been nine years since Libya's long-time despot Muammar Qaddafi was killed in a violent uprising, bringing the oil-rich country to the brink of civil war. That conflict entered a new stage last year when violence between warring factions competing for territory intensified around Tripoli, Libya's capital, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 civilians. In recent weeks, fighting has intensified again, and ceasefire talks have failed. Here's a look at who's who and how we got here.

More

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, discusses combating cyberbullying, CCPA and tech "fashion":

What is a "troll score" and is it a realistic way to combat online bullying?

Something that Kayvon Beykpour, head of product at Twitter and I talked about, and the thought was: Twitter doesn't give you a lot of disincentives to be a jerk online. But what if there were a way to measure how much of a jerk someone is and put it right in their profile? Wouldn't that help? I think it's a pretty good idea. Though, you can see the arguments against it.

More