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British and French Foreign Ministers Absent in European Union (EU) Special Talks Over Donald Trump

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called the emergency meeting in Brussels after Trump's stunning victory Tuesday

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FILE - Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (R) and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (L) attend a ministerial summit to hold discussion on the future of Mosul city, post-Islamic State, in Paris, France, Oct. 20, 2016. VOA
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Nov 13, 2016: The British and French foreign ministers will not participate in special talks with their European Union counterparts Sunday to discuss how to deal with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called the emergency meeting in Brussels after Trump’s stunning victory Tuesday on stated policies that include questioning Washington’s commitment to Europe.

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A British Foreign Office spokesman said Boris Johnson would not go to the meeting Sunday but would attend a regular Foreign Affairs Council meeting Monday.

“We do not see the need for an additional meeting on Sunday because the U.S. election timetable is long established,” the spokesman said. “An act of democracy has taken place, there is a transition period and we will work with the current and future administrations to ensure the best outcomes for Britain.”

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Following his victory, Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May. A Downing 10 Street spokesman said they agreed that the relationship between London and Washington is “very important and very special and that building on this would be a priority for them both.”

Meanwhile, the French news agency AFP is reporting that Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will be “absent for agenda reasons.”

Britain and France will instead be represented by their ambassadors to the EU.

Defense cooperation

Monday, the foreign ministers will discuss plans to boost defense cooperation — a move that Britain had long blocked — including a controversial proposal for a European military headquarters.

In blunt remarks Friday reflecting the shock and concern among some European leaders at the election of Trump, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Trump poses risks for the relationship between the EU and the U.S.

“I believe we’ll have two years of wasted time while Mr. Trump tours a world he doesn’t know,” Juncker said, referring to Trump’s lack of solid foreign policy priorities that has kept much of the world guessing.

During the U.S. election campaign, candidate Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, questioned the principle of collective defense in NATO, and criticized the open border migration policies of some EU nations, among foreign policy issues.

On Wednesday, after Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk invited him to an EU-U.S. summit to discuss issues including terrorism and Ukraine. (VOA)

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Googling ‘idiot’ Bringing up Donald Trump Pictures Drags Google in Trouble

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech

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Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

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Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai. VOA

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

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In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.” (IANS)