Tuesday November 19, 2019
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EU divided over handling of migrants, refugee crisis deepens

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Photo Credit: www.foxnews.com

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Roszke, Hungary: As the number of migrants entering Hungary through the Balkans saw a record increase, Austria suspended the cross-border train services on Thursday.

Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com
Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com

Germany which has already accepted around 450,000 migrants this year, has warned that the EU’s efforts to distribute 160,000 new arrivals among the member states is only “a drop in the ocean”, according to a report in the Times of India.

Germany has urged the 28-nation group to go further. German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said: “The distribution of 160,000 refugees across Europe is a first step if one wants to be polite.”

Meanwhile, the eastern members of the EU, as well as those in the frontline of the migrant influx, are putting forward stiff opposition to the EU’s migrant-distribution plans. They have refused to accept any binding quota from EU.

In light of the refugee crisis, Romania President Klaus Iohannis has said: “It is inappropriate to talk about mandatory quotas, calculated on an extremely bureaucratic basis, almost like an accountancy exercise I might say, without consulting member states,” as quoted in a TOI report.

The Greek island of Lesbos has registered around 22,500 refugees since Monday evening. In Hungary, 3,321 refugees rushed to the country on Thursday before a strict anti-migrant law comes into effect.

Austria had to suspend its train operations to Hungary due to massive overcrowding. The UN refugee agency has warned that at least 42,000 refugees are likely to enter Hungary next week.

EU interior ministers are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss the easing out of the mounting pressure on the border members by distributing the refugees across the block.

EU lawmakers have called for an international conference with the United Nations, US, and Arab countries to discuss the issue of migration amid the Syrian refugee crisis.

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Facebook Raises Questions Over EU Ruling on Removing Content

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a "very troubling precedent"

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has raised objections over the European Union (EU) ruling that the bloc’s member countries can not only order the removal of content in their own jurisdiction, but all over the world.

According to the social networking giant, the ruling opens the door for courts to order the removal of content that is similar to the illegal speech, “meaning that something you posted might be removed even if you knew nothing about the earlier post that a European country had deemed illegal”.

“Imagine something you wrote and shared on Facebook was taken down, not because it violated our rules, and not because it broke the law in your country, but because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed,” Monika Bickert, VP, Global Policy Management at Facebook, said in a statement on Monday.

“Imagine as well that your speech was deemed illegal not by a judge who carefully weighed the facts, but by automated tools and technology,” she added.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook can be forced to remove content internationally.

The ruling arose from a personal defamation case brought by an Austrian politician.

The post in question shared a news article in which the Austrian politician had outlined her and her party’s views on immigration, together with a comment from a Facebook user strongly critiquing the Austrian politician.

facebook, WhatsApp, stories, feature
An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

The court’s ruling raises critical questions for freedom of expression, in two key respects, said Bickert.

First, it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on another country.

“This is especially important with laws governing speech, because what is legally acceptable varies considerably in different parts of the world and even within the EU. The ruling also opens the door for other countries around the world, including non-democratic countries who severely limit speech, to demand the same power,” said Facebook.

Second, the ruling might lead to a situation in which private internet companies could be forced to rely on automated technologies to police and remove “equivalent” illegal speech.

Also Read: 5G Carries Potential to Contribute to India’s GDP Growth by the Year 2025

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a “very troubling precedent”.

“We have had precedents but we have successfully fought them. This is one where a lot of the details of exactly how this gets implemented are going to depend on national courts across Europe, and what they define as the same content versus roughly equivalent content.

“This is something we and other services will be litigating and getting clarity on what this means. I know we talk about free expression as a value and I thought this was a fairly troubling development,” Zuckerberg added. (IANS)