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France, New Zealand Seek to Curb Online Extremism

Australian national Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white supremacist, is the suspect in the March 15 Christchurch attack, during which he fired at people while they were praying

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said the country will join forces with France against the use of social media to organise and promote terrorism.

Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron will chair a meeting in Paris with representatives of countries and technology companies to seek their agreement to a pledge called “Christchurch Call” to eliminate violent extremist content online, Efe news reported.

The meeting will take place on May 15, exactly two months after the attack on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch, in which 50 people were killed and which was broadcast live through Facebook by the attacker.

Ardern denounced the “unprecedented” use of social media as a tool to promote terrorism and hate in that attack and called for a “show of leadership” to ensure social media is never used in that way again.

“We all need to act, and that includes social media providers taking more responsibility for the content that is on their platforms, and taking action so that violent extremist content cannot be published and shared,” she said in a statement.

A migrant is seen in silhouette near flames from a burning makeshift shelter on the second day of the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, Oct. 25, 2016. VOA

“It’s critical that technology platforms like Facebook are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism. This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies,” she added.

The meeting in Paris will be held alongside the “Tech for Humanity” meeting of G7 Digital Ministers, of which France is the Chair, and France’s separate “Tech for Good” summit, both scheduled on May 15.

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Australian national Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white supremacist, is the suspect in the March 15 Christchurch attack, during which he fired at people while they were praying.

Facebook took down 1.5 million copies of the video in the 24 hours after the attack, while YouTube announced that it had removed tens of thousands of videos of the assault – an “unprecedented” number in terms of its reach and the speed with which it spread online. (IANS)

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New Zealand Passes Zero Carbon Bill Aimed at Combating Climate Change

We in New Zealand are on the right side of history, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech at Parliament

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New Zealand, Carbon, Bill
Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy. Pixabay

New Zealand on Thursday passed a bill to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.

“I am really proud to stand in this House today for what is a historic moment… Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy… We in New Zealand are on the right side of history,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech at Parliament.

The law commits New Zealand to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement and marks an important step in the fight against the climate emergency looming over the world according to more than 11,000 scientists worldwide, reports Efe news.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear free and votes for women, now we are leading again,” Climate Change Minister James Shaw tweeted.

New Zealand, Carbon, Bill
The zero emissions target excludes methane emissions but the law pledges to reduce them gradually. Pixabay

The zero emissions target excludes methane emissions but the law pledges to reduce them gradually.

The law includes the establishment of a green investment fund worth NZ$100 million ($64 million), a carbon trading scheme and inclusion of agriculture in emissions pricing by 2025, and the plantation of one billion trees by 2028, according to a statement by the Ministry of Climate Change.

The law also stipulates suspending the release of new permits for hydrocarbon explorations at sea and supports the production of cheaper electric vehicles apart from setting a goal of 100 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2035.

The legislation aims to cut biological methane emissions from agriculture by 10 per cent until 2030, and targets 24-47 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.

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Simon Bridges, leader of the opposition and the New Zealand National Party, said that his party supported the bill but would keep trying to introduce changes in the future in order to make it better. (IANS)