Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Greek Debt Crisis: Government rejects draft proposals, referendum to be held on July 5

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The European Union (EU) on Sunday afternoon released the latest draft proposals offered to Greece but were later rejected by the Greek government, following Greek parliament’s approval of a referendum on them to be held next week.

“In the interest of transparency and for the information of the Greek people, the European Commission is publishing the latest proposals agreed among the three institutions,” EU’s executive body European Commission said in a statement.

The proposals have taken into account the Greek authorities’ proposals of June 8, 14, 22 and 25, as well as talks at political and technical level throughout the week, Xinhua reported citing the statement.

The proposals were provided to the Greek government on Friday, but the government “unilaterally” ended talks, according to the statement.

Late Friday night, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tripras called the proposals “blackmail” and vowed a refusal to the austerity measures. He called for a popular vote on the proposals on July 5.

On Saturday, the Eurogroup financial ministers held an emergency meeting but the Greek Financial Minister Yanis Varoufakis decided to leave midway. The other 18 ministers later accused Athens of breaking off negotiations and giving negative response to the proposals.

It was not the institutions but the Greek government that walked away from talks, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Saturday.

The group also rejected Greece’s request for an extension for July’s referendum, saying “the current financial assistance arrangement with Greece will expire on June 30”.

The Greek parliament approved the referendum in Athens late Saturday night.

The draft proposals outlined measures the creditors have urged Greece to adopt on– among others– fiscal policy, reform on pension, tax and value-added tax.

 

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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.

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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)