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Merkel visit: 18 MoUs inked, India to fast track system for German firms

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New Delhi: India and Germany on Monday gave a major boost to their bilateral ties, especially in the economic field, by inking 18 MoUs, including one for setting up a fast-track system for German companies in India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks here.

The range of MoUs includes one on security cooperation, and another for promotion of German as a foreign language in India and for the promotion of Modern Indian languages in Germany.

Modi, in his speech, termed the bilateral mechanism of Inter-Governmental Consultation (IGC) as unique, saying it had helped bring growth in relations.

We see Germany as a natural partner in achieving our vision of India’s economic transformation. German strengths and India’s priorities are aligned. And, so is our mutual goodwill,” he said, after holding the 3rd IGC with Merkel here.

He said both sides have convergence of views and rapidly growing cooperation in the field of clean energy and combating climate change.

Both agreed on the India-Germany Climate and Renewable Alliance for combating climate change, Modi said, and thanked Germany for its over one billion euro aid each for India’s Green Energy Corridor project and for solar projects in India.

“We look forward to a concrete outcome at COP21 (Conference of Parties) in Paris,” Modi said.

He said both sides will see a boost in partnership in areas of defence manufacturing, trade in advanced technology, intelligence, and countering terrorism and radicalism.

He thanked Germany for its strong support for India’s membership of the international export control regimes.

“As we discussed in the G4 Summit in New York, Chancellor and I are committed to pursue reforms of the United Nations, especially the Security Council,” Modi said.

He also thanked Merkel for the return of a 10th century statue of Durga in her Mahishasurmardini avatar from Jammu and Kashmir.

Modi said the statue is a symbol of the victory of good over evil.

He said: “This also suggests that in this age of transitions and turmoil, India-Germany partnership will be a force of good for the world.”

Merkel, in her media statement, said both sides held very good IGC and bilateral talks. She said the IGC mechanism has underscored the intensity of bilateral ties with India.

She said the inking of so many agreements is a “testimony to the dynamic relations”. She said more than 1,500 German companies are in India and more would be glad to open up in India. She commended the inking of the fast track agreement on German companies. “The speed at which you grant licences has increased, which is a good thing,” Merkel said.

She said Germany can help India in the area of sustainable development in the villages.

On expansion of the UN Security Council, Merkel referred to the meeting of the G4 countries of India, Germany, Japan and Brazil last week in New York and said the members of G4 are trying to seek permanent seat at the UNSC.

Both sides inked an agreement on security cooperation; an MoU on Solar Energy Partnership; for cooperation in the field of Skill Development and Vocational Education and Training; on Security Cooperation; railways and for cooperation in disaster management.

(IANS)

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Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

Facebook in July said it had deleted hundreds of offensive posts since implementation of the law

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An illustration picture shows a man starting his Twitter app on a mobile device in Hanau near Frankfurt. VOA

German states have drafted a list of demands aimed at tightening a law that requires social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove hate speech from their sites, the Handelblatt newspaper reported Monday.

Justice ministers from the states will submit their proposed revisions to the German law called NetzDG at a meeting with Justice Minister Katarina Barley on Thursday, the newspaper said, saying it had obtained a draft of the document.

The law, which came into full force on Jan. 1, is a highly ambitious effort to control what appears on social media and it has drawn a range of criticism.

Twitter, tweets, social media
Twitter allows publishers to monetise video views globally. (VOA)

While the German states are focused on concerns about how complaints are processed, other officials have called for changes following criticism that too much content was being blocked.

The states’ justice ministers are calling for changes that would make it easier for people who want to complain about banned content such as pro-Nazi ideology to find the required forms on social media platforms.

They also want to fine social media companies up to 500,000 euros ($560,950) for providing “meaningless replies” to queries from law enforcement authorities, the newspaper said.

Till Steffen, the top justice official in Hamburg and a member of the Greens party, told the newspaper that the law had in some cases proven to be “a paper tiger.”

Social media
If we want to effectively limit hate and incitement on the internet, we have to give the law more bite. Pixabay

“If we want to effectively limit hate and incitement on the internet, we have to give the law more bite and close the loopholes,” he told the paper. “For instance, it cannot be the case that some platforms hide their complaint forms so that no one can find them.”

Also Read: Facebook Allows French Regulators to Oversee Hate Speech Control

Facebook in July said it had deleted hundreds of offensive posts since implementation of the law, which foresees fines of up to 50 million euros ($56.10 million) for failure to comply. (VOA)