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Republican-led US Senate Rejects Democratically-Supported New Green Deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a "radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy," noting it would cost millions of jobs and sharply drive up energy prices

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U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed Green New Deal at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. VOA

The Republican-led Senate Tuesday night voted against consideration of the Democratically-supported New Green Deal — the outline of an ambitious plan to get the U.S. off climate-changing fossil fuels.

The vote was 57 to zero against the green proposal. Forty-three Democrats only said “present” when their names were called, refusing to participate in what they say was a Republican sham vote and stunt.

The Green New Deal is a non-binding proposal to shift the United States away from oil, natural gas, and coal to renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy,” noting it would cost millions of jobs and sharply drive up energy prices.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, walks to a Democratic Caucus meeting at the Capitol in Washington, March 26, 2019. VOA

Other Republicans called it “ridiculous.” Senator Mike Lee used drawings of dinosaurs and the cartoon character Aquaman riding a seahorse to treat the Green New Deal with what he mockingly called “the seriousness it deserves.”

Fuming Democrats accused the Republicans of turning the issue of the very survival of the planet into a joke. They say Republicans who turn debate over global warming into a game will pay a political price.

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New York Senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand compared ridding the United States of its dependence on fossil fuels in the 21st century to America’s ambitious plan nearly 60 years ago to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s – a goal that was reached.

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that burning fossil fuels is causing the globe to get unnaturally warmer and polls indicate many American voters are also worried about the consequences of climate change. (VOA)

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Facebook Urges US Police to Stop Using Fake Accounts

When law enforcement has a written policy of engaging in fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts in violation of Facebook's policies, the social network should add a notification to the agency's page to inform users of the law enforcement policy

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook should take new steps, including issuance of alerts to users, to address the proliferation of fake accounts operated by law enforcement agencies in the US, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital civil liberties not-for-profit organisation.

A report in the Guardian earlier revealed that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) violated Facebook’s guidelines by creating fake profiles on its platform tied to the University of Farmington — a sham institution that left many students, most of them Indians, in detention.

Facebook’s policy prohibits all users, including government agencies, from making fake accounts. But despite this, law enforcement agencies created fake accounts to spy on users, EFF said.

Police departments in Ohio, New York, Georgia and Nebraska said they had policies allowing investigators to use aliases and undercover profiles on social media, the Guardian reported on Monday.

“Facebook’s practice of taking down these accounts when they learn about them from the press (or from EFF) is insufficient to deter what we believe is a much larger iceberg beneath the surface,” EFF’s Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass wrote in a blogpost.

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Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. VOA

“We often only discover the existence of law enforcement fake profiles months, if not years, after an investigation has concluded,” Maass said.

In addition to suspending fake accounts, Facebook should publish data on the number of fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts identified, what agencies they belonged to, and what action was taken, EFF said.

According to EFF, when a fake/impersonator account is identified, Facebook should alert the users and groups that interacted with the account whether directly or indirectly.

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Facebook should further amend its “Amended Terms for Federal, State and Local Governments in the United States” to make it explicitly clear that, by agreeing to the terms, the agency was agreeing not to operate fake/impersonator profiles on the platform, Maass said.

When law enforcement has a written policy of engaging in fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts in violation of Facebook’s policies, the social network should add a notification to the agency’s page to inform users of the law enforcement policy, Maass said. (IANS)