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US President Donald Trump creates Commission to seek Solutions for Drug Addiction

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Washington, March 30, 2017: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the creation of a commission to seek solutions to the increase in deaths from addiction to heroin and opiates.

He termed the situation a “total epidemic” and one of the “biggest problems” that the US has at present.

“This is a total epidemic and I think it’s probably, almost un-talked about compared to the severity that we’re witnessing,” Efe news agency quoted Trump as saying.

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“We want to help those who have become so badly addicted. Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the US,” Trump added.

Released in February, the latest figures from the US Centres for Disease Control about the increase in overdose deaths are of great concern to many.

Slightly over 38,000 people died in 2010 from drug overdoses, but more than 52,000 died in 2015, of whom at least one-quarter were from heroin consumption, triple the number of deaths from that cause five years earlier.

The group experiencing the most overdose deaths in 2015 were whites between the ages of 45 and 54, according to the CDC statistics.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the commission must focus on prevention and dissuading young people from being attracted to drugs and also helping addicts enter treatment centres and find employment once they have recovered.

As part of his anti-drug strategy, Trump is defending the construction of the controversial wall along the border with Mexico and increasing deportations to expel drug traffickers and criminals.

In a report released in early March, the State Department said that between 90 per cent and 94 per cent of the heroin consumed in the US comes from Mexico. (IANS)

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Googling ‘idiot’ Bringing up Donald Trump Pictures Drags Google in Trouble

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech

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Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

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Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai. VOA

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

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In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.” (IANS)