Tag Archives: Election / Voting

QUOTE BOX-Reaction to Facebook agreeing to a concession deal with Australia on a media bill | Instant News

(Update with comments)

CANBERRA, February 23 (Reuters) – Facebook said on Tuesday it would restore its Australian news page after negotiating changes with the government to a proposed law that forces tech giants to pay for media content displayed on their platforms.

Following are comments from Facebook, Australia and analysts:


“There is no doubt that Australia has become a proxy battle for the world. I am sure there are many other countries that are looking at what is happening in Australia.

“Facebook and Google are not hiding the fact that they know that the eyes of the world are on Australia, and that’s why they’re trying to come up with a code here that works.”


“We have reached an agreement that will allow us to support our selected publishers, including small and local publishers.

“The government has clarified that we will maintain the ability to decide whether news appears on Facebook so that we will not automatically submit to forced negotiations.

“We have always intended to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we will continue to invest in news globally and resist attempts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take into account the true exchange of value between publishers and platforms like Facebook. “


“This is not a draw.

“Even though Facebook managed to cover up some concessions and the laws might be lenient, I still think they are big losers here just because of the way they tried to negotiate over the past week. Many Australians are much more hesitant to rely on Facebook and in terms of their Australian reputation and user base have lost confidence.

“The law itself is still untested. It is like a weapon sitting on the treasury table that has never been used or tested. “


“Facebook has scored a big win in reaching an agreement with the Australian government on payment of news from Australian sources in concessions that virtually guarantee that business will run as usual from now on.

“Prior to this“ sudden ”breakthrough, Facebook had cut off all Australian news outlets’ access to its platform which sparked huge public outrage. Critically, Australian news sites have also taken a big hit in internet traffic, clearly showing that Australian media need Facebook more than Facebook.

“Facebook has been accused of acting like North Korea in its actions, but I think they are completely justified because Australia (and everyone else) seems to view Facebook as a free public service rather than a business.

“As news sites quickly realized, their ad revenue tends to be lower without Facebook than with Facebook even if Facebook doesn’t pay them at all for their content.

“This clearly shows that the current arrangement is better than no arrangement at all. This idea of ​​free internet is a classic misconception held by the general public and legislators and the sooner this is eliminated, the faster a proper working relationship can be established. “


“Facebook won, because a necessary change was made to the law that prevented them from making changes to their business model.”

The Australian government can still say that they are “fighting giants and getting international attention (but) the digital giants are as strong as ever.” (Reporting by Colin Packham, Byron Kaye and Douglas Busvine; additional reporting by Renju Jose Editing by Susan Fenton)


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The Northern Irish side is taking legal action against the Brexit deal | Instant News

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Members of Northern Ireland’s two largest pro-British parties will take part in legal action challenging parts of Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union, parties said on Sunday.

The United Democratic Party (DUP) and the United Ulster Party (UUP) will join forces with other pro-British figures to challenge the Northern Irish Protocol, which has created trade barriers between the UK and the rest of Great Britain.

The protocol, designed to protect the European Union’s single market without creating a land border on the island of Ireland, has caused significant trade disruptions since it came into force at the start of the year.

Several British companies have stopped shipments to Northern Ireland and several supermarkets have been left empty.

The DUP said several senior members would join “other like-minded union members” as named in the judicial review process challenging the compatibility of the Northern Ireland Protocol with the Union Act 1800, the 1998 Northern Ireland Act and the Belfast Treaty, he said in a statement.

“Neither the Northern Irish Assembly, the Northern Irish Executive nor the Northern Irish people approved the Protocol was enforced or the flow of goods from GB to NI was hindered by the inspection,” said DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster.

The protocol is part of an international agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year.

The region’s second largest pro-British party, the Ulster Unity Party, said in a statement it would “seek to explore every political and legal avenue to overturn the NI protocol.”

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Edited by Bernadette Baum


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Talks about Franco-German fighter jets are still ongoing, Germany said | Instant News

BERLIN, February 19 (Reuters) – Negotiations on the next steps in the development of a Franco-German fighter jet are still ongoing, the German defense ministry said on Friday about Europe’s biggest defense project.

A defense ministry spokesman commented on the latest round of talks between the two countries’ defense ministers which took place on Thursday.

The German government still plans to send a budget proposal for the payment of the next phase of the project to parliament before general elections in September, the spokesman added.

At a cost of more than 100 billion euros ($ 120.4 billion), the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) brings together Germany, France and Spain at the core of a deepening European Union defense cooperation.

On Wednesday, talks between defense officials from France, Germany and Spain, as well as Dassault, Airbus and Indra, failed to produce a breakthrough. (Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Editing by William Maclean)


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Brazil’s Congress will analyze next week’s emergency aid bill. -Senate President | Instant News

BRASILIA, February 18 (Reuters) – Brazil’s congress next week will analyze constitutional amendments aimed at reviving emergency cash assistance to millions of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco said on Thursday.

Emergency assistance to more than 60 million Brazilians when the COVID-19 pandemic raged last year ended on December 31, but a second wave of the virus and a shaky economic recovery have forced the government to extend it, albeit at a lower rate.

Pacheco spoke to reporters after meeting Lower House leader Arthur Lira and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes to discuss emergency relief and cuts in other areas of the federal budget to compensate for increased spending.

“It was agreed today … that among the many bills to be passed next week, an emergency PEC will be discussed,” said Pacheco, referring to the constitutional amendments, or “PEC” as it is known by its Portuguese acronym. .

“(PEC) will be presented by Senator Marcio Bittar on Monday and Senate approval will allow, through war budget clauses, the disaster clauses necessary to carry out emergency relief,” Pacheco said.

Last week, Pacheco said he anticipates a four-monthly payment program from March to June that meets the government’s fiscal rules.

For that to happen, aid must be part of the “disaster clause” in the constitutional amendment bill, reflecting last year’s “War Budget” which deviated from conventional budget rules and meant that government spending ceilings were not violated.

Pacheco said on Thursday that spending cuts elsewhere were not necessarily a condition for reviving cash transfers, but were a strong signal that Congress was serious about its long-term commitment to reducing Brazil’s record debt. (Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia Written by Jamie McGeever Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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Draghi of Italy to unveil policy goals ahead of the Senate vote | Instant News

* Draghi was inducted into the office on the weekend

* He doesn’t say much in public about his plans

* Draghi faces a mandatory vote of confidence in the Senate

ROME, February 17 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Mario Draghi, former head of the European Central Bank, will present his policy priorities in the Italian Senate on Wednesday before a mandatory vote of confidence in his national unity government.

Draghi was sworn in at the weekend at the helm of a broad-based government that has the support of parties across the political spectrum to guide Italy through the coronavirus crisis and economic downturn.

Appointed after a row shattered the last coalition, Draghi has said little publicly about his plans, and a debate in the upper house of parliament will give him a chance to outline what he hopes to achieve in the coming months.

His pressing concern may be to ensure a smooth vaccination campaign against COVID-19 and rewrite plans on how to spend more than 200 billion euros ($ 240 billion) in EU funds aimed at rebuilding the economy.

To ensure his money is well spent, Draghi is also expected to signal that he wants to overhaul public administration, which is choked by bureaucracy, and the justice system, one of the slowest in Europe.

If he succeeds, Draghi will not only help revive Italy after its worst recession since World War Two, but will also provide a boost to the entire EU, which has long fretted over a chronic sluggishness in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.

Draghi is one of the most respected figures in Europe after 8 years in charge of the ECB, and his candidacy for prime minister has been praised by investors – as reflected in Tuesday’s record-breaking Italian bond sale on demand.

However, it faces daunting challenges, at least maintaining its distinct coalition, which includes political adversaries with very different views on issues such as immigration, industrial policy and welfare.

With a large majority on paper, Draghi looks set to swing through Wednesday’s confidence vote in the Senate and a similar vote in the lower house on Thursday, the last step the government needs to exercise its full power.

The only major party that refused to associate with him was the Brothers of Italy.

However, some members of the 5-Star Movement, which was formed in 2009 as an anti-system, anti-euro protest group, have said they would vote against it, threatening a split that could crush the party before elections scheduled for 2023.

5-Star is the largest party in parliament after its victory in the last election in 2018.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer, editing by Gavin Jones and Timothy Heritage


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