Zuckerberg: ‘Haugen painted fake Facebook image’
Mark Zuckerberg took up Facebook’s firm defence in a note to employees following allegations in the Senate by former manager, now whistleblower, Frances Haugen. The 37-year-old had told US lawmakers that the company’s sites and apps “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy”. The Facebook CEO said he believed her allegations “make no sense; Haugen spoke about areas she has no knowledge of”. Zuckerberg wrote her arguments were “profoundly illogical”, adding: “We make money with ads and advertisers are constantly telling us that they don’t want their ads to be near malicious or furious content. We are deeply concerned about issues such as safety, well-being and mental health.”
Abused victims demand action, Pope feels pain
Victims of sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church are demanding action after the publication of the results of a damning new inquiry which found that since 1950, clergy in the organisation have sexually abused some 216,000 children, mostly boys. Those abused are demanding compensation. Meanwhile, Pope Francis “felt pain” on hearing about the inquiry’s findings. A Vatican statement said the Pope had expressed “deep sadness” for the victims, hailing “their courage in coming forward”.
First draft on EU defence in November, summit in March
The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has told the informal Council in Slovenia he would present a first draft of the Strategic Compass next month. “We will support it in March at our ordinary European Council on Defence but in the meantime, we will move on to the different existing tracks in the field of defense and security”. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the US withdrawal from Afghanistan required the EU to reflect on the future of international relations and European defense.
Stoltenberg: ‘European defense risk for the Atlantic Alliance’
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, a purely European mutual defence organisation risked dividing and weakening the Atlantic Alliance. In Washington for talks at the White House and the Pentagon, Stoltenberg said that the defence of Europe went beyond its borders. “Any attempt to weaken the transatlantic link by creating alternative structures, conveying the idea that we can do it alone, will not only weaken NATO, but it will divide Europe,” he concluded.
Libyan legislative elections postponed to January
The Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, Abdallah Bliheq, has announed a modified electoral calendar. He told a news conference legislative elections in Libya, which should have been held on 24 December, have been postponed to January. The presidential ones, however, remain in December.
Australia: No international tourists until 2022
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said international tourists will not be welcomed back to Australia until next year, with the return of skilled migrants and students given higher priority. He said Australia was expected to reach the vaccination benchmark at which the country could begin to open up: 80% of the population aged 16 and older having a second shot.
Spain plans a 2% pay raise for all civil servants
The Spanish government plans to give all civil servants a 2% pay raise in 2022 to help their wages keep pace with rising consumer prices. The pay increase will have to be ratified by the full cabinet and then by parliament before the end of this year as part of next year’s government budget bill. Data last week showed the 12-month inflation rate hitting a 13-year high of 4%.
Rains flood London streets
Torrential rains that hit London in the night between Monday and Tuesday flooded streets and shops, blocked railways and closed highways, causing great inconvenience and preventing many from going to work. The BBC reports there were plenty of water-flooded shops in the elegant Knightsbridge neighborhood.
Hollywood facing shutdown
Film and TV production in the US could come to a standstill after behind-the-scenes workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said that nearly 99% of registered members who participated – or 52,706 – voted in favour of industrial action. Members are unhappy at what they see as longer shifts, poor working conditions and low pay. The union represents the behind-the-scenes workers, camera operators, stage hands, set designers, dozens of jobs in the armies it takes to create our favourite shows and movies.