News, June 14th

Facebook rejects call to share revenue with Australian media

The loss of advertising dollars that previously flowed to newspapers has forced cutbacks and bankruptcies across the sector, a process exacerbated by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In Australia, News Corp, Nine and other media have both announced major cuts in editorial staff, with more than 170 newsrooms and newspapers suspended or shuttered in recent years.

Australia’s competition regulator, the ACCC, has estimated that Google and Facebook together earn some Aus$6 billion (US$4 billion) a year from advertising in the country.

Leading news publishers have demanded the two companies pay at least 10 percent of that money each year to local news organizations.

Google last month rejected the demand, saying it made barely Aus$10 million a year from news-linked advertising.

The two companies’ positions bode ill for negotiations the ACCC hopes to pursue between the tech firms and Australian media companies over a mandatory “code of conduct” governing issues such as revenue sharing, curbing disinformation, data sharing and protecting user privacy.

The ACCC has until the end of July to draw up the final code, which the government has said it will quickly implement.

IMF Staff Completes Review Mission to Senegal

A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Ms. Corinne Deléchat, conducted a virtual mission from June 2-12, 2020 and engaged in discussions as part of the first review of the IMF’s Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) approved in January 2020.

At the conclusion of this mission, Ms. Deléchat issued the following statement:

The IMF team reached staff-level agreement with the authorities on economic and financial policies that could support approval of the first review of their three-year program under the PCI. The IMF Executive Board could consider the first review in the second half of July 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on economic activity, exacerbated by border closures, a curfew, and social distancing. The GDP growth rate is projected at 1.1 percent for 2020 compared to 5.3 percent in 2019. These forecasts are based on the control of the spread of the pandemic, the implementation of measures to support the economy, and a gradual recovery of economic activity during the second half of 2020. The forecasts are nonetheless subject to major downside risks.

To mitigate the effects of the crisis attributable to COVID-19, the government has set up an economic and social resilience program to strengthen the health system and to support households, the Senegalese diaspora, as well as firms and their employees. In April 2020, the IMF disbursed US$442 million (100 percent of Senegal’s quota), i.e., about CFAF 263 billion or approximately 2 percent of GDP under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), thus providing immediate liquidity to support the government in its implementation of the national COVID-19 response plan (plan de riposte).

The performance of the PCI-supported program is satisfactory. At end-December 2019, all quantitative targets under the program, except for one on the share of single-sourced public tenders, were met, and significant progress was achieved in attaining the reform objectives for end-June. In particular, Fund staff welcome the finalization of the medium-term revenue mobilization strategy, whose implementation in the second half of 2020 will support economic revitalization measures.

Manchester ‘quarantine raves’ attended by thousands result in overdose death, rape, stabbings

A 20-year-old man died of a suspected drug overdose, one woman was raped, and three people were stabbed during two illegal “quarantine raves” on Saturday night in England that attracted several thousand partiers, according to officials.

The Greater Manchester Police said in a news release Sunday that two large raves, in Carrington and Oldman, were “clearly a breach of coronavirus legislation and guidelines” and ended with “tragic consequences.”

GMP Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes said officers attempting to respond to the gatherings were “met with violence,” including items being thrown and a police car being vandalized.

“I want to make it clear that this is absolutely not acceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said. “Our officers are working incredibly hard to keep people safe and should never be met with inexcusable violence whilst carrying out their duties.”

Officials said they experienced a “surge” in emergency calls over the weekend, with more than a 60 percent increase during the overnight hours.

Several violent incidents were reported after two large illegal raves were attended by thousands in the Manchester area on Saturday night, according to officials.

Videos posted to Twitter from one of the raves showed people packed closely together, not wearing masks, as a large sign reading “Quarantine Rave” hung over the DJ booth.

In Oldham, there are believed to have been 4,000 people at the rave there, where a 20-year-old man died from a suspected drug overdose.

At the 2,000-person rave in Carrington, officials said there were a “number of serious incidents,” including three separate reported stabbings. An 18-year-old man was left with life-threatening injuries, and there were a number of other injuries reported from separate violent incidents.

Authorities are also investigating the rape of an 18-year-old woman who attended the event.

Sacha Lord, who is the nighttime economy adviser for the region, said those who had attended the raves had put themselves and those they love at risk.

“I’ve seen some of the footage,” he tweeted. “You aren’t clubbers. Just selfish idiots.”

Photos from a reporter with Manchester Evening News showed the field filled with trash the morning after.

Members of the community were reportedly picking up trash on Sunday morning.

Police said they were investigating the incidents that unfolded at the raves and reminded the public that coronavirus is still a threat.

The United Kingdom has one of the highest death rates from coronavirus in the world, with the Manchester area having one of the highest rates of infection.

As of Sunday, there have been 297,342 confirmed COVID-19 infections in the U.K. with some 41,783 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

“Coronavirus is still a threat and we will continue to engage with people to encourage them to take some personal responsibility and do the right thing,” police said.

“Ultimately we need the people of Greater Manchester to join together and demonstrate the spirit that they have previously shown in the face of hard times.”

Presidential Message on World Blood Donor Day, 2020

Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. On World Blood Donor Day, we thank those individuals who selflessly donate blood to help thousands of hospitals and medical care facilities meet the needs of their patients.

Over the past several months, the hardships of the coronavirus have lowered our country’s blood and platelet supply to critical levels, and the need to donate blood has never been more acute. With more than 30,000 blood drives canceled since mid-March, those battling severe illnesses or those involved in life-threatening accidents could be in particular danger of not being able to receive the vital care they need. Many of our Nation’s blood banks are operating with depleted stocks, and the majority of them rarely have on hand more than a single day’s supply of Type O blood, which is critical because it can be used to meet the blood needs of any patient. During this challenging time, let us commit to raising awareness of the lifesaving act of donating blood.

I urge all Americans who are healthy and willing to donate blood to do so at a local donation center. Organizations like the American Red Cross and other blood banks have implemented special protocols to protect donors from possible infection. Your blood donations can help minimize the harm inflicted by the coronavirus on our country.

Today, the First Lady and I send our sincerest gratitude to both blood donors and those countless individuals who help facilitate donations. These dedicated employees, extraordinary volunteers, and compassionate individuals represent the very best of the American spirit, and our Nation is grateful for your contributions to America’s health and well-being.

Yankee go home:  What does move troops out of Germany mean?

After more than a year of thinly-veiled threats to start pulling U.S. troops out of Germany unless Berlin increases its defense spending, President Donald Trump appears to be proceeding with a hardball approach, planning to cut the U.S. military contingent by more than 25%.

About 34,500 American troops are stationed in Germany — 50,000 including civilian Department of Defense employees — and the plan Trump reportedly signed off on last week envisions reducing active-duty personnel to 25,000 by September, with further cuts possible.

But as details of the still-unannounced plan trickle out, there’s growing concerns it will do more to harm the U.S.’s own global military readiness and the NATO alliance than punish Germany.

The decision was not discussed with Germany or other NATO members, and Congress was not officially informed — prompting a letter from 22 Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee urging a rethink.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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