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Australia to summon Zuckerberg over Huawei data deal

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Canberra, June 7 : An Australian intelligence committee said on Thursday that it was considering summoning Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for a public hearing following revelations his company had a data-sharing deal with Huawei and other Chinese tech companies.

Australian politicians may seek to have Mark Zuckerberg appear before the federal parliament’s powerful intelligence and security committee.

Australian and US Intelligence officials have repeatedly raised concerns about Huawei’s connections to the Chinese government.As Huawei has access to Facebook user data under an agreement ,the company has been repeatedly named as a security concern by intelligence officials, and Australian defence officials are not allowed to use its devices.

Labor MP Anthony Byrne, deputy chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), said Zuckerberg owes an explanation to Australian Facebook users, reports Efe news.

“It is vital that Facebook explains its data sharing partnership with firms such as Huawei. We need to protect the data of over 15 million Facebook users in Australia,” Byrne posted on his Facebook page on Thursday.

“If need be, Zuckerberg will be invited to appear before the PJCIS in a public hearing to explain himself to our committee and the Australian people.”

It was revealed on Wednesday that Facebook had admitted giving Huawei and three other Chinese companies – Lenovo, OPPO and TCL – specialised access to user data.

In recent years, US senators and national security officials have warned of the possibility of the Chinese government having access to Huawei servers.

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France’s Macron urges UN mission to visit China’s Xinjiang region

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,”

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Uighur Muslim rights

PARIS : France’s president on Tuesday called for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China’s Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping stamp out terrorism and extremism and giving people new skills.

“Fundamental rights are not a Western idea that one could oppose as an interference … these are the principles of our organisation, enshrined in texts that the member states of the United Nations have freely consented to sign and to respect,” Emmanuel Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,” he said.

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Israel reports 2,445 new Covid-19 cases; 193,374 in total

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Jerusalem, Sep 23 : Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 2,445 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 193,374.

The total count of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel rose by 12 to 1,285, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 653 to 668, out of 1,352 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 3,971 to 140,751, while the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 51,338.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand the national economic safety net to deal with the pandemic’s impact.

“Expanding the plan will enable immediate economic assistance for businesses and wage-earners who are expected to be hurt by the current Covid-19 nationwide lockdown,” said a joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry.

The expansion includes the lowering of damage threshold for businesses to receive fixed expenditure grants to 25 per cent, providing advances against the fixed expenditure grants, a comprehensive worker retention plan, and deferring the reduction in unemployment benefits.

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United States Covid deaths top 200,000 as questions linger over halting virus spread

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Coronavirus Death US

The US death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 200,000, as some guidelines and practices for stopping the disease’s spread have been called into question.

While the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that 52,000 new cases had been reported on Monday, some 21,800 of those new cases came from the release of backlogged data in Texas.

The US logged 36,695 new cases on Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused uncertainty Monday when it removed from its website newly posted guidelines saying the coronavirus could be transmitted by tiny particles that linger in the air.

The agency said a draft version of proposed changes was posted in error.

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COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.