German official asks Facebook to crack down on hate speech

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere  visited Facebook’s offices in Berlin on Aug. 29 and said that it should do more to keep forbidden content from the social-network platform.

“Facebook should take down racist content or calls for violence from its pages on its own initiative even if it hasn’t yet received a complaint,” Thomas de Maiziere said.

“Facebook has an immensely important economic position and just like every other large enterprise it has a immensely important social responsibility.”

The German government has been critical of Facebook in the past, with political leaders and regulators complaining that it has been too  slow to respond to hate speech and anti-immigrant messages.

To read the news article on this, please hit this link.

U.S., India tighten de-facto defense alliance


The United States and India  agreed Aug 29 to allow the use of each other’s land, air and naval bases for repair and resupply, part of an initiative to tighten their growing de-facto defense alliance to counter  China’s  growing military aggressiveness, especially in the South and East China Seas.

The signing of the agreement will “make the logistics of joint operations so much easier and so much more efficient,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a news briefing with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar.

To read the Reuters article on this, please hit this link.


U.S., Chinese coast guards conducted joint operations

In a rare show of cooperation between the two superpowers,  the U.S. Coast Guard conducted joint operations in the Pacific with its Chinese counterpart this summer, part of annual patrols to deter illegal fishing.

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said the USCG Mellon “rendezvoused and conducted a professional exchange” with two Chinese Coast Guard ships.

“The exchange focused on professional goodwill between coast guards,” U.S. Coast Guard District 17 spokesman Lt. Brian Dykens said. He added that the U.S. government has a  “shiprider agreement” with China in which the U.S. Coast Guard vessel works with one or two Chinese Coast Guard ships.

Earlier this week, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said “cooperation between the two countries’ coast guards has deepened through personnel exchanges and joint operations.”

Xinhua also reported that the China Coast Guard plans to expand patrols in northern parts of the Pacific Ocean and deepen cooperation with the U.S. side.

The U.S., Japan and nations on the South China Sea have sought to counter Beijing’s militarized expansion into the South and East China seas.

To read The Japan Times’s story on this, please hit this link.

Bolivia miners kill high government official



In the foothills of the Andes in Bolivia.

On Aug. 26, Bolivian miners  lifted their roadblock where violent protests had taken place this week. This came a day after miners murdered Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes.  President Evo Morales called it a day of “deep pain” for the country.

Mr. Illanes, 56, was killed after being taken hostage by workers who had blocked a major highway in Panduro, around 100 miles from  the capital, La Paz. Officials said he died of blows to the head.

The workers have been demanding more mining concessions with less stringent environmental rules.

President Morales, an ex-coca grower, nationalized Bolivia’s natural-resources sector after being elected in 2006.

At first, he was widely praised for pouring mineral and other commodities profits into welfare programs. But his government has been dogged by accusations of cronyism and authoritarianism in recent years and some labor unions have become angry with him as falling commodity prices have crimped spending.

To read the Reuters story on this, please hit his link.

U.N. panel blames U.K. politicians for upsurge in racist hate crimes around Brexit campaign


A U.N. body called the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asserts that politicians helped fuel a surge in racist hate crimes during and after Britain’s referendum campaign on whether to leave the European Union.

The panel said many prominent politicians  share the blame for the outbreak of xenophobia and intimidation against ethnic minorities.

“Many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it but also created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate towards ethnic or ethno-religious minority communities and people who are visibly different,” it said.

More than 3,000 allegations of hate crimes were made to British police – mainly regarding harassment and threats – in the week before and the week after the June 23 vote, up  42 percent from the rate in 2015.

To read the piece on this in The Guardian, please hit this link.