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Indian Government takes on Twitter in battle of power

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Indian COVID crisis

As India mounts pressure on Twitter over the COVID pandemic, concerns are growing that social media platforms are becoming more powerful than governments.

Andrew Selepak, a social media professor at the University of Florida, says companies like Twitter are playing from their own rule book.

“They are applying their own rules [and] regulations to free speech regardless of local laws and regulations,” he told Ticker News Live.

India is removing critical posts about COVID from Twitter

India has asked Twitter to remove hundreds of tweets critical of its handling of the COVID pandemic.

Around half of all new daily global COVID-19 cases came from India. The nation’s hospitals have run out of oxygen and hospitals are above capacity.

“The Indian Government has been very unhappy with certain accounts being able to spread misinformation or just say anything negative about the Government,” he added.

Twitter is pushing back

Meanwhile, it’s not the first time Twitter and India have clashed. The country also ordered the removal of over 1,000 accounts in February. New Delhi claimed the tweets spread misinformation amid protests over new agriculture reforms.

Twitter first refused to comply. The tech giant later buckled to pressure from the IT ministry by blocking access to the bulk of accounts.

“[Twitter] believes there is a right for people to engage in free speech. It is one of these things where you’ve got international companies that are more powerful than any one Government,” he said.

Misinformation is a growing issue

It comes on the back of growing concern over fake news. Professor Selepak says reliance on social media platforms for information is becoming an issue.

“It’s how people are getting their news these days. It’s how individuals are deciding social issues to political issues,” he said.

However, Selepak says the problem is that there is little oversight when it comes to the facts.

“Where that becomes a sticky situation is the fact that the information isn’t from reputable news sources. It’s the most significant place for people to learn about their politicians [and] issues,” he said.

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Global Politics

China launches crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12 in historic mission

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China has marked a major moment in space history

Launching a spacecraft carrying three astronauts, the mission is now on to complete the country’s space station by the end of next year.

It will be the longest stay in low Earth orbit by any Chinese national.

As part of its plans to have a fully crewed space station by December 2022, China successfully launched the first core module earlier this year.

There is no official announcement yet on when the other sections of the space station will launch, but the module is expected to operate for at least 10 years.

Chinese astronauts have long been excluded from the international space station, due to US political objections and legal restrictions.

The three-month stay for the three men will be the longest for any Chinese astronauts, and one focus will be seeing how they handle their relatively long time in orbit.

During their sojourn on the cylinder-like Tianhe, slightly bigger than a bus, the three men will test the module’s technologies, including its life-support system.

The Tianhe, which means “Harmony of the Heavens”, is a cylinder 16.6 metres long and 4.2 metres in diameter.

The men will also be monitored for how they fare in space physically and psychologically for an extended period of time.

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Business

U.S, EU end 17-year Airbus-Boeing conflict

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The US and Europe have ended an Airbus-Boeing dispute as they eye off threats from China.

The two sides will suspend tariffs imposed as part of a trade battle for the next five years.

The two sides have been battling since 2004 in parallel cases at the World Trade Organisation over subsidies for U.S. planemaker Boeing and European rival Airbus, which each argued exposed the other to unfair competition.

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A350 takes off at the aircraft builder’s headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

The move is set to improve trans-Atlantic relations between the US and Europe, as they seek to counter China’s rising economic influence.

The US says they struck the truce at a summit in Brussels to end ongoing disputes over government subsidies for the world’s leading commercial plane makers.

They agreed back in March to a four-month suspension of tariffs on $11.5 billion of goods from EU cheese and wine to U.S. tobacco and spirits, which the WTO had sanctioned. Businesses have so far paid more than $3.3 billion in duties.

“Grounding the Airbus-Boeing dispute delivers a major confidence boost for EU-U.S. relations,”

EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis told a news conference after an EU-U.S. summit with U.S. President Joe Biden.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai stated both nations agreed to clear statements on what support could be given to large civil aircraft producers.

They would also work to counter investments in aircraft by “non-market actors” – referring specifically to China.

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Tech

Facebook vs Apple: Battle of the smart watch

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Tension between the tech giants are heating up… and this time, it’s battle of the smart watches.

We know they’re called smartwatches for a reason, and there are rumours Apple’s version could become a vital tool for more than just your movement activity and of course, telling the time.

Future Apple Watches are likely to feature blood glucose and body temperature sensors.

The gadgets will automatically log blood sugar levels for diabetics without the need to prick a finger.

There are also reports a new body temperature monitoring feature is on the way… which peaked interest due to the pandemic.

The new watch will probably be dubbed the Series 7, and will also include a new screen and updated ultra-wideband support as-well.

What will Facebook’s smart watch look like?

Facebook is set to launch its first smartwatch, which the company hasn’t confirmed publicly but currently plans to debut next summer.

The device will feature a display with two cameras that can be detached from the wrist for taking pictures and videos that can be shared across Facebook’s suite of apps, including Instagram, according to the The Verge.

There are rumours the watch will be able to video call at 1080p, with an auto focus camera on the back.

It will also be detachable, so people can capture footage with better ease and directly upload to their Facebook accounts.

Facebook is tapping other companies to create accessories for attaching the camera hub to things like backpacks, according to two people familiar with the project, both of whom requested anonymity to speak without Facebook’s permission.

It’s part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to build more consumer devices that take on Apple and Google’s major stake in devices/accessories.

Facebook aims to release the first version of the watch in the summer of 2022 and is already working on second and third generations for subsequent years.

The price is unknown, but employees have recently discussed pricing the device at roughly $400 USD.

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