WhatsApp restricts message forwarding to slow the spread of coronavirus misinformation

WhatsApp restricts message forwarding to slow the spread of coronavirus misinformation

Facebook’s WhatsApp tightened message forwarding limits on Tuesday, restricting users to sharing forwarded content one chat at a time after a jump in messages touting bogus medical advice since the start of the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic, which has killed more than 70,000 people worldwide, has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called an “infodemic” of misinformation, prompting governments and other authorities to urge social media companies to do more to combat the problem. WhatsApp, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, said in a…

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East European sex workers end up in Germany when coronavirus shut down brothels

East European sex workers end up in Germany when coronavirus shut down brothels

Thousands of foreign prostitutes working in Germany have been made homeless after brothels closed due to the coronavirus outbreak and borders snapped shut, making it difficult for them to return home. Authorities in the country, where prostitution has been legal for almost two decades, shut brothels last month along with other non-essential businesses like restaurants and nightclubs to slow the spread of the virus. “The coronavirus has been a disaster for me,” said a Polish prostitute in the western city of Bochum known to her clients as Nicole. “I have…

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Virus blocking puts European public workers at the forefront

Virus blocking puts European public workers at the forefront

As the coronavirus outbreak confines millions of Europeans to their homes, others still show up every day to perform jobs too often undervalued — from truck drivers and checkout clerks to security guards and street sweepers. AFP journalists interviewed several workers helping ensure a minimum of daily life in cities brought to a standstill by the crisis. ‘I no longer see my parents’ Ester Piccinini, 27, is a nurse at the Humanitas Gavazzeni hospital in Bergamo, northern Italy, which has been hammered by a wave of coronavirus deaths. Before the…

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Europe’s role is to stop the “silent massacre” in Nigeria

Europe’s role is to stop the “silent massacre” in Nigeria

Murderous attacks on Christians and ethnic minorities by the Fulani and Islamic terror groups in the northern regions of Nigeria have been going on for close to two decades, leaving more than 60,000 dead. But little has been done by successive Nigerian governments, or by the international community, to tackle and defeat the terror groups. Campaigners want the United States to create a Special Envoy for Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin to focus on terrorism, deteriorating human rights and the root causes of violence, food insecurity and poor governance. But…

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EPP asks for further deferment of Farm to Fork strategy

EPP asks for further deferment of Farm to Fork strategy

The European People’s Party (EPP) group has called for another postponement of the planned Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) until at least after the summer, citing the “crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic”, but its position has been met with criticism from some stakeholders. In a statement released on Friday (27 March), the group said the strategy would “impose new rules and restrictions on farmers across Europe, who are currently coping with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and have to ensure food production in Europe at the same time.”…

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As COVID-19 cases rise, US senators sell off stocks and lower risks

As COVID-19 cases rise, US senators sell off stocks and lower risks

After receiving classified briefings about the coronavirus, some US Senators sold off stocks and then downplayed the virus’ risk to the public. Financial reporting currently shows that five senators have sold major holdings in recent months. Public outrage is high and calls for resignations are mounting. With confirmed COVID-19 cases rapidly rising, the US has ramped up its response to the pandemic in recent days after an initial muddled response from the government, which downplayed the risks of the virus. However, recently released financial reporting shows that certain US Senators…

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Closing borders from viruses complicates the work of cross-border workers

Closing borders from viruses complicates the work of cross-border workers

Return home or stay to earn a living far from your loved ones? That’s the dilemma being thrown up for workers who rely on shuttling across frontiers in Central Europe now that the coronavirus pandemic has seen several countries shut their borders. In Austria, care for the elderly relies on a workforce of around 65,000, 80% of them women from Romania or Slovakia who typically shuttle between Austria and their home countries for weeks at a time. But with several countries now closing their borders, this way of working has…

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Enel says digital drive provides protection against coronavirus threats

Enel says digital drive provides protection against coronavirus threats

Italy’s biggest utility, Enel, does not expect the coronavirus epidemic to have any major impact on its results and says its drive to digitalise operations has given it an advantage. Enel has been ramping up spending on digital networks to offer clients services like remote home appliance controls and car charging points since 2015. Last year it became the first big European utility to move all its data to the cloud. “Being an early mover is key. Digitalisation offers us a hedge against sudden crises like coronavirus for business continuity,”…

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Italy approves parental leave, self-employed grants

Italy approves parental leave, self-employed grants

Italy has rolled out a series of measures to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus, including parental leave, grants for the self-employed, a boost for the hiring of health workers and a provisional suspension of tax payments and social security contributions. To ease the economic and social effects of the virus, the government approved on Monday (16 March) a decree for an aid package of up to €25 billion ($27.77 billion) for families and companies, which will mobilise additional resources of up to €350 billion. The package, unveiled by…

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EU auditors examined fight misinformation block amid fears COVID-19

EU auditors examined fight misinformation block amid fears COVID-19

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has launched a probe into the resilience of the bloc’s attempts to stifle fake news that can ’cause public harm,’ the institution announced on Tuesday (17 March). The investigation comes at a testing time for the EU’s media sector, amid concerns that the dissemination of fake news has risen in relation to the recent coronavirus outbreak. The ECA’s review will cover a range of areas with regards to measures put forward by the EU over recent years to combat the spread of disinformation. “Any…

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