The White House has refused to back an international commitment to prevent the spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online.
A dozen countries including the UK, France, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, as well as technology giants such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, have supported the “Christchurch Call”.
But the US has not, with the Trump administration saying it was not “currently in a position to join the endorsement”.
This may be down to broader right-wing concerns over taking some conservative commentators off social media platforms.
Earlier this month, Facebook banned far-right commentators and conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos.
And some Republicans in the US have suggested the approach disproportionately targets conservatives.
The new call to action, drafted by the French and New Zealand governments, is named after March’s Christchurch shootings targeting two mosques, where 51 people were killed by a suspected white nationalist.
Australian Brendon Tarrant is accused of carrying out the massacre.
Some of the attack was shown live on Facebook, sparking public outrage and fuelling the debate about how to better regulate social media.
The new agreement, which is not legally binding, aims to prevent similar abuses of the web while preserving “the principles of a free, open and secure internet, without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
Facebook, which owns Instagram and Whatsapp, said it is investing $7.5m (£5.8m) to improve technology to discover videos and photos which were manipulated to avoid detection.
This was the case with the Christchurch shooting, where the attacker live-streamed the massacre.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed Facebook’s pledge, saying: “There is a lot more work to do, but I am pleased Facebook has taken additional steps today… and look forward to a long-term collaboration to make social media safer.”
The tech companies may join forces to develop technology or expand the use of shared digital signatures.
They have promised to reduce the risk that such content is livestreamed, including flagging it up for real-time review.
And they pledged to study how algorithms promote extremist content so they can intervene more quickly.
The White House said it will “stand with the international community in condemning terrorist and extremist content” and thanked Mrs Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron for their efforts.
It added: “We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online… while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”
Saudi Arabia: Moderate Islamic scholars ‘to be executed’ | World News
Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing to execute three moderate Islamic scholars despite the international outrage that followed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Sheikh Salman al Odah, a Muslim preacher with a million strong social media following, will be killed after the holy month of Ramadan say reports.
Amnesty International says more than 100 people have been executed this year, some beheaded and some crucified, including some younger than 18 when they were arrested.
Many of them have been Shia Muslims. The three named as next in line for execution are all Sunni.
Under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the Saudi regime has been even less tolerant of dissent than before.
Several women driving activists remain in jail even though the government has now ended the ban on women being behind the wheel.
Their relatives say they have been abused and subjected to threats of torture and rape.
The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul caused international outrage last year and led to intense pressure on the country’s leadership.
The CIA and other observers believe it was carried out on orders from Mohammed bin Salman.
In an interview with Sky News shortly before his death, Mr Khashoggi expressed intense concern about the arrest of the three now facing execution, pointing out they were supporters of the kind of reforms their government claimed to be implementing.
The UK has defended maintaining close ties with the Saudi regime. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has visited the country several times since the Khashoggi murder.
The Foreign Office says those ties help the UK influence the Saudis.
But if these latest reports are true, such influence has failed to change minds in Riyadh.
The Saudi leadership appears undeterred and determined to continue its policy of zero tolerance of dissent with lethal effect.
Two-metre sea level rise would have ‘profound impact on humanity’ | World News
Global sea levels could rise by more than two metres causing catastrophic consequences for the world, according to a team of scientists.
Such a rise could result in the loss of 1.79 million km2 of land, including critical regions of food production, and the potential displacement of up to 187 million people.
Traditional methods for predicting rising sea levels from the melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic are based on numerical modelling, but these remain challenging due to changing factors.
A team of international scientists used a technique called structured expert judgement to ask 22 ice sheet experts to estimate plausible ranges for future sea level rises.
They asked them to consider the projected melting of each of the Greenland, West Antarctic and East Antarctic ice sheets under low and high future global temperature rise scenarios.
Lead author professor Jonathan Bamber, from the University of Bristol, said: “Structured expert judgement provides a formal approach for estimating uncertain quantities based on current scientific understanding, and can be useful for estimating quantities that are difficult to model.
“Projections of total global subsequent sea level rise using this method yielded a small but meaningful probability of subsequent sea level rise exceeding two metres by the year 2100 under the high temperature scenario, roughly equivalent to ‘business as usual’, well above the ‘likely’ upper limit presented in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
Prof Bamber added: “Such a rise in global sea level could result in land loss of 1.79 million km2, including critical regions of food production, and potential displacement of up to 187 million people.
“A subsequent sea level rise of this magnitude would clearly have profound consequences for humanity.”
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com.
Monks to resurrect ‘lost’ beer from 12th century – it’s 10.8% | World News
Monks at an abbey in Belgium will be brewing beer again after a 200-year break.
The Grimbergen Abbey was ransacked and the brewery smashed in 1795 by French troops and the monks stopped brewing their own beer.
But plans to build a new brewery have been approved and the monks expect to have their first ales by the end of 2020.
Father Karel Stautemas, one of 11 Norbertine canons living in the abbey, said he wouldn’t encourage people to drink too much of the beer, which is 10.8% alcohol by volume.
“One or two is okay,” said Grimbergen mayor Chris Selleslagh.
Father Stautemas took a brewing course in Copenhagen and will become one of five or six workers at the new brewery.
“For us, it’s important to look to the heritage, to the tradition of the fathers for brewing beer because it was always here,” he said.
“Brewing and religious life always came together.”
The monks spent four years researching the methods and recipe for the abbey’s traditional brew, as it was all thought to have been lost when it was ransacked.
But Father Stautemas told The Guardian no one could read the old books, because they were in old Latin and old Dutch.
He said: “We’ve spent hours leafing through the books and have discovered ingredient lists for beers brewed in previous centuries, the hops used, the types of barrels and bottles, and even a list of the actual beers produced centuries ago.”
But only some of the same methods and recipes will be transferred, as ale was a “bit tasteless” in those times.
Marc-Antoine Sochon, an expert at Carlsberg who will be the project’s brewmaster, said: “We will keep the same yeast, which will bring all the fruitiness and spiciness and we will start to dig into more innovations, such as barrel-ageing, dry-hopping.”
The abbey, which was founded in 1128, has been tied to commercial brewers since the 1950s, when brewer Maes asked the monks to use their name and their emblem, the phoenix, on its abbey beer.
That beer is still manufactured, by Heineken’s Alken-Maes for Belgium and Carlsberg for other markets. The abbey earns royalties.
The abbey has planted hops in the garden and plans to also open a visitors centre.
Monks will stick to the Trappist beer maker rules, even though they aren’t Trappist, and will brew within the abbey walls, control the brewing and put the profits into maintaining the abbey and supporting charitable causes.
Politics1 week ago
Why Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden really need each other
World1 week ago
Chinese streaming giant iQiyi planning out original movie business
Politics1 week ago
As Democrats champion plans for free college, one GOP state already has a model program
World1 week ago
Venezuelan general tells military to ‘rise up’ against Maduro regime
World1 week ago
Auto tariffs threat on Europe could be Trump ‘Trojan horse’: Expert
Politics1 week ago
European elections UK manifestos: The MAJOR promises as Brexit Party SURGES in polls
World1 week ago
Here’s how China may retaliate to Trump’s tariff hike
World1 week ago
Markets send clear signal to US and China on the trade war