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EU, UK open first antitrust probe into Facebook in Europe | European Union News



The European Commission said it will investigate whether Facebook misuses a trove of data gathered from advertisers to compete against them in classified ads.

Facebook Inc. is facing its first in-depth probe by European regulators, the latest in a series of efforts to crack down on big tech market dominance across the continent.

The European Commission said it will investigate whether Facebook misuses a trove of data gathered from advertisers to compete against them in classified ads. It will also check if the company unfairly ties its Marketplace small ad service to the social network.

At the same time, the U.K said it was opening probes into Facebook’s Marketplace and Dating services hours after Germany’s antitrust watchdog announced a case targeting the Google News Showcase product.

The cases open up yet another front for the world’s biggest tech firms to fight on, as regulators investigate their market power during a pandemic when online commerce and advertising has become far more important to people working from home. Germany is already investigating Facebook and Inc. while France is examining advertising practices by Google and Apple Inc.

Opening a formal probe means regulators can start building firm evidence of antitrust violations, a process that can lead to a charge sheet, or statement of objections, and may eventually culminate in hefty fines or an order to change the way a business operates.

Shares of Facebook were up less than 1% to $328.1 at 9:47 a.m. in New York on Friday. The stock has gained about 20.2% this year.

Friday’s move by the EU is the first time it’s escalated a case into Facebook’s behavior beyond the preliminary stages. It follows other high-profile cases targeting Google, Apple Inc. and Inc. The EU previously fined Facebook for failing to provide correct information in the merger review of the WhatsApp takeover.

“Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief. EU regulators “will look in detail at whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage in particular on the online classified ads sector, where people buy and sell goods every day,” she said.

Online commerce has played an increasingly important part of Facebook’s business during the pandemic as more people are buying goods online.

“Commerce ads continue to do very well and drive a meaningful amount of our overall business,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on an earnings call in April. He said more than 1 billion people now visit Facebook Marketplace each month.

Facebook “will continue to cooperate fully with the investigations to demonstrate that they are without merit,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We are always developing new and better services to meet evolving demand from people who use Facebook.

The U.K.’s antitrust regulator also opened its own probe into Facebook data, looking at both Marketplace and the dating service the company launched in Europe last year.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it planned to investigate whether Facebook abused its dominant position by collecting data from services including its single sign-on option.

The increasingly tech-focused CMA is running an independent investigation, but said it will cooperate with the EU probe. The CMA said its initial investigation including information gathering will run until Feb.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office said Friday that it’s looking at the Google News Showcase to check if its terms offer “unreasonable conditions” to publishers. The move is latest in a series of assaults on Big Tech by Germany’s antitrust chief Andreas Mundt.

The EU investigation mirrors an earlier probe into Amazon by looking at how a so-called digital platform may use data it gathers from companies that use its service to compete against them. The EU commission has been investigating Facebook since 2019. Facebook sought to curb the probe with lawsuits last year to limit what information officials could scoop up.

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Former Minister Tumubweine Burial Set for Thursday




Ephraim Manzi Tumubweine the Former Minister of Privatization and former Rukiga county Member of parliament is to be laid to rest on Thursday.

He will be buried at his ancestral home in Kigara, Kamwezi sub county in Rukiga district.

Manzi succumbed to Covid-19 on Friday at around 10pm at Case Clinic in Kampala where he has been admitted.

Tumubweine who was the Kabale University Council Chairperson collapsed during the 5th Graduation Ceremony at Kabale University on May 28th 2021 and was rushed to Kabale regional referral hospital. He was later referred to Case Clinic in Kampala from where he passed away on Friday.

Former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda described Tumubweine as a leader of integrity who served the government and the people of Rukiga with distinction.

Jack Sabiti, the former Rukiga County MP who is also the National chairman of the elderly council in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party says that the death of Tumubweine is a big blow to the people of Rukiga. Sabiti says that despite the deceased being his political rival they were close friends.

Pulikeria Mwine Muhindo, the Rukiga RDC says the burial function will be conducted under strict adherence to the Covid 19 guidelines, with only 20 people allowed at the  burial grounds



The post Former Minister Tumubweine Burial Set for Thursday first appeared on ChimpReports.

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Rwanda repatriates Ugandan soldier




Pte Bakulu Muhuba being handed over to Ugandan authorities

Pte Bakulu Muhuba being handed over to Ugandan authorities

A Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier Pte Bakulu Muhuba has regained his freedom after being released by Rwandan security. Muhuba, who is attached to the 32nd Battalion Nyakabande in Kisoro district, was arrested by Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) soldiers at around 2:45 pm on Sunday while allegedly found loitering in Kamanyana-Majyambere village in Burera district, Rwanda. 

RDF soldiers on patrol, intercepted Muhuba who was donning a UPDF uniform and carrying a Medium Machine Gun (MMG) with 100 rounds of ammunition, a pair of binoculars, a cell phone, and his military ID documents.

However, a Ugandan security official at Chanika border who preferred anonymity refuted Rwanda’s claims, saying that Muhuba was with a group of fellow UPDF soldiers patrolling the Ugandan side of Chanika border on Saturday evening around 5:50 pm but stayed behind to ease himself.  

Later, he fell into an ambush of Rwandan soldiers who’d crossed to the Ugandan side. They allegedly placed him at gunpoint and whisked him off to the Rwandan side. On Sunday evening at around 9 pm, Rwandan security officials repatriated Muhuba and handed him over to Ugandan security officials at no-man’s land at Chanika border. 

Captain Peter Mugisha, the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner, witnessed the repatriation and hailed RDF for releasing Muhuba unhurt. Such incidents are common along the Uganda-Rwanda border.

A mark stone that separates Uganda and Rwanda

On May 25 this year, two RDF soldiers crossed to Kazaza and Mukayaga villages in the Kamwezi sub-county, Rukiga district. The soldiers, who included a captain and his two escorts crossed to Uganda in pursuit of waragi smugglers. 

The soldiers returned to Rwanda without being arrested by Ugandan security authorities. The governments of Uganda and Rwanda have been feuding since 2019. On February 27, Rwandan President, Paul Kagame issued a travel advisory to his nationals against traveling to Uganda, saying their safety is not guaranteed.      

He accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in non-designated areas. Kagame also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially from Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which have declared war on the Kigali government.

The Rwandan authorities advised the truck drivers to use the Mirama Hill border in Ntungamo district. The border closure took a huge toll on truck drivers and suffocated business along the border especially Katuna and Chanika town. This led to an increase in smuggling along the border with most Rwandan nationals crossing to Uganda through porous border points to buy food. 

Rwandan authorities, on accusations of smuggling, have shot dead at least eight people including Ugandan and Rwandan nationals. On July 30, 2019, President Museveni told journalists at Kabale State Lodge that they are discussing the impasse with his Rwandan counterpart.

However, to date, the negotiations mediated by the Angolan President, João Lourenço and his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart, Félix Tshisekedi, are yet to bear positive results.

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India eases COVID rules as new cases dip to two-month low | Coronavirus pandemic News




Many states, including capital New Delhi, ease restrictions as new infections drop to the lowest since March 31.

Many Indian states have eased coronavirus restrictions, including the capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed all shops and shopping centres to open, as the number of new infections dropped to the lowest in more than two months.

Experts have cautioned against a full reopening as India has vaccinated only about 5 percent of its estimated 950 million adults with the necessary two doses, leaving millions vulnerable.

Infections peaked in India in May with about 400,000 new cases a day but that dropped to 70,421 new infections reported on Monday, the lowest daily increase since March 31, health ministry data showed.

The number of deaths went up by 3,921, the data showed.

India has had the second-highest tally of COVID-19 infections in the world after the United States, with 29.51 million cases and 374,305 deaths, according to ministry data.

Authorities in Delhi allowed all shops and shopping centres to reopen although bars, gyms, salons, cinemas and parks remained shut.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said markets and restaurants would be carefully watched this week.

“If we see coronavirus cases are going up, we will have to reimpose strict restrictions,” Kejriwal said in a televised address on Sunday.

Hospitals in Delhi had struggled to provide oxygen cylinders and beds to patients last month as infections surged but, earlier this month, the city allowed businesses to bring back 50 percent of employees and partially resumed public transport.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, known for automobile manufacturing, some businesses were allowed to bring back 50 percent of employees and salons and liquor shops re-opened. Bus services remained suspended until June 21.

In Bengaluru, the capital of neighbouring Karnataka state and a major tech hub, traffic returned to the streets as authorities allowed the partial re-opening of businesses though the strict night and weekend curfews remained in place.

The pressure to resume some economic activity has grown as millions depend on daily wages to pay for food and rent.

“India needs to reopen as the challenge of maintaining a fine balance between lives and livelihoods is very crucial,” said Rajib Dasgupta, head of the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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