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Judge rejects Facebook’s complaints against Irish data watchdog, probe into EU user info transfers to US can resume — RT World News From “RT World News”



An Irish High Court judge has thrown out Facebook Ireland’s attempt to stop an investigation by the country’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), which had ordered the tech giant to stop sending data from its EU users to the US.

“For the reasons set out in this judgment, I refuse all of the reliefs sought by FBI (Facebook Ireland) and dismiss the claims made by it in the proceedings,” Justice David Barniville said in his 197-page ruling on Friday.The judge said Facebook Ireland “has not established any basis” for impugning the DPC’s preliminary draft decision to suspend its data transfers to the US or move to start investigating the matter.The DPC was not in breach of its “duty of candour” in how it defended itself in the case, as Facebook had claimed, although the regulator should have answered questions put to it by the company last year, the judge added.He also said there was “no basis” for the DPC to make now-withdrawn allegations that Facebook’s case amounted to an “abuse of process and improper purpose,” adding that the allegation should have been withdrawn sooner.

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Facebook launches court challenge of Irish watchdog over data transfers from EU to US

In a statement following the ruling, Facebook vowed to defend its compliance with EU law, saying it had not broken data privacy rules and that it applies “appropriate data safeguards.”A spokesperson for the social media site said the DPC’s “preliminary decision could be damaging not only to Facebook, but also to users and other businesses.”The DPC has for years acted as the EU’s main watchdog as regards Facebook, owing to the tech firm basing its European headquarters in Dublin.The Irish agency issued an order in August for Facebook not to transfer EU user data to the US following a ruling by the bloc’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), that Facebook’s protection of data transfers was not in line with EU standards.The regulator welcomed the CJEU’s ruling, saying it highlighted that “EU citizens do not enjoy the level of protection demanded by EU law when their data is transferred to the United States.”

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Irish data watchdog launches investigation into Facebook over leak affecting half a billion users

Facebook then asked for a judicial review of the DPC’s decision, which was rejected on Friday.A separate action was also launched against the DPC’s inquiry by data and privacy campaigner Max Schrems, who feared the watchdog’s Facebook probe could interfere with his own complaints against the platform over its handling of his data.Schrems has long raised concerns over how his personal information may have been intercepted by US intelligence agencies known to intercept data transferred to the US.In a statement on Friday, the activist welcomed the saga nearing an apparent end, saying in a statement that the DPC could get its inquiry “out the door within a matter of two months, after almost eight years of procedures.”Like this story? Share it with a friend!







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EU and India agree to resume long-stalled trade talks | Business and Economy News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



The European Union and India have agreed to resume stalled free trade negotiations and seek closer cooperation to combat climate change at a virtual summit, as concerns about China bring Brussels and New Delhi closer.
Partly overshadowed by the COVID-19 crisis in India, the meeting on Saturday brought together Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all of the bloc’s 27 leaders for the first time in eight years in a sign of the EU’s renewed interest in the Indo-Pacific region.
Past EU-India summits have involved only the Indian prime minister and the EU’s chief executive and chairman.
“We agreed to resume negotiations for a … trade agreement which would respond to the current challenges,” EU and Indian leaders said in a statement after the talks, adding that for talks to succeed, both sides had to solve market access issues.
In parallel, EU and India will start talks on a separate investment protection deal and an accord on geographical indications – famous brand names often linked to the places they are made, from France’s champagne to India’s Darjeeling tea.
“Between the EU and India there is a close relationship but also a lot of untapped potential,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “The most untapped potential is in trade and investment.”
China’s rise from a benign trading partner to a rival power with a growing military presence has alarmed the West and its allies in the Indo-Pacific, where Brussels wants more influence.
“We agreed that, as the world’s two largest democracies, the EU and India have a common interest in ensuring security, prosperity and sustainable development in a multi-polar world,” the joint statement said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the resumption of talks.
“The negotiations have also stalled many times and that is why I am so glad that they have now been resumed,” she said after an informal EU summit.
She said she expected work would move ahead at a “much faster pace”.
EU-India trade talks were frozen in 2013 over differences including tariff reductions, patent protection, data security and the right of Indian professionals to work in Europe.

Today’s meeting was a milestone in 🇪🇺🇮🇳 relations.
We agreed that we will resume the Free Trade Agreement negotiations!
In parallel, we will launch negotiations on an EU-India investment protection agreement & on Geographic Indications. pic.twitter.com/FwA35u4G6K
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) May 8, 2021

Competition with China
The bloc’s leaders, at an EU summit in Porto in Portugal, faced pressure over the Modi government’s crackdown on dissent, with civil society groups including Amnesty International holding a candlelit vigil outside the summit venue.
Ahead of the talks, Amnesty International called on EU leaders to push Modi to “live up” to shared values.
“An intolerance of dissent has been a hallmark of Prime Minister Modi’s time in office,” Eve Geddie, the rights group’s EU office director said.
A 2020 study by the European Parliament put the benefits of a trade deal for the EU with India at up to 8.5 billion euros ($10.2bn), although the estimate was made before the United Kingdom’s departure from the bloc.
The EU and India also agreed to build joint infrastructure projects around the world, notably in Africa, to be described as a connectivity partnership.
The deal follows an accord between the EU and Japan in 2019, seeking an alternative to China’s vast Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure strategy that raised suspicion in the West and Tokyo.
Both sides also pledged increased cooperation to limit climate change. The statement said the EU and India would hold meetings to collaborate in renewable energy, energy storage technology and modernising power grids.








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Australia to resume India repatriation flights after backlash From “BBC News – World”



Meanwhile Australia’s Trade Minister, Dan Tehan, has said the country’s borders may not fully reopen until the middle or second half of 2022. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Tehan said he was hopeful that more travel corridors would be opened, like the one between Australia and New Zealand.







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US says fate of nuclear pact up to Iran as talks resume From “Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines”



WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is signaling that Iran shouldn’t expect major new concessions from the United States as a new round of indirect nuclear talks is set to resume.A senior administration official told reporters Thursday that the U.S. has laid out the concessions it’s prepared to make in order to rejoin the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018. The official said success or failure now depends on Iran making the political decision to accept those concessions and to return to compliance with the accord.The official spoke to reporters in a State Department-organized conference call on the eve of the negotiations’ resumption in Vienna. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the U.S. position going into the fourth round of closed-door talks at which the remaining participants in the nuclear deal are passing messages between the American and Iranian delegations.The comments came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken complained of Iranian intransigence in the talks during a visit to Ukraine.“What we don’t know is whether Iran is actually prepared to make the decisions necessary to return to full compliance with the nuclear agreement,” Blinken said in an interview with NBC News in Kyiv. “They unfortunately have been continuing to take steps that are restarting dangerous parts of their program that the nuclear agreement stopped. And the jury is out on whether they’re prepared to do what’s necessary.”Iran has thus far given no indication it will settle for anything less than a full lifting of all the Trump sanctions and has balked at suggestions it would have to reverse all of the steps it has taken that violate the deal. Iranian officials have in recent weeks said the U.S. has offered significant, but not sufficient sanctions relief, but they have not outlined exactly what they would do in return.The administration official said the United States is ready to return to the explicit terms of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, as they were negotiated by the Obama administration, but only if Iran will do the same. The official said the United States will not accept doing more than required by the JCPOA to bring Iran back into compliance.Story continuesThe deal gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Much of that relief evaporated after Trump pulled out and re-imposed and expanded U.S. sanctions. Iran responded by breaking though the deal’s limits on uranium enrichment, the use of advanced centrifuges and other activities such as heavy water production.After previous rounds of talks in Vienna, the administration had said there was flexibility in what it might offer to Iran, including going beyond the letter of the deal to ease non-nuclear sanctions from the Trump era that nonetheless affected the relief the Iranians were entitled to for agreeing to the accord.That is still the case, although the official’s comments on Thursday suggested that the limits of that flexibility had been reached. The official would not describe the concessions the U.S. is prepared to make and declined to predict whether the fourth round would produce a breakthrough.However, the official said it remains possible to reach an agreement quickly and before Iran’s June presidential elections that some believe are a complicating factor in the talks. The official said the outlines of what both sides need to do is clear. “We think it’s doable,” the official said. “This isn’t rocket science;”But, the official said success depends on Iran not demanding more than it is entitled to under the terms of the original deal and by verifiably reversing the steps it has taken that violate it.The Biden administration has been coy about what specific sanctions it is willing to lift, although officials have acknowledged that some non-nuclear sanctions, such as those Trump imposed for terrorism, ballistic missile activity and human rights abuses, may have to be eased for Iran to get the relied it is entitled to. That’s because the some entities that were removed from sanctions under the nuclear deal are now penalized under other authorities.







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Lebanon and Israel resume indirect talks on maritime border From “World”




Lebanon and Israel have resumed indirect talks with U.S. mediation over their disputed maritime border after nearly a six-month pause







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Lebanon and Israel talks resume over disputed maritime border | Business and Economy News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



Lebanon and Israel are resuming US-mediated talks regarding a dispute over their Mediterranean Sea border that has held up hydrocarbon exploration in the potentially gas-rich area.
The talks, between countries still technically at war, kicked off at the UN base in the town of Naqura in southern Lebanon, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Lebanon and Israel took part in indirect talks to discuss demarcation last year. But they stalled after Lebanon demanded a larger area, including part of the Karish gas field, where Israel has given exploration rights to a Greek firm.
The talks last year were supposed to discuss a Lebanese demand for 860sq km (330 square miles) of territory in the disputed maritime area, according to a map sent to the United Nations in 2011.
However, Lebanon then said the map was based on erroneous calculations and demanded 1,430sq km (552 square miles) more further south, including part of Karish.
“The discussion will start from where we left it off,” a source at the Lebanese presidency told AFP news agency on Tuesday. He said both Israel and Lebanon demanded a different demarcation line.
“We don’t accept the line they’ve proposed, and they don’t accept ours, so we’ll see what the mediator suggests.”
Last month, Lebanese President Aoun demanded Israel halt all exploration in Karish until the dispute was settled [File: Reuters]Last month, Lebanese President Michel Aoun demanded Israel halt all exploration in Karish until the dispute was settled.
In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for offshore drilling for oil and gas in Blocks 4 and 9, with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, ENI and Novatek.
Lebanon in April said initial drilling in Block 4 had shown traces of gas but no commercially viable reserves.
Washington said on Friday the discussions would be brokered by US diplomat John Desrocher, and called the resumption of talks “a positive step towards a long-awaited resolution”.
Desrocher arrived in Beirut on Monday night to take part in the talks, according to The Associated Press news agency.
Lebanese politicians hope that commercially viable hydrocarbon resources off Lebanon’s coast could help lift the debt-ridden country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.
But Lebanon’s government stepped down after a enormous blast at Beirut’s port in August 2020, and deeply divided politicians have been unable to form a new cabinet ever since.







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New York To Resume 24-Hour Subway Services Halted A Year Back Over Covid From “NDTV News – World-news”



The New York subway services were halted overnight in May 2020 due to the Covid outbreak (File)New York: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a major easing of coronavirus restrictions Monday, including the imminent resumption of 24-hour operations on the city subway.In May 2020, when New York was the epicenter of the United States’ Covid-19 outbreak, services were halted overnight to allow for trains to be disinfected.From May 19, many business and cultural venues in the city — including shops, restaurants, cinemas and museums — will also no longer be subject to percentage limits on occupancy.These limits currently vary between 33 and 75 percent capacity.Businesses will be allowed to welcome as many people as they want provided six feet of social distancing is maintained, as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”It’s fully open, subject to six feet,” Cuomo told reporters. The six-feet rule does not apply if all customers provide proof of vaccination or a negative test.”All the arrows are pointing in the right direction,” he added, pointing to declining Covid-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations, which are at their lowest since November, and rising vaccination levels.Outdoor gathering limits will double from 250 to 500 people, while 250 people will be able to get together indoors, up from 100.Indoor event venues will be able to operate at 30 percent capacity, up from 10 percent currently, while outdoor sports stadia will operate at 33 percent.Cuomo said underground trains services in the Big Apple will resume around the clock on May 17.Monday’s announcement, made in coordination with the neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut, came as 80,000 city government workers returned to offices, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.De Blasio has said he hopes New York City can “fully reopen” by July 1.Many private employers have yet to set a return date though, and the business districts in Midtown and Wall Street remain deserted with many staff still working from home.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)







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UPDATE 1-EU says Iran talks in Vienna to resume on Tuesday From “Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines”



(Adds status of talks)BRUSSELS, April 26 (Reuters) – Talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear accord will resume on Tuesday, the European Union said on Monday, the latest of several rounds of talks to bring the United States back into the deal and to convince Tehran to end its breaches.Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia have been meeting in Vienna to agree steps that would be needed if the agreement, which was abandoned by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018, is to be revived.”Participants will continue their discussions in view of a possible return of the United States (to the accord) and on how to ensure the full and effective implementation (of the accord), the EU said in a statement.A U.S. delegation is in a separate location in Vienna, enabling representatives of the five powers to shuttle between both sides because Iran has rejected direct talks.In the first two rounds, European parties to the deal said that they had seen progress but that much more work was needed. (Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Hugh Lawson)







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