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Europe signs off on a new privacy pact that allows people’s data to keep flowing to US

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FILE - A worker adjusts the US and EU flags prior to the arrival of European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the EU-US Energy Council Ministerial meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, on April 4, 2023. The European Union signed off Monday July 10, 2023 on a new agreement over the privacy of people’s personal information that gets pinged across the Atlantic, aiming to ease European concerns about electronic spying by American intelligence agencies. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

LONDON (AP) — The European Union signed off Monday on a new agreement over the privacy of people’s personal information that gets pinged across the Atlantic, aiming to ease European concerns about electronic spying by American intelligence agencies.

The EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework has an adequate level of protection for personal data, the EU’s executive commission said. That means it’s comparable to the 27-nation’s own stringent data protection standards, so companies can use it to move information from Europe to the United States without adding extra security.

 

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in October to implement the deal after reaching a preliminary agreement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Washington and Brussels made an effort to resolve their yearslong battle over the safety of EU citizens’ data that tech companies store in the U.S. after two earlier data transfer agreements were thrown out.

“Personal data can now flow freely and safely from the European Economic Area to the United States without any further conditions or authorizations,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said at a press briefing in Brussels.

Washington and Brussels long have clashed over differences between the EU’s stringent data privacy rules and the comparatively lax regime in the U.S., which lacks a federal privacy law. That created uncertainty for tech giants including Google and Facebook parent Meta, raising the prospect that U.S. tech firms might need to keep European data that is used for targeted ads out of the United States.

The European privacy campaigner who triggered legal challenges over the practice, however, dismissed the latest deal. Max Schrems said the new agreement failed to resolve core issues and vowed to challenge it to the EU’s top court.

Schrems kicked off the legal saga by filing a complaint about the handling of his Facebook data after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations a decade ago about how the U.S. government eavesdropped on people’s online data and communications.

Calling the new agreement a copy of the previous one, Schrems said his Vienna-based group, NOYB, was readying a legal challenge and expected the case to be back in the European Court of Justice by the end of the year.

“Just announcing that something is ‘new’, ‘robust’ or ‘effective’ does not cut it before the Court of Justice,” Schrems said. “We would need changes in U.S. surveillance law to make this work — and we simply don’t have it.”

The framework, which takes effect Tuesday, promises strengthened safeguards against data collection abuses and provides multiple avenues for redress.

Under the deal, U.S. intelligence agencies’ access to data is limited to what’s “necessary and proportionate” to protect national security.

Europeans who suspect U.S. authorities have accessed their data will be able to complain to a new Data Protection Review Court, made up of judges appointed from outside the U.S. government. The threshold to file a complaint will be “very low” and won’t require people to prove their data has been accessed, Reynders said.

Business groups welcomed the decision, which clears a legal path for companies to continue cross-border data flows.

“This is a major breakthrough,” said Alexandre Roure, public policy director at the Brussels office of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, whose members include Apple, Google and Meta.

“After waiting for years, companies and organisations of all sizes on both sides of the Atlantic finally have the certainty of a durable legal framework that allows for transfers of personal data from the EU to the United States,” Roure said.

In an echo of Schrems’ original complaint, Meta Platforms was hit in May with a record $1.3 billion EU privacy fine for relying on legal tools deemed invalid to transfer data across the Atlantic.

Meta had warned in its latest earnings report that without a legal basis for data transfers, it would be forced to stop offering its products and services in Europe, “which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.”

 

World

Message of Condolence from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the Passing of Sir Neville Nicholls

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) expresses profound sadness on the passing of Sir Neville Nicholls. His contributions to our region have left an indelible mark, and his legacy will be remembered with great respect and admiration. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. Sir Neville’s dedication and service to the Caribbean will continue to inspire us all.

Sir Neville served the CDB with distinction in progressively critical roles from 1971 until his retirement in 2001. As President, he led the Bank for three terms with vision, wisdom and a deep understanding of the Region’s socio-economic landscape.

Sir Neville also contributed his wide experience and expertise to several public and private institutions in his homeland, Barbados, including the legal and academic fraternities.

CARICOM conveys deepest condolences to his family, community of friends and former colleagues.

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Deputy Secretary of State Kurt M. Campbell’s Travel to Ghana, Gabon, Senegal, and the United Kingdom

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WASHINGTON, DC (FNN) – Deputy Secretary of State Kurt M. Campbell will embark on an important diplomatic mission from July 14 to July 19, visiting Ghana, Gabon, Senegal, and the United Kingdom. This trip is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations, advancing democracy, enhancing economic cooperation, and addressing regional and global security challenges.

Itinerary and Objectives:

Ghana (July 14-15)

  • Meetings:
    • President Nana Akufo-Addo
    • Youth leaders
  • Key Topics:
    • Strengthening U.S.-Ghana partnership
    • Advancing democracy and security in West Africa
    • Reinforcing two-way trade and investment
    • U.S. investment in digital technology solutions

Gabon (July 16)

  • Meetings:
    • Leaders of Gabon’s transition government
    • Civil society leaders
  • Key Topics:
    • Discussing political transition toward democracy
    • Exploring economic growth opportunities
    • Visiting a Congo Basin rain forest
    • Highlighting U.S. support for environmental and sustainable management practices
    • Advancing U.S.-Gabon security partnership, focusing on regional stability and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea

Senegal (July 17)

  • Meetings:
    • President Bassirou Diomaye Faye
    • Entrepreneurs
  • Key Topics:
    • Emphasizing dedication to democracy, good governance, and economic growth
    • Showcasing U.S. investments:
      • Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $550 million power compact
      • U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s $81 million loan for the hospitality industry
    • Discussing IT solutions for economic growth and environmental challenges

United Kingdom (July 18-19)

  • Meetings:
    • Senior UK officials in the new government
  • Key Topics:
    • Addressing global challenges through the Special Relationship
    • Ceasefire in Gaza
    • Supporting Ukraine against Russia’s aggression
    • Outcomes from the NATO Summit in Washington
    • Priorities in the Indo-Pacific

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Launch of WHO’s Investment Round and announcement of winners of 5th edition of the Health For All Film Festival

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Date and Place: 26 May 2024 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm at WHO Headquarters’.

Prior to the formal opening of the World Health Assembly on Monday 27 May, on Sunday WHO will launch its Investment Round and announce the winners of the 5th edition of the Health For All Film Festival.

The event will be opened by the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and attended by High-Level Representatives of Member States. There will be statements of commitment to WHO from Member States and other supporters. The event will also feature live performances by internationally acclaimed Egyptian opera singer Farrah El Dibany and renowned Franco-American pianist ​Jeff Cohen, and the awarding of Film Festival prizes by Indian actor, filmmaker, and social advocate Nandita Das.

The event will be live-streamed

Information about WHO’s Investment Round can be found here: WHO’s Investment Round

Health for All Film Festival

The Grand Prix winners of the Health for All Film Festival will be announced by Indian actor, filmmaker and social advocate Nandita Das, who is a member of the distinguished international jury. The winners of four special film prizes, on the themes of Universal health coverage; Emergencies, refugees and migrant health; Better health and physical activity; and the very short films category, will also be announced.

More than 900 filmmakers from 110 countries submitted short films for this 5th edition of the festival, on themes ranging from climate change and refugees to tobacco use and gender-based violence.

This event will be followed by a high-level reception hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany.

This event is primarily for World Health Assembly delegates, partners, and special guests by invitation only.

Journalists wishing to attend in person are invited to register here: https://indico.un.org/event/1011840/

Programme for Sunday, 26 May 2024

17:00 – Opening of the Launch Event of WHO’s Investment Round

· Investment Round video

· Song renditions Farrah El Dibany with Jeff Cohen

Welcome remarks WHO Director-General Dr Tedros

A Director-General’s Award for Global Health will be announced; 2 additional DG Awards will be announced on Monday.

Statements by invited guests:

· H.E. Ms Mia Mottley – Prime Minister of Barbados

· Mr Gordon Brown – former UK Prime Minister, current WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing

· H.E. Ms Nisia Trindade – Minister of Health of Brazil (video statement)

· H.E. Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari – Minister of Health of Qatar

· H.E. Mr Jan Christian Vestre – Minister of Health of Norway

· Mr Frédéric Valletoux – Minister Delegate in charge of Health and Prevention, France

· Dr Gabriel Leung – The Institute of Philanthropy

18:00 – Announcement of winners of 5th Health For All Film Festival

Opening remarks:

Actor Nandita Das announces winners:

· Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Grand Prix

· Better Health and Well-being Grand Prix

· Health Emergencies Grand Prix

Song rendition by Farrah El Dibany with Jeff Cohen

18:30: Conclusion

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