Famine ‘not fake news’: WFP head laments media’s Trump focus

The new head of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley, delivers a press conference about an updated aid appeal for South Sudan on Monday at the United Nations Office in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2017
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Famine ‘not fake news’: WFP head laments media’s Trump focus

GENEVA: The former South Carolina governor who now heads the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said the media’s focus on President Donald Trump is taking away attention from the risk of famine in Africa and the Middle East.
“This is not fake news, this is reality,” said WFP Director-General David Beasley.
Beasley, a Republican whose March appointment was supported by the Trump administration, spoke to reporters Monday after his organization and the UN refugee agency updated an appeal for $1.4 billion to help refugees fleeing South Sudan.
Beasley cited a need to “rise above all the confusion,” particularly in “high-donor states” like the US.
“I mean literally if you turn on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN — it is nothing but Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump!” he said, referring to US TV networks. “And very little information about the
famines in Syria, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen.”
“We have got to break through all of the smoke,” he said. “This is not fake news, this is reality.”
The UN says roughly 20 million people in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are facing possible famine.
“We are making an appeal today for the donors to step up to the game even more,” Beasley said, warning about access difficulties likely in the upcoming rainy season in South Sudan, amid already-difficult access caused by violence in the world’s newest country.
He said that before agreeing to take the job, he had canvassed Congressional leaders to gauge their commitment to WFP, and found it “tremendous.”
But he also alluded to speculation about future US funding. The Trump administration has proposed cuts for UN programs as part of its plan to reduce the State Department’s budget by roughly one-third.


Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain, CTO says

Updated 26 April 2018
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Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain, CTO says

LONDON: Facebook will introduce new measures to boost transparency around adverts in Britain by June this year and require political ads to be clearly labelled, the firm’s Chief Technology Officer told a British parliamentary committee.
In a written submission to the UK parliament’s media committee, Mike Schroepfer said those wanting to run political adverts would have to complete an authorization process and the messages would also have to display who paid for them.
Facebook has said that the personal information of about 87 million users might have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign.
Lawmakers have also raised concern over the use of social media in Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union in 2016.
“I want to start by echoing our CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: what happened with Cambridge Analytica represents a breach of trust, and we are deeply sorry. We made mistakes and we are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Schroepfer wrote.
Earlier this month, Zuckerberg apologized to US senators for issues that have beset Facebook, including shortcomings over data protection.
But the 33-year-old Internet mogul managed to deflect any specific promises to support any congressional regulation of the world’s largest social media network and other US Internet companies.
Schroepfer, who was appearing before the British media committee on Thursday, said it was clear Facebook had not done enough to ensure its tools from “potentially being used for harm” or take a broad enough view of its responsibility.
“That was a mistake,” he wrote.