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The New Times – Rwanda
In an ongoing retreat by members of the judiciary, Chief Justice Prof Sam Rugege revealed that the remains of about 200 people killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi would be given a decent burial.
Honouring Genocide victims has been an ongoing practice for the last 25 years, but the ones referred to by the Chief Justice have a particularity; they were killed inside the chambers of Ruhengeri Court of Appeal, currently Musanze Court of Appeal in Northern Province.
They had been lured there on the pretext that they would be protected. They realised the trick when it was too late and were all slaughtered and are buried in a mass grave few hundred metres away.
The current Chief Justice wants to go a step further than his predecessors; he wants the court to be turned into a Genocide memorial, just like some churches and schools that were venues of mass killings.
Rugege can be excused for taking action this late; as he said, he just came to learn of the incident recently. Concealing information about the Genocide is one thing, but going to the extent of elaborately covering up evidence is another.
That is the case of Kabuga town on the outskirts of Kigali and it beats all concealment records hands down. A Genocide convict revealed the presence of many mass graves under most of the buildings in the town. Hundreds of bodies were discovered under the first house to be demolished and then a mass excavation exercise ensued.
To date, the remains of a staggering over 60,000 people have been recovered and are set to be reburied on May 4. That is the tragedy of this country, there seems to be no closure as new, even more shocking revelations are always around the corner.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Michael J. Boskin
Two years ago, it seemed clear to me that a combination of factors would lead to increased calls to regulate technology companies, especially Big Tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. When that happens, I argued at the time, regulatory policy would have to strike a sensible balance between mitigating the most harmful effects of technology and allowing tech companies to continue improving people’s lives.
Now that day has arrived, and achieving such a balance will be difficult. Having benignly neglected these companies for years, democratic governments are now producing a dizzying array of policies to regulate them. The risk is that the flurry of policymaking will overcorrect and do more harm than good, not least by unintentionally stifling innovation and competition.
There are at least four separate regulatory policy issues that need to be addressed: privacy, market power, free speech and censorship (including inappropriate content), and national security and law enforcement. Tech-sector policies must therefore be narrowly targeted and carefully crafted to minimise the risk of counterproductive outcomes.
All four issues feature prominently in recent embarrassing revelations about tech firms’ practices, some of which have been detailed in books by industry insiders. Regarding privacy, for example, thousands of Amazon employees listen to what customers say to their Echo speakers, without the company seeking users’ prior permission to do so. Although Amazon says the recordings help to improve its Alexa digital assistant, most ordinary people think this is Orwellian Big Brother behavior.
As for market power, the European Union recently levied its third large fine on Google in as many years for three separate abuses of its market dominance. (Google is appealing.) Concerning content, the mass killings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March were streamed live on Facebook, while there are daily controversies over removing hate speech and the possible anti-conservative bias in defining it. And on national security, the report by US special counsel Robert Mueller contains damning information dating back to 2014 about Russian operatives’ use of social media to sow discord in America’s elections.
In these circumstances, a clamor among the public and politicians to “do something” is not surprising. There is certainly a need for regulation, as some tech bosses admit. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently called on governments to play a “more active role” in regulating the Internet, in order to set clear rules regarding harmful content, election integrity, personal privacy, and data portability. To many, it sounded like the plea of an alcoholic or a drug addict to “protect me from myself.”
Regulators had started to act long before Zuckerberg’s appeal. Regarding data privacy, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May 2018, requires all firms – whether EU-based or not – doing business in the EU to be GDPR-compliant in their global operations, not just those in the EU. But, because the large fixed cost of compliance will hit smaller companies hardest, the GDPR may end up protecting larger firms from competition from small ones.
Furthermore, the network effects that Big Tech firms enjoy – whereby additional users make all users more valuable – create entry barriers and limit competition. In addition to the EU’s fines, the US Federal Trade Commission is reexamining its antitrust policies in this new era of economic concentration. And some of the Democratic candidates for the 2020 US presidential election have their own suggestions for curtailing Big Tech’s market power.
Yet attempts to address market concentration may have counterproductive effects too. The most radical proposal, by Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren, would prohibit Big Tech firms from both operating platforms and offering their own products on them. But consumers currently benefit from ease of use and perhaps lower prices, including “free services” made possible by these platforms’ advertising profits.
Turning tech platforms into regulated utilities is also problematic. A recent draft report in the UK proposed establishing a regulator to enforce codes of conduct – including a level playing field for competitors’ products on digital platforms, open standards for user data, and greater consideration in merger decisions of the potential future harm to competition. Although that is more promising than Warren’s proposal, it risks giving too much power to agencies that could be vulnerable to regulatory capture.
Finally, tech firms need to address the potential national-security risks arising from the use of their products. The current debate over Chinese mobile-telecom giant Huawei’s 5G ambitions underscores this imperative. So did the 2016 confrontation between Apple and the FBI over the company’s refusal to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone, and Google employees’ insistence that the company refuse US defense and intelligence contracts.
Such cases call for cooperation and mutual understanding between tech companies and national-security and law-enforcement professionals. For example, in the FBI episode, Apple CEO Tim Cook worried that a backdoor built into iPhones could be stolen or hacked, potentially causing far more harm. Yet tech firms must understand that actions that hurt profits may be necessary to protect lives in exceptional circumstances, provided the measures are narrowly prescribed and court-supervised.
As technologies continue to develop, the four challenges discussed here will only intensify. That is all the more reason for tech firms and governments to get ahead of the curve before an especially ugly incident causes an even larger public uproar, prompting broader and blunter regulation that unnecessarily limits technology’s undeniable benefits.
Why Egypt is significant to Belt and Road Initiative
By: Noha El Tawil
Egypt’s Suez Canal is expected to become a pivotal part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as it will be the only maritime connection between Africa and Asia on the one hand and Europe on the other hand.
In his speech at the BRI Summit in China, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi highlighted on Friday that the goals of the initiative correspond to the efforts deployed by Egypt to launch a number of mega projects having high ROI and offering diverse investment opportunities. The president stated that on top of those projects is the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCzone) that is an industrial, trade, and logistics center.
The president explained that SCzone provides “promising opportunities” for Chinese companies, other member states of the initiative, and all countries worldwide opting for benefits of Egypt’s strategic location. The chief of state added that SCzone can be a center for the production and re-export of goods to the entire world, particularly to the Arab, African and European states linked with Egypt via free trade agreements.
The Belt and Road Initiative was launched by the Chinese government to enhance trade, investments, and infrastructure in more than 150 countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The initiative is a revival to what was known as “The Silk Road.”
Vice-chairman of the SCzone Mahfouz Marzouk told CGTN in a TV interview last year that the Suez Canal has a basket of currencies that now includes yuan transactions which will create balance in international markets. Yuan is currently used in vessels and shipping services only but there are studies to use it in other sectors in the future since Egypt seeks different sources of hard currency.
TEDA Chinese Industrial city received 13.5 square kilometers southern the canal in 2015. Chinese investors finished the infrastructure, and established 65 logistic entities and 33 industrial entities including Jushi, the largest fiberglass factory in the world. The size of Chinese investments in the zone is $1 billion, and there is a deal signed for a new factory worth $800 million, Marzouk revealed.
The BRI will contribute to upgrading the infrastructure of the 77 member states, Marzouk said. Egypt will be a focal point because of its location, industrial cities, 100 million population, purchasing power of $370 billion, well trained labor, free trade agreements covering 1.3 billion people, and the cost of production that is 30 percent cheaper, Marzouk added.
“There is a pan-African road that is being constructed extending from northern Egypt to Cape town. We finalized our part until Ethiopia. You can take a car from Suez Canal and drive straight to Addis Ababa. The rest will be finished through the help of Chinese companies, Chinese know-how, and investments,” Marzouk stated.
Chairman of the Egyptian-Chinese Business Council Abdel Sattar al-Eshra told CGTN in a TV interview on Friday that Chinese products will pass through the Canal fast after its enlargement.
There are more than 192 global companies operating in the Suez Canal axis. Chinese investments in Egypt rose by 55 percent since the launching of BRI in 2013. The Chinese president has pledged $40 billion of additional investments as part of the initiative, Political Science Professor at Beni Suef University Nadia Helmy told CGTN. China took part in the funding of energy projects in Aswan, railways, infrastructure, and two industrial zones, Helmy said.
Chinese exports to Egypt hit $11 billion in 2018 against imports worth just $1.8 billion. Chinese investments in Egypt reached $15 billion, according to Secretary General of the Union of Arab Banks Wessam Fattoh.
The second edition of BRFIC is taking place on April 25 - 27, and attended by 37 heads of state, the United Nations secretary-general and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). That is in addition to 5,000 from more than 150 countries, and 90 international organizations, according to CGTN.
The initiative was launched in 2013. Since then, BRI agreements were signed by 126 countries and 29 international organizations with China.