Australia to force Facebook, Google to pay media companies for content

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020   •   636

Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move on Friday (July 31) to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.

Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the U.S. platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

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Australia donates more oxygen concentrators to PH for COVID-19 patients

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has received another batch of oxygen concentrators from the Australian government as part of its continuing support to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

In a statement, the NTF said the 100 oxygen concentrators arrived in Manila on Thursday.

The first batch of oxygen concentrators were delivered last August 28.

“Australia is increasing its commitment to the Philippines in terms of COVID-19 support, and we’re increasing our commitment by further [to] P433 million to make a grand total of P1.8 billion that Australia is donating to the Philippines,” Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson said during a press conference following the turn-over.

The NTF said the first batch of the medical equipment was distributed to 27 hospitals across the country.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the donation is vital to the country’s clinical management of the country’s severe and critical COVID cases.

“This will go a long way in improving the quality of care that we provide our patients in the several hospitals that have been benefited by these pieces of equipment,” Duque added.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. thanked Australia for its compassion and generosity to the Filipino people.

“This life-saving oxygen concentrator will go a long way and a lot of people will be saved, thousands of them because of these concentrators,” Galvez said.

Aside from its donation of medical equipment and contribution to the COVAX facility, Australia, in partnership with UNICEF, will also provide over 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.

The said vaccine donations are expected to arrive in the country by the fourth quarter of this year.

AFP gets P57M worth of medical equipment, supplies from Australian government

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has received about P57 million worth of medical equipment, supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Australian Government.

In a statement, the AFP said the donated items were turned over to the military in a ceremony held at Pier 15, South Harbor in Manila on Tuesday, September 28.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr. led the ceremony with Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson AO handing over the donation.

“Throughout this unpredictable COVID19 pandemic, I am very pleased that Australia is able to provide flexible and responsive support to the Philippines. These additional medical and personal protective equipment will be critical in VLMC’s COVID-19 testing efforts, and treatment of COVID patients,” Robinson said.

“The turnover of donations from the Australian Government is a clear testament of the collaborative partnership that both our respective nations and military forces continue to nurture and sustain, as we aspire to work together in promoting the welfare of our people and country,” Lt. Gen. Faustino said.

Lorenzana, for his part, conveyed the Defense Department’s gratitude and appreciation to the country’s long-standing strategic partner.

“The Australian Government has expanded the coverage of its Defense Cooperation Program to include the pandemic needs of Filipino Soldiers; a gesture that conveys the message that we are not alone in this fight,” he said.

“Certainly, these donations will ramp up the day-to-day clinical management and quality of care and service which AFP’s medical arm is expected to provide,” he added.

The AFP said the donated equipment and supplies will be turned over to the AFP’s primary military hospital, the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC) to support its COVID19 response, testing efforts and capacity for hospitalization of minor to critical patients.

PH military receives P2.7M worth of IT, multimedia equipment from Australia

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said it has received Information Technology (IT) and multimedia equipment worth P2.7 million from the Australian government.

AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana received the donation in a ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, June 23.

“With these newly donated IT and multimedia equipment, the AFP will be able to amplify its capability of preventing and countering violent extremism, here in our country,” General Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.

Among the donated equipment were high-tech computers, tablets, storage devices, smart TVs, cameras, and audio recording components.

The donation was under the mutually agreed Australia-Philippines Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program.

Australian Defence Attaché Colonel Paul Joseph Barta said these equipment will help the AFP in its efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in the Philippines.

“The equipment will assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ office for the prevention and countering of violent extremism research to achieve its mission – by documenting and understanding the drivers of radicalization, effective strategies for prevention of violent extremism can be found,” Barta said.

Sobejana expressed gratitude to the Australian government and the Australian Defence Force for the donation.

“Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the Australian Government and the Australian Defence Force for their continued support to the AFP in the ongoing fight against terrorism. It is through these initiatives that our members become more empowered to fulfil their mandate to secure the state and protect the Filipino people,” he said.

With the new equipment, the AFP said access and exchange of information among military allies shall be made more available and secured.

It also assured it continues to strengthen its counter-terrorism capabilities within the cyberspace where access to available information is critical.

“We have already made great strides in enhancing our capabilities in the cyberspace environment. However, we do acknowledge that much is still needed,” Sobejana said.

“After the grueling Marawi siege in 2017 against the ISIS-Maute Group, and the lessons that we have to learn the hard way, the AFP is more than determined to prevent any incidents of the same nature from ever happening in the future,” he added.

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