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Ted Cruz slapped down at Senate hearing for ‘working the refs’ to keep extremist content on social media

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was called out for “working the referees” by attempting to “terrify” technology company executives into not enforcing their own rules against political extremism.

The Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet on Tuesday held a hearing titled, “Optimizing for Engagement: Understanding the Use of Persuasive Technology on Internet Platforms.”

“I think these questions raise very serious — these documents raise very serious questions about political bias at the company,” Cruz said, referring to Google.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) responded.

“I don’t want the working of the refs to be left unresponded to, I won’t go into great detail except to say that there are members of Congress who use the working of the refs to terrify Google and Facebook and Twitter executives so that they don’t take action in taking down extreme content, false content, polarizing content, contra their own rules of engagement,” he explained.

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“And so, I don’t want the fact that the Democratic side of the aisle is trying to engage in good faith on this public policy matter and not work the refs allow the message to be sent to the leadership of these companies that they have to respond to this bad faith accusation every time we have any conversation about what to do in tech policy,” Schatz concluded.

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UK prime minister hopefuls slam Trump tweets — but refuse to call them racist

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The two candidates vying to become Britain's next prime minister both condemned on Monday US President Donald Trump's xenophobic tweets about progressive Democrat congresswomen as "totally offensive" and "totally unacceptable".

But front-runner Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to call the tweets racist when pressed to do so during their last debate before next week's announcement of who will succeed Prime Minister Theresa May.

May's spokesman had earlier said that the outgoing leader's view was that Trump's comments were "completely unacceptable".

On Monday Trump doubled down on a series of his tweets from the day before urging the four congresswomen of colour to "go back" to the countries they came from.

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New Zealand prime minister condemns Trump’s racist tweets

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday joined international condemnation of US President Donald Trump's xenophobic tweets about progressive Democrat congresswomen.

Ardern, the charismatic young leader who has been hailed as "the anti-Trump" by US media, said she proudly celebrated her country's diversity.

"Usually I don't get into other people's politics, but it will be clear to most people that I completely and utterly disagree with him," Ardern told Radio New Zealand.

Trump on Sunday urged a group of four Democratic congresswomen of colour -- three of them US-born -- to "go back" to the countries they came from, then renewed his attack on them a day later.

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US judge slashes jury award in Roundup cancer case

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A US judge on Monday slashed punitive damages a jury ordered Monsanto to pay in a Roundup cancer trial, saying the sum was too high despite the company's "reprehensible" conduct.

US District Court Judge Vince Chhabria denied a request by Monsanto for a new trial, but ruled that the $75 million in punitive damages was "constitutionally impermissible."

Chhabria reduced to $20 million the amount Monsanto is to pay as punishment in the case which is one of more than 13,000 lawsuits related to the weedkiller launched in the US.

The judge endorsed the approximately $5 million in compensatory damages that Monsanto was ordered to pay the plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman.

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