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Netflix and YouTube are slowing down in Europe to keep the internet from breaking

Both companies said the measures will affect all video streams for 30 days.”We estimate that this wi..

Both companies said the measures will affect all video streams for 30 days."We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.A spokesperson for Google (GOOGL), which owns YouTube, said: "We will continue working with member state governments and network operators to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience."The changes follow appeals from EU officials for streaming services and individual users to ditch high definition video to prevent the internet from breaking. With so many countries on forced lockdowns to fight the spread of the virus, hundreds of millions working from home and even more children out of school, the officials were concerned about the huge strain on the internet.European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is responsible for the EU internal market covering more than 450 million people, spoke to Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings on Wednesday and again on Thursday about the strain video streaming was placing on networks. In a statement on Thursday Breton said that given the unprecedented situation, streaming platforms, telecom operators and users "all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation." According to a 2019 report by American networking equipment company Sandvine, video accounts for over 60% of data delivered from internet providers to consumers, with Netflix accounting for just under 12% of total traffic. Google traffic, driven by YouTube, accounts for another 12%.A Netflix spokesperson told CNN Business the reduction may mean some users "see a reduction in perceptible video quality," while others won't see any change.A spokesperson for Amazon (AMZN) said it has also begun efforts to reduce streaming bitrates on its Prime Video service, and was working with authorities to help mitigate network congestion.The Commission said that while there has been a sharp increase in internet usage, no outages or adverse effects have so far been reported. EU officials said they would work with the regulator that oversees electronic communications in the bloc to set up a special reporting mechanism to monitor internet traffic and respond to capacity issues.Telecom operators said they support calls for customers to switch to standard definition streaming."At this stage, new traffic patterns are being effectively handled by engineers as per standard network operations," Lise Fuhr, director general of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association, said in a statement. "We support the European Commission's effort to ensure that national governments and national regulators have all the tools they need to keep networks strong across the continent."Howard Watson, chief technology and information officer for BT Group (BTGOF), said in a statement that the company "has more than enough capacity" in its UK network. "Even if the same heavy data traffic that we see each evening were to run throughout the daytime, there is still enough capacity for work applications to run simultaneously," he said. Verizon (VZ) CEO Hans Vestberg also said his company's US network is prepared to handle the traffic. "So far [we're seeing] no congestion in the network, we can handle that, we have built a very robust network," Vestberg told CNN Business' Richard Quest on Thursday. He did acknowledge that the company is seeing different kinds of demands on the network — including a 75% jump in gaming traffic and a 30% increase in VPN usage from the prior week.But the internet is clearly under pressure. Facebook (Read More – Source

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Europe

Kosovo highest court rules new government can be formed without snap elections

Issued on: 29/05/2020 – 03:25Modified: 29/05/2020 – 03:29

Kosovo's Constitutional Court ruled..

Issued on: Modified:

Kosovo's Constitutional Court ruled late on Thursday that a new government can be formed without holding a snap election, a decision opposed by the caretaker prime minister's party, which has vowed street protests.

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Albin Kurti's government was dismissed on March 25 after less than two months in office, following disagreements with its main partner, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and removal of tariffs on Serbian goods.

"The biggest political party does not have the exclusivity to propose the candidate of the prime minister to form the government," the court said in its verdict.

Kurti backed a snap election after seeing that other parties rallied together with his former coalition partner the LDK to form a new government. His party said it will organise protests in coming days.

The task to form the government is now given to LDK nominee Avdullah Hoti, former deputy prime minister and a past finance minister.

Hoti has promised he will return to negotiations with Serbia to normalise ties under EU and United States mediation. Such talks were halted in 2018 when a previous government introduced a 100% tariffs on goods produced in Serbia.

The move has angered the European Union and the United States, which backed Read More – Source

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Europe

The ICC says ex-Ivory Coast president Gbagbo can leave Belgium under conditions

Issued on: 28/05/2020 – 22:03Modified: 28/05/2020 – 22:03

The International Criminal Court on Thur..

Issued on: 28/05/2020 – 22:03Modified: 28/05/2020 – 22:03

The International Criminal Court on Thursday said former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo can leave Belgium under certain conditions following his acquittal last year over post-electoral violence that killed 3,000 people.

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Gbagbo and his deputy Charles Ble Goude were both cleared of crimes against humanity a year ago, eight years after the former West African strongmans arrest and transfer to the Hague-based court.

Belgium agreed to host Gbagbo, 73, after he was released in February under strict conditions including that he would return to court for a prosecution appeal against his acquittal.

However, Gbagbo and Ble Goude cannot “travel beyond the territorial limits of the municipality of the receiving State without the explicit and prior authorisation of the Court,” an ICC statement said Thursday.

Ble Goude, who lives in The Hague, was released under similar conditions as Gbagbo.

Gbagbos lawyers had in February appealed for his unRead More – Source

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Europe

Nissan to shut factory in Barcelona, thousands of workers affected

Issued on: 28/05/2020 – 21:53Modified: 28/05/2020 – 21:56

Japanese carmaker Nissan has decided to ..

Issued on: Modified:

Japanese carmaker Nissan has decided to shut its factory in Barcelona where 3,000 people are employed after four decades of operations, the Spanish government said on Thursday.

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The decision came despite government efforts to keep the plant open, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told the national radio station.

“We regret this decision by Nissan to leave not just Spain but Europe… to concentrate its business in Asia, despite the enormous efforts by the government to keep the business going,” she said.

Spain is one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus fallout, a context that particularly stoked anger among workers at the Barcelona plant.

Shameful

“Its shameful that a multinational company like this one would drop us in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said 54-year old Jordi Carbonell who has been with Nissan for 32 years.

Carbonell said he had felt “cheated” by management in recent years. “No production site is profitable without a sufficient production volume and here they just let it die,” he said.

Spains car industry is the European Unions second-biggest after that of Germany, accounting for 10 percent of the countrys gross domestic product.

With Brexit, the Barcelona site became Nissans main one in the European Union. The Japanese company runs a bigger production facility in Sunderland in Britain.

In addition to 3,000 direct jobs, some 22,000 more depend indirectly on the site, according to unions.

The industry ministry confirmed to AFP that Nissans chief executive had informed it of plans to stop operations at the Barcelona site, which groups several production facilities.

Safeguard employment

Production there had already ground to a halt at the start of the month when some staff went on strike demanding an investment strategy for the site after plans were announced to cut 20 percent of the workforce.

Foreign Minister Gonzalez Laya said “all kinds of help” had been proposed to Nissan in the run-up to Thursdays decision and that the government would “not throw in the towel”.

The head of Nissans European operations, Gianluca de Ficchy, said “all that support was taken into account in order to have an overall economic equation going forward”.

Nevertheless, “weve reached the conclusion that the overall economic equation for the plant was not sustainable going forward,” he added.

But Gonzalez Laya said Spain would “explore all solutions, because our concern is to safeguard employment”.

She did not rule out the possibility of finding a buyer for the plant.

Economy Minister Nadia Calvino meanwhile said the government had invited Nissan to start talks “to see how this process could be managed”, to no avail.

The Madrid government has argued that the cost of closing Nissans Barcelona operation, which it put at more than one billion euros ($1.1 billion), was higher than the investmRead More – Source

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