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Senate opens hearing into Facebook plans for Libra cryptocurrency

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U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were set to grill Facebook Inc on its cryptocurrency plans on Tuesday, as the project continues to draw intense scrutiny from financial regulators and politicians across the globe.

Facebook is fighting a rearguard action to get Washington onside after it shocked regulators and lawmakers with an announcement on June 18 that it was hoping to launch a new digital coin called Libra in 2020.

Since then it has faced criticism from policymakers and financial watchdogs at home and abroad who fear widespread adoption of the digital currency by the social media giant’s 2.38 billion users could upend the financial system.

“Facebook has demonstrated through scandal after scandal that it doesn’t deserve our trust,” Democratic senator Sherrod Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in his opening remarks. “We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts.”

Critics have expressed anger that the company would have got so far in its plans for such a potentially groundbreaking project without extensive input from policymakers, especially when it is already in the spotlight over privacy issues.

The Senate Banking Committee is questioning David Marcus, the company’s top executive overseeing the project, on issues ranging from how Libra could affect global monetary policy to how customer data will be handled.

Marcus, who was president of PayPal from 2012 to 2014, tried to assuage concerns in his opening remarks by promising that Facebook will not begin offering Libra until regulatory issues are addressed.

“We know we need to take the time to get this right,” Marcus, who is also due to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, said.

Marcus is likely to get a frosty reception from other Democratic lawmakers who already believe the company is too large and careless with consumer data.

He is also likely to face skepticism from Republicans after U.S. President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced concerns.

“They’re going to have to convince us of very high standards before they have access to the U.S. financial system,” Mnuchin said on Monday.

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24 Hours Across Africa

England dropped Sterling after Gomez altercation

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England and Machester city player Raheem Sterling has been dropped ahead of  Euro 2020 qualifer match against Montenegro.

England Football Association took  to social media to confirm that Sterling had been dropped “as a result of a disturbance in a private team area”.

Sterling and Gomez had an on-field altercation during the Reds’ 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Sunday.

But sterling has qunch the fire via his Instagram account on Tuesday, by stating “Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,” Sterling said via his Instagram account on Tuesday.

“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.

“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it

“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.

England boss Gareth Southgate said on Monday: “Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw.

“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.

“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken.

“Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Groups criticise Kenya’s census figures

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Groups has criticised the released Kenya’s population census figures stating that the results are not accurate.

It found that the total population of the country is now 47.6 million, nine million more than in 2009.

But some regions have experienced a decrease in population.

These outcomes can be hugely controversial because the size of the local population has important implications for the level of government funding they receive.

Kenya’s population is made up of many different ethnic groups, closely aligned to competing political parties.

The government has yet to release all the data on the ethnic composition of the country, but the changes in population in certain regions from this latest census have already caused arguments.

The outcome of such surveys can embolden or weaken claims made by groups for political representation or resources.

In one area of the north-east territories bordering Ethiopia and Somalia, the census indicates a decrease in the population, prompting local political leaders looking to retain funding for their provinces to question the veracity of the survey

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