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Eurobites: Trump's Huawei Threats Are Nothing but Bluster, Says EU Bigwig

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: South Africa's broadband slowed by subsea cable faults; BT boss says PM's fiber plan won't happen unless rollout rules change; mental health experts demand social media data from tech giants.

  • President Trump's threat to the UK that it might lose access to crucial US intelligence if it allows Huawei into the country's 5G networks has been dismissed as "sabre-rattling" by Phil Hogan, a European Union Trade Commissioner and Irish politician. As the Guardian reports, Hogan believes the UK can "call Donald Trump's bluff" on the issue, while also declaring that the EU as a whole is not opposed in principle to giving the Chinese vendor access to 5G rollout plans. Somewhere in the White House, a tiny orange finger is poised over the Twitter icon… (See Letting Huawei Into 5G Is 'Madness,' US Warns UK – Reports and UK PM is right: Where is Huawei alternative?)

  • Internet speeds for some South Africans have slowed to a near-standstill since the failure of two key subsea cables that link the country to the global network. According to Business Insider South Africa, both the South Atlantic 3/West Africa (SAT-3/Wasc) cable -- which links Portugal and Spain to South Africa -- and West Africa Cable System (Wacs) -- linking South Africa to the UK -- hit problems at some stage on Thursday.

  • Philip Jansen, the boss of UK incumbent operator BT, has warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the politician's pledge to have fiber "sprouting" into every UK household by 2025 will remain a dumb-pipe dream unless competition rules governing broadband rollout are made clearer. As the Daily Telegraph reports, Jansen told an industry summit that rivals must be allowed to co-operate on the delivery of fiber to sparsely populated regions to avoid overlapping each other. (See BoJo's UK Broadband Plan Looks Barmy, but Don't Write It Off.)

  • Still on the BT beat… the operator has announced itself as the first European distribution partner for Stadia, Google's new cloud-based gaming platform. Customers taking out either BT's Superfast Fibre 2, Ultrafast Fibre 100 or Ultrafast Fibre 250 services can (until the end of this month) choose to receive a free Google Stadia Premiere Edition, which includes a Stadia controller, Chromecast Ultra and three months' access to Stadia Pro.

  • Every week in the UK, more than four school-age children commit suicide: a truly shocking and tragic statistic. And the Royal College of Psychiatrists thinks social media is largely to blame. Now, in a new report, the organization has called for social media giants to be forced to share the data they collect from children online and pay a tax on their global turnover to help fund vital research into the effects of social media on children. In a heartbreaking foreword to the report, Ian Russell, who lost his youngest daughter Molly to suicide in 2017, says: "I have no doubt that social media helped kill my daughter. Having viewed some of the posts Molly had seen, it is clear they would have normalised, encouraged and escalated her depression; persuaded Molly not to ask for help and instead keep it all to herself; and convinced her it was irreversible and that she had no hope … The pushy algorithms of social media helped ensure Molly increasingly connected to her digital life while encouraging her to hide her problems from those of us around her, those who could help Molly find the professional care she needed." Those who would like to donate to the Molly Rose Foundation, which aims to help those suffering from mental illness get the help they need, and of which Ian Russell is the founder, can visit its website here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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