- - Thursday, November 22, 2012

NEW YORK — Facebook is proposing to end its practice of letting users vote on changes to its privacy policies, though it will continue to let users comment on proposed updates.

The world’s biggest social media company said in a blog post Wednesday that its voting mechanism, which is triggered only if enough people comment on proposed changes, has become a system that emphasizes quantity of responses over quality of discussion. Users tend to leave one or two-word comments objecting to changes instead of more in-depth responses.

Facebook said it will continue to inform users of “significant changes” to its privacy policy, called its data use policy, and to its statement of user rights and responsibilities. The company will keep its seven-day comment period and take users’ feedback into consideration.


Review process begins for 2nd Philly slots license

PHILADELPHIA — Get ready for round two of the casino selection process in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has begun paging through the six applications it received for the city’s second casino license before the deadline last week. It will likely take at least a year before the board makes a decision, said R. Douglas Sherman, its chief counsel. In the meantime, the board and its staff will sort through the applications, conduct background investigations, hold public hearings and collect written feedback.

The 2004 state gaming law calls for two casinos in Philadelphia. In 2006, five groups competed for the two licenses; those applications led to a groundswell of public opposition that helped delay the opening of one project, Sugarhouse Casino, and contributed to the collapse of a second proposal by a Foxwoods-led group.


Swiss set up vote on ending wealthy tax break

GENEVA — Swiss socialists and labor unions have succeeded in putting the country’s tax breaks for foreign millionaires up to a popular vote.

The tax breaks introduced 150 years ago have helped attract foreigners like Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, and pop stars Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Shania Twain.

The government said Thursday a petition on the issue drew 103,353 signatures, enough to call for parliamentary debate and a national referendum within several years.

Already, four of the nation’s 26 cantons, or states, have decided to scrap the breaks that allow the rich to pay a flat fee and avoid income tax.

That boosts local economies and banks, but creates resentment among ordinary people who pay more tax than rich celebrities.


EU leaders prepare for bitter fight over budget

BRUSSELS — The leaders of Britain and France staked out starkly different visions of the European Union’s future Thursday as they walked into a budget summit, setting the stage for a long, divisive and possibly inconclusive meeting.

While British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to keep payments into EU coffers down as low as possible, French President Francois Hollande called for sustained subsidies for farming and development programs for poorer nations.

With each of the 27 nations having the power of veto over the 2014-2020 budget, the summit negotiations could stretch over the weekend, perhaps without result.

Mr. Cameron voiced the concerns of several other countries that do not want to see an increase in the bloc’s spending plan at a time when many member states are cutting budgets at home.

“No, I’m not happy at all,” Mr. Cameron said about EU President Herman Van Rompuy’s latest offer to cap spending for 2014-2020 at $1.28 trillion.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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