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ÉCRANS,RTL (France)

PARIS – Four French anti-racism organizations have sued Google for its automatic suggestion function that prompts search requests to see if certain public figures are Jewish, French website Écrans reports.

The Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF), SOS Racism and two other groups said the search engine corporation's "auto-suggestion" tool was breaching a French law that bans ethnic statistical categorizing. When a user types the name of a politician, pop star or other famous people, Google suggests keywords that you may want to search along with the name of this person. For a surprisingly high number of people on Google.fr the search engine prompts the word "Jewish" to appear.

The issue first received attention during the French presidential campaign when some noticed that Google auto-suggest completed searches for then candidate (and eventual winner) François Hollande with the French word for Jewish, "juif," even though Hollande comes from a Catholic family.

By recording personal data on citizen's ethnicity "without explicit consent," the California-based company is "probably building the biggest list of Jews in History," Patrick Klugman, the attorney for SOS Racism, told RTL radio station.

Google responded by saying that the suggestions were not made "manually," but rather were "algorithmically generated according to most popular searches' in order to better facilitate web search.

On Wednesday, the Paris judge handling the case, Martine Provost-Lopin, decided to appoint a former judge as a mediator in the case to oversee talks between the web-search giant and the anti-racist groups. The two sides have until June 27 to try to reach an agreement or risk winding up taking the case to trial.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Missiles And Euphoria: The Folly Of War On Full Display In Kharkiv

As Ukraine's counter-offensive gathers steam, the city of Kharkiv is targeted by Putin's forces. Here's a view from up close, during heavy shelling that has sparked power and water outrages, even as the liberation of territory sets off scenes of joy and elation.

Russian shelling destroyed a residential building in Kharkiv in early September 2022.

Ivanna Skyba-Yakubova

KHARKIV — For several years, a woman has been sitting on the corner of my street selling flowers almost every day. On Sep. 9, our neighborhood was shelled for the first time – and have no doubt that an hour and a half after the missile hit our street, she was sitting right there in her usual place. People were cleaning up broken glass and cutting tree branches 50 meters from her. Some came to buy flowers.

In some way, this is all you need to know about life right now in Kharkiv.

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We are hostages of geography: the time it takes for the missile to reach Kharkiv from Belgorod, Russia, as air defense officers tell us, is 43 seconds. None of our existing defense systems are able to prevent their arrival in our neighborhood.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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