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TikTok and WeChat to be banned in US from 20 September

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Washington: The US on Friday issued orders to ban popular Chinese social media apps TikTok and WeChat from Sunday to safeguard national security, weeks after India banned them, saying they were prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country.

The move comes a day after US President Donald Trump said he is looking into American major Oracle’s reported bid for the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok and wants to ensure there is no compromise on national security before approving the deal.

Last month, Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok and WeChat by September 15 unless the ownership of the two Chinese companies changed to American.

At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of US laws and regulations, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

The Department of Commerce warned other social media apps of replicating WeChat or TikTok’s illicit behaviour. The president has the authority to consider whether additional orders may be appropriate to address such activities.

Beginning September 20, the US has banned any provision of service to distribute or maintain WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the US. It also bans any financial transactions including transferring funds or processing payments within the US, the department said in a statement.

From September 20, for WeChat and from November 12, for TikTok, the US has banned any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the US; content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the US.

India banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, We Chat, and UC Browser on June 29, saying they were prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country. It was expanded to 224 Chinese apps later. The ban was imposed in the backdrop of a tense standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese troops.

President Trump had also cited India’s action against the Chinese apps while announcing his plan to ban them last month.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US, the statement said.

The announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the US by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality, it said.

Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party, Ross said.

The president has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted, the department said.

While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar, the Department of Commerce said, alleging that each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories.

Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP. This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security, it said.

On August 6, Trump signed executive orders which determined that the apps capture vast swaths of information from US users, leaving the data vulnerable to CCP access for nefarious purposes.

As per the executive order, the Department of Commerce was required to identify transactions within 45 days to protect national security and the private data of millions of people across the country.

The US has also banned any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the US; and any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the US.

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Famous Football Player Cristiano Ronaldo Tested Positive for COVID-19

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo has been tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. He will miss Portugal’s Nations League sport against Sweden on Wednesday.

Due to Cristiano been found positive, the remaining players of the Portugal squad also underwent tests this Tuesday morning. But all of the negative and would be available for the upcoming match against Sweden.

We pray for his speedy recovery.

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Thousands of people protesting over Kyrgyzstan election result

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Kyrgyzstan Protest

Thousands of people are protesting in Kyrgyzstan over allegations of vote-buying and intimidation in Sunday’s parliamentary election. The capital Bishkek saw the largest protest while rallies were also held elsewhere in the ex-Soviet republic.

Only four parties out of 16 passed the 7% threshold for entry into parliament, three of which have close ties to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov. International monitors have said the claims of vote-buying are “credible”.

None of the established opposition parties got a seat in parliament. Now all of these parties have declared that they will not recognize the results of the election. Opposition candidates are calling on the Central Electoral Commission in Kyrgyzstan to cancel the results of the vote. One candidate, Ryskeldi Mombekov, told a crowd of more than 5,000 protesters: “The president promised to oversee honest elections. He didn’t keep his word.”

Mr. Mombekov’s party, Ata Meken, had been confident of entering parliament, but in the end, it was one of the eight parties that missed the threshold. Protesters are also calling on President Jeenbekov to resign. Thomas Boserup, head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s election observation mission, said in a briefing that although the vote had been “generally well organized”, allegations of vote-buying were a “serious concern”.

The two leading parties, which got a quarter of the vote each, were Birimdik and Mekenim Kyrgyzstan. President Jeenbekov’s younger brother, Asylbek Jeenbekov, is in Birimdik.

Mekenim Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, is seen as being closely connected to the powerful Matraimov family. The family’s figurehead, Rayimbek Matraimov, is believed to have helped finance Mr. Jeenbekov’s successful presidential campaign in 2017.

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White House press secretary tests positive for COVID-19

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Kayleigh McEnany

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. She has become the highest-ranking White House official to have contracted the virus after US President Donald Trump and the first lady tested positive.

The coronavirus has so far killed more than 200,000 Americans this year.

“After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,” McEnany said in a statement posted on Twitter.

No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit, she said.

“Moreover, I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” she said, referring to her press meet in the White House while not wearing a mask.

“As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time. With my recent positive test I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely,” McEnany said.

A close aide of the president and the first lady, Hicks was the first senior White House official last week to have tested positive. Soon thereafter Trump and his wife Melania tested positive.

To this end, the White House issued a statement to wish its president and all others struggling with the disease a speedy recovery.

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