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Citing national security grounds, US President Donald Trump has ordered a sweeping but vague ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of the popular social media apps TikTok and WeChat in a move Beijing criticized as “political manipulation."
The Trump administration’s twin executive orders — one for each app — appear to exacerbate the US-China conflict over technology and security. They take effect in 45 days and would bar the apps from the Apple and Google app stores, all but removing them from US distribution.
Trump had previously threatened a deadline of September 15 to “close down” TikTok in the US unless Microsoft or another company acquires it. TikTok, owned by ByteDance, is popular for short, catchy videos through a service that potentially provides American users' personal information to Chinese authorities.
On Friday, shares of WeChat owner Tencent went down 5% in trading in Hong Kong. The firm is Asia’s most valuable tech company and makes most of its money from entertainment and online games in China.
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In Lebanon, President Michel Aoun announced that the blast investigation would encompass three levels of inquiry, including the possibility of foreign interference. The other causes being probed are simple negligence or a mere accident.
And, Moscow has taken a shortcut toward a coronavirus vaccine, with some medical workers and government employees in Russia’s capital being eligible to receive what is being deemed the world’s first vaccine after passing through abbreviated local clinical trials. But there are widespread doubts about the vaccine’s efficacy and safety.
Also, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia stands accused of sending a hit squad to Canada to kill a former Saudi intelligence official. Saad al-Jabri, living in Toronto under private security protection, alleged that Mohammed bin Salman sought — unsuccessfully — to silence him for possessing “damning information.”
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A group of five nongovernmental organizations are pressuring the French government to build a special housing facility exclusively for migrant youth as they await legal decisions on their status in the country.
The massive blast that rocked Beirut in Lebanon on Tuesday left at least 300,000 people without homes. But shortly after the blast, residents started a campaign to offer their homes to those in need.
In a week filled with tragedy, anger and frustration following the massive explosion in Beirut’s port, one glimmer of light are thoughts of Fairuz, Lebanon's most beloved singer, and her song song "Li Beirut" which means "For Beirut."
The song captures the beauty and pain that the city conjures for many people. Sung to the melody of "Concierto de Aranjuez" by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, its lyrics go:
A greeting from my heart to Beirut
Kisses to the sea and to the houses
To a rock which is like an old sailor’s face
She is made from the people’s spirits, from wine
From its sweat…she is bread and jasmine
So how does her taste become a taste of fire and smoke?
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Listen: Lebanese turn to grassroots efforts in blast recovery
Civilians in Lebanon’s capital have little trust in their government, so they’re launching grassroots efforts to recover after this week’s massive explosion. And, if you're an LGBTQ couple in Western Europe, North America or much of Latin America, you can get married. Not in most of Asia. But Thailand is now preparing to challenge the status quo. Also, the tiny island of Cyprus vetoed a major trade deal between the European Union and Canada over halloumi cheese.