Trump signs executive orders banning TikTok, WeChat for 45 days

Agencies
August 7, 2020

Washington, Aug 7: US President Donald Trump on Thursday (local time) signed executive orders halting all transactions with Chinese applications TikTok and WeChat within 45 days, citing national security concerns, further escalating the tensions between Beijing and Washington.

"WeChat, a messaging, social media, and electronic payment application owned by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings Ltd., reportedly has over one billion users worldwide, including users in the United States. Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. 

This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) access to Americans' personal and proprietary information," Trump said in a statement.

Citing reasons for the ban on WeChat, the US President said that the application captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the US, thereby providing the CCP a mechanism to keep tabs on the Chinese citizens who may be "enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives".

"In March 2019, a researcher reportedly discovered a Chinese database containing billions of WeChat messages sent from users in not only China but also the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia. WeChat, like TikTok, also reportedly censors content that the CCP deems politically sensitive and may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the CCP. 

These risks have led other countries, including Australia and India, to begin restricting or banning the use of WeChat. The US must take aggressive action against the owner of WeChat to protect our national security," he added.

Earlier, Trump had issued an order banning TikTok as it "reportedly censors content that the CCP deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China's treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. 

TikTok may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the CCP."
US politicians have repeatedly criticised TikTok, owned by Beijing-based startup ByteDance, of being a threat to national security because of its ties to China.

The development comes as China and the US are at loggerheads on a variety of issues including Hong Kong national security law, the South China Sea, the novel coronavirus and trade.

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News Network
January 11,2021

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Bengaluru, Jun 11: An all-women cockpit crew operating Air India's inaugural San Francisco-Bengaluru flight arrived in Karnataka's capital after flying over the North Pole and covering a distance of about 16,000 kilometres.

The flight number AI176 left San Francisco on Saturday at 8.30 PM (local time) and arrived in Bengaluru at 3.45 AM on Monday, according to Air India sources.

Flying over the North Pole, this is also, arguably, the second-longest route in the world for a commercial flight. The landmark flight spanned a distance of 13,993 kms, linking two tech hubs located diametrically at opposite ends of the world with a time zone change of about 13.5 hours.

Commanded by Capt Zoya Aggarwal, the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft also had in the cockpit Capt Papagiri Thanmai, Capt Akansha Sonaware and Capt Shivani Manhas. Captain Zoya has a flying experience of over 8,000 hours and has over 10 years of experience commanding a B-777 aircraft.

A huge posse of mediapersons gathered at the Bengaluru Airport as the four pilots emerged out of the arrival terminal, welcomed with a huge round of applause. The beaming foursome showed no signs of any jetlag as they proudly proclaimed their arrival with a thumbs up.

“It has been a great experience. Today, we successfully completed one of the longest flights as an all-women team, a dream realised to connect the world’s two Silicon Valleys. We have turned a new chapter in aviation history,” remarked Capt Zoya.

Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted, "Way to go girls! Professional, qualified & confident, the all women cockpit crew takes off from San Francisco to Bengaluru on @airindiain's flight to fly over the North Pole. Our Nari Shakti achieves a historic first."

Air India too expressed its elation when it tweeted, "Imagine this : -All Women Cockpit Crew. -Longest flight into India. -Crossing the North Pole It's here & happening! Records broken. History in the making by AI176 from @flySFO to @BLRAirport. AI 176 is cruising at 30000 feet." 

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Agencies
January 15,2021

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Brisbane, Jan 15: India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj was targetted for abuse by a section of the crowd on the opening day of the fourth Test against Australia, a local newspaper reported, claiming that he was called a "grub" by some spectators.

The reported incident happened a few days after Siraj was racially abused by spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the third and fourth day of the drawn third Test. That had led to an expulsion of six people from the stands and an unreserved apology from Cricket Australia to the visiting team.

On Friday, a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' quoted a spectator as saying that a section of the crowd at the Gabba targetted Siraj.

"The guys behind me have been calling - shouting - both Washington and Siraj grubs," a spectator named Kate was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"It started targeted at Siraj and it was a chant similar to the SCG one (in which fans sung to the tune of Que Sera, Sera but substituted the lyrics with Que Shiraz, Shiraz).

"But this time it was Siraj. I suspect it's not a coincidence that it's Siraj being targeted post the SCG stuff."

According to the newspaper, at one point, a man in the crowd was heard yelling, "Siraj, give us a wave, give us a wave, give us a wave. Siraj, you bloody grub."

Play was halted during the Sydney Test for about 10 minutes after Siraj complained of racial abuse from a section of the crowd. The BCCI had also lodged a complaint with the match referee against the abuse.

CA had promised strongest possible action against the offenders, which included the possibility of them being banned for life from the SCG.

The ICC had condemned the incidents of Indian players being subjected to racial abuse by the spectators and had sought an action-taken report from CA.

Former cricketers and current players like India captain Virat Kohli, Australia skipper Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer had also condemned the incidents at the SCG.

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Agencies
January 18,2021

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Washington, Jan 18: Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday, the American capital over the weekend was literally converted into a garrison city because of the multiple reports of threats and armed violence that security agencies have been receiving over the past few weeks.

More than 25,000 National Guards have been deployed along with thousands of local police personnel and those from other security agencies. The area in and around Capitol Hill, a large part of Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House has been made out of bounds for the general public with eight-feet high iron barricades being erected.

US Marshals are deploying 4,000 officers to Washington DC. Major parts of the majestic National Mall, which during inauguration is usually thronged by thousands of people, have been closed off.

The entire city is on high-alert as authorities are receiving multiple reports of violent threats from various groups at the level of the incident that happened on January 6 -- when hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed Capitol Hill, disrupting the constitutional process of certification of electoral college votes, forcing hundreds of lawmakers to take shelter at safe locations and vandalizing the historic building. At least five people died in the shameful incident.

In addition to converting downtown Washington DC into a fortress, security in and around State Capitols has also been put on high alert as security officials are gearing up to prevent a January 6-like event and ensure a peaceful transition of power.

ìI think this will be an inauguration unlike any other. It was already destined to be, given COVID concerns and some of the limited seating and public access. But having our fellow Americans storm the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the government certainly warrants heightened security,î Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, told NBC News in an interview.

ìOur police department is working with our federal law enforcement partners and the United States Army also has a plan to pivot if we have any attacks in our neighbourhoods,î she said.

ìWe've never believed that so-called patriots would attempt to overthrow their government and kill police officers. That's exactly what happened. So, I do think we have to take another posture in our city that is more domestic terrorist focused than external to our country and act accordingly. We don't want to see fences. We definitely don't want to see armed troops on our streets. But we do have to take a different posture,î Bowser said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in its internal bulletins has warned of the potential for violence in Washington DC and at all 50 state Capitols. ìWe are concerned, certainly, about these threats in other places,î incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein told CNN in an interview.

ìI do think the Secret Service and all their assets, the help they're getting from the National Guard, will keep the inauguration itself safe and the official ceremonies in Washington safe. But these broader threats are concerning,î Klein said.

He said the president did incite the mob on January 6, and that's "very, very disconcerting".

"It's an action that Congressman Raskin, I thought, was quite articulate about, the unprecedented nature of that action. We are obviously getting briefings from the outgoing administration about the efforts to try to secure state capitals, secure Washington, D.C., the National Capital Region,î he said.

ìThe president-elect is asked Lisa Monaco, the former homeland security adviser to President Obama, to be on point for him in the final days of the transition. We will have a team in place in the White House to monitor these actions going forward starting on 12:00 noon on January 20,î Klein said.

Meanwhile, a Kentucky man was arrested and charged Saturday in connection with the riots last week during which he joined a crowd of individuals who unlawfully entered the US Capitol and disrupted the conduct of business by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

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