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Protesters, mainly Houthi supporters, rally to show support to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Sanaa, Yemen April 26, 2024.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Hard Numbers: Houthis widen strike zone, Americans sour on TikTok, Warsaw synagogue targeted, Russia shows off US tank

300: A Houthi drone launched from Yemen last Friday struck the MSC Orion, a cargo vessel transiting the Indian Ocean, over 300 nautical miles away from the Red Sea, where Houthis have constrained their attacks until now. Striking targets in the Indian Ocean presents a serious escalation, and experts told the Guardian that ships linked to Israel, the US, or the UK would likely need to be rerouted even further from normal shipping lanes to stay safe.

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TikTok logo on a phone surrounded by the American, Israeli, and Chinese flags.

Jess Frampton

The battle over TikTok’s future, explained

Last Wednesday, as part of the sweeping foreign-aid package that included much-neededfunding for Ukraine’s defense, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill requiring that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, sell the popular video-sharing app to an American buyer within a year or face a ban in the United States.

As Iwrote a little over a year ago, I think this is a close call but the right move. TikTok is ultimately beholden to the Chinese government, an authoritarian state-capitalist regime locked in an increasingly adversarial strategic competition with the US. As intelligence agencies have warned, the platform poses a national security vulnerability because Beijing can commandeer it to surveil and manipulate Americans. No remedies or assurances to the contrary can mitigate that risk short of a Chinese divestment or an outright ban.

Most importantly, the Chinese Communist Party already bans all US social media apps under the guise of national security. TikTok itself is banned in China, where ByteDance is only allowed to operate a heavily censored version for domestic users. In my ideal world, this would be an area for US-China competition rather than confrontation. Alas, the CCP isn’t taking down its so-called Great Firewall anytime soon, so I see the US divestment/ban order as a fair and reciprocal response that will protect not only US national security but also American social media companies from their most formidable competitor.

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Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks to members of the media on the day the House approved legislation providing $95 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, at Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2024.

REUTERS/Ken Cedeno

Tiktok ban and foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan passes in the House

After months of stalling, the House of Representatives agreed in four separate votes to approve $95 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan on Saturday, as House Speaker Mike Johnson puts his job on the line to advance critical aid to America’s allies. The bills will now head to the Senate and are expected to pass on Tuesday.

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US TikTok ban: China’s complaints are a double standard
US TikTok ban: China’s complaints are a double standard | Nick Burns | GZERO World

US TikTok ban: China’s complaints are a double standard

Beijing blocks US technology companies like Facebook, Google, and X from operating in China. So why is the Chinese government so upset over the proposed TikTok ban in Congress? US Ambassador to China Nick Burns discussed China’s double standard when it comes to foreign tech firms on GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. The US has been pushing for TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app’s US operation, and millions of nationalist netizens on Chinese social media are decrying it as another example of the US limiting China’s global rise.

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Jess Frampton

Who pays the price for a TikTok ban?

It’s a tough time to be an influencer in America.

TikTok’s future in the United States may be up against the clock after the House voted in favor of banning the popular social media app if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, doesn’t sell. President Joe Biden said he’d sign the bill if it reaches his desk, but it’s unclear whether the Senate will pass the legislation.

Biden and a good chunk of Congress are worried ByteDance is essentially an arm of the Chinese Communist Party. Do they have a point, or are they just fearmongering in an election year amid newly stabilized but precarious relations between Washington and Beijing?

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The US vs TikTok (and China)
- YouTube

The US vs TikTok (and China)

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Four years since the US declared COVID a national emergency, how did it permanently reshape the world?

Well, a couple of things. First, it meant that US-China relations got worse, not better. The World Health Organization, the one global organization meant to deal with pandemics, got delegitimized. This was not a crisis that led to greater cooperation. It led to greater mistrust and greater polarization, in part because it wasn't a big enough crisis. Thankfully, we had vaccines really fast, and it also turned out that COVID really affected mostly the super elderly and those with serious preexisting conditions. All of that allowed the geopolitical rifts that already exist to get worse. One good thing, aside from the fact that technology really works, is that the Europeans got stronger on the back of this crisis. They now have more coordinated capabilities to respond to health crises than they did before the pandemic hit. And that has been the EU response to a lot of crises recently, Brexit, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you name it.

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A CPU semiconductor chip is displayed among flags of China and the US.

REUTERS/Florence Lo

US-China tech “Cold War” is on

The best fallacies stem from kernels of truth. In the case of what is being framed by some as the US-China “Cold War,” that kernel lies in the tech sector, where competition between the world’s two largest economies is fierce. The Biden administration has been increasingly clear that it is intent on slowing down China’s technological rise, and has centered its efforts toward decoupling — a low-grade form of economic warfare.

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TikTok app in front of an American flag


Montana takes on TikTok

Republican Governor Greg Gianforte made history on Wednesday when he signed a bill to outlaw TikTok in his state. The first-of-its-kind law makes Montana the only US state to ban the video-hosting app (so far!), a move Gianforte said was inspired by the need to protect Montanans’ data from the prying eyes of the Chinese government.
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