USA

Trump bans transactions with Alipay, WeChat Pay, WPS Office

Trump bans transactions with Alipay, WeChat Pay, WPS Office

The US political landscape is again under a tense atmosphere as people count down the days before a critical change in government. Before that happens, however, the current administration under President Donald Trump seems to be making haste to implement orders and make new rules that have been in the making for months. The latest in that list is an executive order that finally does what Trump has long threatened to do and ban transactions with certain Chinese apps, including those used for money transfers like WeChat Pay.

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Covid stimulus check payments: How much money, and when?

Covid stimulus check payments: How much money, and when?

This week a new COVID-19 relief package is on the brink of passing in Washington DC. If the bill does pass as it's written right now, it would appear that each individual recipient of a "direct payment" will get about half of what they received in the first relief payment earlier this year. Not all Americans will be eligible for this payment. We'll know the full extent of the rules and regulations of this bill once it's been made public (via the internet) this afternoon.

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DJI to continue selling drones in the US despite blacklist

DJI to continue selling drones in the US despite blacklist

The year is far from over and, as far as the current US government is concerned, there is still plenty of time for actions that have long-lasting effects. One of those is expanding the US' notorious "Entity List" to include not just SMIC, China's largest chipmaker, but also, surprisingly, popular drone company DJI. That said, the latter was already rumored to be on the country's hit list, giving it time to make a bold response assuring customers in the country that they will still be able to buy DJI's products as normal.

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Why America just gave DJI the Huawei treatment

Why America just gave DJI the Huawei treatment

This week the United States government added the drone company DJI to their Entity List. The United States Bureau of Industry and Security for Commerce added DJI to this list alongside 76 other entities on Friday, December 18, 2020. DJI and the rest of the entities added to the Entity List were determined to be "acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.

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DJI and SMIC added to US sales blacklist

DJI and SMIC added to US sales blacklist

Today the United States Commerce Department added the drone company DJI to their trade restrictions blacklist. More specifically, this is the U.S. Commerce Department Entity List, making DJI subject to Export Administration Regulations (EAR). This is a move very similar to the U.S. government's move against other China-based companies like Huawei and ZTE.

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Nokia 5.4 debuts in Europe, US online store launched

Nokia 5.4 debuts in Europe, US online store launched

HMD Global literally has dozens of Nokia phones littering the global market, just like the Finnish giant of old. Almost ironically but unsurprisingly, it hasn't yet flooded the US market with those easy to forget models. It does have a few which you can get only through carriers or third-party retailers but it is now making it possible for US buyers to purchase a Nokia phone directly from HMD Global. Strangely enough, it doesn't yet include the Nokia 5.4 that it just launched in Europe.

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US Treasury and Commerce emails reportedly exposed to Russian hackers

US Treasury and Commerce emails reportedly exposed to Russian hackers

There has been a lot of coverage lately about the Chinese government's ability to use the likes of Huawei and ZTE to spy on the US but it seems that a different country may have successfully pulled that off instead. According to multiple sources, at least two US government agencies have had their emails snooped on by hackers who are believed to be backed by a nation-state, specifically Russia.

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FCC starts process to remove Huawei, ZTE equipment from US networks

FCC starts process to remove Huawei, ZTE equipment from US networks

It seems that the year won't be ending well for Huawei and ZTE even though the two's smartphone businesses remain somewhat stable for now. The Chinese companies' networking businesses, on the other hand, might be dealt with a rather devastating blow based on the FCC's latest orders. Removing Huawei's and ZTE's networking equipment will hurt rural carriers the most but the FCC promises help will be coming, provided the US Congress finally gets the funds needed to subsidize the costs.

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Joby acquires Uber Elevate as Uber invests further $75M

Joby acquires Uber Elevate as Uber invests further $75M

Uber and Joby Aviation just announced a deal that included an acquisition, "expanded partnership", and $75 million dollars. Uber will invest "a further $75 million" more than they'd previously invested in the aviation company - they'd previously invested $50 million as part of Joby's Series C financing round in the first month of 2020.

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TikTok’s fate in the US is now even more uncertain

TikTok’s fate in the US is now even more uncertain

Social networks have repeatedly come under scrutiny by the US government but few are in danger of going out of business as TikTok is. Granted, the popular short video sharing platform would be able to continue its operations outside of the US in the worst-case scenario but losing such a large market could be fatal to the fledgling company. Thrice it has escaped a complete ban in the US but even as the final deadline lapses, TikTok remains in limbo even more than before.

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Facebook might finally be sued by the US government next week

Facebook might finally be sued by the US government next week

The political landscape in the US hasn't yet stabilized almost a month after one of the most important elections in its recent history. It is perhaps because of that state of flux that government officials under the current administration are moving quickly to wrap things up while they can. Last month saw Google formally sued for monopolistic business practices and TikTok's fate could very well be decided this Friday. Next week will see yet another high-profile legal drama when the US government slaps Facebook with an antitrust lawsuit of its own.

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Historic Arecibo telescope collapses after multiple cable breaks

Historic Arecibo telescope collapses after multiple cable breaks

A complete collapse of the instrument platform of the Arecibo Observatory's 305m telescope collapsed last night. The collapse was confirmed this morning by the National Science Foundation in a series of official messages. The NSF is working with stakeholders to "assess the situation", and no injuries were reported. Per an NSF representative: "Our top priority is maintaining safety."

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