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TikTok’s US general manager says service isn’t going anywhere

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tiktoks us general manager says service isnt going anywhere

The U.S. general manager of Chinese video sharing app TikTok has said that the service is ‘not planning on going anywhere’ after President Donald Trump vowed to ban it over security and privacy concerns.

‘We’re not planning on going anywhere,’ said Vanessa Pappas in a video address on TikTok. ‘When it comes to safety and security we’re building the safest app because it’s the right thing to do.’

‘We are so proud of all the various communities who call TikTok home,’ Pappas said, urging the app’s millions of users to ‘stand for TikTok.’

Pappas claimed that the app employs 15,000 people in America, and plans to add an additional 10,000 jobs in the coming years.

It follows Trump’s vow to sign an executive order banning the app, which is expected as soon as Saturday, and has set off a flurry of acquisition speculation, with Microsoft reportedly exploring a deal to take control of the Chinese app in order to allow it to continue operating in the U.S.

'We're not planning on going anywhere,' said Vanessa Pappas, US general manager of TikTok, in a video address on the service

'We're not planning on going anywhere,' said Vanessa Pappas, US general manager of TikTok, in a video address on the service

'We're not planning on going anywhere,' said Vanessa Pappas, US general manager of TikTok, in a video address on the service

'We're not planning on going anywhere,' said Vanessa Pappas, US general manager of TikTok, in a video address on the service

‘We’re not planning on going anywhere,’ said Vanessa Pappas, US general manager of TikTok, in a video address on the service

Two people familiar with the matter said on Saturday that China’s ByteDance has agreed to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok completely in a bid to save a deal with the White House.

U.S. officials have said TikTok under its Chinese parent poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. 

ByteDance’s reported concession will test whether Trump’s threat to ban TikTok is a negotiating tactic or whether he is intent on cracking down on a social media app that has up to 80 million daily active users in the United States.

Trump told reporters onboard Air Force One late on Friday that he would issue an order for TikTok to be banned in the United States as early as Saturday. 

‘Not the deal that you have been hearing about, that they are going to buy and sell… We are not an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) country,’ Trump said.

ByteDance was previously seeking to keep a minority stake in the U.S. business of TikTok, a proposal which the White House had rejected. 

Trump told reporters he could ban TikTok in the U.S. as soon as Saturday, while traveling back from Tampa on Air Force One Friday

Trump told reporters he could ban TikTok in the U.S. as soon as Saturday, while traveling back from Tampa on Air Force One Friday

Trump told reporters he could ban TikTok in the U.S. as soon as Saturday, while traveling back from Tampa on Air Force One Friday

Under the new proposed deal, ByteDance would exit completely and Microsoft Corp would take over TikTok in the United States, the sources said.

Some ByteDance investors that are based in the United States may be given the opportunity to take minority stakes in the business, the sources added. About 70 percent of ByteDance’s outside investors come from the United States.

The White House declined to comment on whether Trump would accept ByteDance’s concession. ByteDance in Beijing did not respond to a request for comment

Under ByteDance’s new proposal, Microsoft will be in charge of protecting all U.S. user data, the sources said. The plan allows for another U.S. company other than Microsoft to take over TikTok in the United States, the sources added.

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

As relations between the United States and China deteriorate over trade, Hong Kong’s autonomy, cyber security and the spread of the novel coronavirus, TikTok has emerged as a flashpoint in the dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

ByteDance has been considering a range of options for TikTok amid U.S. pressure to relinquish control of the app, which allows users to create short videos with special effects and has become wildly popular with U.S. teenagers.

ByteDance had received a proposal from some of its investors, including Sequoia and General Atlantic, to transfer majority ownership of TikTok to them, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The proposal valued TikTok at about $50 billion, but some ByteDance executives believe the app is worth more than that.

ByteDance acquired Shanghai-based video app Musical.ly in a $1 billion deal in 2017 and relaunched it as TikTok the following year. 

ByteDance did not seek approval for the acquisition from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews deals for potential national security risks. Reuters reported last year that CFIUS had opened an investigation into TikTok.

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31331166 8582559 image a 2 1596293832794

TikTok’s wide popularity among American teens has brought scrutiny from U.S. regulators and lawmakers who fear their personal information could fall into the hands of government officials in Beijing 

The United States has been increasingly scrutinizing app developers over the personal data they handle, especially if some of it involves U.S. military or intelligence personnel. Ordering the divestment of TikTok would not be the first time the White House has taken action over such concerns.

Earlier this year, Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd sold Grindr LLC, a popular gay dating app it bought in 2016, for $620 million after being ordered by CFIUS to divest.

In 2018, CFIUS forced China’s Ant Financial to scrap plans to buy MoneyGram International Inc over concerns about the safety of data that could identify U.S. citizens.

ByteDance was valued at as much as $140 billion earlier this year when one of its shareholders, Cheetah Mobile, sold a small stake in a private deal, Reuters has reported. The startup’s investors include Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.

The bulk of ByteDance’s revenue comes from advertising on apps under its Chinese operations including Douyin – a Chinese version of TikTok – and news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao, as well as video-streaming app Xigua and Pipixia, an app for jokes and humorous videos. 

Microsoft is ‘in talks’ to buy Chinese-owned TikTok after Trump said he is considering banning the video app in the US

The New York Times reported on Friday that Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, according to sources who note the deal could ‘alter the app’s ownership.’

The report comes amid speculation President Trump would mandate Chinese parent company ByteDance to give up ownership of the platform.

TikTok has raised concerns over its potential threat to security, along with claims that the Chinese government is using the technology to spy on citizens.

Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance for ownership of TikTok, sources told The New York Times

Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance for ownership of TikTok, sources told The New York Times

Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance for ownership of TikTok, sources told The New York Times

‘We are looking at TikTok. We may be banning TikTok,’ Trump told reporters at the White House Friday.

‘We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.’ 

However, it seems Trumps plans may have hit a snag, as Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance for ownership.

Anonymous sources told The New York Times that the deal is in the works, but were unclear where the two firms stood.

However, Bloomberg reports that Trump plans to make a decision to order ByteDance to sell its ownership of TikTok in the US. 

TikTok took the world by storm in 2017, which allows users to create original videos that are shared in the app for millions to see.

Currently 80 million Americans use the app, which has raised concerns among the government citing TikTok’s data collection of users that may be in the hands of Chinese officials. 

Talks of banning the popular video app followed shortly after many users attempted to sabotage Trump’s June rally in Tulsa, Arizona.

TikTok users and K-pop fans said they had signed up for the Trump rally in Tulsa – which marked the US President’s return to the trail since campaigning was side-lined by the coronavirus crisis.

Trump’s campaign declared it had more than a million ticket requests, but in the hours before the event, crowds looked significantly lighter than expected at the 19,000-seat BOK Center. In the end, just 6,200 people attended

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Putin announces registration of first coronavirus vaccine

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putin announces registration of first coronavirus vaccine

Vladimir Putin claims Russia has a coronavirus vaccine and says one of his daughters has already been injected – prompting widespread scepticism because the jab has not yet passed clinical trials.  

The Russian leader announced today that Russia had become the first country to register a vaccine, claiming it has ‘passed all the necessary tests’ and offers two years of immunity against the disease.

Putin, 67, said one of his daughters had already developed antibodies against Covid-19 and said her side-effects were no worse than a high temperature. 

Governments and scientists around the world are desperate for an effective vaccine, which is seen as the only certain way of bringing the pandemic to a standstill.  

However, experts have already sounded the alarm about the safety of Putin’s vaccine because the usually months-long Phase III trials have not yet taken place. 

The Kremlin and its state-controlled media have touted Russian scientists as global pioneers and turned the vaccine race into a matter of national prestige, leading to fears that safety could be compromised for the sake of Russia’s image.   

One UK scientist said today that there was ‘no data’ on Russia’s vaccine and warned that any jab must have the confidence of the general public to be successful.  

Putin has claimed that one of his two daughters has been inoculated

Putin has claimed that one of his two daughters has been inoculated

Putin has claimed that one of his two daughters has been inoculated

Speaking at a government meeting today, Putin claimed that the vaccine has undergone proper testing and proven safe to use. 

‘I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,’ he said. ‘The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.’ 

The Russian leader added that one of his two daughters has received two shots of the vaccine and is feeling well. ‘She has taken part in the experiment,’ Putin said. 

Putin said his daughter had a temperature of 100F (38C) on the day of the first vaccine injection, which then dropped to 99F (37C) on the following day. 

After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over, Putin said. 

He did not reveal whether it was his daughter Maria or Katerina who received the vaccine. 

Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated. 

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the vaccination of doctors could start as early as this month.

The Health Ministry said in Tuesday’s statement that the vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years.  

The World Health Organization last week urged Russia to follow established guidelines and go ‘through all the stages’ necessary to develop a safe vaccine. 

These trials usually last for months and involve thousands of people to ensure vaccine efficiency and safety. 

Russia has suffered nearly 900,000 coronavirus cases, but the daily infection rate has been slowly falling for several months

Russia has suffered nearly 900,000 coronavirus cases, but the daily infection rate has been slowly falling for several months

Russia has suffered nearly 900,000 coronavirus cases, but the daily infection rate has been slowly falling for several months 

Russia has suffered 15,131 deaths in the pandemic and frequently sees more than 100 new fatalities per day

Russia has suffered 15,131 deaths in the pandemic and frequently sees more than 100 new fatalities per day

Russia has suffered 15,131 deaths in the pandemic and frequently sees more than 100 new fatalities per day 

Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, said: ‘It is unclear precisely what is actually happening with the Russian vaccine. 

‘It is vital that any vaccine roll-out has the confidence of the general public, and that there is good communication of the level of effectiveness and any likely side effects. 

‘At this point in time, there is no data on the Russian-led vaccine for the global health community to scrutinise. 

‘There have been lessons learned from previous vaccine roll-outs, that were usurped by anti-vaccination activists and population health has greatly suffered.

‘Examples include the HPV vaccine in Denmark or Japan, where uptake plunged after anti-vaccine campaigns and irresponsible comments from some scientists. 

‘Health promotion and clear explanations to the general public are the bare minimum in terms of communications here.’ 

Professor Duncan Matthews, Professor of IP Law at Queen Mary University of London said: ‘News of a potential Covid-19 vaccine is to be welcomed but safety must be the priority. 

‘The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have fast-track approval procedures for emergency humanitarian use and we need to see evidence that Russia is adopting an equally prudent approach.’ 

Regulators around the world have insisted that the rush to develop COVID-19 vaccines will not compromise safety.

More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world and at least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data. 

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More than a thousand drivers still on road despite having more than 12 points – one with 68

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more than a thousand drivers still on road despite having more than 12 points one with 68

More than a thousand drivers with 12 or more points on their licence are still being allowed to drive on the road, it has been revealed.

Figures published by the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency indicate that a total of 1,278 drivers who are still driving currently have at least a dozen points.

The motorist with the most has racked up a staggering 68 points in total – enough to be disqualified from driving five times over – but remains behind the wheel today.

How are they still on the road? An investigation by the Liberal Democrats has found that over a thousand UK motorists have more than 12 points on their licence - one of them racking-up a staggering 68 penalty points and still yet to be disqualified

How are they still on the road? An investigation by the Liberal Democrats has found that over a thousand UK motorists have more than 12 points on their licence - one of them racking-up a staggering 68 penalty points and still yet to be disqualified

How are they still on the road? An investigation by the Liberal Democrats has found that over a thousand UK motorists have more than 12 points on their licence – one of them racking-up a staggering 68 penalty points and still yet to be disqualified 

The information was made available after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Liberal Democrats.

It also indicated that there are 1,024,489 drivers in the UK who have points on their licences.

Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman Sarah Olney said the UK Government should examine whether the right systems are in place to tackle problem drivers.

‘For the safety of everyone driving on our roads, it’s important that repeat offenders and dangerous drivers are kept off the roads,’ said Ms Olney.

‘It’s possible that there are mitigating factors in some cases which justify these drivers hanging on to their right to drive.

‘But if we are honest, if you have racked up a dozen points, you are probably a bad driver.

‘The UK Government should examine whether the right systems are in place to put the brakes on problem drivers.

‘With fewer drivers on the road than ever before, now is the time to consider what can be done.’

These new figures suggest that the motorist with 68 points on their licence has accumulated some of these during lockdown.

Thousands are believed to be exploiting a loophole whereby magistrates deem they will suffer 'exceptional hardship' if they lose their driving licence

Thousands are believed to be exploiting a loophole whereby magistrates deem they will suffer 'exceptional hardship' if they lose their driving licence

Thousands are believed to be exploiting a loophole whereby magistrates deem they will suffer ‘exceptional hardship’ if they lose their driving licence

When the Daily Mail investigated the number of motorists with more than 12 points on their licence in March, it found that one man had 66 points and a further two men had 60 points – all of them retaining their licence at the time.

The next-worst offenders – all of them women – have kept their licences despite having between 48 and 59 points each, the figures revealed.

Our March investigation also found that the number of drivers with more than 12 points was substantially higher than what has been given to the Liberal Democrats, with figures provided for the investigation revealing that over 10,000 drivers are on the road despite having licence-losing points. 

Amassing 12 or more points should – by law – result in an instant disqualification from driving for motorist.

However, thousands are believed to be exploiting a loophole whereby magistrates can use discretion to allow an offender to stay on the road if they believe it would cause ‘exceptional hardship’ to revoke their licence. 

A spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: ‘If drivers who rack up 12 points aren’t banned, it makes a mockery of the system.’

There is no strict definition for exceptional hardship, which is judged on a case-by-case basis, but it could cover caring for a sick relative who relies on someone to drive them around.

John Bache, of the Magistrates’ Association, told the Daily Mail: ‘The process for establishing exceptional hardship is robust and magistrates scrutinise each case very carefully.’

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‘Over expansion’ of universities is leaving students with ‘heavy debts for little economic benefit’

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over expansion of universities is leaving students with heavy debts for little economic benefit

Universities’ over expansion has left students loaded with heavy debt for ‘little economic benefit’ and the faculties risking bankruptcy, a think tank has warned.

A report titled ‘Saving Britain’s Universities’ puts forward systematic proposals for radical reform, including closing and merging some of the educational bodies.

They also said a grade cut-off of three C’s could shrink the sector as it would limit the amount of people able to attend.

Universities have been warned they need to think about radical reform by the new report

Universities have been warned they need to think about radical reform by the new report

Universities have been warned they need to think about radical reform by the new report

The report was released by think tank Cieo and was written by Dr Lee Jones, of Queen Mary University, and Dr Philip Cunliffe, of University of Kent.

It said: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed UK universities into a deep financial crisis, prompting requests for a bailout.

‘There is no doubt that large-scale government aid – far beyond that currently offered – is needed to prevent serious, lasting damage to British higher education and research.

Dr Lee Jones of the Queen Mary University of London

Dr Lee Jones of the Queen Mary University of London

Dr Philip Cunliffe, Senior Lecturer in International Conflict at the University of Kent

Dr Philip Cunliffe, Senior Lecturer in International Conflict at the University of Kent

The report was released by think tank Cieo and written by Drs Lee Jones and Philip Cunliffe

Record number set to go through clearing – but not from overseas 

Universities face their ‘busiest’ ever clearing period as a record number of students are due to take up places through the system, the head of Ucas has predicted.

With less than a week to go until youngsters receive their A-level results, nearly three in four of the top institutions have vacancies on their undergraduate programmes on the clearing website.

And more than 4,500 courses at the elite Russell Group universities still have spaces. School leavers who have had their gap-year plans disrupted by Covid-19 will be among those who will bypass the main application scheme and search for a course through clearing, the admissions service predicted.

Analysis showed that for applicants living in England, there were 29,163 courses with availability across 327 universities and colleges. Seventeen of the 24 Russell Group universities had vacancies for English residents – a total of 4,509 courses between them – on the Ucas clearing site ahead of results day on Thursday.

Clare Marchant, Ucas’ chief executive, said the ‘fragile’ situation’, where the number of overseas students could fall amid Covid-19, alongside the fact there are fewer 18-year-olds in the population, may play to UK students’ advantage when applying.

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‘However, this is also an opportunity for a fundamental rethink of UK HE, which was already in deep trouble well before COVID-19 struck.

‘Successfully restructuring HE requires both frank recognition of past policy failures and the political will to depart radically from the status quo, rather than merely trying to tweak a fundamentally flawed system.

‘The two fundamental drivers of the sector’s many problems – which COVID-19 has merely exposed, rather than causing – are the sector’s over-expansion and marketisation.

‘Although expanding HE participation was well-intended, massification has not yielded the expected benefits for the UK economy or individuals.

‘Massification has largely involved funnelling disadvantaged students into weaker, over-burdened institutions, where they are more likely to incur heavy debts for very little economic benefit.’

The report claims the over-expanded university sector attracts students more likely to drop out and even those that graduate have worse chances of getting professional jobs.

It added that disadvantaged students heading to university had increased from 18 per cent in 2009/10, to 26.4 per cent in 2017/18.

Universities have been plunged into financial trouble during the coronavirus pandemic due to their reliance on foreign students.

Half a million come from abroad every year to study in the UK but travel restrictions and fears of the virus are expected to jeopardise the numbers this year.

Cieo’s report concluded: ‘We cannot emphasise enough that merely downsizing the HE sector while retaining market-style governance will not solve its problems.

‘They will simply persist in a smaller number of institutions. Only a bold restructuring can set universities on an entirely new path.’

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