Trump is weighing TikTok’s fate, national security adviser says

President Trump is considering whether to ban Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Wednesday.

TikTok allows users to post creative video compilations and is extremely popular among teens, rivaling US-based Instagram and Snapchat.

“The president is looking very closely at TikTok and WeChat, and some of these other applications that the Chinese are using to obtain data — personal, private, intimate data on Americans and then taking it back to Beijing, where they can use it for malign purposes,” O’Brien told reporters on the White House driveway.

The Trump administration is preparing “a significant rollout of measures with respect to China,” O’Brien said.

Trump and US officials are angered by China allegedly withholding early information about COVID-19, leaving other countries unprepared for its wave of death and economic ruin. And the Trump administration is seeking to punish China for enacting a new national security law that effectively ended political freedoms in Hong Kong.

“This is one of the biggest stories of the decade. We have Hong Kong that’s basically been annexed by the People’s Republic of China, by the Communist Party of China, and they’re imposing their will on a free and democratic people,” O’Brien said.

TikTok on the clock? Pompeo says US mulling ban of Chinese apps
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that “we’re looking at” TikTok and that Americans should use the social network “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

A federal inter-agency group called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States reportedly is investigating national security concerns about TikTok.

Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department officials reportedly are investigating TikTok’s safeguards for children’s privacy.

TikTok said this week it has “never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” that the company takes “safety seriously for all our users” and that in the US, they “accommodate users under 13 in a limited app experience that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for a younger audience.”

In 2017, China enacted the “National Intelligence Law,” which states that “Any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work.”

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Libertarians bring a socially distanced convention to Orlando, with color-coded ‘risk bracelets’

The Libertarian National Convention kicks off Wednesday in Orlando, bringing hundreds of delegates to the five-day event at the Rosen Centre on International Drive.

The convention will hold most of its larger sessions at the Orange County Convention Center across the street, becoming one of the first events to be partially held at the convention center since the pandemic began.

Libertarian national chair Nicholas Sarwark said the party is opposed to government-mandated mask orders such as the one imposed by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

But it has advised the estimated 500 to 600 delegates expected at the event to wear masks, get temperature-checked and socially distance themselves. It also will allow some delegates to attend virtually for the first time.

Special color-coded “risk bracelets” will let delegates know how comfortable other participants are with close contact: red to stay 6 feet away, yellow for closer conversations without physical contact; and green for no distancing at all.

“Public health guidance should provide as much information as possible to people so they can make good choices for themselves,” Sarwark said. “What we’re doing is [the] best practices based on the best data that we have and working with the hotel and the convention center to try and abide by whatever regulations or guidance their insurers are recommending.”

The convention had already been thrown into turmoil by the outbreak, with its scheduled meeting in Austin, Texas, in May forced to be canceled amid COVID-19 shutdowns.

The party decided to hold a virtual convention in May to choose Jo Jorgensen, a lecturer at Clemson University in South Carolina, as its first woman nominee for president. Podcaster Spike Cohen will be her running mate.

But the delegates still needed to convene in person to conduct other necessary business.

The party turned to Orlando, where it had held its convention in 2016, and booked the Rosen Shingle Creek resort.

“We wanted to look at places that could host a convention and have sufficient space for social distancing,” Sarwark said.

Hotelier Harris Rosen hosted the party at the Rosen Centre during the last convention, “So we’d already had a good experience with him in his hotel. And he was committed to making it work.”

But then cases began to skyrocket in mid-June, and later in the month they were told the original location at Shingle Creek could not be used. Finally, a combination of the Rosen Centre and the convention center were booked.

Jim Turney, an Altamonte Springs city commissioner and convention organizing committee member, said the party is expecting much fewer than the 900 delegates who attended the 2016 convention.

“We made a last-minute switch from Memorial Day to this weekend and from Austin to Orlando, so a lot of people fell out over that,” Turney said. “And of course, some fell out because they don’t want to travel, either because of themselves or their families’ concerns for COVID.”

But the rise in coronavirus cases has also led many delegates to pass on attending. Mid-June began a string of record-breaking single days of new cases in the state, including more than 11,000 on Saturday, and Orlando ranks among the cities with fastest-rising numbers nationwide.

Travel advisories such as the one put in place by New York and New Jersey would also require 14-day quarantines upon returning home, and a similar rule for travelers from the New York area to Florida issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April is still in effect.

The party is giving out 1,000 masks custom-made for the convention at a facility in Altamonte Springs, Turney said, as well as 2,000 non-branded masks.

Tourism businesses want taxpayers to
As for the color-coded bracelets, Turney said the green bracelets would be for people “who for whatever reason think that, maybe because they know they’ve got the antibodies or something … that’s their way to signal, ‘Yeah, if you want to shake my hand, I’m good with it.‘”

White House denounces ‘book of falsehoods’ by Trump’s niece

The White House on Tuesday denounced a tell-all memoir by President Trump’s niece as a “book of falsehoods” that “obviously” wasn’t fact-checked before being rushed into print.

“It’s ridiculous, absurd allegations that have absolutely no bearing in truth,” Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, told reporters.

“Have yet to see the book, but it is a book of falsehoods.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also questioned the veracity of the claims reportedly leveled by Mary Trump in advance copies of “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” that were obtained by various news outlets.

“As for books generally, obviously they’re not fact-checked, nobody’s under oath,” Conway said.

Conway said that “family matters are family matters” and attacked Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, for “giving her opinion about somebody who is not her” patient.

Conway also noted Trump’s sister, former federal appeals judge Maryanne Trump Barry, had attended the president’s inauguration and that she and Trump “are in touch otherwise, they are siblings” — despite a claim in the book that Barry had harsh words for her brother’s candidacy.

“As I say, unlike many of you, I don’t like to get involved in people’s family business,” Conway told reporters.

“I certainly wouldn’t if I was troubled, thin-skinned and living in a glass house — like so many people these days seem to think things are their business.”

“‘He’s a clown,’ my aunt Maryanne said during one of our regular lunches at the time. ‘This will never happen,’” Mary reportedly wrote.

Barry also accused her brother of having “no principles” and called his support among evangelical Christians “mind boggling,” according to the New York Times.

“The only time Donald went to church was when the cameras were there,” Mary quotes her aunt as saying.

Simon & Schuster was unaware of Mary Trump’s NDA, already printed copies of book.

The book also alleges that Trump paid a pal to take the SAT college-entrance exams for him, according to reports.

Mary claims that Trump’s personality was warped by the domineering behavior of his late father, Fred Trump Sr., who she labels a sociopath, according to the Washington Post.

As a result, Mary claims, for Trump, “lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was.”

She also alleges that her uncle meets all nine clinical criteria for being a narcissist, according to the Times, but adds: “Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for.”

Trump’s younger brother, Robert, sued to block publication of Mary’s memoir, but a judge last week cleared the way for its release by Simon & Schuster, which on Monday said it would hit the shelves on July 14, two weeks ahead of schedule.

Mary still faces a ruling over allegations that writing the book violated the terms of a 2001 non-disclosure agreement tied to the settlement of Fred Trump’s estate.

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Vietnamese firm to export PEGA electric motorbikes to Cuba

NDO/VNA – Vietnamese electric motorbike manufacturer PEGA has recently signed contracts with a value of nearly US$3 million to export two types of electric motorbikes to Cuba, after its partner in the Caribbean nation had successfully tested and assessed the products’ overall quality.

The first contract includes an order of 1,260 PEGA XMEN electric motorbikes with a value of roughly VND20 billion (US$862,000). The order is currently being completed with efforts made to prepare to transport the products to Cuba.

The second stipulates the shipment of more than 2,500 PEGA XMEN and PEGA AURA electric motorbikes, worth over VND40 billion, with the shipment scheduled for August.

PEGA XMEN and PEGA AURA are two popular types of electric motorbikes with their engines having a capacity of 1,200W. Each electric motorbike can carry up to three people and has the ability to climb slopes with no difficulty.

Upon discussing the deal, PEGA Vietnam said that their Cuban partners expressed a desire to exclusively distribute PEGA electric motorbikes with a minimum of 20,000 units per year.