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Biden Revokes and Replaces Trump Order That Banned TikTok

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TikTok’s woes subsided with Mr. Trump’s election defeat. Though the company is still under scrutiny with the Biden administration’s new executive order, analysts say the dramatic ups and downs for the company will significantly dwindle.

James Lewis, a senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Biden administration had shown no easing of the government’s strong stance against China. But the new order lays out much more precise criteria for weighing risks posed by TikTok and other companies owned by foreign adversaries like China.

“They are taking the same direction as the Trump administration but in some ways tougher, in a more orderly fashion and implemented in a good way,” Mr. Lewis said. He added that Mr. Biden’s order was stronger than the Trump-era directive because “it’s coherent, not random.”

Under the new system outlined in Mr. Biden’s order, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo would be empowered to “use a criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis” to examine software applications designed, manufactured or developed by a “foreign adversary,” including China, according to a memo circulated by Commerce Department officials and obtained by The New York Times.

“The Biden administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable and secure internet,” the memo said. “Certain countries,” including China, “do not share these democratic values.”

On Wednesday, administration officials would not go into specifics about the future of TikTok’s availability to American users or say whether the U.S. government would seek to compel ByteDance, which owns the app, to transfer American user data to a company based in the United States. Amid a number of successful legal challenges waged by ByteDance, a deal to transfer the data to Oracle fell through this year shortly after Mr. Biden took office.

Administration officials said a review of TikTok by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the body that considers the national security implications of foreign investments in U.S. companies, was still continuing and separate…

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Foxconn mostly abandons $10 bln Wisconsin project touted by Trump, Telecom News, ET Telecom

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Foxconn mostly abandons $10 bln Wisconsin project touted by TrumpBy David Shepardson and Karen Pierog

WASHINGTON: Taiwan electronics manufacturer Foxconn is drastically scaling back a planned $10 billion factory in Wisconsin, confirming its retreat from a project that former U.S. President Donald Trump once called “the eighth wonder of the world.”

Under a deal with the state of Wisconsin announced on Tuesday, Foxconn will reduce its planned investment to $672 million from $10 billion and cut the number of new jobs to 1,454 from 13,000.

The Foxconn-Wisconsin deal was first announced to great fanfare at the White House in July 2017, with Trump boasting of it as an example of how his “America first” agenda could revive U.S. tech manufacturing.

For Foxconn, the investment promise was an opportunity for its charismatic founder and then-chairman, Terry Gou, to build goodwill at a moment when Trump’s trade policies threatened the company’s cash cow: building Apple Inc’s iPhones in China for export to America.

Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronic devices, proposed a 20-million-square-foot manufacturing campus in Wisconsin that would have been the largest investment in U.S. history for a new location by a foreign-based company.

It was supposed to build cutting-edge flat-panel display screens for TVs and other devices and instantly establish Wisconsin as a destination for tech firms.

But industry executives, including some at Foxconn, were highly skeptical of the plan from the start, pointing out that none of the crucial suppliers needed for flat-panel display production were located anywhere near Wisconsin.

The plan faced local opposition too, with critics denouncing a taxpayer giveaway to a foreign company and provisions of the deal that granted extensive water rights and allowed for the acquisition and demolition of houses through eminent domain.

As of 2019, the village where the plant is located had paid just over $152 million for 132 properties to make way for Foxconn, plus $7.9 million in relocation costs, according to village records obtained by Wisconsin Public Radio and analyzed by Wisconsin Watch.

Foxconn, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, said the new agreement gives it “flexibility to pursue business…

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Trump says there was “zero threat” in Capitol attack that led to five deaths


Former President Trump on Thursday defended his supporters who laid siege to the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in an attack that resulted in five deaths, arguing they posed “zero threat.” Lawmakers were inside the Capitol that day to confirm the Electoral College results certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

“It was zero threat. Right from the start, it was zero threat,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. 

The flood of rioters who broke into the Capitol crushed through windows and pressed up stairways, and sent lawmakers and law enforcement running for their lives. Some of the rioters may have sought to harm or assassinate lawmakers present, according to court documents, including former Vice President Mike Pence, who was present at the Capitol to preside over the certification of election results.

The assault led to five deaths, including that of a Capitol police officer who died due to injuries sustained during the riots. Two West Virginia men were arrested for allegedly assaulting the officer, Brian Sicknick. They are accused of spraying police officers with a chemical spray.

Approximately 140 Capitol and Metropolitan police officers were seriously harmed, with Capitol Police union leader Gus Papathanasiou saying in a statement in January that injuries included cracked ribs, brain injuries, smashed spinal disks and one officer losing an eye. Two Capitol Police officers present that day died by suicide after the riots. 

Mr. Trump did acknowledge that some people “went in [to the Capitol], they shouldn’t have done it.” But he slammed federal law enforcement for “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, complaining that “nothing happens” to left-wing protesters. 

He also falsely claimed that the insurrectionists had “great relationships” with law enforcement.

“Some of them went in and they’re, they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in and they walked out,” Mr. Trump…

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Erik Prince, Trump Ally, Violated Libya Arms Embargo, U.N. Report Says

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It describes how a friend and former business partner of Mr. Prince traveled to Jordan to buy surplus, American-made Cobra helicopters from the Jordanian military — a sale that ordinarily would require American government permission, according to military experts. The friend, Christiaan Durrant, assured officials in Jordan that he had “clearances from everywhere” and his team’s work had been approved “at the highest level,” the report found.

But the Jordanians, unimpressed by those claims, stopped the sale, forcing the mercenaries to source new aircraft from South Africa.

A Western official, speaking to the Times on the condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss confidential work, said the investigators had also obtained phone records showing that Mr. Prince’s friend, Mr. Durrant, made several calls to the main White House switchboard in late July 2019, after the mercenary operation ran into trouble. The Western official said it was unclear whom Mr. Durrant sought to contact, or if he got through.

Contacted through his Facebook page, Mr. Durrant declined to comment and referred to a statement he issued to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last September. “We don’t breach sanctions; we don’t deliver military services, we don’t carry guns, and we are not mercenaries,” it said.

The sheer breadth of evidence in the latest U.N. report — 121 pages of code names, cover stories, offshore bank accounts and secretive weapons transfers spanning eight countries, not to mention a brief mention of a Hollywood friend of Mr. Prince — provides a glimpse into the secretive world of international mercenaries.

Libya began to fracture a decade ago, when the violent ouster of the country’s longtime dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, set in motion a political crisis that splintered the country into armed factions, many eventually supported by foreign powers hoping to shape the destiny of the oil-rich North African nation.

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