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Xiaomi sues U.S. govt over blacklisting

Yehia El Amine

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Xiaomi sues U.S. govt over blacklisting

Budget smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, seeking its removal from Washington’s blacklist of alleged Chinese Military companies.

The company’s designation on the list places it under an executive order that restricts U.S. investors from purchasing any shares or stakes from it. In response, Xiaomi filed a lawsuit on Friday against the U.S. treasury and defense departments in the district court of Columbia, according to its investor relations website on Sunday.

Earlier last month, during former president Donald Trump’s final days in office, he listed Xiaomi and eight other Chinese companies as one of several “Communist Chinese military companies (CCMC)” under the National Defense Authorization Act of 1999.

According to the lawsuit, Xiaomi’s designation is considered “unconstitutional because it deprives Xiaomi of its liberty and property rights without due process of law” and therefore violates the Fifth Amendment of the U.S Constitution.

Firms designated as CCMC are banned from receiving stock or securities investments from U.S. citizens or organizations starting March 15. Following the listing, Xiaomi’s Hong Kong-listed stock plunged more than 10 percent, hours after the announcement of its addition to the Washington blacklist.

The Chinese company also said the ban on investors buying shares will cause “irreparable harm.”

“By cutting off Xiaomi from U.S. capital markets, the Designation and related restrictions will damage the company’s ability to conduct, grow and finance its business, sell its products, maintain, and grow its business relationships, and recruit and retain employees,” the company’s lawsuit said.

The company also added that it is “not owned or controlled by, or otherwise affiliated with the Chinese government or military, or owned or controlled by any entity affiliated with the Chinese defense industrial base.”

Xiaomi said any Chinese government or military entity doesn’t possess the ability “to exert control over the management or affairs of the company.” Xiaomi is one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers and the latest major Chinese technology company to enter a legal fight with the United States.

Huawei, which was a target under the Trump administration, has also tried to use the U.S. courts to overturn actions taken by Washington.

In March 2019, Huawei sued the U.S. over a law that banned government agencies from buying the Chinese technology giant’s equipment. That lawsuit was rejected by a federal judge last year.

In parallel, Xiaomi has greatly benefited from the Trump administration’s ban on Huawei as part of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China; since it caused, among other things, a drastic reduction of Huawei’s phone sales outside its mainland China since its devices lost access to crucial American technology including Google’s apps and services.

In the third quarter of last year, Xiaomi surpassed Apple to become the world’s third phone-maker in terms of units sold, according to IDC research.

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Yehia is an investigative journalist and editor with extensive experience in the news industry as well as digital content creation across the board. He strives to bring the human element to his writing.

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The latest: vaccines to be made available at Alaska airports

Associated Press

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Alaska airports

JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy says COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1.

He made the announcement Friday, as he unveiled plans aimed at bolstering Alaska’s pandemic-battered tourist industry.

Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.”

Dunleavy and other state leaders have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after COVID-19 restrictions kept them away last year.

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2.7 million products on display at China’s digital Canton Trade Fair

Inside Telecom Staff

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Digital Canton Trade Fair

The China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) opened its 129th session on Wednesday, and what is its third digital exhibition. 260 thousand exhibitors present a record-breaking 2.7 million products across 16 categories, 82 thousand of which will be new products.

Exhibitors will showcase their products through cutting-edge digital presentations such as pictures, videos, 3D and livestreams, including 2,600 virtual reality showrooms and 137 online new product launches.

Xu Bing, spokesperson of the Canton Fair, noted that the 129th Canton Fair, built on the previous two digital sessions successfully held in 2020, has further optimized its digital platform to facilitate accessible and convenient business communication between suppliers and buyers.

“The Canton Fair has been promoting trade exchanges and stabilizing the global industrial supply chain over the years, and we hope the 129th session can contribute to China’s new development pattern where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other,” Xu said.

Canton, now known as Guangzhou, is the capital and most populous city in the province of Guangdong, which popularly called “the factory of the world.”

Located on the Pearl River about 120 km north-northwest of Hong Kong, Canton (Guangzhou) has a trade history of over 2,200 years and was historically the major trading terminus for the ancient, globalized Silk Road which traveled from China to the Mediterranean and southern Europe.

The metropolis continues in the modern era as a major port and transportation hub and is one of China’s three largest cities. 

This year’s Canton Fair brings functional improvements to enable efficient business matching, including leveraging resources in livestreams, allowing easy access to the Help Center, offering an upgraded Exhibitor Centre management tool, and providing an intelligent customer service system with multiple language support.

Aiming to provide buyers with an optimal experience throughout the grand online international trade event, the Fair is also embracing an inclusive participation with targeted market segment incentives and activities.

Focusing on China’s global “Belt and Road Initiative” and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries, the Canton Fair has been working closely with international business associations.

Forty-four exhibition virtual events hosted in 32 countries with topics covering promotion, matchmaking, and cooperation agreement signing, along with over 300 trainings for overseas buyers, email direct marketing and global partnership programs, will help global buyers understand their targeted industries and the product categories of interest which are showcased at the Canton Fair.

To allow buyers to do barrier-free business across borders, the Canton Fair is introducing a wide range of supporting services, such as professional settlements, financing to insurance, logistic support for transportation, inspection to quality certification, as well as online customs support and policy interpretation.

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Google Earth adds time lapse video to depict climate change

Associated Press

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Google Earth adds time lapse video to depict climate change

The Google Earth app is adding a new video feature that draws upon nearly four decades of satellite imagery to vividly illustrate how climate change has affected glaciers, beaches, forests and other places around the world.

The tool unveiled Thursday is rolling out in what is being billed as the biggest update to Google Earth in five years. Google says it undertook the complex project in partnership with several government agencies, including NASA in the U.S. and its European counterpart, in hopes that it will help a mass audience grasp the sometimes abstract concept of climate change in more tangible terms through its free Earth app.

Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald believes that mission may be accomplished.

“This is amazing,” she told The Associated Press after watching a preview of the new feature. “Trying to get people to understand the scope of the climate change and the land use problem is so difficult because of the long time and spatial scales. I would not be surprised if this one bit of software changes many people’s minds about the scale of the impact of humans on the environment.”

This isn’t the first time time-lapse satellite imagery has been used to demonstrate show how parts of the world are changing before our eyes due to a changing climate. Most scientists agree that climate change is being driven by pollution primarily produced by humans.

But earlier images have mostly focused on melting glaciers and haven’t been widely available on an already popular app like Google Earth, which can be downloaded on most of the more than 3 billion smartphones now in use around the world

Google is promising that people will be able to see a time lapse presentation of just about anywhere they want to search. The feature also includes a storytelling mode highlighting 800 different places on the planet in both 2D and 3D formats. Those videos also will be available on Google’s YouTube video site, a service more widely used than the Earth app.

The feature was created from 24 million satellite images taken every year from 1984 to 2020 and provided by NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the European Union, according to Google. The time lapse technology was created with the help of Carnegie Mellon University.

Google plans to update the time lapse imagery at least once a year.


SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — By MICHAEL LIEDTKE AP Technology Writer

AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this story from Washington.

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