Popular video streaming app, TikTok was threaten with being banned from the U.S. earlier this year; however, a federal judge granted TikTok a temporary injunction against the Trump administration’s initiative on Sunday.
Talk surrounding it is highly political and highly confusing. Back in July, Trump said that the decision comes after “what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world”, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision that overturns Trump’s ban is a win for TikTok the move would have been “extraordinary action at the very time when the need for free, open and accessible communication in America is at its zenith” John Hall, an attorney representing TikTok, said during an emergency hearing Sunday morning.
Government lawyers are at the other side of things though as they argued that the platform’s ownership by a Chinese firm poses as a threat and represented an “immediate danger” to U.S. national security.
Trump’s administration has also claimed that Americans using the app risk having their data wind up in the hands of the Chinese government.
The U.S. commerce department initially announced that TikTok was to be banned on September 20th onwards, further restrictions were also due to be going into effect; news of the delay came out last weekend as along with an agreement involving TikTok, ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart. The deal which is still not finalized, was intended to address said “national security concerns” about the app and give at least partial ownership to American companies and investors.
TikTok stated that it was “pleased” with the ruling.
“We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees,” the company said in a statement. The Commerce Department also said on late Sunday that the U.S. government has intentions to “vigorously defend” its order.
A huge chunk of our lives are dedicated towards using our smartphones or tablets as compared to the bulky computers of the past.
As our devices and gadgets evolve, so do we and so does the hackers that may threaten our digital security. With the vast amount of information that is easily accessible through a simple click or swipe away, it is essential that the devices we purchase have certain features prepared to combat the threats that are out there. However, those wanting to infiltrate the security of our devices are always improving and we can never be sure if we are truly safe from them.
Although it may be considered a one way fight, we as users can always pick up certain practices on how to maintain a secured and protected digital presence.
1) Set-Up a Lock
It may come as a surprise, but not everyone has a lock set in place for their smartphones. Reports also show that up to a third of smartphone users do not practice this.
It is as simple as it gets as every smartphone nowadays has initiative set up for users to do so. You can always lock your device with a pin code, or swipe pattern; users can also rely on fingerprint or facial recognition for that extra touch of security.
2) Refrain from Jailbreaks
Jailbreaking my open up a world of possibilities but it may open up a world of unexpected possibilities as well. Major manufacturers advise against as it will usually invalidate your device’s warranty and expose it to unnecessary risks.
3) Apps from the Offical Store Only
Combine a jailbroken phone with a fishy and unofficial app store can lead to problems as apps there don’t go through the various processes needed to make sure it’s not malicious. Official stores regularly remove dangerous apps, keep in mind that unofficial app stores don’t and you can only trust yourself to believing what is safe and what is not.
4) Security Software
People tend to consider their smartphone to being a personal computer then a phone. Whatever the reason, smartphones are similar to PCs and laptops as they are both susceptible to attacks. Reputable softwares like Malwarebytes could save you from ever running into software issues or problems as such.
5) Be Sceptical
Phishing scams exists all around and comes in various forms. Educate yourself and your loved ones to be wary of these kinds of threats and links as there’s no going back after being “phished” in.
6) Don’t doubt what others can do
With a little research and planning, the security of your device cannot only be ensured but also be enhanced. You never know how the hackers are improving; so, by implementing various precautions such as these, you’ll be ready to deal with anything that does come up.
In a letter dated August 27th, Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, said U.S. states will receive permit applications in the near future from McKesson Corp., which has contracted with the CDC to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals.
U.S President Donald Trump has also forecasted a U.S. vaccine approval by October.
So, who is in the race of developing America’s Covid-19 vaccine? The three leading drug makers backed by the U.S. in late-staging testing now are Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Moderna CEO, Stephane Bancel, said that they should have enough data from its late-stage trial to know whether its vaccine works in November. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company also became the first to publish the blueprints of its study following public pressure for greater transparency. Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine enters the final stage trial this month.
As of September 19th, Moderna had recruited 25,296 volunteers. Among them, 10,025 had received their second dose, 28 days after the first. It’ll take a few more weeks to recruit the full quotient of 30,000 participants and for them to receive their second doses. Only Covid-19 infections recorded two weeks or more after the second dose are counted, to give the vaccine sufficient time to take effect.
Pfizer CEO, Albert Boula said its vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year, citing that the company should have key data from its late-stage trail by the end of October, which is line with what U.S President Donald Trump’s wants. Currently at phase 3 trials, Pfizer also published the blueprints for its research, soon after Moderna’s move.
While Pfizer is a household name in pharmaceuticals, it’s also a collaborating with a lesser known Biopharmaceutical New Technologies. Pfizer and BioNTech are planning to expand the enrollment of their phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial from 30,000 to 44,000 participants.
AstraZeneca co-developed a vaccine with the University of Oxford, but the global trials for it were suspended last week after a study volunteer, a previously healthy 37-year-old woman “experienced confirmed transverse myelitis” after receiving her second dose of the vaccine.
AstraZeneca has since announced that it will pause the the trial worldwide. The trial resumed in the U.K. on Saturday but is yet to resume in the U.S. Communications about the patient’s condition has not been fully transparent too, citing a company spokesperson that they “cannot disclose medical information.”
Trump said a vaccine could be three or four weeks away, despite cautionary warnings by U.S public health officials about that accelerated timeline.
Trump, speaking at a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, defended his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and said a vaccine could be ready for distribution before the US presidential election on Nov 3.
“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he said.
“If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals. And we’re within weeks of getting it … could be three weeks, four weeks.”
U.S Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden contradicted Trump, warning Americans that they cannot trust the president’s word. The president has since hit back at Biden, accusing him of spreading “anti-vaccine rhetoric”.
Stages of the race
The vaccines are usually tested on animals first to assess the safety and also its effects on the immune system. In order to pacen the process, researchers have tested both and animals and humans together.
Clinical Trials (Phase 1)
Vaccine is given to a group of people (usually between 10-50)
Clinical Trials (Phase 2)
Further tests are then administered on hundreds of people.
Many coronavirus vaccines combine both phase 1 and 2 trials, which means that it is directly tested on hundreds of people instead in its supposing first phase.
Clinical Trials (Phase 3)
Thousands of people across different ages and locations are then given the vaccine; researchers later observe on how many contact the virus then. This shows how good it is at reducing new infections.
The trial results are then reviewed by regulators who then determine whether it should be approved for licensing and large-scale manufacturing
Each step can typically take up to two years or more to complete, but the race has since forced some companies to combine or skip steps to accelerate the process.
Operation Warp Speed
The U.S. government has stood by an “America First” approach to finding a vaccine. The Operation Warp Speed initiative is an effort largely similar in purpose with the mission to get a man on the moon. Launched in May this year, it aims of delivering 300 million “safe, effective’ doses by January 2021; eight of the most promising vaccine candidates has been selected and given a boost by the U.S. government.
$10.8 billion has been dedicated for vaccine development and procurement while $1.5 billion has been pumped in for manufacturing and distribution.
Air travel is an essential method of travel across international borders without the wasting of too much time; however, as flawless as it is, air travel has unfortunately been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic like never before.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the aviation industry like a wrecking ball as flight cancellations, travel bans and restrictions has very literally put the industry to a steaming halt. On top of that, almost every country around have taken drastic measures such as full lockdowns, shutting down airports and completely sealing off borders to “flatten to curve” and contain the pandemic, making air travel limited to a few that are extremely essential.
Airlines have since grounded most flights, causing majority of their shares to plummet drastically, as to the decline seen during the SARS crisis in 2002/2003.
Government regulations in Europe and the U.S. require airlines to refund fares for cancelled flights. In many cases, airlines around the world have also opted to give out vouchers or travel credits that MUST be used by the end of the year (some airlines have extended this window to 2022).
By April, over 80% flight movements were restricted across all regions and research shows that the recovery of passenger demand is set to take at most 2.4 years. The Asia-Pacific region has the shortest estimated average recovery time of 2.2 years, followed by North America in 2.5 years, and Europe 2.7 years
Impact on air cargo
The cost of sending cargo across the Pacific Ocean tripled by late March. At the end of March, cargo capacity was down by 35% compared to the previous year: North America to Asia Pacific capacity fell by 17% (19% in the opposite direction) Asia-Pacific to Europe was down by 30% (reverse: -32%), inter-Asia was down by 35%.
Lagging the capacity reductions, demand was down by 23% in March, resulting in higher freight rates: from China/Hong Kong, between March 2 and April 6, +158% to Europe and +90.5% to North America.
On top of that, international mail has also largely been stopped completely either due to suspension of domestic service or lack of transportation.
Impact on airlines
Due to sudden huge losses in revenue, airlines decided to hold out against refunding cancelled flights and tickets to conserve money, against government regulations.
By mid-April, the inactive fleet went up to almost 14,400, leaving 7,635 in operation stood: predominantly in Europe, where less than 15% are operating, than in North America (45%) or Asia (49%); and affecting Narrow-body aircraft (37%) less than wide-body aircraft (27%).
By June 2020, the International Air Transit Association (IATA) projected a collective net loss of $84.3 billion yearly for airlines, worse than the $30 billion loss during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and also projects that income will remain negative through 2021.
Impact on aircraft manufacturers
Manufacturers such as Airbus went through a reduction in wing production in factories in Broughton, Filton and Bremen, and also reduce working hours for its employees. Monthly production was cut to four A220s, forty A320s, two A330s and six A350; Airbus proceeded to deliver just 122 in the first quarter, 40 fewer than the previous year.
Boeing froze hiring and laid off employees due to a high amount of cancellations. On 21 April, Boeing announced a management structure overhaul. On 27 May, it announced plans to lay off 12,000 employees, while it reported zero new aircraft orders in April 2020.
Impact on airports
By the middle of April, the Airports Council International (ACI) observed a 95% fall in traffic in 18 airports in major aviation markets in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. It was also estimated by the Airports Council International (ACI) that passenger traffic worldwide would amount to less than half of what was previously projected for the year.
Demand for aircraft storage increased to a point where runways and taxiways at airports such as Frankfurt Airport and Atlanta Airport were closed to make room for storage by Lufthansa, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines respectively.
In a bid to encourage contactless check-ins through check-in kiosks and its mobile app, AirAsia has administered a counter check-in fee for selected countries and cities.
The fees are set at RM20 per flyer for domestic flights and RM30 for international flights (or its equivalent in local currencies).
Travelers can simply avoid the payment by checking in for their flights through AirAsia’s website, mobile app, or airport kiosks instead, while practicing physical distancing at the same time!
Apart from Malaysia, the fees are also applicable in Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, as well as Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Honolulu. However, the fee will be waived for a selected group of travelers, which includes guests with reduced mobility, Premium Flex or Premium Flatbed guests, as well as guests affected by schedule changes and flight cancellations.
Those who face system errors are also exempted from the fees.
Payment can be made by cash or credit card at the airport; travelers can also choose to pre-pay them online using the “My Booking” feature on the AirAsia website and mobile app.
Log in to your BIG member account and go to “My Bookings”
Click on “Modify”, “Add Ons”, followed by “Airport Shuttle, Car Rental, TuneTalk & More”.
Click on “Counter Check-In”, and make your payment.
AirAsia Group Chief Operations Officer, Javed Malik, said the fees would help motivate travelers to utilize the airline’s investment in digital technology.
“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, these self-check-in facilities have become very crucial in minimising physical contact between our guests and staff,” he said in a statement.
To put the pricings into perspective, European budget carrier Ryanair charges 55 Euros (RM270.22) for an airport check-in, which was already in place before the pandemic even happened.
U.S. low-cost carrier, Spirit Airlines, charges $10 (RM41.47) for boarding passes to be printed at the airport, according to its website.
To find out more about AirAsia’s counter check-in fees, visit its website or its FAQ page.
One of the most misunderstood neurological disorders, Tourette Syndrome is a condition that causes people to have “tics” such as involuntary, sudden and repeated twitches, sounds or movements.
The disorder is named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, a pioneering French neurologist who in 1885 first described the condition in an 86-year-old French woman.
Tics can be both simple or complexed. When simple, it can be sudden and brief repetitive movements that trigger a limited number of muscle groups such as eye blinking, facial movements or head and shoulder jerking; when complexed, it can be a combination of the simple tics at the same time. However, there are still much more disabling tics that could result in the person engaging in self-harming actions such as punching one’s self in the face.
A disorder that’s still not widely understood, here’s 5 things to know about people who have Tourette Syndrome.
1) The cause of it is unknown
The exact cause of Tourette Syndrome remains unknown as of this day. A complex disorder by its own, experts can only suggest that it is caused by a combination of inherited (genetic) and environmental factors. It is also said that the chemicals in the brain that transmit nerve impulses, which also includes dopamine and serotonin, might play a role.
2) There is no cure
No cure for Tourette Syndrome has been discovered yet. So, instead of looking for a seemingly unknown solution, therapy options have been developed to reduce tics over time. “For more severe tics, medications are available, but they are not always effective or well tolerated,” said Dr. Shprecher, DO, a movement disorder neurologist with Banner Health in the U.S. “In very severe cases, a neurosurgical procedure called deep brain stimulation can be helpful, but it is still considered experimental.”
3) Having a tic doesn’t mean that you have Tourette
Tics, both vocal or motor, are part of the symptoms of Tourette, but there is more to it than that. A person can have single, temporary ticc that lasts for a few weeks or months to having long lasting complex tics. To have Tourette means to have at least two different motor tics and one vocal tic, all for over a year, multiple times a day for almost everyday.
4) People with Tourette cannot control their tics, even if they want to
Both motor and vocal tics that occur in a person are involuntary and completely out of their control, meaning that they are NOT doing it on purpose. Although still largely unknown to experts and the public, the tics are often compared to a sneeze or having an itch. One may try to stop it but the itch or sneeze will still occur either way. It is also said that holding back a tic may make the condition worse or even cause stress.
5) No they aren’t swearing at you
Vocal tics could result in the uttering of socially inappropriate words or swear words. This is often seen on TV but it is not the reality as most people with Tourette don’t frequently use inappropriate language, just like you and me. Known as Coprolalia, it is a complex tic that is hard to control or supress; it affects roughly 1 in 10 people with Tourette.
Want to learn more about Tourette Syndrome? Visit the Tics and Tourette Syndrome Malaysia Support Group today! The community on Facebook raises awareness and provides help while fostering social acceptance for people with tics or Tourette Syndrome.
Schools closed, families stuck at home, and the internet is being used now more than ever amid pandemic restrictions going on in the outside world.
We’ve all experienced the consequences of the coronavirus firsthand, and with the younger generation adapting to technology at their hands, it is no wonder that platforms like Instagram have been a new hunting ground for sexual predators.
Men are leaving derogatory and inappropriate comments on accounts of way too many young women, and the report function is failing to fix the problem.
“We’re talking about modelling pages, dancing pages, gymnastics pages for girls. It’s like any girl is up for grabs, really,” Melinda Tankard Reist, a campaigner for Collective Shout told the Sydney Morning Herald in an interview.
As an image based medium, Instagram has transitioned from an image sharing platform to becoming a magnet for said men who are predators and fantasizers.
Although adults are under the same roof as their kids, they are busy and distracted with working from home, giving the kids that much more freedom to roam around social platforms unprioritized.
Luckily, there are a few ways to ensure that your child doesn’t get sucked into the mayhem.
Take a none judgmental stance and talk to your child. Let your child know that they can talk to you about anything and don’t act differently with the words. Shame is a dangerous factor and can lead kids to hide their risky online interactions from you. Explain that if an adult ever acted sexually towards them, it is now their fault and you should be one that is to hear it from them.
Educate them on behaviors that should be reported to an adult: strangers asking to keep secrets, requesting they move conversations to less monitored platforms and offering gifts of their liking. Guide on what to do if they every encounter such experiences.
Instagram has comment moderation tools to allow only people you follow to comment on your posts, consider using such tools for your child’s accounts. The tools automatically block comments that contains certain words that you can set up as offensive.
According to The Rakyat Post, Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin explained that Malaysia still lacked the technology as well as a budget to conceive a system to identify sexual offenders entering Malaysia.
Most countries such as the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and others have a Sex Offender Registry to provide details on convicted and suspected sex offenders. Malaysia own National Sex Offenders Registry catalogs at least 3,000 reported sexual offenders from just 2017 to 2019, but calls have been made for the government to expand and make the data more accessible to the public.
Its been reported that between 2015 and 2018 alone more than 400 child pornography websites were shut down through collaborations between Malaysian and international law enforcement.
Private entities are also just developing platforms for the public to report sexual crimes tat they encounter online.
Malaysia still has much more that they can do in terms of addressing the child predator and sexual offenses issue. It is clear that initiatives are being taken but there is still more to be done.
Broken piping, drilling equipment and 6,500 gallons of bore gel on the seafloor; Facebook has since come under fire for abandoning all these off the coast of Oregon.
All occurring during the construction of an undersea telecommunications cable, the tech giant also failed to notify the appropriate agencies for nearly two months.
According to the Oregon Live, Oregon’s Department of State Lands (DSL) had sent a letter to the Facebook subsidiary, Edge Cable Holdings, informing them that it had 30 days to reach an agreement with the state on damages owed for the mess, and 180 days to remove the equipment or obtain a permit to leave it there.
The waste has since been deteriorating 15 to 20 metres beneath on the ocean floor, ever since an Edge Cable drill pipe broke apart at 150 metres from a spot where the so-called Jupiter cable is planned to emerge from the ground of Tierra del Mar, an unincorporated community in Tillamook County, Oregon, United States.
According to Vice, the Jupiter cable is a high speed fiber optic system set to transmit data from the United States to Japan and the Philippines. The development is being led by Facebook and its subsidiaries, Amazon, Softbank and several others.
Local competitors see this as evidence to why the cable should never have been approved in the first place.
As Edge Cable subcontractors began drilling, trouble followed during the final days of the drilling operation when the drill pipe snapped on April 28. Their lawyer informed officials on May 5 but failed to mention in the letter that a significant amount of trash was also left at the site.
The DSL learned about the abandoned equipment on June 17 during a meeting.
Cameron La Follette, executive director of the Oregon Coast Alliance, says that the abandoned equipment only poses no hazard “in a narrow interpretation of the phrase.”
“It appears the bore gel is not currently leaking, and the abandoned equipment is inert—for the time being,”
La Follette wrote in an email to Vice Motherboard. “But it is abandoned in a dynamic, invisible environment under the sea; it is trash; and even if it stays inert, it still contributes to the industrialization of the sea and the corollary—increasing the human trash in the sea. This is bad however one considers the issue.”
Early this week, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that the country has approved a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes covid-19.
According to Putin, the vaccine, received by his own daughter, is safe and effective and that mass vaccinations is planned for October.
Global leaders have since voiced their concerns while some have voiced the approval for it as well. Is the vaccine safe, let alone effective? Immunologists say that there is no certain way to be sure and it seems that Russia is being accused of cutting corners to speed up the processes.
Russia has since offered to help the U.S. with the Covid-19 vaccine, but officials told CNN that the “U.S. is not currently open” to the Russian medical advances.
“There is a general sense of mistrust of Russia on the American side and we believe that technologies — including vaccine, testing and treatments — are not being adopted in US because of that mistrust,” one senior Russian official told CNN.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Philippines will launch clinical trials of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine as early as October.
Duterte has also vowed that he himself would be the first to be injected with it. If successful, the vaccine would be registered for public use by April 2021.
So what do we know?
Named after the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, the vaccine is called Sputnik V and is a clear sign that the Russian government will see the vaccine as a matter of national pride.
Developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, part of Russia’s Ministry of Health, the vaccine was made from a harmless cold virus carrying a coronavirus gene similar to what Johnson & Johnson use in their vaccines.
Russian researchers have pre-registered phase 1 and phase 2 trials, and according to a website for the vaccine, those trials were completed in early August. No unfavourable effects were recorded and the vaccine produced the appropriate immune response.
Before mass vaccinating, phase 3 has to be carried out.
Phase 3 was planned to be conducted in different countries including India, but officials at the Union Health Ministry in India have reportedly denied Moscow’s claim stating that “no collaboration had been held”.
Volunteers were able to register for phase 3 trials on Tuesday onwards, and the studies will also be conducted in foreign countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines, according to Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) head Kirill Dmitriyev.
Why is it being questioned?
According to The Moscow Times, the first phase involved 38 civilians and 38 military volunteers; the second phases included about 100 people, but no results regarding both phases have been published in scientific literature.
On top of that, candidates are yet to go through the final stage of tests which needs large numbers of volunteers to assess the vaccine’s safety and efficiency. With no proof from large scale clinical trials, experts are worried.
What could go wrong?
“I think it’s really scary. It’s really risky,” said Daniel Salmon, the director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University.
By jumping ahead for the phase 3 trials, Russia is not able to determine if the vaccine works better than a placebo and doesn’t cause harm to people who get it. Vaccines are intended to be given to a mass amount of people around the world, they must in fact, clear a high number of standards, especially if hundreds of millions of people are getting it.
Even after clearing the standards and being licensed, it still has to be kept an eye on to make sure it is safe. Rare side effects may emerge over time especially those that weren’t immediately clear from the phase 3 trials. It can then be regulated and be made safer.
We are still trying to understand how the virus evades the immune system and make us sick and we aren’t all sure about what we know or don’t know yet.
First introduced in 2018 in over 50 countries, Instagram’s music feature allows users insert a clip of a song into their Instagram story post.
Users would be able to find the music option below the home screen itself or alternatively after creating a story by selecting the Music sticker. Upon tapping on Music, users will see three columns – popular, moods and genres. In moods, there is a list of ten different options such as party hits, inspirational and more. In genres, options are available such as Rock, and even regional content language such as Tamil etc.
On top of that, users are able to add filters or even lyrics for their songs, however, lyrics aren’t available for all songs, but are still available for a high number of them.
It is obvious that certain regions, such as Malaysia are not immediately available to use this certain function that seems to be trending around the outside world. The reason behind this is because Instagram needs license to play music.
In regions where the feature is unavailable, there are still a various legal procedures that have to take place as there is no one law for copyright and privacy issues. It may take some time before it is finally rolled out on the global scale.
The feature is now only included in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, France, Canada, and Germany.
However, upon a search on the internet, there are certain ‘ways’ that people use to curb this copyright and privacy issue to having Instagram music available to them, even if outside the regions mentioned above.
Storybeat gets its audio tracks from public third-party media service. What seems like a short term solution may in fact work out for some time, but it is unclear which, licensing problems or Instagram’s native music support will come knocking on their door first. Nonetheless, it works and that’s all that matters to the users.
Users can bypass these geo-restrictions by changing their virtual location with a VPN. All they have to do is to connect ton Instagram with an IP address from any of the participating countries and Instagram music will become available. It does come with a price though as VPNs are often not available to download for free.
Spotify allows its users to share an album art of a song on Instagram stories, but just only the album art without the music playing in the background. This is one of the ways non-Instagram music users choose to use as Spotify also provides animated video backgrounds that will play behind certain album arts in an Instagram story.