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Court Rules Mass Surveillance Program Exposed by Snowden Illegal

Seven years ago, Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA), blew the whistle on mass surveillance programs on US citizen’s phone records.

Now, on Wednesday, an appeals court ruled that the program was illegal. 

From the ruling, the court believed that the US intelligence officials who defended the program in public were lying.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that the warrantless phone dragnet that collected millions of phone records secretly and violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was unconstitutional.

In a Twitter post, Snowden, who fled to Russia after the 2013 whistleblowing and still has espionage charges hanging over his head, said that the ruling was a vindication of his decision to go public with evidence of the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping operation.

Evidence that the NSA had a secret database of American phone records was among the most explosive of the revelations by Snowden.

Considering that running up to the ruling, intelligence leaders have insisted that the NSA never collected information on US citizens at all, don’t you think that Snowden has been vindicated and that the charges should be dropped?

Dubai Entices Wealthy Retirees Following Exodus of Expatriates

Amid an economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai has launched a program to tempt wealthy retirees.

The Middle Eastern business hub has been facing an exodus of expatriates, which may be the origin of this program.

According to the program, foreign nationals aged 55 years and above will qualify for a five-year renewable visa considering they match specific criteria.

The Dubai Media Office announced that initially, the program would concentrate on United Arab Emirates residents working in Dubai.

According to the director-general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, ‘the program will contribute toward our tourism economy by facilitating frequent visits from families and friends of the retirees and increasing visitation from markets with a high retiree population.’

Other eligibility criteria include a monthly income of $5,445 (20,000 Dirhams), 1 million Dirhams in savings, or possession of real estate in Dubai worth 2 million Dirhams. 

Would you be up to retire in Dubai? Reply to us with why or why not.

China Schemes Support for Chip Sector to Counter the US

China has plans in motion to introduce sweeping changes in its domestic semiconductor sector and counter the US government while at it.

Doing so, the Chinese will confer a similar priority on the effort it granted its atomic program.

The Asian country is planning broad support for third-generation semiconductors for five years up to 2025.

Consequently, an array of measures to enhance research, financing, and education for the sector have been incorporated into a draft of China’s 14th five-year plan, to be presented to the top leadership in October.

Next month, the nation’s top leaders will meet to unveil their economic blueprint for the next fifty years, with President Xi Jinping pledging approximately $1.4 trillion for technology such as artificial intelligence and wireless networks.

Among the strategies are how to increase domestic consumption and manufacture critical tech at home.

Semiconductors are crucial to nearly every aspect of China’s tech ambitions, and with US President Donald Trump taking no prisoners in his threats to eliminate supply from abroad, China has been forced to look inward.

According to Dan Wang, a technology analyst at research firm Gavekal Dragonomics, ‘the Chinese leadership realizes that semiconductors underpin all advanced technologies, and that it can no longer dependably rely on American supplies. In the face of stricter US restrictions on chip access, China’s response can only be to keep pushing its own industry to develop.’

Airlines Stripping Seats to Get Space for Seafood and Gadgets

Throughout the airline sector’s history, cargo has always been the least glamorous element of flying compared to passengers.

But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all that is set to change and cargo may just be the silver lining for the devastated industry.

With passenger planes grounded, the increase in the demand for various goods, ranging from iPhones, seafood to medical supplies, has driven freight rates high. 

And with many people globally still house-bound and doing their shopping online, rather than physical shopping, analysts predict no let-up in demand, especially as the peak end-of-year holiday looms.

With airlines worldwide re-launching their cargo-only services, others like Singapore Airlines are removing passenger seats from its jets to create more room for cargo. 

So far, it has been doom and gloom, with airlines hemorrhaging cash and laying off staff. Do you think this bit of good news will make any difference to an industry already on its knees?

India Bans PUBG in Recent Restriction on Chinese Apps

It seems we are likely to see more drama in the standoff between China and India in the coming days.

In the latest action, India has made a move towards another group of Chinese apps, including the mobile version of the fashionable game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

As the two superpowers continue to dispute over their shared border, on Wednesday, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated that it would ban 118 other apps that are ‘engaged in activities which [are] prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.’

Other banned apps include Alipay (Ant Group’s mobile payment app) and Chinese search giant Baidu.

PUBG was the top-grossing mobile game by active users in India in 2019, and it was downloaded over 54 million times in the first half of 2020 in India. Additionally, the app experienced $15.2 million in consumer spending across India’s Google Play and App Store.

Considering all these profit losses, don’t you think that this dispute is doing more harm than good?

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