Thousands of visually impaired students have been able to improve their English skills thanks to the dedication of staff at a free language centre in Hà Nội. Founded in 2011, Vietnam and Friends offers free classes to help students gain more confidence.
Stuart Kyle Duncan — a federal appeals court judge appointed by Donald Trump — visited Stanford Law School this month to give a talk. It didn’t go well.
Students frequently interrupted him with heckling. One protester called for his daughters to be raped, Duncan said. When he asked Stanford administrators to calm the crowd, the associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion walked to the lectern and instead began her remarks by criticizing him. “For many people here, your work has caused harm,” she told him.
In his first appearance before Congress on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Chew was grilled by lawmakers who expressed deep skepticism about his company’s attempts to protect US user data and ease concerns about its ties to China.
It was a rare chance for the public to hear from the Chew, who offers very few interviews. Yet his company’s app is among the most popular in America, with more than 150 million active users.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Thursday’s hearing.
Washington has already made up its mind about TikTok
The hearing, which lasted for more than five hours, kicked off with calls from a lawmaker to ban the app in the United States and remained combative throughout. It offered a vivid display of the bipartisan push to crack down on the popular short-form video app and the company’s uphill battle to improve relations with Washington.
Washington Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, opened Thursday’s hearing by telling Shou: “Your platform should be banned.”
Chew used his testimony to stress TikTok’s independence from China and play up its US ties. “TikTok itself is not available in mainland China, we’re headquartered in Los Angeles and Singapore, and we have 7,000 employees in the U.S. today,” he said in his opening remarks.
“Still, we have heard important concerns about the potential for unwanted foreign access to US data and potential manipulation of the TikTok US ecosystem,” Chew said. “Our approach has never been to dismiss or trivialize any of these concerns. We have addressed them with real action.”
The Biden administration is inviting around 120 countries to join its Summit for Democracy next week, but two of its NATO allies aren’t getting a call.
Turkey and Hungary have been left off the invitation list for the major summit, which Team Biden bills as one of its hallmark foreign-policy initiatives, meant to shore up democracies worldwide and stanch the rise of autocracies.
Backsliding. The spurning of two NATO allies, confirmed by three U.S. officials who spoke to SitRep, reflects a mounting concern with the degree of democratic backsliding in Turkey and Hungary, even though Washington is relying on both to support the West’s strategy against Russia as the war in Ukraine rages on—and needs both to approve Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO as full-fledged allies.