Current Affairs

Microsoft to shut down LinkedIn website in China as internet censorship increases in the country

Microsoft announced Thursday it will shut down its local version of LinkedIn in China as the country continues to expand its censorship of the internet.

LinkedIn was the last major U.S. social network still operating in China, which has some of the strictest censorship rules. Social media platforms and websites like Twitter and Facebook have been blocked for more than a decade in the country, while Google decided to shutter operations in 2010.

Microsoft said it would shut down LinkedIn due to a “significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.” Instead, Microsoft will launch a job search site in China that doesn’t have LinkedIn’s social media features…read more.

U.S. to reopen land borders to vaccinated Canadians

Fully vaccinated Canadian vacationers and day-trippers will be allowed to drive into the United States beginning in early November, the Biden administration said Tuesday, the first glimmer of hope in nearly 20 months for the families and businesses that depend on two-way traffic across the Canada-U.S. border.

Senior government officials delivered the news in a conference call with reporters on condition they hold their reports until early Wednesday – a plan that quickly went out the window when New York congressman Brian Higgins all but shouted the news from the rooftops.

“At long last, there is action by the United States to open the doors and welcome back our Canadian neighbours,” Higgins said in a statement.

“Border communities await further details from the administration with great expectation, and I will continue to advocate for a more fully and freely open border to both governments, sooner rather than later.”

Those details remained few and far between Tuesday, but the plan is designed to dovetail with the administration’s existing plan to allow international travellers from further afield to resume travelling to the U.S. on the same timeline, provided they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19…read more.

A former Navy nuclear engineer and his wife have been arrested on espionage charges

A former nuclear engineer officer in the U.S. Navy and his wife have been arrested on espionage charges, after allegedly attempting to sell secrets about submarines to a foreign entity, according to court records unsealed Sunday.

The Department of Justice says Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana Toebbe, were arrested Saturday and charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act. The department says Toebbe unwittingly communicated with FBI agents and passed along sensitive military secrets, in a scheme that stretched more than a year.

Toebbe held an active national security clearance through the Department of Defense, giving him access to restricted data, authorities said.

The 42-year-old former lieutenant in the Navy and his wife, 45, sold restricted information “concerning the design of nuclear powered warships” to someone they believed was a representative of an unnamed foreign power, according to federal law enforcement officials…read more.

Tesla moves headquarters from California to Texas

Tesla is moving its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas, CEO Elon Musk announced at the company’s shareholder meeting on Thursday.

The meeting took place at Tesla’s vehicle assembly plant under construction outside of Austin on a property that borders the Colorado River, near the city’s airport.

However, the company plans to increase production in its California plant regardless of the headquarters move.

“To be clear we will be continuing to expand our activities in California,” Musk said. “Our intention is to increase output from Fremont and Giga Nevada by 50%. If you go to our Fremont factory it’s jammed.”

But, he added, “It’s tough for people to afford houses, and people have to come in from far away….There’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area.”…read more.

Vancouver’s war on car owners set to shift into overdrive in 2022

The City of Vancouver’s incessant guerilla assault on car and truck owners has taken on many shapes over the years. But 2022 offers the prospect of an inflection point, from a period of annoyance to one of absurdity.

A proposal before the city’s council this week would smack the owner of a 2023 vehicle with an annual fee of up to $1,000, depending on the model’s emission rate, and hits all but low-income owners with an annual overnight parking fee that will start at $45 but can be banked upon to climb. No other North American city tries this combo, but this is Vancouver after all.

The pretense is that this is designed to contribute Vancouver’s “fair share” in the fight against climate change. But the plan is really just another in a ceaseless series of tax seizures. We all pay at the pumps for carbon emissions, and the city already imposes a property tax surcharge for its environmental scheme.

The staff report on the proposal admits Vancouver has “extremely limited jurisdiction and tools to impact emissions,” but that won’t stop it from leveraging whatever it can grasp. This new confiscation does not solve anything and indeed avoids what would be a more effective application of its principles. It simply makes people with more money pay more money…read more.