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Court temporarily blocks Trump order banning TikTok from US app stores

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TikTok has been granted a last-minute reprieve from Donald Trump’s executive order banning the service from US app stores, after a judge in Washington DC temporarily blocked the ban from taking effect on Sunday evening.

The order, which was due to take effect at one minute to midnight, was the first step towards banning TikTok entirely within the US. It would have required Apple and Google to remove the service from their respective app stores, preventing new users from downloading it, but would not have stopped existing TikTokers from continuing to access the app on their own devices.

Instead, the US district judge Carl Nichols granted a preliminary injunction sought by TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, to allow the app to remain available in US app stores.

Nichols declined “at this time” to block a second set of restrictions requested by the US Department of Commerce, due to take effect on 12 November, which will bar any American company from providing services to TikTok. That order would have make the app impossible to use in the US, TikTok has said, effectively banning it entirely.

The Commerce Department said in a statement that it would “comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so”. The statement, which defended the legality of the TikTok order and Trump’s executive order demanding ByteDance divest its TikTok US operations within 90 days, did not say whether the government intended to appeal.

TikTok said it was pleased with the injunction and it would “maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the president gave his preliminary approval to last week, into an agreement.”

The company’s lawyer John Hall had said a ban would be “punitive” and would close off a public forum used by tens of millions of Americans.

In a written brief filed before the hearing, TikTok lawyers said the ban was “arbitrary and capricious” and “would undermine data security” by blocking updates and fixes to the app.

The company also said the ban was unnecessary because negotiations were already under way to restructure the ownership of TikTok to address national security issues raised by the administration.

Hours before the DC court ruled in TikTok’s favour, a judge in Pennsylvania rejected a separate legal move by three TikTok influencers seeking their own stay on the ban. Doug Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alec Chambers, who have almost 7 million followers on the app between them, argued in court that access to the app was critical to their livelihood.

If TikTok were to be blocked from US app stores, the three said, they would “lose access to tens of thousands of potential viewers and creators every month, an effect amplified by the looming threat to close TikTok altogether”. But the judge Wendy Beetlestone denied their request to stay the order, agreeing that such a ban would be an “inconvenience” for them, but noting that they had failed to demonstrate the irreparable harm that would be required for a court victory.

One hundred million Americans use TikTok at least once a month, the company says, and half of those use it every day. Globally, the app has been downloaded about 2bn times, placing it in the same tier as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. But unlike those services, TikTok’s parent company is not listed on the US stock market. ByteDance is a privately held company, legally incorporated in the Cayman Islands and headquartered in Beijing.

Government lawyers argued that the president had a right to take national security actions, and said the ban was needed because of TikTok’s links to the Chinese government through ByteDance. A government brief called ByteDance a “mouthpiece” for the Chinese Communist party and said it was “committed to promoting the CCP’s agenda and messaging”.

ByteDance said on 20 September that it had struck a preliminary deal for Walmart and Oracle to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would oversee US operations, after Trump said he had given the deal his blessing. Negotiations continue over the terms of the agreement and to resolve concerns from Washington and Beijing.

The deal is still to be reviewed by the US government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

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One Christian Killed, Four Kidnapped in Nigeria

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Nigeria– A bus driver was killed and four female members of an Anglican Church abducted while driving along Kaduna-Kachia road on Tuesday, April 6th, reports the Barnabus Fund.

“Bandits blockaded the road and opened fire on the church bus and another truck. In addition to the Christian bus driver, named as Alfred Makinde, three others were killed in the gunfire,” stated the news source.

The kidnappers contacted the church demanding a N100 million (about $245,000) ransom.

“My conversation with the Anglican church is there were 15 members in the bus but the others ran into the bush and others were shot and sustained injuries, but the bandits took four persons; one old woman and three young ladies” said Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna Christian Association of Nigeria chairman.

The attack comes just twelve days after eight Christians were abducted while driving on the same Kaduna-Kachia road, about 20 miles outside of Kaduna city. Christians are particularly targeted in this area of Nigeria, often referred to as the middle belt, where the Muslim majority north meets Nigeria’s mostly Christian south, creating an environment of ethnic tension which often results in severe Christian persecution. Christian communities are targeted, and thousands of believers have been kidnapped, tortured and killed with nowhere to turn for safety. While the government denies religious motive behind these attacks, the frequent burning of churches and targeting of believers shows that a hatred of Christianity plays a key role in the violence throughout the Middle Belt.

Please pray for the safe return of all who have been kidnapped. Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, for the Lord to strengthen the Nigerian church and heal His persecuted children of their trauma. Please also pray for the world to recognize the scale of the suffering that believers are having to endure in Nigeria, as well as for the souls of those who persecute the church, that all will repent and find salvation in Christ.
Sources:persecution

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പാസ്റ്റർ ജോൺ വർഗീസിൻ്റെ (രാജൻ പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ) സഹധർമ്മിണി ഏലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി -71) അമേരിക്കയിൽ നിര്യാതയായി

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ഒക്കലഹോമ: ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ മുൻ ശുശ്രുഷകനും സിനിയർ പാസ്റ്ററുമായ Rev. Dr. ജോൺ വർഗീസിന്റ (രാജൻ. പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ, ആഞ്ഞിലിത്താനം ) ഭാര്യ എലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി – 71) ഏപ്രിൽ 10-ന് പ്രഭാതത്തിൽ താൻ പ്രിയം വെച്ച കർത്തൃ സന്നിധിയിൽ ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ടു. മെമ്മോറിയൽ സർവ്വീസ് ഏപ്രിൽ 16 നു വെള്ളിയാഴ്ച വൈകിട്ട് 6- മണിക്കും സംസ്കാര ശ്രുശ്രുഷ ഏപ്രിൽ 17- നു രാവിലെ 10 മണിക്കും നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും . രണ്ടു ശുശ്രുഷകളും ഒക്കലഹോമ ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ സഭാ ഹാളിൽ വെച്ച് നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും.

മകൾ : ഫെബി മാത്യു.
മരുമകൻ: ജോൺസൻ മാത്യു (ബോബി ).

കൊച്ചുമക്കൾ: ജോയാന, രൂത്ത് & ക്രിസ്റ്റഫർ

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Memorial service:- Friday 6.30 pm. @IPCH

Home Going Service:- Saturday 10 am. @ IPCH

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