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US Senator Rubio seeks review of Ford technology deal with China’s CATL

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US Senator Rubio seeks review of Ford technology deal with China's CATL

Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday asked the Biden administration to review Ford Motor’s (F.N) deal to use technology from Chinese battery company CATL (300750.SZ) as part of the automaker’s plan to spend $3.5 billion to build a battery plant in Michigan.

Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calling for an immediate Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review of the licensing agreement between Ford and CATL.

Rubio said the deal “will only deepen US reliance on the Chinese Communist Party for battery tech, and is likely designed to make the factory eligible for Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits,” in a statement posted on his website.

The $430 billion IRA imposes restrictions on battery sourcing and is designed to wean the United States off the Chinese supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs). The IRA will eventually bar credits if any EV battery components were manufactured by a “foreign entity of concern,” in a provision aimed at China.

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CFIUS is a US Treasury-led interagency panel that reviews proposed transactions to ensure they do not harm national security.

Treasury declined to comment, but Granholm said on Twitter on Monday that “bringing advanced manufacturing capabilities from overseas to the United States is key to our competitiveness, will stimulate our economy, and create good-paying American jobs.”

Ford said the plant would create 2,500 jobs and begin producing lower cost and faster recharging lithium-iron-phosphate batteries in 2026. It would own and control the facility with no foreign investment or US tax dollars going to CATL, the automaker said in a statement.

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said Monday that the technology agreement with CATL would “help us get up to speed so we can build these batteries ourselves – batteries made here in Michigan and built for America.”
Rubio said he wanted to ensure that no US funds go to CATL “especially not when American F-22s are being deployed in real time to shoot down Chinese spy balloons.”

China says the balloon shot down on Feb. 4 was a civilian weather-monitoring aircraft, but the incident has deepened the diplomatic rift between the countries.

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Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise tweeted criticism of the Ford deal, while Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said last month that his state had withdrawn from the competition to attract the Ford plant over concern’s about China’s potential involvement.

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp has unveiled a groundbreaking feature that revolutionizes text messaging by allowing users to customize their messages like never before.

Prior to this update, users were limited to basic text modifications such as bold and italic; however, the new feature introduces a plethora of formatting options, including numbers, bullets, block quotes, and text highlighting.

The process is simple and intuitive, requiring users to incorporate specific symbols to achieve their desired text format. For monospacing text, users can enclose their message with three backticks on both sides. Adding a quote is as easy as placing an angle bracket and a space before the text.

To strike through a message, users need to flank their text with tilde symbols, while bolding requires asterisks on both sides. One of the standout additions is the ability to create bulleted lists effortlessly. Users can precede each word or sentence with an asterisk or hyphen and a space to generate a neatly organized list.

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Moreover, numbering and spacing at the beginning of text with “1.” facilitates the creation of itemized lists, enhancing the overall clarity and structure of messages.

Inline code can now be seamlessly integrated into messages by enclosing the text with backtick symbols at the start and end. This provides users with a practical way to share code snippets or emphasize specific phrases within their conversations.

The accompanying image showcases the versatility of this new feature, illustrating the various formatting options available to users. WhatsApp users across iOS, Android, and web devices can now leverage this advanced text formatting feature to elevate their communication experience.

The update reflects WhatsApp’s commitment to continually enhance user experience and foster more expressive and organized conversations. Whether you’re conveying information, emphasizing key points, or sharing code snippets, the new formatting options provide a dynamic and engaging communication platform for users worldwide. 

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

 Facebook owner Meta will set up a team to tackle disinformation and the abuse of generative artificial intelligence in the run-up to European Parliament elections in June amid concerns about election interference and misleading AI-generated content.

The rapid growth of generative AI, which can create text, images and video in seconds in response to prompts, has triggered fears that the new technology could be used to disrupt major elections, across the world this year. 

European Parliament elections will take place June 6-9. Its 720 lawmakers, together with EU governments, pass new EU policies and laws.

“As the election approaches, we’ll activate an Elections Operations Center to identify potential threats and put mitigations in place in real time,” Marco Pancini, Meta’s head of EU affairs, said in a blogpost.

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He said experts from the company’s intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, content policy and legal teams will focus on combating misinformation, tackling influence operations and counter the risks related to the abuse of generative AI.

Meta, which currently works with 26 independent fact-checking organisations across the European Union covering 22 languages, will add three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia, Pancini said.

Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and 17 other tech companies earlier this month agreed to work together to prevent deceptive artificial-intelligence content from interfering with elections across the globe this year.

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‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

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'X' faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

The popular microblogging site ‘X,’ formerly known as Twitter, has been inaccessible across Pakistan for over a week. 

Despite a brief interval when the site was accessible, users are now reporting a persistent outage, even when using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the government agency responsible for overseeing telecommunications, hasn’t released any official statement regarding the suspension of the service.

This lack of transparency has only intensified the frustration among users who heavily rely on ‘X’ for information and news updates. Users who initially turned to VPNs as a workaround have also hit a roadblock, as the microblogging site remains inaccessible. 

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The situation has raised concerns about the government’s stance on digital freedom and freedom of speech. The outage has not gone unnoticed by the public, with many expressing their discontent on various platforms. 

Criticism has been directed towards the government and the IT minister for what is perceived as an attack on freedom of speech and a hindrance to the revenue generated by the country’s thriving IT professionals.

Earlier, the Sindh High Court issued a directive to restore access to ‘X’ across Pakistan, recognising the site’s significance for information dissemination. However, despite court’s order, there has been no implementation, leaving users and advocates of digital freedom in a state of dismay.

The suspension of ‘X’ has broader implications, impacting not only the general public but also businesses and professionals who rely on the platform for communication, networking, and staying informed about the latest developments. The longer the outage persists, the more severe the consequences may be for the nation’s digital landscape.

As the public awaits an official statement from the PTA and the government, concerns about the potential ramifications of such a prolonged suspension continue to grow.

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