While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 19

Trump blocks US downloads of TikTok, WeChat from Sept 20

The Trump administration will ban WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok from US app stores starting Sunday night, a move that will block Americans from downloading the Chinese-owned platforms over concerns they pose a national security threat.

The bans, announced on Friday, affect only new downloads and updates and are less sweeping than expected, particularly for TikTok, giving its parent group ByteDance some breathing space to clinch an agreement over the fate of its US operations.

WeChat, an all-in-one messaging, social media and electronic payment app, faces more severe restrictions from Sunday.

Existing TikTok users, on the other hand, will see little change until Nov 12 when a ban on some technical transactions will kick in, which TikTok said would amount to an effective ban.


California wildfire smoke blankets parts of Canada

Smoke from California and Oregon wildfires has cloaked Canada’s third-largest city of Vancouver – known for its majestic mountain views and fresh ocean breezes – in the dirtiest air in the world this week.

Days have been spent smarting under a thick haze that has irritated eyes and throats, and sent asthmatics gasping for breath. It has also complicated Covid-19 testing.

On Friday, despite forecasted smoke-clearing rain storms, the city – 1,300km north of the biggest California fires – topped for the second time this week the World Air Quality Index for worst air, after briefly ceding first place to Portland in fire-stricken Oregon.


Man arrested scaling tallest building in Paris

A man was arrested on Friday after climbing up the facade of the Tour Montparnasse, the tallest building in Paris. a police source said.

The unnamed climber, who used no harnesses or other aids, was detained after he got to the top of the 210m office block, the source said.

He began the ascent in the early evening and was arrested at 8pm (2am on Saturday, Singapore time) after a rescue worker descended on a rope and accompanied him to the roof of the tower.


Dentist jailed after extracting tooth while on hoverboard

An American dentist who extracted a tooth from a sedated patient while balancing on a hoverboard has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for crimes including illegal dentistry, fraud and reckless endangerment.

Seth Lookhart, 35, sent phone footage to friends that showed him taking a patient’s tooth out while standing on the two-wheeled hoverboard before riding away as he stripped off his gloves and held his hands up in triumph.

The Alaska State Department of Law said that Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton stressed that the hoverboard incident was not the most serious aspect of the case.


Tennis: Azarenka helps tearful opponent Kasatkina after injury in Rome

Victoria Azarenka moved into the quarter-finals of the Italian Open in Rome on Friday when her opponent Daria Kasatkina injured her ankle and retired, but not before the Belarusian comforted her and offered words of encouragement.

With the match evenly poised at 6-6 in the opening set, Kasatkina rolled her right ankle while chasing a ball in the tiebreak, with Azarenka immediately rushing to her side to offer assistance.

Azarenka, 31, brought her an ice pack and a towel before helping the Russian qualifier, who burst into tears, to her chair where she received treatment.


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