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Hong Kong protests: Apple succumbs to pressure from China

Trying to please both the sides

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Every international company, whether based in China or the US, is now stuck in the middle of the Hong Kong protests. While the people want pro-Democracy ideals to govern their city, China refuses to back down and continues its passive-aggressive push.

Apple has reportedly removed the Quartz app from the App Store at the request of the Chinese government. Quartz’s Investigations editor John Keefe confirmed the app has been removed from the App Store and even the website has been blocked in Mainland China.

The publication has been covering the Hong Kong protests in detail and this hasn’t gone down well with the government in Beijing. China has a long history of suppressing free speech and it’s not surprising to see them block off content that doesn’t suit their narrative.

Though, users are furious at Apple for not taking a stand and bowing down to pressure. A few days back, the Cupertino-based giant removed the Taiwanese flag from its keyboard for some users to please the Chinese officials.

Apple was also in the news this week due to its initial rejection of an app that kept a tab on police movement in Hong Kong. Back in 2017, Apple removed the New York Times app from App Store after the Chinese government requested its removal because it was “in violation of local regulations.”

It is necessary for Apple to stay on good terms with China because of its business interests. Almost every other product designed by Apple will find its roots back in China, where everything is built — components as well as finished iPhones.

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Mediacorp shows are now on Huawei Video

A mutually beneficial partnership

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Content is king. No matter how good your video service is, if it doesn’t offer the shows that people want to watch, then no one will use your app. Huawei recognizes this and has swung a deal with Singapore’s Mediacorp.

The deal will see more than 1,500 hours of drama series and lifestyle content being offered to Huawei Video App users in multiple markets across the world outside Mainland China.

This underscores Mediacorp’s continued commitment to ramping up the recognition of its shows beyond Singapore. Making their shows available on Huawei Video means they can potentially reach 26 different territories including the UK, UAE, and Mexico among others.

The deal is effective immediately. Paying subscribers can stream a variety of genres on Huawei Video, with complimentary access for the first few episodes of all lifestyle shows, dramas and longform series.

Some of the more notable shows that will be available are as follows: recent romance megahits My One In A Million《我的万里挑一》and The Distance Between 《下个路口遇见你》, supernatural suspense series Hello From The Other Side 《阴错阳差》and the popular police procedural saga C.L.I.F. 《警徽天职》; plus vivacious variety and food-focused fare Deluxe-Licious《有何贵食》, Food Notes 《上食堂》and Markets In Asia 《游市集》.

English entertainment comes courtesy of long-running domestic dramas KIN and Tanglin; as well as Super Octogenarians, an investigative infotainment series on active ageing amongst spunky seniors in Asia, and light-hearted lifestyle travelogue shows like This Weekend, Remarkable Living and Refugee Chef.

Huawei audiences can also catch the premiere of Mediacorp’s latest Mandarin blockbuster, the pugilistic period drama A Quest to Heal《我的女侠罗明依》, in a simulcast with Mediacorp’s Channel Me8 on July 20, 2020. The first five episodes will be available for free on the HUAWEI Video App outside Mainland China.

Watch & Win

To celebrate the new partnership, Huawei Video is also launching the ‘Huawei Video — Watch & Win’ campaign exclusively to all Huawei Video users in Singapore.

Starting from June 26 to July 16, 2020 and July 22 to 7 August 7, 2020, users will stand a chance to win daily by watching any video content available in the app for at least one minute.

The prizes include Huawei MatePad Pro, Huawei Y6p, Huawei FreeBuds 3, Huawei X Gentle Monster Eyewear and more.

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What you need to know about the new Starbucks Rewards

Collect more stars with a few sips

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Out with the old, in with the new! Starbucks Philippines freshened up its existing Rewards program to make it even more delightful to its customers.

With the new Starbucks Rewards, you can get one star with every PhP 25 spent on everything you buy — food, beverages, merchandise — in stores using your registered card or app.

When you accumulate 100 stars, it will be converted to a reward voucher. You can then choose to redeem a reward befitting your taste: a handcrafted beverage, any pastry, or even a slice of cake!

More benefits await

Starbucks’ new Rewards program brims with exciting benefits that anyone can enjoy. For starters, there’s a Double Star Registration Treat where new members can collect two stars for every PhP 25 spent on all eligible purchases for the first seven days upon successful registration.

The Double Star Days benefit is also back, but it’s not limited to the frantic holiday season. Moreover, Starbucks will offer Bonus Stars so you can collect two stars on their featured and promotional drinks.

Lastly, the Free Birthday Reward is still here and you can now choose between redeeming a food from their bakery/cafe or a complimentary handcrafted beverage.

How to be a member

The new Rewards program is exclusive for registered members only, so you have to join if you want to enjoy this exciting loyalty program. All you need to do is activate and register a Starbucks Card to Starbucks Rewards.

For existing members of My Starbucks Rewards, simply update your old password and add a new Starbucks Card to your account through the website or the updated Starbucks app, which is available on Google Play Store and the App Store.

Unlike before, you can now enjoy cashless payments and new features like automatic reloading through the Starbucks app. No more lining up to load your Starbucks card!

Say goodbye to your old Starbucks cards

FYI! Your previous Starbucks cards will stop working after July 15, 2020. This is to pave the way to the new Starbucks cards linked to the new program.

If you have an existing balance of PhP 100 or more, you can have it transferred to a free, new card. If it’s less than PhP 100, you can get a cash refund. Simply present your cards or your account on your mobile app to display the remaining balance.

The new Starbucks Rewards and Starbucks cards will be available starting July 17, 2020.

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Amazon bans TikTok for employees, reverses decision in a few hours

Everyone’s worried about using TikTok now

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Amazon sent an internal memo to its employees, asking them to remove the TikTok from any mobile device that can access their company email. The memo was picked up by the mainstream media almost immediately and it served as an indication of how American companies are losing trust in the Chinese-backed app.

However, the company soon backtracked and an Amazon spokesperson said the request had been sent out in error and that there was no change to the company’s policies at the moment.

Company spokeswoman Jaci Anderson declined to answer questions about what caused the confounding turnaround or error. The original memo cited “security risks” as the reason for avoiding TikTok.

In response, TikTok failed to understand Amazon’s concerns. It did not receive any communication from Amazon before the email went out.

However, the social media app has received a lot of backlash from authorities due to its poor data privacy history. TikTok is banned in India and recently, the US suggested it’s considering a similar ban on the app.

Furthermore, US lawmakers have been concerned about the app for months now. The US army and navy instructed soldiers to delete the app from military devices in December. The biggest concern regarding TikTok is that its parent company, based in China, is required to share information collected on users with the Chinese government.

“We still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community,” TikTok said.

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