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The US Commerce Department on Monday announced fresh sanctions that restrict any foreign semiconductor company from selling chips developed or produced using US software or technology to Huawei, without first obtaining a license to do so.
Restrictions announced in May had already limited companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM) from making and supplying Huawei with chips designed by HiSilicon, a subsidiary of the Chinese company. Monday’s measures effectively extend that ban to all chip designers, such as Taiwan’s MediaTek, whose shares plunged nearly 10% Tuesday.

Washington has long alleged, without providing proof, that Huawei products threaten national security because they could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei has repeatedly denied that its gear and products pose a national security risk.

The company did not respond to a request for comment but a senior US executive said Huawei would survive.

“We took a hit of about $12 billion in 2019 in our revenue, and we may take a hit again, but we are committed to the long term, and we have the capabilities and resources to adjust over time,” Andy Purdy, chief security officer for Huawei USA, told CNN Business’ Julia Chatterley. “We are privately owned, we have time, and if we take a hit in revenue that’s fine. We can bounce back as we continue to do.”

Hopes dashed

Paul Triolo, head of geotechnology at Eurasia Group called the latest US restriction “a lethal blow to China’s most important technology company.”

It is “potentially [the] most serious effort by the US government to choke off the company’s ability to obtain advanced semiconductors for all of its business lines,” Triolo wrote in a note on Monday.

Huawei relies on foreign-made semiconductors to power its 5G telecommunications gear. British officials cited the uncertainty to the company’s supply chain as a key reason for banning Huawei from the United Kingdom’s 5G network last month.

The new US sanctions could also be the final nail in the coffin for Huawei’s mobile phone business.

Huawei’s hope that it could rely on third-party chip designers to continue making smartphones “has been dashed,” Edison Lee, an analyst with brokerage firm Jefferies, wrote in a note on Monday.

Fallout for US firms

US companies will also suffer.

“These broad restrictions on commercial chip sales will bring significant disruption to the US semiconductor industry,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO of Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group representing American chipmakers.

Chip sales to China “drive semiconductor research and innovation here in the [United States], which is critical to America’s economic strength and national security,” Neuffer added in a statement.

Qualcomm (QCOM) had reportedly been lobbying the US government to grant it a license to sell chips to Huawei, arguing that Huawei generates billions of dollars in sales for Qualcomm and helps the US firm fund development of new technologies, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Micron (MICR), another US chipmaker, had obtained a license to supply some memory chips for Huawei’s smartphones, after the company was barred from buying US tech and parts last year.

But David Zinsner, Micron’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, warned in an earnings call in June that the company was “seeing an impact from the recent restrictions imposed on Huawei.”

Other US tech companies could also become collateral damage in Washington’s campaign against Huawei, according to Triolo, of Eurasia Group.

The United States’ latest move against Huawei and recent threats against other Chinese tech firms means “a punitive move from Beijing against a leading US tech firm is highly likely,” he said.

Beijing on Tuesday pushed back against Washington’s restrictions.

“China firmly opposes the deliberate smear and suppression of Huawei and other Chinese companies by the United States,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters.

The United States “has generalized the concept of national security, abused national power, imposed various restrictive measures on Chinese companies such as Huawei, and bully without providing any evidence,” Zhao added.

Meanwhile, Huawei rival Apple (AAPL) could be hurt by the Trump administration’s potential restrictions on WeChat.

Apple’s business in China is at risk, according to Lee of Jefferies.

It remains unclear whether iPhones in China will be allowed to install WeChat or WeiXin (the Chinese version of the app) given “Trump’s recent announcement to ban US companies from doing business with WeChat,” Lee said.

That would make Apple devices a lot less attractive in China, where WeiXin is known as a so-called super app, and is used to hail rides, message friends and family, pay electricity bills, order food delivery and much more.

— CNN’s Shanshan Wang contributed to this report.

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Democrats elect Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to lead campaign arm

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As incoming DCCC chief, Maloney will have one of the trickiest jobs in Washington after the Democrats’ down-ballot trouncing at the polls last month that left Republicans between five and seven seats away from the majority. He will have to convince dozens of new candidates to run in a potentially unfavorable environment and in districts that have yet to be drawn.

Maloney will be immediately inserted into the center of an ideological debate that has gripped House Democrats since Nov 3., with the caucus’s warring factions pointing fingers at each other over exactly why they’re staring down a shrunken majority come January.

Many moderate Democrats — who largely supported Maloney for his ability to win in a Trump-won district — are demanding a new party message that veers starkly away from the GOP’s attacks on socialism and progressive slogans like “defund the police.”

Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, are dissecting the internal gears at DCCC, arguing that the operation needs to rely on more diverse staff and consultants, devote more resources to get-out-the-vote efforts and completely rethink its digital operations.

Many progressives, particularly lawmakers of color, had flocked behind Cárdenas, who proved to be a prolific fundraiser and organizer as he built the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s campaign arm, BOLD Pac, from the ground up. And he staked his campaign on a vow to Democrats’ increasingly apparent struggles with Latino. The party suffered surprising losses in heavily Latino seats in Florida, Texas and California.

Cárdenas was vocal about reforming some of DCCC’s practices, including ending a contentious policy that banned the organization from hiring any consultant that has helped a primary challenger of a sitting Democrat — a practice that enraged progressives.

Maloney has acknowledged concerns with messaging and said he would reconsider the DCCC blacklist, though he has been mostly restrained — both publicly and privately — in his assessment of DCCC’s miscalculations.

“The smart thing for the DCCC chair to do is to say, I don’t know what happened until I’ve really had a chance to dig into the numbers,” Maloney said in a recent interview.

As chair, Maloney will have an additional task of shepherding members through the decennial redistricting process, which is fraught with politics and internal bickering, particularly in states that are on track to lose a seat. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the Census Bureau will almost certainly not be able to release its reapportionment data in December, delaying states ability to draw new maps.

It’s entirely possible that redistricting alone creates enough red-friendly seats to place Republicans in the majority in 2022. The GOP has total control of the process in many key states, including Texas, Florida and North Carolina, which could have a combined total of 82 seats.

Heather Caygle contributed to this report.

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Students May Not Be Allowed To Return To University For Five Weeks After Christmas To Prevent Spreading Coronavirus Round Campus

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Many students can only begin to return to campus at the end of January, and some not until 5 week into the spring term


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Students who go home for Christmas may have to wait five weeks into the spring term before they can return to campus.

That is according to new government coronavirus guidance, which says the measure “is to minimise transmission risks from the mass movement of students”.

The plan says those on practical or medical courses should be allowed to come back on a staggered basis over three weeks from 4 January.

But for those who do not have work, clinical or practical placements or on “courses requiring access to specialist or technical equipment”, they should not begin to go back until 25 January at the earliest, and should be spread out over a fortnight until 7 February.

As most universities plan to end their spring term after 12 weeks on 26 March, some students may be away from campus for almost half of that time.

And with the education department guidance on going home for Christmas stating people should return between tomorrow and 9 December, some students may be off-campus for more than two months.

Professor Glen O’Hara, who teaches modern and contemporary history at Oxford Brookes university criticised the plans, tweeting: “It is a total joke and an insult to hard-working lecturers and students. 

“It is badly-written, badly-planned and a complete mess. Disgusting.”

The document to higher education providers, published this afternoon, states: “The government is committed to prioritising education and wants to enable all students, including those who have travelled home for the winter break, to return to university and resume blended learning. 

“While we are confident that the face-to-face teaching element of blended learning can be done in COVID-secure environments, the mass movement of students across the country poses a greater risk for the transmission of infection between areas.

“It is important that measures are taken to manage the return to university carefully, to protect students, staff and local communities, while reducing disruption to education. 

“This guidance sets out how we will support HE providers to enable students to return as safely as possible following the winter break, by staggering this process and to facilitate testing for all.”

Providers are advised that: “The return of students should be staggered over 5 weeks – this is to minimise transmission risks from the mass movement of students.”

It also states universities must offer “asymptomatic mass testing to all students on their return”, and says if they are using lateral flow tests then they should be tested twice, the second one three days after their arrival.

The guidance on who can return says “from 4 January to week commencing 18 January 2021 HE providers should allow those students on practical courses to return to campus in line with their planned start dates”.

It adds: “The remaining courses should be offered online from the beginning of term so that students can continue their studies from home. 

“HE providers should plan for students to return gradually from 25 January, over a 2-week period.”

Students are also told to “use private transport wherever possible and only use public transport if they have no other option”, and universities should encourage people to “avoid car sharing with anyone outside their household or support bubble”.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:   “The health and wellbeing of students, staff and local communities is always our primary concern and this plan will enable a safer return for all students. But we must do this in a way which minimises the risk of transmission.

“I know students have had to make sacrifices this year and have faced a number of challenges, but this staggered return will help to protect students, staff and communities.

“It is so important students have the support they need to continue their education, which is why we are providing up to £20m funding for those facing hardship in these exceptional times.”

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Joe Biden: Covid vaccination in US will not be mandatory

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Mr Biden, and state governors who would be on the front lines of any such mandate, might prefer to target only certain segments of the population more at risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19. For instance, employers could be encouraged to require healthcare and nursing home workers to be immunised, and most children already must have up-to-date shot records before attending public or private schools.

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