TikTok Fights Back: Calls U.S. Ban 'Political Demagoguery;Thrift Store Treasure: 2,000-Year-Old Mayan Vase Returned to Mexico;Providence Friars Set to Battle in Bahamas Showdown:Defense Briefing20240621

Welcome to our《Defense Briefing》show, I’m your host: Liang Jun. Today, we dive into some fascinating stories making headlines. First up, TikTok is hitting back hard against the U.S. government’s attempt to force a sale or ban of the app, labeling it as ‘political demagoguery’ and claiming it violates the First Amendment. Bytedance, the parent company, has until January 19, 2023, to comply or face a nationwide ban, stirring up a heated legal battle over national security and free expression. Next, a Washington woman made an astonishing discovery at a thrift store near a U.S. Air Force base—a 2,000-year-old Mayan vase, bought for just $3.99! After five years, she recognized its historical significance during a visit to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. The vase has now been authenticated and returned to Mexico, highlighting efforts to combat the illegal sale of archaeological treasures. Lastly, the Providence Friars basketball team is gearing up for an exciting trip to the Bahamas to compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis. They’ll be facing off against some tough competition, including Arizona, Gonzaga, and Indiana, promising some thrilling nonconference action. Please stay tuned for more details on these captivating stories.

Yahoo US

The Biden administration’s new law demanding the sale or ban of TikTok has sparked a fierce legal battle, with TikTok attorneys claiming the law is an unconstitutional act of “political demagoguery.” In a court brief, TikTok argued that the mandate, which requires its China-based owner, ByteDance, to sell its U.S. operations by January 19 or face a nationwide ban, violates Americans’ First Amendment rights. TikTok’s brief highlighted that Congress has never before silenced so much speech in a single act, setting a dangerous precedent. The company also shared internal documents from failed negotiations with the federal government, including a 100-page draft national security agreement proposed in August 2022, which would have given federal officials significant oversight over TikTok’s U.S. operations. However, the Biden administration rejected the proposal, deeming it insufficient without detailing the reasons. This high-profile legal clash could significantly impact online speech, with the potential to either uphold a cornerstone of American digital life or reinforce a rare bipartisan tech legislation.

NBC News

In the House GOP primaries, Trump’s influence remains a powerful force, though not an absolute guarantee of victory. The close race in Virginia, where House Freedom Caucus chairman Bob Good is trailing state Sen. John McGuire despite Trump’s endorsement, underscores the complexities of these primaries. Incumbents are notoriously difficult to unseat due to advantages in name recognition, fundraising, and ground support. Trump’s endorsement has been a significant asset for many incumbents, as seen with Reps. Tom Cole, Nancy Mace, and William Timmons, who all secured victories in their recent primaries. However, the notion that Trump’s endorsement alone can secure a win is misleading, as evidenced by Good’s tight race. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign is also making efforts to court young voters of color by enlisting rappers as surrogates. At a recent Black voter outreach event in Detroit, rapper Sada Baby expressed his newfound interest in voting for Trump, highlighting the campaign’s strategy to engage with influential local figures to sway undecided voters.

CBC

In a remarkable turn of events, Anna Lee Dozier from Washington, D.C., discovered that a vase she bought for $3.99 at a thrift store was actually a 2,000-year-old Mayan artifact. Initially thinking it was a mere tourist souvenir, Dozier kept the vase in her home library, away from her young children. It wasn’t until a visit to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City that she realized its potential historical significance. Upon contacting the Mexican embassy, the vase was authenticated as a precious artifact from the Mayan Classic period, dating back to 200-800 AD. Dozier carefully transported the vase to a ceremony at the Mexican Cultural Institute, where it was formally repatriated. The Mexican government, which has been actively recovering its cultural heritage, expressed deep gratitude. Dozier, who never considered selling the vase, felt it was important for it to return to its rightful place, reflecting her respect for its cultural and historical value. The vase will now be studied by archaeologists and may eventually be displayed in a museum, contributing to the preservation of Mayan heritage.

Yahoo US: The Providence Friars are gearing up for a thrilling nonconference basketball schedule, beginning with the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving. This tournament, featuring top-tier teams like Arizona, Gonzaga, and West Virginia, will be crucial for the Friars’ NCAA Tournament aspirations. Before heading to the Bahamas, Providence will host several teams, including Central Connecticut State and BYU, and face Rhode Island in their annual grudge match. Noteworthy players like Bryce Hopkins are set to shine, and new coaching faces, such as BYU’s Kevin Young and Hampton’s Ivan Thomas, add an exciting dynamic. The Friars aim to boost their NET and KenPom ratings after a challenging previous season, hoping to impress the selection committee and secure a spot in the March Madness dance.

Yahoo US: Representative Mike Turner, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is pressing the Biden administration to declassify all intelligence on Russia’s nuclear anti-satellite program. Turner argues that public knowledge of this threat is essential for a comprehensive debate on how to counteract Moscow’s ambitions. He criticizes the administration for its slow and secretive response, which he believes hampers effective international cooperation and strategy formulation. The White House, however, maintains that it has been proactive, engaging in diplomacy and proposing resolutions to prevent an arms race in space. Despite these efforts, Russia’s veto at the U.N. Security Council and the administration’s preference for private diplomacy have limited public disclosure. The Pentagon acknowledges the threat but assures that it is not imminent, while Turner insists that transparency is critical for global security.

BBC: A security alert in Newry concluded with the discovery of a “crude yet viable device” on Monaghan Street, causing significant disruption. The alert began after a suspicious object was reported early in the morning, prompting the evacuation of residents and businesses. Army ammunition technical officers conducted a controlled explosion, identifying the object as a suspected pipe bomb, which has been sent for further forensic examination. Inspector Gibson of the Police Service of Northern Ireland expressed gratitude for the public’s patience during the operation, acknowledging the inconvenience caused on one of Newry’s busiest streets. The incident underscores ongoing security concerns and the vigilance required to ensure public safety.

Yahoo US reports that the Denver Broncos have signed free agent pass rusher Dondrea Tillman after he successfully completed his physical. Tillman, who is 26 years old, previously played for the Birmingham Stallions in the United Football League. To accommodate Tillman’s addition to the roster, the Broncos waived rookie linebacker Alec Mock. Mock, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent from Air Force, had a notable college career, starting games for four consecutive seasons and earning a second-team All-Mountain West selection in 2023 with an impressive 93 total tackles, including 53 solo stops.

Al Jazeera highlights a United Nations-backed commission of inquiry that has found Israel responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The report also implicates Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in violating international humanitarian law during their October attacks on southern Israel. The commission’s findings are based on thousands of interviews with victims and advanced forensic analyses of medical reports and satellite images. Despite the damning evidence, attempts to halt Israel’s offensive through a UN Security Council resolution and a binding ruling by the UN’s top court have failed. The report raises questions about the future of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government and whether international support for Israel, particularly from the United States, could become increasingly difficult to sustain.

Yahoo US also brings attention to a major discount on Old Navy’s highly praised Ultra-Crop Rib-Knit Tank Tops, which are now available for just $4 each, down from their original price of $13. These tank tops, made from a blend of 48% cotton and 47% polyester, are perfect for summer, offering a stylish and comfortable option for high temperatures. Available in 12 colors, including classic shades and vibrant hues like coral and hot pink, these tanks have received over 1,800 five-star reviews. Shoppers have lauded the tanks for their flattering fit and versatile length, making them ideal for layering or wearing alone. This sale presents a fantastic opportunity to update your summer wardrobe with these popular, well-reviewed tank tops at a fraction of the original cost.

Nike’s recent livestream on the SNKRS app unveiled an exciting lineup of sneakers slated for release from late 2024 through early 2025, with the much-anticipated return of the Air Foamposite One “Galaxy” leading the charge. Originally released during the 2012 NBA All-Star weekend, the “Galaxy” Foams, adorned with a vibrant nebula graphic, have become legendary, fetching up to $2,000 on the resale market and causing public disturbances during past releases. Other highlights include the Dunk Low “Berlin” and Air Force 1 “Paris” from the “City Series,” Swarovski crystal-covered Air Max Plus editions, and Gore-Tex versions of the Air Max Sunder. The Air Force 1 Low “Escape” will return for its 20th anniversary in spring 2025, while new takes on the all-black AF1 Low and Air Max Waffle Racer are set for holiday 2024. Additionally, the Air Flightposite “Metallic Gold,” Air Max Spiridon, and Air Max Goadome will see updates, alongside premium leather and suede makeovers for the Air Rift and a refreshed Footscape Woven “Rainbow.” The Air Max TL 2.5 will also make a comeback with two new colorways in spring 2025.

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