Brooklyn bishop questions state decision to limit attendance at Sunday services


NEW YORK — Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, standing Saturday outside a 550-seat Catholic church, criticized the state-imposed COVID-19 cap of 10 worshippers for Mass in his diocese.

“We believe this blanket prohibition against using our churches doesn’t make any sense,” he told reporters outside St. Pancras Catholic Church in Queens. “We believe it’s a misunderstanding of the situation.”

DiMarzio spoke hours after a Brooklyn federal judge offered sympathy but no support for the diocese’s lawsuit seeking to reverse the restrictions ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The bishop said the churches would close down rather than hold Sunday services with one priest and a congregation of nine.

U.S. District Judge Eric Komitee, in a Friday night decision, upheld Cuomo’s crackdown on religious services in several “hot spot” Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods with significant upticks in coronavirus cases.

Komitee called it a “difficult decision,” noting a Friday CNN appearance where Cuomo flatly said the problem was linked to the Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community.

“The governor of New York made it remarkably clear that this Order was intended to target a different set of religious institutions,” wrote Komitee. “Plaintiff appears to have been swept up in that effort despite having been mostly spared, as far at least, from the problem at hand.

“Nevertheless, the government is afforded wide latitude in managing the spread of deadly diseases,” Komitee concluded.

One day earlier, a separate federal judge upheld the shutdown on Jewish houses of worship that filed their own lawsuit against Cuomo.

The Brooklyn judge suggested the diocese could apply for a preliminary injunction in light of the governor’s comments. DiMarzio said the church was considering its legal options.

But he wasn’t happy: “Show me the science. When I see neighborhoods where we know there’s contagion that are not in this, I don’t think they’ve

Judge rejects bid to delay TikTok U.S. app store ban set for Sunday


FILE PHOTO: Flags of China and U.S. are seen near a Bytedance logo in this illustration picture taken September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday rejected a request by three TikTok content creators who asked her to temporarily block a government ban on Apple Inc AAPL.O and Alphabet Inc Google GOOGL.O app stores offering the short-video sharing app for download set to take effect on Sunday.

The content creators argued they would “lose access to tens of thousands of potential viewers and creators every month, an effect amplified by the looming threat to close TikTok altogether.”

U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone wrote that the ban is “undoubtedly an inconvenience” but said in denying the request “they will still be able to create, publish, and share content for their millions of current followers.”

A separate legal challenge from TikTok and Chinese owner ByteDance to the Commerce Department order is still pending. A 9:30 a.m. hearing on Sunday is set on the issue before U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington.

ByteDance said on Sept. 20 it had made a preliminary deal for Walmart Inc WMT.N and Oracle Corp ORCL.N to take stakes in the short video sharing app’s U.S. operations, but the exact terms remain unclear.

The Commerce Department gave the companies an additional week to finalize a deal before an order banning TikTok from U.S. app stores takes effect.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler

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TikTok Judge Schedules Sunday Hearing as Trump’s Ban Looms


Trump cited national security risks in August, when he announced a ban on the widely-used network from U.S. app stores. The president, who’s also barred WeChat, owned by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., has told ByteDance its only alternative is to sell its American TikTok business. The U.S. Justice Department argues the apps potentially give the China’s government access to millions of Americans’ personal data.

The government emphasized those concerns in a filing on Friday, urging U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols not to grant the temporary block. U.S. lawyers cited FBI Director Christopher Wray’s assessment that China poses the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property” as a reason for the ban.

“One of the tools that the PRC uses to further its goals is bulk data collection,” the U.S. government said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

ByteDance, founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming, has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and must abide by laws that require it to cooperate with China’s government, the U.S. said.

“In April 2018, the CCP forced ByteDance to shutdown one of its other platforms, and Mr. Yiming issued a public apology in which he pledged to cooperate with and elevate official CCP media,” the U.S. said. “Following this public atonement, ByteDance underwent organizational restructuring with CCP infrastructure now built into it.”

Read More: TikTok Pushes Back on Trump in Court While Angling for Deal

The ban, announced in an Aug. 6 executive order, is part of a wider effort by the administration to take a hard line against Beijing, which Trump bets will help him win re-election. Starting at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 27, it would remove TikTok from the app stores run by Apple Inc. and Google’s Android, the most widely used marketplaces for downloadable apps. People

Judge sets TikTok hearing for Sunday amid looming ban


Sept. 26 (UPI) — A federal judge has set a hearing for Sunday morning to decide on the fate of the video-sharing app TikTok ahead of Trump’s ban slated to take effect by midnight of the same day.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols scheduled the hearing to decide whether or not the United States has the authority to ban the app after the video-sharing app’s owner ByteDance asked the court to block the ban, arguing in court filings that the ban would impede constitutional free-speech protections.

President Donald Trump’s administration initially scheduled the ban against TikTok to take effect last Sunday, but it was delayed to this upcoming Sunday.

The ban slated to take effect by midnight Sunday would remove TikTok from app stores Apple, Google, and Android run and remove access to updates to help make the app move smoothly for millions of Americans who already have the app.

The Commerce Department is planning a full ban by Nov. 12.

Trump announced last month an upcoming ban against TikTok and a separate messaging app WeChat developed by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings, citing national security concerns. He issued executive orders for both amid push to limit the Chinese Communist Party’s access to U.S. data.

On Aug. 24, ByteDance, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over efforts to ban the app.

The U.S. government last week tentatively approved a deal for Oracle and Walmart to acquire a 20% stake in the new company, Global ByteDance. Amid the pressure, ByteDance also requested permission from Beijing to export its technology, as executives work to push through the deal with Oracle and Walmart.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a 49-page response to TikTok’s lawsuit ahead of Sunday’s hearing.

In the response, the Trump administration accused ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming of being