US COVID situation; Myanmar coup; Apple-Facebook tiff

In today's episode, we revisit the COVID situation in USA as the country’s economy gradually picks up steam, look at the situation in coup-hit Myanmar which recently saw intense fighting on its border with Thailand, and examine how Apple’s new privacy update could hurt Facebook’s revenues.
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • The USA, which remains the worst affected country due to the 2019 coronavirus, but continues to lead one of the most effective vaccination programmes in the world, is seeing a slow but steady dip in the number of weekly infections. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention revealed last Monday that as of April 24, the seven-day average was 57,123 cases, a dip of almost 15% in comparison to the previous week. Most experts believe that, unlike previous dips, the slow down in the rate of infection will be permanent this time as the USA continues to immunise its population. 

  • Myanmar witnessed its largest violence since February after the military clashed with the Karen National Union at its eastern border with Thailand days after Southeast Asian leaders said they had reached a consensus with the Junta on ending violence. Following reports of gunfire and smoke from a Tatmadaw camp at the Thailand-Myanmar border, the region’s ethnic army the KNA said that they had captured the outpost. According to local media, over 240,000 people have been displaced by the conflict and the region has witnessed military airstrikes. 

  • Apple’s new software update is likely to hurt smaller firms dependent on digital advertising while providing its users with more privacy protection. The decision to allow iPhone and iPad users to choose how much information they wish to share with any third party application has reignited a tiff between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The privacy option could lead companies like Facebook to lose billions of dollars if a majority of users block the company from tracking them on iPhones. 

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