All you need to know today.
1. US reverses international student visa policy following Harvard & M.I.T fight
The ivies have some power. The US has reversed its policy that was prepared to send international students back home if their universities did not offer in-person classes. The proposed bill was strongly fought against by Harvard, M.I.T and many other universities.
U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs announced at an online hearing on Tuesday that the government had agreed to rescind last week’s requirement that international students take at least one in-person class even amid the pandemic, which is still surging in many parts of the US.
However, things might not be over that quickly.
“They’re probably saying, OK, well, we’ll do something slightly different or maybe we’ll just apply it to people who haven’t arrived yet. Maybe the president issues an executive order, it comes from the White House this time rather than from an agency,” says Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center to Bloomberg.
Schools can now resume planning for the fall semester. For now, this is a relief and a win for international students, who’s lives will be chaotic for no good reason if they faced deportation issues. With this, schools can concentrate on re-opening plans instead of finding loopholes and workarounds to accommodate hundreds of thousands of students.
2. Facebook is launching official music videos starting in the US next month
It’s Facebook vs. Youtube.
Facebook will be launching officially licensed music videos next month in the US, as a direct challenge to Youtube.
Artists will not have to manually upload their videos or even provide links, instead, by enabling the new setting, artists are giving Facebook permission to add music videos to their Page where they can be discovered by fans on the Page’s Videos tab.
Whenever it receives a new release from a music label, the artist’s Facebook Page would automatically share the video directly on the page’s Timeline.
Facebook’s expansion into music videos will present a significant challenge to YouTube, which accounted for 46% of the world’s music streaming outside of China as of 2017.
Facebook already offers a music video experience in Thailand and India.
3. Thailand’s Deputy PM & team hands in resignations
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and other ministers collectively known as “The 4 kuman” will resign from their positions. This also includes fellow Deputy PM & Finance Minister Uttama Savanayan and Minister of Energy Sontirat Sontijirawong.
This news has been a long time coming, especially following the party’s internal re-shuffle with Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan and the ministers’ resignations as party members. The resignation from their positions is meant to pave way for a cabinet re-shuffle. Are we optimistic?
4. Google confirms its $4.5 billion investment in Jio Platforms
Yesterday, we wrote about Google’s interest in investing $4 billion in India’s Jio Platform, now it’s been officially confirmed.
is investing $4.5 billion for a 7.73% stake in Jio Platforms, the technology and telecommunications arm of Reliance Industries, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Google’s new investment gives Jio Platforms an equity valuation of $58 billion.
This marks a rare, significant case where Google has co-invested in something with Facebook, its global rival. Facebook was Jio’s first significant overseas investor, kicking off the round with $5.7 billion in April for a 9.9% stake in the company.
Jio has raised over $20.6 billion in the past four months from 13 investors by selling about 33% stake in the firm.
Google and Reliance Jio Platforms will work on a customized-version of Android operating system to develop low-cost, entry-level smartphones for India’s next generation of users, as more demand grows for ecommerce, content consumption and general commerce. Potentially, it could reach hundreds of millions of users.
“Together we are excited to rethink, from the ground up, how millions of users in India can become owners of smartphones,” says Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Analysts at research firm Bernstein said last month that they expect Jio Platforms to reach 500 million customers by 2023, and control half of the market by 2025.
Google’s commitment in Jio highlights how significant the potential is in India’s vast mobile first market. Investors are clearly invested in the Jio story and bullish on how far the company can grow to transform India’s telecommunications universe. Everyone wants a piece of this pie.