Financial Times – Miles Kruppa, James Fontanella-Khan and Ryan McMorrow / Oracle wins bidding war for TikTok’s US operations
- ByteDance has reached a preliminary “technical partnership” agreement with Oracle for TikTok’s US operations that does not include a full sale of the short video app, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
- As part of the deal, Oracle plans to address the national security concerns that the Trump administration has raised over the Chinese company’s ownership of TikTok, said one of the people.
- The US technology group chaired by Larry Ellison, one of the few people in Silicon Valley who has publicly supported US President Donald Trump, is likely to own a minority stake in the US business.
- The developments follow a protracted bidding process that pitted Oracle against Microsoft, which announced in early August that it was discussing the purchase of TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- Bloomberg / TikTok owner to spend billions in Singapore after US ban
Foreign Policy – Robbie Gramer, Colum Lynch and Jack Detsch / Trump extends Arab push to normalize ties with Israel
- When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to Sudan last month, the first top-level U.S. visit in 15 years, the main item on his agenda wasn’t Sudan, sanctions, or the country’s transition to democracy after decades of dictatorship.
- It was Israel, according to an account by three people briefed on the visit. During a private meeting Pompeo abruptly prodded Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to place a call to Benjamin Netanyahu. “Everybody on the Sudanese side’s mouths just dropped to the floor,” said one person familiar with the meeting.
- Pompeo’s stop in Khartoum was one of several visits to Arab capitals last month meant to bolster support for what has become one of the few tangible foreign policy success stories for the Trump administration: the normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
- Many Muslim countries are still treading carefully. The leaders of Bahrain and the UAE will not attend the Washington signing ceremony. Sudan is still demurring. Oman is still holding off normalizing relations with Israel.
- Al-Monitor – Rina Bassist / Netanyahu hails Bahrain-Israel normalization deal
The New York Times – Mujib Mashal / Afghanistan peace talks open in Qatar, seeking end to decades of war
- The Taliban and the Afghan government began historic peace talks in Qatar on Saturday, aimed at shaping a power-sharing government that would end decades of war that have consumed Afghanistan and left millions dead and displaced.
- If realized, a peace deal would be the first time in generations that a new form of Afghan government was not being established at the point of a gun. Some critics of the process argued that the Taliban insurgency was still, in essence, holding a gun to the government’s head.
- The peace talks opened on Saturday morning in Doha, the Qatari capital, with formal ceremonies held under tight security and strict coronavirus measures. The fact that delegations from the two sides are finally coming to the table, after repeated delays, offers the nation a rare opportunity in its recent history: a chance to find a formula of lasting coexistence.
- The negotiations will be complicated at every turn by the threat of continued insurgent assaults, deep political divisions after a disputed election, decades of loss and grievance, and by foreign powers pulling Afghan factions in opposing directions.
- The Economist / The Taliban and the Afghan government talk peace at last
The Washington Post – Derek Hawkins, Samantha Schmidt and Steven Mufson / Dense smoke smothers Pacific Northwest, shutting residents indoors and complicating fire response
- Massive clouds of smoke from the Pacific Northwest wildfires lingered over the region Sunday, posing serious health risks for millions of people and complicating firefighting efforts even as crews reported progress in slowing some of the blazes.
- The air quality across Oregon was listed as “hazardous” or “very unhealthy” by state environmental officials, and a dense smoke advisory from the National Weather Service remained in effect for much of the state until late Sunday or at least noon local time on Monday.
- Similar warnings about smoke were in place from California to Washington state. In San Francisco, residents were advised to remain indoors and block air from seeping into their homes. In Seattle, the air quality index topped 200, the level considered “very unhealthy.”
- “The sun doesn’t seem to rise or set. The sky gets a little bit brighter and a little bit darker and that’s how you know the day is starting or ending,” said Eileen Quigley, founder and executive director of the Clean Energy Transition Institute in Seattle.
- The Guardian – Adam Morton / Investors that manage US$47tn demand world’s biggest polluters back plan for net-zero emissions
- Politico – Cristina Gallardo / Spain pushes for Gibraltar to join Schengen area after Brexit transition ends