In other instances, prosecutors may not say exactly what they’re investigating when they ask for transaction records. In that case, it’s up to the financial institution to request more information or try to figure it out on its own.

Paying for abortion services with cash is one possible way to avoid detection, even if it isn’t possible for people ordering pills online. Many abortion funds pay on behalf of people who need financial help.

But cash and electronic transfers of money are not entirely foolproof.

“Even if you are paying with cash, the amount of residual information that can be used to reveal health status and pregnancy status is fairly significant,” said Ms. Stepanovich, referring to potential bread crumbs such as the use of a retailer’s loyalty program or location tracking on a mobile phone when making a cash purchase.

In some cases, users may inadvertently give up sensitive information themselves through apps that track and share their financial behavior.

“The purchase of a pregnancy test on an app where financial history is public is probably the biggest red flag,” Ms. Stepanovich said.

Other advocates mentioned the possibility of using prepaid cards in fixed amounts, like the kinds that people can buy off a rack in a drugstore. Cryptocurrency, they added, usually does leave enough of a trail that achieving anonymity is challenging.

One thing that every expert emphasized is the lack of certainty. But there is an emerging gut feeling that corporations will be in the spotlight at least as much as judges.

“Now, these payment companies are going to be front and center in the fight,” Ms. Caraballo said.

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Apple Sees Virtual-Reality Headset as Its Next Big Thing

Apple’s development of virtual-reality content and software tools is central to creating experiences that give its future headset purpose. Its last major new product, the Apple Watch, was launched with about 3,000 apps but struggled to take off because tech reviewers said few of those apps were useful. Similar shortcomings have dogged Meta’s Quest virtual-reality headset, which surpassed 10 million sales last year, because many view it as a gaming device.

From its original Macintosh to its iPad, Apple has pursued products that attract a broad swath of potential customers and have an array of uses. It sold an estimated 240 million iPhones last year, accounting for about half of its $366 billion in total sales. To make the headset worthwhile, analysts said, it will need to have utilities that transcend the niche world of video games.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has been talking about the potential of augmented reality for years. In 2016, he told investors that the company was investing heavily in it and considered it a “great commercial opportunity.” Around that time, many employees on Apple’s campus were reading “Ready Player One,” a futuristic novel about virtual reality, and talking about the possibilities of creating Apple’s own mixed-reality world.

Apple hired an engineer from Dolby Technologies, Mike Rockwell, and tasked him with leading the effort. His early efforts to create an augmented-reality product were hobbled by weak computing power, two people familiar with the project said. Continuing challenges with its battery power have forced Apple to postpone its release until next year, those people said.

The augmented-reality initiative has been divisive inside Apple. At least two members of its industrial design team said they had left the company, in part, because they had some concerns about developing a product that might change the way people interact with one another. Such sensitivities have increased inside the company amid rising public concern about children’s screen time.

With Mr. Rockwell at the helm, the product would be one of the first to come out of Apple led by its engineering team rather than its co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, and its former design chief, Jony Ive, who left the company in 2019. The Apple Watch project was led by Mr. Ive and his designers, who defined how it looked, operated and was marketed.

Mr. Favreau’s programming shows how Apple is trying to differentiate its product from Meta’s. It also illustrates how the company is tapping into the relationships it has cultivated in Hollywood since starting Apple TV+ in 2019.

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Didi sets shareholder meeting on May 23 to vote on U.S. delisting plans, article with image

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A screen displays trading information for ride-hailing giant Didi Global on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 3, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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April 16 (Reuters) – Didi Global Inc (DIDI.N) will hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on May 23 to vote on its delisting plans in the United States, the Chinese ride-hailing giant said in a statement on Saturday.

The company also said it will not apply to list its shares on any other stock exchange before the delisting of its American Depositary Shares from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was complete.

It added that it will continue to explore appropriate measures that include exploring a potential listing on another internationally recognized exchange, it said.

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Didi announced in December that it would delist from the NYSE and pursue a listing in Hong Kong after it ran foul of Chinese regulators by pushing ahead with its $4.4 billion U.S. IPO last year.

Chinese regulators had urged the firm to put its listing on hold while a cybersecurity review of its data practices was conducted, sources have told Reuters.

Days after it went ahead, the country’s powerful cyberspace watchdog ordered app stores to remove 25 mobile apps operated by Didi and told the company to stop registering new users, citing national security and the public interest.

China’s securities regulator, in a statement noting Didi’s Saturday announcement, said the decision was one that the company had made independently and had nothing to do with other U.S.-listed Chinese stocks or ongoing efforts between Chinese regulators and their U.S. counterparts to resolve an audit dispute affecting U.S.-listed Chinese firms. read more

Didi’s total revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2021 fell to 40.8 billion yuan ($6.40 billion) from 46.7 billion yuan a year earlier, the company said in a separate statement also issued on Saturday.

($1 = 6.3705 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Jahnavi Nidumolu in Bengaluru and Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Editing by Franklin Paul and David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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China’s ‘Zero Covid’ Mess Proves Autocracy Hurts Everyone

After the city locked down its 25 million residents and grounded most delivery services in early April, many people encountered problems sourcing food, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Some set alarms for the different restocking times of grocery delivery apps that start as early as 6 a.m.

In the past few days, a hot topic in WeChat groups has been whether sprouted potatoes were safe to eat, a few Shanghai residents told me. Neighbors resorted to a barter system to exchange, say, a cabbage for a bottle of soy sauce. Coca-Cola is hard currency.

After nearly two weeks under lockdown, Dai Xin, a restaurant owner, is running out of food to provide for her household of four. Now she slices ginger paper thin, pickles vegetables so they won’t spoil and eats two meals a day instead of three.

Even the moneyed class is facing food supply shortages. The head of a big retailer told me last week that she got many requests from Shanghai-based chief executives. But there was little she could do under lockdown rules, the executive said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity given the political sensitivities.

Wang Lixiong, the author of the apocalyptic novel “China Tidal Wave,” which ended with a great famine in the aftermath of a nuclear winter, believes that a man-made crisis like the one in Shanghai is inevitable under China’s authoritarian system. In recent years, he said in an interview, the risk increased after Beijing clamped down on nearly every aspect of civil society.

After moving into a friend’s vacant apartment in Shanghai last winter, he stocked up on rice, noodles, canned food and whiskey to sustain him for a few months in case of a crisis.

But many residents in the luxury apartment complex, with units valued at more than $3 million, weren’t as prepared when the lockdown started. He saw his neighbors, who dashed around in designer suits a month ago, venture into the complex’s lush garden to dig up bamboo shoots for a meal.

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PropertyGuru Successfully Completes Business Combination With Bridgetown 2 Holdings

SINGAPORE & HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PropertyGuru Pte. Ltd. (“PropertyGuru” or “the Company”), Southeast Asia’s leading1 property technology (“PropTech”) company, today completed its previously announced business combination with Bridgetown 2 Holdings Limited (“Bridgetown 2”) (NASDAQ: BTNB), a special purpose acquisition company formed by Pacific Century Group (“Pacific Century”) and Thiel Capital LLC (“Thiel Capital”). The business combination was approved by Bridgetown 2 stockholders in an Extraordinary General Meeting of Company Shareholders held on March 15, 2022.

PropertyGuru Group Limited’s (“PubCo”) ordinary shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) on March 18, 2022 under the ticker symbol “PGRU”.

“We are thrilled to have successfully completed our business combination with Bridgetown 2, which provides additional capital to pursue organic and strategic growth, and will accelerate our ability to access capital markets in pursuit of delivering world-class solutions for our customers,” said Hari V. Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, PropertyGuru Group. “Over the past 15 years PropertyGuru has helped shape the PropTech industry in Southeast Asia and introduced many first solutions for property seekers, agents, and developers that enabled digitalization of the property industry. As evidenced by the 23% increase in our 2021 revenue – we are entering our next post-Covid phase of growth with significant momentum.

“As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in technology and expand our services and offerings to build on our leading positions in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.1 Southeast Asia’s real estate market is beginning to recover from the pandemic and as the region’s increasingly affluent and digitally enabled population moves to urban centers, PropertyGuru is well-positioned to benefit from these long-term trends.”

Southeast Asia is estimated to be the world’s fourth largest economy by 20302, driven by favourable long-term macroeconomic dynamics, creating significant opportunities for PropertyGuru – which has an addressable market of US$8.1 billion according to Frost & Sullivan. Through its continued investments, the Company is positioned to stay ahead of the evolving market demand and extend its leadership position as the region’s property markets recover from the pandemic.

“PropertyGuru is digitally transforming a traditional real estate market in Southeast Asia to create a trusted and transparent online property marketplace,” said Matt Danzeisen, Chairman, Bridgetown 2. “We believe PropertyGuru is just scratching the surface in the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing region, and we are excited to partner with Hari and his talented team to create lasting value for our shareholders, employees, customers and partners.”

Transaction Details

The completion of the business combination values PropertyGuru at an enterprise value of ~US$1.36 billion and an equity value of ~US$1.61 billion.

PropertyGuru received ~US$254 million in gross proceeds through the contribution of US$122 million of cash held in Bridgetown 2’s trust account, a concurrent US$100 million private placement (“PIPE”) of common stock anchored by Baillie Gifford, Naya, REA Group, Akaris Global Partners, and one of Malaysia’s largest asset managers, priced at US$10.00 per share. REA Group also invested an additional US$32 million. In addition, KKR, TPG Group and REA Group rolled 100% of their equity into PropertyGuru, demonstrating their continued commitment to the Company’s growth strategy.

Advisors

Merrill Lynch (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. served as exclusive financial advisor to PropertyGuru. Latham & Watkins LLP and Allen & Gledhill LLP served as legal advisors to PropertyGuru.

Merrill Lynch (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., KKR Capital Markets Asia Limited and TPG Capital BD, LLC served as placement agents to Bridgetown 2. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP served as legal advisors to Bridgetown 2.

Ringing the Bell at the NYSE

On March 18, PropertyGuru’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Hari V. Krishnan will ring the NYSE opening bell at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (9:30 p.m. Singapore Time). He will be joined on stage by PropertyGuru’s Leadership team, Founders, Board and Bridgetown 2’s Chairman and CEO. The bell-ringing ceremony will be livestreamed to its gala listing event in Singapore and available on NYSE’s website here: https://www.nyse.com/bell.

PropertyGuru will commemorate its listing by opening the doors to the Company’s five Southeast Asian markets through live-stream door installations between New York and its home markets, that will be set up at the NYSE’s Experience Square. The event will take place at 10:15a.m. Eastern Time.

About PropertyGuru Group

PropertyGuru Group is Southeast Asia’s leading property technology company1, and the preferred destination for over 50 million property seekers to find their dream home, every month. PropertyGuru and its group companies empower property seekers with more than 3.3 million real estate listings, in-depth insights, and solutions that enable them to make confident property decisions across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

PropertyGuru.com.sg was launched in 2007 and has helped to drive the Singapore property market online and has made property search transparent for the property seeker. Over the decade, the Group has grown into a high-growth technology company with a robust portfolio of leading property portals across its core markets company; award-winning mobile apps; a high quality developer sales enablement platform, PropertyGuru FastKey (https://www.propertygurugroup.com/fastkey/); mortgage marketplace PropertyGuru Finance (https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/mortgage/home-loan); and a host of other property offerings including Awards (https://www.asiapropertyawards.com/en/), events and publications across Asia.

For more information, please visit: https://www.propertygurugroup.com/; https://www.linkedin.com/company/propertyguru/

Key Performance Metrics

Engagement Market Share is the average monthly engagement for websites owned by PropertyGuru as compared to average monthly engagement for a basket of peers calculated over the relevant period. Engagement is calculated as the number of visits to a website during a period multiplied by the average amount of time spent on that website for the same period, in each case based on data from SimilarWeb.

Number of real estate listings is calculated as the number of listings created during the month for Vietnam and total listings at the end of the previous month for other markets.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking” statements and information, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that relate to PropertyGuru’s current expectations and views of future events. In some cases, these forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seeks,” “predicts,” “intends,” “trends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of these words or other comparable words.

These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, some of which are beyond our control. In addition, these forward-looking statements, including statements regarding our future results of operations and financial position, planned products and services, business strategy and plans, objectives of management for future operations, market size and growth opportunities, competitive position and technological and market trends, reflect our current views with respect to future events and are not a guarantee of future performance. Actual outcomes may differ materially from the information contained in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors, including, without limitation, the following: changes in domestic and foreign business, market, financial, political and legal conditions; the ability of PropertyGuru to grow and manage growth profitably and retain its key employees including its chief executive officer and executive team; failure to realize the anticipated benefits of PropertyGuru’s completed business combination; risk relating to the uncertainty of the projected financial information with respect to PropertyGuru; PropertyGuru’s ability to attract new and retain existing customers in a cost effective manner; competitive pressures in and any disruption to the industry in which PropertyGuru and its subsidiaries (the “Group”) operates; the Group’s ability to achieve profitability despite a history of losses; the Group’s ability to implement its growth strategies and manage its growth; customers of the Group continuing to make valuable contributions to its platform, the Group’s ability to meet consumer expectations; the success of the Group’s new product or service offerings; the Group’s ability to produce accurate forecasts of its operating and financial results; the Group’s ability to attract traffic to its websites; the Group’s ability to assess property values accurately; the Group’s internal controls; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; the Group’s ability to raise capital; media coverage of the Group; the Group’s ability to obtain insurance coverage; changes in the regulatory environments (such as anti-trust laws, foreign ownership restrictions and tax regimes) of the countries in which the Group operates, general economic conditions in the countries in which the Group operates, the Group’s ability to attract and retain management and skilled employees, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business of the Group, the success of the Group’s strategic investments and acquisitions, changes in the Group’s relationship with its current customers, suppliers and service providers, disruptions to information technology systems and networks, the Group’s ability to grow and protect its brand and the Group’s reputation, the Group’s ability to protect its intellectual property; changes in regulation and other contingencies; the Group’s ability to achieve tax efficiencies of its corporate structure and intercompany arrangements; potential and future litigation that the Group may be involved in; unanticipated losses, write-downs or write-offs, restructuring and impairment or other charges, taxes or other liabilities that may be incurred or required subsequent to, or in connection with, the completed business combination and technological advancements in the Group’s industry, as well as and other risk factors set forth in the section titled “Risk Factors” in our Prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 15, 2022, and other documents filed with or furnished to the SEC.

The forward-looking statements contained in this document are subject to a number of factors, risks and uncertainties, some of which are not currently known to PropertyGuru or Bridgetown 2. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the “Risk Factors” section of PubCo’s registration statement on Form F-4, the proxy statement/ prospectus therein, Bridgetown 2’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and other documents filed by PubCo or Bridgetown 2 from time to time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. In addition, there may be additional risks that neither Bridgetown 2 nor PropertyGuru presently know, or that Bridgetown 2 or PropertyGuru currently believe are immaterial, that could also cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect Bridgetown 2’s and PropertyGuru’s expectations, plans, projections or forecasts of future events and view. If any of the risks materialize or Bridgetown 2’s or PropertyGuru’s assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Bridgetown 2 and PropertyGuru anticipate that subsequent events and developments may cause their assessments to change. However, while PubCo, Bridgetown 2 and PropertyGuru may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, PubCo, Bridgetown 2 and PropertyGuru specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, except as required by law. The inclusion of any statement in this document does not constitute an admission by PropertyGuru nor Bridgetown 2 or any other person that the events or circumstances described in such statement are material. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Bridgetown 2’s or PropertyGuru’s assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this document. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements. In addition, the analyses of PropertyGuru and Bridgetown 2 contained herein are not, and do not purport to be, appraisals of the securities, assets or business of PropertyGuru, Bridgetown 2 or any other entity.

Industry and Market Data

This document contains information, estimates and other statistical data derived from third party sources and/or industry or general publications. Such information involves a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to place undue weight on such estimates. PropertyGuru, PubCo and Bridgetown 2 have not independently verified such third-party information, and make no representation as to the accuracy of such third-party information.

____________________

1 In terms of Engagement Market Share based on SimilarWeb data.

2 According to the Singapore Business Review, ASEAN to become world’s fourth largest economy for 2030: Singapore PM Lee, August 2018

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Uber, Lyft Drivers Struggle With High Gas Prices

When Adam Potash started driving for Lyft six months ago to help make ends meet, he was happy with the pay. The business was far from lucrative, but he was making about $200 a day before paying for costs like gas and car maintenance.

But as gas prices have risen in recent weeks, Mr. Potash has barely been breaking even. To compensate, he has focused on driving during peak customer hours and tried to fill up at cheaper gas stations in the area around San Francisco where he works. He has also reduced his driving time from about 45 hours each week to roughly 20 hours.

“It hurts. I don’t have money coming in,” Mr. Potash, 48, said of his reduced hours. “But I’m not willing to operate at a loss.”

Gig workers who drive for ride-hailing and delivery companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have been hit hard by rising gas prices, because their ability to earn money is tied directly to driving hundreds of miles each week. And because the drivers are contract workers, the companies do not reimburse them for the cost of fueling up.

blog post on Monday.

DoorDash announced a gas rewards program on Tuesday. Those who use a prepaid debit card designed for DoorDash workers will get 10 percent cash back at gas stations, the company said, and DoorDash is adding bonus payments depending on miles driven. Grubhub also said it would boost driver pay.

Both Uber and Lyft say drivers have been making more money since lockdowns lifted than they did earlier in the pandemic or even prepandemic, even when accounting for rising gas prices. And both companies are promoting a partnership with an app called GetUpside that offers some cash back rewards for getting gas.

Gridwise, an app that helps drivers track their earnings and tallies data, found that drivers’ earnings had risen nationally in recent months, from an average of $308 per week in early January to $426 in early March. But gas costs for ride-hailing drivers have also gone up, from $31 per transaction to nearly $39 in the same period.

Uber and Lyft say the entirety of their new gas fees — 35 to 55 cents per trip for Uber and 55 cents for Lyft — will go to the drivers. But some drivers say the action is inadequate. Gas prices, on average, have increased 49 percent in the past year, according to AAA.

“That literally insulted every driver, and that was their first communication since gas prices were going up,” said Philippe Jean, an Uber and Lyft driver in Coopersburg, Pa.

Jennifer Montgomery, an UberEats driver in Las Vegas, where gas costs $5 per gallon, agreed that the gas fee “doesn’t even put a dent” in the cost of fuel, which for her has been at least $30 more each day since prices began to increase.

Ms. Montgomery, 40, said she was becoming disillusioned with the job, and had begun looking for other work that didn’t require her to drive. She has cut her six-hour, daily shifts in half, because “it’s really not a profit anymore.”

“I don’t want to deliver anymore,” she said. “Especially when you have bills to pay and rising cost of rent and mortgage, groceries — it affects everything.”

Mr. Jean mostly drives for Uber and Lyft during the winter and spring, when his work as a handyman tends to slow down. He said he enjoyed interacting with passengers and usually made $300 to $400 per week, with about $60 of that going to filling his tank.

Lately, though, Mr. Jean has been paying twice that amount for gas, and has had to cut back elsewhere to compensate — including by reducing his car insurance coverage.

“I’m driving Uber now hoping not to get in an accident, because if I do, I’m going to lose my car completely,” he said.

The gas price woes have actually caused Mr. Jean to drive more in the short term, because people with cars that get poor gas mileage have told him they have stopped driving. With his hybrid Toyota Prius, he figured he would be able to snap up some of their business and still be able to make some money. But Mr. Jean said he would most likely give up Uber altogether later in the spring when his handyman work picks up again, because of the high gas prices.

He questioned whether he or other drivers were even profiting from the ride-hailing business at all, after all of the costs involved.

“I think personally if I sat down and did the numbers, it would be break-even,” Mr. Jean said. “I don’t think we’re making money on it anymore. I think I’m afraid to admit it to myself, because then I would definitely stop doing it.”

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Ukraine Live Updates: 3 European Leaders Say They’re in Kyiv in Show of Support

Shortly after Russia passed a new censorship law that effectively criminalized accurate reporting on the war in Ukraine, CNN executives on two continents gathered for an emergency video call to figure out what would happen next.

The 24-hour news network had employed numerous correspondents in Russia since the latter years of the Soviet Union. Now their future in the country, and perhaps their safety, were up in the air.

Senior producers in New York and London conferred with lawyers at CNN headquarters in Atlanta and reporters in Moscow about the new law, which raised the prospect of 15-year prison terms for journalists who called the war in Ukraine a “war.” Within hours, the network ceased broadcasting in Russia, joining other Western news outlets — including the BBC, Bloomberg News and ABC News — that temporarily or partly suspended their Moscow-based operations.

“When it comes to a potential threat to somebody, that far and away outweighs everything else in the consideration,” Michael Bass, CNN’s executive vice president of programming, said in an interview. “It would be better for our reporting and our coverage of the story to continue reporting every single day and multiple times a day from Russia, but an assessment had to be made of what can be done for your people.”

Credit…CNN

In an echo of the exodus of journalists from Afghanistan after the Taliban swept through the country last year, media executives and editors are engaged in a high-stakes debate about risk in Russia. Is it prudent, they ask their reporters over secure apps each day, to gather news in an increasingly hostile and isolated country? If not, is it feasible to continue from outside its borders?

“There is a constant minute-to-minute triage of that balance,” said Matthew Baise, director of digital strategy at Voice of America, the U.S. government broadcaster, which until recently employed several journalists reporting from Russia. “Every day, we’re attempting to adapt to the situation there while not jeopardizing people’s lives, but we also have to have a way to get reporting out of the country.”

Now a dozen Voice of America employees have left Russia. and others are lying low, Mr. Baise said.

Clarissa Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent, said in an interview from Kyiv, Ukraine, that “it’s a huge blow to not be able to do the kind of journalism we all aspire to do in Russia at the moment.”

“It’s not just a global audience — there are a lot of Russians inside Russia who look to international news outlets to get a more well-rounded perspective,” said Ms. Ward, who has been reporting from Ukraine for nearly two months. One crucial perspective that can be lost, she said, is “how Russia is viewing this war, what ordinary Russians think about it.”

Inside Ukraine, journalists are facing more direct — and potentially lethal — risks. Brent Renaud, an American documentary filmmaker, was fatally shot in the head on Sunday in a suburb of Kyiv. On Monday, a Fox News correspondent, Benjamin Hall, was hospitalized after he was injured outside Kyiv.

Days earlier, Ms. Ward described via telephone how she and her CNN crew work from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. each day, starting by assessing whether it is safe to travel outside their hotel. Often, spotty cellular service and security concerns force them to improvise: A 15-minute live dispatch from a subway station, where hundreds of Ukrainians were sheltering from a bombardment, was filmed on a producer’s phone.

For now, in Russia, the threat to journalism is statutory, but still dire: Under the new law, many correspondents there face the prospect of yearslong prison terms for doing their jobs. That has led to a stunning disintegration of Russia’s independent media, and left international news outlets racked with uncertainty.

Amnesty International said on Thursday that 150 journalists had fled the country to avoid the new law, which Marie Struthers, the group’s director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, called “a scorched-earth strategy that has turned Russia’s media landscape into a wasteland.”

Amid the strangled flow of outside news, some have gone to great lengths to disrupt the information blackout inside Russia. On Monday, a state television employee burst onto the live broadcast of Russia’s most-watched news show, yelling, “Stop the war!” and holding up a sign that said, “They’re lying to you here.” The employee, Marina Ovsyannikova, was detained after the protest.

A bill introduced last week would create a register of anyone involved, currently or in the past, with media outlets or other organizations that Russia has deemed a “foreign agent.”

Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

News organizations have scrambled to find a working solution as the cohort of credible outlets shrinks and threatens to leave audiences inside and outside the largest nation in the world blind to its dealings.

“There are many other parts of the world where it is unsafe to be a journalist and where newsrooms are having these debates and discussions,” said Damian Radcliffe, a journalism professor at the University of Oregon. “But what’s different here is that this is such a huge, high-profile story that those internal debates are playing out in the public domain in a much more overt way.”

Last week, The New York Times said it would move its editorial staff out of Russia, and The Washington Post said it would protect Moscow-based journalists by removing bylines and datelines from certain stories. Condé Nast said it had suspended its publishing operations there. Correspondents for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation left Russia on March 6.

“It’s definitely a balancing act, and that’s why we are monitoring the situation closely and taking the necessary time to fully understand the new law,” said Chuck Thompson, a spokesman for the Canadian broadcaster.

Some outlets decided to stay put. The German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF said they planned to resume reporting from Moscow after a suspension. But the coverage will focus on the political, economic and social situations in Russia — such as the effects of economic sanctions on civilians — while the war in Ukraine will be covered from outside the country.

The BBC said last week that “after careful deliberation” it would restart its English-language reporting from Russia. (Its Russian-language correspondents have stopped working.) The broadcaster appointed Steve Rosenberg, its longtime Moscow correspondent, to be its Russia editor, and produced segments on public sentiment and McDonald’s closing its stores.

Still, BBC correspondents “have to be wary and careful about what language they use,” said Jamie Angus, a top executive who oversees news output.

On the air, Mr. Rosenberg describes the fighting as “what the Russians are calling a special military intervention.” Analysis that refers more explicitly to a war or an invasion can be delivered from London, Mr. Angus said.

The BBC has begun broadcasting through alternative channels like shortwave radio and TikTok in hopes of eluding Russian censors. Voice of America said that one day last week, 40 percent of its Russian audience had reached its coverage through censor-evading apps such as Psiphon and nthLink. Its Facebook page has also gotten an unusual surge in traffic from Italy, a sign that some Russian citizens may be using VPN services to bypass information blockades.

“There are no challenges that are insurmountable today in the digital world — we just need to be agile,” said Alen Mlatisuma, the managing editor of Voice of America’s Eurasia division.

Credit…Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/Associated Press

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s state-owned broadcaster, had 35 people working in Russia, which was also the hub for coverage of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics.

Last month, the Russian government withdrew the broadcaster’s accreditation and shut down its Moscow studio. Deutsche Welle’s website is now blocked in Russia, and viewership for its Russian Facebook channel plunged. The outlet has pulled all of its reporters out of Russia, said a spokesman, Christoph Jumpelt.

“The fact that they have revoked our credentials and physically kicked us out of the country, and made it impossible to work inside Russia as officially credentialed journalists, doesn’t mean that we cannot continue to cover Russia from inside Russia,” Mr. Jumpelt said. “There are many, many ways to get access to information.”

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Google Plans Privacy Changes, but Promises to Not Be Disruptive

Google said on Wednesday that it was working on privacy measures meant to limit the sharing of data on smartphones running its Android software. But the company promised those changes would not be as disruptive as a similar move by Apple last year.

Apple’s changes to its iOS software on iPhones asked users for permission before allowing advertisers to track them. Apple’s permission controls — and, ultimately, the decision by users to block tracking — have had a profound impact on internet companies that built businesses on so-called targeted advertising.

Google did not provide an exact timeline for its changes, but said it would support existing technologies for at least two more years.

This month, Meta, the company founded as Facebook, said Apple’s privacy changes would cost it $10 billion this year in lost advertising revenue. The revelation weighed on Meta’s stock price and led to concerns about other companies reliant on digital advertising.

revamp its approach to eliminating so-called cookies, a tracking tool, on Chrome while facing resistance from privacy groups and advertisers.

Google said it was proposing some new privacy-minded approaches in Android to allow advertisers to gauge the performance of ad campaigns and show personalized ads based on past behavior or recent interests — as well as new tools to limit covert tracking through apps. Google did not offer much in terms of detail about how these new alternatives would work.

As part of the changes, Google said, it plans to phase out Advertising ID, a tracking feature within Android that helps advertisers know whether users clicked on an ad or bought a product as well as keep tabs on their interests and activities. Google said it already allowed users to opt out of personalized ads by removing the tracking identifier.

The company said it planned to eliminate identifiers used in advertising on Android for everyone — including Google. Mr. Chavez said Google’s own apps would not have special or privileged access to Android data or features without specifying how that would work. This echoes a pledge Google made to regulators in Britain that it would not give preferential treatment to its own products.

The company did not offer a definitive timeline for eliminating Advertising ID, but it committed to keeping the existing system in place for two years. Google said it would offer preview versions of its new proposals to advertisers, before releasing a more complete test version this year.

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China’s Covid-Era Controls May Outlast the Coronavirus

The police had warned Xie Yang, a human rights lawyer, not to go to Shanghai to visit the mother of a dissident. He went to the airport anyway.

His phone’s health code app — a digital pass indicating possible exposure to the coronavirus — was green, which meant he could travel. His home city, Changsha, had no Covid-19 cases, and he had not left in weeks.

Then his app turned red, flagging him as high risk. Airport security tried to put him in quarantine, but he resisted. Mr. Xie accused the authorities of meddling with his health code to bar him from traveling.

model of secure order, in contrast to the “chaos of the West.” In the two years since officials isolated the city of Wuhan in the first lockdown of the pandemic, the Chinese government has honed its powers to track and corral people, backed by upgraded technology, armies of neighborhood workers and broad public support.

zero Covid” approach has helped keep infections low, while the death toll continues to grow in the United States and elsewhere. But Chinese officials have at times been severe, isolating young children from their parents or jailing people deemed to have broken containment rules.

City officials did not respond to questions about assertions by Mr. Xie, the lawyer. While it is hard to know what goes on in individual cases, the government itself has signaled it wants to use these technologies in other ways.

Officials have used pandemic health monitoring systems to flush out fugitives. Some fugitives have been tracked down by their health codes. Others who avoided the apps have found life so difficult that they have surrendered.

health code. Residents sign up for the system by submitting their personal information in one of a range of apps. The health code is essentially required, because without it, people cannot enter buildings, restaurants or even parks. Before the pandemic, China already had a vast ability to track people using location data from cellphones; now, that monitoring is far more expansive.

expanded their definition of close contact to include people whose cellphone signals were recorded within as much as half a mile of an infected person.

The party’s experiment in using data to control the flow of people has helped keep Covid at bay. Now these same tools potentially give officials greater power to manage other challenges.

as a model for how China can use technology to address social problems.

Since 2020, Hangzhou has also used video cameras on streets to check whether residents are wearing masks. One district monitored home power consumption to check whether residents were sticking to quarantine orders. The central city of Luoyang installed sensors on the doors of residents quarantining at home, in order to notify officials if they were opened.

crashed twice in two weeks, disrupting the lives of residents who had to update their apps each day with proof that they had taken Covid tests.

By focusing on technology and surveillance, Chinese officials may be neglecting other ways of protecting lives, such as expanding participation in public health programs, wrote Chen Yun, a scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai, in a recent assessment of China’s response to Covid.

state media — roughly one in every 250 adults. Under the grid management system, cities, villages and towns are divided into sections, sometimes of just a few blocks, which are then assigned to individual workers.

During normal times, their duties included pulling weeds, mediating disputes and keeping an eye on potential troublemakers.

Amid the pandemic, those duties mushroomed.

take out their trash.

They also were given powerful new tools.

The central government has directed the police, as well as internet and telephone companies, to share information about residents’ travel history with community workers so that the workers can decide whether residents are considered high-risk.

a woman who was eight months pregnant because her Covid test result had expired hours earlier. She lost the baby, an episode that inspired widespread public fury. But some blamed the heavy burden placed upon low-level workers to stamp out infections.

“In their view, it’s always preferable to go too far than be too soft-handed, but that’s the pressure created by the environment nowadays,” Li Naitang, a retired worker in Xi’an, said of local officials.

Still, for defenders of China’s stringent measures, the results are undeniable. The country has recorded only 3.3 coronavirus deaths per million residents, compared to about 2,600 per million in the United States. In mid-January, Xi’an officials announced zero new infections; this past week, the lockdown was lifted entirely.

The government’s success in limiting infections means its strategy has earned something that has proved elusive in many other countries: widespread support.

published an analysis of each province’s criteria for a health code to turn from green to yellow. It concluded that, for most provinces, the answer was unclear.

“You never know if your planned itinerary will be canceled, or if your travel plans can be realized,” the article said.

local news report. Eighteen summonses were successfully delivered as a result.

Local governments across China have sought to assure people that their health code data will not be abused. The central government has also issued regulations promising data privacy. But many Chinese people assume that the authorities can acquire whatever information they want, no matter the rules.

Zan Aizong, a former journalist in Hangzhou, says the expansion of surveillance could make it even easier for the authorities to break up dissenters’ activities. He has refused to use the health code, but it means moving around is difficult, and he finds it hard to explain his reasoning to workers at checkpoints.

“I can’t tell them the truth — that I’m resisting the health code over surveillance,” he said, “because if I mentioned resistance, they’d think that was ridiculous.”

Joy Dong, Liu Yi and Li You contributed reporting and research.

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Kazakhstan Shuts Internet as Government Offices Burn in Protests

MOSCOW — Thousands of people returned to the streets across Kazakhstan on Wednesday for a fourth straight day of demonstrations driven by outrage over surging gas prices, in the biggest wave of protests to sweep the oil-rich country for decades.

Protesters stormed government buildings and captured police vehicles despite a strict state of emergency and government attempts to concede to their demands, including by dismissing the cabinet and announcing the possible dissolution of Parliament, which would result in new elections. Kazakhtelecom, the country’s largest telecommunications company, shut off internet access throughout the country on Wednesday afternoon.

Anger has been building since Sunday, when Kazakhs began protesting after the government lifted price caps for liquefied petroleum gas — frequently referred to by its initials, L.P.G. — and the cost of the fuel doubled.

Many people in the country of 19 million found the price increase particularly infuriating because Kazakhstan is an exporter of oil and gas. It added to the economic misery in a country where the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated severe income inequality.

according to the local statistics authority. Most people earn only a fraction of that amount, according to Mr. Umbetov, with the average skewed in favor of oil industry workers.

As the protests have unfolded, the demands of the demonstrators have expanded to include a broader political liberalization. Among the changes they seek is the direct election of Kazakhstan’s regional leaders by voters; in the current system, they are directly appointed by the president.

For almost 30 years, Kazakhstan was ruled by Mr. Nazarbayev, a former Communist Party boss, who is now 81.

The ascension of Mr. Tokayev created two centers of power. Mr. Nazarbayev and his family enjoy wide authority, while the new president, even though he is loyal to his predecessor, is trying to carve out a stronger role for himself, disorienting Kazakhstan’s bureaucracy and elites. This divide has contributed to the government’s slow reaction to the protesters’ demands, according to Arkady Dubnov, a Central Asia expert in Moscow.

“The government has been slow because it is divided and has no idea what young people in Kazakhstan really want,” Mr. Dubnov said. “On the other hand, the protesters don’t have a leader who would articulate it clearly.”

The countries of the former Soviet Union are watching the protests closely. For Russia, the events represent another possible challenge to autocratic power in a neighboring country.

Russia intervened militarily in Ukraine in 2014 after pro-democracy protests erupted there, and the Kremlin offered support to the Belarusian dictator Aleksandr G. Lukashenko as he violently crushed peaceful protests against his autocratic rule in 2020.

The protests in Kazakhstan represent a warning signal for the Kremlin, Mr. Dubnov said, describing the government in Kazakhstan as “a reduced replica of the Russian one.”

“There is no doubt that the Kremlin would not want to see an example of such a regime beginning to talk to the opposition and conceding to their demands,” he added.

Mr. Putin has been in power for 20 years, and though a 2020 referendum gave him the right to rule until 2036, observers are watching for signs of a managed transition out of power.

Pro-Kremlin media have portrayed the events in Kazakhstan as an organized plot against Russia. Komsomolskaya Pravda, a pro-government tabloid, referred to the protests as a “dirty trick played on Moscow” ahead of “crucial talks between Russia and the U.S. and NATO” next week. Those discussions will be focused on the crisis in Ukraine, where there are fears of a renewed Russian invasion.

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