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Zimbabwe has banned mining in all its national parks, reversing plans to allow Chinese firms start coal mining operations in its famous Hwange National Park.

The move came after environmental groups applied to the country’s High Court to stop a Chinese firm’s coal mining in Hwange National Park.

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s biggest national park, is home to more than 40,000 elephants as well as more than 400 bird and 100 mammal species, including the endangered black rhino.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association argued that the creation of a coal mine would cause “devastating” ecological degradation and force wildlife to flee.

The mining could also hurt tourism, which is a major source of income local residents, and potentially increase poaching and conflict between people and wildlife, the organization argued.

“There is acute risk of irreversible ecological degradation including unmitigated loss of animal and vegetative species, reduction of animal habitats of many rare species including black rhino, pangolin, elephant, and wild (painted) dogs,” the organization said to The Washington Post.

Amid pressure from environmental groups, Zimbabwe’s Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the ban on mining in national parks as well as a ban on mining along most river beds.

“Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in national parks,” she said.

The Chinese coal mining was planned in partnership with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. While the Chinese government has invested renewable energy projects at home, becoming one of the world’s leaders in solar power, Chinese companies have built hundreds of coal plants abroad, especially throughout Africa.

Zimbabwe is also still investigating the cause of the deaths of 22 elephants near the national park earlier this month. Officials suspect that the young elephants died after eating poisonous plants because normal food sources became scarce in the hot summer season.

Source: CBS News/YouTube

Read about how drought impacts elephant populations in Zimbabwe.

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Americans Will Be Banned From Downloading National Security Threat TikTok From Sunday

Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

Americans will be banned from downloading the popular Chinese app TikTok from Sunday.

According to a Friday press release from the US Department of Commerce, “Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.” will in a few days become prohibited.”

If a deal is not made between the United States and TikTok before November 12, merely using the app will also be forbidden.

Announcing the measures to “safeguard the national security of the United States,” the Department of Commerce said, “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S.”

“Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality,” it declared, adding, “While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar.”

“Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP,” the Department explained.

In his own statement, United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said, “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” he continued.

The news comes after President Donald Trump’s August Executive Order against TikTok, which bans American companies from dealing with TikTok parent company ByteDance.

“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump declared, though TikTok U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas responded, “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”

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