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Asked about the recent removal of VPN apps from the Chinese App Store, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company had no choice under local laws, but expressed hope the crackdown won't be permanent.

"We're hopeful that over time the restrictions we are seeing (will be) loosened," Cook said on a conference call with analysts. "Innovation really requires freedom to communicate and collaborate."

Cook rebuffed the parallel that some have drawn to last year, when Apple refused an FBI request to turn over customer information. Cook said in that case US law was on Apple's side, whereas in the recent VPN case China's laws require companies that want to offer VPN apps to get a license from the government.

"Like we do in other countries we follow the law wherever we do business," Cook said, adding that the company still voices its opinions in the appropriate way.

The rub: This is a case where Apple's tight grasp on the App Store puts it in a position to be able to remove any app it is ordered to, unlike Android, where apps can be downloaded from third-party app stores or directly "sideloaded" onto the device.

Go deeper

12 mins ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest later Saturday, per AP.

Kenosha shooting lawsuit accuses police of coordinating with militia

Police and protesters confront in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The only survivor of a fatal shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests last year has accused law enforcement in a lawsuit of conspiring with a "band of white nationalist vigilantes," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Of note: Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is due to stand trial on Nov. 1, accused of wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, who filed the suit, and killing two other people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 25, 2020. He's pleaded not guilty to charges including homicide and attempted homicide and maintains he fired in self-defense.

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