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Photo by studioEAST/Getty Images

Apple appointed a new executive to oversee its Apple Music business as it continues to grow, inching up to 48 million subscribers from 30 million in September, the company announced, per Reuters. Of those subscribers, 40 million pay for the service.

Why it matters: Apple is inching closer to its closest competitor, Spotify, which has roughly 70 million subscribers. Both firms charge subscribers $8.99 a month.

Oliver Schusser has been appointed vice president of Apple Music and international content, reporting to Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services.

Apple has been taking steps to beef up its music service for months:

  • In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is planning to produce original television shows and movies to compete with Spotify, which announced a joint content bundle with video service provider Hulu on Thursday.
  • In December, Apple confirmed it is buying music-identification app Shazam, for a reported price of roughly $400 million.

Still, the tech giant faces competition. Other music subscription services like SoundCloud and Amazon Prime Music don't disclose subscriber numbers, although Amazon did tell The Verge last week it has "tens of millions of active subscribers."

The bigger picture: Investing in Apple Music, along with other apps, is part of chief executive Tim Cook's push to double Apple's "services" or software revenue by 2020.

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46 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."