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Google China's headquarters in Beijing, pictured in 2010. Photo: Liu Jin/AFP via Getty Images

Google plans to build a censored search engine for the Chinese market, reports the Intercept, citing leaked documents with records of the plans.

Reality check: Even if Google is building a such a tool, it doesn't mean it's getting into China anytime soon. U.S. tech giants are willing to spend time and money to crack China's massive market, but winning government approval is difficult. Facebook was reportedly also working on a censorship tool in 2016, but the company hasn't been able to move into China since them.

The details, per the Intercept:

  • The search engine would "blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest."
  • The project is code-named "Dragonfly" and has been in the works since the spring of 2017, but progress accelerated after a December 2017 meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese official.
  • Google developers have reportedly built an Android app with the censorship tool. It has been shown to the Chinese government, and "the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials."
  • A spokesperson for Google reached by Axios declined to comment on future plans in China.

The backdrop: Google's search engine has been banned in China for nearly a decade. The company shut down search engine operations in 2010 because of Chinese censorship laws.

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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."