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China's Xiaomi loses a top exec

Hugo Barra, a VP at the Chinese mobile device maker, announced on Sunday he'll be leaving the company next month and moving back to Silicon Valley after 3.5 years. Hiring him away from Google was considered a big get for Xioami at the time.

Why now? Barra says in a Facebook post that his lifestyle at Xiaomi has started to take a toll on him and his health. At the same time, he says Xiaomi has grown enough that it can continue to thrive without him. After some time off, he'll be "embarking on a new adventure back in Silicon Valley."

What about Xiaomi? Barra's departure undoubtedly raises questions about Xiaomi's health.

  • Earlier this month, the company declined for the first time to release sale numbers, with CEO Lei Jung admitting the company grew too fast.
  • Xiaomi's meteoric rise made it one of the most valuable private companies in the world, but whether it can continue to justify remains to be seen.
  • The company has yet to make a meaningful dent in the U.S. market.
Samsung's Note 7 investigation

Samsung officially concludes that the faulty and exploding batteries in its Note 7 smartphones were due to flaws in the design and manufacturing of the batteries

The details: Specifically, Samsung blames a design flaw in the batteries from one its manufacturers, which caused short circuits. Its other manufacturer—which supplied the replacement batteries—had a welding defect that could lead to fires.

Next steps: Nevertheless, Samsung takes full responsibility and has devised a new 8-point testing plan for all lithium ion batteries in its devices.

Go deeper

4 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

28 mins ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

1 hour ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.