What you need to know about the Trump administration ban on TikTok. Yes, you can still use it — for now

More than 100 million TikTok users in America, and anyone else who’s curious about the popular, controversial video-sharing app, now have a tight time frame to either download or upgrade the app.

The U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday that as of Sunday, Sept. 20, it will prevent all downloads of TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The same order is blocking downloads of WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings 700, -0.38%, also based in China.

TikTok stays “intact” until Nov. 12, Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on Fox Business. But after that point — without American-based ownership that satisfies the U.S. government — TikTok would “be for all practical purposes shut down,” Ross said.

It’s a different story for WeChat, Ross said. The American-based use of that app is banned, come Sunday. “WeChat is essentially a funds transfer and payment processing mechanism…for all practical purposes, it will be shut down in the U.S.,” Ross said.

The order from Ross’s department comes as negotiations continue to find an American-based buyer for TikTok; the Trump administration worries ByteDance has too much access to American user data.

Oracle Corp. ORCL, -0.69%   and Walmart WMT, -1.02%  could reportedly take a large stake in TikTok, according to the Wall Street Journal. Oracle’s own bid reportedly hasn’t satisfied national security concerns inside the administration.

So what do all those high-level negotiations mean for people who just want to flip though homemade dance videos, silly pranks or even a snippet of personal-finance advice?

“The only real changes as of Sunday night will be you won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Ross said in his televised interview, later adding, “so if that were to continue over a long period of time, there might be a gradual degradation of services.”

The real deadline comes by Nov. 12, he noted.

“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the U.S. from November 12,” a TikTok spokeswoman said. “Our community of 100 million U.S. users love TikTok because it’s a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection, and we’re committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.

TikTok’s proposal to the government commits to “unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and U.S. government oversight of U.S. data security,” she added.

A spokesperson for WeChat said the company is reviewing the U.S. government’s order.

“WeChat was designed to serve international users outside of mainland China and has always incorporated the highest standards of user privacy and data security. Following the initial executive order on August 6 we have engaged in extensive discussions with the U.S. government, and have put forward a comprehensive proposal to address its concerns. The restrictions announced today are unfortunate, but given our desire to provide ongoing services to our users in the U.S. — for whom WeChat is an important communication tool — we will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the U.S. ways to achieve a long-term solution.”

Top Ten: Weekend reads: Ray Dalio on what business and political leaders must do to keep the U.S. from splintering

Ray Dalio is a billionaire fund manager. He’s an ardent capitalist but sees an imbalance that threatens the U.S., which he calls a “75-year empire” in decline.

In an interview with Jonathan Burton, Dalio lays out what he thinks U.S. business leaders and politicians should be doing to better allocate wealth and what investors should do to protect themselves.

A few big winners and a lot of pain

An index may not reflect what is really going on in the stock market. The S&P 500 Index SPX, -0.38%  has returned 5.3% this year, with dividends reinvested, through Sept. 19. But the benchmark index is weighted by market capitalization, with the FAANG stocks, plus Microsoft MSFT, -1.27%, making up 24% of its total value. Look at how well those tech giants have performed this year:

Now consider that among the S&P 500, 55% of stocks are actually down this year, even with dividends reinvested.

This year’s tech-dominated stock market action has reflected the obvious need to expand investment in cloud technology and connectivity. But Liz Ann Sonders, the chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, expects the investment focus to change, as she explained in an interview with Howard Gold.

Value among chip company stocks

This may surprise you — semiconductor stocks as a group trade at a low valuation to earnings estimates, compared with the S&P 500, despite the industry’s rapid growth.

Cyclists take a break in Bloomington, Ind.

Zach Dobson/courtesy Visit Bloomington
Retiring to a friendly place for cycling … and excellent beer

Silvia Ascarelli helps a reader who plans to retire on a military pension in five years and move to a place away from heat and humidity, with low or no state income tax, that is safe for cycling and known for craft beer. Here are several possible destinations.

Don’t expect a vaccine miracle

It’s understandable to be hopeful that one or several Covid-19 vaccines will enable a return to some semblance of normal life over the next several months. But Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who co-invented the rotavirus vaccine, explained why masks will still be needed even after vaccines are deployed, in an interview with Jaimy Lee.

Family, money, conflict

Quentin Fottrell — MarketWatch’s Moneyist — works through a number of sticky situations with readers this week:

•?My family paid $7K for my uncle’s funeral. My cousins were poor, but then renovated their kitchen. Should I ask for it back?

•?‘We bet on the wrong horse’: I co-signed my nephew’s $55K student loan: He has no degree and no job. What should we do?

•?I moved into my in-laws’ home. My husband wants to pay his parents’ mortgage, but it will come out of my income. How can I protect myself?

•?I’m a 54-year-old widow. My fiancé and I plan to renovate my home. Is that a good idea? Will a second marriage affect my Social Security?

An overlooked stock sector for income

The Federal Reserve made it clear this week that very low interest rates — short-term and long-term — will be with us for years. So if you are looking to generate income from your nest egg, you will need to look at a variety of options, including the utilities sector, where compelling yields are still available.

Related:Four reasons people bail out of value investing — and why they shouldn’t

Investors — stop wasting your energy on things you cannot know

Jonathan Clements explains how keeping up with current events and financial-market expectations can actually harm your performance as an investor.

Getty Images
Sacrifice a little, save a lot

Richard Quinn has a variety of ideas, large and small, that can save you or someone you care about a lot of money over time, setting up a much easier retirement.

Read on:The two things that are most likely wrecking your retirement savings

A tip to avoid being wiped out by medical costs

Howard Gold explains the cost of long-term care insurance coverage, and determines that with such high costs stacked against you as you get older, you may have no good alternative.

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Autotrader: The 2021 Toyota C-HR: Sweet handling with a stylish cabin

The 2021 Toyota C-HR is unlike any other subcompact SUV/crossover. That’s great in some ways — it’s hard to complain about something with such distinct style and character.

However, the C-HR stretches the definition of the “crossover” notion, which generally refers to SUVs based on a car platform rather than a body-on-frame truck. The C-HR competes in the crossover arena, but its unremarkable ground clearance, limited cargo capacity, and lack of all-wheel-drive make it more like a hatchback with a raised driving position.

No matter how the C-HR is defined, there are many things to like. It’s surprisingly fun to hustle through corners — the C-HR has sweet handling and an involving nature that’s rare from Toyota TM, +0.72%  .

The cabin is stylish and upscale, and its features list is huge, including an excellent 8-in infotainment touch screen. The C-HR also has a comprehensive array of standard accident avoidance technology, which has been upgraded for 2021.

All this undoubtedly counts for a lot, but there are downsides. Rearward vision is seriously compromised for the driver and for any passengers in the back seat.

The Toyota CHR


For the class, cargo space is merely average at best. And the C-HR’s tepid acceleration and droning transmission drag down that otherwise fun driving experience. Make sure to take an extended test drive and consider these drawbacks before bringing this crossover/hatchback home.

What’s new for 2021?

Last year’s Toyota Safety Sense P standard collection of driver aids becomes upgraded to TSS 2.0. This means that the forward collision mitigation system gains low-light pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection. Lane-tracing assistance is added, enabling the 2021 C-HR to track through freeway curves. Road sign recognition is another new feature.

This year sees the introduction of a Nightshade Edition with many cosmetic changes, all in black.

There’s also been a shake-up of exterior paint choices. Oxide Bronze (with or without a black roof) and Magnetic Gray Metallic (with a black roof) are new. Knockout Silver Metallic and Hot Lava (think burnt orange) are no longer available. And LE trim loses Supersonic Red and Blue Eclipse Metallic, although these colors are both still available with the higher XLE and Limited trims. See the 2021 Toyota C-HR models for sale

What we like
  • Distinctive style inside and out
  • Abundant standard features, including accident avoidance tech
  • Quality cabin
  • Sporty handling
  • Toyota reliability
What we don’t
  • All-wheel drive unavailable
  • Poor outward vision
  • Constricted rear quarters
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Not much cargo space
How much?

$22,445 – $27,675

Fuel economy

The 2021 C-HR has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque, linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It’s strictly a front-wheel-drive setup. All-wheel drive is not available.

The EPA estimates fuel consumption at 27 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg in combined driving. This is typical for the subcompact SUV/crossover class.

These are 2020’s EPA figures, but we don’t anticipate 2021’s being much different.

Standard features and options

The 2021 Toyota C-HR comes in LE, XLE and Limited trim levels. The new-for-2021 Nightshade Edition is based on the XLE.

Base LE trim ($22,620) has 17-in steel wheels (17-inch alloy wheels are optional), automatic on/off headlights and high beams, LED running lights, selectable driving modes, forward collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, lane-keeping assistance, full-speed adaptive cruise control, Lane Trace Assist, automatic dual-zone climate control, height-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split/folding back seat, cloth upholstery, self-dimming rearview mirror, 8-in infotainment touch screen, USB port, Apple AAPL, -1.59%   CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, Amazon AMZN, -2.25%   Alexa compatibility, satellite radio, Wi-Fi, Safety Connect emergency communications, auxiliary audio input, and a 6-speaker sound system.

XLE ($24,655) adds 18-in alloy wheels, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry/ignition, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Nightshade Edition ($TBA) has black-finished alloy wheels with black lug nuts, black side mirror housings, black chin spoiler, black door handles, black badge overlays and black fabric upholstery. Paint choices are white, red, or gray with a contrasting black roof or all black.

Limited trim ($27,675) adds adaptive LED front lighting, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, and leather upholstery.

XLE and Limited trims are also eligible for a contrasting black roof.


The C-HR comes with class-leading safety technology. Besides the usual stability control, anti-lock brakes and front-side and side-curtain air bags, the C-HR’s standard equipment includes a drivers knee air bag, an under-cushion air bag on the front passenger side (which prevents submarining under a seat belt), forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, adaptive radar cruise control, lane-tracing assistance, lane departure warning with active steering assistance, and automatic high beams.

Also see: Toyota brings back the Venza as a hybrid only, and it has a lot going for it

XLE and Limited trims add blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the C-HR a 5-star overall safety rating, along with five stars each for frontal and side-impact protection.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it top crashworthiness and impact prevention scores, but a Poor rating for the headlights on the lower two trims.

Behind the wheel

The C-HR can be great fun. It’s more engaging than it probably needed to be, with impressive suspension responses and poise. It remains stable through corners and the steering transmits sensations from the road better than past Toyotas. But its meager horsepower and droning CVT tend to ultimately put a damper on that fun.

The interior is visually delightful, with little diamond-shaped touches spread throughout adding subtle flair without being gimmicky. The dash is also handsomely modern, the interior materials are above average for the price, and the upgraded safety features this year are remarkable for the class.

On the downside, that individual exterior styling hinders rearward vision. Over-the-shoulder glances will give a view only of the dark interior and the front-side windows seem too low — or perhaps the driving position is too high. The thick rear pillars may also make rear passengers feel claustrophobic.

See: 10 SUVs that are really fun to drive

Cargo space is similarly limited for the class, with 19 cubic feet behind the rear seats, or 36.4 when they’re folded down. And the loadspace floor is quite high.

Other cars to consider

2021 Hyundai Kona — Thanks to its optional turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive system, the Kona is responsive, grippy and fun. It’s also slightly more practical than the C-HR.

2021 Honda HR-V — The HR-V is the cargo-carrying champ of this class. Not only does it have the most space, but its flipping/folding back seat brings the greatest versatility. Like the C-HR, the HR-V suffers from lethargic acceleration and a dull CVT, but at least all-wheel drive is on the options list.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek — Whereas the C-HR is solely front-wheel-drive, the Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive. And it has much more ground clearance than the C-HR, plus a more rugged character. The result is a vehicle better suited to those intending to escape from the city.

2021 Kia Soul — If all-wheel drive isn’t a consideration, then the Soul is worth a look. Like the C-HR, it also has distinctive styling and a generous amount of features. But it’s roomier, less expensive and offers a turbocharged engine.

2021 Nissan Kicks — Like the C-HR, only the Toyota’s extrovert styling and constricted cabin are replaced by frumpy styling and a gigantic interior. The Kicks is cheaper, though.

More: The 15 best compact SUVs—and they’re priced right, too

Questions you may ask

Does the 2021 Toyota C-HR offer all-wheel drive?

No. The C-HR is driven solely by its front wheels, although it does have traction/stability control and anti-lock brakes that will help on slippery roads. Those seeking a subcompact SUV/crossover with all-wheel drive could check out the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 or Jeep Renegade.

Is the 2021 Toyota C-HR fast?

In this segment, not many of the C-HR’s competitors are what we’d consider fast. The C-HR is a bit heavier than most and its 2.0-liter engine sometimes struggles with this heft. For more sprightly acceleration, a turbocharged Kia Soul or Hyundai Kona might be better.

How roomy is the 2021 Toyota C-HR?

For its subcompact size, the C-HR is pretty spacious. It can fit tall passengers in the front and back, although the thick rear upper door panels and high-mounted door handle create a substantial visual impediment right where a passenger’s face would be. The cargo area is about mid-pack in terms of volume, but the height of its floor is higher than most. The rear seats fold flat for more room, but they don’t recline if more comfort is desired.

Autotrader’s advice

While Toyota’s reliability is always a positive, don’t be lured by the C-HR’s styling without being fully aware of its foibles. Take a really long test drive, paying particular attention to outward vision and acceleration. Then take a serious look at the cargo space.

Also see: 8 affordable new cars priced well below $20k

Spend however much the budget allows, but the entry-level LE is well equipped. However, XLE trim brings blind-spot monitoring, which is worth the investment.

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.

Key Words: Dr. Fauci: ‘We may be able to put this coronavirus outbreak behind us’ — but says the American public must play a critical role

Whether a vaccine is effective — or not — will also depend on the role the public plays.

That’s according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an expert in infectious diseases for the last four decades, who was speaking at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council in a remote interview. “One of the things you need to understand, it’s the combination of how effective a vaccine is and how many people use it,” he said.

This is all the more important if the vaccine developed for COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, is moderately rather than highly effective. “If the vaccine is moderately effective, enough that you definitely want to use it, then you’re going to have to get a lot more people to get vaccinated to get that veil of protection in the community,” Fauci told the event on Thursday.

‘With the combination of a good vaccine along with public-health measures, we may be able to put this coronavirus outbreak behind us the way we put the original SARS behind us and, hopefully, in the way we put MERS, or the Middle East Respiratory System, behind us.’

— Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

“With the combination of a good vaccine along with public-health measures, we may be able to put this coronavirus outbreak behind us the way we put the original SARS behind us and, hopefully, in the way we put MERS, or the Middle East Respiratory System, behind us. I think we can do it with the combination of a vaccine and good public-health measures,” the veteran epidemiologist said.

Fauci said last month that he was hopeful that a coronavirus vaccine could be developed by early 2021, but has repeatedly said it’s unlikely that a vaccine will deliver 100% immunity; he said the best realistic outcome, based on other vaccines, would be 70% to 75% effective. The measles vaccine, he said, is among the most effective by providing 97% immunity.

Reviews of past studies have found that, on average, the flu vaccine is about 50% to 60% effective for healthy adults who are between 18 and 64 years old, according to a review of studies by the Mayo Clinic. “The vaccine may sometimes be less effective,” that report said. “Even when the vaccine doesn’t completely prevent the flu, it may lessen the severity of your illness.”

AstraZeneca AZN, +1.46%, in combination with Oxford University; BioNTech SE BNTX, +1.12% and partner Pfizer PFE, +0.10% ; Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -0.82% ; Merck & Co. MERK, ; Moderna MRNA, -1.38% ; and Sanofi SAN, -1.41% and GlaxoSmithKline GSK, +0.12% are among those currently working toward COVID-19 vaccines.

Also see: Sweden embraced herd immunity, while the U.K. abandoned the idea — so why do they both have high COVID-19 fatality rates?

Last May, a majority Americans (55%) said they would get vaccinated for COVID-19 if and when a vaccine becomes available, but that number has fallen to 32%, according to the latest Yahoo/You Gov poll conducted from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11, and released this week. For the first time, more people said they won’t get vaccinated (33%) or they’re unsure if they’ll get vaccinated (34%).

Commentators point to fears that a vaccine will be pushed through before election day, a hardcore group of anti-vaxxers, access to health care, and confusion about its possible effectiveness, among other reasons. The number of Republicans who said they’d get vaccinated fell to 33% from 47% in May in the latest poll, while the corresponding number of Democrats fell to 42% from 70% in May.

Fauci has cautioned against rushing a vaccine for political purposes without first knowing it was safe. At the Republican National Convention, President Donald Trump said last month, “We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner. We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic, and emerge stronger than ever before.”

The president’s convention address appeared to somewhat accelerate the timeline laid out by “Operation Warp Speed,” his administration’s effort to financially support the rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Under that program, the administration says it aims to have initial vaccine doses available by January 2021.

As of Friday, COVID-19 has infected 30,183,223 people worldwide, which mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases, and killed 946,158. The U.S. still has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (6,675,560), followed by India (5,214,677) and Brazil (4,455,386) and Russia (1,081,152), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

And without a vaccine to provide adequate immunity and/or public-health measures to encourage social distancing? Fauci previously said that willfully aiming for “herd immunity” — as Sweden has attempted — instead of banning live events, and closing schools and businesses to flatten the curve of new cases of COVID-19, would have dire consequences for the American people.

Stocks have been on a roller-coaster ride in recent months. The Dow Jones Industrial Index DJIA, -0.46%, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.84% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -1.26% closed lower Thursday, as investors digested Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s dour economic outlook along with lackluster U.S. economic data that may need additional fiscal help.

“I’m optimistic about this even though we’re going through, globally, a terrible time right now,” Fauci told the WSJ CEO Council, “there will be an end to this, and we’ll be able to get back to normal.”