US blocks Hong Kong users from some government websites

The US has blocked Hong Kong residents from accessing at least two federal government websites that provide economic data, in a development that could fuel rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over the semi-autonomous territory.

The websites of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes economic information including monthly jobs and unemployment figures, and the US Census Bureau, which releases data such as retail sales, new residential construction and international trade, have been inaccessible to Hong Kong internet users for months.

The Financial Times contacted multiple US government agencies for information on the reasons for the blocked websites in Hong Kong but received limited responses. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Labor, which includes the Bureau of Labor Statistics, declined to comment on “security procedures” but confirmed that “agencies began implementing geoblocks that included Hong Kong in January 2018” — nearly three years ago.

That would mean the measures started

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Boxer or lock-keeper? Government careers quiz scorned by users

A UK government jobs quiz aimed at identifying potential new areas of work provides a string of unhelpful career suggestions including lock-keeping and boxing as well as currently precarious posts including airline pilot and cinema projectionist, users have complained.



a group of people standing on top of a suitcase: Photograph: Richard Baker/Alamy


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Richard Baker/Alamy

Rishi Sunak’s warning that the coronavirus pandemic would force employees to adapt to find work has prompted much interest in the beta version of the career assessment tool. But some of the results it has produced, based on answers to 50 questions, have prompted mirth and despair among users.



a group of people standing on top of a suitcase: Quiz also suggests currently precarious posts including airline pilot and cinema projectionist.


© Photograph: Richard Baker/Alamy
Quiz also suggests currently precarious posts including airline pilot and cinema projectionist.

Suggested posts in troubled industries caused the most alarm. Lara Platman, a photographer, was unimpressed to be told she might suit the role of an airline pilot or lock-keeper.

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