Daily: 24/09/2021

Huawei Executive Resolves Criminal Charges in Deal with US 

A top executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies has resolved criminal charges against her as part of a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that could pave the way for her to return to China. 

The deal with Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, was disclosed in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday. It calls for the Justice Department to dismiss the case next December, or four years after her arrest, if she complies with certain conditions. 

The deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, resolves a yearslong legal and geopolitical tussle that involved not only the U.S. and China but also Canada, where Meng has remained since her arrest there in December 2018. Meng appeared via videoconference at Friday’s hearing. 

The deal was reached as President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have sought to minimize signs of public tension, even as the world’s two dominant economies are at odds on issues as diverse as cybersecurity, climate change, human rights, and trade and tariffs. 

A spokesperson for Huawei declined to comment, and a spokesman for the Justice Department in Washington did not respond to an email seeking comment. 

Charges unsealed in 2019

Under then-President Donald Trump, the Justice Department unsealed criminal charges in 2019, just before a crucial two-day round of trade talks between the U.S. and China, that accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets. The charges also alleged that Meng had committed fraud by misleading banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran. 

The indictment accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. 

Meng fought the Justice Department’s extradition request, and her lawyers called the case against her flawed. Last month, a Canadian judge didn’t rule on whether Meng should be extradited to the U.S. after a Canadian Justice Department lawyer wrapped up his case saying there was enough evidence to show she was dishonest and deserved to stand trial in the U.S. 

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies, and some analysts say Chinese companies have flouted international rules and norms amid allegations of technology theft. The company represents China’s progress in becoming a technological power and has been a subject of U.S. security and law enforcement concerns. 

It has repeatedly denied the U.S. government’s allegations and the security concerns about its products. 

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СБУ оголосила підозру керівництву «партії Шарія»

Наразі віршується питання про обрання підозрюваним запобіжних заходів – спецслужба

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Namibian Protesters Storm Parliament, Criticize German Genocide Compensation

Namibian activists and opposition members stormed parliament this week over a deal with Germany to atone for a colonial genocide more than a century ago.

Opposition lawmakers also called for a renegotiation of the deal, in which Germany has agreed to fund about $1.3 billion in development projects over 30 years to redress land taken and tens of thousands killed from 1904 to 1908. Critics said the amount was insufficient.

Activist Sima Luipert vowed legal action if the Namibian parliament approved a bill accepting the deal. She said the deal, which the Namibian and German governments reached in May, violated the participation and informed consent rights of the ethnic Ovaherero and Nama peoples.

Hundreds gather

Luipert was one of about 300 protesters at the Namibian parliament Tuesday objecting to the bill. Some in the group jumped over gates to voice their opposition.

The Landless People’s Movement, which led the protest, said it wanted to ensure opposition to the bill was heard. Group spokesman Eneas Emvula said, “Part of the people that walked this long journey to parliament, from Katutura, alongside Independence Avenue, are actually members of parliament and leaders of the opposition political parties within parliament.”

Namibian Vice President Nangolo Mbumba said everyone has a right to protest. But he also underscored that opponents of the deal who wanted direct compensation would not get it.

“People thought because this is a genocide negotiation issue, the descendants of those communities, the victims, they would now be compensated individually,” Mbumba said. “The Jewish people were being compensated as survivors; so are the Mau Maus. We are talking after 117 years, if you count from 1904. It is four generations already.”

Supporters say the agreement, which took years to negotiate, is acceptable for an atrocity committed by a Germany that existed before World War I.


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UN Rights Chief Sounds Alarm on Growing Abuses in Belarus

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet reported the human rights situation in Belarus continues to worsen, as President Alexander Lukashenko stiffens repressive measures to quell dissent.

The High Commissioner has submitted her latest update on Belarus to the U.N. Human Rights Council.  

This latest report examines alleged human rights violations in Belarus since May 2020. Bachelet said the government has refused to cooperate or grant access to U.N. experts to undertake their probe, so all information has been gathered remotely. 

She called the findings very disheartening. 

“I am deeply concerned by increasingly severe restrictions on civic space and fundamental freedoms, including continuing patterns of police raids against civil society organizations and independent media, and the arrests and criminal prosecutions of human rights activists and journalists on what routinely appear to be politically motivated charges,” Bachelet said.

The report noted more than 650 people currently are imprisoned because of their opinions. Last year, it said, nearly 500 journalists and media professionals were detained, with at least 68 subjected to ill treatment. Journalist Raman Pratasevich is among 27 journalists who remain in detention. He was arrested in May after his flight from Greece to Lithuania was diverted by Belarus authorities to the capital Minsk. 

Bachelet said she is alarmed by persistent allegations of widespread and systematic torture and ill-treatment of protesters who have been arbitrarily arrested. She said even children have been subjected to abuse while in detention and at least four protesters have died in police custody. 

“Gender-based violence in detention also continues to be of serious concern,” Bachelet said. “The Office has received reports of sexual violence committed by law enforcement officials, primarily, but not exclusively, against women and girls. These include reports of sexual assault, threats of sexual assault, psychological violence, and sexual harassment against both women and men.” 

Bachelet said thousands of people have fled to neighboring countries in search of asylum since the 2020 presidential election. 

Belarus Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Yuri Ambrazevich, said the report is full of baseless statements and accusations. He said the experts have ignored his government’s position. 

He questions the authority of the Council to act as a court and judge his country’s actions. He said the mandate issued to the experts to examine his country’s human rights situation has no legitimacy. 


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У Росії ще п’ятеро свідків Єгови засуджені до тривалих тюремних термінів

У квітні 2017 року Верховний суд Росії визнав «Свідків Єгови» екстремістською організацією і заборонив їхню діяльність на території країни

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У Росії знайшли вади у турецьких помідорах після слів Ердогана про Крим

«Россільгоспнагляд» також повідомив, що далі фіксує в овочах і фруктах із Туреччини підвищений рівень пестицидів

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США покладають на Росію відповідальність за припинення мандату місії ОБСЄ на кордоні з Україною

Представниця США у ОБСЄ Кортні Австріан висловила стурбованість щодо «намірів Росії виконувати свої міжнародні зобов’язання та конструктивно взаємодіяти з Україною»

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КМДА заявляє, що Оболонський острів з розслідування «Схем» належить громаді і звертається до правоохоронців

Столична влада стверджує, що острів на Дніпрі в Оболонському районі міста Києва перебуває у власності громади столиці

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South Africans Want Their Country Off Britain’s COVID Travel ‘Red List’

Britain is gradually easing COVID-19 travel restrictions among African countries on its so-called red list at highest risk of spreading coronavirus. However, South Africa remains on the list, despite a decline in infections. The status is taking a toll on South African tourism and people wanting to visit their families in Britain.

Lynne Philip hasn’t seen her son and two grandchildren, who live in England, in four years.

The 70-year-old Johannesburg resident had a flight booked to visit them last year when the pandemic struck, canceling all travel.

Now, she’s fully vaccinated with two Pfizer shots and desperate to go.

But Philip says Britain’s “red list” designation for South Africa is making it impossible.

“I can’t afford to go into quarantine there. Timewise it’s going to be a problem. It cuts too much into your travel, into your visiting time. We do speak on Zoom, but it’s not the same. I just would like to be able to see my family,” she said.

Philip is not alone. Over 29,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on British lawmakers to ease travel restrictions for South Africans — with many describing anguish over family separation.

The UK Embassy in South Africa reiterated the decision this week, saying it remains concerned about the presence of the beta variant and “its potential ability to circumvent vaccines.”

But Dr. Michelle Groome, with South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, says that rationale is at odds with the science.

“This doesn’t make any sense at all, because delta is now making up, I think it’s in excess of 96% of our sequences at the moment, and so beta is really not a concern at all. I don’t see that there’s any difference between us and say, Kenya or India or anyone else that has now been taken off the ‘red list.’”

Africa’s Centres for Disease Control is also calling on the United Kingdom to review its position.

The center says immunized Africans, who are receiving the same vaccines as people in Europe, should be recognized equally.

While the United States has restricted entry for South Africans, the White House announced earlier this week that it will lift that rule for those who are fully vaccinated beginning in November.

Several European countries have already made that shift.

Ina Gouws, a political scientist at the University of the Free State, says it’s hard not to read Britain’s restrictions as political.

“There is reason to think that the region is being treated differently. When there are no  clear answers based in fact, speculations start to happen, and that can be dangerous and certainly not good for diplomatic relations. The messaging is one, then, of prejudice. And it is not upon our diplomatic channels to ascertain why this is,” Gouws said.

Dr. Groome says barring vaccinated travelers also sends the wrong message to the public about the effectiveness of vaccines.

“We are trying very hard to promote vaccines in our country, and as with many countries are, you know, struggling a little bit with that faction who are hesitant to receive the vaccines. And in this case, you know, then it makes people question as to as to why, perhaps with the vaccines that we’re giving are not as good as those being used elsewhere, which is obviously not correct,” Groom said.

The economic toll of the “red list” has also been crippling because the UK is the biggest source of tourists for South Africa.

David Frost, chief executive of South Africa’s inbound tourism association, says the disappearance of British travelers is costing the country $1.7 million a day.

“We’ve got a precious conservation base, which is one of the world’s best that is under total threat, because there’s no income, there’s no money for anti-poaching activities. One in seven South Africans is putting food on the table because of tourism. And when tourism suffers, that means the people don’t eat,” Frost said.

South Africa’s international relations minister, Naledi Pandoor, has echoed those concerns and is appealing to British officials to have the decision reversed.

Frost says he hopes the added political push will pay off when the UK reviews its “red list” in coming weeks.

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Росія: ЦВК затвердила підсумки виборів до Держдуми

Згідно з офіційними підсумками, «Єдина Росія» отримає в Держдумі 324 місця

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Уряд не планує підвищення тарифів на опалення цього опалювального сезону – Шмигаль

За словами прем’єр-міністра, Кабінет міністрів співпрацює з місцевим самоврядуванням, на якому лежить відповідальність за формування тарифів

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Єврокомісія вітає ухвалення в Україні закону про олігархів

У Єврокомісії додають, що «крім реалізації ухваленого закону, необхідні додаткові кроки.

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Disabled People Can Now Use Android Phones with Face Gestures

Using a raised eyebrow or smile, people with speech or physical disabilities can now operate their Android-powered smartphones hands-free, Google said Thursday.

Two new tools put machine learning and front-facing cameras on smartphones to work detecting face and eye movements.

Users can scan their phone screen and select a task by smiling, raising eyebrows, opening their mouth, or looking to the left, right or up.

“To make Android more accessible for everyone, we’re launching new tools that make it easier to control your phone and communicate using facial gestures,” Google said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 61 million adults in the United States live with disabilities, which has pushed Google and rivals Apple and Microsoft to make products and services more accessible to them.

“Every day, people use voice commands, like ‘Hey Google,’ or their hands to navigate their phones,” the tech giant said in a blog post.

“However, that’s not always possible for people with severe motor and speech disabilities.”

The changes are the result of two new features, one is called “Camera Switches,” which lets people use their faces instead of swipes and taps to interact with smartphones.

The other is Project Activate, a new Android application which allows people to use those gestures to trigger an action, like having a phone play a recorded phrase, send a text, or make a call.

“Now it’s possible for anyone to use eye movements and facial gestures that are customized to their range of movement to navigate their phone – sans hands and voice,” Google said.

The free Activate app is available in Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States at the Google Play shop.

Apple, Google and Microsoft have consistently rolled out innovations that make internet technology more accessible to people with disabilities or who find that age has made some tasks, such as reading, more difficult.

Voice-commanded digital assistants built into speakers and smartphones can enable people with sight or movement challenges to tell computers what to do.

There is software that identifies text on webpages or in images and then reads it aloud, as well as automatic generation of captions that display what is said in videos.

An “AssistiveTouch” feature that Apple built into the software powering its smart watch lets touchscreen displays be controlled by sensing movements such as finger pinches or hand clenches.

“This feature also works with VoiceOver so you can navigate Apple Watch with one hand while using a cane or leading a service animal,” Apple said in a post.

Computing colossus Microsoft describes accessibility as essential to empowering everyone with technology tools.

“To enable transformative change accessibility needs to be a priority,” Microsoft said in a post.

“We aim to build it into what we design for every team, organization, classroom, and home.” 


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Catalan Separatist Leader Puigdemont Arrested in Italy

Exiled former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Italy on Thursday, his lawyer and an aide said, four years after fleeing following an independence referendum that Madrid ruled unconstitutional.

The European MEP was expected to appear in court on Friday at a hearing that could see him extradited to Spain to face sedition charges.

The Catalan leader — who has been based in Belgium since the 2017 referendum — was detained in Alghero, Sardinia, his chief of staff, Josep Lluis Alay, wrote on Twitter.

“At his arrival at Alghero airport, he was arrested by Italian police. Tomorrow (Friday), he’ll appear before the judges of the court of appeal of Sassari, who will decide whether to let him go or extradite him,” Alay said.

Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, tweeted that the exiled separatist leader was arrested on his arrival in Italy, where he was travelling in his capacity as an MEP.

He said the arrest was made on the basis of a warrant issued in October 2019 that had since been suspended.

Puigdemont, 58, is wanted in Spain on allegations of sedition over his attempts to have the Catalan region break away from Madrid through the 2017 referendum.

His arrest comes a week after the left-leaning Spanish government and regional Catalan authorities resumed negotiations to find a solution to Spain’s worst political crisis in decades.

In March, the European Parliament rescinded immunity for Puigdemont and two other pro-independent MEPs, a decision that was upheld in July by the EU’s General Court.

However, the European Parliament’s decision is under appeal and a final ruling by the EU court has yet to be made.

Following Thursday’s arrest, Madrid expressed “its respect for the decisions of the Italian authorities and courts.”

“The arrest of Mr Puigdemont corresponds to an ongoing judicial procedure that applies to any EU citizen who has to answer to the courts,” the Spanish government said in a statement.

The statement added Puigdemont should “submit to the action of justice like any other citizen.”


New Catalan president Pere Aragones — a separatist but more moderate than his predecessor — condemned what he called the “persecution” of Puigdemont.

“In the face of persecution and judicial repression, the strongest condemnation. It has to stop,” he wrote on Twitter.

He added that “self-determination” was the “only solution.”

Besides Puigdemont, former Catalan regional ministers Toni Comin and Clara Ponsati are also wanted in Spain on allegations of sedition.

The October 2017 referendum was held by Catalonia’s separatist regional leadership despite a ban by Madrid and the process was marred by police violence.

A few weeks later, the leadership made a short-lived declaration of independence, prompting Puigdemont to flee abroad.

Others who stayed in Spain were arrested and tried.

However, Puigdemont did not benefit from the pardon granted in June to nine pro-independence activists who had been imprisoned in Spain. 


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У Росії заявили про початок четвертої хвилі COVID-19

Число нових випадків перевищує 21 тисячу на день

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UK In Talks with Westinghouse Over New Nuclear Power Plant in Wales, Times Says

Britain is in talks with U.S. nuclear reactor company Westinghouse on building a new atomic power plant on Anglesey in Wales, the British newspaper The Times reported.

If it gets the go-ahead the new plant at Wylfa would be able to generate enough electricity to power more than 6 million homes and could be operational in the mid-2030s, The Times said.

Japan’s Hitachi Ltd scrapped plans to build a nuclear power plant at the Wylfa site a year ago after it failed to find private investors or secure sufficient government support for the project.

The decision left only the British arm of France’s EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp building in the nuclear sector, where around half of UK plants are set to close in the next few years.

The partners are building the first UK nuclear power plant in decades at Hinckley Point in west England and are planning a second in Sizewell in east England.

Nuclear power provided around 16.8% of Britain’s electricity generation in 2019, according to National Grid, while gas was used to generate 38.4%.

The recent spike in gas prices combined with a fall in renewable generation due to low wind speeds had underlined the need for more nuclear capacity, The Times said, citing a government source.

“If our current situation shows anything it is that we need more stable home grown, low carbon generation in the UK,” the source told the newspaper. “This is an important project that we’re very keen to try and get off the ground.” 



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Стрілянина в супермаркеті у США: 1 людина загинула, 12 поранені і застрелений нападник

Стрілянина сталася, за даними місцевої поліції, у містечку Коллервіль, що приблизно за 40 кілометрів на схід від Мемфіса

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У Празі відкрився міжнародний книжковий ярмарок

Одна з найбільших літературних подій у Європі – 26-ий міжнародний ярмарок «Світ книги» відкрився у Празі. Книжкові ексопзиції, зустрічі з письменниками, видавцями, шанувальниками книги традиційно відбуваються в найбільшому виставковому  центрі столиці – Промисловому палаці в Голешовицях.

Цього року почесним гостем ярмарку є Франція, зокрема, особлива увага присвячена відомому чеському і французькому письменникові Міланові Кундері. До почесних гостей «Світу книги» належить також також одне з найстарших чеських музичних видавництв Suprafon (засноване 1927 року, назва від відомої чеської грамофонної фірми).

Гасло цьогорічного свята книги – «Мій дім у мові». Тему «Література як голос свободи»  представляють на «Світі книги» білоруські письменники, зокрема, Сяргей Абламейка, Макс Шчур, Андрей Хадановіч, Сяргей Шупа та інші.

Як повідомило у фейсбуці посольство України в Чехії,  українську літературу на празькому ярмарку представляє письменник Тарас Прохасько. Зустріч з автором відбудеться 24  вересня в Літературній залі.

Всього у цьогорічному «Світі книги» бере участь близько 300 видавництв з 27 краін світу, гостями свята є понад 600 письменників, поетів, видавців, літературознавців.

Низка подій «Світу книги» через коронавірусні обмеження проводиться на відкритому повітрі, до виставкових павільйонів допускають тільки відвідувачів у захисних масках, а їхня кількість регулюється визначеними нормами.

«Світ книги» у Празі триватиме до 26 вересня.

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French Foreign Minister to US: Repairing Ties Will Take ‘Time’ 

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday that it would take “time” and “actions” to repair ties with the U.S. in the wake of a submarine deal that undercut a French agreement to supply Australia with diesel subs. 

Last week, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia announced a deal under which the U.K. and U.S. will instead supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. 

The move angered France, which withdrew its ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia. 

Earlier in the week, Le Drian expressed concern about what he characterized as “deceit” by one of its oldest allies. 

He told reporters at the United Nations this week that the United States had gone behind France’s back and had hidden the new deal for months. 

According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, Le Drian and Blinken “spoke about plans for in-depth bilateral consultations on issues of strategic importance. They discussed the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.” 

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone in an attempt to rebuild trust between the NATO allies. 

Some information for this report came from Reuters. 

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У Росії витрати на Путіна збільшать на мільярд рублів – проєкт бюджету

Ще рік тому в проєкті державного бюджету на потреби президента і його адміністрації закладалося на мільярд рублів менше

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