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Chinese embassy in Ottawa demands release of Huawei exec arrested in Vancouver

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  • VANCOUVER — China’s embassy in Ottawa is demanding the immediate release of Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer, who was arrested in Vancouver over the weekend and faces possible extradition to the United States.

    In a statement posted online Wednesday, the embassy says Wanzhou Meng hasn’t violated any U.S. or Canadian laws, and called the arrest a serious violation of human rights.

    It says China will closely follow the developments on the case and “take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”

    Meanwhile, a clerk at the B.C. Supreme Court says Meng appeared in court Wednesday and a bail hearing is scheduled for Friday.

    Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod says in an email that Meng was arrested Saturday, but further details cannot be provided because a publication ban is in effect at her request.

    McLeod says the U.S. is seeking Meng’s extradition.

    It is not known what law is alleged to have been breached in Canada.

    In a statement, Huawei says Meng is being sought for extradition to face unspecified charges in the Eastern District of New York. She was arrested when transferring flights in Canada, Huawei said.

    “The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” the statement said. “The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.”

    A U.S. Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

    In April, China appealed to Washington to avoid damaging business confidence following a Wall Street Journal report that U.S. authorities were allegedly investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on Iran amid spiralling technology tensions.

    A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said then that China hoped the U.S. would refrain from taking actions that could further undermine investor confidence in the U.S. business environment and harm its domestic economy.

    That same month, Washington barred Huawei rival ZTE Corp. from exporting U.S. technology in a separate case over exports to Iran and North Korea.

    In its statement on Wednesday, Huawei said the company complies with all laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, including applicable export control, sanction laws and regulations of the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.

    U.S. President Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods in response to complaints that Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. That is widely seen as part of a broader effort by Washington to respond to intensifying competition with Chinese technology industries that Trump says benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers. The escalating trade war is threatening world economic growth and has set global investors on edge.

    David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said U.S. and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

    “That’s something we should be watching out for. It’s a possibility. China’s plays rough,” Mulroney told The Associated Press. “It’s a prominent member of their society and it’s a company that really embodies China’s quest for global recognition as a technology power.”

    Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for “sustained fury” from the Chinese and said it will be portrayed in China as Canada kowtowing to Trump. He also said the Iran allegations are very damaging to Huawei and said China will push back hard.

    U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate armed services and banking committees, applauded Canada for the arrest.

    “Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the chief financial officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for (allegedly) breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran,” he said.

    Meng is a prominent member of Chinese society as deputy chairman of the Huawei board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.

    — With files from The Associated Press

    The Canadian Press



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    New psychiatric assessment ordered for alleged Fredericton shooter

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  • FREDERICTON — A Fredericton man accused of murdering four people in an August shooting spree has been ordered to undergo a 60-day psychiatric assessment.

    It will determine if Matthew Raymond can be found criminally responsible for the crimes he has been accused of.

    He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton police constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

    Raymond was previously found fit to stand trial after a shorter assessment. Details of the arguments seeking the assessments are under a publication ban

    Defence lawyer Alison Menard said Tuesday the longer assessment is to assess the mental state of an accused at the time of an alleged offence.

    “Did they suffer from a mental disorder which would exempt them from responsibility?” she said outside court.

    “In certain circumstances, people who suffer from a mental disorder can be found not criminally responsible because they are lacking the intent element of the offence because of the mental disorder.”

    The case returns to court on Feb. 8, 2019.

    Raymond is alleged to have fired from his apartment window with a long gun, killing the two civilians as they loaded a car for a trip on Aug. 10, and the two police officers as they responded to the scene.

    Raymond has previously told a judge there is evidence that would allow him to be “exonerated” immediately because of temporary insanity.

    As he has in previous court appearances, Raymond stood in court Tuesday, and complained to the judge about the jail-issued orange jumpsuit and orange sweatshirt he was wearing.

    “I should be in casual clothes. I’m not supposed to be in orange at all,” he said.

    Raymond was also upset over documents he took from a file folder and waved in the air.

    “It concerns these documents I should not have in my possession. There are photographs and evidence. Only the court should have these documents,” he said.

    The documents concerning the investigation are under a publication ban, but Raymond said guards where he’s being held are able to see them.

    He said a guard came into his cell in the middle of the night and was looking at the documents.

    “There’s no (expletive) way someone should be in my (expletive) cell in the middle of the night looking at my (expletive),” he said.

    Former friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered varying memories of the accused murderer, ranging from a boy who retreated into video games, a pleasant supermarket co-worker and an increasingly isolated loner in recent years.

    Some business owners have described Raymond, who is in his late 40s, as becoming reclusive and occasionally unpleasant in the year before the alleged shootings.

    Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press




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    Longtime New Democrat Robinson considers political return in Burnaby riding

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  • OTTAWA — Former New Democrat stalwart Svend Robinson says he is strongly considering a return to federal politics, noting his former party is facing challenging times.

    Robinson, 66, represented the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby for 25 years.

    He left politics in 2004 after he admitted stealing a diamond ring from an auction, saying he was under too much strain at the time.

    Since then, he has spent time in Switzerland working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. After retiring last year, Robinson and his partner moved to Cyprus.

    If he decides to run, Robinson said he would seek election in Burnaby North—Seymour and hopefully help out the NDP candidate in the next riding — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is expected to face a byelection in Burnaby South in February. 

    In the 2015 federal election, the NDP won Burnaby South by just over 500 votes.

    “I will do everything I can to support Jagmeet and support him in his campaign for election in Burnaby South. Hopefully if I’m a candidate in a neighbouring riding, that will be of some assistance,” Robinson said on the phone from Cyprus.

    Despite insisting he hasn’t made up his mind, Robinson said he spent a month door-knocking in the riding this fall and sent a letter to residents saying he is seriously considering a run. His letter closed by pointing out a nomination meeting will take place early in the new year. “And then we will have to work very hard together over the months leading up to the election in October of next year to take back the riding. Let’s do this!”

    Speaking from Cyprus, Robinson said he thinks he could add some veteran know-how to the federal NDP given the number of experienced caucus members not standing for re-election next year.

    Liberal Terry Beech is running again in Burnaby North—Seymour, which is set to become a battleground riding next year over Liberal pledges to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. The pipeline ends in the riding.

    “I think the next election is going to be a make or break election for the future of the climate and if I run, those issues will be front and centre,” Robinson said.

    Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press



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    december, 2018

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