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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 W…


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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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    National

    Canadian Press NewsAlert: Canadian citizen killed in Honduras plane crash

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    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Global Affairs is confirming that a Canadian citizen has been killed in a plane crash in Honduras.
    A spokesperson for the department says the crash happened in the Roatan Islands area.
    Stefano Maron says consular offic…


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  • TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Global Affairs is confirming that a Canadian citizen has been killed in a plane crash in Honduras.

    A spokesperson for the department says the crash happened in the Roatan Islands area.

    Stefano Maron says consular officials in the capital, Tegucigalpa, are in contact with local authorities and providing consular assistance to the victim’s family.

    Local media report that all five people who died in yesterday’s crash were foreigners.

    More coming.

    The Canadian Press


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    Environment

    ‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

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    EDMONTON — Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging off the new government’s promised $30-million “war room” to fight criticisms of the province’s energy industry.
    “The war room makes for good theatre, but the people …


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  • EDMONTON — Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging off the new government’s promised $30-million “war room” to fight criticisms of the province’s energy industry.

    “The war room makes for good theatre, but the people who follow this closely are going to look at this as amateur hour,” said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace.

    “Chasing environmentalists might play well politically, but it’s not actually relevant to the discussion that Alberta and Canada need to be having,” added Simon Dyer of the clean-energy think tank Pembina Institute.

    Both groups have been singled out by Kenney as examples of ones distorting the truth about the impact of the oilsands. The premier has said government staff will be tasked with responding quickly to what he calls myths and lies.

    Kenney has also promised to fund lawsuits against offending environmentalists and to call a public inquiry into the role of money from U.S. foundations.

    “Stay tuned,” Energy Minister Sonya Savage said Tuesday. “We’ll have something to talk about next week.”

    Environmental groups have already been discussing informally what the United Conservative government might have in mind and how they should react.

    “We’ve been contacted,” said Devon Page of Ecojustice, an environmental law firm. “We’ve been saying to the groups, ‘We’re here. We’ll respond and represent you as we have in the past.’

    “What we’re trying hard not to do is to do what I think the Kenney government wants, which is to get distracted.”

    Dyer and Stewart said their groups are about 85 per cent funded by Canadians. The Pembina Institute was founded in Drayton Valley, Alta., and its headquarters remain in Calgary.

    Both called the war room political posturing aimed at the party’s base.

    “A lot of the rhetoric around our work and our contribution to Alberta has been based on complete misinformation,” said Dyer, who pointed out Pembina has worked with virtually every major energy company in the province.

    Stewart called the threats a rerun of the 2012 campaign against environmental groups fuelled by the right-wing The Rebel media group and led by Stephen Harper’s federal Conservatives.

    “We learned to play rope-a-dope,” said Stewart. “Stephen Harper was our best recruiter.

    “We had people contacting us saying, ‘How do I lie down in front of a bulldozer?’ We don’t usually get a lot of those calls but we were getting a lot of those calls.”

    Each group is confident in the accuracy of the facts it cites. Dyer said Pembina research has been used by investors, academics and governments.

    Stewart said the issue isn’t facts, but how they are understood. 

    “Often what it is is a disagreement over which fact is important. Industry will say, ‘We’re reducing emissions per barrel.’ We’ll say, ‘Emissions are going up.’ Both statements are true and it depends which you think is more important.”

    Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said the Kenney government must tread carefully. It’s OK to defend your position, but not to threaten, she said.

    “If we’re talking about initiating lawsuits against individuals or organizations on the basis of speaking out on issues of public importance, then that raises serious problems,” she said. “Then we have a much more obvious impact and potential violation on freedom of expression.”

    The province could possibly expose itself to legal action if its statements harm a group or individual — say, by putting them at the centre of a Twitter firestorm, said an Edmonton lawyer.

    “There’s certainly some kind of moral responsibility in terms of understanding that kind of highly charged rhetoric,” said Sean Ward, who practises media law. “You have to understand the consequences that are likely to follow.”

    Ward said any cases the government funds would also be tough to win. 

    “There are a lot of available defences. It’s difficult to see that this sort of general debate they’re going to be able to shut down with defamation law.”

    Environmentalists say their response will be to avoid distraction and carry on.

    “The vast majority active in this place don’t want to go back to a high conflict, polarizing environment,” Dyer said. “We’re not interested in polarizing this debate.”

    Bob Weber, The Canadian Press




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