The officer in charge of the Canadian police detachment at Vancouver’s airport when Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested almost two years ago has defended his advice that Meng should not be taken into custody until she had disembarked from her flight.Testifying in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Friday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Ross Lundie said there were “well-documented” risks involved with arresting someone in the confines of a plane.Meng was arrested on December 1, 2018, but only after she had exited the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong and had been questioned for almost three hours by border officers.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Meng’s lawyers have presented the decision to delay the arrest until after the inspection – during which she was questioned and her electronic devices seized – as a covert evidence-gathering exercise orchestrated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in violation of Meng’s rights. They say the decision also flouted the arrest warrant’s directive that Meng should be arrested “immediately”.The US extradition request should be thrown out as a result, they say. Canadian officer denies ‘cover up’ about Meng’s Wanzhou’s phones and FBIOn Friday, Meng’s lawyer, Richard Peck, asked Lundie about his advice to the arresting officer, Constable Winston Yep, and his partner, Constable Gurvinder Dhaliwal, that Meng should only be arrested on the plane if there was “a safety or security issue” that made it necessary.“It’s a very tight space … Definitely not on a plane unless you cannot avoid it,” Lundie said.Lundie was on the stand on the final day of two weeks of witness testimony in the extradition case. The court has heard from a series of Canada Border Services Agency officers and police who played various roles in the border exam and subsequent arrest of Meng on an American warrant, which upended China’s relations with Canada and the United States.However one key officer, retired staff sergeant Ben Chang, has refused to testify. In a court filing in June, Canadian government lawyers representing US interests in the case said they held “witness safety” concerns for Chang, who now lives in the Chinese territory of Macau, and works as a security executive at the Galaxy casino resort. Canada feared for safety of Meng witness in Macau who refuses to testifyThe US seeks to put Meng on trial in New York on charges that she defrauded HSBC by lying about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, putting the bank at risk of breaching US sanctions.Meng, who denies the charges, is living under partial house arrest in one of the two houses she owns in Vancouver while she fights the extradition bid.The treatment of Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, has infuriated China. Soon after her detention, Beijing arrested Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and accused them of spying. Ottawa considers the arrests retaliatory and both men to be victims of hostage-taking.The hearing was adjourned by Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, who bound Meng over until December 7, when another week of witness testimony will begin.More from South China Morning Post: * Canadian border officer denies trying to help FBI by questioning Meng Wanzhou about Iran * Retired Canadian police officer refuses to testify at Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing * Canadian Mountie ‘concluded FBI never got Meng Wanzhou’s phone information’, but her notes say otherwise * Meng Wanzhou: Canada border agent ‘falsified account of questioning’, defence lawyer claims in court * Canadian officer who arrested Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou said she might have put up fight, but boss said there were ‘no safety concerns’This article Meng Wanzhou case: arresting Huawei exec on plane would have been too risky, Canadian officer tells court first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
The Ministry of Health confirmed six new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Saturday (28 November), taking the country’s total case count to 58,205.
President Emmanuel Macron faces a major challenge to retain France's influence over resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, needing to take account of the large Armenian minority in his country and accused by Azerbaijan of bias.
Malaysia will go to the polls when the coronavirus pandemic is over, the prime minister said Saturday, two days after winning lawmakers' backing for his government's 2021 budget.
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying has taken a rival newspaper to court over an “inflammatory” article that claimed he was prepared to flee the city and abscond from criminal proceedings.The 71-year-old Apple Daily founder has accused Ta Kung Pao of maliciously undermining his reputation by suggesting in a June 25 article he would jump bail in court cases, including those stemming from last year’s civil unrest.In a writ filed on Thursday, Lai asked the High Court to bar the pro-Beijing paper and its “registered editor”, Jia Xiping, from publishing similar libellous content again, and order them to publish an apology and pay damages.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The Post understood that Ta Kung Pao’s editor-in-chief was Yu Shijun at the time the disputed article was published. Jia, Yu’s predecessor, stepped down in 2017.The writ, drafted by Robertsons, noted Ta Kung Pao had run a story, titled “Leaders who create chaos in Hong Kong plotting escape, escape route exposed, charging one million dollars”.The article allegedly depicted Lai as a “potential suspect” whose “intention to abscond to evade criminal responsibility is well apparent”. Media mogul Jimmy Lai, activist Agnes Chow among those arrested under security lawThe article was also said to have quoted an “informant” saying that no human traffickers were able to accept Lai’s offer even if he was willing to pay HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) to leave the city via illegal means.Lai’s counsel, led by Paul Harris SC and Raymond Ho, argued the article was part of a smear campaign “of intense hostility”. The paper, they said, had previously used derogatory terms such as “traitor” or “fatty” against Lai.They said the article was expressed in a “sensational, prejudicial and inflammatory manner” using false facts and unsubstantiated allegations.They further argued the article must have been published with the purpose of enhancing the paper’s readership by maliciously accusing Lai of unlawful conduct. Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai denies violating national security law“[Ta Kung Pao] attacked the integrity of and damaged the reputation of [Lai], and accused [him] of unlawful conduct, having calculated that the benefits to them (whatever that may be) through disparaging the integrity and reputation of [Lai],” the writ said.Lai has been charged in multiple criminal cases, with allegations ranging from intimidating a reporter from a rival newspaper to taking part in unauthorised rallies during last year’s anti-government protests.He was cleared of the intimidation charge in September, after a magistrate found the Oriental Daily reporter was lying about his encounter with Lai in 2017. The Department of Justice has lodged an appeal against Lai’s acquittal.More from South China Morning Post: * Apple Daily boss Jimmy Lai has case to answer in intimidation trial, Hong Kong court rules * Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai among 13 opposition figures to be charged over June 4 vigil * Beijing slams Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai and US officials over Washington meetings on extradition bill, using words ‘national scum and Hong Kong sinners’This article Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai takes rival newspaper to court over ‘inflammatory’ article first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
When Hou Jianguo takes on his next job, he will be assuming one of the world’s biggest roles in science.Hou has been named the Communist Party secretary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and will be the next president of the academy.The chemist will oversee nearly 70,000 researchers. He will also have to take calls around the clock from the most powerful people in the country, and he will have to promote international cooperation amid boycotts, sanctions and suspicions.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Hou will have to manage an organisation with an annual budget of nearly 100 billion yuan (US$15.2 billion), as well as research that runs the gamut from obscure flowering species in Africa to quantum computers and laser technology.It is a big job that has been entrusted to a scientist who spent most of his life dealing with “small things”.Born in 1959 in the small fishing town of Pingtan, in the southeastern province of Fujian, Hou began his working life as a fitter at a small factory fixing small machines.He worked there for three years before winning a place to study chemistry at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui province. As a physical chemist, he studied atoms, molecules and subatomic particles, manipulating them to create crystals and alloys.He rose steadily through the university’s ranks to become its president in 2008, but he dined regularly with students, responding to their needs, according to a China Youth Daily report in 2015. Some students complained about summer heat, so he installed air conditioners in their classrooms. Some said they disliked public baths. He then put a hot water shower in every dormitory.“He’s a man of details,” one of his former colleagues was quoted in the report as saying. Chinese research ship launched to boost exploration activities, including in South China SeaAt the time, Hou’s philosophy was that a research institute should not do everything. “Just do a small number of things and do it the best,” he said in a 2010 interview.However, the CAS job is on a much grander scale. The exact number of employees is a secret but some estimates put it in the hundreds of thousands.It also dwarfs in output other major science and technology players such as Harvard University, the Max Planck research institutes and MIT. In the year from August 2019, CAS researchers published 5,880 papers in leading journals, more than those from the Harvard and Max Planck institutes combined, according to Nature Index.The tasks the researchers must confront are also huge – CAS has been asked to deal with almost every problem associated with its development. Air pollution? Build a smog tower to clean it up. Energy shortage? Try an artificial sun with nuclear fusion. Government corruption? Use artificial intelligence to monitor officials’ social activities. Covid-19? Develop vaccines, sequence the virus and trace its origin.Under Bai Chunli, CAS president since 2012, the academy has made some significant gains, catching up with or even overtaking the United States, China’s biggest competitor, in some critical fields of research. These include building the world’s first quantum satellite, largest hypersonic wind tunnel, fastest supercomputer and biggest radio telescope.The drive has put an enormous amount of pressure on the shoulders of scientists and engineers.“Bai is a very kind person but he has no mercy when our performance failed to meet the expectation from the top,” said a Shanghai-based researcher who asked not to be named.“In recent years we were busier than workaholics. I don’t have much to ask from the new chief, just hope he won’t make it worse.” US-China big chill may freeze out Chinese students from American university research labsBeijing is not letting up in its ambitions, with plans to turn China into a superpower of research and development. By 2030, many more areas in fundamental research and applied sciences should be on par with or overtaking the West.In interviews over the years, Hou has said that researchers should have the freedom and resources to study what interests them most, and the government should not meddle in academic affairs.But the higher he moved up in the administrative ladder, the more often he said that scientists should put national interest ahead of their personal considerations.“The best inspiration comes from the biggest needs of our country,” he was quoted by People’s Daily as saying in 2016, when he was the deputy minister of science and technology.Another challenge in Hou’s job will be the tensions between China and the US.Hou is very familiar with the United States, having spent five years from 1991 studying and working there. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, a visiting scholar at Oregon State University and the leader of numerous Chinese science delegations to the US.But there may be little he can do to overcome problems between Washington and Beijing.Because of US sanctions, researchers in some CAS laboratories have not been able to buy essential instruments in recent years. Attending academic conferences in the US has also become a nightmare because of visa restrictions, and US national security concerns have put collaboration with US scientists under the microscope. Chinese research lab ‘badly hurt’ by man-made coronavirus rumoursSome of the most urgent tasks Hou will confront are much closer to home.For years, many young scientists within the CAS system have complained that their meagre salaries barely cover housing, education and many other mundane needs, especially in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen where property prices are sky high.A young scientist in Beijing said CAS dormitories were one solution but they could not live there forever.“I have a wish list: an affordable place to live, a car, a girlfriend,” the scientist said.They are problems that the details-oriented science administrator will have to draw on all his experience to solve.More from South China Morning Post: * US technology embargo list gives China a blueprint for home-grown innovation over the next decade, top science official says * Xi Jinping calls on science to solve the big problems choking ChinaThis article China’s big task for a scientist of ‘small things’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Commemorations for Tamil Tiger rebels killed in Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war were banned on Friday after court petitions by the government of strongman President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Singapore’s civil servants will not receive their year-end bonus payment this year due to the economic downturn caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Iran's president on Saturday accused arch-foe Israel of acting as a US "mercenary" and seeking to create chaos, vowing Tehran would avenge the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has "piles of cash" at home as she has no bank account after the United States slapped sanctions on her in response to a draconian security law China imposed on the city.
The World Health Organization is looking into controversial research suggesting the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was circulating in Italy months before it was first detected in China, the health body said on Friday, while cautioning against using such data to speculate about the disease’s origins.The WHO plans to run tests with the Italian researchers who made waves earlier this month for their peer-reviewed findings based on tests of blood samples from a cancer screening carried out starting before the pathogen was detected in China.The team found antibodies specific to the coronavirus in over 11 per cent of the 959 subjects. Positive samples dated back to September last year, several months before the world’s first recorded case from early December in China.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“We’ve reached out to these researchers and they have generously offered to work with us and to collaborate with us on some further studies looking at those samples,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for Covid-19. Where did Coronavirus originate? These virus sleuths are assessing every theoryBut while the WHO was working with scientists around the world to track and examine any detection or “unusual” published results, the investigation it was leading into the origins of the virus would start in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases were detected.“We need to be careful with our speculation here,” Mike Ryan, WHO health emergencies programme executive director, said when asked whether signs that the virus was in Europe earlier than previously known could mean it was circulating in humans outside China before it was found in Wuhan.“It’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China. But we do know that the first clusters of human cases that were detected were in Wuhan.”He said that to understand the origins of the virus, it was crucial to start the investigation in the city where it was first identified.“After that, the evidence should take us where we need to go, but to speculate on where the virus emerged precisely, without starting where the human disease emerged for us doesn’t represent the best way forward,” he said.The comments come as Chinese officials and state media have ramped up rhetoric, saying that just because the virus was first identified in China did not mean it came from the country.Though scientists generally agree that the virus originated in a bat, before passing into humans, perhaps via an intermediary species, where and how this happened is unknown. The novel virus’s closest known relative was detected in southwestern China.Last month, without providing specific evidence, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist for the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggested that the pathogen could have originally arrived in China via imported seafood.Chinese health officials linked subsequent sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks in major Chinese cities to refrigerated imported food, though other specialists question whether this could be a significant driver of infection. Officials have yet to release comprehensive information about investigations into the early spread of the virus in Wuhan.Zeng Guang, former Chinese CDC chief epidemiologist, cited the Italian research in a speech at a recent academic conference, saying Wuhan was where the coronavirus was first detected, but it might not be where it originated. WHO names line-up for international team looking into coronavirus originsBut researchers have raised concerns about conclusions drawn from the Italian study. For one, serological testing, which detects antibodies in the blood that indicate if a person has already been infected, is less precise than DNA-based tests that can be done on fresh or frozen samples.Hong Kong University virologist Malik Peiris, who was a key figure in identifying the Sars virus during that outbreak nearly two decades ago, said the data from the Italian study “still needs further clarification”.Due to limitations in how the team extrapolated data from their samples, we “cannot say with confidence this is a genuine result”, he said.The tests could also be picking up other coronaviruses, even an unknown but related virus, according to Gavin Smith, a professor in the emerging infectious diseases programme at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.“It’s really difficult to tell. It is possible that it could be this Sars-CoV-2 virus, specifically, that they are picking up,” he said, referring to the formal name for the new coronavirus.However, Smith said, if that were the case, “the fact that it is picked up in Italy doesn’t necessarily mean that it started in Italy”.“Based on the weight of historical evidence, it’s likely that it emerged in Asia, but it’s impossible to say anything definite about this [at this time],” he said.Infectious diseases specialist Sanjaya Senanayake from the Australian National University said it would be “very interesting to see if things went that far back”.“This would suggest that [the virus] flew under the radar for a long time,” he said, noting there should be “no stone left unturned” when it came to gathering information on Covid-19.He pointed to other signs of an earlier spread, such as the retrospective discovery of a Covid-19 patient in France in late December, nearly a month before the country confirmed its first cases. Scientists in Italy have also found traces of the new coronavirus in wastewater collected that month.The WHO’s Van Kerkhove said on Friday that global efforts were continuing to understand the spread of the virus, including testing of retrospective wastewater samples and analysis of genome sequences.“There are a lot of sources of information, but ... the [origin] studies need to begin where the first cases were detected in Wuhan,” she said. “Then we follow the science.”More from South China Morning Post: * Coronavirus was on many continents before Wuhan outbreak, Chinese team says * Coronavirus: more heat than light in quest for origin of Covid-19 * China’s ‘bat woman’ virologist rules out Covid-19 virus in fresh tests on old cave samples * Coronavirus: WHO and Chinese experts launch origins mission – onlineThis article Coronavirus: WHO to look at controversial Italian samples in search for origins first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
The European Union said Friday that another week of talks with Britain on a new trade deal has gone with barely any progress. Its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is heading to London for ever-more pressing weekend negotiations to avoid chaos when Britain's trade agreements with the EU end at New Year. The lack of progress is frustrating since the EU had sounded optimistic about a deal last Friday and had committed to be “creative" in its approach during the final stages of the talks.
A Big Boy restaurant in Michigan’s Thumb region has lost its name after the owners refused to stop indoor dining as part of statewide restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Customers were greeted Friday with Sandusky Diner instead of Sandusky Big Boy, the name for 35 years. Big Boy restaurants are known by their statue of a boy in checkered overalls holding a burger over his head.
The Trump administration moved forward Friday on gutting a longstanding federal protection for the nation's birds, over objections from former federal officials and many scientists that billions more birds will likely perish as a result. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published its take on the proposed rollback in the Federal Register. It's a final step that means the change — greatly limiting federal authority to prosecute industries for practices that kill migratory birds — could be made official within 30 days.
It was late on the first Tuesday in November, and Captain Hussen Besheir, an Ethiopian federal soldier, was on duty at a guard post outside the military camp in Dansha.
Iran said one of its most prominent nuclear scientists was assassinated Friday in an attack outside Tehran, blaming arch foe Israel and warning of "severe revenge".
Thousands of democracy activists blocked a major junction in Bangkok for several hours on Friday to rehearse "coup prevention" strategies in the latest round of Thailand's anti-government protests.
Indian police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday in a second day of clashes with farmers marching on New Delhi angry at agricultural reforms they fear will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
President Donald Trump's announcement in May of plans to develop a Covid-19 vaccine by year's end is near realization -- despite a setback among one of the six candidates that the US supported.
A general who led NATO's mission in Iraq as well as Canadian troops in Afghanistan and Bosnia will spearhead efforts to immunise most Canadians against the novel coronavirus by September 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.