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China Formally Arrests Australian Writer on Suspicion of Spying

China Formally Arrests Australian Writer on Suspicion of Spying(Bloomberg) — An Australian writer detained in China seven months ago has been formally arrested on suspicion of espionage, triggering swift demands from the government in Canberra that he be allowed to return home.Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she was “concerned and disappointed” that Yang Hengjun, a Chinese native who’s now an Australian citizen, would “continue to be criminally detained.” He is one of several detained foreign nationals whose cases have raised concerns about operating on the mainland. Two Canadians — Michael Kovrig, a Hong Kong-based security analyst on leave from Canada’s foreign service, and entrepreneur Michael Spavor — were detained in December and later accused of espionage. “It is important, and we expect, that basic standards of justice and procedural fairness are met,” Payne said in a statement Tuesday. “I respectfully reiterate my previous requests that if Dr. Yang is being held for his political beliefs, he should be released.”Yang was detained in the southern city of Guangzhou in January after a flight from New York. His lawyer Rob Stary told the Australian newspaper Tuesday that the precise nature of the espionage allegations weren’t clear, though apparently relate to his “democracy activism.”China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.At the time of his detention, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said Yang was being investigated for “criminal activities endangering national security.” Yang previously was a Chinese foreign affairs official in Beijing, before becoming an Australian citizen and novelist, the Australian newspaper reported earlier this year.Payne said Yang had been held in “harsh conditions” without charge and denied access to lawyers or his family. She said she had discussed the issue twice with her Chinese counterpart and written to him three times raising her concerns.Yang has been visited by embassy officials seven times since his detention and a visit is scheduled for today, she said.“I will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of Dr. Yang to ensure a satisfactory explanation of the basis for his arrest, that he is treated humanely and that he is allowed to return home,” Payne said.(Updates with details of other foreigners detained in second paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Johnson in Sydney at ejohnson28@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net, Peter VercoeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Michigan Rep. Amash formally withdraws from House GOP caucus

Michigan Rep. Amash formally withdraws from House GOP caucusAmash, who had been the only Republican in Congress to call for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, told GOP leaders he is withdrawing from the House GOP conference and resigning from the House Oversight and Reform Committee. In an opinion article published July 4 in The Washington Post , Amash said partisan politics is damaging American democracy.



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Senator Gillibrand formally launches presidential campaign

Senator Gillibrand formally launches presidential campaignGillibrand, who launched an exploratory committee earlier this year as a precursor, joins more than a dozen other Democrats who have already formally entered the contest to win the nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. Someone who isn’t afraid of progress,” Gillibrand says in a video released Sunday morning to formalize her entry into the campaign. Gillibrand opted to use a video instead of a speech at a rally, the traditional method, to formally launch her campaign.



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Bernie Sanders formally launches his 2020 campaign

Bernie Sanders formally launches his 2020 campaign“I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least a million people from across the country,” Sanders said in an email to supporters.



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U.S. to formally seek extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou – Globe and Mail

U.S. to formally seek extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou - Globe and MailDavid MacNaughton, in an interview with the Canadian newspaper published on Monday, said the United States has told Canada it will request Meng’s extradition, but he did not say when the request will be made. The deadline for filing is Jan. 30, or 60 days after Meng was arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver.



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Australia will formally consider asylum claim of Saudi woman in Bangkok

Australia will formally consider asylum claim of Saudi woman in BangkokAustralia has said it will formally consider the asylum claim of a Saudi woman fleeing her family after the United Nations assessed her case and ruled that she was a genuine refugee.  Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, took to Twitter on Monday to plead for her life after she was stopped by Saudi officials and Thai immigration officers during a transit through Bangkok airport while on route to Australia, where she wanted to start an asylum process.   Her passport was confiscated and she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room to avoid being deported on a flight to Kuwait. The teenager then gripped the world with her desperate cries for help  via social media.  She claimed she was escaping from her family who had subjected her to physical and psychological abuse and that she feared she would be killed if she was sent home to Saudi Arabia. Her family have not commented on the allegations, although her father travelled to Bangkok to try to speak to her.  Ms al-Qunun’s panicked efforts to escape repatriation generated a global media frenzy and prompted a U-turn by the Thai authorities who allowed her to be taken into the protection of the United Nations office for Refugees (UNHCR).  On behalf of Rahaf we, her friends, thank all of you guys for the tremendous support that Rahaf has never dreamed of. You are the source of her power and she’s asking you “Don’t abandon me yet. I’m not safe yet, hopefully, I will be transferred to a safe country soon” ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️— Rahaf Mohammed رهف محمد القنون (@rahaf84427714) January 8, 2019 The UNHCR initially said it could take days to process her case, but had decided by Wednesday morning that she was a genuine refugee and referred her to Australia for resettlement.  The decision was made public by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, which said it would consider the referral from the UN in the usual way.  In a Twitter update on Wednesday, Ms al-Qunun thanked her 107,000 followers for their “support in my difficult psychological situation” and said that she had “regained my strength” after a dramatic few days.  Her extraordinary use of social media to highlight her plight had managed to spark an international outcry and #SaveRahaf campaign within hours of her detention, attracting human rights activists and diplomats to advocate on her behalf.  “Everybody was watching. When social media works, this is what happens,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.  The Saudi embassy in Bangkok has not publicly commented on Ms al-Qunun’s case since it initially claimed on Monday that she had tried to enter Thailand without the right papers, a charge which she denied.  On Tuesday, the Thai immigration office released a video clip of its officials meeting Saudi diplomats to discuss the case.  “When she first arrived in Thailand, she opened a new site (account) and the followers reached about 45,000 within one day,” a Saudi official speaking in Arabic through a translator tells Thai officials in the video.  “I wish you had taken her phone, it would have been better than (taking) her passport,” the official said.



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U.N. formally approves global migration pact opposed by U.S., others

U.N. formally approves global migration pact opposed by U.S., othersThe United Nations General Assembly formally approved a deal on Wednesday aimed at boosting global cooperation to tackle rising migration, but the United States, Israel, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland voted against the voluntary pact. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has said the global approach to the issue was not compatible with U.S. sovereignty and Washington did not take part in negotiations on the migration pact. A U.N. General Assembly resolution enshrining the deal was adopted on Wednesday with 152 votes in favor and 12 abstentions, while 24 countries did not vote.



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F-35 formally enters operational testing

F-35 formally enters operational testingThe testing is expected to be completed in the late summer of 2019 and the data will be used by the U.S. government to inform its “Milestone C” decision, leading to formal entry into full-rate production at the end of next year, the Defense Department said in a statement. All tests will be conducted at U.S. Military testing ranges and installations, it said. “The start of formal operational testing is a milestone more than 18 years in the making,” F-35 program head Vice Adm. Mat Winter said.



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Florida Gov. Rick Scott Formally Ousts Democrat Bill Nelson After Recounts

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Formally Ousts Democrat Bill Nelson After RecountsFlorida Gov. Rick Scott has officially won his third statewide race by his



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Christopher Watts Formally Charged With Murder of Wife and Daughters

Christopher Watts Formally Charged With Murder of Wife and DaughtersThe Colorado father was charged with first-degree murder



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