Tag Archives: tensions

China condemns US 'smear' in Huawei case as tensions boil

China condemns US 'smear' in Huawei case as tensions boilChina on Tuesday accused the United States of “political motivations” behind sweeping charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei in a case that has ratcheted up tensions between the two superpowers. The Justice Department Monday unveiled 13 charges against Huawei Technologies, its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou — the daughter of the company’s founder — and two affiliates related to violating US sanctions on Iran. The firm was also accused of technology theft on the same day China’s top trade negotiator arrived in Washington for high-stakes talks with US officials, possibly complicating the discussions ahead of a March deadline to avert a deepening of their trade war.



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Bolton's notes raise questions on U.S. military plans amid Venezuela tensions

Bolton's notes raise questions on U.S. military plans amid Venezuela tensionsWhite House national security adviser John Bolton raised questions about the United States’ intentions in Venezuela after he appeared at a briefing on Monday with a notepad containing the words “5,000 troops to Colombia,” which neighbors Venezuela. It was not immediately clear what Bolton’s notes meant and whether President Donald Trump’s administration was seriously considering sending U.S. troops to Colombia. Asked about a photograph depicting the notes, a White House spokesman said on Monday: “As the President has said, all options are on the table.” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said the number of U.S. military personnel in Colombia remained unchanged as part of a pre-existing partnership.



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Why the Threat of U.S. Intervention in Venezuela Revives Historical Tensions in the Region

Why the Threat of U.S. Intervention in Venezuela Revives Historical Tensions in the RegionMaduro is evoking Washington's bloody history of interference in the region — but the situation in Venezuela today is rather different



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Microsoft's Bing is blocked in China as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate

Microsoft's Bing is blocked in China as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalateMicrosoft's Bing search enginehas been blocked in China as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate. Attempts to open cn.bing.com has resulted in an error message for users since Wednesday. "We've confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a brief statement, hours after saying the company was investigating the matter. China's Communist authorities operate an online censorship apparatus known as the "Great Firewall", which blocks a slew of websites including Facebook, Twitter and several foreign media outlets. It was not clear whether or not Bing had joined the list of prohibited websites, or if its China service was experiencing technical difficulties.  The wording of the US company's statement "means Microsoft received no government order, but China has the power to block a URL and that may be what happened," said independent US tech analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group. "China has been aggressive in terms of controlling the media, 'censorship' is kind of their middle name. If there were searches going on providing results the Chinese government didn't like, it wouldn't surprise me if they blocked the site," Enderle said. But the analyst said it could also be a "hack gone wrong".  China's cyberspace administration did not immediately return a request for comment. Technology intelligence – newsletter promo – EOA China's Great Firewall can be circumvented by using a virtual private network (VPN), which can hide a user's IP address. In 2017, Apple removed some apps that would allow internet users to use VPNs in China after Beijing issued new regulations to crackdown on the services.  While its rival Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 after rows over censorship and hacking, Bing has continued to operate in the country along with Microsoft-owned Skype.   On Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media site, people complained about the lack of access, with some speculating that Bing too had been "walled off". Others aired their dissatisfaction about having to use Baidu, China's largest domestic search service. "Even Bing requires a VPN now, how exhausting," wrote one user. "Our country is amazing, even the obedient Bing has been walled off, while Baidu flourishes," said another. "Thank you wise party leaders!" China has tightened policing of the internet in recent years, shuttering 26,000 "illegal" websites in 2018 alone and deleting six million online posts containing vulgar content, the official Xinhua news agency said earlier this month. Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp, which has over 1bn users globally, was blocked by Chinese authorities in 2017. Bing complies with Chinese censorship rules, but its link to US tech giant Microsoft might have put it in the government's crosshairs as Beijing and Washington spar over trade and tech issues. Google China analysis puff However, Bing has come under some scrutiny after an investigation by online safety company AntiToxin found that some images of child pornography would come up in search results. Microsoft called the results "unacceptable" and has since removed the illegal images.  Tsui also noted that there is growing concern over China's slowing economy, and that June will see the highly sensitive 30th anniversary of the violent suppression of democracy protests in Tiananmen in 1989. "Beijing needs to look like they are in charge and in power," he said.  China's censorship measures are known to hide information around domestic affairs from its citizens too. Numerous "censorship factories" are operated in the country, where thousands of citizens are paid to erase sensitive information from the internet, such as the occurrence of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.  The United States and China are locked in a bruising trade war, with US accusations that China steals technological know-how among the core disagreements. Washington has also led efforts to blacklist Chinese telecoms giant Huawei internationally over security concerns, and one of the company's top executives, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada last month over fraud allegations on a US request. The two sides are scheduled for new trade negotiations next week.



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Trump blocks Pelosi trip as tensions mount over U.S. government shutdown

Trump blocks Pelosi trip as tensions mount over U.S. government shutdownIn the meantime, the Trump administration continued to try to mitigate the shutdown’s impact. The State Department said it would call its furloughed employees back to work next week for national security reasons. Pelosi had been scheduled to travel on a military aircraft as part of a congressional delegation to Belgium, where NATO is based, and Afghanistan to visit American troops stationed there.



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Trump blocks Pelosi trip as tensions mount over government shutdown

Trump blocks Pelosi trip as tensions mount over government shutdownIn the meantime, the Trump administration continued to try to mitigate the shutdown’s impact. The State Department said it would call its furloughed employees back to work next week for national security reasons. Pelosi had been scheduled to travel on a military aircraft as part of a congressional delegation to Belgium, where NATO is based, and Afghanistan to visit American troops stationed there.



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New migrant caravan travelling to US from Honduras adding to tensions over border

New migrant caravan travelling to US from Honduras adding to tensions over borderHonduran Deputy Foreign Minister Nelly Jerez said that between 800 and 1,000 people were travelling together and headed towards the Agua Caliente border crossing into Guatemala. Hundreds of Honduran refugees and migrants also left a bus station in the northern city of San Pedro Sula and moved along to join the caravan. The first groups to leave included many women and children who got onto buses destined for the Guatemalan border.



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Christmas across the globe: Tradition and tensions amid turbulent times

Christmas across the globe: Tradition and tensions amid turbulent timesAt the Vatican, the pope called for unity. In the U.S., a federal government shutdown cast a pall. So dawned Christmas Day 2018.



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Russian fighter jets land in Crimea amid Ukraine tensions

Russian fighter jets land in Crimea amid Ukraine tensionsMore than a dozen SU-27 and SU-30 fighter jets which Russia is deploying to boost its air force, amid heightened tensions with Ukraine, arrived in Crimea on Saturday. A Reuters witness saw the jets land at Belbek air base in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014 after Moscow-leaning Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich fled Kiev following street clashes and violent protests.



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Former Canadian diplomat detained in China amid tensions over arrest of Huawei executive

Former Canadian diplomat detained in China amid tensions over arrest of Huawei executiveA former Canadian diplomat has been arrested in  China, amid tensions over the recent detention of a Chinese telecom executive in Vancouver. "We have been in direct contact with the Chinese diplomats and representatives," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. "We are engaged with the file (case), which we take very seriously." Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Tuesday confirmed the detention of Michael Kovrig. "We're deeply concerned," he said. "A Canadian is obviously in difficulty in China. We are sparing no effort to do everything we possibly can to look after his safety." The International Crisis Group said on Tuesday it was aware of reports that Mr Kovrig, its North East Asia senior adviser, had been detained. The Brussels-based non-governmental organisation said in a statement that it's doing everything possible to obtain additional information about Mr Kovrig's whereabouts and that it will work to ensure his prompt release. The Globe and Mail in Toronto and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported the arrest, citing unnamed sources. Reports of Mr Kovrig's detention come after  China  warned Canada of consequences for its December 1 arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver's airport. It's unclear if there's any link between the cases. Ms Meng was detained  over US allegations she misled banks about  Huawei' s control of a firm operating in Iran. Yesterday (Tues), the Washington Post reported that the US government is to take action against China  over hacking and economic espionage,using sanctions and indictments. The report could not immediately be confirmed. The International Crisis Group said Mr Kovrig has been one of its full-time experts since February 2017. The organisation's website says Kovrig previously worked as a Canadian diplomat in Beijing and Hong Kong and at the United Nations. Canada's Global Affairs department didn't immediately respond with comment. Former Canadian Liberal leader Bob Rae said it's clear why he's been detained. "It's called repression and retaliation," Mr Rae tweeted. 



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