WASHINGTON: Canada has arrested Chinese telecoms giant Huawei's global chief financial officer in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the United States, Canada's Department of Justice said on Wednesday (Dec 5).
The arrest is related to violations of US sanctions, a person familiar with the matter said. Reuters was unable to determine the precise nature of the violations.
Sources told Reuters in April that US authorities have been probing Huawei, one of the world's largest makers of telecommunications network equipment, since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws.
Meng Wanzhou, who is one of the vice-chairs on the company's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on Dec 1 and a court hearing has been set for Friday, a Canadian Justice Department spokesman said.
Huawei confirmed the arrest in a statement and said that it has been provided little information of the charges, adding that it was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng."
China's embassy in Canada said it resolutely opposed the arrest and called for Meng's immediate release.
The arrest could drive a wedge between China and the United States just days after President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping held a meeting in Argentina where they agreed to steps to resolve a trade war.
The sources said in April the US Justice Department probe is being run out of the US attorney's office in Brooklyn.
The US Justice Department on Wednesday declined to comment. A spokesman for the US attorney's office in Brooklyn also declined to comment.
CHINESE MEDIA BACKLASH
The arrest drew a sharp response from Chinese media and on the mainland's social media.
"I am shocked. The US can't beat Huawei in the market. Don't act like a despicable rogue," Tweeted Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily.
Jia Wenshan, a professor at Chapman University in California, said the arrest was part of a broader geo-political strategy from the Trump administration to counter China and it "runs a huge risk of derailing the US-China trade talks".
A user of China's Twitter-like Weibo platform said Chinese should boycott products made by US tech giant Apple Inc and instead buy Huawei products to show support for one of China's national champions.
The probe of Huawei is similar to one that threatened the survival of China's ZTE, which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating US laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran.
Earlier this year, the United States banned American firms from selling parts and software to ZTE, which then paid US$1 billion this summer as part of a deal to get the ban lifted.
In January 2013, Reuters reported that Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech, which attempted to sell embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran's largest mobile-phone operator, had much closer ties to Huawei than previously known.
Meng, who also has gone by the English names Cathy and Sabrina, served on the board of Skycom between February 2008 and April 2009, according to Skycom records filed with Hong Kong's Companies Registry.
Several other past and present Skycom directors appear to have connections to Huawei.
The news about the arrest comes the same day Britain's BT Group said it was removing Huawei's equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and would not use the Chinese company in central parts of the next network.
The handset and telecommunications equipment maker said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and US and other regulations.
The Huawei statement said Meng was detained when she was transferring flights in Canada.
Her arrest drew a quick reaction in Washington.
US Senator Ben Sasse praised the action and said that it was "for breaking US sanctions against Iran." He added: "Sometimes Chinese aggression is explicitly state-sponsored and sometimes it's laundered through many of Beijing’s so-called 'private' sector entities."
US stock futures and Asian shares tumbled as news of the arrest heightened the sense a major collision was brewing between the world's two largest economic powers, not just over tariffs but also over technological hegemony.
While investors initially greeted the trade ceasefire that was agreed in Argentina with relief, the mood has quickly soured on scepticism that the two sides can reach a substantive deal.
S&P500 e-mini futures were down almost 2 per cent at one point in thin Asian morning trade on Thursday.
SINGAPORE: A 35-year-old man who subjected his nine-year-old son to a beating over homework was sentenced to four months' jail on Thursday (Dec 6).
The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the boy's identity, pleaded guilty in June to one charge of ill-treating a child in his custody.
The incident occurred at about 9pm on Aug 4 last year, when the man's 34-year-old wife left the house for dinner with her friends.
She left her son in her husband's care, and the young child was seated at the dining table doing his homework while the accused was watching television.
More than an hour later, the boy asked his father for help with his homework.
The man told him to think of the answers on his own, and the boy gave several answers which were wrong.
"The accused was angered by the victim's mistakes," said the prosecutor. He left the dining room, returning with a plastic hanger while his son begged him for leniency.
He grabbed the boy's hand and yanked him forcefully from the chair, causing him to tumble onto the floor.
He then pulled him up by his left leg, so that the boy was held upside down, and hit him on his buttocks and legs with the hanger, swinging it down "with his full strength", court documents said.
The man then shouted at his son, who was lying on the ground in a daze.
The boy told his father that he really did not know the answers to his homework questions, enraging him further.
The accused kicked his son twice, shouting at him: "You know why you don't know, you're stupid!"
He then threw the hanger at the boy and kicked him again before chasing him into the bedroom, where he hit the boy's buttocks with his hands.
The assault on the boy was captured by a closed-circuit television camera mounted on a ledge in the dining room and was played to the court.
A neighbour called the police at 10.43pm, saying that he heard a child crying out and he thought it was child abuse.
When the boy's mother returned home, the child told her what happened and she retrieved the CCTV footage.
The boy was admitted to hospital, where a medical report showed that he suffered multiple hematomas or bruises on his body, including hook-shaped ones measuring 3cm and 6cm.
The couple are currently undergoing divorce proceedings.
DEFENCE ASKS FOR PROBATION, SAYING RELATIONSHIP HAS IMPROVED
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jotham Tay asked for four months' jail, saying that the facts were alarming.
"It is clear that it was not done simply in a controlled manner for the purpose of discipline, but out of rage," he said.
The man's defence lawyer, T U Naidu, asked instead for probation, saying that the relationship between the accused and the victim has "greatly improved".
The accused has been attending counselling, he added, and the entire family are now close enough to assure the court that there will not be any chance of reoccurrence.
"It is admitted that he lost his cool," said the lawyer. "My client is greatly remorseful. Any form of custodial sentence is going to affect what has been built up thus far between the (accused) and the son."
Addressing the accused, who stood in the dock with his head bowed throughout the hearing, District Judge Eddy Tham said there was no excuse for the "totally disproportionate" actions, no matter how frustrated the accused had been with his son.
He added that while he noted the improvement in the relationship, a message must be sent out on such violence by parents and caregivers, and said it was fortunate that the resulting injuries had not been more serious.
SINGAPORE: As the demand for private housing slows, the supply of land for such homes has been reduced, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said on Thursday (Dec 6).
Fourteen land sites, comprising five confirmed sites and nine on the reserve list, were released for sale on Thursday under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme for the first half of 2019.
The sites are expected to yield 6,475 private homes, down from the previous GLS programme for the second half of 2018, which saw 15 sites released with an expected supply of 8,040 private homes.
After property cooling measures were introduced in July, buyers’ demand for private homes has slowed and developers’ demand for land has also declined, MND said.
At the same time, the supply of private homes in the pipeline has grown significantly to 45,000 units, the ministry said.
About 31,000 units from GLS and en-bloc sale sites with planning approval remain unsold, and there are an additional 14,000 units from sites pending planning approval. Another 28,000 existing units are currently vacant.
“Given these factors, the Government has decided to moderate the total supply of private residential units for the 1H2019 GLS programme. Together with the supply in the pipeline, this will sufficiently cater to the housing needs of our population,” MND said.
The 15 sites are also expected to yield 86,000 sq m gross floor area of commercial space and 1,115 hotel rooms.
The five confirmed sites released are private residential sites, including an Executive Condominium (EC) site at Canberra Link. The other four sites are located at Clementi Avenue 1, one-north Gateway, Tan Quee Lan Street in Bugis and Bernam Street in Tanjong Pagar.
The nine sites on the reserve list comprise six private residential sites, including an EC site at Fernvale Lane in Sengkang, a hotel site at Sims Avenue and two “white” sites, which are for mixed-use developments, at Marina View and Woodlands Avenue 2.
The mixed-use site in Woodlands is expected to help sustain the development of Woodlands Regional Centre as a major commercial node outside the city, MND said, adding that this will help bring jobs closer to homes.
The other private residential sites are at Bartley Road, Canberra Drive, Dairy Farm Walk, Dunman Road and Hillview Rise.
LOS ANGELES: It's that time of year when radio stations across the United States are playing Christmas music nonstop.
But one classic holiday song is proving too controversial for some stations in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Baby, It's Cold Outside - a duet written in 1944 and performed over the years by scores of artists, including Dean Martin, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles and Lady Gaga - has turned into a hot potato for broadcasters, some of which have yanked the popular song on grounds the lyrics are predatory toward women.
A radio station in the state of Ohio was first to announce it was pulling the song from its playlist last weekend after receiving complaints.
Several other stations across the country - and even in Canada - have followed suit.
Controversy over the song has existed for years but it has notched up a level this years because of the #MeToo movement that began in the United States more than a year ago in response to accusations of sexual abuse and harassment by powerful men in the entertainment industry and other sectors.
Some people have taken issue with the lyrics in the duet where a man is trying to persuade his lady friend to spend the night.
The exchanges include "Say, what's in this drink?," "Baby, don't hold out" and "I ought to say no, no, no sir..." - lyrics that some say seem "rapey."
Broadway songwriter Frank Loesser penned the song in 1944 and it won an Academy Award in 1950 for best original song in the film "Neptune's Daughter," where it was sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban.
Other artists over the years have performed the song which has become a classic holiday tune.
MANIPULATIVE AND WRONG
Critics say while the song may have not sounded offensive when it was written in 1944, it no longer belongs on the airwaves today and was an ode to sexual assault.
"Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong," Glenn Anderson, one of the hosts of the Ohio radio station WDOK that banned the song, said in a statement.
"The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place."
The radio station, which exclusively plays Christmas music during the holiday season, said a poll showed a majority of listeners were in favor of removing the song from the station's playlist.
A similar decision by a radio station in Colorado didn't sit well with outraged listeners who voted it back on the airwaves.
KOSI said Tuesday (Dec 5) that the jingle would return to the airwaves after an online poll generated more than 15,000 responses, with 95 per cent of them in favor of keeping the song.
"While we are sensitive to those who may be upset by some of the lyrics, the majority of our listeners have expressed their interpretation of the song to be non-offensive," the station's program director, Jim Lawson, said in a statement.
SINGAPORE: Airspace management over southern Johor came into the spotlight on Tuesday (Dec 4), after Singapore and Malaysia traded conflicting views over the issue.
Malaysia's Transport Minister Anthony Loke said in parliament that the country wants to reclaim its "delegated airspace" in southern Johor, prompting Singapore's Ministry of Transport to respond with a statement defending the status quo.
WHAT'S THE ISSUE?
Under the current arrangement, management of the airspace over southern Johor is delegated to Singapore, meaning that Singapore provides air traffic control services in that airspace.
This arrangement was agreed upon in 1973 by Malaysia, Singapore and other regional states, and subsequently approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A bilateral agreement was then signed between Malaysia and Singapore in 1974.
Malaysia says it now wants to reclaim this "delegated airspace", with Mr Loke citing concerns over sovereignty and the national interest.
WHAT IS MALAYSIA'S COMPLAINT?
Malaysia is raising concerns about Seletar Airport - specifically, about the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for the airport.
The ILS procedure refers to an assisted navigational aviation facility at the airport which provides vertical and horizontal guidance to pilots while the flight is descending and approaching the runway.
Protesting the publication of the ILS by Singapore, Malaysia has cited the impact of the Seletar Airport flight path on developments and shipping operations in Pasir Gudang.
However, Singapore has said that the ILS simply puts on paper the existing flight paths, making safety rules clearer and more transparent.
Singapore's Ministry of Transport (MOT) has also said that the procedures do not impose any additional impact on other airspace users as well as businesses and residents in Johor.
Singapore has also disputed Malaysia's claim that the ILS was published without discussion with Malaysia authorities. MOT released documents on Tuesday night showing consultations by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) with its Malaysian counterpart.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Dec 5, 2017: CAAS presents the implementation plan for ILS procedures at Seletar during a meeting between Singapore and Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, according to an extract of minutes.
In the meeting, CAAS also said that a new passenger terminal building would be constructed at Seletar Airport in preparation for Malaysian Airlines subsidiary Firefly to operate to and from Subang.
Dec 6, 2017: CAAS emails information about the ILS procedures, including a draft instrument approach chart and an overview map, to the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) for its assessment prior to publication of the procedures.
Jun 6, 2018: CAAS emails its Malaysian counterpart saying that it would like to publish the ILS procedures, with the procedures to be effective on Aug 16, 2018.
Aug 7, 2018: CAAS says its management met CAAM management and provided more details on the ILS procedures. CAAS also requested "urgent operational feedback", it said.
Aug 15, 2018: CAAS says it sent an email to follow up on the Aug 7 meeting stressing the "urgency of the matter", and requested CAAM's response by Aug 27. There was no reply, says CAAS.
Nov 29, 2018: The two authorities meet in Singapore, and CAAM raises technical concerns with the ILS procedures, says CAAS. It adds that it addressed these concerns, and "conveyed its intentions" to publish the procedures on Dec 1.
Nov 30, 2018: The two meet in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the records of the previous day's meeting. CAAM did not raise new concerns, says CAAS.
Dec 4, 2018: Mr Loke speaks in parliament, says Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send a statement of protest to Singapore over what he described as a "violation" of principle, referring to Singapore's publication of ILS procedures.
Speaking to reporters later, Mr Loke also says he met recently with Singapore's Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, and gave him a "heads-up" that Malaysia intends to negotiate the retaking of the airspace over southern Johor.
Singapore's Ministry of Transport issues a statement in response, saying that current arrangements have benefitted both Singapore and Malaysia, and that any changes will impact many stakeholders.
With regard to the ILS procedure publication, it received "no substantive response" from the CAAM "despite repeated reminders", until late November this year.
WASHINGTON: Washington's political elite paid tribute to former US President George HW Bush as his body lay in state in the Capitol on Monday, evoking a bygone era of bipartisan civility in American politics.
Before a grieving Bush family and with hands on hearts, members of Bush's Cabinet, lawmakers, the vice president and Supreme Court justices honoured the 41st president as his flag-draped casket entered the soaring Capitol Rotunda for the first official ceremony.
Later in the evening, after the family and dignitaries had departed, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects, standing for two minutes before the casket.
Trump then saluted Bush, a gesture belying the history of antipathy between the Republican president and the Bush family.
The political dynasty, led by son and former President George W Bush, accompanied the patriarch's body on the flight aboard the presidential plane from Texas to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, and then on a trip down Pennsylvania Avenue to the steps of the Capitol.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the first official to speak in the Rotunda, described George HW Bush as a "humble servant" and "a principled leader."
"He kept us flying high and challenged us to fly higher still, and he did it with modesty and kindness that would've been surprising in someone one-tenth as tough and accomplished as he was," McConnell said.
The body of the one-term Republican president will lie in state at the Rotunda through Wednesday, when a state funeral is scheduled at the Washington National Cathedral.
Bush died at his Houston home on Friday night at the age of 94, seven months after the death of his wife, Barbara. His passing prompted an outpouring of praise from Republicans and Democrats for his kind manner and dedication to public service.
"He was a beautiful, lovely man, it was an honour to work with him, he was beloved," veteran Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, expected to be the next speaker of the US House of Representatives, told reporters as she exited the Rotunda.
"A GOOD EXAMPLE"
Side by side, Democratic and Republican leaders laid floral red, white and blue wreaths around the casket of Bush, the 32nd American and the 12th president to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
"His example will always inspire, and his lifetime of service will be enshrined in the hearts of the American people forever," said Vice President Mike Pence.
After the official ceremony, the public was allowed to pay its respects. Mourners lined up at the Capitol in the afternoon, many speaking with nostalgia for the comity of the Bush era, in sharp contrast to today's bitter divisions in the age of Trump.
“I think it’s night and day," said Sheila Murray, 58, from Stevensville, Maryland, who came with her 14-year-old son, Thomas.
"And I would want to encourage moms to look at what good leaders are and to never lose hope that they can’t raise their children with good morals and integrity."
Trump had a complicated relationship with the late president. As a candidate, Trump belittled Bush's son Jeb, a Republican rival for the presidency, and has long criticized the Iraq War launched by George W Bush. The elder Bush told a biographer he voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
After services in Washington, there will be another funeral in Houston on Thursday, followed by burial at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
Bush served two terms as vice president under Republican President Ronald Reagan before his own stint in the Oval Office from 1989 to 1993, a time that saw the end of the Cold War as well as the US routing of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's army in the 1991 Gulf War.
He failed to win a second term after breaking a no-new-taxes pledge, losing to Democrat Bill Clinton.
Trump has ordered the federal government to close on Wednesday and both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will be closed in observance. US bond and options markets were also due to be closed, with energy and foreign exchange markets expected to remain open.
Remembrances to George and Barbara Bush sprang up in the Houston neighbourhood where they made their home, at a memorial to the late president at a city park and at the airport named in his honour.
Christy Smith paused over the weekend to pay her respects to Bush at a bronze statue of him at a Houston park.
"He set a good example for all of us," said Smith, 39. "He always was caring and treated people equally."
SINGAPORE: A former employee of an engineering firm was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail on Tuesday (Dec 4) for her role in cheating the company of millions of dollars.
Ng Shu Jun was a former assistant manager of UE Service Corp Singapore, a subsidiary of United Engineers, at the time of the offences, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a press release.
The 30-year-old was involved in a scheme devised by Linda Lee and Tan Aik Gee – Lee was the vice-president of asset management at United Engineers Development, another of the company's subsidiaries, and Tan was employed by a renovation firm named Ying Xin Services.
Beginning in 2009, the pair siphoned money from United Engineers using Lee's position to submit fictitious job requests, then certified and awarded the fictitious works to several companies. The jobs were never carried out.
When payment was made to these companies, Lee and Tan would split the money.
In 2013, Lee approached Ng to help in the cheating scheme. Lee gave her the letterheads of various companies and told her to create fictitious quotations, in exchange for unspecified benefits.
In total, United Engineers was deceived into paying more than S$10 million for works that were never carried out.
Ng was fired by the company in June 2015.
She was charged with 16 counts of conspiring to cheat, resulting in about S$4.62 million paid out by the company for works that were not carried out.
She also faces another charge of attempting to conspire with Lee to dishonestly induce the company into paying S$19,000 for works which were not done.
Lee, who obtained nearly S$5 million from the scam, was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years' jail in October. About S$2.47 million was recovered from her and returned to United Engineers.
Tan, who gained S$4.2 million in the ruse, was sentenced to 11 years' jail and fined S$900,000 in November. Only S$208,000 has since been recovered from him and returned to the company.
SINGAPORE: A drunken man who had tried to molest a woman on a shuttle bus and cursed at her in Tamil and Hokkien was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Tuesday (Dec 4).
Kajayendran Krishnan, a 50-year-old permanent resident from Malaysia, pleaded guilty to one charge of using criminal force intending to outrage the victim's modesty and another of insulting her modesty.
A third charge was taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Kajayendran boarded shuttle bus service CW6 from Boon Lay heading towards Tuas Checkpoint on the evening of May 7 this year.
The victim, a 44-year-old Malaysian, was sitting on the left-most seat in the last row, with an empty seat beside her.
Kajayendran sat beside her and used his hand to caress her right arm, with the intention to molest her.
The victim quickly moved away and shifted her body towards the window, Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo said.
She asked Kajayendran to stop touching her, but he persisted, calling her "sarakku", or "hot chick" in Tamil. He also uttered expletives in Tamil and Hokkien.
The victim tried to leave, standing up in order to cross to the accused's right.
However, Kajayendran extended his legs, trapping the woman in the corner of the bus and grabbing her arm, caressing it.
The victim approached an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer to report the matter once the bus arrived at Tuas Checkpoint.
The prosecutor asked for a custodial sentence, leaving the exact term up to the judge.
He pointed out that the accused had previous convictions for disorderly behaviour, and that the current incident occurred on public transport and with wrongful restraint.
Kajayendran, who was unrepresented, told the court at first that he was not sitting down on the bus, but standing up instead.
However, after the prosecutor said he had video footage, he told District Judge Mathew Joseph that he intended to go ahead with his plea of guilt.
VICTIM HAD DRUNK ALCOHOL OVER PERSONAL PROBLEMS
Speaking through an interpreter, he said that he had lost his job as a cleaner with transport operator SMRT after being charged with the offences.
He added that he was a divorcee who supports his elderly mother in Malaysia, and has mortgage payments and car payments which he has not made.
He said he was sorry and wished to apologise to the victim.
Asked by the judge if he had been drunk, he admitted that he had indeed drunk alcohol as he had "some personal problems".
District Judge Mathew Joseph said: "Far from showing remorse, you are trying to wriggle your way out of responsibility of this by saying that you were standing up, then later when the prosecutor said there was video footage, you said it was accidental. To me it shows you are not remorseful."
He added that no female passenger should have to look and see if she was about to be molested or harassed on public transport.
"Let me suggest to you that the next time you are drunk, you don't take the bus. You walk home. Lest you get into any mischief," said the judge.
The sentence was backdated to Sep 27 this year, when the accused was remanded.
LAS VEGAS: A Frontier Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Florida had to turn back on Friday (Nov 30) after a part of its engine cover ripped off during takeoff.
Passenger CJ Gunnerson sent a photo of the damage to his friend Brandon Rittiman, a television reporter with American news agency ABC10.
Sharing the photo on Twitter, Rittiman said the flight, with 177 people on board, had to make an emergency landing in Las Vegas after the “hatch came up and ripped off during take off”.
The photo shows a green metal flap that had become partially detached from the Airbus A320’s body, exposing the engine.
Describing the incident to local news agency WTSP, Gunnerson said that “it was like a riot on the plane” and that passengers were “jumping up screaming, slamming on the roof”.
Another passenger, Stella Ponce, told the news outlet that she had texted her daughter to say that she loved her.
Ponce said she had been sleeping and awoke to “a lot of screaming and yelling”. She added that people were yelling for the pilot to stop and that two women were crying while other passengers were pointing out the window.
According to flight tracking website FlightAware, Frontier Flight 260 took off for Tampa at 7.12am local time and returned to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport at 7.27am local time.
A report quoted an airline spokesperson as saying that a section of the engine cover called a cowling came loose and separated from the plane.
The spokesperson added that all passengers were given a refund and a US$500 voucher for a future Frontier flight. The airline also reaccommodated passengers on other airlines to ensure they would be able to reach Florida as quickly as possible.
All 171 passengers and six crew members were reported safe.