China, Mar 7 (AP/UNB) — Chinese tech giant Huawei has filed a lawsuit in Plano, Texas, challenging a law that labels the company a security risk and would limit its access to the American market for telecom equipment.
Huawei Technologies Ltd.'s announcement Thursday comes as the biggest global maker of network equipment for phone and internet companies fights U.S. efforts to persuade allies to exclude the company from next-generation telecom systems.
Huawei said its complaint asks a federal court in Plano to throw out a portion of this year's U.S. military appropriations act that bars the government and its contractors from using Huawei equipment.
Huawei, China's first global tech brand, is at the center of U.S.-Chinese tensions over technology competition and cyber-spying. The company has spent years trying to put to rest accusations it facilitates Chinese spying or is controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
Increasingly, both sides appear to be resorting to courts to try to press their cases.
"We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort," the company's rotating chairman, Guo Ping, said at a news conference. Guo said the ban would limit competition, slowing the rollout of fifth-generation communications and raising consumer prices.
Huawei has pleaded not guilty to U.S. trade-theft charges after a federal court in Seattle unsealed a 10-count indictment in January against two of its units, Huawei Device Co. and Huawei Device USA. The charges include conspiracy to steal trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
The company's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, is fighting extradition to the U.S. after she was arrested in Vancouver, Canada on Dec. 1. U.S. prosecutors have filed charges accusing Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, of lying to banks about dealings with Iran.
Huawei denies any wrongdoing.
The company has about 40 percent of the global market for network gear but its U.S. sales evaporated after a congressional panel in 2012 cited the company and a Chinese competitor, ZTE Corp., as security risks and told phone carriers to avoid dealing with them.
U.S. authorities "have hacked our servers and stolen our emails" but have presented no evidence to support their security claims, Guo said. He complained Washington was "sparing no effort to smear" the company.
The U.S. campaign to persuade allies to shun Huawei threatens to block access to major markets as phone carriers prepare to invest billions of dollars in 5G systems.
Huawei says the new law would shrink its potential U.S. market further by prohibiting the government from buying the Chinese vendor's technology and from buying goods or services from or giving grants or loans to companies or other third parties that do. The United States accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the global market for computer and telecom technology.
The company is challenging the U.S. law as an unconstitutional "bill of attainder," or a measure that targets a specific individual for penalties without a trial. The company says that infringes its due process rights and improperly has Congress play the role of a court.
The ban is "based on numerous false, unproven and untested propositions," said Song Liuping, the company's chief legal officer, at the news conference. "Huawei has an excellent security record and program. No contrary evidence has been offered."
The Chinese government says Washington fabricates or exaggerates security concerns to block competition.
Huawei, based in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, is a leading developer of 5G along with rivals Nokia Corp. of Finland and Sweden's LM Ericsson. Industry analysts say excluding the Chinese vendor from markets for 5G equipment would reduce competition and might lead to higher prices.
Founded in 1987 by a former military engineer, Huawei overtook Ericsson in 2017 as the biggest global supplier of network gear. It says it supplies 45 of the world's top 50 phone companies and has contracts with 30 carriers to test 5G wireless technology.
European governments are balking at U.S. pressure to ban Huawei. The company has announced contracts with customers including the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East for network technology.
China's government arrested two Canadians, a former diplomat and a businessman, on Dec. 10 in what was widely seen as an attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng, the company's CFO.
On Monday, Beijing accused the two men of acting together to steal state secrets. That followed the Canadian government's announcement Friday that the extradition proceeding for Meng would be allowed to continue.
Huawei executives say American security warnings have yet to affect sales outside the United States. The company's 2018 revenue forecast is $100 billion and its founder, Ren Zhengfei, said last month this year's target is $125 billion.
Some European officials and others cite a Chinese security law requiring companies to cooperate with intelligence agencies. They say Huawei and other tech companies might be required to install "backdoors" in equipment to allow eavesdropping.
Huawei denies altering its equipment to facilitate spying and has set up testing centers in Britain, Canada and continental Europe to allow governments to examine its technology.
"Huawei has not and will never implant 'backdoors,' " said Guo, the chairman.
The company also has launched a public relations campaign abroad.
Its typically press-shy founder, Ren, gave a two-hour interview to foreign reporters in January in which he said Huawei would reject Chinese government demands to disclose confidential information about its customers. Since then, Ren also has talked at length with foreign TV broadcasters.
Venezuela, Mar 7(AP/UNB) — The Venezuelan government on Wednesday ordered the German ambassador to leave the country after he expressed support for Juan Guaido, escalating a diplomatic standoff with a group of about 50 nations that recognize the opposition leader as the country's interim president.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted a statement saying Ambassador Daniel Kriener interfered in Venezuela's internal affairs and allied himself with "extremist sectors" of the opposition.
Venezuela considers it unacceptable that a foreign diplomat would take on "a public role more appropriate to that of a political leader," the government statement said. It gave Kriener 48 hours to leave the country.
Kriener and some other diplomats greeted Guaido when he returned to Venezuela on Monday and vowed to intensify his campaign to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
At the country's main airport, Kriener spoke to journalists and said he hoped the leader of the National Assembly would be safe. There were concerns that the opposition leader might face detention, but Maduro's government did not move against him.
After the expulsion order, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he had decided to recall Kriener to Berlin for consultations.
"This is an incomprehensible decision that aggravates the situation and does not contribute to de-escalation," Maas said in a statement. "Our, Europe's, support for Juan Guaido is unbroken. Ambassador Kriener is doing excellent work in Caracas, including in recent days."
In a speech at the National Assembly, Guaido condemned the expulsion of the ambassador.
"They're threatening an important European country that is providing humanitarian help to Venezuela," he said.
Guaido also said Maduro had effectively been ignoring him since his return to Venezuela in hopes that his political momentum will fade. On Tuesday, Maduro belittled his opponents as "opportunists and cowards," but did not mention Guaido by name.
The adversaries have announced rival demonstrations on Saturday as they seek to motivate supporters.
A U.S. journalist working in Venezuela, meanwhile, was taken away by security forces from his Caracas apartment early Wednesday, according to witnesses and colleagues. Executives at a Miami TV station said hours later that freelance journalist Cody Weddle, who reported for the station, had been freed and taken to the airport for a flight to the U.S.
The U.S. State Department said earlier that it was deeply concerned about the reported detention of a U.S. journalist. Venezuelan officials did not comment on the case.
Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia after Maduro's security forces blocked a Feb. 23 attempt by Guaido and allies to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Colombia and Brazil. He also broke diplomatic relations with the United States after it recognized Guaido as interim president in late January, initially giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. The Trump administration refused to obey Maduro's order.
The U.S., Germany and some 50 other countries consider Maduro's re-election invalid and have urged him to step aside so the country can prepare for elections. Maduro says he is the target of a U.S.-backed coup plot.
The U.S. is pursuing new diplomatic and economic initiatives to support Guaido's bid for a transitional government in Venezuela, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Wednesday.
"The United States is putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network," Bolton said in a statement.
The Trump administration has imposed oil sanctions in Venezuela as well as sanctions on high-ranking members of the Venezuelan security forces and other senior officials. The U.S. visas of other Venezuelan officials and their relatives have been revoked.
Cairo, Mar 6 (AP/UNB) — The U.N.'s migration agency is condemning violence against protesting migrants in a detention center in Libya's capital.
Tuesday's statement by the International Organization for Migration calls for urgent access to individuals who have been removed from the Trig al-Sikka detention center in Tripoli.
The statement said migrants were protesting against their detention late in February.
The U.N. refugee agency says around 50 people were reportedly injured when police moved in to end the protest.
IOM says "no matter the circumstances that led to this particular incident, violence against migrants cannot be justified."
Libya has emerged as a major transit point to Europe for those fleeing poverty and civil war elsewhere in Africa. Traffickers have exploited Libya's chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
South Korea, Mar 6 (AP/UNB) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed a joint project with China to use artificial rain to clean the air in Seoul, where an acute increase in pollution has caused alarm.
Moon also on Wednesday instructed government officials to quicken the retirement of old coal-burning power plants.
Seoul has been struggling to tackle the rise in air pollution that experts have linked to China's massive industrial activity and emission from South Korean cars.
Fine dust levels in South Korea have hit new highs over the past week, leaving people wearing masks while commuting under thick-gray skies online users have compared to the scenes of the movie "Wall-E.
Sydney, March 5 (Xinhua/UNB) - The killings of two men on Monday night capped off four days of gun violence which altogether left four dead and two others critically injured in the Australian city of Melbourne.
Just streets apart, a 40-year-old and a 28-year-old men were unable to be revived after emergency crews responded to shots fired around 10:10 p.m. (AEST) on Monday.
"Our investigations indicate that the parties may be known to one another, the incident was not random in nature and has escalated into violence," Victoria Police said in a statement.
Before that, the weekend began with another shooting outside a boxing event on Friday night which left a 30-year-old man dead and those in the vicinity running for their lives.
Then on Sunday night, a 50-year-old man was found slumped in his car, dead from gunshot wounds in what police believed was a targeted attack.
Authorities released the images of three men wanted for questioning over Friday's shooting, which local media reported as being gang-related.
Police have not ruled out gang violence although they say while the crimes do bear some commonalities -- such as the victim and assailant in each instance being known to each other -- there was no clear link as of yet.
"I'm not ruling anything out at this point in time," said Michael Frewen, crime command acting assistant commissioner.
"Our gangs division and organized crime division are actively working on intervention activities, so there is no escalation or reprisal activities," he said.