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‘Water from Air’ Aims to Turn Back Thailand’s Tide of Plastic

Staying at a hotel on the Thai island of Koh Samui in 2015, Meghan Kerrigan noticed the four bottles of water she was given every day were clogging her bin with plastic.

Outside her door, Chaweng beach was smothered in rubbish. It was then that she and Kohler brothers, Ryan and Matthew, had a “light-bulb moment.”

“Instead of trying to solve the problem by cleaning the beaches every day, let’s go to what the source of the problem is, and take the plastic bottle away,” said Kerrigan, now 31.

In 2016, the trio founded startup company Generation Water, based on the Thai resort island of Phuket.

They partnered with Marriott, the world’s largest hotel brand, in January 2017 to come up with a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles that would be commercially competitive and meet the needs of resorts and authorities.

Two years on, the South African-born entrepreneurs explained the workings of a pilot water plant at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa on Mai Khao beach, next to slogans saying “Save Water Drink Air” and “Made 100% from the air.”

Here, in the sweltering heat, two water generators suck in vapor from the air, which then condenses into water when it hits cold coils.

The water drips into tanks, making 4,000 liters a day. It is filtered, minerals are added, and it is put into reusable glass bottles. These are placed into 445 guestrooms at the JW Marriott Phuket and neighboring Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa.

The bottled water is also being trialed at two Marriott vacation clubs nearby.

The move is part of a wider effort on the holiday island to cut down on plastic bottles, rife in the hospitality industry, and a major problem in Asia and its travel hotspots.

Sustainable shift

In many parts of Asia, tap water is unsafe to drink, so hotel guests get complimentary water, mostly in plastic bottles.

As much as 60 percent of the plastic found in the ocean comes from five Asian nations, including Thailand, according to U.S.-based nonprofit group Ocean Conservancy.

In 2017, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific organized a forum to encourage sustainable water management on resort islands.

On Phuket, which is half the size of Hong Kong, more hotels are being built, and water is already in short supply.

Trucks navigate crowded roads as resorts without their own catchment area bring in water from reservoirs.

Phuket was the world’s 11th top city destination in 2017, with 11.6 million international arrivals, according to global research company Euromonitor International.

To cope with the environmental impacts of this influx, nearly 70 hotels from the Phuket Hotels Association have pledged to cut plastic bottles and straws by the end of 2019.

Since Marriott started producing its own water four months ago, it has stopped more than 100,000 plastic bottles from entering landfill or oceans, the chain says.

It plans to expand the scheme to all Marriott resorts in southern Thailand, handing out 4 million glass bottles.

Carsten Siebert, Marriott International’s director of operations for Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, said the company understood it had “a greater obligation to operate responsibly given our expanding global footprint.”

The chain has a goal to reduce water consumption per occupied room by 20 percent between 2007 and 2020.

‘Climate-positive’

The “water from air” technology uses 78 percent less energy than producing standard bottled water, has a lower carbon footprint, and is about a third cheaper, Generation Water says.

“The good thing is that it starts to become financially affordable,” said Matthias Y. Sutter, general manager at JW Marriott Phuket.

Nor does the system rely on pulling water from the ground, rivers or lakes.

“We don’t have to invest in land to secure our own water,” said Kanokwan Homcha-aim, corporate social responsibility manager for the same Marriott hotel.

Guests here have reacted positively since the bottled water was introduced in September, happy that “finally a big brand made a move,” she said.

They also like the taste. Michael Lawson, a lawyer from Sydney sitting at the Sala Sawasdee lobby bar, said his children were “quite picky” about water. “But it’s very refreshing and they are fighting over it in the room,” he said.

Downstairs in the Siam Deli, teenage student Jeremy Frydman from Melbourne said it was better than tap water at home.

One challenge for Generation Water is explaining the science behind the technology.

Many guests ask about air pollution, for example. But the water collected is clean to start with, and the technology still works if the air is polluted as only water condenses, not the air or its contaminants, said Ryan Kohler.

And with human activities emitting more greenhouse gases, the atmosphere is warming up, causing more water to evaporate, which further heats the air in “a vicious circle,” he added.

The water-from-air system helps reduce this vapor, said Kerrigan, adding that it has no impact on rainfall levels.

Thailand’s food and drug administration approved Generation Water last August, and the company is now expanding.

It is building a plant in Phuket, which will use solar energy to make “climate-positive” water, producing more than 20,000 liters of water per day by the end of the year.

Nine Marriott resorts on Phuket are in the process of signing up, along with 30 other hotels.

Generation Water is now eyeing the rest of Thailand, and is talking to hotels in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Maldives, Kohler said.

It also sells smaller water production units that can be used in homes, offices, classrooms and yachts.

The company’s goal is to stop 1 billion 500 ml plastic bottles from entering landfills and the oceans every year by the end of 2021 — equal to supplying 3,000 hotels of 250 rooms.

As for Marriott staff on Phuket, they have “no excuse now,” said Homcha-aim.

Their birthday gift from the company will be a reusable tumbler, which they can fill up with “water from the air.”

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From Sports to Work, Rohingya Women Face New Roles in World’s Largest Refugee Camp

On a blue mat in their mud and bamboo home in the middle of the world’s largest refugee settlement, Mohammad Selim is pacing his 9-year-old daughter Nasima Akter on her taekwondo drill.

As a local taekwondo champion in his Rohingya district in Myanmar before fleeing to Bangladesh 18 months ago, Selim dreamed of making a career of his sport but now he is hoping that his daughter can instead follow that path.

He said in Myanmar it was impossible to teach her, as taekwondo was considered improper for girls and he didn’t have time, but their flight to camps near Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh has started to change his society’s rules for women.

For women and girls make up about 55 percent of the 900,000 plus mainly Muslim Rohingya living in about 34 sprawling, crowded camps in the settlement and they are needed to work or to run households as many have lost their husbands.

“I want my daughter to learn taekwondo and one day represent us as a champion,” Selim, 35, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation via an interpreter watched by his wife and three other younger children in their tidy, two-room shelter.

“Our society is conservative and we prefer covering our women but in taekwondo you are covered so people can’t question a girl participating. We practice inside to not get criticized but many people regret they cannot teach their daughters.”

With most Rohingya now in Bangladesh for 18 months and life starting to become more routine in the camps, Selim is not the only one breaking away from the Rohingya’s previous lifestyle, where women rarely left the house and were segregated from men.

He is hoping to get approval to teach taekwondo to other girls in the camps where children do not have access to a formal education but can attend learning centers until about age 14.

More than 730,000 Rohingya have fled Buddhist-dominated Myanmar since August 2017 to escape a military offensive the United Nations called “ethnic cleansing” of one of the world’s most oppressed people, joining others already in Bangladesh.

The chance of returning soon to Myanmar looks remote, with Bangladesh vowing to only repatriate volunteers.

The U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said in late January it was clear they cannot return “in the near future” with the situation in Myanmar unchanged.

Myanmar has denied most allegations of persecution.

Women-only areas

Aid agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) working alongside Bangladesh’s government in the camps were aware from the outset that women and girls were vulnerable to sexual and other violence, both on their journey and in the camps.

To address this, they have set up women-only projects and committees to encourage women to get involved in the community as well as counseling services for those who faced abuse.

But not all Rohingya men used to a conservative Islamic lifestyle are happy to see women taking on new roles and making decisions, adding to the risk of domestic violence which aid groups said is on the rise in the camps as time goes by.

“Some men say it is a sin for women to work because in Myanmar we never worked,” said Nuran Kis, 40, a Rohingya mother of eight, who is teaching others to sew in a women-only center.

“My husband supports me though because we need money and want to survive,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, sitting cross-legged in her two-room home on a hill overlooking Balukhali camp, a maze of dirt roads and makeshift shelters.

Shameema Akhter, who co-ordinates eight women-friendly spaces in Balukhali camp for BRAC, Bangladesh’s largest NGO, said some men were initially reluctant to allow women and girls to come to these centers but gradually that was changing.

She said they ran craft sessions for the women and girls, taught them to sew, talked to them about the risk of rape, human trafficking, and child marriage, how to manage hygiene, and provided one-on-one counseling for anyone abused.

Akhter said when they arrived many girls were given sanitary pads, but had no idea how to use them and cut them up as face tissues while handouts of cereal, a food item not known to the Rohingya, were sold at markets for a fraction of the real value.

Most of the Rohingya are illiterate, having had limited access to education — and healthcare — in Myanmar’s Rakhine state where they were refused citizenship and free movement.

“Many of the girls were depressed and traumatized about being raped or being forced by their families to get married and very shy,” Akhter told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the group’s center decorated with brightly colored paper cutouts.

“But now they want to come here and learn skills that might help them and their families in the future.”

Limited work

Under Bangladesh government rules, Rohingya cannot take formal employment, but they can join cash-for-work schemes run by NGOs in the camps to earn about 400 Bangladeshi taka (US$5) a day — and some women have taken roles previously only for men.

Dola Banu, 35, is one of the women building roads and other infrastructure under a Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP) run by United Nations agencies International Organization for Migration (IOM), World Food Program (WFP) and UNHCR.

“This is the first time I have ever done any kind of work like this,” Banu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation via an interpreter during a break from carrying bricks for a new road.

“I like this work and want to keep doing it as long as I can to support my family,” said Banu, who is raising her four children as a single mother after her husband died.

Aid workers said these new roles were giving women more confidence and more were willing to take leadership roles in the community so they could raise issues such as the need for more lighting by latrines, where women fear being attacked at night.

“This is a group going through forced societal change and women are finding new forms of confidence,” said Gemma Snowdon, a WFP spokeswoman based in the beachside town of Cox’s Bazar about 40 km (25 miles) from the nearest of the camps.

She said a key barrier for female-led households was childcare so they planned to launch mobile child care and boost self-reliance by teaching women skills such as growing vegetables, sewing, and even repairing mobile phones.

Some help has come from outside the settlement as well.

Launched late last year, the Testimony Tailors website https://testimonytailors.com lets users fund and pick garments to be made by about 40 female Rohingya, with finished items donated to refugees in the camps.

Jamila Hanan, a British-based manager at #Hands4Rohingya, which supports the project, said all the women and girls involved in the project were aged between 15 and 40 and survivors of rape or massacres.

Many had witnessed family members being killed “This cooperative is them helping themselves… It has been incredible to see them supporting each other,” said Hanan.

While some Rohingya are struggling to accept women’s new roles and projects such as encouraging girls to play football, for others like Nasima Akter, the changes are part of adjusting to life in the camps for the foreseeable future.

 

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Росія скликає засідання Ради безпеки щодо України – дипломати в ООН

Росія скликає засідання Ради безпеки ООН щодо ситуації в Україні, повідомили українські дипломати в Організації Об’єднаних Націй. Засідання призначене на 12 лютого, на 17:00 за київським часом.

Як повідомив речник постійного представництва України при ООН Олег Ніколенко, задекларований Росією привід – четверта річниця підписання мінських домовленостей (ідеться про третю й останню з серії мінських домовленостей, так званий Мінський комплекс заходів, укладений 12 лютого 2015 року – ред.).

«Але не поспішайте вірити в те, що Росія почала палко перейматися мінськими угодами, в яких вона досі не виконала жодного пункту. Справа в тому, що це – чергова «димова завіса», метою якої є відволікти увагу держав-членів ООН від першого комплексного обговорення в Генеральній асамблеї ООН російської агресії проти України. Спеціальне засідання заплановане на 20 лютого – у п’яту річницю початку конфлікту – в рамках нового пункту порядку денного Генасамблеї, який провела Україна у вересні минулого року», – наголосив Ніколенко.

За його словами, «у конструктивну роль Кремля у вирішенні ініційованого ним же конфлікту в ООН ніхто не вірить, тому скликання російською стороною засідання Радбезу виглядає особливо цинічним – але кого це вже дивує?»

А в інтерв’ю з цього ж приводу українському агентству «Укрінформ» Олег Ніколенко поставив Росії ще одне риторичне запитання: «Чому російська делегація в ООН не скликала засідання Радбезу, коли підтримувані нею маріонетки сотні разів порушували режими припинення вогню, обстрілювали житлові квартали Маріуполя, Пісків чи Авдіївки, або її бандитські формування блокували роботу спостерігачів ОБСЄ, в тому числі шляхом знищення БПЛА моніторингової місії?»

«Використаємо нагоду, щоб донести до відома міжнародної спільноти актуальну інформацію про події на сході України. Останніми днями там російські бойовики обстрілюють українські позиції, в тому числі із забороненого мінськими домовленостями озброєння. Говоритимемо також про те, чому важливо зберігати тиск на агресора, допоки на українські землі не повернеться мир», – заявив речник представництва України при ООН.

Гібридна агресія Росії проти України почалася 20 лютого 2014 року з початком перших дій Москви для окупації українського Криму, пізніше вона продовжилася воєнним втручанням на сході України і триває донині. Для її завершення в білоруському Мінську у вересні 2014-го і в лютому 2015 року були укладені три домовленості. Київ і його міжнародні союзники заявляють, що Москва, яка є безпосередньою стороною конфлікту на частині Донбасу, так і не виконала своїх зобов’язань за цими угодами. Росія у відповідь твердить, що не є стороною конфлікту і підписувала угоди, мовляв, лише як «гарант», а не як учасник, і відтак ніяких зобов’язань за ними не має і виконувати їх не буде, а натомість звинувачує в невиконанні угод Україну.

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Активіст Роман Сініцин заявляє про порушення кримінальної справи проти нього

Активіст і волонтер Роман Сініцин 11 лютого повідомив, що поліція порушила проти нього кримінальне провадження за статтею 345 (погроза або насильство щодо працівника правоохоронного органу).

Це, за словами Сініцина, пов’язано з його публічним зверненням, в якому він пропонував грошову винагороду за дані співробітників поліції, причетних до побиття активістів біля Подільського управління поліції в Києві 9 лютого.

«Прогнозуємо, що це (будуть – ред.) допити, обшуки, вилучення техніки, документів, цифрових носіїв. Цілком, мабуть, негласні слідчі (розшукові) дії: наружка, трафіки телефонів, місця перебування, зняття даних з цифрових мереж», – припустив він.

Втім, волонтер переконаний, що погроз насильством у його дописів правоохоронці не знайдуть. Він також зазначив, що не отримав даних, які пропонував йому надіслати.

Наразі поліція не коментувала цю заяву.

10 лютого Сініцин оприлюднив допис, у якому запропонував грошову винагороду за інформацію про персональні дані правоохоронців, які брали участь у подіях біля Подільського управління.

«Цікавимося як громадяни. Персональних даних не збираємо. Хочеться привітати дружин правоохоронців з 8 березня. Все в рамках «журналістського розслідування», – уточнив він тоді.

Читайте також: Аваков звинувачує виборчі штаби, Тимошенко – Порошенка, а поліція почала акцію «Я – Бандера!»​

9 лютого відбулося затримання активістів на Контрактовій площі в Києві. Там же проходила зустріч кандидатки в президенти Юлії Тимошенко з виборцями.

Активісти кампанії «Хто замовив Катю Гандзюк?» заявили, що поліцейські затримали учасників акції безпідставно.

Читайте також: «Як у 2013-му?»: соцмережі про сутички в Києві (і відповідальність Авакова, Тимошенко й Порошенка)​

Пізніше сутички між активістами і правоохоронцями сталися в київському управлінні поліції.

Державне бюро розслідувань відкрило кримінальне провадження за фактом імовірних неправомірних дій поліції під час затримання учасників акції.

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Росія не збирається визнавати відповідальності за збиття MH17 – МЗС

Росія в перебігу майбутніх консультацій навколо розслідування збиття 2014 року над окупованим Донбасом пасажирського літака рейсу MH17, внаслідок якого загинули 298 людей, не має наміру визнавати свою відповідальність за це, заявила речниця Міністерства закордонних справ Росії Марія Захарова.

За її словами, в осередді уваги консультацій, що мають відбутися ближчим часом у Відні, буде не визнання юридичної відповідальності Росії, а «весь комплекс питань, пов’язаних із цим інцидентом, які мають принципове значення для встановлення істинних причин».

Москва, серед іншого, хоче пояснень про те, як у перебігу розслідування використовуються і враховуються дані, що їх надавала і надає Росія, заявила вона.

У Нідерландах 7 лютого заявили, що «все більше упевнені» в тому, що Росія погодиться на офіційні переговори про результати міжнародного розслідування щодо юридичної відповідальності Москви за збиття літака «Малайзійських авіаліній». Міністерство закордонних справ Нідерландів повідомило, що початкові дипломатичні контакти з Росією відбулися в «позитивній атмосфері», і є сподівання, що обговорення призведуть до офіційних переговорів з цього приводу. А міністр закордонних справ Нідерландів Стеф Блок заявив журналістам про «дипломатичні контакти, щоб подивитися, чи зможемо ми почати офіційні переговори про державну відповідальність за знищення MH17».

Літак «Боїнг-777» авіакомпанії Malaysia Airlines, що виконував рейс MH17 із нідерландського Амстердама в малайзійський Куала-Лумпур, був збитий над зоною російської гібридної агресії на сході України 17 липня 2014 року. Загинули 298 людей – усі, хто був на борту. За згодою України, на території якої сталася трагедія, міжнародне розслідування – як технічне, так і кримінальне – очолили Нідерланди, громадян яких було найбільше серед загиблих.

Перше з них, технічне, Ради розслідувань у справах безпеки Нідерландів, встановило, що літак був збитий ракетою зенітно-ракетного комплексу «Бук», запущеною з підконтрольної на той час російським гібридним силам території Донбасу. Друге, кримінальне розслідування міжнародної Спільної слідчої групи, також дійшло висновку: пускова установка ЗРК «Бук», ракетою з якої збили літак рейсу MH17, належала 53-й зенітній ракетній бригаді зі складу Збройних сил Росії, була доставлена з Росії на окуповану частину Донбасу, звідти здійснила пуск ракети, а після збиття з неї авіалайнера повернута назад до Росії. Але конкретних винних осіб у групі наразі ще не називали, розслідування триває. У світі вже не раз закликали Росії визнати свою відповідальність за збиття літака.

Росія постійно заперечує всі результати розслідування. У Москві з його висновками не згодні і стверджують, що воно ігнорує інформацію, надану російською стороною. У Спільній слідчій групі натомість відкидають ці твердження і наголошують: група від початку розслідування «завжди ретельно аналізувала й обробляла інформацію, надану Росією», і завдяки цьому встановила, що інформація російської сторони не раз «неточно викладала факти».

У російських ЗМІ і численних заявах офіційних осіб, зокрема з Міноборони Росії, називалися цілком різні, часто взаємовиключні, версії катастрофи, що мали б зняти вину з Росії – в ній звинувачували, зокрема, українських військових. Проте в перебігу розслідування всі вони були спростовані.

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Australia Leads Global Renewable Energy Revolution

Australia is installing renewable energy facilities at a faster rate than any other country.  Research shows Australia is on track to meet its Paris climate commitments five years earlier than expected — in 2025.

Australia is enjoying a green energy revolution.  It is installing renewable energy facilities faster than anywhere else, and research shows Australia is on track to meet its Paris climate commitments five years early.  The agreement reached in the French capital in 2016 stressed the need for global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Academics say at the current rate Australia can expect to be 100 percent powered by green sources within a decade-and-a-half.  

Andrew Blakers is a professor of engineering at the Australian National University.

“Currently above 20 percent renewable electricity. At this rate we are going to get to 50 percent in 2024, and 100 percent in about 2032 if we just keep doing exactly what we are doing now.  This is four or five faster per capita than the United States, China, Japan or the European Union,” he said.

The research from the Australian National University contrasts previous studies, which found Australia is not on track to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement.  The 2018 Emissions Gap Report from the United Nations listed Australia as a G20 country that will not meet its 2030 emission reduction target.

There is broad agreement, however, that renewable energy has an increasingly important part to play in Australia.   

It is a sunny and windy place.  It has a range of renewable power sources, including solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy, which taps heat in the earth.  It has a growing rooftop solar industry.  At the end of last year, more than 2 million Australian homes had rooftop solar systems.

Renewable energy will help to cut emissions in Australia, which still uses coal to generate much of its electricity.   

Recent extreme conditions in Australia have again focused attention on the impact of climate change.  

January was the hottest month ever documented, and 2018 was the third warmest year on record.  

The Bureau of Meteorology says that while it cannot attribute individual heatwaves to climate change, it states that as the planet warms, bursts of extreme heat will become more frequent and intense.

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Huawei Global Business Model Relied on Bribes and Corruption

In Algeria, it was banned from bidding for public contracts after one of its executives was convicted of bribery. 

In Zambia, it was probed over allegations of bribery involving a multi-million-dollar contract to build cell towers in rural areas.

In the Solomon Islands, it was accused of offering millions of dollars to the ruling party in exchange for an undersea fiber optic cable contract.

In all three cases – and half a dozen others in recent years – the alleged perpetrator was Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom behemoth facing scrutiny from Western nations over allegations of intellectual property theft and espionage.

Saying it poses a national security threat, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand have banned the company from building new, state of the art 5G telecom networks. Other Western countries are debating over a similar ban. 

Security concerns about Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipment providers are mounting after U.S. prosecutors last month charged the company founded by a former People’s Liberation Army officer with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, purloining trade secrets from T-Mobile and encouraging its employees to steal intellectual property.

The focus on national security concerns about Huawei has eclipsed a little reported aspect of the company’s operations: Huawei’s involvement in corrupt business dealings.

The company has denied the allegations of corruption and said it has strong safeguards against corporate graft. 

In a statement on its website, Huawei says it has a “zero-tolerance” policy on graft.

“Huawei believes that corruption severely damages fair market competition and is a threat to the development of our society, economy and enterprises,” the statement said. 

But experts who have studied Huawei’s business practices say the company’s statements are contradicted by its conduct.

“The unfortunate reality of Huawei’s activities on the (African) continent is that they have a proven track record of engaging in corruption and other dodgy business dealings,” said Joshua Meservey, an Africa expert at the Heritage Foundation and author of a recent report on Chinese corporate corruption. 

With business operations in more than 170 countries and annual revenues of $108 billion, Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment. Last year, the multinational company beat Apple to become the No. 2 manufacturer of smartphones and tablets in the world.

In December, Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested by Canadian authorities and she is being held for possible extradition to the U.S. for violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

​Huawei has rejected the charges. In a recent letter to the U.K. Parliament made public last week, Huawei refuted allegations of espionage, saying if the company engaged “in malicious behavior, it would not go unnoticed – and it would certainly destroy our business.”

International corruption

In developing countries in Asia and Africa, the company’s corrupt business practices are a matter of great concern among industry officials and civil society activists.

In the last 12 years, Huawei and its smaller Chinese rival ZTE have been “investigated or found guilty of corruption” in as many as 21 countries, according to Andy Keiser, a former House Intelligence Committee professional staffer.

These include a dozen African countries such as Algeria and Ghana as well as the Philippines, Malaysia, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, the Solomon Islands and China itself, according to Keiser. 

“ZTE and Huawei have developed dubious reputations around the world,” Keiser testified before Congress last June. 

The transaction cost of Huawei’s corrupt business deals runs in the billions. RWR Advisory Group, a consulting firm that tracks Chinese investments around the world, estimates that Huawei has entered into more than $5 billion worth of business deals involving allegations of bribery and corruption.

The charges against Huawei range from outright bribery to making illegal donations to political parties in exchange for contracts and other business advantages.

The Algerian case involved an elaborate scheme in which Huawei and ZTE executives allegedly paid $10 million in bribes to a former state telecom operator executive and a businessman in exchange for winning contracts.

In 2012, an Algerian court convicted the former executive and another businessman of receiving bribes. The two Algerians were sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Three executives of the Chinese firms also were tried in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in prison for their role in the scheme.

The government fined Huawei and ZTE and banned them from bidding on public contracts for two years.

In Ghana, Huawei has confronted accusations of illegally funding the ruling party, a charge Huawei and other Chinese companies have faced in other countries.

In 2012, an opposition group disclosed what it claimed was evidence that Huawei had made illegal campaign contributions to the ruling National Democratic Congress in exchange for a $43 million tax exemption.

Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) produced invoices and other documents showing the Chinese telecom company had paid for millions of dollars worth of campaign paraphernalia for the ruling party’s 2012 election campaign.

In return, the group alleged, the government awarded “one of the juiciest contracts to be doled out by the government” – a $150 million contract to build an e-government platform.

Huawei and the government denied the charges.

In the Solomon Islands, Huawei has faced similar accusations. In 2017, a Parliamentary committee accused the government of awarding Huawei a contract to build a submarine fiber optic link to Australia after Huawei offered a $5.25 million campaign donation to the ruling party.

“The committee is of the view that this is the main reason for the government to bypass procurement requirements in favor of the company Huawei,” a parliamentary report said.

Huawei dismissed the allegations.

“As a global business entity, Huawei does not involve itself in politics. Huawei forbids all of its global subsidiaries from making any form of political donation, including in places where this practice is legal,” the company said in a statement. 

Bribery allegations have also plagued Huawei projects in South Africa, Nigeria, and Pakistan. But the company appears to have weathered the allegations, positioning itself as a major player in building 5G networks around the world. 

WATCH: 5G networks explained

​As of last February, Huawei had signed 25 memorandums of understanding with telecom operators around the world to trial 5G equipment, according to a Reuters survey of public announcements.

In recent years, Huawei has also found itself at the receiving end of a Chinese government crackdown on domestic corruption. In 2017, the head of Huawei’s consumer business group for China was detained on suspicion of taking bribes.

To root out corruption among its employees, Huawei says it has implemented policies including requiring executives to take a loyalty oath. But the safeguards are “of limited value if the material incentives for employees don’t reflect those priorities,” said Alexandra Wrage, president of anti-bribery business organization TRACE International.

“This danger can be compounded when an enterprise maintains financial and political backing from the government, which is often seen as fostering a greater tolerance for risk in pursuit of growth,” Wrage said.