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China Summons US Envoy to Protest Tech Executive’s Arrest in Canada

China summoned the U.S. ambassador in Beijing on Sunday to lodge a “strong protest” over the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Canada and Washington’s demand that she be extradited to the United States to stand trial on fraud charges.

China called the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, telecom giant Huawei Technologies’s chief financial officer, “extremely bad” and demanded that the U.S. cancel its extradition request linked to allegations that she broke U.S. laws prohibiting trade with Iran.

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned U.S. ambassador Terry Branstad a day after calling in Canadian envoy John McCallum to protest Meng’s arrest, at the U.S.’s behest, at the Vancouver airport on Dec. 1.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement that Le told Branstad, “The actions of the U.S. seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty.”

Beijing urged the United States to “take immediate measures to correct wrong practices, and revoke the arrest warrant against the Chinese citizen.”

Meng, if convicted in the U.S., faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment, with a Canadian prosecutor alleging at a court hearing Friday in Vancouver that she committed fraud in 2013 by telling financial institutions that China’s Huawei was not tied to a Hong Kong-based company, Skycom, which was allegedly selling U.S. goods to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

“Skycom was Huawei,” the prosecutor alleged. Meng’s lawyers denied the fraud allegation, saying Huawei had divested its interests in Skycom. Her bail hearing is resuming Monday.

News of the arrest of the 46-year-old Meng, along with the uncertain state of trade negotiations between China and the U.S., the world’s two biggest economies, roiled international stock markets last week, with investors facing substantial losses across the globe.

Meng’s arrest occurred on the same day U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were meeting in Buenos Aires over dinner to reach a 90-day truce on tit-for-tat tariffs the two countries have been imposing on exports of $300 billion of goods to each other.

But White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News on Sunday that Trump did not know about the arrest as he met with Xi.

“He didn’t know,” Kudlow said. “I’ll just state that unequivocally. He learned way later.”

The economic adviser said he could not guarantee that Meng won’t be released as part of ongoing U.S. trade talks with Beijing. He described the case against Meng as a “law enforcement issue.”

“I don’t know how it’s going to turn out…It seems to me there’s a trade lane… and there’s a law enforcement lane,” Kudlow said. “They’re different channels, and I think they will be viewed that way for quite some time.”

While Meng was arrested the same day at the Trump-Xi meeting, a warrant for her arrest was issued in the U.S. on Aug. 22, with the Canadian prosecutor saying that a Canadian justice issued a warrant when Meng’s travel plans became known.




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Arrest in Murder Detailed in Australian True-Crime Podcast Series

Australian police have charged a retired teacher with the murder of his wife, whose disappearance in 1982 has been featured in a globally popular crime podcast.

Lynette Dawson went missing 36 years ago from her home in Sydney.  Her husband at the time, Chris Dawson has previously denied killing the mother of his two children, saying she abandoned the family for a religious group.  

A podcast produced by The Australian newspaper called ‘The Teacher’s Pet,’ has brought global attention to the case. It has been downloaded more than 28 million times since it began running in May.  

There have been two separate inquests into Lynette Dawson’s disappearance. Both concluded that she was killed by a known person.’  In 2003, a coroner determined that her husband, a former teacher and rugby player, had sex with teenage students during their marriage.

A 16-year old girl moved into the Dawson family home just days after Mrs. Dawson vanished.  

It is reported that new testimony from the schoolgirl led to this week’s arrest.

The New South Wales state police commissioner, Mick Fuller, said fresh evidence has been crucial.

“They were predominantly statements from witnesses that helped us tie pieces of the puzzles together. No doubt it will be a voluminous brief with [an] enormous amount of evidence and obviously there are a number of witnesses that will be called.”

Experts say that the popularity of investigative podcasts can give justice to the voiceless’ or be a hindrance to a police inquiry if the material is not balanced and impartial.

Chris Dawson’s lawyers say media coverage is likely to taint the case against him.

Australian police deny the huge interest surrounding the ‘Teacher’s Pet’ podcast led to Mr. Dawson’s arrest following a three-year reinvestigation of the case.

The 70-year suspect remains in custody.  The body of his former wife has never been found.

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World Marks Anti-Corruption Day

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

​Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said.

VOA’s Elizabeth Cherneff contributed to this report.


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Bilby Back in Australian Wild for the First Time in a Century

For the first time in more than a century, bilbies are running wild in Australia’s most populous state.

Bilbies were once widespread across much of Australia, but were last recorded in the wild in New South Wales state in 1912. Every year bilby populations continue to fall, and conservationists fear the small marsupial could become extinct because of predators, fires and land clearing. Experts say the bilbies are “barely hanging on” in small, isolated pockets.

In northern New South Wales state, environmentalists are celebrating what they are calling a historic moment. Thirty bilbies from a captive breeding program have been released into a large predator-free enclosure near the town of Narrabri, 500 kilometers north of Sydney.

Without the protection of a 32-kilometer fence, experts say, they probably would not survive.

Historic moment

Tim Allard is the chief executive of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, which is involved in the project.

He says the release of these iconic animals is a historic moment.

“Bilbies only really survive behind fenced areas,” he said. “There are some remaining wild bilby populations, but they get predated upon heavily by feral cats and foxes. Behind a large-scale fenced area is really the only way of ensuring their survival.

“Well, the point of doing these projects is to return the bush to what it used to be before Europeans turned up, before feral predators such as cats and foxes were introduced,” Allard continued. “So in the not-too-distant future, you will be able to go inside the fenced area and it will be like stepping back in time before Europeans turned up. You will have populations of bilbies, bandicoots, bridled nail-tail wallabies. It will really be a very special experience.”

Protecting biodiversity

Bilbies are known for their long rabbitlike ears and large hind legs. They are small nocturnal, burrowing animals that grow to about 2.5 kilograms. They eat plant roots, ants, beetles and spiders.

Australia has one of the world’s worst rates of mammal extinctions, and the bilby project is seen as a vital part in protecting the nation’s fragile biodiversity.

It is estimated that 1 million birds in Australia are killed each day by predators, including feral cats, wild dogs and foxes.

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Ломаченко переміг Педрасу й став чемпіоном світу за двома версіями

Український боксер Василь Ломаченко переміг пуерториканця Хосе Педрасу та став чемпіоном світу у легкій вазі (до 61,2 кілограма) за версіями WBA і WBO.

Бій тривав усі 12 раундів, однак у передостанній трихвилинці рефері двічі відраховував Педрасі нокдаун. Усі судді віддали перемогу українцеві – 119:107, 117:109, 117:109.

Ломаченку вперше у своїй кар’єрі вдалося об’єднати чемпіонські пояси. Перед цим він володів титулом чемпіона за версією WBO у напівлегкій та другій напівлегкій вазі (до 57,1 та до 58,9 кілограма).

Поєдинок відбувався на арені «Медісон Сквер Ґарден» в американському Нью-Йорку. Востаннє бій Ломаченка тривав усі 12 раундів у 2014 році.



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У Хмельницькому невідомі пошкодили меморіал героїв Небесної сотні

У Хмельницькому поліцейські розшукують невідомих, які в ніч з 7 на 8 грудня на місцевому майдані Незалежності пошкодили меморіальну дошку з фотографіями героїв Небесної сотні і загиблих учасників бойових дій на Донбасі.

Як повідомляє поліція, повідомлення про акт вандалізму надійшло вранці 8 грудня. На місце події виїхала слідчо-оперативна група Хмельницького відділу поліції.

Правоохоронці відкрили кримінальне провадження за статтею «хуліганство». Санкція статті передбачає відповідальність у вигляді обмеження волі на строк до п’яти років або позбавлення волі на строк до чотирьох років.



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Трамп у відповідь на протести у Франції закликав відмовитися від Паризької угоди з клімату

Президент США Дональд Трамп, коментуючи сутички, в які 8 грудня переросли протести у Франції, заявив, що, можливо, настав час відмовитися від Паризької угоди з питань клімату.

«Дуже сумні день і вечір у Парижі. Можливо, настав час покінчити з безглуздою і вкрай дорогою Паризькою угодою і повернути гроші назад народові – у формі нижчих податків. У цьому питанні США – на крок попереду, і є єдиною країною, в якій обсяг викиду парникових газів в минулому році скоротився», – написав Трамп у Twitter 8 грудня.

В адміністрації Трампа минулого року оголосили про вихід із Паризької кліматичної угоди. Президент США заявляв, що ця угода є невигідною для економіки його країни.

Протести так званих «жовтих жилетів» у Франції тривають вже третій тиждень. Вони почалися з вимоги до влади відмовитися від збільшення податків на автомобільне пальне. Уряд Франції планував запровадити податок в рамках боротьби із забрудненням довкілля.

Учасники протестів частково домоглися мети: уряд президента Емманюеля Макрона, всупереч попереднім обіцянкам голови держави, відступив і вирішив відкласти плановані підвищення цін на пальне. Але ці плани не скасовані, і «жовті жилети» вирішили не припиняти протестів, натомість вони посилили свої вимоги і тепер закликають до ширшого скорочення податків і збільшення зарплат.

Внаслідок сутичок, що спалахнули під час протестів 8 грудня, у Франції були поранені 135 людей, зокрема 17 поліцейських.


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Порошенко обіцяє підписати закон про припинення договору про Дружбу з Росією 10 грудня

Президент України Петро Порошенко пообіцяв підписати закон про припинення з квітня наступного року Договору про дружбу з Росією. Про це президент заявив під час візиту до Львова.

«Є певний символізм у тому, що припинено нарешті дію Договору про так звану дружбу з Росією. Відповідний закон я вніс до Верховної Ради. Він також був позавчора проголосований і в понеділок я його підпишу», – зазначив Порошенко.

Закон Верховна Рада прийняла 6 грудня. Згідно з документом, Україна припиняє дію договору з 1 квітня 2019 року. Тобто цей законопроект передбачає відмову від продовження договору, дія якого спливає 31 березня 2019 року.

Договір про дружбу між Україною і Росією був підписаний 1997 року, нині є чинним. Він, серед іншого, передбачає, що сторони «поважають територіальну цілісність одна одної і підтверджують непорушність існуючих між ними кордонів», а також «будують відносини одна з одною на основі принципів взаємної поваги до суверенної рівності, непорушності кордонів, мирного врегулювання спорів, незастосування сили або загрози силою».

Читайте також: Від «дружби держав» на кордоні України з Росією залишилася вулиця Дружби народів за колючим дротом

Документ був укладений на термін у десять років – у 2008 році його дію було автоматично продовжено. Щоб припинити дію договору, Україна має офіційно сповістити Росію не пізніше ніж за шість місяців до закінчення чергового десятирічного періоду – тобто до жовтня 2018 року. МЗС України зробило це у вересні.

Конфлікт між Росією й Україною загострився минулого місяця – 25 листопада російські силовики захопили три українські військові кораблі й 24 членів їхніх екіпажів поблизу Керченської протоки.