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US slams China for imprisoning Canadian man linked to Huawei case



The US has joined the global chorus of voices demanding for China to release a Canadian man who the has been detained on spying charges

The US is among countries calling for China to immediately release a Canadian businessman from prison. Chinese officials have sentenced Michael Spavor for up to 11 years for “spying on China’s national secrets”.

Has ‘hostage diplomacy’ implicated Spavor’s case?

Chinese authorities detained both Spavor and a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig. This came shortly after Canada arrested top Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou at Vancouver airport for violating sanctions against Iran.

Federal prosecutors have accused Kovrig of “using an ordinary passport and business visa to enter China to steal sensitive information and intelligence through contacts in China”.

Canada claims that Spavor’s arrest is a case of ‘hostage diplomacy’. The day prior, China upheld a death sentence for another Canadian Robert Schellenberg on drug smuggling charges.

Michael Spavor: Canadian businessman sentenced by Chinese court to 11 years  in prison for spying | CNN
Michael Spavor talks during a video interview on March 2, 2017.

The arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou

However, Chinese officials reject this claim. They’ve demanded for Canada to release Meng, who they claim is being held hostage at the at the behest of the US.

Chinese authorities had initially sentenced Schellenberg to 15 years in prison. However, federal prosecutors changed the verdict to a death sentence shortly after Canadian officials arrested Meng.

Meng’s extradition hearings are in their last few weeks. Canada’s Justice Minister will make a decision in the next few months as to whether to extradite Meng.

Key events in Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's extradition case | Reuters
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou leaving a court in Canada, 2021.

International backlash

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Spavor’s conviction and sentencing was “absolutely unacceptable and unjust”.

“The verdict for Mr. Spavor comes after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process, and a trial that did not satisfy even the minimum standards required by international law,” he said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also slammed the proceedings against both Spavor and Kovrig.

“We join our partners in condemning Beijing’s sentencing of Canadian citizen Michael Spavor,” he said in a statement. “People are not bargaining chips.”

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Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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Israeli soldiers use water cannons to stop protestors from breaking into PM’s house



Dramatic scenes in Israel as protestors take to the streets demanding a controversial judicial reform plan be scrapped

Dramatic scenes are unfolding in Israel following news the nation’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu has fired his defence minister.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday after Gallant called for a halt to a controversial judicial reform plan.

Gallant, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, broke ranks on Saturday by publicly urging Netanyahu to suspend the legislation.

He said, “The growing rift in our society is penetrating the Israel Defense Forces and security agencies. This poses a clear, immediate, and tangible threat to the security of the state. I will not allow this.”

His dismissal marks the largest public fracture in Netanyahu’s coalition government over the proposed reforms that have sparked mass protests and even dissent from some in the nation’s revered military.

Others in Netanyahu’s party have begun to waver: A top lawmaker echoed the defense chief’s call to pause the contested judicial overhaul on Sunday.

Dissent from the premier’s own party and cabinet has compounded months of unprecedented mass protests by Israelis who fear the package of reforms could endanger court independence.

Netanyahu, who is on trial on graft charges that he denies, says the overhaul will balance out the branches of government.

A key bill effectively giving his religious-nationalist coalition more control over the appointment of judges is expected to be brought for ratification this week in the Knesset, where he and his allies wield 64 out of 120 seats.

But how – or even if – that as-yet-unscheduled vote will proceed has been thrown into question by Likud dissenters. #trending #featured

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Brace for impact: Passenger activates emergency slide on Delta flight



Passenger activates emergency slide on a Delta Air flight bound for Seattle

A scary situation for those passengers onboard Delta Air Flight 1714 after a passenger activated one of the aircraft’s emergency slides.

An individual has been arrested after opening one of the plane’s doors and exiting via the emergency exit slide as the crew prepared for takeoff from Los Angeles to Seattle.

The incident on the Delta flight took place around 10:40 a.m. local time on Saturday, while the plane was stationary at LA’s international airport.

The Boeing 737 was on the runway holding to taxi for takeoff when the passenger exited the aircraft.

The individual was initially detained by Delta staff before being arrested by local law enforcement.

The Federal Aviation Administration says customers are being reaccommodated on a new aircraft – apologising for any inconvenience and delay. #trending #featured

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Latitude Financial Services reports 7.9 million customer details stolen



The company is offering pay for the replacement of stolen I.D. documents

Latitude Financial Services says 7.9 million customers have had their driver’s licence numbers stolen.

More than 53,000 passport numbers have also been taken in the latest cyber attack, to grip Australia and New Zealand.

A further six million customers have had their names, addresses and phone numbers stolen.

Latitude is offering to pay for the replacement of stolen I.D. documents.

Up to 97 per cent of those records were taken before 2013, with some dating back to 2005.

The company says their review is ongoing into the matter and is contacting affected customers.

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