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US slams China for imprisoning Canadian man linked to Huawei case

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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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Big tech caught in political drama

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Nine Google employees were escorted out of company offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, following a sit-in protest against a cloud contract with Israel’s government.

The protest in Sunnyvale targeted Thomas Kurian’s office, CEO of Google’s cloud division, while in New York, it occupied a common area on the tenth floor.

Videos showed Google security staff and local police involved in the removal. Four workers in New York and five in Sunnyvale were reportedly detained, but details of any charges remain unverified.

 

The protest aimed to pressure Google to drop a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract known as Project Nimbus, citing concerns about its involvement with the Israel Defense Forces.

The protesters included software engineers and activists from groups opposing tech contracts with Israel. This incident reflects ongoing activism within tech companies regarding political issues, such as Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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Antitrust concerns arise for streaming sports venture

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U.S. lawmakers Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro expressed competition concerns regarding the planned sports streaming joint venture involving Walt Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros Discovery.

They addressed these concerns in a letter to the CEOs of the media companies, questioning the impact on access, competition, and choice in the sports streaming market.

Voicing apprehension about potential consumer price hikes and unfair licensing terms for sports leagues and distributors, they requested responses by April 30, urging the companies to also send their replies to the Department of Justice.

Despite the companies’ announcement in February of launching a joint sports streaming service in the autumn to attract younger viewers, the deal faces DOJ scrutiny and an antitrust lawsuit from FuboTV. While Disney and Warner Bros remained silent on the matter, Fox declined to comment.

The joint venture encompasses a broad range of professional and collegiate sports rights, including NFL, NBA, MLB, FIFA World Cup, and college competitions, offering non-exclusive access to sports networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and TNT via a new streaming app.

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Trump trial: will the jury selection impact the trial’s outcome?

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The Trump hush money trial has progressed with the selection of the first seven jurors, marking a significant step in the legal proceedings.

  • Seven jurors were selected

  • Defense and prosecution lawyers questioned potential jurors for impartiality

  • The judge warned lawyers he would not tolerate disruptions after he said Former US President Donald Trump audibly muttered during a prospective juror’s questioning

The selection of jurors is a crucial step in ensuring a fair trial, as they will ultimately decide Formers US President Donald Trump’s fate in this legal battle, as reported by Reuters.

The process of jury selection involves careful vetting of potential jurors to ensure impartiality and fairness.

Each juror’s background, beliefs, and potential biases are scrutinised to ensure they can render an impartial verdict based solely on the evidence presented in court.

With seven jurors already chosen, the selection process is expected to continue as both the prosecution and defence seek individuals who can objectively weigh the evidence.

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