Telus, Bell Huawei Snub Shows Impact of US Sanctions, Backlash Against Chinese Regime

News Analysis

Amid the growing backlash against the Chinese regime and U.S. sanctions increasingly crippling Huawei, it’s little wonder that Canadian telecom giants Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. decided to partner with the rivals of the Beijing-linked Huawei for their 5G networks.

BCE, the parent company of Bell, announced on June 2 that it is partnering with Ericsson for its 5G network, and Telus followed with a similar announcement hours later that it’s partnering with Ericsson and Nokia.

“Huawei has clearly failed to establish its credentials as a private company, as a trustworthy partner, or as being above illicit financial schemes across the world’s conflicts and developing countries,” says Shuvaloy Majumdar, a Munk senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

A recent Angus Reid survey showed that only 14 percent of Canadians think Huawei should be allowed to participate in the country’s 5G networks. Ottawa has yet to make a decision on whether to allow the company to be part of Canada’s 5G infrastructure.

Canada’s allies are also increasingly pushing to have Huawei excluded from 5G networks. The United States has threatened its partners, including Canada, that it would limit data sharing if they allow Huawei to participate. And last week, British media reported that the U.K. is looking to form a 10-member coalition with G7 nations and other countries to secure 5G supplier alternatives to Huawei. There has been increasing backlash against Beijing in the U.K. over the regime’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“With the U.K. looking at an alternative 5G community of major market countries, it is not surprising that 5G alternatives from Nokia and Ericsson are featuring more prominently,” says Majumdar.

Rogers was first among Canada’s three telecom giants to announce it won’t be using Huawei for its 5G network. The company’s vice-chair told Bloomberg last year that Huawei is a threat to Canada and should be barred from 5G networks.

But Telus had earlier indicated that it would be partnering with Huawei on 5G, despite uncertainty as to whether the federal government would give Huawei the green light.

For Telus and BCE, the decision to go with Huawei’s rivals was a business one, says Christian Leuprecht, a political science professor at Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada.

“If you look at the business uncertainty when it comes to China, the business risk has increased substantially,” Leuprecht says.

The situation for Huawei has been exacerbated by sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. The latest blow is the administration’s move to block chip suppliers from selling semiconductors produced using U.S. technology to Huawei.

“This has a huge impact,” Leuprecht says, adding that it has affected the business calculus for telecom companies wanting to use Huawei.

Leuprecht says the decision by the Canadian telecoms can have a cascading effect, as the telecom companies around the world are in dialogue with one another.

Shattered Credibility

With Huawei increasingly isolated, its credibility is further undermined if it can’t be part of the 5G networks in democratic countries.

“If the only people you’re involved with are autocrats, that’s not really good for business,” Leuprecht says.

One of the things that sets Huawei apart from its competitors is that the company, founded by a former officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army, is willing to do business with anyone who is willing to pay, Leuprecht says.

“As much as this [access to the Canadian market] was a market share and geopolitical share for China, it was also an opportunity for Huawei to increase its credibility, and it doesn’t have much.”

All these developments point to the fact that the U.S. strategy to make business increasingly difficult for Huawei has worked, he says.

“That’s the U.S. calculus. If you create a market environment that’s so inhospitable to Huawei, it will change the business calculus and that seems to be what’s happening,” Leuprecht explains.

“It was ingenious because it put enough pressure on allies while raising the security issue, and also used some very targeted trade sanctions that’s causing massive pain.”

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Author: Shane Miller

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Chinese Poet and Wife Arrested for ‘Inciting Subversion’

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As the sensitive day of June 4 approaches, on May 30, a mainland poet, Wang Zang, and his wife were arrested from home by the police and their house was raided. Wang Zang’s wife was released in the early hours of the following day, while Wang Zang’s whereabouts remained unknown. Before his capture, Wangzang’s family was under 24-hour strict surveillance and was followed by undercover police when they went out.

 

On the 31st, Wang Li (real name: Wang Liqin), wife of the mainland poet Wang Zang, sent a message asking people to help Wang Zang, saying that at 4:30 p.m. on the 30th, more than 20 people came into their house, and probably another 20 to 30 people waited outside. Police took her away along with Wang Zang. She was taken to the police station in Chuxiong, and was not released home until the early morning of the 31st. As for Wang Zang, his whereabouts are still unknown. She returned home and found her family’s bank cards, ID cards, Wang Zang’s passport, various other important documents, as well as her and Wang Zang’s cell phones were all taken. “There’s four people at home guarding us right now, and there’s also a police car at the gate of my residential neighborhood.”

Ni Yulan, a Beijing-based human rights advocate concerned about Wang Zang’s arrest, said that with four children to take care of at home while with her bank cards taken away, Wang Zang will face a difficult life. Beijing-based right advocate, Ni Yulan: “(Wang Zhang was) arrested along with his wife. His wife was then released. Their home was raided, their bank cards and cell phones were all taken. They have four kids in the family, some are in elementary school, some are still in kindergarten. How are they going to survive if their bank accounts are frozen?

Prior to Wang Zang’s arrest, the family was under strict 24-hour surveillance. There are videos from the 24th and 25th on Twitter showing Wang Zang and Wang Li being followed by multiple plainclothes police officers. In one video, Wang Zang expressed his  complaints.

In the live video, Wang Zang said: “You are following me even when I’m just going out for groceries. To the police in Chuxiong, Yunnan, China, we did not break a law or commit a crime. Not mentioning you have been tailing us for months, following us wherever we go. That day we were followed by 8 police for 24 hours. Is this a society based on the rule of law? May I ask, my friends from all over the world, citizens from all over the world, is this China’s society under the rule of law? ” 

Ni Yulan expressed that the CCP authorities began to closely monitor politically sensitive people such as dissidents and human rights activists prior to the “two sessions.”

Beijing Rights Activist, Ni Yulan: “They place you under arrest for “subversion of state power.” But no matter what crime they arrest you for, they always give you extra security. I think this has something to do with June 4th. Now (prisoners) in Beijing are all being watched, they are not free to go anywhere. They are all being watched prior to China’s annual parliamentary meetings. You’ll have to wait till June 4th for them to loosen their watch.

 

Born after the 1980s and considered China’s youngest critic poet, Wang Zang, whose real name is Wang Yuwen, is the author of several poetry collections. He was arrested in October 2014 for voicing his support online to the Hong Kong “Umbrella Movement” and was released in July 2015. Wang Zang was threatened and expelled by the police while living in Beijing, and was forced to move his house multiple times. In 2017, his wife, Wang Li, developed a mental disorder due to stress, and the family moved back to their hometown in Yunnan.

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Author: Epoch Video

Rioters Deface Memorial Honoring Those Killed by Communist Regimes

 

 

Rioters in Washington defaced a monument on Monday dedicated to those who have been murdered by communist regimes.

Rioters defaced historic monuments throughout the city during protests against death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, according to footage of the incident.

The rioters also defaced the Victims of Communism Memorial, a memorial created to commemorate those who have suffered under communist regimes, by spray painting messages on the memorial.

“Given that Antifa groups openly espouse Marxist ideology and have vandalized our memorial before, it’s not surprising that the group would deface it and dishonor the memory of more than 100 million dead again,” Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Executive Director Marion Smith said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We call on the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to protect public spaces and memorials like ours from further vandalism and destruction,” Smith added.

People listen during an event at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington on June 12, 2015. (Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images)

The statue is modeled after a statue of the “Goddess of Democracy” which was erected by Chinese students protesting in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square who were gunned down by the Chinese military.

“To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty,” the memorial says on the front pedestal, while the back pedestal reads, “To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples.”

“You do not advance justice by defacing our country’s memorial dedicated to one of the largest victim groups in human history—those killed by communist parties in power,” Smith wrote on Twitter Monday.

“The culprits are not yet known,” Smith said, before noting that “the site has been targeted by socialist extremist and Antifa groups in the past.”

Police hold a perimeter at Lafayette Square near the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the killing of George Floyd in Washington on June 2, 2020. (Olivier Douliery /AFP via Getty Images)

Photographs from the National Parks Service show that rioters defaced at least three monuments to historical figures in Washington, including the World War II memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Messages on the memorials say “Ya’ll not tired yet?” and “Do black vets count?”

By Mary Margaret Olohan

From The Daily Caller News Foundation

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Author: The Daily Caller News Foundation

White House Releases Results of Trump’s Annual Physical

President Donald Trump weighs 244 pounds, stands 6 feet 3 inches, has a blood pressure of 121/79 mmHG and a resting heart rate 63 beats per minute, the White House said on Wednesday in a summary of his annual physical.

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said the results indicate Trump is “healthy.”

A memo from the President’s physical, Dr. Sean Conley, said “there were no findings of significance or changes to report.”

Trump made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, for a little more than two hours to undertake exams for part of the physical. Medical staff at Walter Reed did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential visit. He traveled via motorcade rather than Marine One.

President Donald Trump speaks inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images)

In the memo released Wednesday, Conley said Trump underwent additional tests at the White House.

The memo noted Trump’s use of hydroxychloroquine, which he revealed last month he began taking after staffers at the White House tested positive for COVID-19.

In the memo, Conley wrote the decision to take the drug—which is currently in trials to test its efficacy for treating the CCP virus—”was done in consultation with his appropriate care team members and close monitoring of the electrocardiogram (EKG) for changes in the QT interval.”

The memo said Trump completed a round of the drug without side effects, and that subsequent CCP virus tests came back negative.

The CNN Wire and Epoch Times staff contributed to this report

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Author: Wire Service

High Virus Death Toll in Northern Italy Highlights Ties With Beijing

Commentary

Italy, one of the heaviest hit countries outside China, has more than 233,836 confirmed cases of CCP virus infections and more than 33,601 deaths, as of June 3.

As indicated in The Epoch Times editorial, “Wherever Ties to the Chinese Communist Party Are Close, the CCP Virus Follows”: “The path of the CCP virus as it has spread around the world goes through the countries, cities, organizations, and even individuals that are closely related to the CCP.”

This article would like to stress the consequence of forming an alliance with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In March 2019, Italy became the only European country to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as Belt and Road). Being the first Group of Seven (G-7) country to join the BRI, Italy hoped it would boost its sluggish economy by establishing a strategic partnership with China.

Italy has 74 sister cities or twin towns formed with China, including places that were hit-hard by the CCP virus, such as Milan, Brescia, and Bergamo of the Lombardy region.

A Chinese Couple Spreads the Virus

On March 23, China’s state-run media reported that Italy’s first two confirmed virus patients were an elderly Chinese couple. They both recovered after being hospitalized for 49 days. The wife, Hu Yamin, is a faculty member of Central China Normal University, which is located in Wuhan.

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, the couple left Wuhan on Jan. 22—a day before the city was locked down—and arrived in Milan the next day. A few days later, the couple developed a fever and cough. On Jan. 30, their conditions deteriorated. Then the couple was hospitalized and tested positive for the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

The media report had caused widespread disturbance on Chinese social media. Netizens responded with the following comment: “Spread the virus thousands of miles away, indeed.”

On March 26, Italian journalist Marco Respinti wrote an article titled, “Don’t Call It a Chinese Virus. Call it the CCP VIRUS.” He criticized the Chinese regime’s botched handling of the initial virus outbreak and its human rights abuses.

CCP Blames Italy for the Pandemic

While the Chinese regime was being criticized unanimously by world leaders for its delayed response and concealment of the severity of the outbreak, China’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, issued a series of tweets on March 12 blaming the United States for the virus. However, China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, referred to the statement that “the virus originated in the U.S. military laboratory” as “crazy rumors.” When asked again about Zhao’s claim on March 22, Cui said, “That was my position then, and that’s my position now.”

Italy quickly became the target of China’s conspiracy theory. China’s state-run mouthpiece China Global Television Network (CGTN) published an article on March 22 that claimed the origin of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) remains unknown but that Italy might be its birthplace. Statements made by Italian doctor Giuseppe Remuzzi were taken out of context in the article.

In fact, concurrent with spokesperson Zhao’s tweet, CGTN’s report on March 12 also implied the virus came from Europe by distorting the statement of Massimo Galli, head of the university research group and of the infectious-diseases department at Milan’s Sacco hospital.

Remuzzi refuted that Beijing’s attempts to twist his words to suggest the novel coronavirus originated in Italy is a textbook example of “propaganda.”

Mattia Ferraresi, a writer for Italian newspaper Il Foglio said, “Italy is an ideal outpost for China’s wide-reaching propaganda effort to cover up its own responsibility for the global spread of the new coronavirus, all the while presenting itself as a compassionate power aiding Western countries in need.”

The Hard-hit Northern Region

As of April 29, there were a total of 75,134 confirmed cases and more than 13,679 deaths from the CCP virus infection in Italy’s Lombardy region.

Lombardy welcomed Chinese business in the past.

China’s Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang, visited Bergamo for the 9th Italy-China Science, Technology and Innovation Week in early December 2018. He also visited the Kilometro Rosso Science and Technology Park, located along the A4 motorway at the gates of Bergam—the area hosts research companies and industry leaders, such as Brembo, a company known for its braking systems.

According to Chinese state media, 19 cooperation agreements in trade and research were signed between Italy and China during the opening day of the China-Italy Science, Technology, and Innovation Week.

Wang said that “Italy is a strategic partner,” and “…we will keep working together on pilot projects in many sectors, from aerospace to intelligent manufacturing. Particular attention will be paid to sustainable energies.”

The mayor of Brescia, Emilio Del Bono, met with the president of the Chinese Association in Brescia in the city hall on Feb. 17. At the meeting, the mayor expressed his solidarity with the Chinese community: “To our fellow citizens I say that there is no danger or risk of contracting the epidemic by visiting restaurants or shops run by Chinese people.”

However, as of April 29, there were more than 12,000 confirmed cases of CCP virus infections in Brescia, only second to the hardest-hit Milan.

Piacenza is also one of the hardest-hit regions in northern Italy. On July 9, 2018, the mayor of Piacenza, Patrizia Barbieri, welcomed a Chinese delegation from Jiangbei District of Ningbo city. Piacenza and Jiangbei signed a sister agreement to promote economic and cultural ties.

On March 4, Barbieri announced that she had tested positive for the CCP virus.

Virus Infection Rate Plateaus

In early April, the CCP virus infection rate in Italy started to plateau. Different opinions and voices were heard about the phenomenon.

On March 26, Italy journalist Marco Respinti stated in an article on Rete Liberale, “Italy was the first country to be hit hard by the pandemic, and its people have been paying a great toll in human lives.” He claimed, “Under international law, China and/or the CCP could and should be sued for the enormous damages they caused to the world.”

On April 21, the website for “COVID 19 Class Action” was established. Its goal is to obtain compensation for people who suffered damage from the spread of the CCP virus. The chief financial officer and head of the Ferdinando Perone project explains, “We estimate that there will be more than 500 thousand adhesions to the class action and therefore it is not impossible that the request can exceed 100 billion euros (approximately $108 billion).”

The most influential media in Italy, Corriere della Sera, commented on April 26: “Too many ambiguities about China … the M5S looks favorably on Beijing despite doubts about its responsibilities spreading around the world. Government allies will have to clarify their positions.” The M5S, Five Star Movement, is a political party in Italy.

On April 29, Paolo Grimoldi, deputy of the League and secretary of the Lombard League Salvini Premier, announced that Lombardy will ask China for 20 billion euros for damages caused by the CCP virus. Members of the political party Forza Italia asked the president of the northeastern region of Veneto to do the same.

It is worth noting that since these Italian politicians issued the appeal, the number of infections and deaths across Italy had significantly dropped.

Only when the Italian people jointly denounce and blame the Chinese Communist regime for the losses brought to Italy can they ensure a bright future for their country.

Massimo Marcon contributed to this commentary.

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Author: Yuan Li

Antifa, Other Far-Left Groups Exploit Protests for ‘Revolution’

Communist groupsincluding the extremist organization Antifaare hijacking what started out as peaceful protests over the death of an unarmed black man to usher in a revolution, according to officials, experts, videos, and anarchists’ own words.  

That charge comes amid an unprecedented and coordinated effort behind the riots, the likes of which have never been seen before and which spans across multiple states and involves often violent street-level tactics. 

Officials from both sides say outside groups have exploited the recent momentum to further their own agenda. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, noted that “bad actors continue to infiltrate the rightful protests” and that 80 percent of the rioters have come from outside the state. Federal officials including President Donald Trump have pointed to Antifa.

Bernard B. Kerik, former Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, said Antifa “100 percent exploited these protests,” noting that their various websites control and dictate where protests start.

“It’s in 40 different states and 60 cities, it would be impossible for somebody outside of Antifa to fund this,” he told The Epoch Times. “It’s a radical, leftist, socialist attempt at revolution.”

Operations, including coordination, equipment, and travel costs would likely cost “tens of millions of dollars” Kerik said. A friend of his, an FBI agent, told him she was at Newark airport on May 29 where she observed “probably 25 of these Antifa kids walking in through the airport.”

“They’re coming from other cities,” he said. “That cost money. They didn’t do this on their own. Somebody’s paying for this.”

“What Antifa is doing is they’re basically hijacking the black community as their army,” Kerik added. “They instigate, they antagonize, they get these young black men and women to go out there and do stupid things, and then they disappear off into the sunset.”

Photos pulled offline appeared to show protesters with military grade communications radios and earpieces Kerik said, noting, “They have to be talking to somebody at a central command center with a repeater. Where do those radios go to?”

Andy Ngo, a journalist who has covered Antifa extensively, said the group is organized in “multiple units” with scouts that monitor the perimeter of an area providing live audio or text updates. Others carry out violent missions with weapons and firebombs. 

The extremist group is “horizontally” organized, it does not have a public leader since it is part of their ideology that there should be no authority, Ngo said. 

These outside radical groups have organized scouts, medics, and even supply routes of rocks, bottles, and accelerants “for breakaway groups to commit vandalism and violence,” according to John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism. These groups have planned for violence in advance using encrypted communications, he said. 

Mike Griffin, a longtime political activist from Minneapolis, told The New York Times there were people he never witnessed before demonstrating, including “well-dressed young white men in expensive boots carrying hammers and talking about torching buildings.”

“I know protests, I’ve been doing it for 20 years,” he said. “People not affiliated with the protests are creating havoc on the streets.”

Communism expert Trevor Loudon, meanwhile, told The Epoch Times that Antifa is only one part of the picture, noting that “every significant communist or socialist party in the United States has been involved in these protests and riots from the beginning.” 

According to Loudon, “Communist Party USA, Liberation Road, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Democratic Socialists of America, Revolutionary Communist Party, Workers World Party, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation,” have been involved, among others.  

Hijacking Peace 

One protester who stumbled upon a pile of bricks while filming live called it a “setup,” as a man by his side quipped, “Ain’t no damn construction around here.” 

Police departments in different states have in recent days warned of materials being purposely planted in certain locations so as to fuel rioting.

The Kansas City police department in Missouri said they “learned of & discovered stashes of bricks and rocks” in some areas “to be used during a riot,” and asked people to report such cases to authorities to be removed.

Days later, the Minneapolis Police department warned of “Incendiary materials and accelerants” such as water bottles filled with gasoline, found hidden in bushes and neighborhoods

Bricks and similar objects have popped up in Manhattan, Baltimore, North Carolina, and more. Protesters outside the White House were caught throwing bricks. There have also been false alarms as the Frisco Police Department found one pile was from a legitimate construction project. 

Some videos, meanwhile, show African Americans returning bricks to people who had allegedly handed them to their peers. 

Loudon said the bricks and other examples were part of a “terrorist military operation” and that the whole thing had been “completely organized and long preplanned.”

“If the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis hadn’t sparked these riots, the next one would have,” he said. “People need to understand that there are hundreds of foreign-trained agitators and organizers operating in this country, and tens of thousands more disciplined communists.” 

Numerous social media posts and videos also depict African American protesters objecting to rioting perpetrated by groups of white men clad in full black outfitsthe black costume has long been associated with Antifa. 

In Oakland, a group of Caucasians dressed in full-black gear and armed with hammers started destroying and breaking into a building as African Americans nearby voiced their opposition. 

One video appears to show a predominantly white crowd of people destroying a Minneapolis Police Department building, some also dressed in full-black gear. Another video purportedly in Baltimore shows African American protesters begging white people, also clad in black, to stop rioting. 

Peaceful protesters in Washington, meanwhile, tackled an “Antifa rioter” who was hammering the pavement to get blocks of concrete to throw. Protesters then handed over the rioter to the police. 

At a May 30 press conference Attorney General William Barr said the violence appears to be “planned, organized, and driven by far left extremist groups and anarchic groups using Antifa-like tactics.” 

And In a twitter thread, Ngo said the destruction of businesses is not only opportunism but is tied to Antifa and Black Lives Matter ideology to “abolish capitalism & have regime change. To do that, they have to make economic recovery impossible.” 

“Militant antifa cells across the country mobilized to aid BLM rioters,” Ngo said. “Every part of the rioting has a purpose. Fires destroy economy. Riots can overwhelm police & even military. All of it leads to a destabilized state if maintained.”

Communism Core 

Gabriel Nadales, a former Antifa member, told Jan Jekielek, host of The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” series, that to really be a part of Antifa is to do two things:

“One is to share their violent ideology and be willing to fight for them at any turn, and the second is to actually do it. It’s not just about having anti-conservative beliefs,” he said.

Communist groups have played a role in the recent protests. On May 27, the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) Twin Cities chapter issued a call for supplies for “comrades protesting at the 3rd precinct (at Lake and Minnehaha).” An autozone store was set ablaze in the same area, amid widespread looting. 

Such groups also appear to have played a role in funding. On May 28, DSA’s Twin Cities chapter asked on Twitter to “Please also give to the TCDSA solidarity fund, because people will need help in the days and weeks ahead!” DSA Chapters in Seattle, Memphis, Los Angeles, and Metro Atlanta have called for donations amid the protests.  

The DSA also formed a national anti-fascist work group at the convention in 2019.

Other communist groups such as the Workers World Party have backed the protests, while some groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party called for an “actual revolution.”

Liberation News, a newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation wrote in a staff statement that it’s a “critical period” to “sharpen our resolve to build organizations capable of waging militant class struggle. “

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report 

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Author: Bowen Xiao

University Asks Professors to Accommodate Black Students in Finals, Citing George Floyd Protests

The University of Washington (UW) is encouraging professors to give special treatment for black students in grading their finals because they are “too busy fighting for their rights to sit down and study.”

Unimpressed by the university’s initial response towards the nationwide upheaval sparked by George Floyd’s death, the UW community started an online petition calling for changes to black students’ final grading policies. By the time of this publication, the petition titled “Give Black Students Accommodation For Finals!” has generated over 27,000 supporting signatures towards its new goal of 35,000.

“Give Black students a break!” reads the petition. “We are already DISPROPORTIONATELY impacted by this pandemic in terms of health care access and financial hardship. Now add state-sanctioned violence, how do you expect us to enter finals in this headspace?!”

“We are busy fighting for our rights and for the rights of future black children and students to sit down and study,” it continued. “The least UW could do is demand professors to accommodate us during this time.”

Answering the students’ demand, four of UW’s top officials, led by President Ana Mari Cauce, asked instructors to be “especially responsive” to the needs of students, particularly those from the black community, and provide them with accommodations such as extra time to finish assignments or a “final examination optional” approach.

“We are asking you to consider that while we are together as a community, some are being affected more than others,” the UW officials wrote in the June 1 message, adding that black faculty who are “disproportionately affected” by current events should also reach out to administrators if they need of any accommodations, deadline extensions, or other support.

Similarly, students at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) are calling for new grading policies for their final exams, claiming that recent unrest has made them unable to focus on their schoolwork.

“Please do not force students that are paralyzed by the current events to disengage in their political environment. Please do not prioritize students’ exams over their mental and emotional health,” reads a sample letter that’s been circulating among UCSD students who wrote to university administrators for a “modification in the grading and the final exams,” preferably a universal pass.

A student who emailed the letter to school officials told student newspaper The Guardian that she has been too occupied with #BlackLivesMatter activism to prepare for her finals.

“I personally have been exhausting so much energy simply using my platform, researching, donating, having hard conversations, empathizing, and grieving to even focus on my classes and have to catch up as we speak because the past week has been excruciating,” she said.

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Author: GQ Pan

Senate Confirms Special Watchdog for Pandemic Recovery

WASHINGTON—The Senate has confirmed a new inspector general to oversee money distributed as part of the $2 trillion economic rescue law, putting at least one watchdog in place as oversight of the money has lagged.

The Senate confirmed Brian Miller, a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office, on a 51-40 vote June 2. Democrats voted against Miller after questioning his independence from President Donald Trump, who nominated him for the post.

Responding to those concerns, Miller told the Senate Banking Committee during his confirmation hearing last month that “independence is vital” for the special inspector general for pandemic recovery. He pledged to conduct audits and investigations “with fairness and impartiality.” The post would place him in charge of overseeing a roughly $500 billion Treasury fund for businesses and localities created as part of the economic rescue law approved in March.

Republicans pointed to his previous experience as an independent watchdog. Miller has worked at the Justice Department and was inspector general for nearly a decade at the General Services Administration, which oversees thousands of federal contracts. Miller helped force out the GSA’s director during President George W. Bush’s administration, drawing criticism from the White House and Republican lawmakers.

But most Democrats weren’t convinced, with only one—Alabama Sen. Doug Jones—voting for him. Another Democratic moderate, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, said in a statement that he voted against Miller because “I believe his current role in the Office of White House Counsel and relationship with the president makes it impossible for him to remain independent as he investigates the administration’s response to the pandemic.”

As Miller assumes the post, he will be one of the sole checks on the massive pot of money as other oversight bodies set up in the law have foundered. The Pandemic Recovery Accountability Committee, a committee of inspectors general, still has no leader after Trump sidelined the original chairman, Glenn Fine, by demoting him. A bipartisan congressional commission is also rudderless as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have not yet agreed upon and appointed a chair, as the law directs them to do.

Trump has bristled at the law’s oversight provisions, suggesting in a signing statement that some of the mandates from Congress were unconstitutional and did not need to be obeyed. He has also often bristled at the work of inspector generals, firing several in recent months with little explanation.

Democrats questioned whether Miller would be able to remain neutral in that environment, especially amid concerns that some of the money has been going to larger, publicly traded companies in lieu of small businesses with the most need.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the banking panel, questioned at the hearing whether Miller would be able to hold the Trump administration accountable for how it administers the program and “guarantee that corporations getting taxpayer money put their workers first.″

If he is confirmed, Brown said, “I expect you to follow the letter and spirit of the law, and serve the American people—not President Trump. … You must be willing to stand up to the administration and any other bad actor and to uphold the goals of the law. Anything less is unacceptable.”

By Mary Clare Jalonick

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Author: The Associated Press

UK Police Identify New Suspect in 2007 Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

A 43-year-old German prisoner who traveled around Portugal in a van is now the focus of a police investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann 13 years ago.

Metropolitan Police officials wrote in a news release on Wednesday that authorities think the man was in the area where the girl, who was 3 at the time, was seen last in May 2007.

“He is connected to the area of Praia da Luz and surrounding regions, and spent some short spells in Germany,” the police statement said. “It’s more than 13 years since Madeleine went missing and none of us can imagine what it must be like for her family, not knowing what happened or where she is.”

Officials are looking for information about the van and the suspect’s other vehicle, a Jaguar car. He transferred the Jaguar to another person’s name after the girl went missing.

UK investigators added that German officials took the lead in a “murder inquiry” in the girl’s case. The suspect, who is not being named, was in prison for an “unrelated matter” and has “previous convictions,” but further details were not provided.

The suspect, who was 30 years old at the time, went to Algarve, Portugal, where the girl was last seen, on numerous occasions between 1995 and 2007. He lived in a camper van and had a “transient lifestyle,” officials said.

Parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann, Kate (L) and Gerry McCann (R) pose with an artist’s impression of how their daughter might look now at the age of nine ahead of a press conference in central London on May 2, 2012. (Loen Neal/AFP/GettyImages)

UK officials said they want a person who called the suspect on that day in 2007 to come forward.

“They’re a key witness and we urge them to get in touch,” said Inspector Mark Cranwell, reported the BBC. “Some people will know the man we’re describing today… you may be aware of some of the things he’s done,” he said, adding: “He may have confided in you about the disappearance of Madeleine.”

Cranwell noted that 13 years have passed since the girl went missing: “Now is the time to come forward.”

Police elaborated on the van the suspect allegedly drove.

“The first vehicle is a distinctive VW T3 Westfalia campervan. It is an early 1980s model, with two tone markings, a white upper body and a yellow skirting. It had a Portuguese registration plate,” their statement said. “The suspect had access to this van from at least April 2007 until sometime after May 2007. It was used in and around the area of Praia da Luz.”

Officials said the second car is a 1993 British Jaguar model XJR 6 with German plates.

“This car is believed to have been in the Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007. The car was originally registered in the suspect’s name. On 4 May 2007, the day after Madeleine’s disappearance, the car was re-registered to someone else in Germany,” the statement said.

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Author: Jack Phillips

US Calls for Full Account of Tiananmen Square Massacre Victims on Eve of 31st Anniversary

The United States renewed calls for a public account of those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the Chinese regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

“We mourn the victims of June 4, 1989, and we stand with the people of China who continue to aspire to a government that protects human rights, fundamental freedoms, and basic human dignity,” U.S. state department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on June 3.

Late night on June 3, 1989, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deployed the military to suppress peaceful students protesting for greater freedoms at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Soldiers then rolled in with tanks, running over protesters and firing live-rounds at unarmed students. Thousands are estimated to have been killed.

To this day, the CCP has not disclosed the number nor names of those who died in the bloody crackdown. Information about the incident is heavily censored in mainland China.

“We reiterate our call for a full, public accounting of those killed or missing,” Ortagus said.

This year’s anniversary of the massacre comes as the CCP draws growing international condemnation over its recent move to impose a national security law for Hong Kong, which critics fear will crush freedoms in the former British colony.

Activists in Hong Kong have planned a rally on Thursday to mark the anniversary, despite police having canceled an annual vigil due to virus concerns. The city had hosted the vigil every year since 1990, with more than 100,000 attending in recent years.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rebuked the cancelation on Twitter, saying: “If there is any doubt about Beijing’s intent, it is to deny Hong Kongers a voice and a choice, making them the same as mainlanders.”

Last Friday, President Donald Trump announced that the administration would begin revoking Hong Kong’s special privileges granted by the United States because it was no longer sufficiently autonomous from the mainland after Beijing’s recent action. When the city was transferred from British to Chinese rule in 1997, the regime had pledged to provide Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy under the framework, “one country, two systems.”

Separately on Tuesday, Pompeo met with four survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre: Wang Dan, Su Xiaokang, Liane Lee, and Henry Li.

Bipartisan lawmakers also reiterated the administration’s call for justice in commemorating the event.

“We stand with the surviving family members of the victims, including the courageous Tiananmen Mothers, who are still seeking truth and justice at great personal risk,” Rep. James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), chair and co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said in a June 3 statement.

The Tiananmen Mothers is a group of victims’ family members who have for decades sought justice, accountability, and compensation for their loved ones. Members of the group have themselves been harassed and suppressed by the Chinese regime.

“Thirty-one years after the bloodshed, efforts by the people of China to exercise their fundamental freedoms too often continue to be met with brutal repression,” the lawmakers said.

They concluded with words from the Tiananmen Mothers: “The hard facts of the massacre are etched into history. No one can erase it; no power, however mighty, can alter it; and no words or tongues, however clever, can deny it.”

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Author: Cathy He