South China Morning Post USA

Three more US universities pledge support for Chinese-American scientists caught in growing web of suspicion

Three more American universities have issued statements in support of scholars and researchers of Chinese ethnicity, a group that has been increasingly targeted over suspicions of spying for Beijing.The University of Pittsburgh, California Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University recently joined 12 other leading schools – including Yale, Columbia and Stanford – to issue statements supporting Chinese-American scientists.The pledges come amid fears that the group is being unfairly…

US slaps US$5 billion fine on Facebook for privacy violations, imposes rules to limit ‘unfettered control’ by CEO Mark Zuckerberg

US regulators on Wednesday imposed a record US$5 billion fine on Facebook for privacy violations in a settlement requiring the world’s biggest social network to “submit to new restrictions and a modified corporate structure”.The Federal Trade Commission said the penalty was the largest levied against any company for violating consumers’ privacy and one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the US government for any violation.“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that…

Trump-Russia report did not exonerate US president of obstruction of justice, Robert Mueller says

Former US Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday said in his long-awaited US congressional testimony he had not exonerated President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice and defended the integrity of his inquiry under repeated attacks by conservative Republican allies of the president.During a day of sometimes dramatic high-stakes political theatre, the one-time FBI director answered questions publicly for the first time on his inquiry in back-to-back hearings, with Democrats and…

Why a warmer US-Pakistan relationship is a win for China

During his Oval Office meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, United States President Donald Trump characteristically abandoned the script and hailed the Pakistani leader as “great” and “tough”, even promising to help get the former cricketer re-elected. Clearly, the tortured, roller coaster US-Pakistan relationship is back on.The new bilateral bargain seems to be this: if Islamabad can deliver Washington an honourable exit from Afghanistan that addresses its main…

Singapore tycoon Oei Hong Leong says Canada property lawsuit had nothing to do with Li Ka-shing

Fresh from winning a four-year legal wrangle with one of Canada’s largest property developers, Singapore tycoon Oei Hong Leong said he was glad justice had been served - but felt compelled to clarify that the case had nothing to do with Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.Oei, who at 71 is worth an estimated US$1.5 billion according to this year’s Forbes billionaires list, said he had fielded questions about the ownership of Concord Pacific Acquisitions, part of Concord Pacific Group, that sued…

China’s choice of Shanghai for US trade talks emphasises commercial rather than political focus, analysts say

China’s decision to hold next week’s negotiations with the United States in Shanghai could be a fresh sign that Beijing is revising its strategy as it prepares for a protracted trade war, analysts said.By choosing global financial hub Shanghai rather than the political centre of Beijing, China is trying to play down the political aspects of the talks and emphasise the commercial elements, analysts suggested.The meeting will be the first face-to-face gathering of the two countries’ trade…

Neil Armstrong’s family paid US$6 million in secret wrongful death settlement

An Ohio hospital paid the estate of astronaut Neil Armstrong US$6 million in a confidential agreement to settle allegations that post-surgical complications led to Armstrong’s 2012 death, according to court documents and a report in The New York Times.The 2014 settlement went to 10 family members, including Armstrong’s two sons, sister, brother and six grandchildren, according to documents filed with the Hamilton County Probate Court in Cincinnati which were publicly available on Tuesday.Apollo…

Nike ‘Moon Shoe’: Canadian collector Miles Nadal pays US$437,500 for rare sneakers

A new world record for a pair of trainers was set at auction on Tuesday when an avid collector splashed out US$437,500 on Nike’s 1972 “Moon Shoe”, Sotheby’s said.The sale smashed the previous record of US$190,373 spent in 2017 on a pair of signed Converse worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympic basketball final, the New York-headquartered auction house said in a statement.It was also well above the presale estimate of US$160,000, Sotheby’s added.Canadian collector Miles Nadal was the…

New Pentagon chief Mark Esper’s mission: confront ‘growing threats’ from China and Russia, manage impulsive Donald Trump

Former soldier Mark Esper was sworn in as US secretary of defence Tuesday after earning Senate confirmation, filling America’s longest-ever Pentagon leadership vacuum as Washington faces mounting tensions with Iran and struggles to end the long-running Afghanistan war.US President Donald Trump’s second Defence Department chief takes over nearly seven months after the shock departure of James Mattis, the deeply respected career US Marine who broke with Trump over policy on the Middle East and…

US president hails Boris Johnson as ‘Britain Trump’ ... but will the bromance last?

The much-vaunted chemistry between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump has been touted as a chance to reboot the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States, but the mercurial pair may find it harder than expected to get along.The US president was quick to congratulate “Boris” after the former mayor of London won the race to become Britain’s new prime minister on Tuesday. “He will be great!” Trump tweeted.That enthusiasm was in marked contrast to comments he had made about Johnson’s…

Is Guo Wengui, Chinese fugitive tycoon and member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, also a spy?

A high-profile Chinese fugitive – who belongs to US President Donald Trump’s exclusive South Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, and has railed against China’s government – is accused of being a spy for that very regime, according to new documents filed in a federal-court case in New York.Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who also goes by Miles Kwok, fled to the United States four years ago after learning an associate had been arrested on corruption charges.He is now one of China’s most-wanted, accused of…

US trade trip to China fuels optimism Beijing will resume farm purchases

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Adam Behsudi on politico.com on July 23, 2019.White House senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday the administration hopes China will begin “very soon” to make significant purchases of US agricultural goods as a goodwill gesture – and ultimately as part of a final trade deal.“I’m going to play that on the optimistic side. Going over there is a very good sign,” Kudlow told reporters.He…

Vancouver fights back in tax battle over US$20 million property linked to Chinese billionaire NPC member

Vancouver’s municipal authorities are fighting back in court to collect a massive tax bill on a C$26.8 million (US$20.4 million) property linked to the Chinese billionaire parliamentarian Zheng Jianjiang.The seaside property, owned by Zheng’s wife, He Yiju, is on Belmont Avenue, one of the Canada’s most expensive streets. It was hit with the vacancy tax bill of C$249,313.67 (roughly US$190,000) in 2017, representing 1 per cent of the property’s value at the time.The house on the site was…

US charges 4 executives of Chinese company with evading North Korea sanctions and ‘trading with WMD proliferators’

Four Chinese nationals and the Chinese company they worked for have been indicted on charges of money laundering and violating weapons of mass destruction safeguards tied to the banned export of sensitive equipment to North Korea, the US Justice Department said on Tuesday.Under an indictment handed down in Newark, New Jersey, the four each face up to 45 years in prison and US$1.75 million in fines.Huawei ‘helped North Korea and secretly collected Czech data’The defendants are accused of using…

Two missing Canadian teens now suspects in murder of tourists Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese

Two teenage boys who were first categorised as missing in northern Canada are now suspects in the murder of an Australian tourist and his American girlfriend, as well as an unidentified man whose body was found near the boys’ abandoned flaming car, police said on Tuesday.Lucas Fowler, 23, an Australian citizen, and Chynna Deese, 24, from Charlotte, North Carolina, were found dead from gunfire on July 15 on a highway in northern British Columbia, 20km (12 miles) from Liard Hot Springs.Kam McLeod…

Huawei denies claims of wrongdoing in North Korea and Czech Republic and downplays EU cybersecurity concerns

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei on Tuesday denied media reports that suggested it had engaged in potentially unlawful activities in North Korea and the Czech Republic, while playing down European policymakers’ general cybersecurity worries.“We have never been engaged in any intelligence activities in the Czech Republic, and we do not operate in the DPRK,” Jakub Hera Adamowicz, Huawei’s European Union media manager, said, referring to North Korea’s official name at a press conference in Brussels…

US will deal with Huawei waiver applications within weeks, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says

The Trump administration plans to handle applications from tech companies seeking waivers over Huawei Technologies blacklisting within the next few weeks, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday.“We will deal with them very promptly,” Ross said in an interview. “There are 50-some-odd applications from 35 companies that have been received, and within the next couple of weeks we expect to have verdicts.”Pressed on whether they would be completed in two weeks, Ross…

FBI has 1,000 probes into Chinese intellectual property theft, director Christopher Wray says, calling China the most severe counter-intelligence threat to US

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has nearly 1,000 investigations open into economic espionage and attempted intellectual property theft, nearly all of them leading back to China, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday.“There is no country that poses a more severe counter-intelligence threat to this country right now than China … and I don’t say it lightly,” Wray told the US Senate Judiciary Committee.“We have as we speak probably about a thousand-plus investigations all across the…

Trump administration expands immigration crackdown with moves to speed up summary migrant deportations

The Trump administration announced Tuesday new measures to expand its immigration crackdown by permitting more summary deportations of undocumented migrants.The new rules allow immigration officials to pick up any undocumented immigrant anywhere in the country and, if the immigrant has been inside the United States less than two years, the officers can decide themselves to have the person deported, rather than have the case decided by an immigration judge.Formerly officers of the US Customs and…

Financier and alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein appeals bail denial

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls, has appealed a federal judge’s decision to keep him in a Manhattan jail while he awaits trial.According to a court notice made public on Tuesday, Epstein will ask the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the judge’s July 18 rejection of his request to remain under house arrest in his US$77 million mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.Epstein has pleaded not guilty and the appeal was…

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