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Huawei’s finance boss says she will fight extradition



Huawei’s chief financial officer has denied she covered up her company’s alleged links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran in violation of sanctions.

Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on 1 December at the request of the US.

She faces charges of conspiring to defraud multiple financial institutions between 2009 and 2014.

Canadian prosecutors have urged a court in Vancouver to keep her in custody but, according to her sworn affidavit, she suffers from severe hypertension and is worried about her health.

The 46-year-old also denied being a flight risk – a concern raised by prosecutors – adding that she has “significant ties” to Vancouver dating back at least 15 years and property in the city.

Her family plans to seek leave to remain in Canada during the case and her husband said they wanted their daughter to attend school in the country.

Meng said she will fight her extradition to the US, adding that she is “innocent of the allegations that have been levelled” at her and will contest them at a trial in the US if she is surrendered.

It is alleged she used Hong Kong company Skycom to access the Iranian market in deals that violated US sanctions.

She allegedly assured US banks that Huawei and Skycom were different companies but prosecutors say they were one and the same.

It is not yet clear whether Meng will be extradited to the US – American prosecutors have 60 days to formally request this.

If an application is successful she faces a maximum jail sentence of 30 years for each charge if convicted.

China has called for Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, to be released.

Meanwhile, world markets are watching closely due to fears that the case could escalate the trade war between the US and China.

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Saudi Arabia ‘wants to avoid war with Iran at all costs’ | World News



Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has told Sky News his country wants to avoid war with Iran at all costs.

Adel Al-Jubeir denied suggestions by Iran that Saudi Arabia was trying to provoke a war.

He said: “That is ridiculous. We have made it clear and so has the US. The escalation has come from the Iranian side with their aggressive behaviour.

“We are trying to avoid a war at all costs. We are consulting with our friends and allies to see what options and steps can be taken.

“Iran has to understand that its aggressive behaviour cannot be sustained.”

He said that tougher sanctions on Iran would be implemented and added: “The burden is on Iran to reduce its aggression and act like a normal country.”

The US was considering a response to an Iranian missile strike that brought down a US Navy drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

Mr Al Jubeir said: “Closing the Strait of Hormuz is going to generate a very, very strong reaction.

“When you interfere with international shipping it has an impact on the supply of energy, it has an impact on the price of oil which has an impact on the world economy.”

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Philippe Zdar: French DJ and producer dies after falling from Paris window | World News



French producer and DJ Philippe “Zdar” Cerboneschi has died after accidentally falling from a building in Paris, his agent has said.

Zdar, 50, who is legendary on the electronic music scene, made up one half of music duo Cassius with fellow producer Hubert Blanc-Francard.

The duo were set to release a new album on Friday.

In the early 90s, Zdar also partnered with Etienne de Crécy to form Motorbass, which released one album, Pansoul.

Philippe Zdar (right) and Hubert Blanc-Francard (left) launched Cassius together
Philippe Zdar is one half of the Cassius duo

Zdar has also lent his producing talents to other artists throughout the years.

He produced and mixed the critically acclaimed Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album for French indie-rock band Phoenix in 2009, and more recently worked on the upcoming album, A Bathful of Ecstasy, for Hot Chip.

Other collaborations include Kanye West, Robyn, Franz Ferdinand, The Rapture and Cat Power.

Musicians, DJs and producers led the tributes online to the French touch pioneer on Thursday.

Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos said he was “totally devastated” and was “unable to process” the news.

He later added: “Philippe Zdar was a great inspiration, both as a producer, but particularly as a good man and friend.”

“His taste was impeccable and is heard on everything he worked on.

“I will miss him terribly.”

Meanwhile, Phoenix simply shared a blacked-out post on Instagram.

Calvin Harris paid tribute to “an unbelievably lovely man with an incredible legacy”, while The Black Madonna described the Frenchman as a “visionary and tectonic force who shaped the geography of modern dance music”.

Hot Chip said the group was “stunned and immensely sad” upon hearing the news of the producer’s death.

“He was a kind, open and endlessly enthusiastic man who brought happiness to everyone around him.”

“Au revoir Philippe, et merci,” the group said.

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Spy satellite images reveal Himalayan glaciers are shrinking fast | Science & Tech News



Himalayan glaciers are now melting twice as fast as they were before the turn of the century, Cold War-era spy satellite images have revealed.

The melting of ice in the Asian mountain range, which includes Mount Everest, has doubled during the last 40 years, according to a new study by scientists.

The team, from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, compared US spy satellite images from the mid-1970s with modern satellite data.

Changri Nup Glacier, one of the hundreds studied by the researchers. Pic: Joshua Maurer
Changri Nup Glacier, one of the hundreds studied by the researchers. Pic: Joshua Maurer

They examined 650 glaciers spanning 2000km (1,243 miles) across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan.

Analysis showed glaciers have been shrinking by almost half a metre each year since 2000 – twice the amount lost every year between 1975 to 2000.

More than a quarter of the ice that was present in 1975 has vanished during the last four decades.

“This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting over this time interval, and why,” said lead author Joshua Maurer, from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.

Recent yearly losses have averaged about 8 billion tonnes of water – the equivalent of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools, he said.

Though temperatures vary from place to place, average temperatures were one degree Celsius (1.8F) higher between 2000 to 2016 than they were between 1975 and 2000.

As well as rising temperatures, other causes included reduced rainfall and the burning of fossil fuels as soot landing in the region absorbs sunlight and speeds up melting.

“It shows how endangered [the Himalayas] are if climate change continues at the same pace in the coming decades,” said Etienne Berthier, a glaciologist at France’s Laboratory for Studies in Geophysics and Spatial Oceanography, who was not involved in the study.

The study has been published in the journal Science Advances.

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