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Huawei CFO Meng wanted to quit job just before arrest: Ren Zhengfei

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Meng Wanzhou, Executive Board Director of the Chinese technology giant Huawei, attends a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2014.

Alexander Bibik | Reuters

Meng Wanzhou, Executive Board Director of the Chinese technology giant Huawei, attends a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum “Russia Calling!” in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2014.

Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had been looking for another job when she was arrested in Canada last December on a U.S. warrant, the firm’s founder said in an interview aired on Thursday.

Ren Zhengfei, who is Meng’s father, also told Canada’s CTV that the two had become closer since she was detained in Vancouver on Dec. 1 last year.

The United States wants Meng to be extradited to face charges that she engaged in bank and wire fraud in violation of American sanctions against Iran. She denies wrongdoing.

“One month before that arrest, she wanted to resign and find a job elsewhere. She was not happy working here but after being arrested this matter improved our relationship and now she understands how difficult life can be,” Ren told CTV.

“In the past she had a smooth path. She couldn’t take the setbacks very well … you have to suffer a lot before becoming a hero and if you don’t have scars, you won’t have tough skin,” he added in comments that were translated into English.

Relations between Canada and China deteriorated sharply after Meng’s arrest. China has arrested two Canadians on national security grounds and retried another citizen who had already been convicted on drugs charges, this time sentencing him to death.

“Meng Wanzhou has committed no crime. She didn’t violate any Canadian rules and I think both Canada and Huawei are victims because this case hurts people in both countries and bilateral relations also suffered setbacks,” said Ren.

He also said he had previously only communicated infrequently with Meng, given how busy the two were.

“Now, every other day we have phone calls, we shoot the breeze, tell jokes, I tell her some anecdote I read on the internet. The case in Canada made my bonds deeper with my daughter,” he said.

Huawei is a major manufacturer of equipment for 5G, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. Canada is studying whether the firm will be able to bid for 5G contracts, given concerns about how secure the technology is.

Washington said last month that it would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei systems.

“Meng Wanzhou is an individual case and I don’t think it should influence in any way the relationship Canada has with Huawei,” said Ren.

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Trump says he does not see white nationalism rising after New Zealand mosque shooting

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President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Olivier Douliery | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump said on Friday he does not see a rise in white nationalism but it may be an issue in New Zealand, where a gunman who is believed to espouse those views killed 49 people at two mosques.

Asked by a reporter if he sees an increase in white nationalism, Trump said: “I don’t really. I think its a small group of people.”

Trump also said he had not seen a manifesto in which the suspected gunman denounced immigrants and praised Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

Trump’s comment come after news that at least 49 people were killed and more than 40 people are being treated for injuries after at least one shooter opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, according to New Zealand police.

A 28-year-old man was charged with murder and is set to appear in Christchurch District Court, while two others remain in police custody.

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Trump vetoes bill that would block border wall national emergency

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President Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding.

Evan Vucci | AP

President Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding.

President Donald Trump rejected a bill Friday that would end the national emergency he declared at the southern U.S. border.

The president’s veto, signed in front of reporters in the Oval Office, is his first since he entered the White House. While the Democratic-held House will likely try to override his opposition, neither chamber of Congress appears to have enough support to reach the two-thirds majority needed.

The GOP-controlled Senate dealt a blow to Trump on Thursday, when 12 Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to terminate his emergency declaration. He publicly pushed Senate Republicans to vote against the House-passed resolution even as he shot down one plan that could have limited the number of GOP senators voting to block his flex of executive power.

In a tweet before he vetoed the bill, Trump thanked the GOP senators who he said “bravely voted for Strong Border Security and the WALL.”

“Watch, when you get back to your State, they will LOVE you more than ever before!” he wrote.

Though Trump has pushed back congressional efforts to check his declaration for now, his administration still has to fight court challenges. More than a dozen states and several outside groups have filed lawsuits challenging his executive action.

Democrats plan to vote to override Trump’s veto on March 26, NBC News reported, citing two sources. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who introduced the measure to block the declaration in the House, said Thursday that he will try to gather support for another vote even though it will be “very tough” to reach a two-thirds majority.

Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border last month to divert already approved Defense Department money to build his proposed border wall. He demanded $5.7 billion for border barriers as part of a spending plan to fund the government through September, but Congress denied him. Lawmakers passed only $1.4 billion for structures on the border.

Democrats said Trump created a sham emergency in order to circumvent Congress’ appropriations power. Republicans also worried the president setting a dangerous precedent that Democrats could use to declare emergencies related to other topics such as climate change and gun violence.

Trump hopes to put $8 billion total toward the border wall, including the money allocated by Congress. Using emergency powers, he would divert $3.6 billion from military construction funds. With other executive actions, he hopes to pull the remainder from other Pentagon and Treasury Department funds.

The wall will not go away as a political issue. Trump set up another fight with Democrats when he asked for an additional $8.6 billion for border barriers in his recently released fiscal 2020 budget.

Democrats could also vote on whether to block the national emergency declaration every six months.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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American Airlines suspends flights to Venezuela amid unrest

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American Airlines on Friday suspended flights to and from Venezuela amid unrest, further isolating the South American country.

American’s pilot union earlier on Friday said it told its members to refuse any trips to the country after the State Department told U.S. citizens to leave the country. It also pulled its diplomats from Venezuela.

Most U.S. airlines already halted service to Venezuela amid political and economic turmoil there. American was the last major U.S. airline to fly to Venezuela and sells flights from Miami to Caracas and to Maracaibo. The move threatens to further isolate the South American nation that is mired in a humanitarian crisis.

“The safety and security of our team members and customers is always number one and American will not operate to countries we don’t consider safe,” American said in a statement.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cut ties with the U.S. in January after Washington recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s president. More than 50 other countries have recognized Guaido as the country’s president.

“Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens,” the State Department said in its warning on Tuesday.

“Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into Venezuela, refuse the assignment” and call chief pilots, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents about 15,000 American Airlines pilots, said in a note to its members late Thursday.

American Airlines did not immediately respond to request for comment. The airline’s two flights from Miami to Caracas were canceled on Friday, the airline’s website showed, but flights scheduled for Saturday appeared as scheduled.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants that represents American’s 25,000 flight attendants said it supported the pilot union’s decision “100%.”

“Of course without the pilots, the flight’s not operating,” said Lori Bassani, APFA’s president.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines ceased service to Venezuela in 2017.

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