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Parliament’s intelligence committee says new PM must make Huawei decision quickly | Science & Tech News



The intelligence and security committee of parliament has called for the next prime minister to quickly make a decision on Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G infrastrucutre.

In a three-page statement published on Friday, the committee said the debate about Huawei “has been unnecessarily protracted” and “damaged our international relationships”, although it did not explain which relationships had been damaged.

The ongoing campaign to replace Theresa May as the leader of the Conservative Party and as prime minister is expected to conclude within days, with a winner announced on Tuesday.

At that point the British decision on what role, if any, the Chinese telecoms giant’s equipment could play in the UK’s 5G network is required, amid concerns it might allow Beijing to spy and sabotage UK networks.

Suggestions in April that Mrs May had, during a National Security Council meeting, decided to allow Huawei to take part in “non-core” elements of the 5G infrastructure have since been dismissed by the government.

The then defence secretary Gavin Williamson was accused of leaking the claim about Mrs May’s decision and was subsequently fired. He has denied being behind the leak.

Another parliamentary committee – the joint committee on national security – has now launched another inquiry into Huawei’s role in 5G. The stage of this inquiry, receiving written submissions, won’t conclude until 13 September.

Explaining its concerns about the impact of a potential ban on competition, the intelligence committee wrote: “The telecoms market has been consolidated down to just a few players: in the case of 5G there are only three potential suppliers to the UK – Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.

“Limiting the field to just two… would increase over-dependence and reduce competition, resulting in less resilience and lower security standards.

“Therefore including a third company – even if you may have some security concerns about them and will have to set a higher bar for security measures within the system – will, counter-intuitively, result in higher overall security.”

Chinese ambassador shares his thoughts on UK business relations and the next Tory leader

Huawei: ‘UK is regarded as most business friendly’

Speaking to Sky News last week, Huawei’s head of government affairs, Victor Zhang, said: “I am confident that the UK will choose Huawei for the future 5G development.”

Mr Zhang did not comment on whether he believed the company’s role would be limited to those parts of the network which perform less critical functions, and are thus less valuable to a hostile party trying to conduct espionage or sabotage.

However the intelligence committee, like the science and technology committee last week, expressed concerns about the UK aligning its policy with that of fellow Five Eyes partners who have banned Huawei from being involved in their domestic 5G networks.

This question “is not about any risk to the communication channels which are used for intelligence exchange – these would always be kept entirely separate”, the committee explained.

“It is about perception as much as anything: our Five Eyes partners need to be able to trust the UK and we must not do anything which puts that at risk – the value of the partnership cannot be overstated.”

The Five Eyes intelligence-sharing nations are, in addition to Britain, Australia, Canada, the US and New Zealand.

The GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
The UK’s involvement in the Five Eyes partnership ‘cannot be overstated’

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the US deputy assistant secretary for cyber security, Robert Strayer, said Washington would have to reassess its information sharing with the UK if Huawei was allowed any role at all in its 5G infrastructure.

He said: “We consider Huawei to be a substantial risk to the communications infrastructure.

“Therefore any country that deploys Huawei equipment in any part of its 5th generation infrastructure will be a network… that we need to assess ourselves and make a determination about how we will respond going forward.”

O2: Banning Huawei would slow down UK’s entry into 5G

A review of the telecommunication supply chain in the UK has been conducted by the government, with input from the security and intelligence agencies, as well as from industry.

Although it is not expected to be published in full, the result of that review – and its recommendations – have been awaited for several months.

A spokesperson for the government told Sky News: “The security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance.

“We have robust procedures in place to manage risks to national security and are committed to the highest possible security standards.

“The telecoms supply chain review will be announced in due course. We have been clear throughout the process that all network operators will need to comply with the government’s decision,” they added.

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Child among 22 migrants rescued from Channel by French authorities | World News



French authorities have rescued 22 migrants who got into trouble while trying to cross the Channel.

The group, which included a woman and a child, was found roughly two miles off the coast of Dunkirk at about 1.30am on Sunday.

Authorities were alerted to the migrants’ plight by a ferry just after midnight and sent out search and rescue teams.

They were safely recovered and taken back to Dunkirk on board the RIAS Bee Languedoc.

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson warned migrants not to attempt the Channel crossing, saying: “We will send you back.”

The prime minister said: “Clearly the most important thing is to stop them coming across from France so we are working very closely with the French authorities.

“The point I would just make to people thinking of making this journey – one, it is very hazardous, you may think the weather looks great but it’s a very, very dangerous thing to do.

“The second thing is – we will send you back. The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally.”

His comments came after dozens of migrants were rescued off the British south coast on Thursday.

One witness told Sky News dozens of people were picked up and taken to Dover, in Kent.

The Home Office confirmed 37 migrants were rescued after four small boats were intercepted.

It said Home Secretary Priti Patel would be raising the issue with her French counterpart.

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Five Britons arrested and 100kg of drugs confiscated in Malaga | UK News



A British criminal network has been foiled in Spain, with more than 100kg of drugs confiscated. 

Five Britons – three men and two women aged between 38 and 62 – have been arrested in connection with the network by the National Police in Malaga.

Five people were arrested. Pic: Policia Nacional
Three men and two women have been arrested. Pic: Policia Nacional

Officers said they intercepted 52kg of a mix of marijuana and hash, and 51kg of vacuum-packed marijuana buds.

The police operation also saw the seizure of 23,000 euros (£21,000) in cash.

Drugs were being sent across Europe through couriers based in Malaga, and it is thought they were destined for countries including the UK, Sweden, Poland and Denmark.

The suspects allegedly took steps to avoid police, including frequently changing which vehicles they used and the homes they rented, officers said.

Some of the drugs were destined for the UK. Pic: Policia Nacional
Some of the drugs were destined for the UK. Pic: Policia Nacional

A long-running police operation saw two parcel shipments intercepted at courier agencies in May, containing 58kg of drugs in seven boxes intended for Sweden, Poland and Denmark.

In subsequent shipments, the last one intercepted earlier in August, three packages containing 17kg of the drugs were prevented from reaching Sweden and the UK, the force said.

Police then carried out home searches once the suspects were identified, with a further 28kg uncovered in the raids.

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Hong Kong: Police use water cannon for first time against protesters | World News



Hong Kong police have used water cannon against anti-government protesters for the first time during a second straight day of demonstrations.

There have been skirmishes between activists and officers following a pro-democracy march in an area known as the New Territories where tens of thousands took to the streets.

A large crowd then attended a rally in a park but another group of protesters took over a main street, putting up barricades with traffic barriers and cones.

Police tried to disperse them by firing tear gas but protesters reacted by throwing bricks and other objects towards the officers.

The violence came a day after similar clashes in the Kowloon Bay district where authorities arrested 29 people for offences including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons and assaulting police officers.

According to the South China Morning Post, the custom-built French trucks have 15 high-pressure cannons.

Two cannons on the roof can fire more than 1,200 litres of water a minute over a distance of 50 metres. The water can be mixed with tear gas or liquid dye as well.

According to guidelines, the cannons should only be aimed at the lower limbs of the protesters.

An assistant commissioner of police overseeing operations is allowed to authorise deployment of the water cannon after assessing threats.

The trucks arrived in the city in May last year.

More follows…

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