Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

China demands Canada release Huawei executive — “She’s a Big Fish”

December 6, 2018

China on Thursday demanded Canada release a Huawei Technologies executive who was arrested in a case that adds to technology tensions with Washington and threatens to complicate trade talks.

Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is accused of trying to evade U.S. curbs on trade with Iran.

The timing is awkward following the announcement of a U.S.-Chinese cease-fire in a tariff war over Beijing’s technology policy. Meng was detained in Vancouver on Saturday, the day Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met in Argentina and announced their deal.

Asian stock markets tumbled on the news, fearing renewed U.S.-Chinese tensions that threaten global economic growth. Market indexes in Tokyo and Hong Kong by 1.9 percent and 2.8 percent and Shanghai was off 1.7 percent at midday.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said Meng broke no U.S. or Canadian laws and demanded Canada “immediately correct the mistake” and release her.

“The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strongly protests this serious violation of human rights,” said an embassy statement.

A profile of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is displayed on a Huawei computer at a Huawei store in Beijing, China, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. Canadian authorities said Wednesday that they have arrested Meng for possible extradition to the United States. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

Huawei Technologies Ltd., the biggest global supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns. Washington has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology.

The U.S. sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for Chinese spying and as commercial competitors that the Trump administration says benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers.

Trump’s tariff hikes this year on Chinese imports stemmed from complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. But American officials also worry more broadly about Chinese plans for state-led industry development they worry might erode U.S. industrial leadership.

U.S. leaders also worry that Beijing is using the growth of Chinese business abroad to gain strategic leverage.

“The United States is stepping up containment of China in all respects,” said Zhu Feng, an international relations expert at Nanjing University. He said targeting Huawei, one of the most successful Chinese companies, “will trigger anti-U.S. sentiment in China.”

“The incident could turn out to be a breaking point,” Zhu said.

Last month, New Zealand blocked a mobile phone company from using Huawei equipment, saying it posed a “significant network security risk.” In August, Australia banned the company from working on the country’s fifth-generation network due to security concerns.

The Wall Street Journal reported this year that U.S. authorities are investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on Iran. The Chinese government appealed to Washington to avoid any steps that might damage business confidence.

Huawei’s Chinese rival, ZTE Corp., was nearly driven out of business this year when Washington barred it from buying U.S. technology over exports to North Korea and Iran. Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and embed a U.S.-chosen compliance team in the company.

Huawei is regarded as far stronger commercially than ZTE. The company based in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, has the biggest research and development budget of any Chinese company and a vast portfolio of tech patents, making it less dependent on American suppliers.

It also has a growing smartphone brand that is one of the top three global suppliers behind Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. by number of handsets sold.

Meng was changing flights in Canada when she was detained “on behalf of the United States of America” to face “unspecified charges” in New York, according to a Huawei statement.

“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” the statement said.

A U.S. Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

Huawei said it complies with all laws and rules where it operates, including export controls and sanctions of the United Nations, the United States and European Union.

Meng is a prominent member of China’s business world as deputy chairman of Huawei’s board and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese military engineer.

Despite that, her arrest is unlikely to derail U.S.-Chinese trade talks, said Willy Lam, a politics specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“I think too much is at stake for Xi Jinping. He desperately wants a settlement,” said Lam. “So I don’t think this will have a really detrimental impact on the possibility of both countries reaching a deal.”

Longer term, however, the case will reinforce official Chinese urgency about developing domestic technology suppliers to reduce reliance on the United States, said Lam.

Trump has “pulled out all the stops” to hamper Chinese ambitions to challenge the United States as a technology leader, Lam said. That includes imposing limits on visas for Chinese students to study science and technology.

“If the Chinese need further convincing, this case would show them beyond doubt Trump’s commitment,” said Lam.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said U.S. and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

“That’s something we should be watching out for. It’s a possibility. China plays rough,” Mulroney said. “It’s a prominent member of their society and it’s a company that really embodies China’s quest for global recognition as a technology power.”

Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for “sustained fury” from the Chinese and said the arrest will be portrayed in China as Canada kowtowing to Trump. He also said the Iran allegations are very damaging to Huawei and China will push back hard.

The Chinese will view Meng’s arrest on the same day as Trump’s meeting with the Chinese leader as a planned conspiracy to do damage, said Wenran Jiang, a senior fellow at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

“She was in transit though Vancouver. That means the intelligence agencies in Canada and the U.S. were tracking her and planning to arrest her for some time,” he said.

Jiang foresees a crisis in relations between the three countries if Meng is extradited. Any talk of a free trade agreement between Canada and China would be over, he said.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services and Banking committees, said Huawei is an agent of China’s ruling Communist Party and applauded Canada for the arrest.

“Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the chief financial officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran,” he said.

Associated Press


CIA says crown prince messaged key aide around time of Khashoggi murder – report

December 1, 2018

Wall Street Journal reports excerpts from intelligence assessment which says Saudi royal sent at least 11 text messages in hours surrounding killing to man who oversaw hit squad

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on October 23, 2018. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on October 23, 2018. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 text messages to his closest adviser, said to have overseen the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours preceding and following the journalist’s murder, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing excerpts from a highly classified CIA assessment.

The Saudi royal sent the messages to Saud al-Qahtani, who is thought to have supervised the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi. The content of the electronic messages is unknown, the newspaper reported.

The assessment also notes that the prince told associates in August 2017 that “we could possibly lure [Khashoggi] outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements,” if the dissident journalist living in the United States could not be persuaded to return to the kingdom, The Hill website reported.

The Journal report noted that from the excerpts it is unclear whether the comment came directly from Prince Mohammed, or was instead a description of his communications.

In this image made from a March 2018 video provided by Metafora Production, Jamal Khashoggi speaks during an interview at an undisclosed location. (Metafora Production via AP)

Although the excerpts do not directly state that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the crown prince, the US intelligence agency apparently had “medium-to-high” confidence that the crown prince had targeted the dissident writer and to the point of “probably ordering his death,” the Journal reported.

US President Donald Trump has said it may never be known who was responsible for the killing, and in public comments — and a long and unusual statement last week — he reinforced the United States’ long-standing alliance with the Saudis. Trump has praised a pending arms deal with the kingdom that he says will provide the US with jobs and lucrative payments, though some outside assessments say the economic benefits are exaggerated.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Washington’s continued strong ties with Riyadh despite Khashoggi’s murder, and denied reports linking the Saudi crown prince to the killing.

“I do believe I’ve read every piece of intelligence unless it’s come in in the last few hours … There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo told reporters.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks up to the microphones to speak to members of the media after leaving a closed-door meeting about Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote for The Washington Post and had been critical of Prince Mohammed, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get marriage documents on October 2, where he was killed and reportedly dismembered. His body has not yet been found.

Saudi Arabia initially said Khashoggi had walked out of the consulate before shifting its account of what happened amid Turkish intelligence leaks. Riyadh is now seeking the death penalty for five members of the hit squad in a move that appeared to be aimed at appeasing international outrage over the killing and distancing the killers and their operation from the crown prince.

Saudi prosecutors maintain that the 15-man team sent to Istanbul exceeded its authority when the lead negotiator in the team decided to kill Khashoggi for refusing orders to return.

World leaders on Friday welcomed Prince Mohammed at the G20 summit, showing he was no pariah less than two months after the killing.



Mark Zuckerberg enters wartime mode to protect besieged Facebook

November 19, 2018

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told company leadership earlier this year that he plans to take more direct control of the social media giant in responding to scrutiny from Congress and the public, saying that the company is at war.

Zuckerberg told top employees at a June meeting that he needed to centralize decisionmaking in order to address several problems facing Facebook, the Wall Street Journal reported, an approach that has since caused some executives to leave.

The switch also has caused tension with his longtime Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, according to the report.

Facebook Inc. has faced several issues since the 2016 presidential election, including questions over its role in allowing Facebook accounts and groups to attempt to influence elections, especially Russian bot accounts.

Image result for facebook, pictures

Earlier this year, the company also faced backlash after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which it was revealed that millions of users’ personal information had been compromised.

Last week, the New York Times reported that Facebook had a contract with a right-leaning public relations group that the publication claimed was attempting to link the anti-Facebook movement to Democrats, particularly liberal megadonor George Soros.

The 34-year-old CEO ended Facebook’s contract with the company, Definers Public Relations, Wednesday night, and on Thursday said that he and Sandberg were not aware of the relationship the social media company had with Definers.

The report claimed Facebook paid Definers to write articles that portrayed Facebook in a positive light. Definers released a statement Friday that indicated they were not paid to write such articles or do opposition research, but instead were hired to do media monitoring and public relations work.

The Journal’s report says that Zuckerberg expressed frustration during an employee question-and-answer session on Friday over the recent critical coverage of Facebook, calling that coverage “bullshit,” according to people familiar with the comments.


Chief Justice Roberts Requests Tenth Circuit To Investigate Kavanaugh Ethics Questions

October 14, 2018

While the Republican leadership celebrates the seating of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts yesterday requested the Tenth Circuit to review more than twelve ethics complaints that have been made against Kavanaugh. The complaints concern Kavanaugh’s behavior at the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

These complaints were initially received by the U.S. Court of Appeals prior to Kavanaugh’s seating on the Supreme Court. Chief Judge Merrick Garland — whose nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by Senate Republicans—recused himself from the matter. The complaints were then passed to Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, whom President George H.W. Bush nominated to the bench.

Judge Henderson dismissed some of the complaints made against Judge Kavanaugh as frivolous. But she concluded that more than a dozen complaints were substantive enough to warrant investigation by an impartial panel and that they should not be handled by Judge Kavanaugh’s fellow judges in the D.C. Circuit. She referred them to Chief Justice Roberts, who has now referred them to the 10th Circuit.

The Legal Basis Of The Ethics Complaints

The complaints were not made without legal basis. More than 2,400 law professors have determined that Kavanaugh has “displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court.”

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens also stated that Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated bias and is “not fit for the Supreme Court.” Former Justice Stevens, in remarks to retirees in Boca Raton, Fla, declared that Kavanaugh’s statements on September 27 revealed prejudices that would make it impossible for him to do the court’s work. “They suggest that he has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities.”

Judge Brett Kavanaugh himself has expressed regrets in the Wall Street Journal, about “a few things [he] should not have said” in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, though without giving specifics.

Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Photographer: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Bloomberg

Now, Chief Justice Roberts has requested Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, the chief circuit judge of the Denver-based Tenth Circuit, to review the complaints against Kavanaugh and “any pending or new complaints related to the same subject matter.” Judge Tymkovich has the option of handling the complaints himself, dismissing them or appointing a special committee to examine them.

Unlike the allegations of Justice Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct and excessive drinking as a teenager, there is no question here about the facts as to what happened, since they occurred on national television. At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Judge Kavanaugh’s behavior was startlingly non-judicial in nature. From the outset in his prepared statement, he was angry and confrontational in manner. He was aggrieved and complaining about the situation in which he found himself. He was impolite and challenged the integrity of the Senate questioners and portrayed the hearing in the starkest partisan terms.

Kavanaugh made no apparent effort to bring a lifetime of professional expertise and perspective to bear on the difficult issues under consideration. Instead, he was dismissive of the inquiry and was careless on matters of fact that had been asserted by other potential witnesses on the subject under discussion. He made obfuscating responses to questions about the meaning of words. He made no apparent effort to hold emotions in check and shouted at U.S. Senators and accused them of wrongdoing. He repeatedly sought to shift the attention and blame to others for what was taking place. He resisted further legal inquiry into the issues under discussion. He approached the inquiry with an attitude of entitlement and self-pity. His conduct was remarkably unprofessional.

Although Kavanaugh’s behavior was the very opposite of what one hopes for and expects in a judge, it succeeded in its immediate intent of winning the applause of President Trump and his Republican supporters. Yet his performance, which has been accurately satirized on Saturday Night Live, appalled the rest of the country and raised strictly legal questions about his temperament to sit as a judge on any federal court, let alone the Supreme Court.

Next Steps

The situation is unique in that never before has a Supreme Court appointee joined the court at a time when a fellow judge has concluded that misconduct claims against that appointee warrant review and when a former Supreme Court Justice has concluded that the appointee’s behavior was disqualifying.

Technically, Supreme Court justices are not subject to the misconduct rules governing these claims. But if complaints against a sitting Justice are not dealt with in an impartial apolitical manner, then there will be an asterisk against Judge Tymkovich and Justice Kavanaugh for the remainder of their terms, and indeed the U.S. Supreme Court itself.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

There is therefore a risk that Mitch McConnell’s seeming accomplishment of a “rock-solid Republican majority on the Supreme Court for a generation” may yet turn out to be something of a Pyrrhic victory.

The author is registered as a political independent.

Author: Steve Denning — 

And read also:

Kavanaugh: Why The Supreme Court Faces A Generation Of Ethics Questions

Why Judge Kavanaugh’s Regrets Cannot Be Accepted Without More

How Judge Kavanaugh Bombed His Job Interview With The Senate Judiciary Committee

Kavanaugh: How The Republican Leadership Broke The Four Rules Of Crisis Management

Kavanaugh: Why Fresh Allegations Raise Further Crisis-Management Challenges

My new book, “The Age of Agile” was published by HarperCollins in 2018. I consult with organizations around the world on leadership, innovation, management and business narrative. For many years I worked at the World Bank, where I held many management positions, including di…


Steve Denning’s most recent book is The Age of Agile (HarperCollins, 2018)

Treasury’s Mnuchin warns China against currency devaluation as yuan falls

October 10, 2018

‘Various factors’ behind currency weakness, including Chinese economy, Mnuchin says

Getty Images
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stopped short of accusing China of purposely depressing its currency, in a newspaper interview published Wednesday, but warned Beijing against engaging in a competitive devaluation of the yuan as the two countries continue to battle each other over trade.

“As we look at trade issues, there is no question that we want to make sure China is not doing competitive devaluations,” Mnuchin said, according to the Financial Times, in an interview ahead of meetings of the Group of 20 nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Bali, Indonesia.

See: Here’s why traders think the Chinese yuan could reach a record low against the dollar

The U.S. dollar USDCNY, -0.0029% rose to more than 6.93 yuan earlier this week. The dollar edged back down 0.1% to 6.919 yuan early Wednesday.

The yuan has dropped nearly 11% from its 2018 peak in March and is trading within striking distance of 7 per dollar, an important psychological level. Economists and analysts have attributed much of the weakness to China’s slowing economy and other factors, arguing against the idea that the government is working to purposely weaken the currency as part of the trade battle with the U.S.

A sharp rise in interbank lending rates in Hong Kong, an offshore trading hub for the yuan, surged Tuesday, possibly reflecting efforts by China’s central bank to prevent the currency from weakening too much, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mnuchin said the currency had “depreciated significantly” and that U.S. officials looked forward to discussing the “various factors” behind the move. “One of those factors has to do with their own economic issues and what has gone on in the Chinese economy,” he acknowledged.

The Treasury Department is expected to release its semiannual currency report later this month. A Bloomberg report said Mnuchin has faced pressure from the White House to formally designate China a currency manipulator. The Financial Times said Mnuchin refused to talk about the report, except to say he expected it to be published soon and that he didn’t specifically refer to currency manipulation.


Google+ shut down after data from up to 500,000 users may have been exposed to external developers

October 9, 2018

Google will shut down the consumer version of its social network Google+ after announcing data from up to 500,000 users may have been exposed to external developers by a bug that was present for more than two years in its systems.


Alphabet Inc’s Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of its Google+ social network and opted not to disclose the issue partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, the report said on the Wall Street Journal, citing documents and people briefed on the incident.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)



   (Wall Street Journal)


WSJ: Trump Mocks Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford at Mississippi Rally

October 3, 2018

After her testimony last week, president had called her a ‘very credible witness’


President Donald Trump speaking Tuesday night at a rally in Southaven, Miss.
President Donald Trump speaking Tuesday night at a rally in Southaven, Miss. PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

President Trump mocked the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford during a political rally Tuesday night, aiming direct public criticism at her for the first time while expressing broader frustration at sexual misconduct accusations facing men at all levels.

“It’s a damn sad situation,” Mr. Trump said in Southaven, Miss.

Mr. Trump had been advised not to criticize Dr. Ford and had displayed restraint after her testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee—an emotional, measured appearance that drew bipartisan praise, even as many Republicans said they didn’t believe that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was Dr. Ford’s attacker as she alleges.

But Tuesday night, Mr. Trump criticized gaps in Dr. Ford’s retelling of her sexual assault at a house party in a Maryland suburb of Washington in the early 1980s.

“How did you get home?” Mr. Trump asked, mimicking a questioner during last week’s hearing that also featured a defiant Judge Kavanaugh.

“I don’t remember,” Mr. Trump said in mock response of Dr. Ford.

“How’d you get there? I don’t remember.  … Where is the place? … I don’t remember. … How many years ago was it? I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said, the crowd cheering.

“Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”

Michael R. Bromwich


A vicious, vile and soulless attack on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well? She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice.

Andrea Mitchell


Michael Bromwich, one of Dr. Ford’s lawyers, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s comments were “a vicious, vile and soulless attack,” adding: “Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well? She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice.”

Last week Mr. Trump said he found Dr. Ford’s testimony was “very compelling” and that she was a “very credible witness.” His depiction on Tuesday of Dr. Ford’s testimony didn’t always keep in line with what Dr. Ford said during her Senate hearing.

Dr. Ford couldn’t recall certain details, but she testified that she clearly remembered that people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house and that she went upstairs to use the bathroom and that she was pushed into a bedroom where the assault took place and that someone in the room turned up music. She testified that she was “100 percent” certain that Judge Kavanaugh was her attacker, an allegation he vehemently denies, and that he and a friend, Mark Judge, laughed. Mr. Judge has said in a letter submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee he has “no memory of this alleged incident.”

Mr. Trump bluntly added Tuesday night: “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered.”

Mr. Trump invoked accusations he has faced. “For me it’s like part of the job description,” he said. “Let it happen to me. Shouldn’t happen to him.”

He then appeared to turn to the #MeToo movement, which has toppled numerous high-profile men, starting with Harvey Weinstein, over the past year.

“This is an important time for our country,” Mr. Trump said, bemoaning situations in which a husband, father, brother or son can face false accusations of “horrible” things and lose their jobs.

Write to Alex Leary at

Saudi Public Investment Fund refutes WSJ report claiming $200bn solar project halted

October 2, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has described as “inaccurate” a report claiming the Kingdom has stopped a plan to build the world’s biggest solar-power-generation project.

KSA, SoftBank to establish the largest solar power plant in the world with enough capacity to power 140 million homes. (Shutterstock)

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the $200 billion project with SoftBank was placed on hold by the Kingdom.

“The Public Investment Fund continues to work with the SoftBank Vision Fund, and other parties, on a number of large-scale, multi-billion dollar projects relating to the solar industry, which will be announced in due course,” a fund spokesperson was reported as saying in the Saudi Press Agency.

“The announcement in March 2018 clearly stated that this includes solar generation projects and joint plans to develop large-scale solar panels manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia for solar power generation.

.This will be complemented by R&D and training components. These plans to develop a leading champion for the industry remain on-track and in-line with the timeline that would be anticipated for projects of this scale and ambition” the spokesperson added.

Image result for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, photos

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the PIF chairman, and Masayoshi Son, chairman of SoftBank, inked an agreement earlier this year to establish the largest solar power plant in the world with enough capacity to power 140 million homes.

Arab News