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Huawei to match Google’s mobile services by Q1 2020

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378581?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Huawei to match Google’s mobile services by Q1 2020

Nov 21. 2019
By The Straits Times/Asia News Network

194 Viewed

Huawei may soon be able to offer Android developers a full range of the essential mobile services required for their apps as the ones provided by Google.

This would allow more Android apps to work on new Huawei phones affected by a ban that forbids the use of Google mobile services on these handsets.

Mr Zhang Ping’an, president of Huawei Consumer Cloud Service told The Straits Times in an interview at Huawei’s Asia-Pacific Developer Day last Wednesday (Nov 13) that Huawei Mobile Services can “replace 90 per cent of Google Mobile Services by December”.

These mobile services from Google and Huawei are used by developers to enable key functions in their mobile apps to, for instance, show a location on a map or to save data to the cloud.

Currently, there are 24 software kits in Huawei Mobile Services to help developers with functions such as in-app purchases, mapping, displaying advertisements and more.

Mr Zhang added that the Chinese smartphone maker will have all the essential application programming interfaces (APIs) – required by developers to make their apps work – by the next quarter.

Huawei has had to build up its own mobile services due to a United States government ban in May that forbids American firms from doing business with the firm. The ban means that Huawei cannot integrate Google’s apps and services in its latest smartphones.

The flagship Mate 30 series smartphones are the first Huawei phones to be affected by the US ban.

Despite this, Huawei officially launched the Mate 30 series in Singapore last Saturday. The phones are available now from retailers and telcos M1 and StarHub.

Instead of Google apps and services, the Mate 30 phones uses Huawei’s equivalent apps and services in Huawei Mobile Services, like a Web browser and an app store dubbed AppGallery.

At the Asia-Pacific Huawei Developer Day conference, which was attended by over 150 industry partners from the region, Huawei also said that Mate 30 users are eligible for 5GB of free cloud storage from Huawei’s cloud service, which can be used to store photos, contacts and other documents.

The free cloud storage mitigates Mate 30 users’ lack of access to Google’s free cloud service that is available to other Android smartphone users.

Without the Google Play Store, Mate 30 users have to use Huawei’s AppGallery app store to download their apps. According to Huawei, the AppGallery is now the third-largest app store in the world with a reach of over 170 countries and around 390 million monthly active users.

As part of its strategy to encourage more developers to publish their apps in its app store, Huawei has set aside a US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) fund to help developers build apps that integrate with Huawei Mobile Services, as well as to publish and market the apps in its app store.

Developers are also levied 15 per cent by Huawei for purchases made by users in AppGallery compared with 30 per cent for Google’s app store.

There are now over 50,000 apps that already use Huawei Mobile Services, up from around 23,000 last year, said Huawei.

Several of these apps are by Singapore-based firms, such as telcos M1 and StarHub, online platforms Lazada and Carousell, as well as news apps from The Straits Times’ parent company Singapore Press Holdings.

Mr Ross Veitch, chief executive and co-founder of Singapore-based online travel marketplace Wego, said that the process of porting the Wego app to use Huawei Mobile Services was “relatively easy as we got most of it done in half a day.”

The same Wego app supports both Google’s and Huawei’s mobile services and the app detects which mobile service is available on a user’s device and automatically switch to using the appropriate one, said Mr Veitch.

He added that other developers would probably take a similar approach as supporting both mobile services does not significantly increase the size of the app.

“End users don’t have to worry about app support. Huawei is such a big player on the global stage – they are the second-largest smartphone maker. It would be silly not to support them,” he said.

Trump quoting his own denials of quid pro quo

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378579?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Trump quoting his own denials of quid pro quo

Nov 21. 2019
President Donald Trump holds his notes as he speaks to reporters outside the White House on Nov. 20, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Salwan Georges
Photo by: Salwan Georges — The Washington Post

President Donald Trump holds his notes as he speaks to reporters outside the White House on Nov. 20, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Salwan Georges Photo by: Salwan Georges — The Washington Post
By The Washington Post · Philip Bump · OPINION, OP-ED

289 Viewed

For about a week at the beginning of September, with aid to Ukraine on hold and a deadline for its release approaching, the Trump administration’s diplomatic team in that country was scrambling. It wasn’t clear why the aid was being held back or how it would be released.

On Sept. 1, William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, heard through the grapevine that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had explicitly linked the release of aid to the need for Ukraine to announce investigations that would benefit President Donald Trump politically, a link to which Sondland himself later admitted.

Taylor texted Sondland to ask whether it was the case that aid was predicated on the investigations Trump was seeking. Sondland asked him to call, then telling Taylor (according to Taylor) that, in essence, it was.

On Sept. 9, Taylor texted again.

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” he wrote, referencing the utility of the investigations to Trump’s 2020 bid.

This time, Sondland didn’t reply immediately; instead, he called Trump. During his testimony before the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, Sondland explained that his connection of aid to the investigations was his own assumption, the product of his adding two and two to get four.

“Pretty much the only logical conclusion to you that given all of these factors, that the aid was also a part of this quid pro quo?” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked Sondland.

“Yup,” Sondland replied.

It was in that context that Sondland described calling Trump after Taylor had messaged him.

“I finally called the president. I believe it was on the 9th of September; I can’t find the records and they won’t provide them to me,” Sondland told the House committee. “But I believe I just asked him an open-ended question, Mr. Chairman. What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all these different ideas and theories and this and that. What do you want?”

“And it was a very short, abrupt conversation,” he continued. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky” – that is, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – “to do the right thing. Something to that effect.”

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday, Trump seized upon that testimony as exculpatory. Reading from handwritten notes, he reiterated what Sondland had said and declared the testimony the final word on the matter.

“Just a quick comment on what’s going on in terms of testimony with Ambassador Sondland,” Trump said. “And I just noticed one thing and I would say: that means all over.”

“What do you want from Ukraine? he asks me, screaming,” Trump said, offering his characterization of the testimony. “What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all these different ideas and theories. This is Ambassador Sondland speaking to me; just happened. To which I turned off the television.”

He repeated the “what do you want” question several more times, interrupting it briefly to assert that, contrary to Sondland’s testimony about his demeanor during the call, he is “always in a good mood.”

“And now, here’s my response that he gave. Just gave,” Trump said. “Ready? You have the cameras rolling?”

“I want nothing. That’s what I want from Ukraine. That’s what I said. I want nothing. I said it twice. So he goes, he asked me the question, what do you want? I keep hearing all these things. What do you want? He finally gets me,” Trump continued.

Another aside, this time about how he barely knows Sondland and how Sondland supported someone else in the 2016 Republican primary.

“But here’s my response. Now, if you weren’t fake news, you’d cover it properly,” Trump continued. “I say to the ambassador, in response, I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky, President Zelensky, to do the right thing. So here’s my answer: I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing. Then he says this is the final word from the president of the United States. I want nothing.”

“Thank you, folks,” Trump concluded. “Have a good time.” He then walked to the waiting helicopter.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham offered a statement distilling Trump’s argument.

“Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the President clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’ ” the statement said. “In fact, no quid pro quo ever occurred. The U.S. aid to Ukraine flowed, no investigation was launched, and President Trump has met and spoken with President Zelensky. Democrats keep chasing ghosts.”

Far from exculpatory, that line of argument from Trump and Grisham is almost meaningless.

For one thing, Sondland’s testimony explicitly and in detail outlined what he described without reservation as a quid pro quo – one focused on an effort to leverage an official White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to announce new investigations. The claim that “no quid pro quo” ever occurred is the opposite of what Sondland testified. It’s just that the quid pro quo that Sondland expressly articulated isn’t the one that was the subject of that call.

Also, notice who is originally denying the quid pro quo. This isn’t Sondland telling House investigators that there was no quid pro quo for Ukrainian aid, it’s Sondland saying that Trump said there was no quid pro quo. It’s like a man on trial for arson standing up at his trial and insisting that he must be innocent because one of the witnesses described how the accused arsonist himself had denied setting the fire. Sondland is conveying Trump’s own insistence of innocence. Trump doesn’t get to then claim that this proves his innocence.

Especially since Sondland made clear in his testimony that he didn’t necessarily buy Trump’s assertions. After describing the call with Trump, he went on to explain the message he sent back to Taylor.

“So I typed out a text to Ambassador Taylor. My reason for telling him this was not to defend what the president was saying, not to opine on whether the president was being truthful or untruthful, but simply to relay, I’ve gone as far as I can go,” Sondland said. “This is the final word that I heard from the president of the United States. If you’re still concerned – you, Ambassador Taylor, are still concerned – please get a hold of [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo]. Maybe he can help.”

This part of the testimony – not mentioned by Trump – makes clear that Sondland is making no representations about the accuracy of Trump’s comments. In fact, he’s explicitly saying he wasn’t asserting that Trump’s denials were true. To extend the analogy above, it’s like the accused arsonist failing to mention that the witness described his denial but then added, “which may or may not be true.”

It’s worth noting the timing here. The whistleblower complaint that led to the Ukraine investigation was filed on Aug. 12. The White House became aware of it at some point after that. On Sept. 9, the House and Senate intelligence committees were informed about the complaint. That same day, House Democrats announced an investigation of the withholding of aid to Ukraine, perhaps in part because of a Sept. 5 Washington Post editorial in which the aid halt was tied to Trump’s desire for investigations.

Again, even if Sondland were saying that Trump hadn’t engaged in quid pro quo on the aid, he explicitly elsewhere in his testimony said there was a quid pro quo related to a White House meeting. That, in itself, raises questions about how Trump leveraged his position to generate something of benefit to himself.

Remember that we have Trump on record elsewhere in his own words describing what he wanted from Zelensky. In the rough transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, Trump asks Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a political opponent of Trump. If this is the “right thing” that Trump was describing when he spoke with Sondland, it’s not exactly helping his case.

Google announces new political ads policies that limit targeting but not all lies

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378578?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Google announces new political ads policies that limit targeting but not all lies

Nov 21. 2019
By The Washington Post · Tony Romm

202 Viewed

Google on Wednesday announced new restrictions on political advertisers around the world, including rules that bar candidates, including President Donald Trump, from targeting narrow categories of Web users based on their political affiliation.

The updates come as Google and its tech industry peers continue to face sharp criticism for allowing politicians to lie in ads – a practice that Google did not entirely outlaw as it pledged that “trust in electoral processes” outweighed the “cost or impact to spending” on political ads.

Under the new rules, political advertisers in the United States and abroad now may target their ads in search and on Google-owned YouTube only down to the postal code level. These campaigns may also target people on the basis of gender or age, but they cannot do so based on voters’ political affiliations or public voter records, Google said, breaking with past policies.

Google also said it would bar “making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process,” including those that seek to mislead people about voting.

But the company’s policy did not appear to prevent the sort of ad purchased by Trump’s 2020 campaign, which attacked former vice president Joe Biden, a Democratic contender for the White House, with a series of falsehoods about his ties to Ukraine. The ads had been viewed millions of times on Google, according to the company’s ad archive.

“Of course, we recognize that robust political dialogue is an important part of democracy, and no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation,” wrote Scott Spencer, the company’s vice president for product management on ads. “So we expect that the number of political ads on which we take action will be very limited – but we will continue to do so for clear violations.”

Google’s announcements Wednesday reflect Silicon Valley’s continued struggle to find the right balance around paid political speech. Years after Russian agents spread disinformation on major social media sites, regulators and voters are more acutely aware about the ease with which popular online services can be weaponized to deceive them to the detriment of democracy.

Twitter this month set in motion a plan to ban advertising from political candidates and their well-funded allies. Facebook similarly has said it is open to changes, after staunchly defending its decision to allow the Trump campaign’s ad about Biden to remain online despite the former vice president’s request for it to be removed.

But the tech industry’s fixes have sparked mixed reactions from Democrats, who have pined for Silicon Valley to more tightly regulate ads, and the Trump campaign, which has sharply criticized the reforms. Top aides to the president’s reelection effort assailed Facebook on Wednesday for even considering changes to its rules that would limit political targeting.

The announcements address some of the criticism Google has faced in recent months. The company, for example, long had applied its political ad transparency rules only to federal candidates. Now, it is preparing to expand the policies to include a wider array of actors, including political parties and state candidates. Google said it is considering “additional transparency” measures over the coming months.

Still, the changes don’t address the full litany of issues raised by lawmakers, digital experts and campaign-finance reform advocates. Many have called on Google to be more transparent with users and disclose more data about a wider variety of the ads they see, including those that touch on hot-button political issues such as abortion or immigration

Google’s new political ad policies do not prevent political candidates and others from advertising in a contextual way – such as displaying ads about their views on the economy around a YouTube video that touches on economic issues.

Britain’s Prince Andrew is stepping back from public duties after Epstein controversy

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378576?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Britain’s Prince Andrew is stepping back from public duties after Epstein controversy

Nov 21. 2019
File Photo: Getty Images

File Photo: Getty Images
By The Washington Post · Karla Adam, William Booth

300 Viewed

LONDON – After a disastrous interview about his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew announced Wednesday that he is quitting his public duties “for the foreseeable future.”

Essentially, the Duke of York will now go dark – as sponsors of some of the 200 charities he endorses had already begun to abandon him, concluding that he no longer casts a royal glow but controversial shade.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II said: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work.”

Andrew said, “I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”

He added: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.”

The 59-year-old prince had been criticized for not expressing sympathy for Epstein’s victims in his open-ended, hour-long interview with the BBC that aired Saturday, intended by the prince to put the controversy to rest. In that interview, he also claimed to have “no recollection” of meeting Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, who says that she was groomed by Epstein to have sex with Andrew on three occasions. Andrew “categorically” denied having sex with her.

He told the BBC that “if you’re a man it is a positive act to have sex with somebody. You have to have to take some sort of positive action, and so, therefore, if you try to forget, it’s very difficult to try and forget a positive action, and I do not remember anything.”

The duke was also asked why he spent four days at Epstein’s home in New York in 2010 – a period after Epstein had been behind bars for two charges of felony prostitution. Andrew said he went to break off the friendship, and Epstein’s home was a “convenient place to stay.”

He also said that “at the time I felt it was the honorable and right thing to do, and I admit fully that my judgment was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable, but that’s just the way it is.”

After that 2010 visit, when a photo of Andrew and Epstein strolling in Central Park provoked public furor, Andrew quit as a trade envoy for the United Kingdom.

The relationship received further scrutiny this year after Epstein was arrested in July on sex trafficking charges, after court documents were unsealed in a related defamation case, and after the financier hanged himself in prison in August.

The matter has dominated news in Britain for days – even amid a pivotal election campaign.

On Wednesday, Andrew said of Epstein’s victims: “I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”

“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,” he said.

Andrew’s ties to Epstein have dominated news in Britain for days – even amid a pivotal election campaign.

On Wednesday morning, BT, the British telecommunications company, said it would no longer work with IDEA, the duke’s Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, which enables people to earn digital badges for technical skills they learn.

BT followed a number of other organizations – KPMG, Standard Chartered, Aon, the University of Huddersfield, Outward Bound, the English National Ballet, Bond University in Australia – that suggested they were cutting ties or reviewing their relationship with the embattled prince.

On Tuesday, the “supporters” page on the prince’s flagship initiative Pitch@Palace, read “page not found.”

The monarchy has endured – and bounced back – from scandal before. The queen memorably dubbed 1992 her “annus horribilis” after Andrew and Sarah Ferguson separated, Prince Charles and Diana’s marital difficulties were plastered across the tabloids, and a fire broke out at Windsor Castle.

Still, it’s extraordinarily rare for a senior royal to step back from public duties in this way.

In his Wednesday statement, Andrew struck a very different tone from only a few days earlier, saying of Epstein’s victims: “I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”

He also went further about possibly assisting with an active FBI investigation of Epstein.

“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,” he said.

Sondland’s testimony advances likely impeachment charge of obstruction

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378573?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Sondland’s testimony advances likely impeachment charge of obstruction

Nov 21. 2019
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland appears before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 20, 2019. Wednesday November 20, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Matt McClain
Photo by: Matt McClain — The Washington Post

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland appears before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 20, 2019. Wednesday November 20, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Matt McClain Photo by: Matt McClain — The Washington Post
By The Washington Post · Karoun Demirjian

317 Viewed

WASHINGTON – Ambassador Gordon Sondland said Wednesday that the Trump administration blocked him from accessing records, emails and other documents,adding new ammunition to Democrats’ charge that the White House is trying to cover up its activities in Ukraine and potentially paving the way for an article of impeachment on obstruction.

The revelation that the State Department and White House have been keeping materials away from not just Congress, but current government employees as well, is the latest example of what Democrats argue is a concerted campaign to block their impeachment investigation.

Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified Wednesday that Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, sought to condition a White House invite for Ukraine’s new president to demands that his country publicly launch investigations that could damage President Donald Trump’s political opponents. He also testified that he believed nearly $400 million in security assistance was being held up to secure those same probes, because “two plus two equals four.”

Sondland, who by his own admission is “not a note taker,” blamed the omissions and memory lapses he had during a closed-door deposition last month on the fact that he couldn’t review his communications – and still has not been provided records of at least one pivotal phone call with Trump.

However, Sondland was able to provide the committee with some new material, including emails that showed officials at the highest echelons of the Trump administration were aware of or involved in plans to get Ukraine to publicly commit to conduct investigations that could politically benefit Trump.

Democrats said those emails combined with what Sondland says was kept from him validates their suspicions.

“Based on a sample of the documents attached to Ambassador Sondland’s statement . . . we can see why Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo and President Trump have made such a concerted and across-the-board effort to obstruct this investigation,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said at Wednesday’s hearing. “They do so at their own peril: I remind the president that Article III of the impeachment articles drafted against President Nixon was his refusal to obey the subpoenas of Congress.”

Once the Intelligence Committee completes its investigation, the House Judiciary Committee would be responsible for drafting articles of impeachment. The panel and then the full House would vote on those articles, the equivalent of charges against the president. The Republican-led Senate would hold a trial to decide Trump’s fate.

Sondland produced emails showing that days before Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke on July 25, he discussed how Zelensky was ready to commit to investigations and “turn over every stone” with Pompeo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

“Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret,” Sondland testified, noting later that Pompeo, Mulvaney and Perry could be “key witnesses” in the House’s probe.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus issued a statement disputing parts of Sondland’s testimony.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the President was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Ortagus said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

Energy Department press secretary Shaylyn Hynes said Sondland’s “testimony today misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the Secretary received from President Trump.”

Sondland testified that he still has not been able to access all the records he sought from the White House and State Department, noting that they “cannot locate” a record of his phone call with Trump on Sept. 9 – the one in which Trump insisted there was no quid pro quo regarding military aid and Ukraine. That call occurred on the same day that House Democrats launched their probe into Trump and Ukraine. It also was the same day that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson alerted Congress to an “urgent concern,” later revealed to be a whistleblower’s complaint.

“Having access to the State Department materials would have been very helpful to me in trying to reconstruct with whom I spoke and met, when, and what was said,” said Sondland. He has now twice updated the substance of his testimony since claiming he did “not recall” several details during his October deposition.

Sondland’s revelations implicated senior members of the Trump administration, and he made clear there are emails, phone records and documents that could have a bearing on the House impeachment investigation. But it is not clear whether House Democrats will run down all the new leads, as doing so would likely require them to issue new subpoenas and double down on existing ones in the courts.

Democrats have repeatedly expressed a reluctance to get bogged down in legal proceedings and leaders are committed not to lose the momentum of the public impeachment hearings, which are on course to feature a dozen witnesses in less than two weeks. Senior Democrats have indicated that the House is on track to vote on impeachment next month.

Yet several members have acknowledged that there could be value in securing the testimony of holdouts like Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton, neither of whom have yet been subpoenaed for testimony.

Bolton’s potential testimony hangs in the balance of a court case filed by his former deputy Charles Kupperman, requesting a formal ruling on whether congressional subpoenas outweigh White House orders.

Pompeo, meanwhile, has thus far flouted a subpoena to turn over State Department records in the impeachment probe, according to Schiff, raising questions about what other documents may exist in government files. His refusal to engage also raises questions about whether Pompeo would comply with a separate subpoena for his testimony. The White House said in an Oct. 8 letter that the administration would not cooperate with the impeachment probe; Mulvaney already rebuffed a subpoena for a deposition earlier this month.

But according to Sondland’s emails, Pompeo not only knew but approved of the ambassador’s plans. In an Aug. 22 email, Pompeo endorses Sondland’s suggestion that Zelensky “look [Trump] in the eye” in Warsaw and tell him that he “should be able to move forward and with confidence on those issues of importance to Potus and the US” – meaning the investigations into 2016 and Burisma.

Sondland said the “issues of importance” to Trump were the 2016 and Burisma investigations – and that Pompeo would have understood the reference too, having listened to the president’s July 25 call with Zelensky.

The 2016 investigation is a reference to the debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the presidential election.

Sondland also insisted that he did not have as much insight into Trump’s thinking as others regarding Ukraine. To illustrate, he pointed to Mulvaney’s October news conference, in which the acting chief of staff said that aid is withheld as leverage “all the time. . . . Get over it.”

Sondland said that he had not heard directly from Trump that the release of aid was “conclusively tied” to the promise to conduct investigations, he “was presuming.” But Mulvaney was in a position to say with authority whether the two were linked, and “he said yes, it was,” Sondland testified.

U.S. approves first licenses for tech sales to Huawei

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378572?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

U.S. approves first licenses for tech sales to Huawei

Nov 21. 2019
By The Washington Post · Jeanne Whalen, Joseph Marks, Ellen Nakashima

175 Viewed

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it has begun issuing licenses allowing some companies to restart U.S. tech sales to China’s Huawei, months after adding the telecom company to a trade blacklist.

The licenses, which will benefit U.S. tech companies and Huawei, come as the United States struggles to secure a wider trade deal with China.

The Commerce Department approved roughly one-quarter of the nearly 300 license applications it received from companies, according to an industry official who declined to be named to discuss non-public information. One-quarter of applications are receiving denial notifications, the official said, and no action has been taken on the rest.

The Commerce Department declined to comment Wednesday on the number of applications approved. In an emailed statement, the agency said it was authorizing only “limited and specific activities which do not pose a significant risk to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

It said it is notifying some companies that it intends to deny their license applications. Those companies will have 20 days to appeal before the denial is official.

The denial notifications involve firms that build communication network equipment, whether 5G, radio or other components, the industry official said. The licenses that were approved related to consumer products that were deemed non-controversial and having no potential security threat.

Semiconductor companies, which manufacture the silicon chips that are critical to electronic devices, are among the license recipients, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, which said it couldn’t name individual recipients.

Many U.S. companies have reported losing significant sales from the trade ban on Huawei, which said it spent $11 billion on U.S. tech in 2018, before the ban. Among the companies reporting a sales hit in recent quarters were semiconductor makers Micron Technology of Boise, Idaho; Skyworks Solutions of Woburn, Massachusetts; and Qorvo of Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Commerce Department said that the granting of some licenses did not change Huawei’s inclusion on the department’s so-called Entity List of companies considered national security risks, and that the granting of some licenses did not change a temporary 90-day reprieve that the Commerce Department issued this week intended primarily to benefit rural telecoms dependent on Huawei equipment.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the license approvals indicated any change in the Trump administration’s wider trade negotiations with China. The United States blacklisted Huawei in May after calling it a security threat, saying the Chinese government could tap into Huawei telecom network gear installed abroad to spy on the West or disrupt infrastructure. But President Donald Trump has also suggested he could ease up on Huawei as part of a larger trade deal.

China has said relief for Huawei is essential if Beijing is to agree to any trade deal.

The U.S. tech industry has lobbied hard for the chance to restart some sales, arguing it should be allowed to supply Huawei with parts for consumer technology products that don’t hurt U.S. national security, such as smartphones and laptops. The Chinese company is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of telecom network gear and smartphones.

Intel chief executive Bob Swan told CNBC in July that the company had submitted “quite a few” license applications to sell products including general-purpose computing chips, which he said shouldn’t be “worrisome” for national security. Intel didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

“We welcome the administration’s approval of export licenses for commercial semiconductor technologies that do not pose national security concerns,” the Semiconductor Industry Association said in an emailed statement.

“Sales of these non-sensitive commercial products help ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. semiconductor industry, which is essential to national security,” the group said. “We hope license approvals continue to proceed in an appropriate and timely manner.”

In an interview Tuesday on Fox Business Network, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said there had been “290-something requests” for licenses to sell tech to Huawei.

He also defended the 90-day reprieve, the third one the administration has granted since the May ban was imposed. The reprieve will allow a limited number of transactions with Huawei to continue, largely to help rural U.S. telecom companies maintain networks that use Huawei equipment, Ross said.

“You can’t cut the local people in the rural communities out of telephones,” he said.

Adding Huawei to the trade blacklist was part of a broad U.S. push against the Chinese company, which the United States also accuses of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The Trump administration has banned federal agencies from buying Huawei gear, and pressured allies to exclude Huawei equipment from their 5G wireless networks, with mixed results.

“The Commerce decision on licenses for Huawei isn’t a surprise and reflects a compromise solution between the business and national security communities,” said Eric Sayers, a vice president at Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm. “Neither will be entirely happy, but it’s a temporary middle ground for now that puts limitations on Huawei’s 5G business while allowing U.S. companies to continue to sell to Huawei’s non-5G business lines.”

The “real question,” he said, is whether the United States can persuade Japan, Taiwan and South Korea also to restrict their sales of components that enable Huawei’s 5G network buildout.

The Senate and House are negotiating the final text of the annual national defense authorization that will “at the very least keep Huawei on the entity list,” he said, “but could also go further by giving Congress the ability to override decisions on specific licenses for sales to Huawei in the future.”

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on a proposal to block U.S. telecom and Internet companies from receiving federal subsidies if they buy foreign equipment from companies deemed to pose a security threat, including Huawei and fellow Chinese equipment maker ZTE. Rural telecom companies rely on these subsidies to make ends meet.

The FCC will also discuss a new proposal to require subsidy recipients to remove any existing Huawei or ZTE equipment from their networks.

Trump says China isn’t ‘stepping up,’ and trade talks show signs of languishing

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378571?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Trump says China isn’t ‘stepping up,’ and trade talks show signs of languishing

Nov 21. 2019
By The Washington Post · David J. Lynch

337 Viewed

Nearly six weeks after claiming he had agreed “in principle” on a partial trade deal with China, President Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that the agreement might not be finalized this year because of Chinese foot-dragging.

Trump’s comments, made while touring an Apple supplier facility in Texas, came as investors appeared to be growing impatient with his inability to deliver the promised accord.

Asked by a reporter if the deal would be completed this year, the president said: “I haven’t wanted to do it yet because I dont think they’re stepping up to the level that I want.”

After nearly a year of bargaining, negotiators remain stuck on several core issues, including the extent of Chinese commitments to buy American farm products and U.S. willingness to reverse its tariff plans.

The president did nothing Wednesday to dispel the uncertainty shortly before leaving for a trip to Texas where he planned to tour a factory that makes Apple Mac Pro computers.

“We continue to talk to China. China wants to make a deal. The question is: Do I want to make a deal? Because I like what’s happening right now. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars,” Trump told reporters in a misleading reference to his tariffs on Chinese products, which are overwhelmingly paid by American companies.

Privately, Trump is more eager to announce a finished agreement and is being counseled by his trade advisors to lower his expectations, according to a senior administration official who requested anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank nearly 200 points in midday trading following a Reuters report that the so-called “phase one” deal might not be finished this year, a risk the president already had acknowledged on Nov. 8.

“Understandably, the longer the talks drag out, the more investors are concerned that there will never be a resolution to the tariff dispute,” said Andy Rothman, an investment strategist with Matthews Asia in San Francisco. “But I don’t see any evidence that Trump has changed his mind about the importance of doing a deal, so I think it will get done.”

The Dow recovered almost half of its decline before closing at 27,821.09, down 0.4 percent.

The White House, meanwhile, pushed back on speculation that the deal is unraveling. “Negotiations are continuing and progress is being made on the text of the phase-one agreement,” spokesman Judd Deere said in an emailed statement.

As the trade talks have dragged on, however, the diplomatic task has grown only more complex. Congressional ire over the treatment of anti-government protestors in Hong Kong and Beijing’s repression of the Muslim majority in Xinjiang province are crowding the trade agenda.

Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week warned that it would be difficult to reach a trade agreement if Beijing violently suppressed the Hong Kong protests, which are in their sixth month.

Likewise, a bipartisan group of House and Senate members introduced legislation last week that seeks to punish China for its crackdown on Xinjiang’s Uighur Muslims. Chinese authorities have detained more than 1 million Uighurs in government re-education camps, according to U.S. officials.

Beijing has bristled at the criticism, saying the crackdown was needed to quell separatist violence in the far western province.

The president on Oct. 11 called reporters to the White House to hear him proclaim “an agreement in principle” had been reached with China. Trump cancelled a planned tariff increase scheduled for later that month in return for what he called “a very substantial phase one deal.”

The president said China had agreed to roughly double its annual purchases of U.S. farm goods to more than $40 billion; open its financial services market; tighten its intellectual property protections; and refrain from using currency as a trade weapon.

“They’re very close, but getting that last two to three percent is proving tough,” said one person who has been briefed by negotiators for both sides, but was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Plans for the American and Chinese presidents to sign the deal at a mid-November Asian-Pacific summit collapsed when the host government in Chile cancelled the meeting amid a wave of domestic unrest.

The next potential deadline that could force a compromise is Dec. 15, when Trump’s next round of tariffs is scheduled to hit about $160 billion in Chinese goods. Those tariffs are expected to disappear if a deal is reached, according to sources familiar with the talks, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

But Chinese officials want the U.S. to agree to a road map that would eventually eliminate all of the tariffs Trump has imposed since the trade war began last year.

Tariffs were a key consideration for Apple, when it opted to build its next-generation Mac Pro computers in the Flextronics plant in Austin, Texas, which Trump toured on Wednesday. Locating the work in the U.S. was possible only because the company secured exclusions from the president’s tariffs for several key parts.

A Flextronics worker showed the president, his daughter Ivanka and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin the Mac Pro’s metal bottom, which reads: “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in USA,” according to a pool report.

Trump held up the part to display the inscription and said: “That’s what we want.”

The prolonged talks, however, have left scores of U.S. companies uncertain about their future sourcing plans. Depending upon the fate of the negotiations, the administration could remove some or all of the tariffs on Chinese products. The president has also threatened to sharply increase the existing levies if the talks fail.

Takeaways from Gordon Sondland’s opening statement

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378567?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Takeaways from Gordon Sondland’s opening statement

Nov 21. 2019
By The Washington Post · Aaron Blake ·

530 Viewed

WASHINGTON – The most anticipated – and potentially most important – witness in the House’s impeachment inquiry is testifying Wednesday. European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland is the closest figure to President Donald Trump to take the stand, and in his opening statement, he directly connected Trump to the Ukraine quid pro quo.

Below are some key takeaways from his opening statement. We’ll add more throughout the hearing.

1. Connecting this to the president

Pretty much every witness to date has said there was something unholy going on with regard to asking Ukraine to launch specific investigations, including one involving the Bidens. But none of them have been able to testify to the idea that Trump actually ordered U.S. aid or a White House meeting would be conditioned upon those investigations.

In his opening statement, though, Sondland walks right up to the line, if he doesn’t cross over it. He also takes aim at Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

“Fourth, as I testified previously, Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for president ,” he said. “Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.”

Sondland says that he testified to this previously, but it’s more plainly stated here that Giuliani “was expressing the desires of the president of the United States” when he conveyed the quid pro quo.

At another point, Sondland says that in his July 26 call with Trump – the day after Trump’s call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky – that he would have been surprised if Trump hadn’t mentioned the investigations, “particularly given what we were hearing from Mr. Giuliani about the President’s concerns.”

It’s tempting to say Sondland is implicating Trump. That’s not completely the case in this statement. But he seems to be saying this was all something that Trump blessed, which is significant.

2. ‘Talk to Rudy’ was an order

In many ways, Sondland’s testimony is worse for Trump than Tuesday’s hearing featuring former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former White House aide Tim Morrison. And in one key respect, it contradicts it.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Volker was asked about Trump’s May 23 order that he, Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry were to “talk to Rudy,” and he suggested it wasn’t a direct order.

“I didn’t take it as an instruction, I want to be clear about that,” Volker said,. adding: “You know, when we were giving him our assessment about President Zelensky and where Ukraine is headed, he said, ‘That’s not what I hear. I hear terrible things, he’s got terrible people around him. Talk to Rudy.’ And I understood in that context, him just saying, that’s where he hears it from. I didn’t take it as an instruction.

Volker said it was just “part of the dialogue.”

But Sondland is clear on this point: that it was an order.

“In response to our persistent efforts to change his views, President Trump directed us to ‘talk with Rudy,’ ” Trump said. “We understood that ‘talk with Rudy’ meant talk with Mr. Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer.”

“Directed us” is an order. It’s an instruction. And it again connects this whole effort to Trump – in a way Volker declined to.

3. Blaming his dodgy testimony on the administration

Whether Sondland is directly fingering Trump is up for debate – and will become clearer as the hearing progresses. But he’s clearly not happy with the administration.

Sondland said repeatedly in his opening statement that the State Department and the White House didn’t allow him access to the things he needed to provide accurate previous testimony. Hence the inconsistencies and the clarifications, apparently.

“But, I also must acknowledge that this process has been challenging and, in many respects, less than fair,” Sondland said. “I have not had access to all of my phone records, State Department emails and other State Department documents. And I was told I could not work with my EU staff to pull together the relevant files.”

He added that he has never been a “note-taker,” meaning the absence of this information made his recollections even more difficult.

“My lawyers and I have made multiple requests to the State Department and the White House for these materials,” he said. “Yet, these materials were not provided to me. They have also refused to share these materials with this Committee. These documents are not classified and, in fairness, should have been made available. In the absence of these materials, my memory has not been perfect. And I have no doubt that a more fair, open, and orderly process of allowing me to read the State Department records would have made this process more transparent.”

Sondland doesn’t sound at all happy that he’s in this spot and seems to believe the administration and Giuliani put him in it. We’ll see how that manifests itself in the rest of the hearing.

Thai officials hold successful talks with China on veg exports

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378555?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Thai officials hold successful talks with China on veg exports

Nov 20. 2019
By THE NATION

482 Viewed

Thai officials held successful talks with their Chinese counterparts to reduce obstacles faced in the export of Thai vegetables.

The Department of Agriculture, together with representatives from the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards held talks with the Chinese inspector of Bureau of Import and Export Food Safety at General Administration of Customs China (GACC),

Sermsuk Salakphet, DOA director-general, said on Wednesday (November 20) that “Presently there are numerous vegetables which Thailand cannot export to China due to the country’s new rule, which states that vegetables and fruits exported to China must pass a risk analysis process before import is allowed,” Sermsuk explained.

“This time, Thai officers discussed with the Chinese officials about several vegetables that Thailand wants to export, such as basil and corn, which previously could be exported before the new rule came into effect.”

Sermsuk added that both Thai and Chinese officers were able to find a joint solution for the export problem in these negotiations.

“Chinese officers informed that they will hurry to consider imports of vegetables whose exports were previously allowed,” she added. “The DOA will make the list of vegetables imported by China before and import information for China’s consideration.”

There are also new vegetables Thailand wanted to export like bitter melon. China appreciated the proactive work of Thai officers in resolving the problems, asking both parties to discuss solutions on sanitation and phytosanitation problem under scientific principles.

Disney dealing with password theft

Published November 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378545?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Disney dealing with password theft

Nov 20. 2019
By Syndication Washington Post,Bloomberg · Christopher Palmeri, Kiley Roache

574 Viewed

Some customers who signed up for the new Disney Plus streaming service have seen their usernames and passwords sold online to third parties and have been locked out of their newly opened accounts.

Disney said that its system hasn’t been hacked and that it’s working to quickly address the issue. It’s possible that hackers obtained the names and passwords from data breaches at other companies.

“Disney takes the privacy and security of our users’ data very seriously, and there is no indication of a security breach on Disney+,” the company said in a statement.

Disney Plus is the company’s effort to built a direct connection to consumers, as many people shift to watching movies and shows on demand rather than on cable and satellite TV. The $7-a-month service launched last week and quickly signed up more than 10 million customers, a number far exceeding predictions.

Still, the debut was marred by many complaints from customers who couldn’t log on or had trouble watching programs. But the number of gripes collected by the website Downdetector has dropped sharply over the past week and now amounts to just a few dozen.

While Disney has long collected customers’ names and passwords for its theme parks and online games, the expansion into online video on a global basis brings the potential for more data breaches.

ZDNet reported over the weekend that users’ accounts were being put up for sale on hacking forums within hours of the service’s launch at prices of $3 to $11 each. Some customers reported that they had used old passwords, but others said they hadn’t, according to the website.

While there may be few thousand compromised Disney accounts, that’s small compared with the hundreds of thousands of usernames and passwords on the black market hijacked from platforms such as Hulu, Netflix and HBO, said Andrei Barysevich, chief executive officer and co-founder of the security firm Gemini Advisory.

Reusing names and password combinations from previous attacks at other sites can be a “very effective method” for hackers, he said.

“This is one of the biggest problems, not just streaming services, but pretty much every e-commerce business has been battling for the last couple of years, because there’s an abundance of compromised emails and passwords on the dark web,” Barysevich said.

At Code Media, a conference for media executives in Los Angeles this week, operators of rival services praised the Disney Plus launch. David Nevins, chief creative officer at CBS, called the sign-ups “impressive,” while AT&T President John Stankey said that while Disney Plus “was off to a good start,” keeping customers happy and subscribed will be an ongoing issue.

“How many of the 10 million customers are there six months from now?” Stankey asked. “It’s managing churn.”

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