What happens next in Huawei CFO Meng’s Canada extradition case?
Judicial hearings in Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou‘s extradition case wrapped up on Wednesday and British Columbia Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said she would announce the date of her ruling on Oct. 21.
Meng, 49, was detained in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport on a U.S. warrant charging her with bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC Holdings about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran. China detained two Canadians shortly afterward, sentencing one this month to 11 years in prison for espionage, in a move widely seen as retaliation. Beijing has denied any connection between the arrests and Meng’s case.
Here is an explanation of what can happen next in the process.
WHAT IS THE JUDGE CONSIDERING?
Normally extradition hearings take place in a single day, but Meng’s hearings have been spread out over several years.
The first thing Holmes had to decide was whether Meng’s case met the double criminality standard, meaning whether her alleged crime would be considered illegal in Canada. Holmes decided in May 2020 that it did, and the case proceeded.
Holmes is now deciding whether the abuses of process alleged by Meng’s defense team are enough to stay the extradition. They have been separated into four “branches”:
1) Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s alleged politicization of the case against Meng, which the defense says has ensured she would not receive a fair trial in the United States;
2) Missteps that occurred during Meng’s initial arrest by Canadian and American authorities;
3) Allegations that the United States misled Canada in the evidence it provided outlining the case against Meng.
Meng’s defense team has argued those should be taken as a pattern of abuse and are enough to stay the extradition. Prosecutors representing the Canadian government have said they are either not enough to halt the extradition or are matters for the U.S. courts.
WHAT VERDICTS CAN JUDGE RENDER AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The bar for extradition is lower than it would be in a trial. As a Canadian judge, Holmes is not qualified to rule on whether the person is guilty or innocent based on another country’s laws, so she only has to decide if the evidence against Meng would allow a trial to proceed in Canada.
If Holmes rules in favor of extradition, the case moves to Canada‘s justice minister for final approval.
If she rules for a stay in the extradition, the process likely stops there. It is rare for the Canadian government to appeal a court’s ruling against extradition.
A stay in the extradition would be politically expedient for the Canadian government, which has been thrown into the middle of a fight between the United States and China because of the case. Meng’s release could also spur Beijing to release the two Canadians detained after her arrest.
IF JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF EXTRADITION, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Canada‘s justice minister makes the final decision on whether to surrender the person for extradition.
Meng can appeal both the judge’s decision and ask for a judicial review of the minister’s decision. Such an appeal could take years to work its way through the courts and potentially end up at the Supreme Court of Canada. During that time, she would likely push to have her bail conditions reassessed.
Her bail conditions mean she can leave her residence under supervision but must stay home at night.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Halifax-area wildfire 85% contained and not expected to spread, officials say – CBC.ca
If the power or data on your device is low, get your wildfire updates on CBC Lite. It’s our low-bandwidth, text-only website.
A wildfire burning northwest of Halifax is now 85 per cent contained, as Nova Scotia is getting much-needed rain Saturday.
Dave Steeves, a technician of forest resources with the Department of Natural Resources, said the fire hasn’t grown and is still about 950 hectares in size.
“We have changed from ‘out of control’ to a state of being held,” Steeves said during a media briefing early Saturday.
He said that means the fire is not likely to spread.
“The rain that we are getting now is going to help the suppression issues, but that being said this fire is not out and it will not be declared out for some time.”
He said any additional resources will be heading down to Shelburne County, where a massive wildfire is burning.
Some residents who had been evacuated from the area were allowed to return home on Friday, including those on Lucasville Road, St. George Boulevard and in the Stillwater Lake area.
Another livestreamed briefing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Halifax Regional Municipality declared a local state of emergency Sunday night in order to access additional support.
Late Friday, the municipality said some resources were no longer required.
The comfort centre at the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre has closed, and the Canada Games Centre has transitioned from a 24-hour evacuation centre to a comfort centre.
Comfort centres remain open at:
- Canada Games Centre | 26 Thomas Raddall Drive will operate as a comfort centre from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
- Black Point and Area Community Centre | 8579 St. Margarets Bay Road will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
According to a release, Nova Scotia Health’s mobility primary care clinic is hosting a drop-in clinic at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Major insurance companies will be available to speak with affected residents on Saturday at the Canada Games Centre. Future opportunities to speak with representatives will be available in the coming days.
Hundreds killed after passenger trains derail in India, officials say
At least 233 people were killed and 900 were injured when two passenger trains collided in India’s Odisha state, a government official said on Saturday, making the rail accident the country’s deadliest in more than a decade.
The death toll from Friday’s crash is expected to increase, state Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said in a tweet.
He said over 200 ambulances had been called to the scene of the accident in Odisha’s Balasore district and 100 additional doctors, on top of 80 already there, had been mobilized.
Early on Saturday morning, Reuters video footage showed police officials moving bodies covered in white cloths off the railway tracks.
Footage from Friday showed rescuers climbing up the mangled wreck of one of the trains to find survivors, while passengers called for help and sobbed next to the wreckage.
2 express trains collided
The collision occurred at about 7 p.m. local time on Friday when the Howrah Superfast Express, running from Bangalore to Howrah, West Bengal, collided with the Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai.
Authorities have provided conflicting accounts on which train derailed first to become entangled with the other. The Ministry of Railways said it has initiated an investigation into the crash.
Although Chief Secretary Jena and some media reports have suggested a freight train was also involved in the crash, railway authorities have yet to comment on that possibility.
An extensive search-and-rescue operation has been mounted, involving hundreds of fire department personnel and police officers as well as sniffer dogs. National Disaster Response Force teams were also at the site.
On Friday, hundreds of young people lined up outside a government hospital in Odisha’s Soro to donate blood.
According to Indian Railways, its network facilitates the transportation of more than 13 million people every day. But the state-run monopoly has had a patchy safety record because of aging infrastructure.
Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared a day of state mourning on June 3 as a mark of respect to the victims.
Meta to start blocking news content for up to 5% of Canadian Facebook, Instagram users
Meta will soon block some Canadian users of Facebook and Instagram from accessing or posting news content on either platform.
The move, which the social media giant announced in a blog post on Thursday, comes in reaction to the looming passage into law of Bill C-18, the Online News Act.
Facebook has said it will be forced to block news content from its platforms in Canada if the bill becomes law, something that could happen as soon as this month as the bill is currently being considered in the Senate.
Among other stipulations, the bill would require tech giants to pay Canadian media companies for linking to or otherwise repurposing their content online.
“As we prepare to comply with the legislation, we are announcing today that we will begin tests on both platforms that will limit some users and publishers from viewing or sharing some news content in Canada,” Meta said.
- Are you a Facebook or Instagram user? Do you use those platforms to share the news? We want to speak to you as part of a story. Email us at email@example.com.
Between one and five per cent of the 24 million Canadians who use Facebook or Instagram will be included in the test, which is set to start soon.
Different content may be blocked for different users on different platforms, said Rachel Curran, the head of public policy for Meta Canada.
“It won’t be a uniform experience, necessarily,” she said. “Some news links won’t be shareable on Facebook, but it might not be that experience on Instagram. It will be a different experience on different surfaces.”
“Throughout the testing period, which will run for several weeks, a small percentage of people in Canada who are enrolled in testing will be notified if they attempt to share news content.”
The test means that a user would not see links to articles or videos from news publishers anywhere in their feed. A user would also be blocked from sharing such content to other people.
News publishers will be able to post news links and content, but some of it will not be viewable in Canada.
Users who will be included in the test will be selected randomly, and will only be made aware that they’re included if they attempt to share news, at which point they will see a notification that they are unable to.
The number of news publishers who will have their content included in the test will not be public and is also randomized, but could include international publishers that operate in Canada. The publishers will be notified if they have been included in the test, Meta says.
News industry decries move
Paul Deegan, the head of News Media Canada, called Meta’s move a “kick in the shins” to Canadians at a time when the value and need for credible information has never been greater.
“Meta’s decision to ‘unfriend’ Canada by denying access to trusted sources of news for some of their users, as wildfires burn and when public safety is at stake is irresponsible and tone deaf,” Deegan told CBC News in an email.
“This hard-nose lobbying tactic is more evidence of the power imbalance that exists between dominant platforms and publishers, which is why parliamentarians need to pass the Online News Act before their summer recess.”
Meta’s move comes on the heels of a similar move by Google earlier this year, when it blocked news results for more than a million Canadians, also in opposition to the bill.
Meta says Bill C-18 is “fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work, the preferences of the people who use them, and the value we provide news publishers.”
Curran told senators pondering the bill in a committee last month that the company objects to being asked to compensate news publishers for their content, when by their calculation they have given news publishers more than 1.9 million clicks in Canada in the past year, “and free marketing worth more than $230 million in estimated value.”
“We will be forced to compensate news publishers for material that they post to drive traffic and drive clicks back to their page and websites where they can then monetize those views and eyeballs either through a paywall or they can place ads against the views that show up on their web page,” she said. “We are being asked to compensate them for an activity that actually benefits them from a monetary perspective.”
Government calls move ‘disappointing’
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez called Meta’s move “disappointing” and said Canadians will not be intimidated by these tactics.
Legacy media and broadcasters have praised the bill, which promises to “enhance fairness” in the digital news marketplace and help bring in more money for shrinking newsrooms. Tech giants including Meta and Google have been blamed in the past for disrupting and dominating the advertising industry, eclipsing smaller, traditional players.
Meta, which is based in Menlo Park, Calif., has taken similar steps in the past. In 2021, it briefly blocked news from its platform in Australia after the country passed legislation that would compel tech companies to pay publishers for using their news stories. It later struck deals with Australian publishers.
Meta also reached a deal with U.K. publishers that year, after similar discussions.
Accountable Tech, a U.S.-based advocacy group pushing for more regulation of technology companies in that country, says the news blackouts in various countries show the lengths that big tech companies will go to in order to sway governments and maintain their profits.
“What we witnessed unfold in Australia, and now in Canada, is Big Tech’s willingness to cripple democracy by withholding news content to a population — chosen at random — as a bargaining chip to stop legislation,” the group’s executive director Nicole Gill said.
“It’s clear that Meta has no interest in acting in good faith or improving the lives of its users and the communities they operate in. There is simply no reason for the U.S. to delay any action on reining them in.”
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