Election officials rejected Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's voluminous appeal of this week's presidential revote results, saying he had not proved there were mass violations. Yanukovych's campaign team vowed to take their legal fight for the presidency to the Supreme Court. \nFour days after Ukraine's third presidential balloting in two months, Yanukovych has refused to concede, even as his rival, Viktor Yushchenko, began laying out a roadmap for his first 100 days in office, and told Ukrainians in his New Year's greetings: "The vote has changed the country and it changed us." \nThe revote, ordered by the high court following the annulled Nov. 21 election that handed victory to Yanukovych, showed Yushchenko winning solidly, according to final preliminary results. Final results can only be announced after all appeals are exhausted. \nYanukovych had submitted 27 volumes of complaints to the commission, including claims that at least 4.8 million people -- mainly disabled and sick -- were deprived of their right to vote by election reforms introduced after the first runoff. The complaints also included allegations that not enough ballots were printed and that people were illegally campaigning on election day, as well as problems with voter lists. \nThe 15-member Central Election Commission unanimously rejected the appeal on Thursday. The commission also noted that it could not consider complaints against itself, saying those could only be decided by a court. \n"Evidence submitted in the claim does not prove mass violations" and could not "influence the results of the vote," said Marina Stavniychuk, a commission member. \nYanukovych's campaign manager, Taras Chornovyl, said they would appeal to Ukraine's highest court, but he was pessimistic. \n"I could forecast the decision of the Supreme Court but it would be wrong to take defeat for granted," Chornovyl said. \nno falsifications \nInternational monitors reported no mass falsifications in Sunday's voting -- in contrast to their criticism of the Nov. 21 second-round presidential vote in which Yanukovych was declared the winner. \nSuspicions of fraud drew brought hundreds of thousands of Yushchenko backers, dressed in his campaign color of orange, into Kiev's streets. The high court eventually annulled the ballot, finding widespread fraud, and ordered Sunday's rerun. \nYanukovych has refused to concede defeat. \n"We will call all of our supporters, of which there are 15 million ... to not recognize Yushchenko as a legitimate president," Chornovyl said. \n"In a year, we will change power," he added, referring to the 2006 parliamentary elections. That is a further acknowledgment that even among Yanukovych's closest advisers, hopes of canceling the presidential election results are slim. \nMeanwhile, Yanukovych's opponent on Thursday began planning his new administration, telling journalists that he has a 100-day plan, and that he had created a committee to fill top Cabinet positions. \n"We can move to the West only after normalizing relations with neighbors," Yushchenko said in an interview on TV5. "The EU doesn't need a partner with a suitcase full of problems." \nIn New Year's greetings posted on his Web site, Yushchenko said the country has made a "great step forward." \n"The vote has changed the country and it changed us," he said. \nPLEDGE \nYushchenko has pledged to fight corruption and nudge Ukraine closer toward Europe, while maintaining "friendly ties" with Russia. He also said that he would consider replacing all of the country's appointed governors. Before the court-ordered revote, some eastern governors raised the prospect of seeking autonomy if Yushchenko were to win. \nYanukovych, who was backed by the Kremlin, draws his support largely from Ukraine's east where pro-Russia sentiment is high, while Kiev and Ukraine's west are strongholds of support for Yushchenko, a Western-leaning reformer. \nBorys Bespalyi, a Yushchenko-allied lawmaker, said Yushchenko's top priority will be to ensure "full national unity." He also said plans calling for greater transparency in government and business will ensure that "laws, not people, rule." \nAlso, Yushchenko and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma were both scheduled to meet separately with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in Kiev yesterday. Saakashvili, who has shown his support for Yushchenko by regularly wearing an orange tie, was expected to appear later yesterday with Yushchenko at Kiev's main New Year's celebration on Independence Square. \nThe Georgian leader came to power after a bloodless revolution last year that Yushchenko's supporters have tried to model their own "orange revolution" on.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday