Fri, Nov 30, 2018 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Staff writer, with agencies

SWEDEN

Chinese activist wins award

Li Wenzu (李文足) on Tuesday was awarded the Edelstam Prize for her outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for one’s beliefs in defense of human rights. Li is the wife of detained rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), who disappeared during China’s “709 crackdown” in 2015. She has been “instrumental in campaigning for the release of the hundreds of lawyers and activists detained during the crackdown” and supporting the families of the detainees, the Edelstam Foundation said. Since Li is barred from leaving China, her award was received by Yuan Weijing (袁偉靜), a rights activist and wife of exiled lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), on her behalf.

UNITED STATES

Senators call for ZTE probe

Senators Chris van Hollen and Marco Rubio on Wednesday asked the White House to investigate whether Chinese telecom ZTE Corp breached US sanctions by helping Venezuela set up a database that monitors the behavior of its citizens. Their letter follows a Reuters investigation of the database and an associated Venezuelan identity card program published on Nov. 14. The company is accused by many Western officials of helping China export surveillance tactics and equipment to authoritarian governments around the world. ZTE has increasingly worked with Venezuela’s government in various projects there, mostly in ventures with Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, or Cantv, the state telecom. Reuters found that ZTE had helped Caracas build a database that could track citizens’ behavior through a national ID card that could compile data, including financial and medical histories, usage of social media, political affiliation and whether a person voted. One area of concern for the senators is whether ZTE installed components made by Dell Technologies in the database.

GEORGIA

First woman leader elected

Ruling party candidate Salome Zurabishvili has been elected the nation’s first woman president, results showed yesterday, but the opposition claimed fraud and called for supporters to take to the streets. With 99.9 percent of ballots counted, the French-born former diplomat had taken 59.61 percent of the vote in Wednesday’s second round of the election. Her rival, Grigol Vashadze, from an alliance of 11 opposition parties led by exiled former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement, had 40.46 percent. The election was seen as a test of Georgia’s democratic credentials as the nation seeks EU and NATO membership. It was also a trial run for more important parliamentary elections in 2020, when the ruling Georgian Dream party is set to face off against a range of opposition parties.

MAURITIUS

Reggae makes UNESCO list

Reggae music yesterday won a spot on the UN’s list of global cultural treasures. UNESCO added the genre that originated in Jamaica to its collection of “intangible cultural heritage” deemed worthy of protection and promotion. Reggae music’s “contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, sociopolitical, sensual and spiritual,” UNESCO said. Reggae emerged in the late 1960s out of Jamaica’s ska and rocksteady genres, also drawing influence from US jazz and blues. Jamaica applied for reggae’s inclusion on the list this year at a meeting of the UN agency in Mauritius, where 40 proposals were under consideration.

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