The announcement was made on Twitter, albeit still using the Racing Point Force India account name.
It is unclear what exactly will be unveiled in Montreal, but the accompanying picture of a car under wraps suggests that it could mean more than just the new name and livery. Indeed, with pre-season testing not getting underway until February 18, and money clearly no object at this stage, it could well be that the Silverstone-based outfit uses the occasion to unveil its car, name and livery.
Interestingly, the wrap covering the car is not the pink of Force India sponsor BWT but red, red and white being the national colours of Canada. Speaking earlier this month, team boss Otmar Szafnauer, though refusing to say if the team name will be changed, admitted that on a personal level he very much hopes so. The drivers next season will be Mexican Sergio Perez and Canadian Lance Stroll. Last week, Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene announced that the Italian team's car will be unveiled on February 15.
OTTAWA, December 17 -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said for the first time that his Liberal government is looking for a way out of a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
Speaking in a TV interview that aired on Sunday, the comments represented a notable hardening in tone from Trudeau, who previously said there would be huge penalties for scrapping the $13bn agreement for armoured vehicles made by the Canadian unit of General Dynamics Corp. "We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia," Trudeau told CTV. He did not give further details. Political opponents, citing the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia's involvement in the Yemen war, insist Trudeau should end the General Dynamics deal, which was negotiated by the previous Conservative government. In October Trudeau maintained that he was reluctant to cancel the controversial contract with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Khashoggi case as it would cost Canada C$1bn ($747m).
Trudeau said that the "difficult" contract was made in a way that "makes it very difficult to suspend or leave the contract". "I do not want to leave Canadians holding a billion-dollar bill because we're trying to move forward on doing the right thing," Trudeau said in October. "So we're navigating this very carefully." Relations between Ottawa and Riyadh have been tense since a diplomatic dispute over human rights earlier this year. Ottawa says it has been consulting allies on what steps to take after Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. "The murder of a journalist is absolutely unacceptable and that's why Canada from the very beginning had been demanding answers and solutions on that," said Trudeau.
Human rights groups have been issuing letters to Trudeau since 2016, asking him to cancel the controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia. "To provide such a large supply of lethal weapons to a regime with such an appalling record of human rights abuses is immoral and unethical. The spirit and letter of both domestic export controls and international law support this view," said the letter signed by representatives of human rights organisations such as Amnesty International.
"We believe the regime's integrity has been utterly compromised with the government's decision to proceed with the largest arms sale in Canadian history to one of the world's worst human rights violators." There is a "reasonable risk" that Canadian-made military hardware is being used against civilians, the letter noted, considering Saudi Arabia's "abysmal and worsening human rights record, both within Saudi Arabia and in neighbouring Yemen".
BERLIN, December 16 -- For months proponents of the UN Migration Pact told us that the pact was non-binding.
The response to the many citizens of nation states worldwide having signed country specific petitions was that it was non-binding so there was nothing to worry about, it was going to be good. The immensely opposed and disastrous document declares unlimited migration to be treated as a human right, thereby deprecating the term ‘illegal migrants’, and criminalises any criticism of migration as hate speech.
The points that raised alarm for most was that it seeks to eliminate all forms of dissent. Media organisations for example, should they criticise anything to do with migration would lose access to state funding. People would be labelled as racists or guilty of hate speech which will now be criminalised. This pact will literally erase our borders. The question I’ve been asking is if the countries that refused to sign, are they still bound to it being members of the UN. Most people were of the mind that it would only affect the signatories. Now we know. In a frank exchange with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Hebner of the AfD drew out an admission that it is, in fact, legally binding. As well, that it will be adopted as rule for all UN Member states once enacted.
Mr. Hebner asks: “You can see for yourself clearly that during the conference, the spokesperson for Morocco emphasised that the agreement was legally binding. He said clearly, in a literal sense, that there is a corresponding legal bond for all nations taking part as well as an obligation of implementation. You and your delegation did not raise a single word of objection to that statement but idly accepted it. I would like to emphasise that the parliamentary motion was not presented at the conference. “
Ms. Merkel’s response not only confirmed what we at Voice of Europe have been suspecting all along, the claim it is indeed binding, but that once voted and accepted it will be valid for all:
“So then, during the UN General Assembly next week, the pact will once again be up for debate and a decision will be made on whether to accept it. At this time, a member state can demand a vote. When two-thirds of the represented countries agree then it is valid for all. That’s how majority decision-making works.”
TORONTO, December 16 -- Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve will return to racing full-time next year in the NASCAR Euro Series.
Villeneuve, the 1997 champion with Williams, made four NASCAR Cup starts - the first two of which came a year after his final outings in F1 - between 2007 and '13 and has also competed in the Trucks and Xfinity categories that support the main series plus NASCAR Canada. The 47-year-old made a return to racing this year in the Americas Rallycross Championship in his native Canada in a Subaru Impreza, more than two and a half years after he was dropped by Venturi during the 2015/16 Formula E season.
He last completed a full season in 2005 when he drove for Sauber in F1.
Villeneuve recently tested at the Franciacorta circuit in Italy, and will race in the Euro Series with the Go Fas Racing Ford Mustang outfit that also competes in the Cup series. I had a lot of fun discovering the car because it is really similar to what I was used to in NASCAR in the US," said Villeneuve, who also won the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 and the overall CART title that year. "You can really drive it hard and you can work a lot on the car and that's also very nice.
"Returning full-time is what matters the most to me, because I want to be part of a complete project and have a goal for the entire season. I'm really looking forward to the first race of 2019!" Go Fas joined the series last year, running cars for Frenchman Romain Iannetta and rookie Florian Venturi - who was runner-up in the Elite 2 division for silver and bronze drivers. The Euro Series has typically been contested over six weekends, but a seventh event at Most has been added for 2019.
NASCAR Cup champion Bobby Labonte made a one-off Euro Series appearance in 2017 at Brands Hatch before undertaking a full season this year.
BEIJING, December 13 -- The apparent detentions of two Canadian men in China this week have raised the stakes in a three-way international dispute with the United States.
The Canadian government confirmed reports late Wednesday that Michael Spavor, a China-based entrepreneur who organizes tours to North Korea, had gone missing. His disappearance follows the detention of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday. The two cases ratchet up pressure on Canada, which is holding a Chinese telecommunications executive wanted by the United States. The U.S. is seeking the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1.
Canadian officials have not been able to contact Spavor "since he let us know he was being questioned by Chinese authorities," Canadian Global Affairs spokesman Guillaume Berube said. "We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we continue to raise this with the Chinese government."
The Chinese government has not commented on Spavor's disappearance. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that he had no information on Kovrig's detention, which was reported by his employer, the International Crisis Group think tank. Regional newspapers in Beijing and Liaoning province, where Spavor lives, reported separately that that the two are under investigation on suspicion of "committing acts endangering the national security of China." Authorities could not be reached to confirm those reports.
The broadly defined charge encompasses both traditional espionage and other forms of information gathering such as interviewing political dissidents and contacting non-governmental organizations. Another Canadian, Keven Garratt, spent 750 days in detention in 2014-16 and was given an eight-year prison sentence for espionage before being deported. Garratt's detention was seen as a tit-for-tat response to Canada's arrest of Chinese spy who was eventually extradited to the U.S. Spavor is a fluent Korean speaker with longstanding ties to North Korea through his company, Paektu Cultural Exchange. He was instrumental in bringing NBA player Dennis Rodman to Pyongyang in 2013 and has organized a number of tours and joint cultural projects with the North since then.
Acquaintances said he was due in Seoul, the South Korean capital, on Monday, but never showed up.
BEIJING, December 12 -- The former Canadian diplomat detained this week by China -- amid the furor over the arrest in Canada of a top Chinese tech executive -- remained locked up Wednesday, with China's spin careening from denying the man's detention to claiming he's a national security risk.
The detention of Michael Kovrig on Monday is seen by some as a retaliatory act for the legal saga engulfing Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who faces possible extradition to the U.S. after being picked up by Canadian authorities earlier this month. Meng, who was granted bail Tuesday but must remain in Vancouver, is accused of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
"If there is such a thing, please do not worry, it is assured that China's relevant departments will definitely handle it according to law,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Wednesday when asked about Kovrig’s detention. "I do not have information to provide you here," he added. Kang’s statement was in direct contrast to a report published late Wednesday in the state-run Global Times newspaper, which cites the Beijing State Security Bureau as saying that Kovrig was detained on “suspicion of jeopardizing China's national security.”
Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed the detention of Kovrig on Tuesday and said Canada is very concerned. The U.S. State Department said it is also worried about the arrest and called on China to “end all forms of arbitrary detention and to respect the protections and freedoms of all individuals under China’s international human rights and consular commitments." “We’re obviously worried whenever a Canadian is put in a situation that puts them at some risk or jeopardy where there’s no apparent or obvious cause or trigger for that,” Goodale said Tuesday. “So before we characterize it, we want to make sure we get all the facts.” Kovrig is currently employed by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based organization that aims to “prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world." “As Senior Adviser for North East Asia he conducts research and provides analysis on foreign affairs and global security issues in North East Asia, particularly on China, Japan and the Korean peninsula,” reads an excerpt of his bio on their website.
But Rob Malley, president of the company, told the Associated Press he thinks Kovrig was in Beijing on a personal trip and definitely not for any illegal purpose or for any reason that would undermine China's national security. Kang, meanwhile, says the organization is operating illegally in China since it is not registered there. "Once its staff become engaged in activities in China, it has already violated the law," he said Wednesday. Chinese law makes it extremely difficult for foreign non-governmental organizations to register because they have to find a local sponsor, James Zimmerman, a lawyer in Beijing and former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told the Associated Press. "In my view (Kovrig's custody) is purely for strategic reasons," Zimmerman said.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times newspaper, wrote on Twitter that Kovrig’s detention “stemmed from Canada arresting Meng Wanzhou,” but believes there is “no evidence [that] suggests this is [the] Chinese government's retaliation.”
VANCOUVER, December 12 -- A court in Canada has granted bail to a senior executive of China-based Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, 10 days after she was detained in Vancouver on a US arrest warrant, triggering a major diplomatic row.
In a Tuesday court hearing in the western province of British Columbia, Justice William Ehrcke ordered the release from jail of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou on a bail of 10 million Canadian dollars (7.5 million US dollars), prompting a loud applause in the courtroom as the decision was announced. Meng also wept and hugged her lawyers after the reading of the ruling.
As part of the conditions for her bail, the 46-year-old Meng — who was arrested on December 1 at a Vancouver airport — must wear an ankle monitor and remain at her residence from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. The bail was provided by five of her friends who offered equity in their homes as well as other funds as guarantee that she will not flee.
“I am satisfied that on the particular facts of this case... the risk of her non-attendance in court can be reduced to an acceptable level by imposing bail conditions,” said the judge, adding that he was also persuaded by the fact that Meng was a well-educated businesswoman with no criminal record.
She must stay in Canada and be accompanied by security officers when she leaves her residence. The judge also ordered Meng to reappear in court on February 6 to make plans for further appearances.
BEIJING, December 10 -- China on Monday ratcheted up its protest over the arrest of an executive of telecom giant Huawei on a U.S. warrant in Canada, calling reports of her treatment “inhumane” as she seeks her release on bail for health reasons.
China’s latest tirade over the case came as Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, faces a Canadian court’s decision on bail later Monday in Vancouver. Meng’s arrest on Dec. 1 has infuriated Beijing, rocking stock markets and raising tensions amid a truce in the U.S.-China trade war. A Chinese vice foreign minister summoned the U.S. and Canadian ambassadors over the weekend, demanding that the U.S. withdraw its arrest warrant and warning Canada that it faces “grave consequences.”
Meng, 46, faces U.S. fraud charges related to alleged sanctions-breaking dealings with Iran. In a 55-page sworn affidavit, Meng said she has suffered from severe hypertension for years and has been treated in a Canadian hospital since her arrest. “I continue to feel unwell and I am worried about my health deteriorating while I am incarcerated,” the document read. Meng said that she has had “numerous health problems” during her life, including surgery for thyroid cancer in 2011. “I wish to remain in Vancouver to contest my extradition and I will contest the allegations at trial in the U.S. if I am ultimately surrendered,” she said. China’s state-run Global Times newspaper reported, without citing sources, that “it seems that the Canadian detention facility is not offering her the necessary health care.” “We believe this is inhumane and violates her human rights,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular news briefing, citing such reports. Lu also said the Canadian government did not immediately notify the Chinese Embassy or consulate about Meng’s arrest, as it should have under a consular agreement.
China has itself faced global criticism over its human rights record and treatment of detained activists and minorities. Last year, dissident Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer while in custody after China rejected international appeals to let him travel abroad for treatment. The international community has voiced concern about reports that up to 1 million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are held in internment camps in the northwest region of Xinjiang. In a bail hearing that was adjourned on Friday, Canadian Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley asked for bail to be denied, saying Meng has been accused of “conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions.” If convicted, she faces more than 30 years in prison. The extradition process could take months, even years, if appeals are made in the case.
Meng said she has ties to Vancouver that go back 15 years. She and her husband own several properties in the city, and she even had a Canadian permanent residency permit that she has since renounced.
Analysts say her arrest could be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations between the United States and China. Meng was arrested the same day that presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day trade war truce. But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer rejected suggestions that the case could affect the negotiations, as the two sides face a March 1 deadline to reach an agreement. Meng’s arrest “shouldn’t really have much of an impact” on the talks, Lighthizer told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” although he conceded that the Chinese side might see it that way. “For us, it’s unrelated” to trade policy matters. “It’s criminal justice.” Separately, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow denied reports that Trump was “livid” that the arrest of Meng occurred while the U.S. leader dined with Xi. “He didn’t know,” Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday.” “He learned way later.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said politics played no part in the decision to arrest Meng.
While the White House denies any connection between the trade talks and the arrest, U.S. concerns about security linked to the ambitions of Chinese high-tech companies and the alleged theft of intellectual property are at the heart of the trade dispute. Huawei has denied any ties to the Chinese government, but many in Washington and other Western capitals are skeptical and have raised security concerns.
U.S. federal law already bans military and government use of devices made by Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE. Influential Republican Senator Marco Rubio told “Face the Nation” that he plans to reintroduce legislation that would ban companies like Huawei from doing business in the U.S. because they “pose a threat to our national interests.”
BEIJING, December 8 -- China warned Canada on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer, calling the case “extremely nasty.”
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions. The executive is the daughter of the founder of Huawei. If extradited to the United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.
No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday.
In a short statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had issued the warning to release Meng to Canada’s ambassador in Beijing, summoning him to lodge a “strong protest.”
There was no immediate reaction from the office of Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Saturday. When asked about the possible Chinese backlash after the arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canada has a very good relationship with Beijing.
Canada’s arrest of Meng at the request of the United States while she was changing plane in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said. The move “ignored the law, was unreasonable” and was in its very nature “extremely nasty,” he added. “China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused.” The statement did not elaborate.
“There will probably be a deep freeze with the Chinese in high-level visits and exchanges,” David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China, said on Friday. “The ability to talk about free trade will be put in the ice box for a while. But we’re going to have to live with that. That’s the price of dealing with a country like China.” Meng’s arrest was on the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump met in Argentina with China’s Xi Jinping to look for ways to resolve an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies. The news of her arrest has roiled stock markets and drawn condemnation from Chinese authorities, although Trump and his top economic advisers have played down its importance to trade talks after the two leaders agreed to a truce.
A Huawei spokesman said on Friday the company has “every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion.” The company has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations.
BEIJING, December 7 -- China has reacted furiously after a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested in Canada on a US extradition request.
Huawei's chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, Meng Wanzhou, 46, was nabbed during a stopover at Vancouver airport on a US extradition request, on Saturday. Beijing accused Washington of using the “hooliganism” to suppress the telecom giant, threatening to rattle a shaky truce in the trade war between the two countries. The arrest was announced by Canadian authorities on Wednesday.
The charges against the company's chief financial officer have not been made public. Huawei said it was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng". She is to appear in court Friday for a bail hearing.
English language newspaper, China Daily, said in an editorial on Friday that the arrest was part of efforts by Washington to contain the company, which is the world’s largest telecoms equipment provider, as well as its second-largest mobile phone maker. “Obviously, Washington is resorting to a despicable rogue's approach as it cannot stop Huawei's 5G advance in the market," it said. The daily warned that "containing Huawei's expansion is detrimental to China-US ties." “One thing that is undoubtedly true and proven is the US is trying to do whatever it can to contain Huawei’s expansion in the world simply because the company is the point man for China’s competitive technology companies,” the editorial said.
China called on both Washington and Ottawa to immediately clarify the reasons for Meng’s detention, and release her immediately. China’s embassy in Canada has described the actions as having “seriously harmed human rights.”
Canada distances itself from Meng arrest
Canadian Prime Minister Minister Justin Trudeau, however, sought to distance himself from the unusual incident, saying on Thursday that his government had no involvement in Meng’s detention.
In televised remarks in Montreal, he claimed that politics played no part in the arrest of Meng.
"The appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case without any political involvement or interference ... we were advised by them with a few days' notice that this was in the works," he said.
Meng’s shocking arrest came at the same day US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping met at the G20 summit in Argentina, during which they reached an agreement to temporarily suspend a trade war.
Her arrest is now threatening the fragile truce that was reached after months of tough negotiations over import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of products.
Trump did not know about Meng arrest
In an apparent move to prevent the incident from impeding the trade truce, two US officials said on Thursday that Trump did not know about a US request for her extradition from Canada before he met Xi in Argentina. Citing the officials, Reuters said that while it was a Justice Department matter and not orchestrated in advance by the White House, the case could send a message that Washington is serious about what it sees as Beijing's violations of international trade norms. One of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the arrest could complicate efforts to reach a broader trade deal with China, but would not necessarily damage the process.
Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier that he “knew in advance,” that Canada was planning to arrest Meng. “This is something that we get from the Justice Department.”
One of the top authors of The Peet Journal is Pete McGea. As a native born Scotsman, Pete
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