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A senior figure at Huawei in the UK has told Sky News it is willing to go the “extra mile” to reassure countries its technology poses no security threat.

Jeremy Thompson, the Chinese telecom giant’s executive vice-president, was speaking as it attempts to calm security fears over its technology by offering to sign “non-spying” agreements – including with the UK government.

The prime minister has come under fire since sources confirmed last month that the National Security Council, chaired by Theresa May, had backed the use of Huawei technology in “non-core” 5G network infrastructure.

:: Huawei gets green light for UK 5G role

That was despite a warning from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US government that the company posed a threat.

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order later on Wednesday banning US companies from using its technology.

While Huawei has always denied a link to espionage, it has a legal obligation to cooperate with China’s intelligence agencies.

Huawei has become one of the world's leading smartphone manufacturers
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Huawei says it has never been asked to hand over data or information about its customers

The company says information has never been requested about its customers from the Chinese state and its founder has insisted he would rather shut down Huawei than accept any request to collect intelligence via its systems.

The issue of trust in the firm’s links to the Chinese government has become a wider issue for companies across China as the country’s trade war with the US escalates.

Washington accuses Beijing of intellectual property theft and forced transfers of technology.

Mr Thompson said Huawei recognised the concern but said those nations, including Japan and the US, that had banned Huawei tech from their 5G networks had “called it wrong”.

He told Ian King Live: “If it helps, we will sign a non-spying agreement with the UK government. There are mechanisms already in place within the UK in fact, according to the NCSC, the most rigorous activity with Huawei gloablly, but if it requires us to sign a non-spying agreement we’d be very happy to do that.

“We’re in unusual times and the press is full of articles… about ‘Huawei is not a company that they want to do business with’ so we recognise we need to go the extra mile.”

He accused the US of under-investing in its 5G network in contrast to the UK where he said plans were much further advanced – with 5G trials getting underway.

Vodafone confirmed this week it was continuing its plans to use Huawei technology, such as antennas, in its non-core network – in line with the limits placed on Huawei involvement agreed by the government.

Mr Thompson said the industry was largely awaiting the conclusions of a review by the government before committing to 5G expansion plans.

He spoke to the programme following the release of a report Huawei commissioned from Oxford Economics exploring its contribution to the UK economy.

The study claimed it had contributed £1.7bn last year and supported more than 26,000 jobs.

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Singapore records its largest ever haul of smuggled ivory | World News

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Elephant ivory weighing 8.8 tonnes has been seized in Singapore, with authorities saying the haul is the biggest ever in the city-state’s history.

The elephant tusks were discovered in a Vietnam-bound container from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Also in the illegal cargo were scales from the giant pangolin.

This is the third major seizure of pangolin scales in Singapore in 2019. Altogether, the haul was valued at $48.6m (£39.1m).

(Credit: National Parks Board, Singapore)
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The ivory trade has been largely banned across the world since 1989. Pic: National Parks Board

The haul of ivory came from an estimated 300 elephants, with almost 2,000 giant pangolins believed to have been killed for the 11.9 tonnes of scales found in the raid.

The haul falls just short of the 9.1 tonnes of ivory seized in Vietnam back in March, which the Environmental Investigation Agency said was the largest ever haul in the world.

Close up view of a wild endangered Pangolin head and body - Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
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The pangolin is the world’s most trafficked mammal and is critically endangered

“The seized pangolin scales and elephant ivory will be destroyed to prevent them from re-entering the market,” the Singapore Customs, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the National Parks Board confirmed.

Authorities in Singapore said China’s General Administration of Customs had shared the information about the illegal haul.

MASHATU, BOTSWANA - JULY 26:  at the Mashatu game reserve on July 26, 2010 in Mapungubwe, Botswana. Mashatu is a 46,000 hectare reserve located in Eastern Botswana where the Shashe river and Limpopo river meet. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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Save The Elephants says 100,000 elephants were killed for ivory between 2010 and 2012

“The Singapore government adopts a zero-tolerance stance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to smuggle endangered species and their parts and derivatives,” they told local media.

“Our agencies will continue to collaborate and maintain vigilance to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.”

(Credit: National Parks Board, Singapore)
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Ivory and pangolin scales are both used in traditional medicine in certain parts of East Asia and Africa. Pic: National Parks Board

A flurry of seizures of illegal animal products, including rhino horns, have taken place across East Asia in recent months, including in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.

Singapore is a part of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which banned the trade of ivory globally in 1989.

Even so, the charity Save The Elephants estimates that 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory between 2010 and 2012 alone.

The pangolin, meanwhile, is the world’s most trafficked mammal and is critically endangered.

(Credit: National Parks Board, Singapore)
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About 2,000 endangered pangolins are thought to have been killed for the scales in the container. Pic: National Parks Board

The meat of the pangolin is considered a delicacy in some countries, while others believe their scales are able to cure diseases.

However, this has never been proven. The scales of the pangolin are made of keratin, the same material that the human body uses to make hair and fingernails.

Elephant ivory is coveted as it can be made into items such as jewellery and ornaments. The tusks are also occasionally used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Under law in Singapore, the penalty for the illegal import, export and re-export of wildlife is a fine of up to $500,000 SGD (£295,000). Those found guilty also can face two years in prison.

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Li Peng: Chinese premier who ordered Tiananmen Square crackdown dies | World News

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The Chinese premier who ordered a bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square to counter pro-democracy protests has died.

Li Peng died at the age of 90 on Monday of an unspecified illness.

While he leaves behind a legacy of long-term economic growth, he is best known for his role in the demonstrations that spawned the enduring image of a protester blocking the path of three tanks.

Li Peng, pictured in 2011
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Li Peng, pictured in 2011, became known as the ‘Butcher of Beijing’

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the centre of Beijing for a series of protests during the spring and summer of 1989, which were brought to an end in hostile fashion by the military.

Mr Li was broadly disliked by the population as a result of what happened and became known as the “Butcher of Beijing”, but still spent another 13 years at the pinnacle of power before retiring in 2002.

During that period he helped China rise in diplomatic and economic might, a development he proudly celebrated in public statements that were often defiantly nationalistic.

In a 1995 speech to mark the anniversary of the 1949 revolution that brought the ruling Communist Party to power, he celebrated how the country had rid itself from “imperialist bullying, humiliation and oppression”.

Hundreds of thousands of people fill Peking's central Tiananmen Square May 17, 1989
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Hundreds of thousands of people filled the square

He had risen to power as a result of what happened at Tiananmen Square, with pro-reform party leader Zhao Ziyang being toppled for sympathising with the student protesters.

Mr Li, who had become acting premier in November 1987, told student leaders during a confrontational meeting that the situation “will not develop as you wish and expect”.

The next night, he went on national television to announce martial law in the capital “to end the turmoil” – and hundreds of people were killed by troops when they invaded on 3 June.

In a lengthy eulogy read by the state broadcaster CCTV to mark his death, the current regime honoured the “resolute measures” he took to quell the protests.

Tiananmen Square is quiet on the 30th anniversary of a bloody crackdown there
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Tiananmen Square as it looks today

But it was not just Tiananmen that made him unpopular with some.

He spent his final years in power pushing through approval for the multi-billion pound Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, which forced 1.3 million people to leave homes that were swallowed up by its enormous reservoir.

He eventually stepped down as premier in 1998 to become chairman of the Chinese parliament, before retiring.

Mr Li rarely appeared in public in his later years, usually seen only at official gatherings aimed at displaying unity.

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Unhatched birds can warn other eggs in nest of danger by vibrating | Science & Tech News

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Unhatched baby seabirds can warn each other of impending danger by vibrating within their shells, scientists have discovered.

A study of yellow-legged gull embryos, found they reacted to warning calls from a parent and even passed on the message to siblings who had not heard the call.

The researchers collected gull eggs and divided them into groups of three.

A week before hatching, two of the three eggs in each nest were temporarily removed and exposed to a recording of a predator alarm call.

The noise was delivered four times a day at random intervals for three minutes at a time until hatching.

The third egg from each group remained in the nest in silence.

All three eggs were then reunited and left to hatch.

It was found the embryos responded to the external alarm calls by vibrating more.

This information appeared to be passed on to the third egg which had not been directly exposed to the sounds and it then mimicked the vibrations.

Experts from the Animal Ecology Group at the University of Vigo in Spain discovered all the chicks underwent genetic changes that delayed hatch time.

There was also evidence of increased production of stress hormones which is known to make birds more aware of their surroundings after hatching.

The findings were published in the journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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