Prince Harry has taken aim at the journalists who have dissected his life since the day he was born as he expressed regret for the way he has had to step down from royal duties.
In a personal speech at referenced his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident while being pursued by paparazzi, Harry said Sunday he had “no other option” but to step away as he and his wife, Meghan, seek a more peaceful life.
“When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing,” Harry said at a dinner in London for Sentebale, his Africa-based charity supporting youngsters with HIV. “You looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force. And my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful, because this is so much bigger than just us.”
The comments were Harry’s first public remarks since Saturday night, when his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, announced the terms under which the prince and his wife will walk away from most royal duties, give up public funding and try to become financially independent. The couple are expected to spend most of their time in Canada while maintaining a home in England near Windsor Palace.
The queen’s statement said the agreement, reached after crisis talks, was a “constructive and supportive way forward.”
But Harry’s speech made it clear that the couple had not gotten their wish to be able to carry on with some royal duties while becoming independent.
“Our hope was to continue serving the queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible,” he said.
“For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this,” he added. “The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always got it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”
Harry, 35, has made no secret of his disdain for Britain’s tabloid media in the past, with both he and Meghan filing lawsuits against press outlets last fall. At the time, Harry gave an interview drawing parallels between the treatment of his wife and the media frenzy that contributed to the death of his mother.
Harry praised his grandmother, the queen, and the rest of his family for supporting him and his wife in recent months. He called the decision to change both jobs and continents “a leap of faith” and said he hopes the move will allow him and his family to achieve a “more peaceful life.”
Under terms of the deal announced Saturday, Harry and Meghan will stop using their “royal highness” titles this spring and will lose all access to public funds once they stop carrying out official functions.
Harry opened his speech by noting that many in the audience had watched him grow up and said he wanted them “to hear the truth from me, as much as I can share, not as a prince, or a duke, but as Harry.”
He framed the decision to leave as his own, made on behalf of Meghan and their young son, Archie. He spoke of both during his remarks, telling the audience that eight-month-old Archie had seen snow for the first time a few days ago and “thought it was bloody brilliant.”
He then turned to his relationship with the queen and other members of his family.
“I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother – my commander in chief – and I’m incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months,” he said.
Meghan and Archie and the couple’s dogs are already in Canada, and it was not clear how soon Harry would join them or where in Canada they would live. The couple spent the holiday season on Vancouver Island, and Meghan worked for seven years in Toronto filming the TV series “Suits.”
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Japan will form a space defense unit to protect itself from potential threats as rivals develop missiles and other technology and the new unit will work closely with its American counterpart recently launched by President Donald Trump.
The Space Domain Mission Unit will start in April as part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, Abe said in a policy speech marking the start of the year’s parliamentary session.
He said Japan must also defend itself from threats in cyberspace and from electromagnetic interference against Japanese satellites. Concerns are growing that China and Russia are seeking ways to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.
“We will drastically bolster capability and system in order to secure superiority” in those areas, Abe said.
The space unit will be added to an existing air base at Fuchu in the western suburbs of Tokyo, where about 20 people will be staffed ahead of a full launch in 2022. The role of the space unit is to conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field, rather than being on the ground.
Abe’s Cabinet in December approved 50.6 billion yen ($460 million) budget in space-related projects, pending parliamentary approval.
The unit will cooperate with the U.S. Space Command that Trump established in August, as well as Japan’s space exploration agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Underscoring the need to step up cyber security, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. revealed Monday that it had suffered a cyber attack last June that may have compromised personal and corporate data involving thousands of its job applicants, employees and retirees. Mitsubishi said there was no breach of sensitive data in the company’s operations involving defense, space, transportation, electric power and other businesses sectors. It promised to enhance security measures and monitoring.
Abe has pushed for Japan’s Self-Defense Force to expand its international role and capability by bolstering cooperation and weapons compatibility with the U.S., as it increasingly works alongside American troops and as it grows concerned about the increasing capabilities of China and North Korea.
PM Abe says Japan will form a space defense unit to protect itself from potential threats as rivals develop missiles and other technology and the new unit will work closely with its American counterpart recently launched by President Trump.Abe, in marking Sunday’s 60th anniversary of the signing of Japan-U.S. security treaty, vowed to bolster Japan’s capability and cooperation with the U.S., including in the areas of space and cyber security.
He said he is determined to settle Japan’s “unfortunate past” with North Korea, as he hopes to “sum up” his country’s postwar legacies before his term expires next year.
He reiterated his intention to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without the conditions he had demanded in the past — denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and resolving the decades-old issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.
Part of Abe’s plan while in office is to achieve his long-cherished goal of revising Japan’s U.S.-drafted constitution that prohibits use of force in settling international disputes. Despite Abe’s push, chances are fading for the revision due to a lack of public interest and the opposition’s focus on other controversial issues such as Japan’s recent dispatch of naval troops to Middle East and questionable public record-keeping at Abe’s annual cherry blossom-viewing parties.
In a sign of a thaw in Japan’s recently tense relations with South Korea, Abe said he planned to cooperate closely with South Korea in dealing with a harsh security environment in northeast Asia.
Abe, however, repeated his demand that South Korea resolve the issue of compensation for the former Korean laborers during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule. “I hope [South Korea] to keep its promise between the two countries and build future-oriented bilateral relations,” he said.
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Ukraine has asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to expand its monitoring mission in the country, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said Monday after a meeting with the organization’s chairman.
The OSCE’s special monitoring mission has been present in Ukraine since 2014, when fighting between Ukrainians and Russia-backed separatists broke out in the country’s eastern regions after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The mission’s civilian monitors observe the situation in Ukraine in general and in the war-torn regions in particular, with a special task of facilitating dialogue between the sides of the conflict. Its mandate expires on March 31.
FILE – Members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine walk as they arrive for monitoring ahead of a proposed withdrawal of troops, in Petrіvske, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Oct. 9, 2019.Prystaiko said Kyiv asked the OSCE not only to extend the mission, but to “expand its possibilities and human resources” and support it financially.
OSCE chairman Edi Rama, in turn, called the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine “the most pressing challenge to security and stability in Europe today.”
The move comes amid Ukraine’s efforts to end the war that has killed more than 14,000 people and ravaged the country’s industrial heartland. In December, leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany sat down for talks, hoping to revive a 2015 peace deal. The negotiations didn’t produce a breakthrough, but were hailed by both Russia and Ukraine as progress.
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Hundreds of disgruntled protesters against the elite World Economic Forum are marching through the Alpine snows toward its annual gathering in Davos, as officials on Monday detailed extra security measures like vehicle checks and webcam shutdowns with U.S. President Donald Trump and other notables set to arrive.
Zurich regional police said some 130 attendees who are “protected under international law” — including royalty, presidents and prime ministers — were expected to pass through toward the Davos gathering from Tuesday to Friday. All told, nearly 3,000 leaders from civil society, business, politics and elsewhere from 118 countries are expected as the Forum marks its 50th year.
FILE – A Swiss national flag waves in the wind during last year’s World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 25, 2019.Protesters with the “Strike-WEF” collective, who began marching toward Davos on Sunday, have taken issue with one security measure: An order from regional police that no more than 300 people can attend a planned protest near the town hall. Authorities insist the square is too small to hold more people. They call such limits anti-democratic.
“When they can have space for 3,000 people — the majority of who are the richest people on the planet — but for only 300 among the 99% of the rest of us, it’s a joke,” said Payal Parekh, a spokeswoman for the collective. Members of the group and its supporters — some dressed in get-ups like Ronald McDonald outfits — were marching toward Davos but have been barred from the main roads to get there.
“There are ways to get to Davos,” she said. “We are creative and flexible.”
Rosalina Mueller, a spokeswoman for the Young Socialists that is helping organize the demonstration in Davos, applauded the idea of having leaders come together, but said they’d failed to help the world over the last half-century.
“They say they want to make the world better, but for 50 years they haven’t done anything,” she said. Forum organizers have pointed to scores of initiatives like planting trees, enlisting businesses in advocacy programs, and rallying thousands of promising youths to help their communities in scores of countries around the world.
The Swiss national authorities were restricting airspace and have authorized up to 5,000 troops to take part in enhanced security. Authorities and Forum organizers have set aside a budget of $9 million for extra security measures during the event.
Zurich authorities were boosting security checks of people and vehicles and advising Zurich airport visitors to use public transport for Trump’s expected arrival on Tuesday.
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For the first time, most of the United States’ 2.1 million federal workers will be eligible to get twelve weeks of paid family leave following the birth or adoption of a child. The new benefit – under the annual National Defense Authorization Act – goes into effect on Oct. 1. Dozens of other countries around the world already offer paid family leave to civil workers. Now advocates are pressing for the law to extend to workers across the U.S. VOA Correspondent Mariama Diallo has more.
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The first stage of an extradition hearing for a senior executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei begins Monday in a Vancouver courtroom, a case that has infuriated Beijing, set off a diplomatic furor and raised fears of a brewing tech war between China and the United States.
Canada’s arrest of chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s legendary founder, in late 2018 at America’s request shocked Beijing.
Huawei represents China’s ambitions to become a technological power, but has been the subject of U.S. security concerns for years. Beijing views Meng’s case as an attempt to contain China’s rise.
“This is one of the top priorities for the Chinese government. They’ve been very mad. They will be watching this very closely,” said Wenran Jiang, a senior fellow at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.
Washington accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It says Meng, 47, committed fraud by misleading HSBC Bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.
In this file photo taken on Nov. 6, 2019, the logo of Chinese telecom giant Huawei is pictured during the Web Summit in Lisbon.Meng, who is free on bail and living in one of the two Vancouver mansions she owns, denies the allegations. Meng’s defense team has pointed to comments by U.S. President Donald Trump they say suggest the case against her is politically motivated.
Meng was detained in December 2018 by Canadian authorities in Vancouver as she was changing flights — the same day that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for trade talks.
Prosecutors have stressed that Meng’s case is separate from the wider trade dispute, but Trump undercut that message weeks after her arrest when he said he would consider intervening in the case if it would help forge a trade deal with Beijing.
China and the U.S. reached a “Phase 1” trade agreement last week, but most analysts say any meaningful resolution of the main U.S. allegation — that Beijing uses predatory tactics in its drive to supplant America’s technological supremacy — could require years of contentious talks. Trump had raised the possibility of using Huawei’s fate as a bargaining chip in the trade talks, but the deal announced Wednesday didn’t mention the company.
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for cellphone and internet companies. Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft.
“I think this is the beginning of a technological war along ideological fronts,” said Lynette Ong, an associate professor at the University of Toronto. “You are going to see the world divided into two parts. One side would use Chinese companies and the other side would not use Chinese companies because they are weary of the political implications of using Chinese platforms.”
James Lewis at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said the U.S. wanted to send a message with Meng’s arrest and that there is good evidence that Huawei willfully violated sanctions.
“The message that you are no longer invulnerable has been sent to Chinese executives,” Lewis said. “No one has held China accountable. They steal technology, they violate their WTO commitments and the old line is, ‘Oh, they are a developing economy, who cares.’ When you are the second-largest economy in the world you can’t do that anymore.”
The initial stage of Meng’s extradition hearing will deal with the issue of whether Meng’s alleged crimes are crimes both in the United States and Canada. Her lawyers filed a a motion Friday arguing that Meng’s case is really about U.S. sanctions against Iran, not a fraud case. Canada does not have similar sanctions on Iran.
The second phase, scheduled for June, will consider defense allegations that Canada Border Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the FBI violated her rights while collecting evidence before she was actually arrested.
The extradition case could take years to resolve if there are appeals. Virtually all extradition request from Canada to the U.S. are approved by Canadian judges.
In apparent retaliation for Meng’s arrest, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor. The two men have been denied access to lawyers and family and are being held in prison cells where the lights are kept on 24-hours-a-day. “That’s mafia-style pressure,” Lewis said.
China has also placed restrictions on various Canadian exports to China, including canola oil seed and meat. Last January, China also handed a death sentence to a convicted Canadian drug smuggler in a sudden retrial.
“Canada is fulfilling the terms of its extradition treaty but is paying an enormous price,” said Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “This is the kind of world we’re living in now, where countries like Canada are at risk of getting squeezed in major power contests.”
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