#AceNewsReport – Mar.01: Also, as of March 1, a visa-free regime is to be introduced for the overseas territories of the Netherlands – Aruba and Curacao, as well as the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands – Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba:
‘Ace News Room With Kindness & Wisdom’ says that two new visa-free destinations are to become available to citizens of Ukraine as of March 1, 2021:
In addition, Georgia is re-opening its borders for Ukrainians’
#AceNewsReport – Mar.01: We received a basic international document called the “Pompeo Declaration,” which clearly stated that the United States will never recognize the Russian occupation of Crimea and this is a fundamental document of the United States:
He noted that from 2014 to 2019 Ukrainian authorities have constantly kept the issue of de-occupation of Crimea on the agenda of international politics. Poroshenko, in particular, told about how, after negotiations with former U.S. President Donald Trump, the well-known and very important for Ukraine “Pompeo Declaration” appeared.
“Trump had a very specific attitude towards Crimea. But during my first visit to the White House and a meeting in the Oval Office, 15 minutes out of a 40-minute conversation we talked about Crimea. He says that there are only Russians there. I said: you don’t know how many Crimean Tatars are there. There are 300,000 of them. And another million Ukrainians. That’s so,” Poroshenko stressed.
#AceNewsReport – Feb.28: During its work in December and January, the IMF mission discussed with Ukraine the improvement of the NBU’s banking supervision management, the fiscal risks for the budget deficit and the strengthening of the judicial system:
IMF Expecting Proposals From Ukraine To Continue Negotiations: The Ministry of Finance is not considering the scenario of non-implementation of the program’
This was announced by IMF representative Gerry Rice during a briefing on February 25 IMF News reports
“As soon as we receive more detailed information on these issues and proposals for individual policies, we will look forward to continuing to cooperate with Ukraine,” Rice said: However, he did not name any dates:
As Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported, in the period from December 21 to 23 and from January 11 to February 12, IMF specialists discussed with representatives of the Ukrainian authorities the progress in the implementation of measures and reforms, which are part of the government’s action program supported by the stand-by agreement, after which the IMF Resident Representative in Ukraine Goesta Ljungman said that more progress is needed in reforms in favor of completing the first revision of the program of cooperation with Ukraine.
#AceNewsReport – Feb.28: According to the police, 39 men and eight women aged between 23 and 64 were charged with “conspiracy to commit subversion.” They will appear at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Monday.Benny Tai, one of the organisers of the primaries, meeting the press before reporting to the police on Sunday.
Primaries organiser Benny Tai, former lawmakers Claudia Mo, Jeremy Tam, Helena Wong and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, district councillors Jimmy Sham, Tiffany Yuen, Clarisse Yeung and Fergus Leung were among those 47 charged.
Among the 55 people arrested back in January, only eight people have not been charged, including US citizen and lawyer John Clancey, former lawmakers Roy Kwong, James To and Joseph Lee, activists Jeffrey Andrews, Lee Chi-yung, Ricky Yuen and Lau Hoi-man.
According to Clancey, the eight will have to report to the police again on May 4. The 47 charged also include self-exiled former lawmaker Ted Hui and activist Sunny Cheung.
“Just like a lawyer friend of mine said: Hong Kong is more and more like a large detention centre,” said Clancey outside the police station. “There is less freedom, may it be education, or newspapers, or many other things, the freedom and rights are being tightened.”
The democrats were detained at police stations on Sunday after they were told to report to the police five weeks prior to their original report date of April 8.
In January, 55 pro-democracy activists were arrested for allegedly attempting to paralyse the government by trying to win a majority with strategic voting at the Legislative Council with their “35+” plan.Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.
Under the plan, they would make use of their majority at the legislature to veto important government bills, and eventually oust the chief executive within the parameters of the Basic Law.
Ahead of the democrats’ report to the police on Sunday, Power for Democracy, one of the organisers of the primary elections, announced on Saturday that they will immediately cease operations and disband.
Convenor Andrew Chiu said in a Facebook post that Power for Democracy’s work in coordination “has completed its historical mission,” and they will continue to serve Hong Kong society in the future while abiding by the law.
“In the future, we will definitely continue to serve Hong Kong society through different means under the Basic Law, National Security Law, and the framework of One Country, Two Systems, and abide by the law, and maintain Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity,” said Chiu in the post.
Chiu was also charged with conspiring to commit subversion on Sunday.
Hong Kong charges 47 activists in largest use yet of new security law
1 hour ago
Police in Hong Kong have charged 47 activists with “subversion”, in the largest use yet of the territory’s controversial security law.
The law came into force after a series of mass pro-democracy protests in 2019, some of which turned violent.
Who has been charged?
Those ordered to report to the police are pro-democracy activists who had helped run an unofficial “primary” election last June to pick opposition candidates for 2020 legislative elections, which were then postponed.
Chinese and Hong Kong officials say the primary was an attempt to overthrow the government.
Hong Kong police said in a statement: “Police this afternoon laid a charge against 47 persons… with one count of ‘conspiracy to commit subversion’.”
The 39 men and eight women, aged between 23 and 64, are scheduled to appear before West Kowloon Magistracy on Monday.
ReutersPro-democracy activist Sam Cheung hugs his wife before reporting to a police station
They are some of the territory’s best-known democracy campaigners.
They include veterans such as Benny Tai, James To and Leung Kwok-hung, and younger protesters like Gwyneth Ho, Sam Cheung and Lester Shum.
Jimmy Sham, 33, a key organiser of the 2019 protests, remained defiant as he went to the police station.
“Democracy is never a gift from heaven. It must be earned by many with strong will,” he said. “We will remain strong and fight for what we want.”
Before turning herself in, Gwyneth Ho posted: “I hope everyone can find their road to peace of mind and then press forward with indomitable will.”
Sam Cheung said: “I hope everyone won’t give up on Hong Kong… fight on.”
The charges carry a maximum term of life imprisonment. Bail is unlikely. Benny Tai said his chances were “not too great”.
No trials have yet begun in full. The first is expected to be that of Tong Ying-kit, who is accused of riding a motorcycle into police officers last July. He appeared in court in November to enter a not guilty plea. He is expected to be tried by three judges rather than a jury.
Amnesty International said the January raids that detained the 55 were “the starkest demonstration yet of how the national security law has been weaponised to punish anyone who dares to challenge the establishment”.
What is in the National Security Law?
A former British colony, Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 but under the “one country, two systems” principle.
It was supposed to guarantee certain freedoms for the territory – including freedom of assembly and speech, an independent judiciary and some democratic rights – which mainland China does not have.Hong Kong security law: The BBC’s Stephen McDonell explains what it means, and what people there think
But the National Security Law has reduced Hong Kong’s autonomy and made it easier to punish demonstrators.
The legislation introduced new crimes, including penalties of up to life in prison. Anyone found to have conspired with foreigners to provoke “hatred” of the Chinese government or the Hong Kong authorities may have committed a crime.
Trials can be held in secret and without a jury, and cases can be taken over by the mainland authorities. Mainland security personnel can legally operate in Hong Kong with impunity.
After the law was introduced, a number of pro-democracy groups disbanded out of fears for their safety.
#AceNewsReport – Feb.28: Houthis have prevented 470 families from fleeing, using them as human shields. Until today, many families in the camps are still trapped by the Houthis,” the report said:
‘Houthis take 500 families hostage in Marib battle: In a report seen by Arab News on Saturday, the internationally recognized government’s Executive Unit for IDP Camps said that militia fighters had besieged camps and planted land mines on main roads to stop families escaping and hinder advancing troops’
Arab News: February 27, 2021 22:30:
Militants recently stormed several displacement camps in Serwah, west of Marib, blocking people’s escape to safer areas.
The government unit has appealed to the rebels to stop using displaced families as hostages and allow them to leave the camps.
“The Executive Unit for IDP Camps calls on the Houthis to respect international humanitarian law and stop targeting civilians and displaced persons, and to open safe corridors in order to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.”
The Houthis earlier this month renewed a bloody offensive on Marib, an oil-rich city and the government’s last bastion in the northern half of the country. For four weeks, the Houthis have faced stiff resistance from government forces backed by massive air and logistics support from the Arab coalition.
Army commanders say that hundreds of Houthis have been killed, wounded or captured and their advance on Marib halted.
Maj. Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani, commander of the army’s Military Operation Authority, said that more than half the Houthi fighters sent to seize Marib have died or been wounded in the fighting, while army troops and allied tribesmen have pushed back all of the Houthi attacks on government-controlled areas.
Yemeni government forces also suffered heavy casualties during fierce clashes: Local officers and media said on Saturday that Brig. Gen. Abdul Ghani Sha’alan, commander of the Special Security Forces in Marib, was one of several government soldiers who died in fighting with the rebels near Balouq mountain in Serwah district, west of Marib city, on Friday:
A local military officer, who declined to be named, told Arab News that Sha’alan was leading government troops pushing back a Houthi attack on the peak, which was claimed by government forces last week.
Several army commanders and tribal leaders have been killed since the beginning of the rebel offensive on Marib.
Yemen’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday criticized international rights groups over their failure to “name and shame” the Houthis for attacking residential areas after the densely populated city was targeted by 10 ballistic missiles in the previous 24 hours.
“Since the beginning of February, the province has come under the largest and fiercest Houthi attack in which the militia used all kinds of heavy weapons, including artillery, explosive-laden drones and ballistic missiles,” the ministry said in a statement.
On Friday, Yemen’s Prime Minister, Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed, hailed military support from the Arab coalition to help tilt the war in the army’s favor, vowing to continue backing army troops and tribesmen until they push the Houthi out of areas under their control.
#AceHealthReport – Feb.28: Let me begin by saying I am delighted to announce that the first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines has arrived in Australia. 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines touched down this morning,” Hunt said during a briefing.
‘Ace News Room With Kindness & Wisdom’ says #Coronavirus Update Report: Australia Receives First Batch of AstraZeneca Vaccines according to Gregg Hunt Health Minister’
Sputnik: 28 February 2021 08:19:
The minister added that Australia will receive over 53 million AstraZeneca vaccines in total, and “Australian-made” doses are “expected to arrive” in late March. Canberra plans to start using AstraZeneca shots in its inoculation campaign shortly.
In addition to AstraZeneca’s jabs, Australia also has greenlighted the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and expects the arrival of 20 million doses this year. Vaccinations using Pfizer’s shots started in the country a week ago.
Australia has confirmed less than 29,000 COVID-19 cases and over 900 related fatalities.
#AceNewsReport – Feb.28: Labor MP Daniel Mulino told the ABC he was contacted by the alleged victim in December 2019. She was Dr Mulino’s friend: She indicated to me that she was determined to proceed with a formal complaint and I supported her in that decision,” he said’
‘Federal MPs Daniel Mulino and Celia Hammond reveal they were aware of historical rape allegation against Cabinet Minister who was named in anonymous letter’
“I ensured that the complainant was receiving appropriate support. I am greatly saddened by the death of my friend. I know that this has been a devastating period for the woman’s family and close friends. My thoughts are with them.”
Dr Mulino said he had told the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police and South Australian Police he was willing to assist with any investigation.
Neither spoke to police at the time because the alleged victim made it clear she was already speaking to police.
The woman went to New South Wales Police in 2020 but the investigation was suspended when she took her own life on June 24, 2020. The day before, she had told police she no longer wanted to proceed with the investigation.
South Australian Police are preparing a report into her death for the coroner.
The ABC understands the AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw also received the correspondence but by email earlier that day.
The ABC has confirmed that Celia Hammond, a WA Liberal MP, was also sent the 31-page dossier.
This is presumably because she had been asked by the Prime Minister to lead an inquiry into the Liberal Party’s workplace culture, only for it to be rolled into a broader independent investigation.
“I received a copy of the correspondence on Wednesday,” Ms Hammond told the ABC.
“I gave it to the Australian Federal Police on Wednesday afternoon and I alerted the Prime Minister’s Office.”
The Prime Minister’s Office has not responded to questions about when it alerted the police about the letter, but a statement from a spokesman said reporting to the police ensured that any alleged crimes were properly investigated.
“As per the AFP Commissioner’s instruction, any complaints or allegations of this nature made to anybody — whether they’re parliamentarians or journalists — should be referred to the AFP,” the spokesman said.
Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Wong did not open the envelope until Friday morning.
Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson and Senator Hanson-Young confirmed they both received an email from a woman, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a man who is now a federal Labor MP.
In a statement, Senator Henderson said she sent the details to police.
“In immediately referring this matter to the AFP, I have followed the procedures set out by Commissioner Kershaw in his letter of 24 February 2021,” the statement said.
A Labor spokesperson said the appropriate action had been taken.
“The Australian Labor Party has seen media reports that Senator Henderson has received an allegation of sexual assault and has referred any relevant correspondence to authorities as is appropriate,” the spokesperson said.Loading
‘Two Myanmar protesters shot dead in police crackdown as police have shot and killed two protesters, sustaining a sweeping crackdown for a second day in a bid to end weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations’
Posted 4h ago, updated 3h ago
Police opened fire in the southern town of Dawei, killing one and wounding several others, according to politician Kyaw Min Htike.
The Dawei Watch media outlet said at least one person was killed and more than a dozen wounded.
Police also fired in the main city of Yangon and one man brought to a hospital with a bullet wound in the chest had died, said a staff doctor who asked not to be identified.
Myanmar has been in chaos for a month since the army seized power and detained elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, alleging fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide.
The coup, which stalled Myanmar’s progress toward democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, has drawn condemnation from Western countries, with some imposing limited sanctions.
Police also threw stun grenades, used tear gas and fired into the air, witnesses said.
“Police threw stun grenades at us,” said 29-year-old protester Myint Myat.
“We had to run and hide but I’ll get out again because today is very important. If all of us get out, they can’t win.”
‘Trying to instil fear’
Youth activist Esther Ze Naw said people were battling to overcome the fear of the military they had lived with for so long.
“This fear will only grow if we keep living with it and the people who are creating the fear know that,” she said.
“It’s obvious they’re trying to instil fear in us by making us run and hide … we can’t accept that,” she said.
While junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing has said authorities have been using minimal force, at least three protesters have died.
The army said a policeman had been killed in the unrest.
State-run MRTV television said more than 470 people had been arrested.
It said police had given warnings before using stun grenades to disperse crowds.
Several journalists were among those detained, their media organisations and colleagues said.
The weekend’s violence came after Myanmar’s Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun told the UN General Assembly he was speaking on behalf of Ms Suu Kyi’s government and appealed for help to end the coup.
MRTV television said he had been fired in accordance with civil service rules because he had “betrayed the country” and “abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador”.
However, the UN has not officially recognised the junta as Myanmar’s new government.
‘Fight back as long as I can’
The ambassador vowed to continue his resistance, despite losing his job.
“I decided to fight back as long as I can,” Kyaw Moe Tun said in New York.
UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said he was overwhelmed by the ambassador’s “remarkable act of courage”.Loading
He said on Twitter: “It’s time for the world to answer that courageous call with action.”
Myanmar’s generals have promised to hold a new election but have yet to set a date.
Ms Suu Kyi’s party and supporters said the result of the November vote must be respected.
The 75-year-old spent nearly 15 years under house arrest during military rule.
She faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and of violating a natural disaster law by breaching coronavirus protocols.
The next hearing in her case is set for Monday.
Myanmar coup: Casualties rise as police step up crackdown
17 minutes ago
A violent crackdown on anti-coup protesters in Myanmar intensified on Sunday with police using live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Huge protests in cities such as Yangon, Mandalay and Dawei have continued despite the police response.
There are reports of fatalities but the numbers are difficult to confirm.
The country has been rocked by protests since top government leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, were overthrown and detained by the army on 1 February.
Social media footage from Sunday showed protesters running away as police charged at them, makeshift roadblocks being erected, and several people being led away covered in blood.
The police crackdown, which began in earnest on Saturday, was extended as coup leaders sought to quash a largely peaceful civil disobedience campaign that has shown no sign of ending.
What is happening on the ground?
There have been varying accounts of death tolls. Medics and officials told AFP there had been at least six fatalities, while Reuters quoted similar sources putting the number at seven. Either would make Sunday the deadliest day of the protests since the coup began.
The figures in unverified social media reports were much higher, in some cases more than 20.
In the largest city, Yangon, police fired bullets after stun grenades and tear gas failed to disperse protesters. Social media images showed blood on the streets as people were helped away by fellow protesters.
A doctor told Reuters one man had died in hospital with a bullet wound to the chest.
The protesters remained defiant, with some setting up barricades.
“If they push us, we’ll rise. If they attack us, we’ll defend. We’ll never kneel down to the military boots,” protester Nyan Win Shein told Reuters.
Another, Amy Kyaw, told AFP: “Police started shooting just as we arrived. They didn’t say a word of warning. Some got injured and some teachers are still hiding in neighbours’ houses.”
Some protesters were herded away in police vans.
In the south-eastern city of Dawei, security forces moved to break up a rally.
ReutersMedical staff carry away a wounded protester in Dawei
There are reports of live rounds being used. The Dawei Watch media outlet said at least one person was killed and more than a dozen wounded. One emergency worker told Reuters there were three deaths, with many more casualties feared.
Police were also cracking down on a large rally in Mandalay, where police used water cannon and fired into the air. The Myanmar Now media outlet said two people had died in the city.
Protests have continued elsewhere, including the north-eastern town of Lashio.
The number of arrests since the protests began has not been confirmed. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group has put the figure at 850, but hundreds more appear to have been detained this weekend.
Where is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Myanmar’s civilian leader has not been seen in public since she was detained in the capital Nay Pyi Taw as the coup began.
Her supporters and many in the international community have demanded her release and the restoration of the November election result that saw her National League for Democracy party win a landslide.
Ms Suu Kyi is scheduled to face court proceedings on Monday on charges of possessing unregistered walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus rules. But her lawyer says he has been unable to speak to her.
Military leaders justified the seizure of power by alleging widespread fraud in the elections, claims dismissed by the electoral committee.
The coup has been widely condemned outside Myanmar, prompting sanctions against the military and other punitive moves.
Myanmar – the basics
Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military rule
Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year
In 2017, militants from the Rohingya ethnic group attacked police posts, and Myanmar’s army and local Buddhist mobs responded with a deadly crackdown, reportedly killing thousands of Rohingya. More than half a million Rohingya fled across the border into Bangladesh, and the UN later called it a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”
#AceNewsReport – Feb.28: Facebook is discussing building facial recognition into its upcoming smart glasses product and has been weighing the legal implications of the controversial technology, executives said at an internal meeting Thursday.
‘Facebook Is Considering Facial Recognition For Its Upcoming Smart Glasses: Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth told employees that the company is evaluating the legal and privacy issues around facial recognition for its upcoming wearable gadget’
During a scheduled companywide meeting, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of augmented and virtual reality, told employees that the company is currently assessing whether or not it has the legal capacity to offer facial recognition on devices that are reportedly set to launch later this year. Nothing had been decided, he said, and he noted that current state laws may make it impossible for Facebook to offer people the ability to search for others based on pictures of their face.
“Face recognition … might be the thorniest issue, where the benefits are so clear, and the risks are so clear, and we don’t know where to balance those things,” Bosworth said in response to an employee question about whether people would be able to “mark their faces as unsearchable” when smart glasses become a prevalent technology. The unnamed worker specifically highlighted fears about the potential for “real-world harm,” including “stalkers.”
Following publication of this story, Bosworth wrote on Twitter that “we’ve been open about our efforts to build [augmented reality] glasses and are still in the early stages.”
“Face recognition is a hugely controversial topic and for good reason and I was speaking about was how we are going to have to have a very public discussion about the pros and cons,” he said.
Facebook has been touting a smart glasses product since last year, saying that it will arrive “sooner than later” in 2021. Built in partnership with Ray-Ban and its parent company, Luxottica Group, the wearable devices are expected to rival products from competitors Snapchat and Amazon, providing an augmented reality experience that will overlay digital features on people’s real-world perspectives.
Facebook, which has one of the largest repositories of user-uploaded photos, has taken a cautious approach to facial recognition. In 2015, it deployed a system called DeepFace that it’s since used to power features, such as photo tag suggestions, to identify people in pictures. Unlike Amazon, which sells its facial recognition tool to other companies and public entities, Facebook has not marketed DeepFace or any of its other facial recognition technologies for use beyond its own social network.
In his remarks Thursday, Bosworth said he has been discussing facial recognition with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and he was overseeing a privacy review for the smart glasses product later in the day. Late last year, the vice president also noted in an internal memo, first reported by the Big Technology newsletter, that the company should “differentiate our products on the basis of privacy.”
“We should become the undisputed leaders in providing privacy aware software,” Bosworth wrote in December.
While Bosworth said he understood privacy concerns over facial recognition on Thursday, he criticized current legislation, including Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which prevents private companies from collecting and storing biometric data like face scans without people’s consent. He noted the law was passed in 2008 and questioned how such out-of-date legislation could apply to the technologies of today.
“The real question is whether we will be able to recognize any faces at all, and we don’t know. Legally, the answer might be no, if you’re familiar with BIPA in Illinois … people are making face recognition illegal,” Bosworth told employees Thursday. “That’s ok. We can do that as a society and this product will survive and thrive without it. I do think there are some lost opportunities, though.”
In explaining possible use cases of facial recognition, Bosworth said that Facebook’s smart glasses may help someone recognize someone at a dinner party if they can’t remember their name or if they have face blindness.
During the conversation, Facebook Chief Diversity Officer Maxine Williams noted that Facebook may need to develop its own principles on facial recognition that would take precedence in places where there are currently no laws governing the technology. “Just because you can [build something,] doesn’t mean you will,” she added, noting that the company would have to consider the product’s potential for harm and discrimination.
While Facebook said previously that it’s sent cease and desist letters to Clearview for violating its terms of service, the company has yet to take legal action against the New York City–based startup. Facebook board member Peter Thiel was an early investor in Clearview.