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US: Mike Pompeo Issues Warning to Allies that Partner with Huawei

The top U.S. diplomat’s remarks come amid the Dutch intelligence agency’s reported investigation over alleged hidden backdoors

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US, Mike Pompeo, Warning, Allies
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during the opening reception for the GES 2019, The Hague, Netherlands, June 3, 2019. VOA

The United States is again calling on European allies to be careful of what it says are security risks posed by Chinese telecommunication company Huawei, as countries build out their 5G networks.

“We’ve been clear: our ask is that our allies and our partners and our friends don’t do anything that would endanger our shared security interests or restrict our ability to share sensitive information,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday after meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok in The Hague.

The top U.S. diplomat’s remarks come amid the Dutch intelligence agency’s reported investigation over alleged hidden backdoors in the software that could have given Huawei unauthorized access to users’ data.

Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei has maintained his company would not share confidential user information and Huawei denies it is controlled by Beijing. The company also says it does not work with the Chinese government, an assertion Pompeo and other U.S. officials have rejected.

US, Mike Pompeo, Warning, Allies
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on as Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok gestures during a joint news conference in The Hague, Netherlands, June 3, 2019. VOA

Blok said while his government wants to align policies with allies, the Dutch will make its own security decisions as it prepares to auction off new 5G internet rights.

“There is a specialist committee working now to decide on what criteria to add to the 5G option and somewhere this summer those criteria will be published,” said the Dutch foreign minister.

Pompeo and Blok met on the sidelines of a three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by the U.S. and the Netherlands in The Hague.

This preeminent annual gathering convenes entrepreneurs, investors, and their supporters from more than 120 countries.

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Eyeing China, Pompeo said the United States is seeking terms for fair trade practices.

“Authoritarian states can steal ideas and prop up their own business enterprises, but they’ll never match the entrepreneurship and innovation found in free societies,” said Pompeo, stressing the importance of intellectual property rights protection, the rule of law, as well as a predictable and consistent legal system.

Friday, Pompeo warned German authorities that the U.S. could withhold national security information if Germany adopts 5G networks run by Huawei because “it is not possible to mitigate” the security risks.

US, Mike Pompeo, Warning, Allies
The United States is again calling on European allies to be careful of what it says are security risks. Pixabay

The White House has effectively blacklisted Huawei, making it harder to continue doing business with American companies.

In response, China says it plans to target organizations or individuals that deemed to damage Chinese companies’ interests in a so-called “unreliable foreigners list.” (VOA)

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Small Shops in US Often Sell Tobacco Without Checking Age

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores

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FILE - An anti-tobacco warning is seen on a road divider on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. VOA

Those buying tobacco from shops in the US, especially small stores, are usually not asked for identification hence it is easy for underage users to buy cigarettes there, says a study.

When researchers, aged 20 and 21, visited a variety of shops in the US, more than 60 per cent of cashiers did not ask them for identification.

In the study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, it was found that these young adults slipped by without an age check most often when they visited small stores, tobacco shops and shops plastered with tobacco ads.

“Our findings suggest that certain types of stores – tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising – are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID,” said Megan Roberts, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.

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FILE – Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. VOA

“One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations,” she added.

The study included visits to a randomly sampled 103 tobacco retailers in 2017.

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More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores.

“Having a minimum legal sales age for tobacco is important for reducing youth access to tobacco. Not only does it prevent young people from purchasing tobacco for themselves, but it prevents them from buying tobacco and distributing it to others, often younger peers,” Roberts said. (IANS)