Oct 08

China Watch Blog has learnt that Advetec Holdings Ltd, based in Somerset, UK, has been awarded the first USA permit for its revolutionary machines that reduce organic waste by over 90%. Advetec in conjunction with Organic Solutions Inc. has been awarded the first and only SWORPP in the USA.

The project is the first to employ the Bio-Thermic Digester (BTD), which will be used to process mixed waste from supermarket chains and hardware stores. The organic volumes will be reduced by up to 95% and the heat generated by the microbial activity will be used to power thermo-dynamic heat exchangers to return power back to the grid. An added benefit will be the recovery of clean water for irrigation and other processes.

The BTD will deal with all types of waste without any preprocessing and the residual metals and plastic will be recovered in a clean, sterile and recyclable state for commercial resale.

This is a significant milestone in the acceptance of this technology to provide a sustainable solution to the growing waste and recycling issues in this country, and we are proud to be able to offer this package as part of our “Exciting Biological Solutions” to both the industries and the communities of the UK.

Being able to handle a variety of waste streams, the applications are wide ranging and can solve many issues currently being faced by industry up and down the county. These include:

Sewage sludge cake disposal
Mixed “black bag” household waste
Food contaminated plastic and glass
Animal waste – farms, abattoirs etc.
Food production plant waste streams (cooked and uncooked)
Green waste composting in less than three days
Restaurant and hotel waste self contained treatment

The solution solves waste stream issues at source – eliminating transport and tipping costs.

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Aug 15

China Watch Blog has learnt that Shenzhen traffic police are offering rewards to encourage the public to report drivers or businesses who illegally sell license points from clean licenses to traffic violators in order to profit.

Shenzhen Daily News reported that residents can call 8446-9054 to report violations. If clues lead to the administration detaining drivers involved in the buying and selling of license points, whistle-blowers could receive a 300 yuan (US$50) reward for each person detained.

The reward will go up to 500 yuan per person if clues lead to the arrest of the owners of illegal point-selling businesses. For violators that are successfully prosecuted, the reward will be raised again to 1,000 yuan per person, police said yesterday.

According to law, point-selling businesses could be charged with criminal offenses if found guilty.

Individuals involved in the buying and selling of license points could be detained for up to 15 days. If the point sellers use fake IDs, or fake driver or vehicle licenses, they will be fined 5,000 yuan and have 12 penalty points added to their licenses.

By July this year, 33 suspects in nine cases had been criminally charged and seven of them had been sentenced to jail, according to police.

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Aug 02

China Watch Blog has learnt that fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after Russia granted him refugee status, ending more than a month in limbo in the transit area.

A lawyer who has been assisting Snowden said the young American, who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of secret government intelligence programmes, had left the airport for a secure location which would remain secret.

“Edward Snowden has successfully acquired refugee status in Russia,” the anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks, which is also assisting Mr Snowden, confirmed on Twitter.

His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told state television: “I have just seen him off. He has left for a secure location … Security is a very serious matter for him.”

Snowden, 30, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. He had hoped to fly to Latin America, where three countries have offered to shelter him, but was concerned that the United States would prevent him reaching his destination.

Snowden’s case has caused new strains in relations between Russia and the United States which wants him extradited to face espionage charges.

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Jul 02

China Watch Blog reports that former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has broken his silence for the first time since fleeing to Moscow over a week ago, blasting the Obama administration and saying he remains free to make new disclosures about US spying activity.

Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States and is believed to be staying in a transit area at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, surfaced with a letter to the Ecuadorean government and in a statement released through anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which has taken up his cause, according to a RTHK report.

Mr Snowden, 30, had not been heard from in the eight days since he flew to Moscow from Hong Kong, where he had first taken refuge after fleeing Hawaii.

Mr Snowden has sought asylum in Ecuador and in an undated letter sent to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa seen by the Reuters news agency, said the United States was illegally persecuting him for revealing its electronic surveillance programme, Prism, but made it clear he did not intend to be muzzled.

“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Mr Snowden, who had been a contract employee for the US National Security Agency, said in the letter.

Mr Snowden has given Russian diplomats a list of 15 countries, including Russia, where he wanted to apply for asylum, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing an unidentified Russian Foreign Ministry official.

A Russian immigration source said that Mr Snowden had applied for asylum in Russia.

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Jul 02

China Watch Blog has learnt that Whistleblower Edward Snowden has asked for asylum in Russia.

According to a Russian consular official, Kim Shevchenko, the duty officer at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s consular office in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, said Snowden’s representative, Sarah Harrison, handed over his request yesterday, according to reports.

Earlier today Vladimir Putin dramatically offered U.S. whistleblower Snowden political asylum – as long as he stops damaging ‘our American partners’ with his leaks.

A Russian consular official said Snowden asked for asylum in Russia.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2352737/Putin-offers-U-S-whistleblower-Edward-Snowden-asylum–condition-stops-damaging-American-partners-leaks.html#ixzz2XohMvxCP
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Jun 27

China Watch Blog reports that former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden remained stranded on Wednesday for the fourth straight night in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport, while Ecuador said its decision on his asylum could take no less than two months.

The U.S. fugitive under charges of espionage flew from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday, and remains hiding in the transit area of Moscow airport with his next destination undisclosed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Snowden’s arrival in Moscow was “completely unexpected.” During an official visit to Finland, he slammed U.S. accusations over Russia’s involvement in the case as “ravings and rubbish.”

Meanwhile, he noted that “the sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it would be for us and for himself.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Snowden was still in Moscow and Russia hoped that he could leave as soon as possible.

He said Snowden had personal freedom and had violated no Russian law nor entered the Russian territory. He was still at the transit area of the Sheremetyevo international airport, Lavrov said, adding that Snowden had the right to heading to any other place, and the sooner the better.

At the same time, the U.S. whisleblower’s next destination is still unknown.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday that he would consider an asylum request from Snowden if the country received one.

Belarussian Foreign Minister spokesman Andrei Savinykh denied rumors that Snowden had asked for political asylum in Belarus.

Earlier the first deputy chairman of the Russian Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Kalashnikov said Snowden can go from Moscow to Minsk.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Aroca said Wednesday that there would be no quick decision from the Ecuadorian government on whether to grant asylum status to Snowden.

Patino said it would take no less than two months for the country’s government to make a decision. He also said he had no information on the allegations by the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was helping Snowden, that the U.S. National Security Agency ex-contractor was given a refugee document of passage by the Ecuadorian government.

On the same day, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez warned that the preferential treatment for Ecuadorean goods could be ended if the South American country agreed to provide political asylum to Snowden.

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Jun 25

China Watch Blog has learnt that former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden’s whereabouts were a mystery on Monday as Russia defied White House pressure to send him back to the United States and to stop him fleeing Moscow on his globe-crossing escape from US prosecution.

Snowden, whose exposure of secret US government surveillance raised questions about intrusions into private lives, was allowed to leave Hong Kong on Sunday after Washington had asked the HKSAR to arrest him on espionage charges, RTHK reported.

The 30-year-old flew to Moscow as a transit stop before heading elsewhere, several sources said.

But reports that he would fly to Cuba were put in doubt when witnesses could not see him on the plane, despite heightened security before take-off.

Ecuador, which has sheltered the founder of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group, Julian Assange, said it was considering Mr Snowden’s request for asylum and that human rights were it main concern.

There are no direct commercial flights to Quito from Moscow.

“He didn’t take the flight (to Havana),” a source at Russia’s national airline Aeroflot said.

As speculation grew about where he would go next – Ecuador, Venezuela or Cuba at a later date to escape the crowd of journalists aboard Monday’s flight to Havana – Washington was stung by Russian defiance. The White House said it expected the Russian government to send Mr Snowden back to the United States and lodged “strong objections” to Hong Kong and China for letting him go.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to India that it would be “deeply troubling” if Moscow defied the United States over Snowden, and said the fugitive “places himself above the law, having betrayed his country”.

But the Russian government ignored the appeal and President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary denied any knowledge of Snowden’s movements.

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Jun 24

China Watch Blog has learnt that former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden has arrived in Russia from Hong Kong, reportedly on his way to Venezuela, avoiding US authorities after leaking details of cyber-espionage by Washington.

RTHK reported that Snowden, the target of a US arrest warrant issued on Friday after he lifted the lid on massive secret surveillance programmes, arrived in Moscow on a direct flight operated by Russian flag carrier Aeroflot.

The Hong Kong government said earlier it had “no legal basis” to prevent him from leaving because the US government had failed to provide enough information to justify its provisional arrest warrant for the former National Security Agency contractor.

Snowden, 30, landed at Sheremetyevo airport in the north of Moscow at 5:05 pm but there was no immediate official confirmation of where he would head next.

Russian official media quoted airport officials as saying that Snowden was on the plane. Russian media reports cited sources within Aeroflot as saying he would fly to Cuba on Monday and then travel on to the Venezuelan capital Caracas.

Snowden did not emerge into the terminal public area along with other passengers on the flight and his fellow travelers raised the possibility he may have been whisked away in a car directly from the airport tarmac.

The website Wikileaks said Snowden was accompanied by a British citizen named Sarah Harrison, whom it described as a “journalist, and legal researcher”.

Snowden’s latest interview on Sunday contained new revelations about US cyber-espionage against Chinese targets, drawing a stinging response from China’s official news agency Xinhua which branded Washington an espionage “villain”.

In the latest revelations in the South China Morning Post, Snowden said the NSA was hacking Chinese mobile phone companies to gather data from millions of text messages.

He said US spies have also hacked the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing – home to one of six “network backbones” that route all of mainland China’s Internet traffic – and the Hong Kong headquarters of Pacnet, which operates one of the Asia-Pacific region’s largest fibre-optic networks.

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Jun 23

China Watch Blog has learnt that the United States has said that if Hong Kong doesn’t act soon on its request to extradite former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden it will complicate bilateral relations, according to the Reuters news agency.

A Reuters report has quoted an unnamed senior Obama administration official as saying a delay would also raise questions about Hong Kong’s commitment to the rule of law.

The outgoing White House National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon, was quoted by CBS as saying that US law enforcement officials are in talks with Hong Kong authorities about extraditing Snowden, who’s been charged with leaking US secrets about government surveillance.

Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post has said Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong from Hawaii last month, has not been detained and contrary to media reports, he isn’t under police protection. It said the whistleblower is in a “safe place” in Hong Kong.

The newspaper also said it had seen evidence of an extensive cyber-spying programme by the United States against China. It said Washington hacked major mainland telecoms firms, to get hold of text messages, as well as the Hong Kong computers of Pacnet, which owns many fibre-optic cable networks in the region.

Legal experts say America’s attempts to extradite Snowden will result in a protracted legal battle in Hong Kong that could last years. Legislator and barrister, Alan Leong, said he thought the legal fight could last between three and five years, at the very least.

Separately, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, formerly the city’s top official overseeing security, who is also a pro-Beijing lawmaker and Legco member, has urged Snowden to leave Hong Kong.

Ip said the administration was “obliged to comply with the terms of agreements” with the US government, which included the extradition of fugitives, AFP reports.

“It’s actually in his best interest to leave Hong Kong,” she said, adding that she did not know whether the government had yet received an extradition request. “I doubt it will happen so quickly,” she said.

Both the US consulate and Hong Kong government declined comment so far.

“To extradite someone will probably require a lot of process in Hong Kong,” Law Yuk-kai, director of the city’s Human Rights Monitor watchdog group, said.

“Anybody here in Hong Kong should be protected under international standards. We hope anybody here will be dealt with fairly and their rights are respected.”

Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA, worked for the NSA as an employee of various outside contractors, including Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Jun 05

China Watch Blog has learnt that a New York federal judge long accused of bias against Ecuadorian rainforest residents over a $19B pollution case is continuing to allow Chevron to “systematically harass” two victims of its toxic pollution and their long-time New York lawyer, according to new motions filed in recent days.

The lawyer, Steven R. Donziger, asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to grant a three-month stay to prevent the case from degenerating into a “mockery” where unrepresented defendants are fighting hundreds of Chevron lawyers and are barred by the court from mounting a basic defense using evidence of Chevron’s pollution and corrupt acts in Ecuador.

“This is an extraordinary situation where the evidence suggests that a federal judge is allowing a major oil company to crush its critics by denying them a defense and overwhelming them with abusive legal tactics to drive up their costs, making it virtually impossible for them to obtain counsel,” said Donziger.

“Judge Kaplan is now allowing Chevron to pursue litigation over litigation over litigation,” said Donziger. “It’s unprecedented and offensive.”

In the motion seeking the stay, Donziger outlined for Judge Kaplan how he is now litigating alone (pro se) against at least 114 lawyers from Chevron’s lead outside firm in a case with millions of pages of discovery documents, a privilege log that is 15,000 pages long, and close to 1,200 docket entries. Chevron also disclosed that it has well over 100 private investigators working on the case, some of who have conducted secret surveillance of the plaintiffs and their lawyers to intimidate them, said Donziger.

Despite the request for a stay, Judge Kaplan is allowing 14 depositions in three weeks, with the first starting tomorrow and the last – of Chevron’s CEO, John Watson – scheduled for June 27.

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