Vox Sentences: Redoing Brexit’s “only possible” deal

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The US brings charges against the Chinese tech giant Huawei; Brexit negotiations will return to Brussels.


Huawei charged with fraud and stealing trade intel


David Becker/Getty Images

  • Federal prosecutors in the US are going up against Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, for financial fraud and stealing trade secrets, unsealing a 13-count indictment and 10 additional charges on Monday. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • The indictments come amid a broader dispute between the US and China over trade, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted that trade talks with China would take a “separate track” from the indictments against Huawei. [NYT / Paul Mozur and Raymond Zhong]
  • The 13-count indictment claims that Huawei violated US sanctions on Iran and tried to conceal its business in that country. The other 10 charges accuse the company of stealing trade secrets from American wireless company T-Mobile. An arraignment date has only been set for the T-Mobile case so far. [Reuters]
  • The trade secrets case involves “Tappy,” a robot T-Mobile developed that tests mobile devices before they hit the market. US Huawei employees had been granted access to Tappy by T-Mobile to test their devices — and prosecutors say they repeatedly tried to steal Tappy’s design. In one case, a Huawei engineer allegedly removed Tappy’s arm and put it in his laptop bag. [NPR / Laurel Wamsley]
  • Huawei refuted the 10 charges Tuesday, claiming the company did not violate any US law in the Tappy incident or order the alleged thefts. [NPR / Laurel Wamsley]
  • The 13 other charges claim that Huawei covered up that a subsidiary called Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. was doing business in Iran and violating US sanctions. Huawei at that time was dealing with US banks, which would not have been allowed to work with the company if they’d known it had business in Iran. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • As part of the federal investigation, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada nearly two months ago. She reportedly lied about her company’s relationship with Skycom back in 2013 and allegedly obstructed justice by destroying evidence of dealings in Iran when Huawei became aware of a US investigation in 2017. [Vox / Jen Kirby]

Theresa May heads back to Brussels

  • Prime Minister Theresa May is headed back to the European Union to try to win concessions for a better Brexit deal after the UK Parliament voted Tuesday to amend part of the exit agreement with negotiators in Brussels. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • The holdup is the “Irish backstop” — the need to avoid building physical barriers between Ireland, which is part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK. As long as no long-term trade deal between Brussels and London is reached, Britain would stay in the EU customs union, and Northern Ireland would need to abide by some EU single-market rules. [NYT / Richard Pérez-Peña]
  • However, May is seeking concessions for a permanent trade deal that includes fully breaking away from the single market and customs unions so the UK can make new economic ties and set non-European standards. Leaders in Brussels have already said they won’t renegotiate these terms of the deal. [NYT / Richard Pérez-Peña]
  • March 29, 2019, is the official day of Brexit, and without a clear future for the economy, UK businesses are getting ready for all potential outcomes. Low investor confidence, departures of multinational firms, and accelerating consumer prices have prompted companies to restructure for lower demand and high uncertainty. [Harvard Business Review / Mark McNamee and Athanasia Kokkinogeni]
  • Companies have also begun to stockpile essential operational parts, such as mechanical tools or vaccines, ahead of Brexit. UK industries have undergone costly planning, and economic officials fear a spark of panic buying before prices skyrocket due to high tariffs. [Politico Europe / Simon Marks, Kait Bolongaro, and Joshua Posaner]

Miscellaneous

  • Meet the wife of El Chapo, the notorious Mexican drug lord. Emma Coronel Aispuro, 29, married her husband when she was a teenager and says he is the “adoration” of their two daughters. [NYT / Emily Palmer]
  • “The J-school of the streets;” City Bureau is redefining local journalism in Chicago by building a new model of community-centered reporting. [Politico Magazine / Max Blau]
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2020 election will eventually come to an end, but what could the final report look like? Here are five potential scenarios. [FiveThirtyEight / Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux]
  • The Feminist UN Campaign pushed for a female secretary general of the United Nations, but a man still got the seat. In the era of #MeToo, the institution now waits to see if there’s such a thing as a male feminist leader. [Foreign Policy / Lyric Thompson, Teresa Casale, and Lila O’Brien-Milne]
  • US sanctions against Venezuela are meant to pressure President Nicolás Maduro into giving up his seat, but the citizens of the South American country are likely to pay the costs. [WSJ / Juan Forero and David Luhnow]

Verbatim

“We’re getting soft.” [Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin in a radio interview about the high number of school closures due to extremely cold temperatures across the American Midwest, via NYT]


Watch this: How junk science convicted an innocent man

Robert Lee Stinson’s trial shows how the judicial system lacks an effective filter to catch bad science before it’s used to convict innocent people. [YouTube / Joss Fong]


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