- U.S. bugged EU offices, computer networks - German magazine
- Obama sees no threat in China rivalry for Africa business
- China's troubled Xinjiang hit by more violence - state media
Posted: 29 Jun 2013 08:27 PM PDT
BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States has bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks, according to secret documents cited in a German magazine on Saturday, the latest in a series of exposures of alleged U.S. spy programmes.
Der Spiegel quoted from a September 2010 "top secret" U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) document that it said fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had taken with him, and the weekly's journalists had seen in part.
The document outlines how the NSA bugged offices and spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the United Nations, not only listening to conversations and phone calls but also gaining access to documents and emails.
The document explicitly called the EU a "target".
A spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence had no comment on the Der Spiegel story.
Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said that if the report was correct, it would have a "severe impact" on relations between the EU and the United States.
"On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations," he said in an emailed statement.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting.
"The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies. We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately."
Snowden's disclosures in foreign media about U.S. surveillance programmes have ignited a political furore in the United States and abroad over the balance between privacy rights and national security.
According to Der Spiegel, the NSA also targeted telecommunications at the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, home to the European Council, the collective of EU national governments.
Without citing sources, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls and traced them to NSA offices within the NATO compound in Brussels.
Each EU member state has rooms in Justus Lipsius with phone and internet connections, which ministers can use.
Snowden, a U.S. citizen, fled the United States to Hong Kong in May, a few weeks before the publication in the Guardian and the Washington Post of details he provided about secret U.S. government surveillance of internet and phone traffic.
Snowden, 30, has been holed up in a Moscow airport transit area since last weekend. The leftist government of Ecuador is reviewing his request for asylum.
(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt and Ben Deighton in Brussels; Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria in Washington; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Eric Beech)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 29 Jun 2013 08:20 PM PDT
PRETORIA (Reuters) - The United States does not feel threatened by the growth of trade and investment in Africa by China and other emerging powers, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday.
Suggestions that he has allowed China to steal a march over the United States in doing business with Africa have dogged Obama's three-nation swing through the continent, but he said the increased Chinese engagement was beneficial for all.
"I don't feel threatened by it. I feel it's a good thing," Obama told a news conference during a visit to South Africa.
The more countries invest in Africa, the more the world's least developed continent can be integrated into the global economy, the first African-American U.S. president said.
"I want everybody playing in Africa. The more the merrier."
China has greatly expanded its reach in Africa since the start of the new century. It overtook the United States as Africa's largest trading partner in 2009, a February report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed.
China's advantage in trade stems mostly from how much it sells to Africa. Chinese exports to the continent in 2011 were almost triple the level of U.S. exports.
When it comes to investment flows, however, the picture is different. Data for 2007-2011 suggest U.S. foreign investment flows to the region were larger than China's, the GAO said.
"China's role as an investor, aid donor and financier is not outsized," Johns Hopkins University China scholar Deborah Brautigam wrote recently.
"Although Western countries fret about China's growing role in Africa, the United States alone disbursed more official finance to African countries than China did in 2010."
Still, China's influence looms large over the continent, partly because it has been so aggressive in its courtship.
Beijing and Washington should be partners in Africa to foster development and peace, said an official Chinese commentary after Obama's made his remarks.
Obama's stops in South Africa and Tanzania mirror a visit in March by then newly named Chinese President Xi Jinping, which could be seen as rivalry between the two superpowers on the African continent, state-run news agency Xinhua said.
"This mentality belongs to the past. It results from the West's biased perception of China's role in Africa," Xinhua said. "It also misses the bigger picture in which Beijing and Washington, instead of being competitors undermining each other's efforts, can actually work as partners in promoting Africa's development."
RESTING ON ITS LAURELS?
Obama's visit to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania will bring to four the number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa that the U.S. president has visited in the last four years. He stopped briefly in Ghana in his first term.
In contrast, Chinese presidents and vice presidents have visited 30 African countries over the same period, said Mwangi Kimenyi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
There is also a sense that the United States may be resting on its laurels.
"There hasn't really been a presence of U.S. companies since 1994, taking advantage of the new opportunities," Haroon Bhorat, a professor at the University of Cape Town said recently, speaking of South Africa.
"So, you've seen new emerging markets entering into other emerging markets like South Africa and taking advantage of economic opportunities in a way where the U.S., already with a foothold, arguably hasn't done enough."
Obama's aides have argued that he has had two wars and a deep economic crisis to deal with since he took office in 2009.
Obama has also said that U.S. interactions with Africa have included goals of social and political development, unlike those of China, which he said were more narrowly focused on commercial benefits.
"A lot of people are pleased that China is involved in Africa," he told reporters travelling with him on Friday.
"On the other hand, they recognise that China's primary interest is being able to obtain access for natural resources in Africa to feed the manufacturers in export-driven policies of the Chinese economy."
That relationship makes Africa an exporter of raw materials but does not create jobs in Africa and is not a sustainable model over the long-term, he added.
In Pretoria on Saturday, Obama urged African nations to be tougher negotiators in accepting investments from abroad.
"You produce the raw materials, sold cheap and then all the way up the chain somebody else is making the money and creating the jobs and the value," he said.
"Make sure that whoever you're dealing with ... you're getting a good deal that's benefiting the people here and that can help to spur on broad-based development."
(Additional reporting by Terrill Yue Jones in Beijing, Writing by Pascal Fletcher and Mark Felsenthal, Editing by Gareth Jones and Michael Perry)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 29 Jun 2013 07:46 PM PDT
BEIJING (Reuters) - More than a hundred people, riding motorbikes and wielding knives, attacked a police station in China's ethnically divided western region of Xinjiang, state media said on Saturday, in the latest unrest to hit the region in the past week.
The attack in the remote desert city of Hotan, a heavily ethnic Uighur area, comes two days after the region's deadliest unrest in four years that resulted in the deaths of 35 people. China called the incident a "terrorist attack".
Xinjiang is home to the mainly Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language. Many of them chafe at what they call Chinese government restrictions on their culture, language and religion. China says it grants Uighurs wide-ranging freedoms and accuses extremists of separatism.
The animosity between the majority Han Chinese and the Uighurs poses a major challenge for China's Communist Party leaders. President Xi Jinping, who took office in March, has called for the unity of all ethnic groups in China.
In the latest incident, the Global Times - owned by Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily - said "troublemakers" gathered at religious venues before riding on motorcycles to attack a police station in the city's Moyu county.
Authorities are counting the number of casualties and searching for suspects, the Global Times said.
In a separate incident, some 200 people attempted to "incite trouble" at a major shopping area in Hotan, the newspaper said. It said police defused the situation.
Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's inner circle, pledged to step up "action to crack down upon terrorist groups and extremist organisations" at a meeting with government officials in the regional capital Urumqi, state news agency Xinhua said.
Chinese authorities have increased security in Urumqi, the Global Times said.
Photographs on Chinese microblogs showed dozens of military trucks with riot police patrolling the streets.
The increased security comes almost a week before the fourth anniversary of the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang that pitted Uighurs against ethnic Chinese, resulting in nearly 200 people being killed.
In a sign of the gravity of the situation, Xinjiang's top party chief Zhang Chunxian said: "We should be clearly aware of the complex and acute nature of the long-term struggle against separatism," according to the Xinjiang Daily, the official newspaper of the region.
"For those who dare to defy the law, the criminals who engage in violent terrorist activities have to be punished. We can't tolerate them, we have to hold no punches," the People's Daily said in a front-page editorial.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Alison Williams)
(This story was corrected to fix spelling of knives in the first paragraph)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
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