#AceNewsReport – July.30: When Berry’s auto dealerships falsified income and down payment information to qualify people for loans they couldn’t afford to pay back, they set people up for failure – including default, repossession, and ruined credit,” said Samuel Levine, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “That’s why the FTC sued Berry and his dealerships.”
#AceDailyNews reports on FTC Obtains $450,000 Settlement in Tate’s Auto Group: By reaching an agreement with Richard Berry, the owner and manager of a group of bankrupt auto dealerships in Arizona and New Mexico, to resolve charges that he and the dealerships deceived consumers and falsified information on vehicle financing applications. Many of the affected consumers were members of the Navajo Nation.
The FTC reached an earlier settlement with the four dealerships: Tate’s Auto Center of Winslow, Tate’s Automotive, Tate Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, and Tate’s Auto Center of Gallup. If approved by the district court, the present settlement against Berry, would result in a $450,000 payment to the FTC and conclude the FTC’s case. The settlement also included a stipulated dismissal of relief defendant Linda Tate, which has been entered by the court.
The FTC’s complaint, filed in August 2018, alleged that the defendants falsified consumers’ income and down payment information to get vehicles financed and engaged in unlawful advertising. In an earlier ruling in the case, the judge found that the defendants violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) by failing to disclose legally required information in their advertisements.
In addition to the $450,000 payment, the proposed settlement prohibits Berry from misrepresenting information in documents associated with a consumer’s purchase, financing, or leasing of a motor vehicle, and misrepresenting the costs or any other material fact related to vehicle financing. The proposed order also requires Berry to provide consumers sufficient time to review and obtain a copy of the relevant vehicle financing documents and prohibits him from violating the TILA and CLA.
The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated order was 5-0. Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued a concurring statement. The proposed order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
NOTE: Stipulated final orders or injunctions, etc. have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
#AceNewsReport – July.30: Barely 48 hours before the arrival in China of one of Biden’s most-trusted diplomats, Beijing has announced its decision to impose counter-sanctions on seven American citizens and entities, including former commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, in retaliation against Washington’s earlier sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong crackdowns….
On July 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State, alongside the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Labor issued an updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory to highlight the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang, given the entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses there and throughout China. This updates the original Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory issued by U.S. government agencies on July 1, 2020.
It is not the first time Washington and Beijing have imposed mutual sanctions, but the latest round marks the first time China has done so using its new anti-foreign sanction law, which was passed in June.
Others affected in Beijing’s “reciprocal counter-sanctions” are the current or former heads of a range of US organisations, including the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Washington-based Hong Kong Democracy Council.
In response to Beijing’s counter sanctions, one of the affected US citizens, HRW’s China director Sophie Richardson tweeted, sarcastically: “thanks, for the extra motivation!” She added in another tweet, in reply to Jo Smith Finley, a British Xinjiang expert who was sanctioned by Beijing in March: “Seriously: so much work to do! And this ain’t about us.”
Since the enactment of the anti-foreign sanctions law last month, Beijing’s decision to impose counter-sanctions has been expected, but the timing of it is indicative of the deteriorating US-China relations. It also comes just less than 48 hours before US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman’s China visit on Sunday.
“Washington has reiterated that Sherman’s visit and talk with the Chinese side will be from ‘a position of strength’, but Beijing may want to remind [the Biden administration] that they are equals,” said Ma Ji, a senior CV Starr lecturer at Peking University’s school of transnational law.
Ma added: “Of course, none of those targeted are in Biden’s inner circle, which means that Beijing still wants to continue the conversation with Washington. But by issuing this list shortly before Sherman’s visit, Beijing clearly intends to reduce her expectations.”
#AceNewsReport – July.30: Hong Kong activist Tong Ying-kit has been jailed for nine years, after he became the first person to be convicted under the national security law Beijing imposed on the city.
#AceDailyNews says …Hong Kong Press reports that Activist Tong Ying-kit was jailed for 9 years in H.K’s first national security case after Tong drove a motorcycle with a flag reading “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” into three police officers during a 2020 demo and with trials now being held in secret and without a jury: The law also allows for judges to be handpicked by Hong Kong’s chief executive, who is directly answerable to Beijing.
ZUMA Press Inc / AlamyTong Ying-kit was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism….
by Kelly Ho: 30 July 2021Tong drove a motorcycle with a flag reading “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” into three police officers during a 2020 demo.
On Friday, in a landmark sentencing for the city four days after he was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorist activities, 24-year-old Tong was handed the custodial jail term by the the High Court. His sentencing marks the end of Hong Kong’s first-ever trial under the sweeping security legislation which was enacted on June 30 last year.
Tong Ying-kit, whose flag bore the phrase “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”, was earlier found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism.
He was the first person to be charged under Hong Kong’s controversial national security law.
Friday’s verdict has set the tone for how future cases might be interpreted.
More than 100 people have been arrested since the law came into force in 2020.
Critics say it reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy and makes it easier to punish activists. But Beijing insists that the law is needed to bring stability to the city.
“We consider that this overall term should sufficiently reflect the defendant’s culpability in the two offences and the abhorrence of society, at the same time, achieving the deterrent effect required,” the judges who presided over the case said in a written judgement, according to Reuters.
Tong’s conviction for secession was because of the slogan on his flag, with police adding that he was guilty of terrorist activities as his actions were a “deliberate challenge against the police”.
Why is the protest slogan so sensitive?
Part of Tong’s 15-day trial focused on the meaning of the “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” slogan, which was popular during pro-democracy protests.
The prosecution argued that the phrase literally called for Hong Kong’s independence from the mainland, while the defence said its meaning was more ambiguous.
In the end the judge ruled that the phrase was capable of inciting others to commit “secession” and found Tong guilty.
Hong Kong human rights lawyer Mark Daly told the BBC that he felt the sentence was “unreasonably long”, as dangerous driving offences usually result in jail sentences of only a few years in Hong Kong.
The “massive mark-up” to nine years was because of the political slogan, he said. “The casualty here is freedom of expression.”
But Andrew Powner, managing partner of Hong Kong law firm, Haldanes, felt the sentence was within guidelines for the national security law, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for grave offences.
The fact that Tong got nine years showed the judges felt his offence was on a “lesser scale” since it did not result in serious injuries but was still “an affront to law and order in Hong Kong”, he told the BBC.
‘Hang in there!’
Grace Tsoi, BBC News, from the court: The people were present in court to hear the sentencing. Tong, dressed in a navy suit, made a heart shape with his fingers to his family from the dock. The judge said that although Tong – who was the main breadwinner of his family – was “previously of good character”, it was not enough to mitigate the “serious offences”.
When the sentencing was read out, Tong remained expressionless, but his family was in tears,While being led out of the dock, he shouted: “You should hang in there!” to his family. At least a dozen police officers were stationed at a nearby shopping centre, where a crowd was waiting for Tong’s prison van to emerge.Why is the national security law controversial?
A former British colony, Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 but under the “one country, two systems” principle.This 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.These freedoms are enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which was meant to last until 2047.
But in June last year, Beijing passed the national security law – which lawyers and legal experts said would fundamentally change the territory’s legal system.
Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific regional director Yamini Mishra said Tong’s sentencing showed the law was “not merely a tool to instil terror into government critics… it is a weapon that will be used to incarcerate them”.
#AceNewsReport – July.30: Disinformation about the vaccines is certainly contributing to their slow uptake in various parts of the U.S. as well as other countries: This disinformation is spreading through a variety of ways: Local communities, family WhatsApp groups, FOX television hosts, and yes, Facebook.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says EFF REPORT: Disentangling Disinformation: Body bags claiming that “disinformation kills” line the streets today in front of Facebook’s Washington, D.C. headquarters….
A group of protesters, affiliated with “The Real Facebook Oversight Board” (an organization that is, confusingly, not affiliated with Facebook or its Oversight Board), is urging Facebook’s shareholders to ban so-called misinformation “superspreaders”—that is, a specific number of accounts that have been deemed responsible for the majority of disinformation about the #COVID19 vaccines Jillian C. York July. 28, 2021…..Here’s why?
The activists pushing for Facebook to remove these “superspreaders” are not wrong: while Facebook does currently ban some COVID-19 mis- and disinformation, urging the company to enforce its own rules more evenly is a tried-and-true tactic: But while disinformation “superspreaders” are easy to identify based on the sheer amount of information they disseminate, tackling disinformation at a systemic level is not an easy task, and some of the policy proposals we’re seeing have us concerned.
1. Disinformation is not always simple to identify.
In the United States, it was only a few decades ago that the medical community deemed homosexuality a mental illness. It took serious activism and societal debate for the medical community to come to an understanding that it was not. Had Facebook been around—and had we allowed it to be arbiter of truth—that debate might not have flourished.
Here’s a more recent example: There is much debate amongst the contemporary medical community as to the causes of ME/CFS, a chronic illness for which a definitive cause has not been determined—and which, just a few years ago, was thought by many not to be real. The Centers for Disease Control notes this and acknowledges that some healthcare providers may not take the illness seriously. Many sufferers of ME/CFS use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to discuss their illness and find community. If those platforms were to crack down on that discussion, relying on the views of the providers that deny the gravity of the illness, those who suffer from it would suffer more greatly.
2. Tasking an authority with determining disinfo has serious downsides.
As we’ve seen from the first example, there isn’t always agreement between authorities and society as to what is truthful—nor are authorities inherently correct.
In January, German newspaper Handelsblattpublished a report stating that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was not efficacious for older adults, citing an anonymous government source and claiming that the German government’s vaccination scheme was risky.
AstraZeneca denied the claims, and no evidence that the vaccine was ineffective for older adults was procured, but it didn’t matter: Handelsblatt’s reporting set off a series of events that led to AstraZeneca’s reputation in Germany suffering considerably.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that even the CDC itself—the authority tasked with providing information about COVID-19—has gotten a few things wrong, most recently in May when it lifted its recommendation that people wear masks indoors, an event that was followed by a surge in COVID-19 cases. That shift was met with rigorous debate on social media, including from epidemiologists and sociologists—debate that was important for many individuals seeking to understand what was best for their health. Had Facebook relied on the CDC to guide its misinformation policy, that debate may well have been stifled.
3. Enforcing rules around disinformation is not an easy task.
We know that enforcing terms of service and community standards is a difficult task even for the most resourced, even for those with the best of intentions—like, say, a well-respected, well-funded German newspaper. But if a newspaper, with layers of editors, doesn’t always get it right, how can content moderators—who by all accounts are low-wage workers who must moderate a certain amount of content per hour—be expected to do so? And more to the point, how can we expect automated technologies—which already make a staggering amount of errors in moderation—to get it right?
The fact is, moderation is hard at any level and impossible at scale. Certainly, companies could do better when it comes to repeat offenders like the disinformation “superspreaders,” but the majority of content, spread across hundreds of languages and jurisdictions, will be much more difficult to moderate—and as with nearly every category of expression, plenty of good content will get caught in the net.
#AceNewsReport – July.30: Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Palatine, Illinois tenured high school teacher Jeanne Hedgepeth, who was fired by the suburban-Chicago school district where she had worked for 20 years after posting comments on Facebook criticizing the riots, violence, and shootings in Chicago in the aftermath of the May 25, 2020, killing of George Floyd.
Judicial Watch Report: Files Civil Rights Lawsuit for High School Teacher Fired for Facebook Posts Criticising Chicago Riots, Looting, and Violence in the Aftermath of George Floyd Killing
Hedgepeth made the posts on her personal Facebook page while vacationing after the end of the school year, just as some of the most severe violence was occurring: In her posts, Hedgepeth recommended studying Thomas Sowell, whom she described as a “treasure” and a “truth seeker,” and praised political commentator and activist Candice Owens and talk show host Larry Elder. She alleges that the firing violated her First Amendment rights.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeks damages from the school district, Township High School District 211, and district board members and officials who participated directly in the firing (Hedgepeth v. Britton et al. (Case No. 1:21-cv-03890)).
The lawsuit explains:
In late May and early June 2020, Hedgepeth was vacationing in Florida after the end of the 2019-20 school year when violent street protests, rioting, looting, and shootings erupted in Chicago and many other U.S. cities in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by Minneapolis police officers. In Chicago alone, 82 persons were shot, 19 fatally, over the May 30-31, 2020 weekend. On May 31, 2020, which the Chicago Sun Times described as the most violent day Chicago had seen in 60 years, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked Governor J.B. Pritzker to deploy the Illinois National Guard in the city.
That same day, May 31, 2020, Hedgepeth posted the following photos of herself on the beach in Florida along with the comment, “I don’t want to go home tomorrow. Now that the civil war has begun I want to move.”
An individual responded, “Follow your gut! Move!!!!!!!!!” Hedgepeth answered, “I need a gun and training.” The individual replied, “me too!”
Another individual posted a meme that same day suggesting that the riots could be stopped with a septic tank truck and a pressure cannon. Hedgepeth reposted the meme, obviously in jest, adding, “You think this would work?”
On or about June 1, 2020, Hedgepeth posted the following comment on Facebook in the course of an exchange of posts begun the previous day with a third individual:
I am about facts, truth seeking and love. I will speak on any topic I choose because I live in a free country. I find the term “white privilege” as racist as the “N” word. You have not walked in my shoes either so do not make assumptions about me and my so called privilege. You think America is racist? Then you have been hoodwinked by the white liberal establishment and race baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Travel the world and go see that every nation has racism and some more than others but few make efforts such as we do to mitigate or eliminate it. I have lived and seen. The people I am informed by about the black experience in America are actually some of the smartest people in America. And it so happens they are black. I highly recommend studying Thomas Sowell, who is now retired and in his 80’s. A treasure. A truth seeker. [D]oes REAL research and analysis. Candice Owens is one of the smartest and most courageous women in America and Larry Elders speaks the truth with a great sense of humor and FACTS not feelings. They are who I listen to when it comes to facts about the black experience in America. Don’t you think there is a deeper problem than racism when 50% of murders in America are committed by 13% of the population? Do you think there might be a subtle genocide of black babies when most planned parenthoods are put in poor neighborhoods and that 30% of abortions are black babies. [B]lack women only make up 7% of the U.S. population. The greatest power you have is what you believe about yourself. [W]hat have Democrats, mainstream media and intellectuals in ivory towers been telling the black community to believe about themselves for forty years? Wake up and stop believing them, then things will change.
All of Hedgepeth’s posts were on her personal Facebook page. None of Hedgepeth’s posts identified her as a teacher or a District 211 employee, nor did Hedgepeth post them in her capacity as a teacher or a District 211 employee. None of the persons with whom Hedgepeth exchanged Facebook posts were current District 211 or Palatine High School teachers, staff, or students.
Upon returning from her vacation in early June 2020, Hedgepeth learned that the school district was investigating her for her Facebook posts. She was fired by the school board six weeks later, on July 16, 2020, by a vote of 5-2. In her defense, Hedgepeth noted that the posts were on her personal Facebook page and were made “out of school.” She also expressly invoked her First Amendment rights.
“The school district took what could have been a teachable moment about respecting diversity of viewpoints and turned it into a clear civil rights violation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Jeanne Hedgepeth had every right to express herself freely and openly on her personal Facebook page, outside of school, about matters of undeniable public concern. Firing her for opposing lawlessness, speaking out about gun rights, praising black conservatives, and criticizing Democrats and tenets of Critical Racial Theory violated the First Amendment, and the school district and district officials who did so will be held accountable.”
Judicial Watch is being assisted by attorney Christine Svenson of Palatine, Illinois.
#AceNewsReport – July.30: The probes follow President Kais Saied’s dismissal of the prime minister and key Cabinet members, and the 30-day suspension of parliament, which is dominated by Ennahda.
#AceDailyNews says Tunisia launches probe into funding of Ennahda party as investigations have also been opened into the national anti-corruption agency — which is itself suspected of corruption — on July 24th 2020, the Truth and Dignity Commission’s (IVD) final report has finally been published in a special issue….here Official Gazette of the Tunisian Republic created to confront abuses during Tunisia’s decades of autocratic rule July 28, 2021 23:45:
ARAB NEWS: Ennahda and two other political parties are accused of obtaining illegal funding before elections in 2019. The investigation will focus on “the foreign financing and acceptance of funds of unknown origin,” said Mohsen Dali, spokesman for the financial prosecutor’s office. Rachid Ghannouchi, the Ennahda leader and parliamentary speaker, admitted that his party was a perfect target to blame for Tunisia’s raft of economic, health and other problems. Ghannouchi conceded that Ennahda, which has been accused of focusing on its internal concerns instead of managing the coronavirus, “needs to review itself, as do other parties.” The Islamist party has accused the president of carrying out a coup, but the claim has attracted little support in the international community. The US, EU and other world powers have stopped short of condemning Saied’s actions, and instead urged him to rapidly appoint a new prime minister and government. Saied said he would assume executive power “with the help” of a government whose new leader he would appoint himself. Names of possible candidates circulated on Wednesday after Saied met representatives of civil society. “President Saied will be very careful in choosing the future head of government, because he wants a trustworthy and loyal person who will adopt the same policies as him,” said political scientist Slaheddine Jourchi. “He is faced with a great challenge — to show Tunisians and the world that he made the right decisions.” Saied said his actions were necessary to stabilize a country in economic and health crisis, and they have received widespread support among ordinary Tunisians. Omar Oudherni, a retired army brigadier and security expert, said the president’s moves, coming after a day of nationwide protests, “put an end to the development of anger … This decision calmed the situation and protected the state and citizens, and even the ruling political parties, from the people’s wrath.”
#AceNewsReport – July.30: On 19 December, Hart had travelled to Eersel in the Netherlands, later telling officers the trip had been to buy Christmas presents, as well as to collect a motorcycle and parts for his family’s hobby of international motocross racing……..
#AceDailyNews reports that a man tried to smuggle drugs into the U.K. after Netherlands Christmas shopping trip with his wife and ‘The National Crime Agency’ investigated after a van hired by Sean Hart, 40, from Newcastle, was stopped at the Eurotunnel controls in Coquelles, France in December 2016 he was arrested and later charged.
After stopping the van on its return journey to the UK, Border Force officers discovered two packages of cocaine weighing a total of 2kg concealed in the dashboard. The cocaine would be worth an estimated £60k at wholesale and £160k at street level.
Today [27 July], Sean Hart was convicted of importing a class A drug after a seven day trial at Newcastle Crown Court: He is due to be sentenced on 15 September at the same location.
NCA Operations Manager Julie Booker said: “This was a blatant attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into the UK under the guise of travelling to do his Christmas shopping. Not only was Sean Hart prevented from making money from importing class A drugs, he now faces the prospect of prison time: “Illegal drugs are at the root of considerable violence and exploitation. We will continue to work with partners like Border Force to keep our communities safe by preventing class A drugs from entering the country.”
A second defendant was found not guilty after the same trial.
#AceNewsReport – July.30: Lakatos was part of international organised gang who targeted the Boodles store in New Bond Street, central London, and stole seven gems, replacing them with pebbles, during the theft on 10 March 2016…….
#AceDailyNews reports that a woman has been found guilty of role in £4.2million diamond heist Lulu Lakatos – 60 (26.06.61) from the Saint Brieuc region of France, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal on Wednesday, 28 July following the conclusion of her trial: She was sentenced on the same day to five years and six months’ imprisonment.
Lakatos was part of a gang who had been intrinsically planning the raid for some time, engaging with Boodles and posing as a wealthy Russian investor who was looking to purchase gems. In the weeks leading up to the raid, meetings had been held with Boodles and people purporting to work for the ‘investor’, culminating in an arrangement where a gemmologist named ‘Anna’ working on behalf of the investor would travel to London to inspect the gems – this role was to be played by Lakatos:
The court were told how Lakatos entered the country on the day before the raid and checked into a hotel in Cricklewood in the company of another woman: At around 20:15hrs on 9 March 2016, Lakatos met with two men at a café near to her hotel. All three drove into central London where they scoped out the Boodles store from the street, before Lakatos was dropped back in Cricklewood: The following day Lakatos, now dressed to impersonate the gemmologist ‘Anna’, arrived for the pre-arranged meeting at Boodles. Outside the Boodles store, four other members of the gang were present, observing events. These were the two men Lakatos had met the previous evening, and two women who have yet to be identified: Using the guise that she did not speak English very well, Lakatos and staff at Boodles communicated in French – Lakatos would subsequently use this language barrier as part of the execution of the theft: After being shown into a secure area in the presence of Boodles own gemmologist, the seven diamonds were produced for Lakatos to examine; each were then individually placed in a locked bag and were to be stored with Boodles until confirmation of the payment had been received: Following Lakatos’s inspection, she placed the bag containing the diamonds in her own handbag. The Boodle’s gemmologist immediately challenged her, but Lakatos used the apparent language barrier to cause a delay, before appearing to produce the same locked bag containing the diamonds from her handbag: However, in the seconds that Lakatos had engineered, she had switched the padlocked bag with a duplicate one already stored within her handbag containing seven pebbles of the same weight: The gemmologist raised concerns, and a visual check of the bag was carried out but the padlocked bag was not discovered: Lakatos left the shop with the staff unaware of what had taken place in front of their own eyes…..As she walked down the street she was followed by the two women; they caught up with her and CCTV footage showed Lakatos transferring the bag to one of the women as they continued to walk: Further back, the two men followed at a distance: All the gang members then went their separate ways. Lakatos took a taxi to a pub near Victoria Station where she changed her clothing in a pub toilet before catching a Eurostar train meaning she had been in and out of the country, having committed the theft, within 24 hours and within just three hours of committing the offence.
The following day, Boodles – who still held concerns over the way ‘Anna’ the gemmologist had acted – had the locked bag in their possession x-rayed. While the items inside appeared to be the same size as the diamonds, they did not appear quite right. The bag was opened and the pebbles were discovered: An investigation was launched, led by the Met’s Flying Squad. They painstakingly began to piece together the evidence, analysing hours of CCTV footage and interrogating the forensic trail left behind by the gang through their contact with Boodles.
Lakatos was identified and arrested in France and extradited back to the UK on 3 December 2020….
Acting Detective Sergeant William Man of the Flying Squad said: This was an audacious theft, carried out in plain view of experienced and professional staff at a renowned jewellers. The meticulous planning and execution of this theft reveals to me that those involved were highly skilled criminals: “ However, due to the tenacious police work of the Flying Squad, involving painstaking analysis of a vast amount of evidence, we have managed to identify Lakatos and bring her to justice: “ While she played a key role in this theft, it is clear she did not work alone and enquiries remain ongoing to identify all those involved.”
= The two men involved in this theft were identified convicted of conspiracy to steal. An investigation is ongoing for the other two women seen to be involved in the exchange with Lakatos following the theft: …….A third woman – who accompanied Lakatos into the UK – was found not guilty of conspiracy to steal following a trial.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: Our thoughts are with the baby’s family, who are being supported by Family Liaison Officers.
#AceDailyNews reports on the ‘North Belfast Murder’ detectives Investgation leads to a 29 year woman who was also in the house being arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder and remains in custody at this time….
Detective Chief Inspector Millar from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Major Investigation Team said: “Police were called to the house shortly after 8pm last night and discovered the injured baby and another injured child in the house. Despite the efforts of the emergency services the baby was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. The other young child was taken to hospital and remains in intensive care: While our investigation is at any early stage I can confirm that at this stage, we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this tragic death. I would like to thank the local community for the support that they have provided and would appeal to anyone with any information that can assist our investigation to contact us on 101 quoting reference number 1787 27/07/21.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that will assist the investigation to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. has sentenced John Robert Cooney (54, Orlando) to 12 years in federal prison for receiving images of children being sexually abused using an online social media application (app). The court also ordered Cooney to register as a sex offender and forfeit the electronic devices that he used to commit this offence….
#AceDailyNews reports on another case as part of ‘ Project Safe Childhood’ that according to court documents, on July 7, 2020, Cooney, a former attorney and therapist, received images depicting children as young as 1-2 years old being subjected to sadistic sexual abuse using a popular online messaging app he pleaded guilty on March 15, 2021……
On August 21, 2020: Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Cooney’s home and seized several computers and electronic devices. A forensic review of Cooney’s devices revealed more than 1,800 images and 2,400 videos depicting the sexual abuse of young children. In addition to receiving these images, Cooney was also trading and exchanging online cloud storage links to collections of child sexual abuse materials with other users on this mobile app.
This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Daniels.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: The group consisted of 328 family members and eight unaccompanied children. Many within the group suffered from dehydration and exhaustion. Border Patrol Emergency Medical Technicians responded and provided medical assistance to those in need before being sent to the hospital for further treatment. The migrants encountered are from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the majority from Guatemala.
#AceDailyNews reports that ‘Back-to-Back Large Groups Encountered in 24-Hours in RGV’ yesterday morning, Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station agents working near La Grulla, Texas, encountered a group of 336 illegal-migrants as they walked from the Rio Grande into the United States, which, at the time, was the largest group encountered this summer.
Last night, McAllen Border Patrol Station agents working near Hidalgo, Texas, encountered 509 migrants which included 331 family members, 115 unaccompanied children, and 63 single adults. These apprehensions account for the single largest group apprehended thus far, this year. RGV Sector began tracking large groups in 2007 and last night’s encounter is by far, one of the largest to date. This group consisted of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Venezuela.
RGV agents continue to encounter significant numbers of undocumented migrants crossing the border and our federal, state, and local partnerships are indispensable as we work to secure our border and work to quickly move individuals out of USBP custody and through the appropriate immigration pathway. “From the river to ranchlands, our agents are doing everything they can to locate and rescue individuals who are lost or distressed, and we are witnessing firsthand that migrants are experiencing the worst as their trek to the border is unforgiving,” said Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings. To date, RGV has accounted for over 700 rescues this fiscal year.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: The index has now plummeted by more than 45% since hitting a record high in February: The slump comes after a series of crackdowns by Beijing on its technology and education industries.
#AceDailyNews says that China stocks see biggest slump in US since 2008 financial crisis in The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index, which follows the 98 biggest US-listed Chinese stocks, has fallen by almost 15% in the last two trading sessions according to BBC Business News
This has led to around $770bn (£556bn) being wiped off the value of US-listed Chinese stocks in the last five months alone: The latest blow came as Beijing unveiled a massive overhaul of China’s $120bn private tutoring sector, under which all institutions offering tuition on school curricula will be registered as non-profit organisations.
The new rules also said: “Curriculum subject-tutoring institutions are not allowed to go public for financing; listed companies should not invest in the institutions, and foreign capital is barred from such institutions.”
That pushed down the stock market value of private education firms in the US, Hong Kong and mainland China.
Chinese authorities are also cracking down on a wide range of online services from food delivery apps to music streaming platforms.
On Monday, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) issued new rules aimed at improving the employment conditions of delivery workers.
The SAMR called for delivery workers to be paid at least the minimum wage, have their workload eased, and be given better training.
Meituan, which runs one of China’s biggest food delivery apps, saw its shares lose a record 17.6% on Tuesday in Hong Kong trade, on top of a 14% slide the previous day.
Shares in Tencent fell by another 9% on Tuesday in Hong Kong after China ordered the technology giant to end exclusive music licensing deals with major record labels around the world.
Regulators said the move was aimed at tackling the company’s dominance of online music streaming in the country.
And earlier this year, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba accepted a record $2.8bn fine after an official investigation found that it had abused its market position for years.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: He was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – a charge often used against activists….
#AceNewsDesk says that outspoken billionaire Sun Dawu 67 jailed for 18 years in China and runs one of the country’s largest private agricultural businesses in the northern province of Hebei but has in the past spoken out about human rights and politically sensitive topics.
Other charges against him include illegally occupying farmland, assembling a crowd to attack state agencies and obstructing government workers from performing their duties. He was also fined 3.11 million yuan ($478,697; £343,227).
Sun’s company is among China’s biggest, with businesses ranging from meat processing and pet food to schools and hospitals.
He was reportedly detained last year, along with 20 relatives and business associates, over a land dispute with a government-run farm.
At the time, he said dozens of his employees were injured in an incident with police related to the dispute, according to an AFP report.
Sun is said to be close to some prominent Chinese political dissidents and has in the past criticised the government’s rural policies.
He was one of the few people to openly accuse the government of covering up an African swine flu outbreak, which affected his farms in 2019, and later devastated much of the country’s industry.
He also was sentenced to prison in 2003, for “illegal fundraising” but the case was overturned after an outpouring of support from activists and the public.
Sun reportedly denied many of the accusations against him in a pre-trial hearing, describing himself as an “outstanding Communist party member”.
He did however reportedly admit to making mistakes, including posting messages online.
“The way they’re investigating me now is making those close to us suffer and those who hate us rejoice. I wish to take the charges upon myself, even if they’re severe, in exchange for the release of others. We are people who have made contributions to society,” he said.
China has been cracking down on businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. Major technology companies including Alibaba, Didi and Tencent are being investigated for a range of regulatory issues.
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#AceNewsReport – July.29: The 32-year-old tried to start a conversation and following a verbal altercation he first lashed out and punched the man to the floor. He then repeatedly kicked the man, aged 20, who was on the ground….
#AceDailyNews reports that a thug has been jailed over savage street attack after Sebastiojonas Busauskas approached the pair, who were not known to him, in Trinity Street, Coventry, during the early hours of 7 September 2019.
Busauskas, of Coundon Road, Coventry, pleaded guilty to inflicting grevious bodily harm and assault and was sentenced to four years in prison at Leamington Justice Centre Crown Court on Monday (19 July).
The 19-year-old woman tried to stop the attack but he then assaulted her, causing her to also lose consciousness: Two members of the public rushed over to intervene and managed to detain Busauskas ahead of officers arriving.
PC Mark Jervis, from force CID at Coventry, said: “This was a savage and senseless attack on two people he’d never even met before. There can be no justification for such violence: Thankfully, the victims were not seriously injured despite both losing consciousness for a while. It could have been a lot worse if the brave members of the public hadn’t stepped in and detained him.”
#AceNewsReport – July.29: This was the last time Bea was seen. Her body has never been found and it is thought likely Scott Walker disposed of Bea in the countryside near Peterborough….
#AceDailyNewsreports that a teenager has been murdered to stop her speaking out about sexual abuse Scott Walker, 51, carried out the murder in a 90-minute period when he was meant to be driving 17-year-old Bernadette Walker, known as Bea, from his parents’ house to their family home on Saturday 18 July last year.
Bernadette ‘Bea’ Walker
On 17 July Bea had stayed overnight at the home of Scott Walker’s parents after a family row about the allegations. Her mother, Sarah Walker, 38, had not believed Bea when she told her the day before about the sexual abuse.
The prosecution said that shortly after killing her Walker called Sarah, to tell her what he had done and asked her to help him cover up Bea’s death and buy them both time to work out what should happen next. They then concocted a story which was intended to mislead and pervert the investigation into the disappearance and death of Bea.
Later that night they drove to a lock-up garage where the prosecution believe Bea’s possessions and mobile telephone may have been stored. Scott Walker went back and forth from the garage that night and over the next two days. Sarah went with him on some of those trips, including to outlying areas of Peterborough and to the area of Cowbit in Spalding and to the East of Gunthorpe. The prosecution team pieced together their movements through GPS and cell site data on their mobile phones, the movement of the car from CCTV and police automated number plate recognition (ANPR) data..
The story the pair invented and which they stuck to throughout their trial at Cambridge Crown Court was that Scott Walker stopped the car to confront Bea about her allegations of sexual abuse against him. She then jumped out and walked off leaving her backpack with her few belongings in the car. He told police that he went after her, but she disappeared down an alleyway and he went home without Bea.
Meanwhile, Sarah Walker used Bea’s mobile phone to send fake text messages to her friends, Bea’s friends, and to family members supposedly from Bea confessing she had run off because she lied about the abuse and did not want to get into trouble. They did not report her missing to the police until 21 July and by then they had laid the false trail and had disposed of Bea’s body.
Scott Walker and Sarah Walker custody photos
Nicola Rice, senior prosecutor from CPS East of England said: “On the morning of the 18 July, Scott Walker went to collect Bea from his parent’s home. Prior to doing this he went to his lock-up garage. When he arrived, he was told that Bea was still maintaining that he had sexually abused her. He drove off from his parents with Bea. This was the last time that anyone saw Bea. Shortly after his mobile phone was sited in the countryside outside of Peterborough and then switched off for 90 minutes. This is where and when the prosecution say that Bea was killed: He then telephoned Sarah Walker and they talked for nine minutes. The Crown’s case was that it was in this time that, knowing Bea was dead, that they concocted a plan and began to lay a false trail that she was missing. They went to extraordinary levels of deceit to cover-up what happened, telling a web of lies to family members, friends and ultimately to the police.
“Despite a police investigation and search, Bea’s body has never been recovered. We all hope that one day Scott and Sarah Walker will do the right thing and say where she is in the hope that dignity can be returned to her”
Sarah Walker, along with Scott Walker, was convicted of two counts of perverting the course of justice: These related to knowing she was dead but sending messages from her phone and providing false information to the police all to impede their investigation:
The prosecution team led by CPS East of England presented a timeline of messages that showed that Sarah Walker hacked into Bea’s social media accounts soon after her murder, including changing her passwords: Immediately after receiving the phone call from Scott Walker, Sarah found Bea’s mobile which she had left at home and hacked into her email and attempted to access her college and Instagram accounts. She claimed she did this to prevent the sexual abuse allegations becoming known. The prosecution argued that knowing her daughter was dead, she wanted to use the phone to create the false impression that Bea was alive but had run away.
They used the fake messages to explain they thought she was ok and felt no need to inform the police that Bea had disappeared: Using Bea’s phone Sarah Walker sent a message to her own phone supposedly from Bea apologising for making up the abuse allegations. She also sent a message to one of Bea’s friends saying she had runaway because she had lied. Sarah would later tell police that Scott Walker told her to send these false messages.
They were arrested six weeks later.
Bea was a regular user of a number of social media platforms and posted every day on Instagram. Her friends said it was really unusual for her not to post anything on social media and they had not heard from her after 17 July – the day before her murder. Some of her friends gave evidence confirming this was the last day they had contact with Bea.
Nicola Rice added: “Bea was not reported missing until three days after Scott Walker collected her; enough time for he and Sarah Walker to get their story together and to do what they needed to ensure that there was no link back to them.
“When she was reported missing Sarah Walker, in the presence of Scott Walker, continued to tell lies, hampering the police investigation. She pretended Bea chose not to return and lying that she had been in contact with her. The truth was that Bea did not have her mobile phone. Scott and Sarah Walker always had it and purported to be Bea until they disposed of it.
“The delay in reporting Bea missing and the lies they told everyone were nothing short of wicked and designed only to protect themselves without any thought, care or love for Bea or their wider family.”
They will both be sentenced on 10 September.
16 July 2020 – Bea tells her mother that Scott Walker has been sexually abusing her for years. Sarah Walker does not believe her.
17 July – The Walkers’ and Bea argue about the allegations. Bea agrees to spend the night with Scott Walker’s parents. Scott Walker drops her off around 10.30pm.
18 July – Scott Walker goes back to his parents in the morning to collect Bea. They leave at 11.06am. This is the last time anyone other than Scott Walker sees Bea alive. She is thought to have been murdered in the next 90 minutes.
18-20 July – Scott and Sarah Walker start to lay a trial of false messages supposedly from Bea saying she has run away. They also travel to a lock up garage and fenland areas of Peterborough during this period.
21 July – Sarah first reports her daughter missing to the police who being to investigate.
10 September – Both are arrested. Scott Walker is later charged with Bea’s murder.
14 June 2021 – Eleven months after Bea’s murder the trial of Scott and Sarah Walker starts at Cambridge Crown Court.
26 July – Scott Walker is convicted of her murder and both he and Sarah Walker are found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial started on 14 June 2021 at Cambridge Crown Court
The Walkers are not married but she took his surname in 2018. Bea was born on 13/12/2002 and last seen by Scott Walker’s parents on the morning of 18/6/2020. She was the biological daughter of Sarah but not of Scott
Scott Walker (D.O.B. 05/02/1970) was charged with one count of murder
Both he and Sarah Walker (DOB 19/10/1982) were jointly charged with four counts of perverting the course of justice: Two counts related to knowing that Bea was dead and trying to impede the police investigation into that and two others related to not knowing Bea was dead but impeding the police investigation
Before the trial Sarah Walker pleaded guilty to two of the perverting the course of justice counts related to not knowing Bea was dead. Scott Walker pleaded not guilty to all four.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: The team were carrying out a number of weapons sweeps around the Surrey Lane Estate area, SW11. As the officers were walking up a stairwell they noticed the corner of a ceiling tile was loose….
#AceDailyNews reports that MET’s Violence Suppresion Unit Officers have uncovered a stash of shotgun cartridges found concealed in ceiling stairwell in Battersea the weapons were recovered by officers from the Met’s Violence Suppression Unit on the morning on Monday, 26 July, the first day of enhanced activity to tackle firearms offences in London.
Upon closer inspection they found a carrier bag which contained the ammunition: It was taken to a secure location and enquiries are now underway to identify who placed them there……
Detective Inspector Richard Mullan, from the Met, said: “Within hours of the Met upscaling its focus on firearms for the week, we have recovered 30 shotgun cartridges that someone clearly didn’t want us to find. There’s no other logical explanation for them to be stuffed in a communal ceiling: Whilst this is a fantastic start to the week of upsurge that the Met is carrying out, we constantly react to intelligence and information when provided to us. Our work will now continue to identify who placed these bullets in the ceiling and if they have access to a shotgun. Our work has not ceased now that we have taken the bullets.”Information on how to report a suspected firearms discharge, or to provide information to the police on where firearms are being stored or who is in possession of a weapon can be made via 999, by tweeting @MetCC or via our website.
Alternatively we strongly encourage anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers. They never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or the device you use. Fill in their quick online form or call 0800 555 111. It could save a life.
The Bradford Partnership said it “fully accepts more needs to be done”
Author Clare Hyde said it “makes difficult and, at times, distressing reading.
“The children suffered abuse no child should have to experience, and in most cases had suffered other traumas and abuse long before they were sexually exploited.”
West Yorkshire Police(From top left, clockwise) Basharat Khaliq, Saeed Akhtar, Naveed Akhtar, Parvaze Ahmed, Zeeshan Ali, Fahim Iqbal, Izar Hussain, Mohammed Usman and Kieran Harris were all jailed at Bradford Crown Court in 2019
The report noted that while there had been “considerable work” done in relation to child sexual exploitation (CSE), there were still “lessons that need to be learned” and the response to some victims was “not yet good enough”.
It added that despite “significant improvements” in understanding and responding to more recent cases of CSE, some children “remain unprotected while some perpetrators remain unknown and unchallenged”.
‘Never followed up’
Fiona Goddard, who was groomed and sexually abused by gangs of men from 2008, said she was failed “multiple times” by social services and police.
“I reported it multiple times – physical abuse, sexual abuse or rapes – and they were never followed up on.”
The 27-year-old, who has waived her legal right to life-long anonymity, said most of the girls in the care home where she lived were victims of child sexual exploitation.
“They had the opportunity to nip it in the bud and save me from years of abuse but they never did.”
The Bradford Partnership said “more needs to be done” to help victims of abuse: The report also detailed abuse set out by another victim, known as Anna, whose social worker recommended she be placed in the foster care of the parents of the man who was abusing her.
While living there, she became pregnant at the age of 15 and went on to marry him in an Islamic wedding, which she says was allowed by the authorities.
The report stated: “While in the ‘care’ of these adults, she was subjected to further sexual abuse and exploitation, domestic abuse, including assaults and coercion and what we would now recognise as domestic slavery.”
Anna said agencies had “just ignored the abuse” and it had “destroyed her childhood”.
Ms Goddard said: “This review talks about five people, but what about the hundreds of others who deserve the same apology and to see the failings written down in black and white?”
Daniel Greenwood, Ch Supt Bradford District, said police had invested heavily to try and better understand the problem
In a joint statement responding to the review, the Bradford Partnership, made up of Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police’s Bradford district commander and Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We want to apologise to the young people identified in this report and any others where the actions of agencies in Bradford has failed to protect them from child sexual exploitation.”
It added: “This crime must not be tolerated. All the partners in our district are committed to protecting our children and to working with the police to bring perpetrators of this crime to justice.”
Mark Douglas, strategic director of children’s services at Bradford Council, said the authority had learned “an awful lot about about child sexual exploitation”.
He added: “I think we have learned as a system and we are much better placed and much more robust in our response to these circumstances.”
PAThe Bradford review was carried out to assess whether there were themes and patterns organisations could learn from
Daniel Greenwood, Ch Supt Bradford District, said the report acknowledged there had been a “vast improvement” in the way police had responded to CSE and to those at risk.
“Where we have the opportunity to identify perpetrators, we will take all reasonable steps that we can to identify them, arrest them, and to work towards a successful prosecution through the courts,” he said.
‘People let down’
Nazir Afzal, the former chief crown prosecutor in the Rochdale grooming gang cases, said the new report’s findings were “deeply depressing but unsurprising”.
He said while a full inquiry would reveal the true scale of the problem in Bradford he would rather “we get on with fixing the problem”.
“That means dealing with the professionals’ inability to recognise and respond to abuse…It means putting the children at the centre of our response and that means believing them and acting upon what they’re told.
“Whatever inquiry we have, it will tell us the same thing: information was held by one agency, one person, and wasn’t shared with another person – and that means those people were let down.”
In 2019, nine men were found guilty of offences including rape and inciting child prostitution after a trial lasting more than six weeks.
During the trial, the court heard the grooming and abuse began in 2008 when the girls were aged 14, living in a children’s home in Bradford.
The jury heard staff could not physically prevent the girls leaving the home but they were aware one of the girls was “being picked up by multiple Asian males in smart cars”
#AceNewsReport – July.28: Our officers have prioritized the arrest of noncitizens who pose the greatest threat to the security and safety of our communities,” said ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson. “By focusing our resources on those who have committed sex crimes and demonstrated predatory behavior, we reinforce our steadfast commitment to enhancing public safety across the United States.”
#AceDailyNews reports that ICE has announced the latest results of ‘Operation SOAR’ targeting noncitizen sex offenders being removed from citizens communities …
Operation SOAR is a coordinated enforcement operation that builds on ongoing efforts to arrest and remove noncitizen sex offenders from our communities In support of this endeavor, ERO’s Fugitive Operations Support Center has spearheaded a collaborative effort with the ERO Law Enforcement Support Center to identify criminal noncitizens who are registered as sex offenders.
In accordance with the civil immigration enforcement priorities, ICE is focusing its limited resources on national security, border security, and public safety.
#AceNewsReport – July.28: Throughout the patrol, the crew of the Harriet Lane worked in conjunction with a diverse array of US and foreign military assets to conduct vital training and perform its assigned law enforcement mission, which included interdicting one go-fast vessel carrying approximately 882 pounds of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of $16 million.
#AceDailyNews reports that Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane crewmembers interdict $16 million worth of illicit drugs, performed counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations in support of the Coast Guard 7th District and Joint Interagency Task Force-South returning home following 72-day Caribbean Sea patrol…
U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 07/27/2021 12:34 PM EDTNews Release
Editors Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.
Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane crewmembers interdict $16 million worth of illicit drugs, return home following 72-day Caribbean Sea patrol
The interdiction was conducted jointly with USS Wichita (LCS 13). Harriet Lane’s crew assumed tactical control of Wichita’s helicopter, which employed airborne use of force executed by a trained Coast Guard crew member. The helicopter disabled the vessel and vectored in Harriet Lane’s small boat with embarked boarding team. Harriet Lane crews also conducted multiple at sea transfers of suspected illegal narcotics and drug-smugglers with the Dutch Navy aboard HNLMS Holland and facilitated the at-sea interdiction of a suspected drug smuggling vessel by the French frigate Ventôse.
In addition to operations, the Harriet Lane crew conducted a towing exercise with the USS Wichita, taking the 378-foot littoral combat ship in tow. During the evolution both vessels exchanged crew members of various rates and rank to provide exposure and promote professional development. This exercise provided invaluable training for both crews and strengthened the special relationships amongst the seagoing services. The crew of Harriet Lane hosted Consul General Allen Greenberg, the U.S. Consul General for Curacao and U.S. Chief of Mission for the former Dutch Antilles. Amidst, operations, joint military training, and acts of diplomacy, the cutter crew also completed aviation, damage control, seamanship, and navigation training to maintain operational readiness and prepare for future multi-mission patrols.
“I am tremendously humbled to have completed my first patrol aboard Harriet Lane with this fine crew of maritime professionals,” said Cmdr. Ben Goff, commanding officer of the Harriet Lane “Throughout, we showcased a diversity of talent unique to the world’s best Coast Guard. I am extremely proud of the crew for their unwavering flexibility and selfless service amidst a variety of scheduling changes and mission challenges. Likewise, it was a true privilege to conduct operations and training with our US, Dutch, and French navy partners.”
Harriet Lane is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter responsible for a variety of Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties, maritime defense, and protection of the marine environment.
#AceNewsReport – July.28: US defence officials have expressed concern about China’s nuclear build-up: It is the second new silo field reported to be under construction in western China in the last two months.
#AceNewsDesk says according to BBC Asia …China is building a nuclear missile silo field, scientists say Satellite images from Xinjiang province suggest the site could house about 110 silos when it is finished, says the report from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
The FAS said in its report on Monday that the new site at Hami, about 380 km (240 miles) north-west of Yumen, was at a much earlier stage of development.
In 2020 the Pentagon said China was set to double its stockpile of nuclear warheads, from a low base.
The news comes as the US and Russia prepare for arms control talks.
The talks, between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, are being seen as a first step towards reviving stalled negotiations on reducing nuclear arms.
But China has so far not taken part in arms control negotiations.