AP News in Brief 10-07-19

US researchers on front line against Chinese intellectual property theft

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. warned allies around the world that Chinese tech giant Huawei was a security threat, the FBI was making the same point quietly to a Midwestern university.

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In an email to the associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, an agent wanted to know if administrators believed Huawei had stolen any intellectual property from the school.

Told no, the agent responded: “I assumed those would be your answers, but I had to ask.”

It was no random query.

The FBI has been reaching out to colleges and universities across the country as it tries to stem what American authorities portray as the wholesale theft of technology and trade secrets by researchers tapped by China. The breadth and intensity of the campaign emerges in emails The Associated Press obtained through records requests to public universities in 50 states. The emails underscore the extent of U.S. concerns that universities, as recruiters of foreign talent and incubators of cutting-edge research, are particularly vulnerable targets.

Iraq blames ‘malicious’ hands as toll from unrest tops 100 dead

BAGHDAD — Twelve anti-government demonstrators were killed Sunday in ongoing protests in the capital Baghdad, the latest fatalities in six days of clashes that have left more than 100 dead and thousands wounded.

Iraq’s government has scrambled to contain the popular anger that has racked Baghdad and a number of southern cities since Tuesday. Security forces responded with a crackdown on the spontaneous rallies of demonstrators demanding jobs, better services and an end to endemic corruption in the oil-rich country.

In the first official statement from the government accounting for the violence, Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said Sunday that 104 people had been killed in the six days of unrest, including eight members of the security forces, and more than 6,000 wounded. He said an investigation was under way to determine who was behind the most deadly day of violence, in Baghdad on Friday.

The unrest is the most serious challenge facing Iraq two years after the victory against Islamic State militants. The chaos also comes at a critical time for the government, which has been caught in the middle of increasing U.S.-Iran tensions in the region. Iraq is allied with both countries and hosts thousands of U.S. troops, as well as powerful paramilitary forces allied with Iran.

Iraq’s most senior Shiite spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has urged the protesters and the security forces to end the violence while the country’s prime minister has called on the protesters to go home. Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi also pledged to meet with the protesters wherever they are and without any armed forces, to hear their demands.

GM-UAW talks take turn for worse; settlement not near

DETROIT — Contract talks aimed at ending a 21-day strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors have taken a turn for the worse, hitting a big snag over product commitments for U.S. factories, a union official wrote in an email to members.

The letter from UAW Vice President Terry Dittes casts doubt on whether there will be a quick settlement in the contract dispute, which sent 49,000 workers to the picket lines on Sept. 16, crippling GM’s factories.

From wire sources

Dittes’ letter says the union presented a proposal to the company Saturday. He said GM responded Sunday morning by reverting back to an offer that had been rejected and made few changes.

The company’s proposal did nothing to address a host of items, Dittes wrote, specifying job security for members during the term of the four-year contract.

Normally in contract talks, the union bargains for commitments from the company to build new vehicles, engines, transmissions and other items at U.S. factories represented by the union.

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Turkey summons US diplomat over a Twitter ‘like’

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey summoned a top American diplomat Sunday after the U.S. Embassy’s official Twitter account “liked” a tweet that said the people of Turkey should prepare for a political era without the leader of Turkey’s national party, who is reportedly ill.

The Foreign Ministry said the U.S. charge d’affaires Jeffrey Hovenier was summoned despite an embassy statement that said its Twitter account had liked “an unrelated post in error,” and apologized.

Many interpreted the tweet as suggesting that the nationalist leader Devlet Bahceli could soon die. The tweet was posted by a journalist Turkey accuses of having links to a network led by a cleric who is blamed for a 2016 failed coup attempt. Turkish media reports say the journalist, Ergun Babahan, is wanted in Turkey.

The tweet drew ire from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and as well as Bahceli’s party, which are allies. Turkey’s main opposition party also said it regarded the embassy’s move as an insult to Turkey’s parliament.

The embassy issued a second apology after Hovenier was called to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

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Portugal’s Socialists prepare 4 more years in government

LISBON, Portugal — The center-left Socialist Party got the most votes in Portugal’s general election Sunday, leaving it poised to continue leading the government for another four years.

With 226 seats in the 230-seat parliament awarded in the official count, the Socialists reached 106 seats, compared with 77 for the second-place Social Democratic Party.

The parliament chooses a government, usually taken from the party that has the most lawmakers.

The Socialists, however, fell short of a parliamentary majority. They could take power as a minority government or pursue alliances with other left-of-center parties to pass legislation — as they did in their last term with the Portuguese Communist Party and the radical Left Bloc.

Antonio Costa, the Socialist leader and incumbent prime minister, said he would start talks with other parties with the aim of securing a political agreement for the next four years.

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Dallas police investigate death of witness in ex-cop’s trial

DALLAS — A man who was fatally shot has been identified as a key witness in the murder trial of a white Dallas police officer who killed her black neighbor, Dallas police said Sunday.

Joshua Xavier Brown, 28, was found Friday night in the parking lot of an apartment complex with multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said. Brown was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Brown lived in the same apartment complex as Amber Guyger and Botham Jean and testified at Guyger’s trial, where she was convicted of murder on Tuesday. The Jean family attorney, Lee Merritt, posted a statement on Twitter that said he had spoken with Brown’s mother and “she is devastated.”

“We need answers,” Merritt wrote.

Homicide detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying suspects and a motive in Brown’s death.

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Ginger Baker, Cream’s volatile drummer, dies at 80

LONDON — Ginger Baker, the volatile and propulsive drummer for Cream and other bands who wielded blues power and jazz finesse and helped shatter boundaries of time, tempo and style in popular music, died Sunday at age 80, his family said.

With blazing eyes, orange-red hair and a temperament to match, the London native ranked with The Who’s Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham as the embodiment of musical and personal fury. Using twin bass drums, Baker fashioned a pounding, poly-rhythmic style uncommonly swift and heavy that inspired and intimidated countless musicians. But every beat seemed to mirror an offstage eruption — whether his violent dislike of Cream bandmate Jack Bruce or his on-camera assault of a documentary maker, Jay Bulger, whom he smashed in the nose with his walking stick.

Bulger would call the film, released in 2012, “Beware of Mr. Baker.”

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Baker’s family said on Twitter that he died Sunday: “We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully in hospital this morning.”

His daughter Nettie confirmed that Baker died in Britain but gave no other details. The family had said on Sept. 25 that Baker was critically ill in the hospital.

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