New Zealand to use online platforms to host APEC summit

FILE PHOTO: New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

SYDNEY (Reuters) – New Zealand will use virtual digital platforms to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday, attributing the decision to uncertainty around travel due to the coronavirus.

“What we’ve done is we’ve determined that actually for the sake of certainty, let’s just plan for that virtual gathering,” Ardern said at a media briefing in Wellington.

“That means that we don’t have the added cost, the added disruption that the uncertainty of COVID brings.”

New Zealand, early this month, lifted all social and economic restrictions except border controls, after declaring it was free of the coronavirus, while many countries are still grappling to contain the spread of the disease.

Ardern said the country has no plans to reopen its

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New Zealand seizes $90 million in assets of Russian cybercrime suspect

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand police has seized assets worth NZ$140 million ($90.68 million) linked to a Russian man suspected of laundering billions of dollars in digital currency.

FILE PHOTO: Alexander Vinnik, a 38 year old Russian man suspected of running a money laundering operation using bitcoin, is escorted by police officers to a court in Thessaloniki, Greece, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis/File Photo

The police said it seized the assets because they were being held in a New Zealand company owned by Alexander Vinnik, who is accused of masterminding a bitcoin laundering ring and is wanted by both France and the United States.

This is the largest restraint of funds in New Zealand Police history, the department said in a statement late on Monday.

U.S. authorities accuse Vinnik of running BTC-e – a digital currency exchange used to trade bitcoin – to facilitate crimes ranging from computer hacking to

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New Zealand to roll out ‘digital diary’ app to help people track movements

SYDNEY (Reuters) – New Zealand will launch a contact-tracing app on Wednesday to help people track their movements as the country eases one of the world’s most rigid lockdowns designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the app can be best described as a ‘digital diary’ helping people to record their personal movements, adding the data would not be shared to anyone else besides the user.

“It’s just in case in the future if you find yourself with COVID-19, you’ve got an easy reference to tell where you’ve been over a period of time,” Ardern said during a media briefing in Wellington.

“It’s for you, it’s on your device, and it’s your data and your information.”

New Zealand slightly eased curbs in late April and moved to ‘level 2’ in its scale of alert last week, allowing cafes, shops, restaurants and other public spaces including

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Spark New Zealand to manage part of country’s 5G allocation

FILE PHOTO: An advertising board shows a 5G logo at the International Airport in Zaventem, Belgium May 4, 2020. Picture taken May 4, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

(Reuters) – Spark New Zealand Ltd said it will manage part of the country’s allocation of 5G spectrum as it prepares for a rollout of the mobile technology over the next year.

The Kiwi telecom and digital services provider said it will be offered management rights to 60 megahertz (MHz) of a 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum in 5G mobile phone technology in a statement on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

It comes as Spark last year abandoned plans to exclusively rely on China’s Huawei [HWT.UL] for the rollout of 5G services in New Zealand amid concerns over national security.

Chief Executive Jolie Hodson said the government’s allocation enables significant investment in 5G over the coming year and touted its importance in New Zealand’s response

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