China Again Asked US to Return Fugitives
Bill Gertz, WASHINGTON FREE BEACON
Chinese officials asked the Trump administration to return scores of Chinese fugitives in the United States during last week’s presidential summit in Florida. Beijing raised the issue of Chinese nationals believed to be in the United States that have been sought under a Chinese intelligence operation called Operation Fox Hunt, said a senior administration official. “They are clearly still interested in tracking people down,” said the official. The topic was raised during breakout sessions between senior US and Chinese officials at the two-day summit between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago resort, the official said.
Yahoo is Sued Over $17 Million Fund for Chinese Dissidents
Andrew Jacobs, NEW YORK TIMES
A group of Chinese political activists filed a lawsuit in federal court against Yahoo on Tuesday, saying the company failed to properly oversee a $17 million fund it created a decade ago to help Chinese writers, democracy advocates and human rights lawyers persecuted for standing up to the country’s government. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Washington, accuses Yahoo senior executives of turning a blind eye as the fund’s manager, Harry Wu, illegally spent millions of dollars on high-end real estate, inflated staff salaries and a museum documenting the history of forced labor camps in China. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Wu, a veteran Chinese dissident who died last April, spent less than 4 percent of the money on humanitarian aid. The lawsuit demands that Yahoo replenish the trust, which has been significantly depleted.
More Chinese-Owned Banana Plantations to Close in Laos
RADIO FREE ASIA
Lao government orders closing down environmentally destructive Chinese banana farms, first reported in January in Bokeo province, are now in force in six other provinces in the Southeast Asian country, sources say. The ban, which will shutter the commercial operations when their contracts expire and forbid new contracts from being signed, was conveyed by provincial authorities in Phongsaly, Luang Prabang, Xayaboury, Bokeo, Luang Namtha, Oudomsay, and Vientiane, local sources confirmed to RFA’s Lao Service. Chinese investors in Luang Prabang have now “gone quiet” since the ban went into effect at the beginning of this year. “Many investors have now gone home, since they won’t be allowed to continue,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.“
Foreign Journalists in North Korea Told to Prepare for “Big” Event
James Pearson, REUTERS
Foreign journalists visiting North Korea have been told to prepare for a “big and important event” on Thursday, although there were no indications it was directly linked to tensions in the region over the isolated state’s nuclear weapons program. Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th birth anniversary of its founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, North Korea’s biggest national day called “Day of the Sun.” Officials gave no details as to the nature of the event or where it would take place, and similar announcements in the past have been linked to relatively low-key set pieces. But tensions are running high, with a US Navy strike group steaming toward the western Pacific in a show of force and North Korea warning of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression.
How North Korea Pays for a Nuclear Program and Lavish Parties While Under the Tightest Sanctions on Earth
Alex Lockie and Madeleine Perkins, BUSINESS INSIDER
North Korea has managed to conduct costly nuclear and ballistic missile development projects while under some of the strictest, most widely-endorsed sanctions under the sun for decades. Now, Kim Jong-un stands within a few years of completing a credible intercontinental ballistic missile the US would very much struggle to defend against. Despite the UN and key players like China and the US consistently voting in favor of sanctions on North Korea, the regime still finds way to slip around them. Experts have told Business Insider that while some countries, like China, may have political interests in keeping the Kim regime from collapsing without trade or prosperity, other countries are simply fooled by North Korea’s intricate and effective network of front companies and tricks.
Joint Press Conference by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg and President Trump
Said President Trump on Wednesday:”Sixty-eight years ago this month, not far from where we are gathered today, President Harry Truman spoke at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. In the nearly seven decades since Harry Truman spoke those words, the NATO alliance has been the bulwark of international peace and security. NATO allies defeated communism and liberated the captive nations of the Cold War. They secured the longest period of unbroken peace that Europe has ever known. This enduring partnership is rooted out of so many different things, but our common security is always number one, and our common devotion to human dignity and freedom.”
Barricades, Arrests Overnight as Venezuela Protests Spread to Low-Income Areas
Alexandra Ulmer, REUTERS
Venezuelans blocked streets and lit fires during scattered protests across the country on Tuesday night with over 40 people arrested during the growing anti-government unrest in the midst of a crippling economic crisis. In a worrying sign for leftist leader Nicolás Maduro, groups in low-income, traditionally pro-government neighborhoods took to the streets in nighttime protests during the typically calm Easter week, witnesses and opposition lawmakers reported. Many were galvanized by footage of a crowd in the poor town of San Felix heckling and throwing objects at the usually closely-protected Maduro during a rally on Tuesday, before state television cut off the broadcast. Amid what the opposition coalition says is a crackdown on dissent, some 43 people were arrested on Tuesday, according to rights group Penal Forum. In total, 325 people were arrested between April 4-11 during the most sustained protests since 2014, with 153 people still behind bars, the group added.
University Student Killed in Venezuela Opposition Protest
Fabiola Sanchez, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Venezuelan authorities on Tuesday were investigating the death of a university student killed by gunfire at a protest against leftist leader Maduro, as opposition leaders mapped out their next steps to push for new elections and government officials held a gathering to drum up state support. Daniel Queliz, 20, was killed late Monday after being shot in the neck in Valencia, a city east of Caracas where students have actively participated in the protests that erupted April 1 following a Supreme Court decision to strip Congress of its last remaining powers—a decision later reversed. It was not immediately clear where the bullet came from, though opposition leaders quickly decried the death as another example of the Venezuelan government’s excessive use of force in countering protests. Security forces have been using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds, while several opposition leaders have been roughed up and bloodied while participating in demonstrations. Government officials blame the opposition for inciting violence and detained 18 people Monday. Thus far, two people have died and dozens left injured in the protests.