Xi Jinping Summons China’s Financial Watchdogs in Rare Move
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
In an unusual move, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping summoned the country’s finance industry watchdogs and ordered them to take stock of financial risks and uphold regulatory vigilance, reflecting his deep concern about dangers facing China’s economy. “We must not neglect a single risk factor or… hidden danger,” Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “Safeguarding financial security is a strategic and fundamental matter for China’s social and economic development.” Xi’s remarks, made at a “group study meeting” of the 25-member Politburo of the Communist Party, come as Beijing cracks down on the financial industry, runs after tycoons, addresses stock market irregularities, and reins in off-balance-sheet operations of banks.
Xi Jinping’s Dilemma
Richard McGregor, THE NEW YORK TIMES
When Communist Party leader Xi Jinping of China took power almost five years ago, he quickly gained control of the commanding heights of the Chinese party-state, taking charge of the military, foreign policy, domestic security and a fearsome anti-corruption commission. In centralizing decision making in his office, Mr. Xi also grabbed hold of something his two immediate predecessors never did during their lengthy stays in office: he placed himself in charge of economic policy. Mr. Xi’s authoritarian instincts have served him well politically. Chinese leaders from Mao Zedong onward have always had rivals among senior leaders. As he looks ahead to securing a second five-year term at the Communist Party Congress in the fall, Mr. Xi appears to have none.
Hong Kong Protest Organizers Arrested Ahead of Expected Visit by China’s President
Alan Wong, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Hong Kong police arrested nine pro-democracy activists on Thursday, adding to a recent crackdown said to be aimed at defanging opposition protests ahead of an expected visit by Communist Party leader Xi Jinping in July. “They want to silence the opposition and discourage the general public from participating in protests,” said Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats and one of the nine people arrested over their roles in a November protest against China’s move to block two separatists from taking office as local legislators.
Estonia Says Russia May Put Troops in Belarus to Challenge NATO
Robin Emmott, REUTERS
Estonia’s defense minister said on Thursday that Russia may use large-scale military exercises to move thousands of troops permanently into Belarus later this year in a warning to NATO. Russia and Belarus aim to hold joint war games in September that some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies believe could number more than 100,000 troops and involve nuclear weapons training, the biggest such exercise since 2013. Defense Minister Margus Tsahkna said Estonia and other NATO governments had intelligence suggesting Moscow may leave Russian soldiers in Belarus once the so-called Zapad 2017 exercises are over, also pointing to public data of Russian railway traffic to Belarus.
North Korea Puts Out New Video Showing White House in Crosshairs and Carriers Exploding
Anna Fifield, WASHINGTON POST
A North Korean propaganda outlet released a video clip on Thursday showing simulated attacks on the United States and declaring that “the enemy to be destroyed is in our sights.” This week, North Korea conducted large-scale artillery drills, showing off conventional weaponry that can easily reach South Korea’s capital, Seoul, the center of a metropolitan region that is home to about 25 million people. North Korea is known for its bombastic rhetoric and exaggerated propaganda, but it has ramped up its output in recent weeks as tensions have risen.
Fox News Poll: 53 Percent Favor Military Action to Stop North Korea Nukes Program
Dana Blanton, FOX NEWS
It will take military force to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, a majority of voters believe—and they tend to favor the US taking that action. That’s according to the latest national Fox News Poll of registered voters. Fifty-one percent say that US military action will be required to keep the rogue nation from continuing its nuclear weapons program, while 36 percent think diplomacy alone can stop it. By a 53-39 percent margin, voters favor the US using military force to keep North Korea from making further advancements on nukes. North Korea is seen as the greatest immediate threat to the United States.
Son of Top Chavista Official Publicly Urges Him to Help Stop Bloodshed
The son of a Venezuelan top government official made a public plea to his father, asking him to use his authority to remove the Supreme Court justices whose alleged abuse of power prompted the most recent wave of protests, in which so far 29 have died. In an online video, the son of national ombudsman Tarek William Saab, Yibram Saab, urged his father to help restore the constitutional order he said was broken by the Supreme Court’s decision last month to gut the opposition-led congress of its last vestiges of power. Saab Jr. said he was among the thousands who attended an opposition march Wednesday in which police fired rubber bullets that were blamed for the death of a college student. “This could’ve been me,” he said, staring into the camera. “Dad, you have the power to put an end to the injustice that has drowned the country.”