Catherine Lai, Hong Kong Free Press
A prominent rights defence figure in China, Jiang Tianyong previously worked on numerous high-profile cases, including defending activist Cheng Guangcheng and lawyer Gao Zhisheng before he was disbarred in 2009. Most recently, he advocated for the families affected by China’s crackdown on lawyers and rights activists that started in 2015–dubbed the “709 crackdown.”
China defended its ally Pakistan on Tuesday after US President Donald Trump said the United States could no longer be silent about Pakistan’s “safe havens” for militants and warned it had much to lose by continuing to “harbor terrorists.” Critics say Pakistan sees militants such as the Taliban as useful tools to limit the influence of old rival India. Pakistan denies allowing militants refuge on its territory, saying it takes action against all groups.
Rhett Jones, Gizmodo
The State Department has remained tight-lipped about the strange circumstances in which US diplomats to Cuba reportedly suffered permanent hearing damage from an “inaudible covert sonic device.” But new details reveal that “a deafeningly loud sound similar to the buzzing created by insects or metal scraping” was also used to harass the American envoys. What’s more, the number of people who were harmed is reportedly even greater than was previously known.
Simon Denyer, Washington Post
Brian King, CNN
A high-speed rail link between Laos and China expected to open in 2022 has poised the country for a game-changing influx of Chinese tourists. Laos’ main problem is its lack of the three S’s–sun, sand and sea. The country is making a bold attempt to overcome this natural deficit by becoming the first foreign country using Chinese technology, equipment and investment to connect with that giant nation’s domestic fast and vast rail network
Kiyoshi Takenaka and Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters
Japan said on Tuesday the world must keep pressure on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile programs as the United States spelt out the choice for impoverished Pyongyang between belligerence and prosperity. North Korea has pursued its weapons tests in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions and ignored all calls, including from major ally China, to stop, prompting a bellicose exchange of rhetoric between the North and the United States.
A Kremlin aide has made upbeat remarks after talking with the new US special envoy for efforts to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, saying they discussed “fresh ideas” in a “constructive” meeting. US envoy Kurt Volker met with Vladislav Surkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s point man for the conflict in eastern Ukraine, behind closed doors in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on August 21. “The meeting was useful and constructive,” Surkov told Russian reporters afterward.
Christine D’Zurilla, Los Angeles Times
The president of Venezuela has canceled the four-city American tour of that country’s National Youth Orchestra, which was to be conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. “We will continue to play and to fight for a better Venezuela and a better world,” the L.A. Philharmonic director, who hails from Venezuela, tweeted Monday. On Friday, President Nicolas Maduro went on TV to criticize Dudamel for spending time in Spain and the US while the crisis in Venezuela deepens.