Rice Was Rationed, Even in Spite of Surpluses, Witness Tells Tribunal
THE PHNOM PENH POST
A witness testified before the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday that the people of Cambodia were limited to a ration of one can of rice per day under the regime, even in areas where there was a surplus of food. The witness also testified to the regime’s seemingly contradictory food policy, claiming that overworking laborers and denying them food “violated the directive” from the party center but also noting that there was a national policy limiting each person to one can of rice per day.
China’s Digital Dictatorship
China is experimenting with a “social-credit system.” The idea is to harness digitally stored information to chivvy everyone into behaving more honestly. The government decreed this year that the system should record such vaguely defined sins as “assembling to disrupt social order.” The monitoring could result in a digital dystopia. Officials talk of creating a system that by 2020 will “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”
Cuba Wants to Pay Off Some of Its Cold War Debt in Rum
Ishaan Tharoor, THE WASHINGTON POST
According to authorities in the Czech Republic, the government of Cuba has proposed resolving a Cold War-era debt by paying the Czechs in a treasured Cuban commodity: rum. On Thursday, Czech Finance Ministry spokesman Michal Zurovec said Cuban officials had offered to pay back $276 million in the form of rum.
NGOs Urge Search for Laos Activist Four Years After He Vanished
Dake Kang, ABC NEWS
Thursday was the fourth anniversary of the Laotian community organizer Sombath Somphone vanishing at a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Vientiane, the capital—a suspicious disappearance reflecting the repressive tactics of the country’s Communist rulers, who have quashed political dissent since taking power in 1975. In Laos, everything is political—nothing more so than rural land evictions, the very issue that Sombath advocated against. “The Lao government’s investigation of Sombath Somphone’s disappearance has been a pattern of delay, denial, and cover-up,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Obama on Russian Hacking: “We Need to Take Action. And We Will”
Scott Detrow, NPR
President Obama says the United States will respond to Russian cyberattacks that the intelligence community has concluded were part of an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep that will air Friday on Morning Edition, Obama said, “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections… we need to take action. And we will—at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”
A Very Socialist Christmas
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Rather than accepting blame for inflation that has been running at 470%, the government of President Nicolás Maduro is pretending that the country’s largest toy distributor, Kreisel-Venezuela, is simply charging too much. CNN reports that along with seizing the toys, the government also detained at least two people and that Kreisel executives may be prevented from leaving the country.
Vietnam Jails Two for Plotting Democratic Revolution
A court in communist Vietnam jailed two activists for over a decade today after finding them guilty of attempting to launch a democratic revolution, their lawyers said.Their lawyer said after the trial that his client had been “wrongly charged.” “It was just an intention. Vietnamese laws do not ban people from having the intention of setting up associations,” he said. According to Amnesty International, at least 45 people behind bars in Vietnam are “prisoners of conscience.”