Facing a Transition of Power, China’s Xi Jinping is More Desperate Than Ever to Control Young Minds
Echo Huang, QUARTZ
Facing a transition of power, the most influential Communist Party leader in recent history is showing signs he’s reluctant to let go of the reigns, working furiously to consolidate power ahead of the 19th Party Congress in late 2017 when the country’s next head is supposed to be named. Rumors suggest he’s planning on breaking from party tradition by delaying the naming of a successor, signaling a desire to extend his tenure.
Cuba Arrests American Human Rights Lawyer, Foundation Says
Teresa Joseph, NBC MIAMI
An American human rights lawyer was arrested Friday in Cuba while trying to defend a jailed artist, the Human Rights Foundation said. Kimberley Motley traveled to Havana to fight for the release of political prisoner Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado. The attorney was preparing to hold a news conference outside the National Capitol Building when plainclothes security agents took her away, the organization said.
How Media Smuggling Took Hold in North Korea
Since the mid-20th century, tens of thousands of North Koreans have fled their country amid food shortages and a tight government rule, risking death if they are caught. In recent years, some of these defectors, who now live in South Korea, have sought to undermine the grip of the Kim regime on North Korean citizens. They transfer media, including American movies and TV shows, to USB drives and smuggle them to North Korea, where they are passed around to citizens who have no access to the internet or any information outside the country.
Russia to Step Up Controls Over Ukrainians Traveling to Crimea
Maria Romanenko, KYIV POST
After an alarming sequence of politically motivated arrests and freedom of speech violations, Russia is now suggesting stepping up control over Ukrainians who travel to Russian-occupied Crimea. The proposals to increase control over Ukrainians who travel to Crimea come just days after Amnesty International published a report on Dec. 15 which raised serious concerns over the persecution of the ethnic Crimean Tatar population and other dissidents: “Crimea: In the dark—the silencing of dissent.”
Leak Reveals Rex Tillerson Was Director of Bahamas-Based US-Russian Oil Firm
Luke Harding and Hannes Munzinger, THE GUARDIAN
Rex Tillerson, the businessman nominated by Donald Trump to be the next US secretary of state, was the long-time director of a US-Russian oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas, leaked documents show. Tillerson—the chief executive of ExxonMobil—became a director of the oil company’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, in 1998. His name—RW Tillerson—appears next to other officers who are based at Houston, Texas; Moscow; and Sakhalin, in Russia’s far east.
Venezuela Sends Troops to Tamp Down Cash Chaos Disturbances
Venezuela’s president said Sunday that the sudden decision to scrap the country’s most-used currency bill was an economic triumph over the country’s enemies even as the government sent troops and police to cities where riots and looting broke out over the measure. In a national radio and television broadcast, Nicolás Maduro said his abrupt action had flooded the country’s banks with currency deposited by Venezuelans racing to get rid of the paper bills while also devastating Colombian-border currency traders he blames for the bolivar’s precipitous plunge in value against “the criminal dollar.”
Venezuela Hunger Crisis 2016: Starving Children Abandoned Amid Food Shortages, Economic Collapse
Juliana Rose Pignataro, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
Venezuelan families are giving their children away in a last ditch effort to save them as severe food shortages mount. As the region’s economic recession deepens, families lack basic foods and goods necessary for survival. Parents are turning to friends and neighbors to take care of their children, or in some cases, abandoning them altogether. “It’s better she has another family than go into prostitution, drugs, or die of hunger,” Zulay Pulgar, a mother who asked a neighbor to care for her 6-year-old daughter, told Reuters.