Christians Arrested by Communist Regime, Accused of Belonging to “Evil Cults”
Stoyan Zaimov, CHRISTIAN POST
Several Christians have been arrested in China’s southwestern Yunnan province and accused of belonging to “evil cults,” according to persecution watchdog group China Aid. The ruling Communist Party has been engaged in a widespread crackdown on Christian churches this past year, with several Christians and human rights activists detained for protesting against forced church demolitions and the arrest of other activists.
Cuban Dissidents: “Obama’s Castro Deal Has Made It Worst”
Elliot Abrams, NEWSWEEK
This past week marked the anniversary of President Obama’s new Cuba policy. That policy is failing to produce any human rights improvements in Cuba. One hundred twenty-six Cuban former political prisoners—who have served a combined 1,945 years in Castro’s prisons—wrote a letter to Mr. Obama about his policy. These former political prisoners call the Obama policy a “regrettable mistake” that “will prolong the life of the dictatorship.”
Kim Jong-un Orders North Koreans to Celebrate His Grandmother on Christmas
North Korea’s tyrant wants the few Christians in the hermit state to spread cheer only to celebrate his grandmother, Kim Jong-suk—not the birth of Jesus. Jong-suk, who was born on Christmas Eve in 1919, was an anti-Japanese guerrilla and Communist activist, wife of North Korea’s first dictator, Kim Il-sung, and former leader Kim Jong-il’s mother.
Crimean Tatar Leader: Four Former Soviet States Mull Recognizing Crimea as Russia
Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian MP Refat Chubarov states that four states of the former Soviet Union are almost ready to recognize that Crimea is not Ukrainian territory anymore, UNIAN reports. At the same time, Chubarov said that Crimea is not a “grey,” but a “black” area compared to Donbas. On April 26, 2016, more than two years after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Crimea’s pro-Russian Supreme Court branded the Mejlis as an extremist organization and officially banned it.
US Calls for Release of Ten Political Prisoners Over Holiday Season
Karina Martin, PANAMPOST
Samantha Powers, the United States representative to the United Nations, has called for the release of lawyer Julio Alfredo Ferrer Tamayo of the Legal Information Center, who is detained in Cuba. The request was made by Powers through her Twitter account, and the use of the hashtag #FreeToBeHome, as part of an American campaign to free 10 political prisoners from various countries.
US Blacklists 15 Russian Entities Linked to Ukraine and Crimea
Mark Landler, THE NEW YORK TIMES
President Obama on Tuesday blacklisted 15 Russian individuals and companies for their dealings in Crimea and Ukraine, creating an early test for the new administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, who is widely expected to roll back the pressure campaign against Russia. It also targeted businesspeople who are associates of President Vladimir V. Putin or are involved in activities that aid in Russia’s destabilization of Ukraine.
Venezuela Leader’s Foes Say No More Talks Without Concessions
Fabian Cambero and Andrew Cawthorne, REUTERS
Venezuela’s opposition on Monday ruled out returning to Vatican-led talks with President Nicolás Maduro’s government unless it makes major concessions amid a crushing economic crisis and bitter political standoff.The opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition blames Maduro for the OPEC nation’s shrinking and dysfunctional economy and wants to bring forward the next presidential vote, due in late 2018.
Venezuela Is Lurching Closer and Closer to Chaos
THE WASHINGTON POST
Venezuela, which was once Latin America’s richest country, has become an unwilling test site for how much economic and social stress a modern nation can tolerate before it descends into pure anarchy. This month its 31 million people lurched a big step closer to that breaking point, thanks to another senseless decree by its autocratic populist government. For years Venezuelans have struggled with mounting shortages of food, medicine and other consumer goods, as well as triple-digit inflation that has rendered the national currency worthless.