China’s Xi Calls for Universities’ Allegiance to the Communist Party
China’s President Xi Jinping has called for allegiance to the ruling Communist Party from the country’s colleges and universities, the latest effort by Beijing to tighten its hold on education. The government has campaigned against the spread of “Western values” at universities, and in January officials said the party’s discipline and anti-graft agency had sent inspectors to monitor teachers for “improper” remarks in class.
Cuba’s Surge in Tourism Keeps Food Off Residents’ Plates
Azam Ahmed, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The record arrival of nearly 3.5 million visitors to Cuba last year has caused a surging demand for food, causing ripple effects that are upsetting the very promise of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Without supplies to match the increased appetite, some foods have become so expensive that even basic staples are becoming unaffordable for regular Cubans.
Estonia Joins US in Passing Magnitsky Law
Andrew Rettman, EU OBSERVER
Estonia has voted to ban foreigners deemed guilty of human rights abuses from entering the country, in a law inspired by the Sergei Magnitsky case. The law, passed unanimously by parliament on Thursday, December 8 entitles Estonia to forbid entry to people if “there is information or good reason to believe” that they took part in activities which resulted in the “death or serious damage to health of a person” or their “unfounded conviction … for criminal offence on political motives.”
Hong Kong’s Divisive Leader to Step Down Amid Political Crisis
Benjamin Haas, THE GUARDIAN
Hong Kong’s divisive leader has announced he will not seek a second term, amid a deepening political crisis in the former British colony. Leung Chun-ying cited family reasons for the decision to step down when his term ends in July 2017. Under his leadership, Hong Kong has been rocked by some of the most severe challenges in history to China’s authority over the semi-autonomous city, including the umbrella movement protests in 2014, during which roads were occupied for nearly three months by demonstrators opposed to the method of electing the chief executive.
US Official Warns of North Korean Nuclear Capabilities
Lolita C. Baldor, PBS NEWSHOUR
North Korea now has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon, a senior US military official said Thursday, adding that while the US believes Pyongyang can mount a warhead on a missile, it’s not clear that it can hit a target. The official said that North Korean missiles may not have the re-entry capabilities for a strategic strike.
Russia’s Buildup in Kaliningrad to Test Donald Trump on NATO
Nathan Hodge, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Military maneuvering here in the Baltic region by Russia and NATO presents a challenge for President-elect Donald Trump and his commitment to America’s European allies. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization plans to station a multinational force on its eastern flank by May as a deterrent following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. But already in January, a brigade from the US Army 4th Infantry Division will arrive in Germany and then move to Poland—before Inauguration Day, according to US military officials.
Russian Propaganda Is State-of-the-Art Again
Today, 25 years after the Soviet collapse, Russia is again seen as an emblem—this time of a nationalist imperial order. It has pumped out disinformation and propaganda both through its official media channels, such as the RT and Sputnik news networks, and through thousands of paid internet trolls. Its cyber-attacks against Western countries produced troves of emails and documents which it dumped into the hands of foreign media, disrupting America’s presidential elections to the benefit of Mr. Trump.
Satellite Images Show Vietnam Dredging on Disputed South China Sea Reef, Risking China’s Anger
Nandini Krishnamoorthy, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
Vietnam is reported to have discreetly started dredging work on a disputed reef in the South China Sea in an apparent move to showcase its claims against its bigger rival, China. Satellite images show activities by Hanoi on Ladd Reef in the Spratly Islands, which is feared to trigger Beijing’s anger.