Top Opposition Leader in Cambodia Resigns as Election Nears
Julia Wallace, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The embattled leader of Cambodia’s main opposition party abruptly quit on Saturday in the face of increasing government pressure, ceding a political stage he had occupied for more than two decades. As the head of three liberal-leaning political parties since 1995, he had been a thorn in the side of the country’s long-ruling prime minister, Hun Sen, for more than 20 years. The prime minister, a former Khmer Rouge fighter, has held power since 1985 and maintains close control over most of the country’s institutions.
Smog and Mirrors? China’s Steel Capacity Cuts Were Fake, Report Says
Simon Denyer, THE WASHINGTON POST
Faced with global condemnation for flooding world markets with cheap steel, China announced last year it had implemented ambitious cuts in steel capacity. But a new report by Greenpeace East Asia and Chinese consultancy Custeel says that number was largely smoke and mirrors. Many of the plants China says it closed down were already idle, while production was restarted elsewhere and brand new plants opened. That’s bad news for the air in Beijing, but it could also inflame China’s trade relations with the United States and the European Union.
New Chinese Online Platform Makes Bold Claim of Quota-Free Film Releasing
Patrick Frater, VARIETY
A new Chinese tech startup is launching what it says will be a digital distribution hub that can feed foreign films and TV shows to non-theatrical outlets across China—without fear of import quotas—while offering an attractive revenue-sharing model to foreign content providers. The company, MEIFine, boasts that it has government approval for its unusual approach, even though Chinese authorities have generally been cracking down on the volume and kind of online content allowed into the country. The company’s CEO, Zhao Jian, said that MEIFine “represents a paradigm shift in China.”
China Upset at Disputed Islands Mention In Japan-US Meeting
China’s Foreign Ministry expressed concern on Monday after Japan got continued US backing for its dispute with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea during a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. A joint Japanese-US statement after the weekend meeting in the United States said the two leaders affirmed that Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty covered the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was “seriously concerned and resolutely opposed,” adding that the islands had been China’s inherent territory since ancient times.
JetBlue Joins American in Scaling Back Service to Cuba
Hugo Martin, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
When the Obama administration announced an agreement last year to allow regularly scheduled flights into Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years, major US airlines stumbled over each other to get access to the island nation. But now JetBlue says it is reducing its service to Cuba, becoming the second US carrier to cut back. In December, American Airlines said it would drop one of the two daily flights between Miami and the cities of Holguin, Santa Clara, and Varadero. The company cited weak demand in reducing its schedule to 10 daily round-trip flights from 13, starting in mid-February.
Cuba Wants More Babies, So It’s Giving Parental Leave to Grandparents, Too
Nick Miroff, THE MIAMI HERALD
Cuba is giving parental leave to the grandparents of newborns, the country’s latest attempt to reverse its sagging birthrate and defuse a demographic time bomb. The island already has one of the most generous parental leave policies in the Americas, allowing mothers and fathers to take more than a year off from work at partial pay. The new decree extends those benefits to maternal and paternal grandparents. But so far, such attempts haven’t brought any sort of Cuban baby boom.
China, Russia Condemn North Korea’s Missile Launch
Joshua Berlinger, CNN
China has voiced opposition to North Korea’s test of a reported new ballistic missile more than 24 hours after reports of the launch emerged. But the country shrugged off suggestions it should be doing more to intervene in the rogue state’s military affairs, pinning the test down to Pyongyang’s testy relations with Washington and Seoul. Russia’s Foreign Ministry also spoke out against the test, the first since US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, saying in a statement that it was in “defiant disregard” of UN resolutions.
US Investigators Corroborate Some Aspects of the Russia Dossier
Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez, CNN
For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN. As CNN first reported, then-President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the dossier prior to Trump’s inauguration. The newly learned information relates to about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals.
White House Keeps Quiet About Flynn Amid Furor Over Calls with Russian Envoy
Democratic lawmakers pressed Sunday for an investigation of President Trump’s embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn following reports that Flynn engaged in conversations with a Russian diplomat about US sanctions weeks before Trump’s inauguration. Meanwhile, top White House adviser Stephen Miller sidestepped repeated chances to publicly defend Flynn, saying it wasn’t up to him to say whether Trump still has confidence in Flynn.