China’s Provincial Official Sentenced to 15 Years for Graft
THE INDIAN EXPRESS
A former provincial Communist Party leader in China was on Wednesday sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption, the latest senior official to be jailed under the anti-graft drive launched by Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Zhou Benshun, former Party chief of north China’s Hebei Province, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for graft by a court in southeast China’s Xiamen city, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
China Jails Two For Sale of Banned Political Books From Hong Kong
RADIO FREE ASIA
Authorities in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang have handed down prison sentences to two men for selling “banned” political books from Hong Kong, as the ruling Chinese Communist Party continues its campaign against any form of political dissent. Dai Xuelin, social media editor at the Guangxi Normal University Press, was handed a five-year jail term by a court in Zhejiang’s Ningbo city, while his business partner Zhang Xiaoxiong was jailed for three-and-a-half years, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
North Korea’s History of Foreign Assassinations and Kidnappings
Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has been killed in Malaysia, local police say. Some South Korean media have reported North Korean agents are responsible. No evidence has yet been provided. But since Kim Jong-un took power he has had no compunction in executing officials perceived as a threat to his authority—in the most high-profile case, his uncle and senior mentor Chang Song-thaek. And North Korea has a long history of sending agents overseas to carry out assassinations, attacks and kidnappings.
Crimean Tatars: Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Release Statement on Deteriorating Human Rights in Crimea
The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum has released a statement expressing their concern with the deterioration of the human rights situation in Crimea at the hands of the Russian occupation authorities. The statement particularly underlines the prosecution and arrests of human rights defenders and attorneys such as Emil Kurbedinov and Nikolai Polozov. The statement also shined particular light on the persecution of the Crimean Tatars, with the labeling of their governing body, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People as an “extremist organisation,” and deprivation of freedom of speech and press.
Chairman Royce Statement on Venezuela Sanctions
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement after the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan Vice President and his primary frontman: “The repressive Maduro government is starving its people at home while supporting drug trafficking and terrorism abroad. I applaud the years of intelligence and investigative work that led to his designation as an international drug trafficker, and hope the Venezuelan people will soon be free from a government of thugs, criminals and human rights abusers.”
Trump Expects Russia to Return Crimea to Ukraine
US President Donald Trump made it clear he expects Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine and reduce violence in Ukraine, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday. “President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea,” Spicer said at a daily news briefing. “At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to get along with Russia.” Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.
Venezuela Closes Ranks Around Sanctioned Vice President, Tareck El Aissami
Nicholas Casey, THE NEW YORK TIMES
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela on Tuesday defended his second-in-command, who has been sanctioned by the United States over allegations that he is a narcotics trafficker, and said he would demand a public apology from the American government. Vice President Tareck El Aissami was blacklisted on Monday by the Treasury Department, which said that Mr. El Aissami and an associate had moved drugs within Venezuela and had helped protect international kingpins.