Election Interests Bind Albania’s Feuding Parties Together
Fatjona Mejdini, BALKAN INSIGHT
A number of heated verbal exchanges have rocked relations between the ruling Socialist Party of Albania, led by Prime Minister Edi Rama, and its partner in government, the Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI, led by Ilir Meta, raising question about the coalition’s survival. However, some analysts also believe that despite the recent tensions and verbal exchanges, the two parties will most likely remain in coalition and seek another governmental term.
The Parachute Generation
Brook Larmer, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
Even as US-China relations have slipped toward mutual antagonism, the flood of Chinese students coming to the United States has continued to rise. Roughly 370,000 students from the mainland are enrolled in American high schools and universities, six times more than a decade ago. Their financial impact—$11.4 billion was contributed to the American economy in 2015, according to the Department of Commerce—has turned education into one of America’s top “exports” to China.
Chinese Ships Sail Near Disputed Japanese Islands
Brad Lendon, CNN
Three Chinese Coast Guard ships entered waters near a chain of islands claimed by both China and Japan in the East China Sea on Monday, according to authorities from both sides. Japan controls the chain and calls them the Senkaku Islands, while China calls them the Diaoyu Islands. The sailing comes just days after US Defense Secretary James Mattis reaffirmed America’s commitment to defending Japan and its disputed islands.
China to Vet All Online Content, Service and Equipment Providers
RADIO FREE ASIA
The Chinese government is planning a nationwide probe of all internet services, software, and hardware that might be considered a threat to national security, according to draft plans published this week. But online freedom of speech activists said the aim of the review is likely to further strengthen the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s control over what citizens can see online ahead of a top-level meeting later in the year.
Kazakh Lawmaker Calls Duma Member’s Remarks About “Russian Territories” Unacceptable
RADIO FREE EUROPE
A senior Kazakh lawmaker has sharply criticized a Russian legislator who reportedly called for the return of what he said were “Russian territories temporarily taken by Kazakhstan.” In a statement made public on February 6, the chairman of the Kazakh parliament’s Committee for Foreign Ties, Defense, and Security, Maulen Ashimbaev, said that Russian State Duma Deputy Pavel Shperov’s remark was “unacceptable.”
North Korea Defector In Russia at Risk of Deportation
Elizabeth Shim, UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
A North Korean defector in Russia faces involuntary repatriation after spending years as a forced laborer, according to local reports. Moscow newspaper Kommersant reported Sunday that Choi Myong Bok, a 54-year-old North Korean national, is in police custody and at risk of deportation. Choi, who had worked as a manual laborer, escaped state surveillance for some time and remarried an ethnic Korean woman in Russia before he was detained.
Venezuela Is Running Short on HIV Meds—And Places to Turn for Help
Jon Cohen, SCIENCE
On top of its currency being in free fall for 3 years running, empty shelves at supermarkets, and electricity rationing, Venezuela has a serious shortage of medicines, including life-saving anti-HIV drugs. An estimated 110,000 people in 2015 were living with HIV in Venezuela, and at least 63,000 of them have started antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, says Feliciano Reyna Ganteaume, whose Caracas-based nonprofit Acción Solidaria supplies HIV-infected people with ARVs. “[The situation] is much worse than one can describe,” he says.
Venezuela, Russia Cement Ties During High-Profile Moscow Meetings
The Venezuelan government received a pat on the back from Russia Monday, with its foreign minister expressing the Kremlin’s strong support for Nicolás Maduro’s socialist rule and a willingness to expand the existing bilateral cooperation. In a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Delcy Rodriguez, Sergey Lavrov also spoke against foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs and reiterated Russia’s commitment to a 2016 deal to reduce oil production.
Vietnam Allows Betting on International Soccer Competitions
Vietnamese gamblers will soon be allowed to place bets on international soccer competitions under a pilot project. Vietnam has long banned most types of gambling, but Vietnamese are passionate about soccer and bets on European soccer games are very common. There are no official figures on how much money have been placed on illegal soccer bets, but police nationwide have busted multiple illegal soccer betting rings in recent years.