US-China War Increasingly A “Reality,” Chinese Army Official Says
Evelyn Cheng, CNBC
China is preparing for a potential military clash with the United States, according to an article on the Chinese army’s website. “The possibility of war increases” as tensions around North Korea and the South China Sea heat up, Liu Guoshun, a member of the national defense mobilization unit of China’s Central Military Commission, wrote on Jan. 20—the same day as President Donald Trump’s inauguration. “‘A war within the president’s term’, ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, but the reality,” Liu said in the Chinese commentary piece.
EU Demands China Investigate Torture Of Lawyer And Release Political Prisoners
Benjamin Haas, THE GUARDIAN
China must investigate a harrowing account of torture by a detained lawyer and release several political prisoners, the European Union has demanded in a rare statement amid a deteriorating human rights situation under president Xi Jinping. Detained rights lawyer Xie Yang detailed his treatment in detention last week, where he was allegedly beaten, forced into stress positions, denied medical care and deprived food, drink and sleep by police. Interrogators threatened him repeatedly, allegedly saying: “We’ll torture you to death just like an ant.” “If verified, this mistreatment would amount to torture,” the European Union’s foreign affairs spokesperson said in a statement. “All necessary measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these individuals need to be taken.”
China Population Crisis: New Two-Child Policy Fails to Yield Major Gains
Mark Hanrahan and Eric Baculinao, NBC
Despite having the largest population of any country in the world, China isn’t having enough babies. That’s the unspoken conclusion of a government plan, published Wednesday, which revealed that the relaxation of China’s one-child-only policy has so far failed to boost the country’s birth rate enough to avoid significant demographic challenges in the coming decades.
Dumping Medicine, Faking Patients: Cuban Doctors Describe a System that Breeds Fraud
Jim Wyss, THE MIAMI HERALD
Since 2003, Cuba has been sending battalions of doctors to Venezuela in exchange for cash and crude. The program, known as Barrio Adentro, offers free medical care to some of the nation’s poorest. It’s been credited with saving more than a million lives and is one of the pillars of the socialist revolution. But according to health workers who have defected from the program, Barrio Adentro has been hollowed out by fraud. And they say they were under such intense pressure to hit quotas that they’ve been faking statistics for years.
As Secretary Mattis Prepares for Asia Visit, North Korea Starts Reactor
Joshua Berlinger, CNN
North Korea appears to be restarting a plutonium reactor just as US Secretary of Defense James Mattis prepares to visit neighboring South Korea and Japan. An analysis of new satellite imagery from 38 North, a North Korea tracking project associated with the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, concludes that country is preparing to restart the reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear facility.
Putin’s Russia in Biggest Arctic Military Push Since Soviet Fall
Andrew Osborn, REUTERS
Russia is on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers. It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China. Interviews with officials and military analysts and reviews of government documents show Russia’s build-up is the biggest since the 1991 Soviet fall and will, in some areas, give Moscow more military capabilities than the Soviet Union once had.
Venezuela Names New Leaders at Oil Firm PDVSA to “Defeat Corruption”
Venezuela’s president on Sunday created an executive vice president post and named new vice presidents to lead PDVSA in what he described as a shake-up of the state oil company and an effort to root out corruption in the OPEC nation’s principal industry. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro kept Eulogio Del Pino as PDVSA president but created a new post of executive vice president while naming vice presidents in areas including finance and exploration.