In Albania, Communism Still Hurts
27 years since the fall of communism, Albania finally is opening up its secret police files. The secret service, known as Sigurimi, was brutal. It relied on a huge network of civilian informers to crush any dissent and keep the communist regime in power. At least 7,000 opponents of the regime were killed and more than 100,000 deported to labor camps over almost five decades.
Facebook Is Trying Everything to Re-Enter China—and It’s Not Working
Alyssa Abkowitz and Deepa Seetharaman and Eva Dou, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Since 2009, Facebook has been blocked on China’s internet. Ever since, the social media company has courted Chinese officials, made Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg more visible in China, hired a well-connected China-policy chief and begun developing technology that could cull content the Communist Party deems unacceptable. Mr. Zuckerberg has said he considers China crucial to Facebook’s future.
China Detains Thousands with Grievances as Year of Rooster Begins
RADIO FREE ASIA
Authorities in the Chinese capital have detained thousands of people who converged there to highlight grievances against government officials in their hometowns, sending them off to start the Year of the Rooster in a detention center. As the rest of the country got together with family to mark the Chinese New Year, crowds have continued to gather outside central government offices since the first day of the new year on Saturday, some in the hope of paying a visit to leader Xi Jinping.
China, North Korea Reaffirm Relations
Elizabeth Shim, UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
China and North Korea may be trying a new approach to relations after friction has increased following Pyongyang’s repeated threats to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. According to a source in Beijing, the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang recently invited high-ranking North Korea officials for a meeting that addressed the need to strengthen relations and cooperation, Yonhap TV reported Monday. North Korean officials in attendance included Kim Yong Dae, vice chairman of the standing committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and more than 70 others, according to the South Korean television network.
Polish Institute Brands Dissident Wałęsa as a Communist-Era Spy
Marek Strzelecki, BLOOMBERG
Lech Wałęsa, the country’s most famous politician and freedom fighter, was a paid secret informant of Poland’s communist-era secret services, according to a national institute that has been investigating the matter. The country’s former president signed 17 documents that confirm he took money for providing information to communist authorities between January 1971 and June 1974, Andrzej Pozorski, the head of the National Remembrance Institute’s investigative division, told a news briefing on Tuesday.
German Politics: Russia’s Next Target?
Stefan Wagstyl, FINANCIAL TIMES
Berlin fears that Moscow could be planning an intervention into German politics ahead of September’s Bundestag poll with the aim of undermining Ms. Merkel. The chancellor herself has warned that Russian internet-based misinformation could “play a role in the campaign.” Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the domestic BfV intelligence agency, has put it more bluntly. The Kremlin, he says, is seeking “to influence public opinion and decision-making processes” because “we have a parliamentary election this year.”
Ukraine Says More Soldiers Killed in Deadliest Clashes In Weeks
The number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in an offensive by pro-Russian separatists over the past two days has risen to seven, Ukraine’s military said on Monday, in the deadliest outbreak of fighting in the east of the country since mid-December. The clashes between Ukraine’s military and the pro-Russian separatists coincide with US President Donald Trump’s call for better relations with Moscow that has alarmed Kiev while the conflict in its eastern region remains unresolved.
Airlines Gearing Up to Protect Flights to Cuba
Melanie Zanona, THE HILL
US airlines began lobbying Washington on Cuba last year as they fought to win commercial flight routes to the island nation for the first time in 50 years. But travel advocates expect to see an even bigger lobbying push around the issue this year, with questions hanging over the new administration’s policies, including whether President Trump will reverse the historic opening of relations with Cuba.