China Making Plans To Put People On The Moon
China is making preliminary preparations to send a person to the moon, state media cited a senior space official as saying, the latest goal in China’s ambitious lunar exploration program. In 2003, China became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States. It has touted its plans for moon exploration, and in late 2013 completed the first lunar “soft landing” since 1976 with the Chang’e-3 craft and its Jade Rabbit rover. The country also plans to land the first probe ever on the dark side of the moon in 2018, another milestone. Yang Liwei, deputy director general of China Manned Space Agency and China’s first man in space, said it will not take long for the manned mission to the moon to get official approval and funding. The report gave no other details, but such a trip could still be many years off.
China Hits Back At Claims of “Secretly Infiltrating” Australia
CHANNEL NEWS ASIA
An investigation by Australian media claiming that China was attempting to exert its influence in the country has been slammed by Beijing, according to a report on Monday (June 5) by the Global Times. China’s foreign ministry said the claim by a joint Fairfax Media-ABC investigation that China was “secretly infiltrating” Australia is baseless, according to the report. “There is no basis for the related claim, which is extremely irresponsible and isn’t worth refuting,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was quoted as saying. The Australian program which was released on Monday said Beijing is active in Australia across a wide span of areas, from Chinese-linked donations to Australian politicians to threats to Australia-based Chinese dissidents and involvement with Chinese student associations. The five-month long investigation was said to have uncovered how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was “secretly infiltrating Australia.”
Cuba, Involved In Arms Smuggling, Promises UN To Inspect Containers In Mariel
Rolando Cartaya, RADIO MARTÍ
Cuba has committed to allowing a UN anti-corruption agency to inspect containers arriving at the port of Mariel, the same from which it sent 240 tons of war equipment to North Korea four years ago in hidden containers under hundreds of thousands of bags of sugar. Authorities from the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba (AGRC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the effective control of border containers on Tuesday in Havana. The document would lead to the implementation in the Caribbean country of the Global Container Control Program (PGCC) , a joint initiative of UNODC and the World Customs Organization aimed at raising trade security and preventing drug and other trafficking unlawful acts.
North Korea’s Newest Smartphone Could Cost $690
Elizabeth Shim, UPI
North Korea’s premier smartphone with a multi-touch interface cannot download apps not approved by the Kim Jong-un regime, but costs as much as $690 on the market, according to a South Korean news service. Daily NK reported Wednesday North Korea’s latest model of the “Pyongyang,” a smartphone that rivals Samsung’s Galaxy S8 in style and design, demonstrates an impressive array of features, including a touchscreen display. The resolution of the display “enhances readability” and can be used to read electronic books or watch videos. The technology, however, has relatively poor touch response, compared to South Korea-made smartphones, according to Daily NK. “While the [Samsung] Galaxy S8 responds immediately to touch, North Korea’s Pyongyang touch phone is slower to respond,” the report read. Daily NK did not provide details on how reporters acquired the device.
Pentagon Report Cites China Military Buildup Around World
Lolita C. Baldor, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
China’s construction of a military outpost in Djibouti is just the first of what will likely be an ongoing expansion in friendly foreign ports around the world to support distant deployments, a new Pentagon report concludes, predicting that Pakistan may be another potential location. The annual assessment of China’s military might also notes that while China has not seized much new land to create more man-made islands, it has substantially built up the reefs with extended runways and other military facilities. And it has increased patrols and law enforcement to protect them. The Djibouti base construction is near Camp Lemonnier, the US base in the Horn of Africa nation.
US-Cuba Policy Looms At Aviation Industry Conference
lana Wise and Brad Haynes, REUTERS
Less than a year after passenger flights restarted between the United States and Cuba, the future of Cuban travel is once again up in the air. Aviation sector leaders gathered in Cancun, Mexico said they are concerned that President Donald Trump may reinstate some political and economic restrictions between the two Cold War-era foes. The Trump administration is reviewing the Obama administration’s moves to ease restrictions on travel and investment in Cuba. Trump has criticized the agreements by Obama to thaw relations with the Cuban government. Airlines, facing uncertainty about a US policy that could make moot millions in recent investments, are loath to criticize the Trump administration’s unpredictability, but the industry is unified in saying the thaw should continue.
US Denounces Venezuela For Repression, Demands Free Elections
Stephanie Nebehay, REUTERS
The United States denounced the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for suppressing protests and called for free elections, saying that he must not be allowed to follow a “dictatorship” path like Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. The Maduro government calls the protesters violent coup-mongers, supported by the United States. “This is an economic, political and humanitarian crisis that demands the world’s attention,” Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, told a US-hosted panel of Venezuelan activists and experts held on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. But Jorge Valero, Venezuela’s ambassador, told the Council that Venezuelans enjoyed fundamental freedoms, adding: “This (US) government has no moral authority to set itself up as a universal judge of human rights.”
Venezuela’s Defense Chief Warns Guardsmen On Excessive Force
The Associated Press, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Venezuela’s defense minister is urging the country’s national guardsmen to refrain from using excessive force as they confront protesters after more than two months of anti-government demonstrations. Speaking at a military event Tuesday, Vladimir Padrino Lopez said he didn’t want to see “one more national guardsman committing an atrocity on the street.” The police and national guard have drawn international condemnation for their heavy use of tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators. Nearly 70 people have died in the political unrest, which has seen hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans take to the streets demanding new elections. The defense minister’s remarks come as opposition leaders are accusing national guardsmen of attacking protesters.
Venezuela Opposition Accuses Security Forces Of Robbing Protesters
Eyanir Chinea, REUTERS
Venezuelan opposition leaders accused security forces of assaulting and robbing demonstrators who participate in protests against President Nicolás Maduro. Two videos distributed over social networks appear to show police and troops taking protesters’ possessions during rallies on Monday, spurring outrage among many Venezuelans who already complain of excessive use of force during the two months of protests. Opposition legislators on Tuesday filed a complaint with the state prosecutors’ office against the police and the National Guard in relation to the alleged robberies. “(Interior Minister) Nestor Reverol gives them license to steal,” said legislator Juan Matheus, adding that the complaint includes accusations of cruel and inhumane treatment. One video shows four police officers surrounding a woman who is reeling from the effects of tear gas, with one of the officers pulling what appears to be a watch from her wrist. In another, troops take a protester’s helmet and handbag before boarding motorcycles.