China’s Secret Plan to Crush SpaceX and the US Space Program
Clay Dillow, CNBC
Though Chinese space authorities have publicly announced the country’s ambitions to forge itself into a major space power by the early 2030s, Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping’s government is also considering ways to direct spending that will push Chinese tech companies toward breakthroughs in downstream technologies like robotics, aerospace, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and other 21st-century technologies. The majority of China’s space ambitions remain focused on boosting Chinese prestige at home and abroad.
Cuba’s Communists Dig In as Castro’s Reform Drive Grinds to a Halt
Marc Frank and John Paul Rathbone, FINANCIAL TIMES
Havana has allowed its domestic reform drive to grind to a halt as the Communist Party battens down the hatches. Marino Murillo, the senior official leading Cuba’s reforms, has not been heard in public for almost a year. His absence has mystified Cubans and dented the high expectations Mr. Castro’s liberalizing drive once fomented, both at home and abroad. Mr. Murillo has not uttered a word in public since last July. At the same time, price controls have been slapped on burgeoning private sector businesses in agriculture and transport. In many ways, Cuba has been here before. Reformist officials have often had their wings clipped after liberalizing drives were stifled by hardliners who feared loss of control.
Where in the World is Kim Jong-un’s Dead Half Brother?
Keegan Hamilton, VICE
It’s been more than a month since a pair of female assassins killed Kim Jong-un’s half brother with a toxic nerve agent in Kuala Lumpur’s airport, and Malaysian authorities are still trying to decide what to do with his dead body. Since the death of 45-year-old Kim Jong-nam on Feb. 13, the corpse of the North Korean leader’s estranged elder sibling has been kept in a hospital morgue in Malaysia’s capital. On Tuesday, however, Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper reported that preparations were underway to put the body on a plane to Beijing, where it will make a stopover before heading to Pyongyang.
North Korea Propaganda Leaflets, Videos Latest Acts by Kim Jong-un
Greg Price, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
North Korea reportedly dropped thousands of propaganda-laden leaflets on a South Korean city Tuesday morning that praised leader Kim Jong-un and condemned the South and United States’ annual military exercises, Yonhap News Agency reported. The North let fly some 6,000 leaflets over the port city of Incheon, the third-largest population-wise in the South at 2.3 million citizens and located just west of the capital Seoul and miles from the border with the North, police officials said. Each of the leaflets honored Kim. Police said they were turned over to the South’s military for investigation.
A Ukrainian Filmmaker Imprisoned in Russia Just Won a Freedom to Write Award
Amanda Erickson, WASHINGTON POST
It’s an honor that comes with a heavy dose of irony—PEN America just awarded its Freedom to Write Award to the acclaimed Ukrainian writer and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, imprisoned in Russia. Sentsov, a filmmaker, has been an outspoken critic of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. He joins a distinguished list of other imperiled honorees, including Khadija Ismayilova, an Azerbaijani journalist arrested after producing a series of investigative scoops about government corruption, and Ilham Tohti, an imprisoned Chinese economist and scholar of Uighur issues. Thirty-seven of the 40 Freedom to Write Award winners have been released from prison within 18 months of their award.
Florida Authorities Prep for Xi Jinping’s Visit
Nyshka Chandran, CNBC
Communist Party Leader President Xi Jinping will not be staying at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort during a two-day summit in Florida next month, according to local authorities. The two leaders are scheduled to hold talks at the Mar-a-Lago Club on April 6 and 7 in Palm Beach, but Xi will be staying at the nearby Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa instead, the sheriff’s office of Palm Beach County told NBC News. The town of Lantana is expected to lose 80 percent of its beach parking during Xi’s visit and fencing will begin to go up on April 4th, the sheriff’s office told NBC.
Venezuela’s Ongoing Crisis And The OAS’s Opportunity To Create A Turning Point In Latin America
Paul Coyer, FORBES
Late last week, the Organization of American States (OAS), which had long remained silent in the face of the steady encroachment of the Venezuelan state on the liberties of the Venezuelan people and the destabilizing influence of the Venezuelan government on the region as a whole, announced that it will finally hold a special meeting to consider the situation in Venezuela at the request of 18 member states. Luis Almagro, the OAS Secretary General, announced that, if diplomatic action fails to cause the Venezuelan government to make significant moves to affirm the constitution and its commitment to representative government, Venezuela’s membership in the organization could be suspended. Venezuela’s membership in the MERCOSUR trading bloc of Latin American nations was suspended in December for the same reason.