Cambodia Activist Kem Ley’s Murder Trial Begins
A trial has begun in Cambodia of a man charged with killing prominent activist and government critic Kem Ley, who was shot dead at a petrol station in the capital Phnom Penh in July 2016. Police said at the time it was a dispute over money. But there are suspicions that the murder was politically motivated. Political tensions have been rising between long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen and the opposition ahead of June elections.
Three Compete to Run Hong Kong, Balancing Beijing Masters and Calls for Democracy
Venus Wu, REUTERS
Two former officials and a retired judge on Wednesday won the right to compete for the position of the next leader of Hong Kong, a job that requires balancing the demands of Communist Party rulers in Beijing and growing calls for democracy at home. The contest for the five-year term is the first since mass pro-democracy street protests rocked Hong Kong in late 2014. The protests ended with the streets being cleared and no concession offered by the government, denting the popularity of incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying, who is not seeking a second term.
Beijing Works the Phones in Secret Push to Hong Kong’s Next Leader
John Lyons, WALL STREET JOURNAL
Electors and candidates in the race have acknowledged the existence of calls or pressure from Chinese individuals claiming government backing and urging them to support Hong Kong’s former No. 2 official, Carrie Lam. The electors had until March 1 to publicly nominate a list of finalists who will contend in a March 26 ballot. On paper, Hong Kong, a former British colony, is a semiautonomous region of China with substantial leeway to elect its leaders. In practice, China’s thumb is on the scales, encroachment that has some here worried that other hallmarks of autonomy could be eroded as well.
North Korean Regime is Finding New Ways to Stop Information Flows, Report Says
Anna Fifield, WASHINGTON POST
As ordinary North Koreans have found ways to get information the state denies them—soppy South Korean dramas and peppy pop songs, novels, news from the outside world—so too has the Kim regime found news ways to crack down on them, according to a new report released Wednesday. The regime has developed sophisticated new tools to check just what its citizens are up to, according to “Compromising Connectivity,” a new report from Intermedia, a Washington-based research group.
Poland Honors Anti-Communist Fighters as Founders of Freedom
Poland owes its freedom to the anti-communist fighters who did not lay down arms after World War II, the nation’s defense minister said Wednesday. Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz spoke at ceremonies honoring underground Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war and continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland at the time. Many of the fighters were arrested, put on show trials aimed to break the nation’s resistance, and executed by the communist regime, who also erased them from history books.
Ukraine Moves a Step Closer to Visa-Free Travel in EU
RADIO FREE EUROPE
Negotiators for the European Parliament and European Union member states have reached a deal allowing Ukrainian citizens to enter Schengen zone countries without a visa. Ukrainians have eagerly awaited the advent of visa-free travel after being stuck in a conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the east for three years. They see the visa deal as a symbol of closer ties to the EU.
Rubio Moves to Name Street Outside Russian Embassy After Slain Opposition Leader
Paulina Firozi, THE HILL
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced legislation on Monday to name the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC after a slain Russian opposition leader. Rubio wants to designate the street as the “Boris Nemtsov Plaza,” after a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was killed in 2015. Nemtsov was shot in the back in central Moscow. Before his murder, he was allegedly working on a report detailing the Kremlin’s role in supplying weapons to Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.