Corruption, Lack of Opportunities Challenge Job Growth in China’s Rust Belt
William Ide, VOICE OF AMERICA
As China’s economy slows to growth rates not seen in more than a quarter of century, the country’s Communist Party rulers are under increasing pressure to create jobs. Millions enter the workforce each year, and as China tries to reduce overcapacity in steel and coal industries, a growing number are looking for work after being laid off. China’s northeast is reeling from the impact of zombie enterprises, debt-laden companies who have let overcapacity run amok and are now facing massive layoffs. Consequently, the region is struggling to keep young workers and talent at home.
Pomp and Pride at People’s Congress in Beijing
Keith Bradsher, NEW YORK TIMES
The National People’s Congress draws representatives from all over China, including some nominally representing Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing has long claimed. Most of these legislators are Communist Party members and functionaries. But there is another contingent that is larger than even the biggest provincial delegation: the People’s Liberation Army. Mao famously observed that power grows from the barrel of a gun, and that adage is reflected in the presence and visibility of the military at the heart of Beijing. While most delegates arrived in clumps on Sunday morning for the start of the Congress, the generals arrived in a 200-strong phalanx, wearing crisply pressed uniforms and many of them carrying briefcases.
Cuba Kills Another Dissident
Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WALL STREET JOURNAL
Score another kill for the Cuban military dictatorship: Last month it eliminated Afro-Cuban dissident Hamell Santiago Más Hernández, an inmate of one of its most notoriously brutal prisons. The remarkable thing was not the death of a critic. That’s routine in a police state that holds all the guns, bayonets, money and food. What’s noteworthy is that the world hardly blinked, which is to say that two years after President Obama’s détente with Raúl Castro, the regime still dispatches adversaries with impunity. It also routinely blocks visitors to the island, even of the leftist stripe, in order to keep the population isolated.
Hoping to Lure High-Level Defectors, South Korea Increase Rewards
Choe Sang-Hun, THE NEW YORK TIMES
South Korea said on Sunday that it would quadruple the cash reward it provides for North Korean defectors arriving with important information to one billion won, or $860,000, in an effort to encourage more elite members from the North to flee. Since famine hit the North in the mid-1990s, more than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South. The South Korean government helps them resettle by providing job training, rent and other subsidies. But it has also offered extra cash rewards for those who defected with information on the North Korean military or the inner workings of the secretive North Korean government, as well as for those who fled with military planes or other weapons.
UN Report Shows North Korea Using Africa to Slip Sanctions
Cara Anna, ASSOCIATED PRESS
North Korean weapons barred by UN sanctions ended up in the hands of UN peacekeepers in Africa, says a confidential report. That incident and others in more than a half-dozen African nations show how North Korea, despite facing its toughest sanctions in decades, continues to avoid them on the world’s most impoverished continent with few repercussions. The annual report by a UN panel of experts on North Korea illustrates how Pyongyang evades sanctions imposed for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs to pursue activities such as military training and construction in African countries ranging from Angola to Uganda.
Ukraine Tells Hague Court Russia Making It “Impossible” For Citizens to Feel Safe
RADIO FREE EUROPE
Ukraine launched its case against Russia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague on March 6, seeking an order to halt Moscow’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. In an opening statement at the highest UN court, lawyers for Ukraine accused the Russian government of making it “impossible for Ukrainian citizens to feel safe anywhere in their country.” ICJ judges hear disputes between states, and cases can take years to pass through the court. Although the court’s rulings are final and binding, it has no means of enforcement.
Wife of Venezuelan Jailed Leader Describes Three Years of Torture
María Emilia Jorge, FOX NEWS
Leopoldo López was isolated for 548 of his first 1,000 days in prison. And the count is likely to grow, as he continues to be the most visible symbol of the Venezuelan opposition. Recently, he was punished with 15 days of no visitors due to his wife’s visit with President Trump in the White House. “Leopoldo is a moral leader, whose leadership is feared by the regime,” López’s wife, Liliana Tintori, said to Fox News. “They are afraid of his words, his ideas, his power to motivate Venezuelans, so they keep him isolated.” For the last three years, the Harvard-educated lawyer and economist has lived in a seven by ten foot cell in the inhabited fourth floor of a military prison outside Caracas.
Peru Recalls Ambassador in Caracas Amid Diplomatic Spat
The Peruvian government has recalled its ambassador to Venezuela amid a deepening diplomatic row. The authorities in Lima sent a formal letter of protest to Caracas. The dispute started after Venezuela’s foreign minister called Peru’s president a coward and a dog, obedient to the United States. Peru’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna said his country would not tolerate insults.