May 15th, 2017 | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

May 15th, 2017

CHINA

Xi Jinping Positions China at Center of New Economic Order
Jane Perlez and Keith Bradsher, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping delivered a sweeping vision of a new economic global order on Sunday, positioning his country as an alternative to an inward-looking United States under President Trump. Mr. Xi, surrounded by autocratic leaders from Russia and Central Asia at a forum in Beijing, pledged more than $100 billion for development banks in China that he said would spearhead vast spending on infrastructure across Asia, Europe and Africa. Noticeably absent from the gathering were leaders of major Western democracies. The program, based on Chinese-led investment in bridges, rails, ports and energy in over 60 countries, form the backbone of China’s economic and geopolitical agenda. In a new twist for China, which has generally been skeptical of social programs by the World Bank, Mr. Xi said the initiative would tackle poverty in recipient countries. He promised to deliver emergency food aid and said China would begin “100 poverty projects,” though he stopped short of providing details.

China Cracks Down on Quake Parents on Anniversary, Ahead of Silk Road Forum
RADIO FREE ASIA
Dozens of parents who lost children in the devastating Sichuan earthquake of 2008 staged a rally on the ninth anniversary of the disaster on Friday over unpaid compensation, while others remained under close surveillance or house arrest. Bereaved parents whose children died in the collapse of the Fuxin No. 2 Elementary School in worst-hit Mianzhu gathered outside the offices of the township government to repeat their calls for an investigation into allegations of shoddy construction at schools across the province. “I think there are more than 100 people here,” a parent told RFA. “We are all waiting to speak with our leaders outside the gates of the government offices.” Bereaved parents were permitted to have a second child after the disaster, in a special dispensation under draconian family planning rules, but they say the government also promised to fund the children’s education: a promise that has yet to be kept.

CUBA

Cuba’s Very First Libertarian Party is Born
Nelson Rodríguez Chartrand, PANAM POST
On Sunday, a milestone was set in Cuban history, as well as for lovers and defenders of freedom worldwide: the Cuban Libertarian Party “José Martí” was founded. The event was held at the headquarters of the Benjamin Franklin Libertarian Library. The space will be shared with the new political organization, located in Cisneros Betancourt 1294, between 3rd street and Linderos, Los Pinos, in the capital city of Arroyo Naranjo. The new party will have, among others, the supreme purpose of defending freedom, human and civil rights of the people, promoting and proposing the reduction of the prevailing collectivism in society and the excessive paternalism of the public administrations, affirming and strengthening individual sovereignty in all areas of life, minimizing the volume and interference of the state and supporting the establishment of a spontaneous social and economic order.

NORTH KOREA

North Korea Missile Test “Due to Kim Jong-un Paranoia”
BBC
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has accused North Korean leader Kim Jong-un of being in a “state of paranoia,” following another ballistic missile test. The test was a message to the South days after a new president took office, she told ABC News. Japanese officials say the missile, which launched from north-western Kusong, reached an altitude of 2,000 km. South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in, who is seeking deeper engagement with the North, said it was a “reckless provocation.” The nature of the launch is still being determined, but analysts have said the test could suggest a longer range than previously tested devices. North Korea recently said it would hold talks with the US “if the conditions were right,” after President Trump said he would be “honored” to meet Kim Jong-un under the right circumstances.

UNITED STATES

Lawmakers Move to Step Up Defenses Against North Korea
Ellen Mitchell, THE HILL
Congress is weighing options for bolstering US defenses against North Korea, with new legislation arriving in the coming week that would increase the number of anti-missile systems on the West Coast. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) will unveil a bill that asks for 28 additional Ground-Based Interceptors in Alaska and California, increasing by more than 30 percent the number of interceptors currently in the United States. “If you want to protect the continental United States, Alaska is literally the front line and the best place and to do that from an attack from North Korea,” a Senate staff member familiar with the bill told The Hill. “Sullivan is not doing this because it’s potentially good for Alaska, he’s doing this because [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un is continuing to test and advance his programs.” North Korea does not yet have the technology to reach the West Coast with a missile, but Sullivan has spoken out against Pyongyang’s efforts to develop a weapon, urging fellow members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to prepare for a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US.

US Treasury Considering All Tools to Stop North Korea Financing
David Lawder, REUTERS
The US Treasury is considering all of its available tools to deny North Korea access to the international financial system to rein in its nuclear weapons and missile development programs, a senior Treasury official said on Saturday. “We are entertaining all of the tools in our arsenal, including programs that come from TFI and OFAC offices and similar ones to try to stop them,” the official told reporters before news broke that North Korea had fired another ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. The official was referring to sanctions and other programs administered by the Treasury’s Terrorism and Financial Intelligence division and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

VIETNAM

Small Countries’ New Weapon Against Goliaths: Hacking 
Mike Ives and Paul Mozur, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Hackers in Vietnam have been attacking foreign companies and other targets for years, seeking information and using tactics that suggest links to the Vietnamese government, a cybersecurity company said Monday. The findings, laid out in a report released by the company, FireEye, come as companies and experts look beyond traditional sources of attacks like China and Russia to deal with new or rising threats. Smaller countries are now trying their hand at hacking, experts say, as they seek to follow dissidents, undermine enemies or comb corporate files for trade secrets.

VENEZUELA

Powerful Photos Show Gray-haired Venezuelan Protesters Clashing with Police
Amy B. Wang, WASHINGTON POST
For more than six consecutive weeks, violent demonstrations have overtaken cities in Venezuela, as the country has descended into an economic crisis that anti-government protesters are pinning on socialist President Nicolás Maduro. Since the protests broke out in early April, at least 39 people have been killed and hundreds more injured. As The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor reported, the potent images coming out of the South American country have become familiar: “smoldering barricades arrayed against riot police, security forces launching fusillades of tear gas, bloodied demonstrators being rushed out by volunteer medics.” On Friday, however, the faces of the anti-government protesters represented a different demographic: abuelos and abuelas. In what was dubbed the “March of the Grandparents,” thousands of Venezuelan senior citizens took the streets of Caracas to demonstrate against Maduro and his government.

Venezuela Protest Victim’s Parents Speak of Ordeal
Vanessa Buschschlüter, BBC
Juan Pablo Pernalete was one of dozens of people who have been killed in protest-related violence in Venezuela since a wave of anti-government marches started at the beginning of April. As the economic and political crisis in Venezuela worsened, Juan Pablo saw a lot of his friends forced to leave for other countries, seeking opportunities abroad. As the food shortages became more acute, he would pick the fruit from the large mango tree in his parents’ courtyard. His mother was not surprised when Juan Pablo told her he wanted to change things in Venezuela and started attending anti-government marches. “I begged him not to go, I told him the security forces were cracking down on protesters, but he said he wanted an opportunity to express himself and to fight for his dreams,” she says. Juan Pablo’s father, José Gregorio Pernalete, adds: “He didn’t belong to any party, he just wanted a better country for all.”




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