China to Further Tighten Its Internet Controls
China will further tighten its internet regulations with a pledge on Sunday to strengthen controls over search engines and online news portals, the latest step in Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s push to maintain strict Communist Party control over content. The five-year cultural development and reform plan released by the party and State Council, or Cabinet, calls for a “perfecting” of laws and rules related to the internet. That includes a qualification system for people working in online news, according to the plan. “Strike hard against online rumors, harmful information, fake news, news extortion, fake media and fake reporters,” it said, without giving details.
What Bubble? How China Stays in Control of Its Wild Housing Market
Wade Shepard, FORBES
It is a mistake to view China’s housing market as something left to the whims of a market economy. The system is rigged. Central, provincial, and municipal levels of government have their hands on a powerful deck of levers, which they can move up or down depending on the direction they want their respective housing markets to move in. They control supply and have a very strong influence on demand. When the market gets too hot they cool it off with policies to make home-buying unfavorable or even outright restricted; when the market gets too cool they lessen their restrictions and open up the floodgates of pent-up homebuyers. A graph of the year-on-year price change of China’s housing market since 2011 is a perfect sine wave—obediently rising and falling in direct accordance with government policy.
North Korea Seizes Another American Citizen As Crisis Heats Up
John Bacon, USA TODAY
North Korea announced Sunday that it detained another American over the weekend, raising to four the number of US citizens being held by the communist nation’s authoritarian regime. Kim Hak-song had worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, the same school where American Tony Kim had worked prior to being arrested at Pyongyang International Airport two weeks ago, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said. Few details on Kim Hak-song or his arrest were immediately available. KCNA said he was detained Saturday on suspicion of committing “hostile acts” and that a “detailed investigation into his crimes” was underway.
Taiwan Urges China to Stop Its Fishermen From Trespassing
CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY
Taiwan urged China to step up the education of its fishermen and stop them from trespassing into Taiwanese waters, after two Chinese fishermen were injured while trying to resist inspection by Taiwan Coast Guard officials near the Penghu archipelago in the Taiwan Strait. The boat was detected 23 nautical miles west of Penghu’s western-most Huayu Islet and refused to stop for inspection, despite several warning broadcasts, according to the Coast Guard Administration. Coast guard officers fired rubber bullets to force the boat to stop, injuring two of the crew members in the legs during the confrontation, the Coast Guard said. They were sent to a hospital for treatment and are in stable condition. In Beijing, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) expressed “indignation” over what it called Taiwan’s “seizure and arrest for no good reason” and urged Taiwan to release the boat and crew as soon as possible.
Trump Holds Talks With Peru Leader On Tackling “Crisis” In Venezuela
Nikita Vladimirov, THE HILL
President Trump spoke on the phone with the Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Saturday about addressing the “deteriorating political and economic crisis” in Venezuela, the White House said. Trump stressed that the US will work alongside Peru in an effort to “improve democratic institutions and help the people of Venezuela.” According to the White House, “President Kuczynski expressed his gratitude for President Trump’s prompt humanitarian assistance in response to the devastating floods in Peru.” Trump’s phone call with the Peruvian leader, who has been an outspoken critic of Venezuela’s socialist government, comes amid a rapid political and economic crisis in Venezuela.
Trump-Russia Probes Could Seep Into 2018 Midterms
Martin Matishak and Austin Wright, POLITCO
The congressional investigations into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia are off to such a sluggish start that they could stretch into next year’s midterm election season. That’s a silver lining for Democrats who have grumbled that investigators aren’t moving fast enough—but who would be delighted to see the issue in the headlines as voters head to the polls. Interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers involved in the House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations show there is no consensus on how long they should take. The interviews also show just how politicized these investigations have already become, which threatens to undermine Congress’ chance at determining what did or didn’t happen in the 2016 campaign.
Hugo Chávez Statue Torn Down As Death Toll Rises In Venezuela Protests
In an incident loaded with symbolism, a group of young men destroyed a statue of the late leader Hugo Chávez in the oil-producing Zulia state, according to videos circulating on social media on Friday evening. Footage shows the statue, which depicts Chávez saluting and wearing a sash, being yanked down to cheers in a public plaza before it is bashed into a sidewalk and then the road as onlookers swear at the leftist, who died in 2013 from cancer. “Students destroyed this statue of Chávez. They accuse him, correctly, of destroying their future,” the opposition lawmaker Carlos Valero said about the incident, which was also reported in local media. Reuters was unable to independently confirm it. Venezuela’s opposition, which now enjoys majority support after being in the shadow of the ruling Socialist party since Chávez’s 1998 election win, says his successor, Nicolás Maduro, has become a dictator and wrecked the economy.