Fears for Dissidents As China Security Czar Is Appointed As the New Head of Interpol
Dominique Rowe, TIME
Global police body Interpol announced the appointment of its new chief Wednesday, China’s Vice Minister for Public Security Meng Hongwei. Rights groups are concerned that the nomination will facilitate efforts to target Chinese dissidents living overseas.
Hong Kong Politician Calls Pro-Independence Activists “Cancer Cells” at Rally of Thousands
Thousands of people attended a pro-Beijing rally in Hong Kong on Sunday in support of China’s decision to bar two pro-independence legislators from taking office, as fears grow for the city’s freedoms. Beijing’s ruling last week pre-empted a decision by the Hong Kong courts over whether lawmakers Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching should be disqualified from parliament after deliberately misreading their oaths of office, inserting expletives and draping themselves with “Hong Kong is not China” flags.
Number of North Korean Defectors Surpasses 30,000
The total number of North Koreans who have defected to South Korea has just surpassed the 30,000 mark. According to the Ministry of Unification, the very first defection took place back in 1962. By 2006, that number broke the 10,000 mark, and then doubled in 2010. Experts say the recent surge is a response to Kim Jong-un’s increasingly brutal reign.
Russia Looks to Have Gained Two Eastern European Allies
Charles Duxbury, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Pro-Russian candidates appeared to have won presidential elections in Moldova and Bulgaria on Sunday, giving Moscow new allies in its efforts to regain influence in parts of Eastern Europe it regards as its backyard. One force likely to emerge bruised from the two votes: the European Union.
Venezuela Floods Shops with Unaffordable Goods Ahead of Christmas
Fabian Cambero, REUTERS
Topping off a year of economic crisis that left many Venezuelans hungry, the country’s socialist government is flooding shops with products ahead of Christmas, at prices that most cannot afford. Thousands of containers of festive food and toys are on their way, say authorities, and while supermarket shelves appear fuller, prices are ludicrously high for people earning just tens of dollars a month at the black market exchange rate.
Asylum Seekers Who Came on Boats to Australia Jailed in Vietnam, Advocacy Group Says
Peta Donald, ABC ONLINE
Asylum seekers who were returned to Vietnam under Australia’s boat turn-back policy have been punished with jail terms. A spokesman for Voice Australia, a group that helps Vietnamese asylum seekers, said five asylum seekers were either in jail or facing jail terms, under a Vietnamese law that makes it illegal to organize a trip to flee Vietnam.