Anti-Russia Blogger Stands Trial in Belarus
Andrei Makhovsky, REUTERS
A Belarussian court started on Friday a closed trial of a blogger known for his fierce criticism of Russia. He has been accused of inciting hatred and distributing pornography in a case activists say is politically motivated. Human rights campaigners say he is being targeted for criticizing Russian foreign policy, its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, and role in the east Ukrainian separatist conflict.
China’s Last Tiananmen Prisoner Set to Be Freed, But Frail
Isolda Morillo, THE WASHINGTON POST
China’s last-known prisoner held in relation to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests will reportedly be released Saturday, but he’ll face freedom a frail and mentally ill man, a rights group and a fellow former inmate said. Tanks and troops converged in Beijing to quash pro-democracy protests on the night of June 3-4, 1989, killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of people. Authorities later jailed more than 1,600 people around the country for crimes linked to the demonstrations.
North Korea Plagued by Serious Levels of Hunger, Think Tank Says
Elizabeth Shim, UPI
More than 40 percent of North Korea’s population is at high risk for malnutrition, according to a think tank. The International Food Policy Research Institute stated in its annual report on the global hunger index that 4 out of 10 North Koreans are not getting enough food, Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday.
New Wave of Crimean Tatar Arrests in Russian-Occupied Crimea
KHARKIV HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION GROUP
Five more Crimean Tatars are in custody in Russian-occupied Crimea accused of involvement in an organization which is legal in Ukraine. The five men are all devout Muslims and some at least have this year or last year taken part in the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. 41-year-old Timur Abdullayev is charged with being an “organizer,” which carries a possible sentence of up to 17 years imprisonment.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court Consolidates President Nicolás Maduro’s Power
Elisabeth Malkin and Nicholas Casey, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Venezuela’s Supreme Court has consolidated President Nicolás Maduro’s power with a decision that removes budgetary authority from the nation’s Congress, the only institution that is controlled by the opposition. The ruling late Tuesday came as opponents of the president prepared to gather enough signatures for a recall referendum to force him from office. The judges’ decision allows the court itself to approve Mr. Maduro’s budget, which he is expected to present by decree on Friday.