China’s Internet Army Getting More “Refined”
VOICE OF AMERICA
There is an online Chinese army. It is nicknamed the “50 Cent Army.” The name is connected to people who post comments online that are in support of China. Many people once thought that they were regular citizens who were getting paid 50 cents for each pro-China post they wrote. But a new study says that they are actually government employees working overtime.
Vatican, China Consider Deal on Selection of Bishops After Decades of Division
Francis X. Rocca and Chun Han Wong, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Negotiators for the Vatican and Beijing reached a compromise on who selects Catholic bishops in China, said people familiar with the matter, potentially marking a major step toward ending six decades of estrangement. If Pope Francis and Chinese leaders sign off on the proposed deal, the pope would accept eight bishops ordained by the Chinese government without the Vatican’s permission.
Cuban Pastor on House Arrest for Worshipping Too Loud
CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK
A pastor was sentenced to one year of house arrest by a Cuban civil court for hosting loud worship services. Juan Carlos Nuñez leads a congregation of some 550 people, a risky job under Cuba’s communist government. Morning Star News reports that Nuñez was tried and convicted of “disturbing the peace” before his lawyer had the opportunity to defend him.
Lithuania Issues Manual on What to Do If Russia Invades
Nic Robertson, CNN
Lithuania published a manual for its three million citizens on how to defend their homeland in the event of invasion. Since Russia annexed Crimea two years ago, Lithuanians have been on edge. Conscription has been restarted and defense spending ramped up, not to mention their now-answered calls for NATO to deploy more troops to the Baltics.
Russian Remembrance of Victims of Political Repressions Passes Quietly
Russia is marking a state day of remembrance of the millions of victims of politically motivated repressions during the Soviet period. However, the government is largely standing aside, as it traditionally has done since Vladimir Putin became president in 2000, and the events are largely organized by local nongovernmental organizations, volunteer groups, and local religious organizations.
New Strategy Needed to Make Russia Bring Political Prisoners Home
Halya Coynash, KYIV POST
Relatives and lawyers representing Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners have launched a public appeal, now open for endorsement, demanding a new strategy for putting pressure on Moscow and coordinating efforts. Much more is needed than mere statements of protest, as the number of prisoners in Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea mounts.
Venezuela’s Maduro Meets Opposition At Vatican-Led Talks
Andrew Cawthorne and Andreina Aponte, REUTERS
Venezuela’s unpopular socialist leader Nicolás Maduro shook hands with opposition leaders at Vatican-convened talks on Sunday, but his wary foes threatened to boycott further meetings if some demands were not quickly met. The irate opposition Democratic Unity coalition has escalated protests against Maduro after authorities scuttled a recall referendum.