China Is In “Lockdown” Ahead Of Its Most Important Meeting In Years
Huileng Tan, CNBC
Chinese business has come to a standstill as half the population travels over a one-week public holiday. But that quietude is expected to last several more weeks. Although the Chinese will head back to work and school on Monday, their country is expected to remain in a holding pattern ahead of a pivotal Communist Party Congress set to start later this month. “Commentators and markets rightly assume that the authorities are consumed by this transition and that all other policy matters are on the back-burner or in lock-down until after the Congress,” Freya Beamish, Pantheon Macroeconomics’ chief Asia economist, wrote in a recent note.
Guangdong Police Swoop on Chat Group Moderator, Activist Who Scaled “Great Firewall”
Authorities in the southern province of Guangdong have detained a man who ran a number of social media chat groups, in a nationwide crackdown on free speech ahead of a five-yearly congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. A team of cybersecurity police visited the home of Zhang Guanghong in Yuexiu district of Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou on Wednesday even in connection with posts made to groups on the popular social media platform WeChat. “He was detained recently because of what had been posted,” a friend of Zhang’s told RFA.
Despite Travel Warning, Cruises to Cuba Continue
Elaine Glusac, The New York Times
Although the U.S. Department of State recently issued a travel warning on Cuba, a number of cruise lines plan to add itineraries to Cuba next year. The Sept. 29 statement, which “warns US citizens not to travel to Cuba,” is based on a series of mysterious illnesses that have befallen US Embassy workers in Havana. But several cruise lines operating ships in and around Cuba have released statements pushing back on the warning, noting that no tourists have been harmed in these incidents.
US Expulsion Of Cuban Diplomats Includes All Business Officers
Sarah Marsh, Reuters
The Cuban diplomats expelled from the United States this week included all those dealing with US businesses, Cuba’s embassy in Washington told Reuters on Thursday, dealing another blow to bilateral commercial ties. In an escalating crisis between the Cold War foes, the Trump administration on Tuesday expelled 15 diplomats to protest communist-run Cuba’s failure to protect US embassy staff in Havana from a mysterious spate of alleged health attacks.
Americans Buying Fish From Walmart, ALDI May Have Subsidized North Korea’s Government
Tim Sullivan, Hyung-Jin Kim, and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press
The workers wake up each morning on metal bunk beds in fluorescent-lit Chinese dormitories, North Koreans outsourced by their government to process seafood that ends up in American stores and homes. They are paid a fraction of their salaries, while the rest—as much as 70 percent—is taken by North Korea’s government. This means Americans buying salmon for dinner at Walmart or ALDI may inadvertently have subsidized the North Korean government as it builds its nuclear weapons program, an AP investigation has found.
The Untold Story Of Kim Jong-nam’s Assassination By North Korea
Traci Tong, US News & World Report
When Kim Jong-nam was killed in what appeared to be a chemical weapons attack while transiting through an airport in Malaysia in February, it captured the world’s attention. Eyes immediately looked toward his reclusive homeland and his younger half-brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has been consolidating his power by ousting, even killing, possible rivals. But Kim, of course, didn’t kill his half-brother himself. Two women were suspected of delivering the chemicals that delivered the fatal blow.
Latvia’s Cellphones Stopped Working, And Russia’s War Games May Be To Blame
Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post
Latvia’s intelligence services are examining a partial disruption of the nation’s cellular network and emergency-services hotline that may have been a fresh example of Russia’s electronic-warfare capabilities, Latvian and NATO officials said. The break in cellphone service in western Latvia and the 16-hour outage of the country’s equivalent of 911 came around the time of recent major Russian military exercises that were a powerful demonstration of the Kremlin’s ability to wage modern war.
Stalin’s Great Terror: Sakha’s Mountain Of Tin And Bones
Yekaterina Karpukhina and Robert Coalson, RFE/RL
During Stalin’s reign of terror, there were no less than 105 gulag camps in Sakha, covering about one third of its area. Even today, it is nearly impossible to reach some of the most far-flung locations—places like Tomponsky, Oimyakonsky, and Verkhoyansky—where prisoners worked and died by the tens of thousands. “We are talking about hundreds and thousands of kilometers just to get to these places—mostly without roads in the most inhuman circumstances,” geologist Arkady Vishnevsky wrote in his memoirs. “We can only guess how many people died on the way there, never even reaching the place where they were supposed to serve their sentences.”
Senator Rubio Wants Communist West Point Grad Booted From The Army
Leo Shane III, Military Times
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is demanding West Point officials revoke the commission of an officer who posted photos of himself with pro-communist messages hidden under his graduation uniform, calling it an “extreme embarrassment” for the military. In a letter to acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy Tuesday, the Republican senator also questioned whether service officials ignored signs of misconduct and potential insubordination during the cadet’s time at the US Military Academy.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
October 6th, 1976: Premier Hua Guofeng orders the arrest of the Gang of Four and ends the Cultural Revolution in China.