China’s “Fallen” Officials Leave Gaps, Silenced Voices in Communist Party Ranks
As the ruling Chinese Communist Party gears up for a crucial, five-yearly congress next month, President Xi Jinping is taking far-reaching steps to ensure that no critical voices are raised against him, analysts said. A popular chat show on the Hong Kong-based satellite station Phoenix TV, known for its pro-Beijing stance, was pulled off air this week, less than a month before the 19th Party Congress on Oct. 18, with scant explanation.
Emboldened China Wields Its Laws to Silence Critics From Abroad
Steven Lee Myers and Chris Horton, The New York Times
On the morning he disappeared, the activist Lee Ming-cheh crossed from Macau into mainland China to meet with democracy advocates. It was 177 days later when he reappeared in public, standing in the dock of a courtroom in central China last week. Mr. Lee is not a citizen of China, but rather of Taiwan, the self-governing island over which Beijing claims sovereignty.
As Number Of Injured Diplomats Soared, State Department Kept Cuba Attacks Secret
Steve Dorsey, CBS News
An internal Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs document obtained by CBS News shows the State Department was fully aware of the extent of the attacks on its diplomats in Havana, Cuba, long before it was forced to acknowledge them. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert only admitted the attacks were occurring after CBS News Radio first reported them August 9.
Cuba is postponing municipal elections by a month to Nov. 26 because of the devastation wrought on the Caribbean island by Hurricane Irma, its Council of State said in an electoral notice published in the ruling Granma Party newspaper on Tuesday. The elections were coming at an already difficult time for Cuba as an economic reform program appears stalled, aid from key ally Venezuela shrinks, and the Trump administration threatens.
North Korean authorities are planning lavish observances of the death anniversary this week of Kim Jong Sook, grandmother of national leader Kim Jong Un, in a bid to highlight the current leader’s blood-line ties to North Korea’s founders, sources say. A lavish commemoration of the Sept. 22 anniversary has already been set for North Hamgyong province’s Hoeryong city, Kim Jong Sook’s birthplace, a source in the province told RFA’s Korean Service.
North Korea Says Trump’s UN Speech Amounted To “The Sound Of A Dog Barking”
Joshua Berlinger, CNN
North Korea’s foreign minister has delivered a scornful response to US President Donald Trump’s threat to destroy the hermit kingdom, likening it to the sound of “a dog barking.” Ri Yong Ho, who is in the US for the United Nations General Assembly, said he “felt sorry” for the President’s advisers after a fiery speech to the UN on Tuesday. In his debut address to world leaders, Trump vowed to “totally destroy” North Korea if the US was forced to defend its allies.
Ukraine’s Poroshenko Rejects Russia’s “Hybrid” Peackeeping Offer
John Irish, Reuters
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dismissed a Russian proposal to deploy U.N. peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine as an effort to legalize its proxies and freeze the conflict. Relations between Kyiv and Moscow have never been worse since Russia annexed Crimea more than three years ago and Russian-backed separatist fighters subsequently took up arms against Ukrainian government forces in the east of the country.
President Trump To Award Medal Of Honor To Green Beret For Valor In Laos
Tom Vandenbrook and Gregory Korte, USA Today
Sergeant Gary Rose was an Army medic who was involved in secret operations in Laos during the Vietnam War. After years of lobbying from members of his unit, he will receive Medal of Honor in an October 23 ceremony. That it took so long to pin Rose, now 69, with the nation’s highest award for valor stems from the secrecy of his mission, the controversy that sprouted about it in the late 1990s, and the investigation that cleared the names of Rose and his fellow commandos.
Judge Tosses Office Of Personnel Management Breach Lawsuits, Plaintiffs Appeal
Joseph Marks, NextGov
A federal judge tossed out a lawsuit Tuesday from a group of federal employees who say gross negligence by the Office of Personnel Management contributed to the office’s 2015 data breach that exposed sensitive security clearance information about more than 20 million people. The personnel office breach is widely believed to have been a Chinese intelligence operation aimed at identifying high-placed government employees who might be vulnerable to bribes or blackmail.
Australia Urged To Stop Cambodia Returning Persecuted Refugees To Vietnam
Ben Doherty, The Guardian
Australia has been urged to pressure its refugee resettlement partner Cambodia to halt the “imminent return” of 29 Montagnard refugees to Vietnam where they face violent persecution. Twenty-nine refugees from the ethnic and religious minority face deportation to Vietnam, despite the UN’s refugee agency offering to take the group out of Cambodia and protect them while a permanent third-country resettlement is found.
Human Rights At Center Of Vietnam-EU Trade Talks
A top European trade official warned Friday that a free trade pact with Vietnam could be scuppered if the communist country fails to address rights issues, saying the matter was central to ongoing talks. Vietnam’s dismal human rights record has been flagged as a sticking point to finalising the deal. The communist country’s stance on forced labour and freedom of expression are at the core of current talks, Bernd Lange, chair of European Parliament’s Committee for International Trade, told reporters in Hanoi Friday.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
September 21st, 1991: Armenia gains its independence from the USSR.
Independence Day (Armenia)
International Day of Peace (UN)