China Bans Fundraising Via Cryptocurrencies, Known As ICOs
Chao Deng, Wall Street Journal
Chinese authorities banned a type of fundraising using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, dealing a blow to startups and other businesses that seized on the relatively new method of raising capital. China’s central bank, cyberspace administration and banking, securities and other regulators Monday declared what are known as initial coin offerings illegal and ordered fundraising activities to “cease immediately.”
China Censors Discussion of North Korea’s Bomb Test
Kerry Allen, BBC
Chinese censors appear to be stifling online discussion of North Korea’s latest missile launch, a move apparently linked to China’s hosting of this week’s BRICS summit. Posts on the popular microblogging network Sina Weibo and the mobile messenger WeChat which highlight or make jokes about the bomb test coinciding with the summit have been censored.
China To Unleash Flood of TV Dramas Singing Communist Party’s Praises
Sarah Zheng, South China Morning Post
China’s media watchdog has said it will ensure production a flood of new TV dramas singing the Communist Party’s praises over the next five years, just days after one of the country’s top stations was publicly shamed for not toeing the ideological line. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued more than a dozen guidelines on TV content on Monday. The first of the 14 guidelines said the industry would ramp up production of “a large number of TV dramas that sing the praises of the party, the motherland, and the people, as well as its heroes.”
Cuba Opens Five-Month Transition Likely To End Castro Reign
Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press
Cuba on Monday began a five-month political transition expected to end with Raul Castro’s departure from the presidency, capping his family’s near-total dominance of the political system for nearly 60 years. Over the rest of September, Cubans will meet in small groups to nominate municipal representatives, the first in a series of votes for local, provincial and, finally, national officials.
Putin Calls North Korea Sanctions “Senseless”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said pursuing further sanctions against North Korea is “useless,” saying “they’d rather eat grass than give up their nuclear programme.” The US said on Monday it would table a new UN resolution on tougher sanctions in the wake of the latest test of a nuclear bomb by the North on Sunday. Mr. Putin also said that the ramping up of “military hysteria” could lead to global catastrophe. He said diplomacy was the only answer.
Russia May Crash Out Of Council Of Europe, Says Rights Chief
Nicholas Vinocur, Politico.eu
Russia could soon be forced out of Europe’s top human rights organization, leaving more than 140 million people without a crucial recourse against rights violations, according to the group’s top official. In 2014, Russia’s voting rights in the Council of Europe were revoked after the illegal annexation of Crimea. If things don’t change, the election of a raft of new judges and top officials during the next two years would take place without Russian votes.
West Failing To Tackle Russian Hacking And Fake News, Says Latvia
Patrick Wintour, The Guardian
The west is failing to get to grips with Russian hacking and fake news, the Latvian foreign minister, Edgars Rinkēvičs, has said. Speaking on a visit to London, Rinkēvičs said there was increasing evidence that Russia was automating disinformation on social media. Pointing to new Nato-sponsored research showing more than five times the number of Russian language tweets sent in Latvia concerning Nato came from bots, instead of from individuals.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: Kim Jong-un “Begging For War”
Jeremy Herb, Joshua Berlinger and Taehoon Lee, CNN
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war” as she urged the UN Security Council to adopt the strongest sanctions measures possible to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Speaking at a Security Council emergency meeting, Haley said North Korea’s sixth nuclear test was a clear sign that “the time for half measures” from the UN had to end.
Venezuela’s Crisis Looms Large As Pope Visits Latin America
Anatoly Kurmanaev and Francis X. Rocca, Wall Street Journal
Venezuela—whose economy has shrunk by a third since 2013, sparking a humanitarian crisis—looms large as Pope Francis arrives on Wednesday in neighboring Colombia, where tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants have fled. Top Venezuelan bishops plan to greet the pope in Colombia, hoping to convey in person the gravity of the country’s situation. In a letter published last week, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress urged the pope to demand that Mr. Maduro allow humanitarian aid, release political prisoners and respect human rights.
Venezuelan Leader Won’t Attend UN Rights Council Meeting
The United Nations says Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won’t attend a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting next week as originally planned. Council spokesman Rolando Gomez said in an email Tuesday to reporters that Maduro “will not address the Human Rights Council.” Gomez said the Venezuelan government had indicated in a diplomatic note a day earlier that the president would speak to the council at the start of its new session on Monday, September 11th.
Apparent Crackdown In Vietnam On Social Media, But Many Users Appear Undeterred
Vincent Bevins, Washington Post
The police in communist-led Vietnam have been cracking down especially hard on free expression over social media for the past few months. Or, at least as far as experts, regular users and dissident bloggers can tell, that seems to be the case. “Even activists in Vietnam struggle to say how many people are actually caught and arrested” for online activity, said Janice Beanland, a campaigner at Amnesty International. “But one striking thing is that Vietnamese activists seem not to be deterred.”