China Brushes Off Vietnam Protests Over South China Sea Drills
China on Wednesday dismissed Vietnamese condemnation of its military live-fire exercises in the disputed South China Sea, saying it was acting within its sovereign rights. China conducted the drills around the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam claims, prompting Vietnam to say it would “resolutely protect” its “legitimate rights” through peaceful means.
China’s Internet Crackdown Is Another Step Toward “Digital Totalitarian State”
Ian Williams, NBC News
Beijing is taking steps to isolate the Chinese internet from the outside world, while drastically stepping up digital surveillance of those within and cracking down on online anonymity. Chinese authorities are targeting virtual private networks (VPNs) and other tools that are used to circumvent the so-called “Great Firewall,” the country’s system of strict internet censorship.
Cuba Begins First Phase Of Preparation For Hurricane Irma
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
As Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 storm, swirled out in the Atlantic, Cuba kept a watchful eye on how near its future track would take it to the island and instituted its first phase of preparations on Tuesday. In comments on the website of Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, some Cubans wondered why Cuba had not undertaken more aggressive preparations already.
North Korean Nuclear Test “Caused Landslides”
North Korea’s recent nuclear test appears to have triggered several landslides, according to what are believed to be the first satellite images of the aftermath. Sunday’s test took place underground at the mountainous Punggye-ri site. Analysis group 38 North published pictures which show “more numerous and widespread” disturbances than before. The test unleashed a powerful 6.3-magnitude tremor which was felt across the border in China.
Putin Says North Korea Crisis May Be “Impossible” To Solve
Hillary Whiteman, CNN
A day after predicting “global catastrophe” if North Korea’s nuclear tests lead to anything other than talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the situation may be “impossible” to resolve. Putin made the comments after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia. Putin repeated his assertion that sanctions and pressure won’t be enough to rein in North Korea.
Two Russians Named As Organizers Of Montenegro’s Alleged Coup Plot
Radio Free Europe
Two alleged Russian intelligence operatives have been named as the main organizers of what authorities say was a coup attempt against Montenegro’s pro-Western government as the trial of 14 suspected coup plotters opened in Podgorica on September 6. The defendants, mostly Serbs, are charged with “creating a criminal organization” with the aim of undermining Montenegro’s constitutional order and thwarting the government’s bid to join NATO.
Tibetans And Vietnamese Hold Human Rights Conference In Little Saigon
Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
In an unprecedented gathering in Los Angeles to highlight human rights abuses, Vietnamese and Tibetan leaders described themselves as coming from nations “on the same journey,” whose people struggle under communist brutality but refuse to give up fighting for freedom. Basic human rights and freedom continue to be denied to 6 million Tibetans inside their homeland, exploited for its rich minerals under China’s control, and to 95 million Vietnamese in Vietnam, resulting in beatings, deaths, imprisonment without trials and self-immolations, they said.
Spain Pushes EU To Adopt Restrictive Measures Against Venezuela
Spain is pushing for the European Union to adopt restrictive measures against members of the Venezuelan government as a way of encouraging a return to constitutional order in the crisis-hit country, the Spanish foreign ministry said on Tuesday. The head of Venezuela’s opposition-led congress, Julio Borges, visited Spain on Tuesday to meet Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as part of a European tour seeking support against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Armed Thugs Invade Church in Vietnam
Radio Free Asia
Men in plain clothes and armed with pistols, batons, and pepper spray descended on a Catholic church in southeast Vietnam’s Dong Nai province on Monday to confront the parish priest over a Facebook post the priest had made urging political reform in the one-party communist state. Parish priest Nguyen Duy Tanidentified at least one of the harassing group as a member of a local pro-government activist group, Tan told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Sept. 5.
Egypt’s Sisi Eyes $1 Bill In Trade On Vietnam Visit
Vietnam and Egypt agreed Wednesday to nearly triple trade to $1 billion including with ship-building and IT contracts, as Egypt seeks to kickstart its sputtering economy and forge ties with fast-growing Asian nations. Sisi’s visit comes as Vietnam courts international investment from new allies in Africa and the Middle East.