Chinese activist wins award
Li Wenzu (李文足) on Tuesday was awarded the Edelstam Prize for her outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for one’s beliefs in defense of human rights. Li is the wife of detained rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), who disappeared during China’s “709 crackdown” in 2015. She has been “instrumental in campaigning for the release of the hundreds of lawyers and activists detained during the crackdown” and supporting the families of the detainees, the Edelstam Foundation said. Since Li is barred from leaving China, her award was received by Yuan Weijing (袁偉靜), a rights activist and wife of exiled lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), on her behalf.
Senators call for ZTE probe
Senators Chris van Hollen and Marco Rubio on Wednesday asked the White House to investigate whether Chinese telecom ZTE Corp breached US sanctions by helping Venezuela set up a database that monitors the behavior of its citizens. Their letter follows a Reuters investigation of the database and an associated Venezuelan identity card program published on Nov. 14. The company is accused by many Western officials of helping China export surveillance tactics and equipment to authoritarian governments around the world. ZTE has increasingly worked with Venezuela’s government in various projects there, mostly in ventures with Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, or Cantv, the state telecom. Reuters found that ZTE had helped Caracas build a database that could track citizens’ behavior through a national ID card that could compile data, including financial and medical histories, usage of social media, political affiliation and whether a person voted. One area of concern for the senators is whether ZTE installed components made by Dell Technologies in the database.
First woman leader elected
Ruling party candidate Salome Zurabishvili has been elected the nation’s first woman president, results showed yesterday, but the opposition claimed fraud and called for supporters to take to the streets. With 99.9 percent of ballots counted, the French-born former diplomat had taken 59.61 percent of the vote in Wednesday’s second round of the election. Her rival, Grigol Vashadze, from an alliance of 11 opposition parties led by exiled former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement, had 40.46 percent. The election was seen as a test of Georgia’s democratic credentials as the nation seeks EU and NATO membership. It was also a trial run for more important parliamentary elections in 2020, when the ruling Georgian Dream party is set to face off against a range of opposition parties.
Reggae makes UNESCO list
Reggae music yesterday won a spot on the UN’s list of global cultural treasures. UNESCO added the genre that originated in Jamaica to its collection of “intangible cultural heritage” deemed worthy of protection and promotion. Reggae music’s “contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, sociopolitical, sensual and spiritual,” UNESCO said. Reggae emerged in the late 1960s out of Jamaica’s ska and rocksteady genres, also drawing influence from US jazz and blues. Jamaica applied for reggae’s inclusion on the list this year at a meeting of the UN agency in Mauritius, where 40 proposals were under consideration.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of