RFA in the News (June 2014)

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June 30 “Pyongyang in Grip of Measles Epidemic

The North Korean regime has declared a quarantine for the Pyongyang area in frantic efforts to prevent the spread of measles, a source said Monday. … Due to a lack of vaccines, the North is merely putting the breakout areas off-limits instead of treating patients. Radio Free Asia last week reported that measles has also broken out in Yongchon, North Pyongan Province on the Chinese border.


June 29 “EDITORIAL: Government alienates young, media

For any democratically elected administration, it is perhaps neither a smart nor a justified move to be the enemy of young people, who are supposed to be the future of the nation, and the media, the eyes and ears of the people. President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has been able to achieve both. … During Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi’s (王郁琦) visit to Nanjing, China, in February this year, the council did not react to Beijing’s denial of entry to a pair of Taiwanese reporters — from Taiwan’s Apple Daily and Radio Free Asia — until the news made headlines.


June 24 “UNICEF steps up for climate damage in North Korea

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations of the United Nations have prepared different types of aid in the event of future flooding in North Korea, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Tuesday.


June 24 “China confirms fatal attack at checkpoint; 5 reported dead

Chinese authorities on Tuesday reported an attack on security personnel at a checkpoint in the restive far western region of Xinjiang, confirming a days-old report by a U.S.-backed radio service that said five people were killed. … In a Sunday report, Radio Free Asia said assailants stabbed two police officers guarding a security checkpoint in a village in Qaraqash county and set fire to a room in which three other officers were sleeping, killing all five.


June 19 “UN food agency to slash nutrition program in N. Korea: RFA

The World Food Programme has reportedly decided to scale back its nutrition program for babies and pregnant women in North Korea due to a lack of funding. That's according to a U.S. report by Radio Free Asia on Thursday.


June 19 “China silences last voice of dissent on Xinjiang

The wife of a respected Chinese academic who disappeared into police custody almost six months ago has issued an emotional plea to Beijing amid rumours that he has been secretly put on trial as part of a Communist Party crackdown on critics. … “I am almost confident that the Chinese government is trying to get rid of me this time,” he wrote in a statement handed to a journalist from Radio Free Asia before he was detained.


June 18 “Cambodia blames Thailand as 220,000 migrant labourers cross border”

Cambodia has blamed Thailand's military junta for a mass exodus of migrant workers that has seen 220,000 labourers flee the country and allegedly claimed the lives of several people amid fears of a crackdown on illegal labour. … One Cambodian official also told Radio Free Asia's Khmer service that the Thai military had "instructed private companies not to accept illegal migrants".


June 17 “Accused secessionist Ratha ‘given asylum’

Fugitive “secessionist” Bun Ratha – who was sentenced to 30 years in prison on largely unsubstantiated charges of fomenting armed insurrection in Kratie province in 2012 – has been granted asylum in the Netherlands after a long, self-imposed exile in Thailand, according to a media report. Ratha, who told Radio Free Asia on Friday that he had been in the Netherlands for a month, said he would continue efforts to help Cambodians. He also said he missed his country.


June 16 “Let North Korea Collapse

North Korea is a threat that keeps on threatening. Satellite imagery recently revealed increased activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear site. The government in Pyongyang appears to have completed preliminary steps for a fourth nuclear test. Its ballistic missile program continues to advance. And the man with his finger on the button is the 31-year-old Kim Jong-un, who seems even more erratic than his notorious predecessors. … The United States government should also do more to undermine Pyongyang’s hold on its population by increasing broadcasting by Radio Free Asia and Voice of America.


June 16 “Russia Offers NK Vladivostok Consular Facility

Russia has proposed that North Korea move its consular facility in the east of the country, which is currently situated in the city of Nakhodka, to a building in Vladivostok formerly used by Federal Far East University, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).


June 13 “AFP planning to set up news branch in Pyongyang by year-end

The France-based news agency AFP is planning to set up a news branch in North Korea's capital by the end of this year, a U.S. report said Friday. The Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported the AFP plan to set up a Pyongyang branch, citing a report by French weekly magazine Le Point.


June 13 “N. Korea, Syria agree to step up cooperation on tech, media

North Korea has agreed with Syria to strengthen their cooperation in the fields of technology and media, a U.S. report said Friday. The agreement was made during the ninth joint North Korea-Syria economic committee held on May 28 in Syria's Damascus, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported, citing Syrian news media.


June 13 “Khmer Krom want apology

A Khmer Krom association threatened this week to protest against the Vietnamese government after an official said that the former Kampuchea Krom provinces belonged to Vietnam long before France’s official transfer of the land in 1949. The threats from the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association for Human Rights and Development (KKKAHRD) followed remarks by Trung Van Thong, a spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh, during an interview with Radio Free Asia earlier this week.


June 12 “Six killed in new clashes in restive China region

At least six people died in two clashes between police and ethnic Uighurs, in the latest sign of unrest in China's far western region of Xinjiang, US-based Radio Free Asia said on Thursday. Police in southern Xinjiang's Shufu, or Konasheher, county in Kashgar prefecture opened fire after a group of Uighur men stabbed to death an officer following a security check last week, the broadcaster's Uighur-language service reported. Four Uighurs died in the clash.


June 12 “Kim Jong-un's Half-Sister Controls Party Secretariat

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-sister Kim Sol-song has taken charge of the Workers Party secretariat, whose duties include taking care of Kim Jong-un's day-to-day schedules and protecting him, an expert claimed Wednesday. … Ken Gause of the U.S. Center for Naval Analyses made the claim in an interview with Radio Free Asia.


June 10 “Travels unaffected by NK detention

Western travel companies that specialize in North Korea tours will keep arranging visits to the isolated country despite its recent detaining of American citizens, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Tuesday. Uri Tours, a U.S. -based agency organizing trips to the North, told RFA that no reservations have been cancelled since the Americans were taken captive, and so its schedule does not need modification.


June 5 “Tibetan religious leaders ordered to be loyal in joy of Chinese rule”

The Chinese government has ordered senior teachers and heads of the monasteries in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan Province to be loyal to China and its communist party, saying being ruled by them should be a matter of joy to them, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Jun 3. The demand was made at a training organized by the provincial leaders for more than a hundred such Tibetan religious figures held in the previous week in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture’s capital Dartsedo (Kangding) County.


June 4 “Thousands gather in Hong Kong to remember Tiananmen Square

As government officials continued to stifle any attempts to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on the Chinese mainland, thousands of people held a vigil in Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Wednesday in remembrance of the violent crackdown. … “By attending this event, it helps remind people what the truth is, what we know and what we remember back in 1989,” Mau Kin-Lok told Radio Free Asia in a video posted to YouTube. “Showing respect to the students is what I can do now.”


June 4 “WFP seeks Koreans for NK aid

The World Food Program (WFP) has decided to employ more staffers who can speak Korean to promote transparency in its project to assist North Korea, according to Radio Free Asia.


June 3 “Interview with Daniel Southerland on Tiananmen


June 3 “On eve of Tiananmen anniversary, early optimism pushed aside by press, speech crackdown

Two years ago in China, during the run-up to the Communist Party’s ritual changing of the guard, there was a heady mood of expectation that the country’s new top leaders might revive long-stalled political reform and maybe, just maybe, reopen the history books on one topic considered taboo: the June 4, 1989 massacre of hundreds of unarmed pro-democracy students in the streets around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. … “The answer is, yes, they have been successful — but they can’t stop it all,” said Dan Southerland, who was the Beijing correspondent for The Washington Post from 1985-1990 and is now the executive editor of Radio Free Asia based in Washington.


June 2 “N. Korea's food ration hits lowest level in 4 months

North Korea's food ration dropped to its lowest level in four months in May, a U.S. radio report said Tuesday, in what could be the latest sign of chronic food shortages. … North Korea doled out 410 grams of food for each person per day in May, compared with 420 grams on average in February, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, citing the U.N. World Food Programme.

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