After months of waiting, Vietnam’s public finally has an explanation to the mysterious fish die-off that started in early April, lasted two to three weeks, and devastated the local fishing industry. As some suspected, the cause was pollution from a new Taiwanese steel factory, the government’s environment ministry said today (June 30) in much-anticipated press conference. … In a May 1 report from Radio Free Asia, oceanographer Nguyen Tac An said the nation’s scientists were largely in agreement over the cause of this year’s die-off.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS
The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the detention of Lu Yuyu and Li Tingyu, who systematically document protests on social media websites. … She dropped out of the university in 2014 as a result, according to Radio Free Asia and Wen Yunchao, a New York-based blogger and friend of Lu.
HONG KONG FREE PRESS
Two citizen journalists keeping track of protests in China have been detained for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” … An exiled dissident told US-backed Radio Free Asia that Lu’s detention could be linked to recent events in Wukan, where continuous days of protests ensued last week after the village’s “democratically-elected” leader was detained on charges of corruption.
North Korea is using young students to collect bracken for food, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a U.S. government international broadcaster. "North Korea is mobilizing young students to collect bracken," an unidentified source told RFA. "If they don't meet the quota they have to pay for the shortfall in cash."
North Korea has mobilized residents and school children to pick wild greens for soldiers to make up for the country's food shortage, the U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Monday. A North Korean source told the RFA that the impoverished country has brought in middle and high school students this year to gather wild edible greens of various kinds in the mountains and fields. The picked greens are being prepared as side dishes for troops.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
In China’s Future, Shambaugh predicts that the most likely long-term outcome for China’s ruling Communist Party will be one of protracted decline. This marks an evolution from Shambaugh’s earlier views, which suggested that the Party was adapting to multiple challenges, thus ensuring its survival. …
Dan Southerland, executive editor of Radio Free Asia, is a former Asia correspondent for the Monitor and former Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post.
North Korea has been diverting U.N. food aid for its infants to other uses, a group of defectors from the communist state claimed Friday, stressing the need for stronger oversight over the humanitarian aid program. … The U.N. has allocated US$8 million in humanitarian aid to the North, which has been designated one of the nine countries in the world that need emergency funding to cope with humanitarian crises, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported earlier this month.
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
June 24 “Report: North Korean forced laborers dying at high rates”
North Korean forced laborers are dying from accidents, committing suicide or falling prey to disease at work sites in Russia, Africa and the Middle East. A Russian police officer who spoke to Radio Free Asia on the condition of anonymity said a North Korean worker who was subject to intense manual labor and was facing economic difficulties doused himself with a flammable substance on New Year's Day.
June 23 “What next ror Ma Ba Tha?”
An uncertain future confronts Ma Ba Tha in the aftermath of the last year’s election triumph by the National League for Democracy, against which the hardline Buddhist nationalist group had strongly campaigned. … “I decided to quit Ma Ba Tha because I didn’t like it when Ma Ba Tha was making speeches in many towns to vote for a certain party during the election campaign period,” Parmaukkha told Radio Free Asia.
CHINA DIGITAL TIMES
Reporting on the fifth day of protest in Wukan, Radio Free Asia’s Wong Lok-to, Gok Man-fung, and Yang Fan note that Lin Zuluan is not the first official elected after the 2011 protests to be charged with bribery and removed from office[.]
The Arakan National Party (ANP) said in a statement that they totally reject any other term besides “Bengalis” to refer to the mostly stateless minority which self-identifies as “Rohingya”. … But according to a Radio Free Asia report, a village in Ponnagyun refused the cards and would not provide information to immigration officials, again citing the inability to self-identify as Rohingya.
LATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has arrived in the country's western Rakhine State to meet with displaced members of local Muslim communities amid ongoing and sporadic armed skirmishes between the Arakan Army and Burmese military forces, an epa journalist reports. … The Arakan National Party (ANP) aligned with the interests of the Buddhist Arakanese population in the conflict-torn state declined to meet with Lee, saying that she "has been constantly favoring Muslims since 2012", according to ANP chairwoman Aye Nu Sein, who added "We don't believe she will submit a fair report in Geneva even if we were to meet with her this time," reports Radio Free Asia (RFA).
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
More North Koreans are questioning Kim Jong Un's legitimacy, but authorities are cracking down on increased skepticism in the country. … A Pyongyang resident visiting Jagang Province along the China border told Radio Free Asia two students at Kim Il Sung University made an issue of Kim's indifference to paying respects to Kim Il Sung at Mangyongdae – his grandfather's designated birthplace.
YONHAP (Also in CHOSUN ILBO)
North Korea has been unable to import luxury watches from Switzerland as the European country enforced tough sanctions on the reclusive country for its nuclear and long-range missile program, a U.S.-based media report said Wednesday. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), North Korea's Swiss watch imports fell to zero in May, in sharp contrast to the monthly average of 20 watches from January through April this year.
… In March 2016, a Radio Free Asia report noted that it appeared that the “…steel mill only operated once in January and has been quiet since” due to shortages of raw materials (e.g., coke, coal, etc.) and power. The same report also indicates that the workers from the complex have been sent to other sites with the suspension.
North Korean trading companies are making all-out efforts to get trade permits so they can earn as much foreign currency as possible, a media outlet reported Monday, citing sources in the reclusive country. According to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA), the North's state-run trading firms, as well as state agencies, are competing to broaden their business boundaries as a way to export minerals and herbal plants.
June 17 “Chinese media: Attack to defend”
Some 2,000 years ago Chinese philosopher Mencius famously wrote: "Who wins the hearts of people gains the whole world." Today, his words still ring true. … Libby Liu, director of Radio Free Asia, wants greater transparency. Liu believes that transparency would improve the Chinese media's credibility internationally. GMF 2016 China Panel Libby Liu Libby Liu, director of Radio Free Asia She also points to another controversial issue: "China can easily open offices abroad in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles. And yet, at the same time, Beijing restricts foreign media access to China."
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is to assist North Korea develop environmentally sound enterprises. UNIDO, the Vienna-based U.N. agency that aims to promote and accelerate industrial development in developing countries, said it is pursuing four different environmentally friendly projects in the country, Radio Free Asia reported.
YONHAP (Also in KOREA TIMES)
North Korea has not allowed its people to make individual trips to China since March, a U.S-based media report said Thursday, citing sources in the reclusive country. A source from the country's Ryanggang Province told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the North's State Security Ministry has not permitted travel to the neighboring country, and has even traveled to China to instruct North Koreans there to return to home.
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
North Korea's economic difficulties are mounting in the face of prolonged sanctions and Kim Jong Un may be feeling the pinch in his personal slush fund. … Radio Free Asia reported Chinese authorities arrested smugglers in the northeastern city of Dalian in early March.
PHNOM PENH POST
June 16 “NEC’s Ny Chakrya grilled over Sokha case”
Imprisoned National Election Committee official Ny Chakrya yesterday faced questioning at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over an alleged conspiracy to bribe Cambodia National Rescue Party acting leader Kem Sokha’s purported mistress to deny their relationship. … Chakrya yesterday told Radio Free Asia that he refused to answer questions because his lawyer was absent.
North Korea's intelligence agency has recently conducted lecture sessions on defection prevention for senior provincial ruling party officials aimed at stemming the tide of people fleeing the country, U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Wednesday.
KOREA HERALD (Also in UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL)
North Koreans are paying bribes to become taxi drivers, Washington-based Radio Free Asia said Monday. RFA reported that driving taxi is one of the most sought-after jobs now in the reclusive regime pinched under global financial sanctions, as the job brings in foreign currency and provides privileged working condition.
Alejandro Cao de Benós, the only Westerner working for North Korea's Kim Jong-un regime, has been arrested for allegedly trafficking arms in Tarragona, Spain, a U.S.-based media outlet said Wednesday. According to Radio Free Asia, Spanish police found four modified guns and 2,000 cartridges at his home and arrested him for allegedly dealing weapons near Barcelona, Tuesday.
Chinese troops have been stepping up security inspections along the border with North Korea in what seems to be a move to check up on tourists visiting certain sensitive regions, a U.S.-based media outlet said Wednesday. An ethnic Korean source in Tumen, China, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that Chinese soldiers on border garrison have been reinforcing their security checks after North Korea vowed to retaliate against South Korea for the recent mass defection of North Koreans to the South.
A European diplomatic source says the European Union(EU) isn't likely to engage in diplomatic exchanges with North Korea for some time. U.S.-based Radio Free Asia(RFA) reported Tuesday that the source, who requested anonymity, said diplomatic visits and parliamentary exchanges between the EU and the North will be stalled for some time.
Some of the North Korean workers in China have been seen not wearing a mandatory badge bearing the images of late North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, a U.S.-based media report said Monday. An ethnic Korean source in China told the Radio Free Asia (RFA) that North Korean employees dispatched to the Hongju International Hotel in Hunchun, China's northeastern city in Jilin Province, are working without wearing the so-called loyalty badge these days.
North Korea is sending active servicemen as construction workers to the Middle East, Radio Free Asia reported last Thursday. A source said increasing numbers of soldiers are sent to the region through North Korean construction firms Namkang and Cholhyon.
North Korea's state-run weather information service appears to have moved to the so-called scientists street in Pyongyang with expanded weather equipment and up-to-date facilities, a U.S.-based media outlet said Monday, quoting an American researcher. Curtis Melvin of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the North's Hydrometeorological Service has been relocated to a new building on the Mirae Scientists Street. He said the move marks the first relocation to the street for a state organization.
KBS (Also in UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL)
North Korea has reportedly been sending active duty soldiers to Middle East countries by disguising them as civilian laborers in a bid to earn foreign currency. Quoting sources in the Middle East on Friday, Radio Free Asia said in a report that North Korean authorities allow the soldiers to grow their hair to look more like civilians.
HONG KONG FREE PRESS
Legal representatives of a lawyer who had his clothes torn open by court police have refused to accept an apology from the head of the local court, according to US-backed Radio Free Asia and copies of the statement circulated on Weibo.
Hundreds of Tibetans in Western China have been protesting for several days to try to close an open pit mine on a sacred mountain. … For 15 years, a gold mine has been operating on Gong Ngon Lari mountain, despite local Tibetans’ repeated appeals to stop it, Radio Free Asia reported.
The project, which began on June 7, is largely carrying on with the citizenship verification project the last government had launched to address the large stateless community. … Radio Free Asia reported that a village in Ponnagyun refused the cards and would not provide information to immigration officials, citing the inability to self-identify as Rohingya.
North Korea has summoned dozens of workers from Kuwait for staging a mass strike in protest of their working conditions, a U.S.-based media outlet said Wednesday. According to Radio Free Asia, dozens of North Korean construction workers in Kuwait went on strike in December after their North Korean employer offered to pay them with checks cashable in the North instead of wages.
North Korean online media has revealed the identities of three of the April restaurant defectors, including their pictures and ID numbers, as well as two South Korean citizens and one other North Korean involved in their defections. … Radio Free Asia on Tuesday reported that North Korea repatriated construction workers in Kuwait on May 17 via flight, after the strike in last December.
… “I am innocent. I’ve been jailed for translating for two Uighur who are Bangkok shrine bombing suspects,” he told Radio Free Asia by telephone Friday.
More than 70 Uighurs locked up in the Thai Immigration Police detention centre have been on a hunger strike to appeal for help and raise awareness about their situation - facing the threat of being sent back to China, where they could be prosecuted for fleeing the country. A handwritten appeal by Uighur detainees was obtained by Radio Free Asia's Uighur Service, part of which was posted on the agency's website.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has redesignated North Korea one of 37 countries suffering from a food shortage, a U.S.-based news media reported Friday. Quoting the FAO's second quarter report on the crop outlook and food situation, Radio Free Asia (RFA) said North Korea's food shortage for this year is expected to reach some 700,000 tons, which may seriously impact food rations for ordinary citizens.
PHNOM PENH POST
An Interior Ministry spokesman has questioned the wisdom of arresting opposition leader Kem Sokha, saying it could result in “bloodshed between Khmer and Khmer”. Khieu Sopheak, speaking to Radio Free Asia on Wednesday, said Sokha’s arrest in the near term would impact the nation negatively and suggested Sokha could be arrested at some indeterminate point in the future.
The United Nations has released $8 million in humanitarian aid to help more than 2.2 million vulnerable North Koreans, Radio Free Asia said Wednesday.
HONG KONG FREE PRESS
One of the signatories of the statement, Yu Wensheng, told the US-backed Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Tuesday that they had issued the statement because they have to verify rumours regarding maltreatment and sexual abuse of arrested lawyers in detention centres. … One of the signatories of the statement, Yu Wensheng, told the US-backed Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Tuesday that they had issued the statement because they have to verify rumours regarding maltreatment and sexual abuse of arrested lawyers in detention centres.
The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of non-state ethnic armed groups in Burma have said that they will meet on Friday with Dr. Tin Myo Win, the Burmese government’s newly installed peace negotiator, after a two-day meeting of the alliance in Chiang Mai, Thailand. … Spokesmen from the TNLA and the MNDAA, interviewed by Radio Free Asia earlier in May, blamed “weak assistance” from the UNFC and its member groups in the face of assaults from the Burma Army over the last year—but the Burma Army’s insistence on marginalizing these two groups from formal peace negotiations may have contributed to their isolation from UNFC-member groups more eager for a timely peace deal.
Chinese President Xi Jinping urged all parties to remain calm and exercise restraint on the Korean Peninsula in a meeting with a visiting North Korean delegation, Wednesday, according to China's Xinhua news agency. … Richard Bush, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution, told Radio Free Asia, Wednesday, that there is little chance that Ri would show a forward-looking stance on the nuclear program.
HONG KONG FREE PRESS
The wife of Chinese human rights activist Guo Feixiong, Zhang Qing, began a hunger strike outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. … “What can I do if not fight to the end?” she asked, according to US-backed Radio Free Asia.