I have traveled to dozens of countries, but my trip to North Korea this past February was the most unforgettable experience of my life. My plan of going to a country with a “totalitarian” regime, known for its chronic famine and political oppression, intrigued many of my peers in China.
With no one else on the ballot, state media reported Monday that supreme leader Kim Jong Un was not only elected to the highest legislative body in North Korea, he won with the unanimous approval of his district, which had 100 percent turnout. North Koreans went to the polls on Sunday to approve the new roster of deputies for the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's legislature.
Turkey's president on Friday ruled out any ban on Facebook and YouTube after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the sites could be shut to stop his foes anonymously posting audio recordings purportedly exposing corruption in his inner circle.
In a rare demonstration of public dissent, dozens of Cuban artisans and vendors protested in the city of Holguín this week, marching to local government offices and demanding the right to work without government harassment, witnesses said.
An internationally respected Egyptian political scientist said Wednesday that prosecutors had filed espionage charges against him, making him the second such scholar targeted this month in a widening crackdown on dissent against last summer’s military takeover.
Last December, as the world celebrated Russia’s widely publicized release of dissident tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, two members of the punk band Pussy Riot and 29 Greenpeace activists, a court in the southern region of Krasnodar — where the Sochi Winter Olympics open next month — sentenced environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko to three years in a penal colony.
Russian authorities have intensified blatant harassment and intimidation of environmental and civic activists in the final weeks before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Since late December, police have interfered with peaceful one-person pickets, detained and jailed protestors, and called and visited several activists and a lawyer at their homes.
Anita L. DeFrantz has her bags packed for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — but heck, she's had her bags packed for athletic events around the world for the last 40 years, as a competitor and as a member of the International Olympic Committee (currently on the executive board) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (board member).