Ukraine and Russian Presidents Meet Amid Protests
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with Russian President Vladimir Putin today while protests continued in Kiev against Yanukovych’s decision to scrap talks with the EU. Yanukovych’s office said that the talks were on trade and economic cooperation preparations before they signed a partnership agreement. Yanukovych also cancelled a trip to Malta.
The visit is likely to anger the protesters, who are demanding snap parliamentary and presidential elections, and lead to more protests. After clashes last weekend, police have threatened to evict protesters of they do not vacate two central buildings.
Japan Approves Controversial State Secrets Law
Japan’s parliament approved a state secrets law that imposes harsher penalties on leaks by government officials and journalists. Journalists can now be jailed for seeking information that they do not know is classified as secret. The Obama administration has supported the bill.
Under the new bill, moreover, anything can be a secret; it gives the heads of government near-total power over classifying state secrets under four categories: diplomacy, defense, counterintelligence and counterterrorism.
French Forces Land in CAR, Thousands Flee to Airport
As the death toll continues to climb from Thursday’s violence, French troops have begun to arrive in the Central African Republic to prevent it from tipping into anarchy. The French army is now patrolling the axes of the capital city, where bodies still lie decomposing on the roads because it remains too dangerous to collect the corpses. Thousands of civilians fled to the airport for protection, fearing retaliation after Christian militias massacred Muslim civilians yesterday as the mostly Muslim rebels were hunting for their enemies door-to-door . The Red Cross has collected 281 bodies and is expecting to find hundreds more in the capital city.
US to Destroy Syria Chemical Weapons at Sea
Syria’s chemical weapons stocks could be destroyed as early as next year inside a specially-modified US ship somewhere at sea after no countries proved willing to eliminate the 1,000 metric tons of toxins. The ship will be ready for trials later this month.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, moreover, released a statement saying that its experts have verified that all Syrian chemical weapons munitions have been destroyed.
Weekend Reads: Home of the Whopper
Fast Food, Minimum Wage, and an Industry Engineered for the ‘Interchangeability of Workers.’ Via Harpers Magazine.