I. The New Federal State of China News
1. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Saturday said he was traveling to Asia to boost military cooperation with US allies and foster “credible deterrence” against China. Austin is to be joined in Tokyo and Seoul by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The tour in Asia follows an unprecedented summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
2. The Australian government has committed to spending $300 million (US$232 million) on infrastructure projects in the Pacific region as a way to combat Beijing’s predatory lending in the region.
3. According to a Monday report by the National Bureau of Statistics, the jobless rate in the 16-24 age group stood at 13.1% as of February, far above the national urban unemployment rate of 5.5%.
4. ” Liberal Senator Jim Molan says war with China “is not just possible,” but it is “more likely” than so many people are prepared to admit. “China is very lacking in trust at the moment from many, many places in the world,” Molan, is a former general in the Australian Army.
5. Last week the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) formally filed allegations against Australia’s human rights record with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The accusation was backed by a host of countries, including Russia, Belarus and Venezuela, that are not known for promoting civil liberties. This appears to be Beijing’s latest ploy to delegitimize any criticism directed at it, especially from Australia.
6. A powerful sandstorm swept across much of northern China in a decade. Beijing, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi and other 12 provinces and cities were affected, and bringing the PM10 close to 10,000 micrograms per cubic meter in the city center.
7. Beijing time on March 13. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced that Peng Bo, former deputy director of the 610 Office of the Central Committee, was under investigation for “suspected serious disciplinary violations”. Officials quickly removed his resume and photo, but public information shows that Peng served under Liu Yunshan for 10 years. He may also have an identity as a secret state police
8. Wen Wei Po in an editorial on Thursday slammed the screening of Inside the Red Brick Wall, a documentary about the clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).
9. Security forces killed at least 22 anti-coup protesters in the poor, industrial Hlaingthaya suburb of Myanmar’s main city on Sunday after Chinese-financed factories were set ablaze there, an advocacy group said. A further 16 protesters were killed in other places, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said, as well as one policeman, making it the bloodiest day since the Feb. 1 coup against elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
II. World News
1. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party suffered heavy losses in two key regional elections Sunday, early estimates showed, as voters vented anger over pandemic setbacks and a face-mask procurement scandal.
2. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday urged the United States to quickly rejoin the international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, warning that the Islamic Republic’s upcoming elections could stymie progress in any talks.
3. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Paraguay to work with its diplomatic ally Taiwan to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, after protests in the South American country over the government’s handling of the health crisis.
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