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Curated top stories of the day
- Saudi detainees went through “physical abuse” – The New York Times reported that at least 17 prominent Saudis were hospitalized due to physical abuse after they were arrested last November in what was described as an anti-corruption campaign by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. One Saudi general died in custody, witnesses told the Times. The Saudi government, which is said to have seized billions of dollars in assets from the crackdown, emailed the Times to say its claims were “absolutely untrue.” (Read our coverage of Saudi Arabia.)
- Chinese state media attacks critics – An editorial in China’s widely read tabloid Global Times hit back at criticism of changes to the country’s constitution which effectively allows President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. China’s parliament on Sunday voted to scrap term limits on the presidency. The U.S.-based group Human Rights in China, among others, said there were huge risks in allowing such a concentration of power. However, the Global Times editorial and another in the state-run China Daily said the changes had been misrepresented and that progress in the country relied on following the direction of the Chinese Communist Party. (Read WikiTribune’s report on the development.)
- May to chair security meeting on spy attack – UK Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a high-level security meeting on Monday to discuss who was behind the attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4. The pair remain in a serious condition in hospital and up to 500 people who visited the same restaurant as the Skripals have been told to wash their belongings in case of contamination. Tom Tugendhat, chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, told the BBC he expects May to lay the blame at Russia’s door. (Read more: Nerve agent attack would be new chapter in Kremlin playbook).
- Trump defends asking Kim to meet – The White House has defended U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Officials said on Sunday that the meeting that Trump agreed to came with the expectation that North Korea would halt all nuclear and missile testing in advance. South Korea says it has not received a response from Pyongyang on the summit.
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- Tom Plant, director of proliferation and nuclear policy at the defense and security think tank RUSI, told WikiTribune that any summit between the United States and North Korea would begin a difficult process which diplomats know as “rapprochement” in which, he said, “the chances of it going wrong are always greater than the chances of it going right.”
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- The attempted assassination of a Russian double agent with a chemical weapon on March 4 is the latest in a series of murders and suspicious deaths of opponents and critics of President Vladimir Putin on the suburban streets of Britain. We need help reporting on this story.
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- What happens to a town that has been abandoned for seven years after a nuclear meltdown? Greenpeace took former residents and a 360-degree camera into the radiation zone north of Fukushima to mark the anniversary of the disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi plant was damaged by a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake on the afternoon of March 11, 2011. The tsunami killed almost 19,000 people along the north-east coast of Japan and forced more than 150,000 others living near the plant to flee radiation. Some of the evacuated neighborhoods are still deemed too dangerous for former residents to go back.
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