Secret British ‘black propaganda’ campaign targeted cold war enemies

The British government ran a secret “black propaganda” campaign for decades, targeting Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia with leaflets and reports from fake sources aimed at destabilising cold war enemies by encouraging racial tensions, sowing chaos, inciting violence and reinforcing anti-communist ideas, newly declassified documents have revealed. The effort, run from the mid-1950s through to the late 70s by a unit in London that was part of the Foreign Office, was focused on cold war enemies such as the Soviet Union and China, leftwing liberation groups and…

Your Monday Briefing: Russia’s Pre-Holiday Push

Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s nationalist holiday, Hong Kong’s new leader and a Taliban decree targeting women. Lee, the top architect of the crackdown on Hong Kong’s antigovernment protests in 2019, plans to push through laws on treason, secession, sedition and subversion, and to root out critics in the civil service. He inherits a city that has been tamed and cowed: Sweeping national security laws imposed two years ago have quashed dissent, gutted the free press and put critics behind bars or sent them into exile. He will also face…

Putin’s War on Information Is Far From Over

The info war has also reached Asia, Africa and South America, where Russia has mobilized diplomats and state-controlled media like the global RT network to press its case. The goal isn’t necessarily to win support, but to keep unaligned countries on the sidelines. While some countries, most notably China, have taken Russia’s side, others, like India, have avoided antagonizing Russia so as not to lose Russian military or energy contracts. Many others have done so simply because they know and care little about Ukraine. Russia’s line to them is that…

Japanese premier warns of Ukraine-style invasion by ‘autocratic powers’

Boris Johnson and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida have warned that the invasion of Ukraine could be replicated in east Asia if democratic powers do not stand up to autocratic ones. “Ukraine may be east Asia tomorrow,” Kishida said on Thursday during a visit to London, as he called for Indo-Pacific leaders to recognise that the invasion of Ukraine was not just a European problem. Asked about the implications for Taiwan, he said: “We must collaborate with our allies and like-minded countries, and never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change…

Your Thursday Briefing: A Ban on Russian Oil?

Good morning. We’re covering the E.U.’s plan to ban Russian oil, growing U.S. frustration with the politicized Supreme Court and a separatist movement in Pakistan. The E.U. may ban Russian oil With no end to the Ukraine conflict in sight, the European Union took a major step on Wednesday toward weakening Moscow’s ability to finance the war, proposing a total embargo on Russian oil. If approved this week as expected, it would be the bloc’s biggest and costliest step yet toward supporting Ukraine and ending its own dependence on Russian…

Beijing orders ‘stress test’ as fears of Russia-style sanctions mount

Concerned about sweeping Russia-style sanctions from the west, Beijing has ordered a comprehensive “stress test” to study the implications of a similar scenario for its economy, the Guardian has learned. According to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, an extensive exercise began around late February and early March when western allies imposed unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. Several key Chinese government agencies – from banking regulation to international trade – have been asked to come up with responses if the west imposed the same embargos on to China. “Those…

Russia Wants to Sell More Energy to Asia, but Has to Slash Prices

BEIJING — Last year, the Grand Aniva, a Russian tanker with four spherical tanks for holding ultracold liquefied natural gas, sailed back and forth between a gas field in eastern Russia and depots in Japan and Taiwan. But two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the ship switched routes, sailing to China instead. The voyages of the tanker, which is as long as three football fields, underlined that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia can still find buyers in Asia for his country’s fossil fuel exports despite Western sanctions. He needs…

Pacific nations walk geopolitical tightrope over Ukraine war, as nuclear legacy looms

Some Pacific island nations have been left walking a geopolitical tightrope in their response to the war in Ukraine, as they try to balance regional alliances with both the west and China and Russia. Comments by Russian president Vladimir Putin, which many have interpreted as thinly veiled threats about the potential use of nuclear weapons have also touched a nerve in a region long affected by the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons testing by the US, France and Britain. Pacific leaders have broadly lambasted the Russian assault, with the Federated…

Your Tuesday Briefing: Beijing’s Fight against Lockdowns

Good morning. We’re covering the reopening of a mass-isolation center in Beijing, the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians from Mariupol and the forced closure of Rohingya schools in Bangladesh. A mass isolation center reopens Beijing reopened the Xiaotangshan hospital, which has more than 1,000 beds, after recording a few hundred cases in recent weeks. On Monday, officials announced 50 new cases in the city of 22 million, down from the 59 reported on Sunday. The move appears to be aimed at avoiding the fate of Shanghai, where weeks of confinement have…

Russia-Ukraine war: UN evacuation under way from Mariupol steelworks; Pelosi dismisses fears of provoking Russia – live

From 51m ago United Nations evacuation under way from Mariupol steelworks A UN operation to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol is under way, a spokesperson has confirmed. Officials reached the factory on Saturday, and the exercise is being coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ukraine and Russia. According to Reuters, the UN’s Saviano Abreu added that further information was not being shared to ensure the safety of evacuees. It’s believed about 1,000 people are at the site. Updated at 09.50 EDT Kate Connolly The German…

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