2019.12.31

News Headlines - 31 December 2019

Putin weighs future options as he marks 20 years in power

As Russian President Vladimir Putin marks two decades in power , he boasts about his achievements but remains coy about his political future - a reticence that fuels wild speculation about his intentions.
Putin points to the revival of Russia’s global clout, industrial modernization, booming agricultural exports and a resurgent military as key results of his tenure that began on Dec. 31, 1999. On that day, Russia’s first President Boris Yeltsin abruptly stepped down and named the former KGB officer his successor, paving the way for his election three months later... Kremlin watchers are trying to predict what will happen after Putin’s current six-year term ends in 2024. They agree on one thing: Putin, Russia’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, will likely stay at the helm.

S. Korean prosecutors indict Moon's key ally over corruption - The Mainichi

South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday indicted a key ally of President Moon Jae-in on a dozen charges including bribery as they concluded a monthslong probe into a political scandal that rocked Seoul's liberal government and sparked huge protests.

China decouples from US in space with 2020 'GPS' completion - Nikkei Asian Review

China announced Friday that it is just months away from completing its Beidou satellite-based positioning system as it moves to reduce its reliance on America's GPS in both in telecommunications and for its military.
The final two satellites will be launched by June, completing the 35-satellite network, Ran Chengqi, spokesperson for the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, told reporters in Beijing. The number of satellites in operation will trump the roughly 30 used by the U.S.-owned Global Positioning System.
From modern farming to smart ports to a text messaging service, China is trying to build an ecosystem independent of the GPS and open it to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Three jailed in China's "gene-edited babies" trial - Xinhua | English.news.cn

Chinese researcher He Jiankui and two others on Monday were convicted of illegal medical practice in a first-instance trial held in a district court in south China's Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province.
In accordance with a ruling handed down by Nanshan District People's Court of Shenzhen City, He was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 3 million yuan (about 430,000 U.S. dollars) for illegally carrying out human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction, in which three genetically edited babies were born.

Iraq president offers to quit after rejecting PM nominee

Iraq’s president refused on Thursday to designate a prime minister candidate nominated by the Iran-backed parliamentary bloc and offered to resign, plunging the country into further political uncertainty amid nearly three months of unprecedented mass protests... Al-Eidani’s name was proposed on Wednesday by the Fatah bloc, which includes leaders associated with the Iran-supported paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces. His nomination was promptly rejected by Iraqi protesters who poured into the streets Wednesday demanding an independent candidate.

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