Russia plans Belarus ‘absorption’ by 2030 — media reports
Russia is planning to absorb neighboring Belarus by 2030, according to a document allegedly leaked from Russia’s presidential administration.
The document was obtained and reported on by an international consortium of journalists from news organizations including Yahoo News and Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The document, which reportedly dates back to the summer of 2021, sets out a plan to infiltrate Belarus politically, economically and militarily. Plans are set out on different stages: short-term or until 2022, medium-term or until 2025 and long-term, meaning 2030.
The long-term plan translates into the formation of a common “union state” under Russian leadership.
Both countries are already formally part of a so-called “union state,” as per a 1999 agreement. The agreement sets a legal basis for integration between the two countries.
However, media outlets which obtained the document in question suggest Russia’s plans are more about annexing Belarus by 2030.
What does the document say?
Entitled “Strategic Goals of the Russian Federation in Belarus,” the 17-page document speaks of pushing back Western influence in the region and fortification against NATO.
Should such a plan ever materialize, Russia would become immediate neighbors with Lithuania and Poland, two NATO and European Union members.
Once part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus maintained its strong ties with Russia after the collapse of the Union thanks to the policies of Alexander Lukashenko, who has presided over the country since 1994.
The country’s last elections in 2020 were contested and met with the jailing of opposition candidates and nationwide protests after Lukashenko declared himself victor. Thousands were arrested in an ensuing crackdown.
The US and European Union responded by no longer recognizing Lukashenko as the country’s president.
How authentic is the document?
Both Yahoo News and Süddeutsche Zeitung said they spoke to analysts and experts who confirmed the authenticity of the document.
An unnamed Western official was cited by Yahoo News as saying the document was prepared by the Presidential Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation.
The subdivision of Putin’s Presidential Administration was set up in October 2018. The source told Yahoo News that the subdivision was tasked with proposing new strategies to achieve Russia’s strategic goals in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.
An unnamed Western intelligence officer told Yahoo News the Russian intelligence services and the armed forces all contributed to the plan.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 92, engaged to Ann Lesley Smith – The Globe and Mail
Fox Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch is engaged to former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith, his spokesperson confirmed on Monday, which will mark the fifth marriage for the 92-year-old media mogul.
Murdoch finalized his divorce from actress and model Jerry Hall in August.
Murdoch and Smith, 66, first met in September at his vineyard Moraga in Bel Air, California, and he called her two weeks later, Murdoch told the News Corp-owned NY Post, which broke the news of the engagement. Smith is a widow whose late husband was Chester Smith, a country singer, radio and TV executive.
On March 17 in New York, Murdoch presented Smith with an Asscher-cut diamond solitaire ring, according to the Post. They will be married in late summer.
“I was very nervous. I dreaded falling in love but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy,” Murdoch told the Post
Murdoch’s nuptials are unlikely to change the ownership structure of businesses in which he holds stakes, including Fox Corp, the parent company of Fox News Channel, and News Corp. Murdoch controls News Corp and Fox Corp through a Reno, Nevada-based family trust that holds roughly a 40% stake in voting shares of each company.
Fox is currently defending itself in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems.
Dominion has accused the cable TV network of amplifying debunked claims that Dominion voting machines were used to rig the election against Republican Donald Trump and in favor of his rival Joe Biden, who won the election.
Fox has defended its coverage, arguing claims by Trump and his lawyers were inherently newsworthy and protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Japan media guide – Yahoo News Canada
Japan’s broadcasting scene is technologically advanced and lively, with public and commercial media in keen competition. Traditional media are more influential than news websites.
Five TV companies, including public NHK, run national terrestrial networks. Most of NHK’s funding comes from licence fees. Many millions of viewers subscribe to satellite and cable pay TV.
News, drama, variety shows and sport – especially baseball – have big audiences. Imported TV shows are not widely shown, but Western influences are apparent in domestic TV fare.
Newspapers are influential and highly trusted. National dailies sell in their millions, boosted by afternoon and evening editions. Some charge for online access.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says that “tradition and business interests often prevent journalists from completely fulfilling their role as watchdogs”.
Under the traditional kisha kurabu (press club) system, institutions such as government ministries and corporate organizations have restricted the release of news to journalists and media outlets with membership in their clubs, says NGO Freedom House.
But it notes that in recent years online media and weekly news magazines have challenged the daily papers’ dominance with more aggressive reporting.
Line, co-developed by Japan and Korea, is by far the leading social and messaging application with over 94 million users. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are widely used.
There were 118.6 million internet users by July 2022, comprising 93% of the population (Internetworldstats.com).
NHK – public, operates news/speech-based Radio 1, cultural/educational Radio 2, classical music-based FM Radio, external service Radio Japan
Inter FM – Tokyo commercial music station
J-Wave – Tokyo commercial music station
Tokyo FM – Tokyo commercial network
TBS Radio – operated by Tokyo Broadcasting System
Ecuador opens investigation into explosives sent to news media – Al Jazeera English
Local journalists report receiving envelopes filled with small explosives, disguised as commonplace electronic devices.
Journalists at various news outlets in Ecuador have been sent envelopes containing electronic devices fitted with explosives, the attorney general’s office said on Monday, adding it has opened a terrorism investigation.
The envelopes all had similar characteristics and the same contents and will therefore be investigated jointly, the attorney general’s office said in a statement, without naming the media organisations affected.
One of the devices partly exploded at Ecuavisa television in Guayaquil when journalist Lenin Artieda plugged the device into his computer. He suffered minor injuries, according to police.
“It’s a military-type explosive, but very small capsules,” said Xavier Chango, the national head of forensic science, referring to the explosive sent to Ecuavisa.
The police carried out a controlled detonation of a device sent to the news department of TC Television, also in Guayaquil, prosecutors said earlier on Monday.
Fundamedios, a regional freedom of expression advocacy group, said a third television station and radio outlet in Quito had also received envelopes with explosives.
The government said it would defend freedom of expression in the country.
“Any attempt to intimidate journalism and freedom of expression is a loathsome action that should be punished with all the rigor of justice,” it said in a statement.
President Guillermo Lasso has blamed rising violence, including within the prison system, on competition between drug trafficking gangs for territory and control.
Ecuador is used as a transit point for cocaine being moved to the United States and Europe.
Television channel Teleamazonas said one of its journalists had received an anonymous envelope on Thursday and — upon opening it — had discovered a device, which the police confirmed contained explosives.
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