Ⅰ. The New Federal State of China News

1. Violations of religious freedom are increasing and persecution takes place in more than 25 countries, with China and Myanmar among those that have the worst records, according to a report by a Vatican-backed charity.

2. In his keynote speech to the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference on Tuesday, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping talked about his plans to use the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to impose China’s vision of universal “rules and standards” on the world, permanently displacing the United States and Europe as the leading global powers.

3. The Australian federal government scrapped both the memorandum of understanding and framework agreement signed between Victoria and China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in an emailed statement Wednesday. Two other deals between Victoria and the governments of Iran and Syria have also been scrapped.

4. Japan, the United States and Australia will work together to set up submarine communications cables in the Pacific region, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned, in a bid to counter China’s rapid expansion in field of undersea cables.

5. Suspected state-backed Chinese hackers exploited widely used networking devices to spy for months on dozens of high-value government’s defense industry and financial sector targets in the U.S. and Europe, according to FireEye on Tuesday, a prominent cybersecurity firm.

6. Beijing’s non-military coercive actions against Taiwan, such as diplomatic isolation and political interference, are intended to break down the confidence of Taiwanese and might be of greater concern than a military threat, a US foreign policy analyst said on Monday.

7. “A bipartisan coalition of US congressmen on Monday introduced legislation that aims to counter China’s claim to represent Taiwan in international organizations. “For too long, Beijing has distorted policies and procedures at the UN and related bodies to assert its sovereignty claims over Taiwan, often to the detriment of global health and security efforts,” US Representative Gerry Connolly said in a news release.

8. Xi Jinping will attend a U.S.-led climate change summit on Thursday at the invitation of President Joe Biden, in the first meeting between the two leaders since the advent of the new U.S. administration. Xi will attend the summit via video and will deliver an “important” speech, Hua Chunying, spokeswoman at the Chinese foreign ministry, said in a statement on Wednesday.

9. General James Dickinson, the head of the US Space Command, told Congress on Tuesday that the US military is concerned about China’s rapidly developing space capabilities, particularly a satellite equipped with a robotic arm that can approach and disable enemy satellites.

10. Cyberattacks on Japan aerospace industry exploited ‘zero-day’ flaw. Revelations of cyberattacks targeting about 200 mainly aerospace companies in Japan show an intent to exploit software weaknesses before they could be fixed, with the apparent involvement of the Chinese military, according to authorities and cybersecurity experts.

11. TikTok and its CCP parent ByteDance could face a damage claim worth billions of pounds (dollars) in London’s High Court over allegations they illegally harvested the private data of millions of European children.

12. China’s Deputy Head of Mission in Australia Wang Xining attacked the US and Australia for “suppressing” Huawei.

13. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) internet censors have allegedly deleted dozens of social media accounts belonging to Chinese women’s rights groups ahead of the release of China’s latest ten-year census, expected to show a sharp decline in birth rates for the fourth consecutive year.

II. World News

1. On Monday (April 19), UDN cited sources familiar with the matter as claiming that the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) had notified the Taiwanese government that the Pentagon will soon inform the U.S. Congress of the sale of 40 M109A6 “Paladin” self-propelled howitzers to Taiwan. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is expected to announce the procedure for notifying Congress in the near future.

2. Russia sent a fleet of over 20 warships to launch multiple cruise missiles in the Black Sea on Tuesday. Days after defying President Biden’s demand that the nation drop its military offensive against neighbouring Ukraine.

3. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “There are protocols in place, requiring testing for international travel. What is true is that we are tracking the course of the COVID outbreak in India very closely.”

4. The House on Tuesday approved bipartisan legislation designed to enhance cybersecurity at the State Department, reported the Hill. The legislation enhances cybersecurity by prioritizing and reorganizing a key department in the aftermath of multiple major foreign cyberattacks against the United States.

5. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s head Adm. Philip Davidson replied that Adm. John Aquilino, the Pacific Fleet commander, has been asked by the Navy to look at some options for what the 1st Fleet might do. When he testified on Capitol Hill last month.

6. Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday Ukraine and NATO were continuing military preparations, and called on them to refrain from actions that could lead to escalation, the RIA news agency reported.

7. Myanmar anti-coup activists launched protests on Wednesday calling for the release of prisoners detained by the junta, as the military government declared a National Unity Government formed by its opponents was illegal.

8. The European Union reached a tentative climate deal that should make the 27-nation bloc climate-neutral by 2050, with member states and parliament agreeing on the targets on the eve of a virtual summit that U.S. President Biden will host.

9. At a hearing on the infrastructure plan, Commerce Secretary Joe Ramondo confirmed that the United States faces a national security “crisis” because of a lack of semiconductor production.

Himalaya Moscow Katyusha (RU) YinHe