Google says its online translation system has added five new languages, including Tatar, Turkmen, and Uyghur. With the additions, which also include Kinyarwanda and Odia, Google’s instantaneous translation system for computers and mobile devices now encompasses 108 languages.
‘We’re Standing Still’: How The Coronavirus And Border Closures With China Have Hit The Economy Of Russia’s Far East
Russia’s Federal Customs Service has calculated that Russia daily loses approximately 1 billion rubles as a result of falling cross-border activity with China. Reactions differ, with some residents believing the financial losses are temporary and the region will swiftly recover, while others are seeking help. But the interdependence of the two regions is clear. In southwestern Blagoveshchensk, located across the river from the Chinese city of Heihe only 750 meters away, the deeply interwoven cross-border economy has come to a halt. (Russian Service)
Actions taken by former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev over nearly three decades of authoritarian rule are at the root of recent social discontent in Kazakhstan, as reflected in unsanctioned rallies erupting around the country and protesters’ shouts of “Shal Ket!” (Go away old man!).
CHINA AND RUSSIA:
Officials in the United States have said that thousands of Russia-linked social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are being used in a coordinated effort to spread alarm and misinformation about the coronavirus. "Russia's intent is to sow discord and undermine U.S. institutions and alliances from within," acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Philip Reeker was quoted as saying. Russia called the U.S. claims “a deliberate fake.”
The Current Time network reported on the former logging village of Dolmi, located in Russia’s Far Eastern region, just north of China. Wood production used to be the village’s main source of income, but the stock of cedars ran out in the Soviet era. Strict quotas on felling birch and aspen have led to job cuts. While the destruction of forests in the area is well-known among international environmentalists and media, this report focuses on the impact of the loss on local villages as residents scramble to make ends meet. (Current Time, 600,000 views on YouTube).
CHINA AND CENTRAL ASIA:
Sairagul Sauytbay, an ethnic Kazakh who escaped a Chinese "reeducation camp" in Xinjiang and revealed the horrors she endured after fleeing to Kazakhstan, is one of a dozen recipients of the U.S. State Department's 2020 International Women of Courage Award.
Authorities in China’s western Xinjiang province are sending hundreds of ethnic Uyghurs to other parts of China to work in factories affected by the coronavirus, drawing criticism from observers who say the move shows “Uyghur lives don’t matter” in the country. (Radio Free Asia)
Kyrgyzstan's government has announced a decision to cancel a planned $275 million Chinese logistics center in the country’s eastern Naryn region following mass protests against it.
Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev blamed "criminal groups" involved in cross-border smuggling for deadly ethnic clashes in the southern region of Zhambyl that claimed 11 lives on February 7-8 and forced an estimated 23,000 people, mostly Dungans, to flee their villages. Three Kazakhs from the Dungan ethnic minority, a Muslim group of Chinese origin, were thought to have triggered the clashes.
CHINA AND EUROPE:
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is seeking to review the national-security implications of AT&T's planned sale of its majority stake in Central European Media Group Enterprises (CME) to a Czech-owned conglomerate because of its record of acting as a proxy for China inside the Czech Republic. Rubio claimed in a February 27 letter to the U.S. Attorney General and Treasury Department that PPF Group, the Czech company that is looking to buy CME, has "supported China’s malign activities abroad."
Following a two-day trip to China in late February, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic joked “that coronavirus doesn't grow wherever you put alcohol, I've now found myself an additional reason to drink one glass a day…” Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, whose ministry described the trip as a token of Serbia’s “solidarity with China,” twice went on Serbian television to suggest that the coronavirus was a foreign plot targeting the Chinese economy.
Serbian authorities and the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade recently organized a concert celebrating official relations between the two countries, with Serbian singer Slobodan Trkulja performing songs in Chinese. The concert was intended to promote a message of solidarity with China, amid fears of the coronavirus, which Serbian officials say has affected Chinese construction projects and tourism.