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It’s All Downhill in Chechnya, This Time on Skis

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, New York Times

It’s All Downhill in Chechnya, This Time on Skis

High in the Caucasus Mountains, a ski resort is rising on Chechnya’s slopes that once teemed with Islamic militants. The Veduchi resort is a multimillion-dollar development featuring a hotel and spa center, chalets and a helicopter pad. It is the centerpiece of an improbable effort for Russia to ski and snowboard its way out of a long-simmering insurgency. A state-owned company, North Caucasus Resorts, is building a string of ski resorts in the restive, predominantly Muslim areas of the Caucasus. The intention is to create jobs, although even the developer conceded that it might be difficult to convince winter sports enthusiasts of the merits of Chechnya.

As Theresa May Pursues Deals in China, Her Own Troubles Follow

Theresa May on Wednesday joined a succession of British prime ministers who have turned to China for trade, investment and a shot of confidence, while offering Britain as a reliable, competitive base in Europe. But her three-day trip to China, shadowed by uncertainties about Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as well as May’s hold on power, has the makings of a long march. While Chinese leaders seemed unlikely to publicly air any misgivings over Brexit or about May’s ability to deliver on commitments, experts said such worries would cloud her visit and limit its results.

Taiwanese Citizens Accused of Violating U.N. Sanctions on North Korea

Prosecutors in Taiwan have accused a former judge and his son of violating U.N. sanctions on trade with North Korea. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said in a statement Monday that Chiang Kuo-hua, previously a High Court judge, and his son, Chiang Heng, chartered a cargo ship through a Chinese middleman, which they used to transport coal to Vietnam from North Korea last summer. Prosecutors said Chiang and his son purchased 4 tons of anthracite coal at the North Korean port of Nampo, which they then shipped to the Vietnamese port of Cam Pha.

Head of Amnesty International’s Turkey Office Freed From Turkish Prison

An Istanbul court Wednesday ordered the release of Amnesty International’s top representative in Turkey, one of the most prominent political prisoners in the country detained under a widespread crackdown on government critics. The court said prosecutors had failed to show why Taner Kilic, chairman of Amnesty International Turkey, should remain incarcerated, even though terrorism charges against him had not been dropped. Kilic was released after more than six months of imprisonment in Izmir, his hometown. He was accused of links to the outlawed movement of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in exile who is portrayed by the government as a terrorist.

U.N. Examines 206 Companies Over Links to Israeli Settlements

The United Nations rattled Israel on Wednesday by disclosing that it was examining more than 200 companies doing business with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank but deferred naming any of them until it had completed a review of their activities. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that an initial review had identified 206 that were involved in doing business with the settlements, which are considered illegal under international law. Of those identified, 143 were based in Israel and 22 were in the United States. The remaining 41 companies were spread among 19 countries, mostly in Europe.

Hong Kong Closes Loophole in Ivory Ban, Outlawing All Sales

Hong Kong’s Legislature voted Wednesday to ban all ivory sales by 2021, closing what activists called a loophole in the global effort to end the trade and protect elephants from poaching. The ivory trade has been banned in most of the world since 1990 under an agreement that Hong Kong and all but a handful of countries have agreed to honor. But the sale of antique ivory acquired before the 1970s has remained legal. City officials originally said that allowing the sale of antique ivory would give local traders time to liquidate their stocks. But fresh ivory has continued to make its way into Hong Kong.

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