Military Corruption — The New York Times reports that corruption and abuses of power in the Chinese military pose a threat to the nation’s security. Graft, profiteering, and squandering public funds, according to military insiders, pose a delicate problem for China‘s new Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping and some insiders warned that these problems could undermine the Party’s status. Experts said the new military commission is unlikely to start an anti-corruption campaign, as it would draw too much attention to widespread corruption within the ruling party and its government.
Freedom — The Burmese government plans to free 452 prisoners, including political dissidents, in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama‘s visit to the Southeast Asian country next week, notes Reuters. Burma’s state media reported that the amnesty is intended to “help promote goodwill and the bilateral relationship.” Washington has repeatedly called on the semi-civilian government to free all remaining dissidents “as a pre-condition for economic rewards,” even as Burma has begun to implement a series of economic and sociopolitical reforms since last year.
NoKo-Syria Ties – U.N. diplomats suspect that North Korea is shipping components of ballistic missiles to a Syrian company, in violation of U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang, reports VOA News. According to U.N. diplomats, authorities in South Korea seized at least 445 graphite cylinders, which were disguised as lead pipes, from a Chinese ship in a South Korean port in May; the cylinders were allegedly headed for a Syrian company with ties to North Korea. U.N. sanctions ban North Korea from exporting or importing nuclear and missile technology.
Gaza Violence Escalates — Three Israelis were killed when a rocket hit a four-story building north of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, writes Reuters. The attack sees the first of the Israeli fatalities following the dramatic escalation in violence. The Palestinian death toll already stands at 13. Thursday is the second day of Israel’s offence against Hamas which follows the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, Hamas’ military chief on Wednesday. The situation became increasingly heated after President Mohamed Morsy of Egypt gave a national address saying that his country would stand by the Palestinians against “Israeli aggression,” notes the New York Times. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting late on Wednesday where it called for a halt to the action. Meanwhile, Hamas’ military wing has vowed to go to war in response to the death of Jabari, warning that Israel has now “opened the gates of hell,” writes TIME’s Tony Karon.
Ugandan Virus — Two people have died near the capital of Uganda following a fresh outbreak of the Ebola virus, reports the BBC. A third person is also believed to have died of a haemorrhagic fever in the same area. There is no known cure for the Ebola virus, which causes death in 90% of human cases. Dr. Christine Ondoa warned that the disease is “very infectious” and kills “in a short time.” She has advised people in the affected to area to avoid public meetings and funerals. It is believed that 17 people died from the virus in Uganda in July.