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Când RPC decide să meargă în Taiwan, este puțin probabil să se deplaseze într-un mod care să facă o decizie clară a intervenției SUA. În cazul în care China ar decide, cel puțin inițial, împotriva unei invazii la scară largă a acelei insule naționale, ar putea opta în schimb să încerce să „câștige fără luptă”. Beijingul ar putea face acest lucru folosind marea sa flotă de pescuit controlată de stat pentru a tăia insulele mai mici controlate de Taipei de la Taiwan, întrucât RPC masează acum bărci de pescuit pentru a extinde mările controlate de China pentru a revendica reciful japonez Senkakus și Whitsun în apele filipineze. Companiile chinezești de pescuit de stat – care fac parte din așa-numita „miliție maritimă” – servesc drept fronturi pentru serviciile de informații PLA. Folosirea flotelor lor pentru a opera într-o manieră undeva între pace și conflict în zona gri de control contestat din jurul Taiwanului ar permite Beijingului să testeze dacă SUA și aliații săi sunt dispuși să ajute la apărarea independenței insulei fără a fi văzuți să inițieze un conflict deschis. „Cipher Brief a devenit cea mai populară priză pentru foști ofițeri de informații; nicio mass-media nu este chiar o secundă apropiată de The Cipher Brief în ceea ce privește numărul de articole publicate de formatori. ” – septembrie 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62 Nu. Accesați toate perspectivele experților centrate pe securitatea națională a Cipher Brief devenind membru Cipher Brief Level I.

Benin vote count begins after opposition groups boycott election | Elections News

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President Patrice Talon is expected to win a second term in office as group of opposition parties called for a boycott.

Vote counting began in Benin on Sunday after a presidential poll that was boycotted by some opposition parties over pre-election violence and their objection to President Patrice Talon’s quest for a second term.

Provisional results of the first round of the election are expected by April 13.

A cotton tycoon first elected in 2016, Talon faced off against two little-known rivals while some of the West African country’s key opposition leaders boycotted the election.

Benin was once praised as a vibrant democracy in the region, but most opposition figures are now exiled, disqualified by electoral reforms or have been targeted for investigation by a special court.

Protests in several cities this week turned violent. Some people were killed in gunfire on Thursday in the central town of Bante when security forces fired warning shots, its mayor told local radio, without saying how many died.

After casting his vote at a primary school in the commercial capital, Cotonou, Talon said Benin was “writing another page in its history despite the intimidation”.

Officials of the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA) record election results during counting at a polling station at the end of the vote for the presidential election’s first round in Cotonou, on April 11, 2021 [Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP]

“There are people who have mobilised fighters to attack the republic. Police officers have been attacked with weapons of war. It is regrettable,” he said, without elaborating.

Among the protesters’ complaints are Talon’s U-turn on a pledge he made as a candidate in 2016 to serve only one term, and changes he pushed through to election laws, which resulted in total control of parliament by Talon’s supporters and the exclusion of leading opponents from the presidential race.

Boycott call

A coalition of opposition parties in a statement late on Saturday called on their supporters to boycott the poll, and voters largely stayed away from at least five polling stations in opposition-supporting areas of Cotonou.

“I think it is an election whose results are known in advance. My vote will not change anything,” said Nadine Abibou, a 27-year-old shopkeeper.

Others were undeterred by the boycott call.

“I came to vote this morning to choose the president. I hope that the Beninese will come out massively to do the same as I did,” said Diane Fanou, a 30-year-old hairdresser, in the Zogbo neighbourhood.

As of 11am local time (10:00 GMT), voting had not started in several districts in the centre of the country because election materials had been blocked from reaching polling stations, a group of civil society organisations monitoring the election said.

US democracy watchdog Freedom House downgraded Benin last year in its annual rankings from  “free” to “partly free”.

The US, German, French and Dutch embassies as well as the EU delegation in Benin had all called for calm and for the vote to go ahead in a free and transparent manner.

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