The Edge Update: President Xi in Alaska, reforming Baltimore’s police and political chaos in Venezuela



Chinese President Xi Jinping made a surprise stop in Anchorage Friday night after meeting with President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Mr. Xi met with Gov. Bill Walker, dined at the Crow’s Nest in the Captain Cook hotel and traveled to Beluga point before leaving in his personal Boeing 747. The stop is thought to highlight China’s interest in the Arctic’s natural resources. Over the last few years, China has passed Japan to become Alaska’s largest trading partner. In 2016, the state exported minerals, oil, seafood and other products, valued at about $1.2 billion. Gov. Bill Walker used his time with the Chinese president to pitch for a gas export project and recognize China’s status as Alaska’s largest trading partner. Xi expressed that he has flown over the state many times, and always wanted to visit.


On Friday, a federal judge approved a consent decree to overhaul the Baltimore police department against the wishes of the justice department. The decree would introduce major reforms to the troubled department, including new technology, training and community oversight. On Monday, the Justice department sought a 90-day delay to review police reform agreements, including Baltimore’s. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed concern at the decision, stating the decree was signed in a “rushed process” during the previous presidential administration. “While the Department of Justice continues to fully support police reform in Baltimore, I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city,” Sessions said.

The Justice Department had previously found that the police department of Baltimore, a majority-black city, disproportionately targeted black people. The consent decree would seek to address this by requiring reforms like an additional 80 hours of training on protocol such as stop-and-search procedures and the upgrading of technology that keeps police officers accountable, such as video cameras inside police vans. At a press conference, mayor Catherine Pugh called the decision “a great victory for the citizens of Baltimore, as well as the Baltimore Police Department”.


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The politician most likely to unseat Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in an election has been barred from holding public office for the next 15 years. Henrique Capriles, governor of the Venezuelan state of Miranda, narrowly lost to Maduro in the 2013 election. The government released a list of issues it claims disqualifies Capriles from running, including failure to secure approval for various budgets and contracts. Capriles is an outspoken critic of the current president, frequently appearing at the large protests that have continued to grow after the Supreme Court attempted last month to remove from Venezuela’s legislature, a body stocked with Maduro’s opposition. In the last week, government forces have put down demonstrations with force, using tear gas, water cannons and clubs to repel protesters. “More than yesterday, more than today, tomorrow there are even more reasons for us to mobilize ourselves in all of the country,” Capriles wrote on Twitter.