World News Brief, Wednesday November 7

Businessman at centre of Bo Xilai scandal had spy links, says Wall Street Journal; US and Japan begin military drill; Putin fires defense minister over corruption allegations; South African police may have tampered with evidence after deadly mining protest; and more

Top of the Agenda: WSJ Reports Neil Heywood Had Spy Ties

The Wall Street Journal reported that Neil Heywood, the British businessman who was murdered in China last November in a plot involving former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and his wife, had been providing information (WSJ) about the Bo family to the M16, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, for more than a year before his death. Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was jailed in August for Heywood's murder, and Bo himself was expelled from parliament in September, stripping him of immunity from prosecution. The revelation comes two days before China's much anticipated leadership transition, which has been riddled by other media reports (NYT) of top-level corruption.


"There are new questions about why, if Mr Heywood was known to Britain's intelligence services, British officials did not press their Chinese counterparts for a thorough investigation as soon as they knew he had died," writes Damian Grammaticas for the BBC.

"The revelation that he may have been an MI6 informant also has implications for the Chinese authorities, who are likely to have been watching Mr Heywood, and tailing him in Chongqing, if they were aware that he was providing information to the intelligence services," writes Malcolm Moore for The Telegraph.

"The secretive Mayfair intelligence agency recruits from the corporate world too, however. A recent high-profile hire was former Rolls Royce chief executive Sir John Rose. The theory that Heywood was passing information to MI6, via Hakluyt, has been aired before," writes Naomi Rovnick for Quartz.


What Will Be the Top Global Hot Spots in 2013?

Each year, CFR's Center for Preventive Action asks a group of experts to rank various violent contingencies in order of their importance to U.S. national security interests. Help them create that list by telling them what international conflicts you are worried about breaking out or escalating next year. Learn more and weigh in here.



U.S. and Japan Begin Military Drill

The militaries of the United States and Japan began a significant joint drill (JDP) on Monday amidst an ongoing territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

This CFR blog post discusses the China-Japan island disputes.



Putin fires defense minister over corruption allegations

Police may have tampered with evidence after deadly South African mining protest



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