Ukraine. The inhabitants of Ukraine’s Crimea region voted Sunday to join the Russian Federation on unspecific terms. Turnout was said to be over 50 percent with initial results showing 95 percent in favor of secession. While many Crimeans celebrated the result in the streets, the divisive issue caused some families to flee the peninsula. The European Union, United States and Ukraine condemned the referendum. Critics question the speed with which the referendum was organized and the authorities administering it. But despite Western opposition, Russia issued a decree on Monday officially recognizing the region’s sovereignty. It is unclear when Crimea will become a full republic in the Russian Federation, but Russia could feel the consequences relatively soon as Western leaders discuss financial sanctions.
Sky News and The New York Times
Japan. Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe announced Sunday that Japan would not rescind a statement of apology issued in 1993 for the Imperial Army’s use of sex slaves from the mid-1930s to 1945. The clarification does not represent any change in policy on the part of the Japanese government. The announcement is the result of an inquiry commissioned to reexamine evidence of Japan’s use of sex slaves; the findings were consistent with every major investigation into war crimes in Imperial Japan.
Venezuela. President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro called on President Barack Obama Saturday to engage in high level talks on matters of “peace and sovereignty.” Maduro accused the U.S. of orchestrating protests and criminal activities in Venezuela, claiming he knew of an American plot against his life. The U.S. denied any involvement in the unrest or such plans. The talks would be aimed at curbing the violence that Maduro said is fueled by the U.S. Violence has increased on the streets of Caracas, with Foreign Minister Elias Jaua calling U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a murderer and blaming him for the surge of violence.
China. Chinese tech giant Alibaba confirmed its plans Sunday to go public on an American Stock Exchange. Hundreds of Chinese companies are listed in the United States but few as big as Alibaba. Analysts predict that the Initial Public Offering (IPO) could be the biggest since Facebook in May 2012 and net the firm $15 billion in revenue. Yahoo, which is the largest shareholder, has stated it will reduce its investment through the IPO.
Al Jazeera America