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New Bo Xilai Accusation: Did Chinese Pol Pay Famous Movie Star For Sex?

BOXUN.COM (United States)

Now disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, at the center of a scandal shaking China's ruling elite, is alleged to have paid large sums of money to have sex with celebrated Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, according to Boxun.com, a U.S.-based Chinese website.

Boxun, which had previously broken news about Bo's demise and been consequently attacked by hackers, has what is claims to be a new, extra-saucy scoop that could add a twist to a political drama that has riveted many in China, and beyond.

Boxun claims today that Zhang – best-known for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon the Oscar-winning film by Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee - had more than 10 encounters with Bo between 2007 and 2011.

The 33-year-old actress denied the allegations, quipping on her personal microblog that many people "can take wind as rain" using their imaginations, China Post (Taiwan) reports.

According to the Boxun report, Xu Ming, a Chinese businessman and close friend to Bo, is said to have confessed to Beijing authorities that he'd arranged a deal to pay a total of 16 million RMB ($2.5 million) as "gratuities' for the actress. The article says Zhang Ziyi is currently under police investigation, and is prohibited from leaving the country. There are reports that she was a surprise no-show at the recently concluded Cannes film festival.

Bo Xilai, the former Communist Party boss of China's Chongqing City, was thought to be headed for a key national post before he and his wife were accused of corruption. On April 10, he was suspended from all his Party duties and is now undergoing an investigation for "serious violations of discipline," as China prepares for a momentous change in leadership. Bo's wife is also suspected of involvement in the murder of a British national.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia's Wartime Manipulation Of Energy Prices Could Doom Its Economy

A complex compensation mechanism for fuel companies, currency devaluation, increased demand due to the war, logistics disruptions, and stuttering production growth have combined to trigger price rises and deepening shortages in the Russian energy market.

Photograph of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas, floating on a body of water.

Russia, Murmansk Region - July 21, 2023: A view of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas.

Ekaterina Mereminskaya

In Russia, reports of gasoline and diesel shortages have been making headlines in the country for several months, raising concerns about energy supply. The situation escalated in September when a major diesel shortage hit annexed Crimea. Even before that, farmers in the southern regions of Russia had raised concerns regarding fuel shortages for their combines.

“We’ll have to stop the harvest! It will be a total catastrophe!” agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev had warned at the time. “We should temporarily halt the export of petroleum products now until we have stabilized the situation on the domestic market.”

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As the crisis deepens, experts are highlighting the unintended consequences of government intervention in fuel pricing and distribution.

The Russian government has long sought to control the prices of essential commodities, including gasoline and diesel. These commodities are considered "signalling products", according to Sergei Vakulenko, an oil and gas expert and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. Entrepreneurs often interpret rising gasoline prices as a signal to adjust their pricing strategies, reasoning that if even gasoline, a staple, is becoming more expensive, they too should raise their prices.

The specter of the 2018 fuel crisis, where gasoline prices in Russia surged at twice the rate of other commodities, haunts the authorities. As a result, they implemented a mechanism to control these prices and ensure a steady supply. Known as the "fuel damper," this mechanism seeks to balance the profitability of selling fuel in both domestic and foreign markets.

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