Today's news: Hong Kong is removing hundreds of texts "unwelcome" to Beijing from library shelves; Taiwan approves additional defense spending in anti-Chinese mode; India's fertility rate drops, below replacement level; Vietnam remains prime destination for trafficking in African wildlife products.
Pyongyang has sentenced a man to death for smuggling copies from China of the South Korean cult series "Squid Game," after authorities caught seven high school students watching some episodes. The execution is expected to take place by firing squad. The student who bought the videos received life in prison; the other six will serve five years of hard labor.
HONG KONG - CHINA
Hong Kong's public libraries are removing books deemed "sensitive" from their shelves under the national security law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and "undesirable" to Beijing. As of July 1, 2020, more than 100 titles are no longer available on the public distribution network; among them are some that reference the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
The Taiwanese government has approved an additional defense spending budget of .53 billion to purchase missiles and ships in an effort to counter Chinese aggression. The procurement will focus on domestically manufactured systems, which allow for shorter production times. Targets include anti-ship missiles and arms for the Coast Guard.
For the first time, India's fertility rate has fallen below replacement level. After decades of growth, the country's population appears destined to decline because the TFR - the average number of children born to a woman - has fallen below the threshold and is now 2. The replacement level by which a population is replaced from one generation to the next is about 2.1.
Despite the campaign launched by the government, Vietnam remains the "primary destination" for trafficking of illegal wildlife products from Africa. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), criminal groups target pangolin meat, elephant ivory and rhino horns, "accelerating the decline in biodiversity".
The summit of Turkic states has closed in Istanbul. Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and two observers, Hungary and Turkmenistan were present. Two symbolic decisions were taken: the transformation into an "Association of Turkish States" and the elaboration of a "Civil Defense Mechanism", a step towards a common army (Turkish NATO) led by Ankara.
Uzbekistan's security services (SGB) eliminated an extremist cell of the Katibatul Tavkhid val-Jihad group, active in the Tashkent region. The number of people arrested was not disclosed. The terrorists were engaged in jihad propaganda by disseminating audio and video of their preachers, and raising funds to help guerrillas in Syria.
The global ecological transition does not suit Russia, which remains rather oriented towards traditional energy sources. For this reason, according to Standard & Poor's, Moscow will oppose the decisions of Europe and the US to reduce greenhouse gases. The transition would cost over a trillion dollars a year, while the refusal would lead to an expenditure of "only" 400 billion a year.