Beijing censors news on plane crash in Guangxi

Today's headlines: Pakistani president confers posthumous award on Iqbal Masih, who died in the fight against the exploitation of child labour; the famous Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo will be demolished; Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia arrested for praying for peace; humanitarian aid for Ukraine from Azerbaijan; Dengue fever alert in Singapore. 


Beijing has censored all news on the March 22 China Eastern Boeing 737 air disaster. The plane crashed mid flight between Kunming and Guangzhou into a mountainous area of Guangxi. The 132 people on board died. The families of the victims are not allowed to talk to each other, news on social networks is censored and even journalists loyal to the party are not allowed to go near the crash area. 


Pakistani President Arif Alvi awarded the Sitara-e-Shujaat prize, one of the highest civilian honours, to Iqbal Masih, a young Catholic man killed on 16 April 1995 at the age of 12 for having denounced child exploitation in the textile industry. Also a victim, he fought for two years in defence of the weakest, freeing 3,000 of them. His brother Patras Masih accepted the award.


The Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo, a rare example of architecture from the Metabolist movement, emblematic of Japan's rebirth after the war by architect Kisho Kurokawa, will be demolished next month. Completed in 1972, it is the world's first example of a serial application of a housing capsule built for real use. Attempts to restore the structure have failed. 


In the Russian-Caucasian republic of Adyetia, charges of extremism and defamation of the State have been brought against a group of Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious denomination banned in Russia, who held collective prayers for peace in Ukraine. The leaders of the community were arrested and placed in solitary confinement.


Ukrainian President Zelensky thanked his Azerbaijani counterpart Aliev for the humanitarian aid and, above all, for his willingness to compensate for the destruction by the Russians of fuel deposits for agricultural work. Azerbaijani supplies will enable the Ukrainians to complete the harvests "on which the food security of half the Arab world depends".


Russian tourist agencies such as "Vedi Group" (Moscow and Ekaterinburg) are offering three-day trips to Uzbekistan, with VISA and MasterCard credit cards still active in Tashkent. Painful for the Russian economy is the exit of the Dutch beer company Heineken, on which five other different Russian brands and many factories, employing over two thousand people, depend.


Health authorities in Singapore are warning of a rapid increase in cases of dengue fever, the haemorrhagic fever transmitted by mosquitoes. Since the beginning of the year, there have been about 3,000 cases, 112 of which are still active. The peak is expected between June and October. The Ministry of Sustainability and Environment says that dengue remains a "clear and serious" threat at the time of Covid-19.  


The Saudi-led Arab coalition says it will freeze military operations in Yemen as of today. Previously, the Houthi rebels had called a three-day truce. The aim is to create an atmosphere of relative calm for Ramadan and encourage negotiations between the parties. The docking of ships laden with fuel and the partial resumption of flights to Sana'a are also under consideration.