Today's headlines: The ban on fertilizers and the Ukrainian war torpedo Sri Lanka tea exports; in Dandong hundreds of North Korean workers in China undergo mass testing for Covid-19; Manila, the Christian sect Iglesia ni Cristo supports the Marcos-Duterte candidacy; over the skies of Moscow in flight "Putin's plane" ahead of the May 9 parade; in Kazakhstan a law on cyber-bullying threatens to limit freedom of expression.
At least 700 families have abandoned Sinjar, in northern Iraq, following clashes between the Iraqi army and militias of the Sinjar Resistance Unit, a militia affiliated with the Kurdish PKK movement (terrorist according to the US and Ankara). In the fighting died a soldier and dozens of Yazidi militiamen. Now the situation in the area, where tensions have been simmering for months, seems to be back under control.
Exports of tea, one of Sri Lanka's main resources, have reached their lowest level in 23 years. A collapse linked to the fertilizer ban and the war in Ukraine. In the past, the market was worth over 1.2 billion euros. Production has fallen by 18% on an annual basis. According to duty data, it will go from 69.8 million kg between January and March 2021 to 63.7 million in 2022.
CHINA - NORTH KOREA
About 800 North Korean workers in Dandong, northeast China, in hard lockdown for a week, spent the May Day holiday in factories undergoing tests for Covid-19. In the past few days about 20 of them had shown symptoms. There are almost 100 thousand migrants from across the border. Pyongyang has always declared the country Covid-free.
The Iglesia ni Cristo, an influential Christian sect that has been active for 101 years and has three million followers, has declared its support for the candidacy of the tandem Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte. For its leaders, the choice has a "biblical basis" and must be respected by the members. A group made up of about a thousand bishops and Catholic priests does not name names, but asks people to vote according to principles and for a "moral choice".
The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the head of the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom met yesterday in Istanbul. Talks centered on the safety of the plants in Ukraine, in particular that of Zaporizhzhia NPP. Rafael Grossi and Alexei Likhachyov are verifying the procedures for sending a team of experts from the UN agency.
Vladimir Putin's special Il-80 (Maxdome) aircraft was seen flying at low altitude over the skies of Moscow. Of Soviet construction, known as the "doomsday" plane or even the "flying Kremlin", inside the president can rule the country in case of atomic war from within. It is expected to be used in the May 9 parade.
Kazakhstan's President Qasym-Jomart Toqaev signed the law to protect minors from cyberbullying. However, according to several observers it will tighten restrictions on freedom of expression, blocking all content from various sites and social networks deemed dangerous.