Yangon, military junta will install Chinese facial recognition cameras

In today's headlines: Mother of Abe's killer belonged to the Unification Church; New mass-testing campaign in Shanghai; Rajapaksa will leave on 13 July but yet to issue a statement; the devaluation of the Lebanese lira continues; Russian prisoners sent to the front for crimes yet to be judged.


Myanmar's coup military junta is installing Chinese-made cameras with facial recognition capabilities in several cities across the country. The new project is in addition to CCTV cameras installed in five other cities by the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi ousted by the military in February 2021. Several sources fear that the new video surveillance systems will be used to intensify repression against anti-golpe activists.


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has confirmed that he will resign, the prime minister's office announced, while protesters are still occupying the presidential palace and the premier's residence. The speaker of parliament had said that Rajapaksa would resign on 13 July. Still no word from the President, thought to be on a navy vessel.


After revealing the new omicron subvariant of covid-19, Shanghai is preparing for another mass testing campaign. Local authorities have invited the 25 million citizens to submit to the swabs in the coming days. The central government said the lockdowns should be as localised as possible to reduce damage to the economy.


The mother of Shinzo Abe's assassin belonged to the Unification Church. The confirmation came from Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japanese branch of the religious sect. Tanaka refused to comment on the donations of the killer's mother, which would have reduced her to bankruptcy. Tanaka also added that Abe was not a member of the congregation.


South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol will suspend the informal media briefings he has held almost every day since taking office in May. His office has cited an increasing number of covid-19 infections, but it is likely that the government wants to avoid uncomfortable questions about scandals that have recently emerged in the party. Yoon's approval rating fell from 52% to 37%.


Lebanon's civil servants have decided to go on an indefinite strike due to too low salaries, blocking schools, airports and courts. The problem is the devaluation of the Lebanese lira: a monthly salary of 450 dollars in 2019 is now worth 24 dollars.


Iran remains one of Moscow's staunchest allies, but Russia's war in Ukraine is putting it under strain due to disruptions in the supply of wheat, which was imported mainly from Ukraine and Russia itself. Rising food prices are causing several riots in Iranian cities, and Russia does not seem to be very willing to meet the needs of the allied country.


In various places in Russia, such as in the Nizhny Novgorod region, in Mordovia and in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, there are increasing reports of people being forcibly taken to unknown destinations, only to discover that they are being forcibly sent to the war in Ukraine as prisoners for crimes yet to be judged.