Israeli tech company fuels crimes against humanity in Myanmar

Today's headlines: WHO opens investigation into contaminated cough syrup produced in India and Indonesia, the probable cause of the deaths of more than 300 children; an appeal by a headmaster in Kabul urging fathers to accompany their daughters to school; Taiwan's president in a letter to the Pope rules out the "option" of war with Beijing; the first woman pastor ordained in the Holy Land. 

Human rights groups denounce an agreement between the army in Myanmar and an Israeli company to supply technology that has fuelled the military junta's crimes against humanity over the past two years. In February 2021, shortly before the coup, Cognyte Software won a tender for spyware that can listen to phones, messages, emails and geolocate people.  

The WHO has launched an investigation into possible links between the deaths of more than 300 children in three countries (Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan) and a cough syrup produced in India and Indonesia. Experts speak of 'unacceptable levels' of toxins in the preparations; the aim is to gather more information on the raw materials used in the medicines and whether they come from the same suppliers. 

Fathers must take their daughters' hands and bring them to school, even if the doors are closed. This is the appeal launched by Ismail Mashal, dean of a private university in Kabul, challenging the ban on female education. Yesterday, UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths met with Taliban leaders expressing "concern" about women's work and education. 

Tsai Ing-wen has written to Pope Francis to say that war between Beijing and Taipei "is not an option". Only by respecting the will of the Taiwanese people on sovereignty and freedom, the president warns, are healthy ties with China possible. The Vatican is one of 14 states with which the island has formal relations. The leader adds that the war in Ukraine reinforces the importance of peace. 

In a historic first for Christians in Jordan and the Holy Land on 22 January a was ordained  pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. 26 year old Sally Azar,  born in Jerusalem,  was ordained by Bishop - and her father - Sani Ibrahim Azar. Elected to the World Lutheran Federation (WFL) since 2017, she has a master's degree in theology from the Near East School of Theology in Beirut. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that the mobilisation of the past few months is over, but Vladimir Putin did not sign the decree because there are still 'other forms of activities necessary for the performance of the tasks of the Armed Forces'. In particular, there would be a 'secret target' extending the possible call to arms to 1.2 million people.

In Turkmenistan, the upper chamber of the parliament in Ashgabat was abolished, creating a new single chamber of the Khalk Maslakhat, the 'People's Council'. It will be presided over by former President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, with broad executive and legislative powers, overshadowing his son President Serdar, who signed the constitutional changes.