Today's headlines: U.S. sanctions Myanmar junta but invites generals to military exercises; Criticism of Malaysia premier for choosing his daughter as economic adviser; In India, protests continue over sexual harassment within the wrestling federation; Red Cross allowed passage of some wounded in Nagorno Karabakh.
Three ministers were removed from their posts by the Lao National Assembly and replaced with officials closely associated with new Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, including some sons of former presidents. The removed ministers were instead demoted to the role of provincial governors. The reshuffle comes a month after Siphandone was appointed premier, replacing Phankham Viphavanh.
The United States imposed new sanctions on Myanmar on the second anniversary of the Burmese military junta's coup, targeting mining and energy companies and the Election Commission under the generals. At the same time, however, Washington has invited the Burmese Defense Ministry to participate in military exercises on maritime security to be held later this month in conjunction with the Thai Navy.
After coming under widespread criticism for his daughter's appointment as Economic and Financial Adviser, Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has let it be known that her role will be limited. Nurul Izzah Anwar will not have the opportunity to enrich herself because she will not be paid and "will not have the power to directly take on or manage any project or procurement on her own," said the premier, who chose his daughter to "ensure the transparency of his administration."
January saw unprecedented protests in India against Brij Bhushan Singh, president of the national wrestling federation and also a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian, who was accused of sexual harassment by several female athletes. In recent days, some of the country's most celebrated wrestlers have gathered near the Wrestling Federation of India's office in the capital Delhi, and despite the creation of a special commission of inquiry, the issue continues to have media prominence and is unlikely to be concluded quickly, experts say.
US - CHINA
According to the U.S. Trade Representative's office, China is a world leader in counterfeit and pirated goods, and the well-known WeChat app is said to be "one of the largest platforms for counterfeit goods." According to a report released yesterday The U.S. government identified 39 online and 33 physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.
UK - SAUDI ARABIA
The U.K. High Court yesterday began considering a case brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade over the export of arms to Saudi Arabia then used in Yemen. The group had already won a similar legal battle in 2019, when Court of Appeal judges ruled that continuing to license certain military equipment was illegal because the weapons could have been used to commit war crimes.
Leaders of a College of Medical Studies in Novočerkassk, in Russia's Rostov province, expelled five native Caucasian female students who refused to remove the hijab with which they cover their heads, who plan to sue the school. Chechen President Kadyrov called such impositions "forms of Ukrainian fascism."
NAGORNO - KARABAKH
Thanks to the mediation of the International Red Cross, 19 people were transported through the Lačin corridor from Karabakh to Armenia to receive necessary treatment and reunite with their families, as communicated by the head of the Cri in Nagorno Karabakh, Eteri Musaelyan, 15 of whom are children, victims of a car accident.