Today's headlines: In China, Bishop Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou freed; Pakistan: former coup general Musharraf had died; Well-known academic critical of the regime arrested in Vietnam; Open race for the leadership of Japan's Central Bank; Ukrainian authorities condemn ties of the Upz Orthodox Church with the Moscow Patriarchate.
More than 300 people died in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the area on the border between Turkey and Syria in the early hours of this morning. The death toll and the number of injured is set to rise as emergency teams attempt to rescue people trapped under the rubble. Seismic tremors also felt in Lebanon, Cyprus and Israel.
The authorities yesterday released Bishop Shao Zhumin and his secretary Fr Jiang Sunian, who had been kidnapped last week to prevent them from attending the funeral of Fr Chen Nailiang, local sources told AsiaNews. The bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang) is often arrested or detained by the police to push him to join the "official" Church, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Former coup general Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 and then became president of the country from 2001 to 2008, died yesterday at the age of 79. Ill for some time, he passed away while in Dubai. He had previously escaped several assassination attempts.
The Ministry of National Security ordered six months of house arrest for the controversial academic Nguyen Son Lo. He had come into the crosshairs of the authorities for sending Communist Party leaders books on how to improve the country's politics and economy.
The deputy governor of the Central Bank, Masayoshi Amamiya, is emerging as the favourite to replace Haruhiko Kuroda at the helm of the powerful banking institution. Also in the running are Hiroshi Nakaso and Hirohide Yamaguchi.
According to a "religious character" audit of the statute and activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Upz, ordered by the Kiev State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience, this ecclesiastical jurisdiction still remains linked to the Moscow Patriarchate. Despite declarations of autonomy, it risks a total ban on its presence on Ukrainian territory.
On the 54th day of the blockade of the Lachin corridor by the Azerbaijanis, oranges and tangerines appeared in the capital of the separatist territory of Karabakh, after no fruit or vegetables had been seen for almost two months. The local Armenian government is also trying to distribute products at reduced prices in the villages around Stepanakert.