Today's news: The death toll from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria now exceeds 24,000; Air India signs a mega-order to buy up to 500 planes from Airbus and Boeing; food prices continue to rise steeply in Japan; many Armenians view Turkey’s earthquake as “divine punishment”; Asia is the continent with the most Internet restrictions in 2022.
Christian families in Laos have been driven from their homes because of their faith. The incident took place in a farming area in the north-west of the country. Residents of Mai village, who are ethnic Ahka and animist, forced 15 families and their pastor to leave after learning of their conversion. This is but the latest in a series of anti-Christian attacks.
TURKEY – SYRIA
Tragedy and hope go hand in hand in Turkey and Syria after last Monday’s devastating earthquake. Almost five days after the first tremor, a 16-year-old boy was pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in Kahramanmaras. Meanwhile, the toll continues to rise and now stands in excess of 24,000, with more than 100,000 injured. Hundreds of thousands are homeless.
Air India is set to buy up to 500 new planes worth about US$ 100 billion. For experts, this could be the largest order ever made by an airline. Europe-based Airbus is slated to provide 250 planes, with another 220 or so expected from its US rival, Boeing. This comes a year after the Tata group bought the state-owned airliner.
Since the start of the year, food prices have skyrocketed in Japan on more than 10,000 items. The escalation is linked to high material and logistic costs. On average prices are expected to rise by 16 per cent over the current level, 3 per cent higher over last year.
Asia is the continent with the most Internet restrictions in 2022, 47 per cent. In total, up to 4.2 billion people have experienced online censorship. The study by Surfshark, a Lithuania-based virtual private network company, shows that Indian-administered Kashmir experienced the most Internet shutdowns and restrictions, followed by Russia and Iran.
ARMENIA – TURKEY
A poll shows that many Armenians do not support Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s decision to send humanitarian aid to earthquake victims in Turkey. Some have openly expressed appreciation for the "divine punishment" represented by the earthquake against Armenia’s historical enemy, wishing “many more shocks across the country".
KAZAKHSTAN – RUSSIA
At Russia’s request, Kazakhstan forcibly repatriated a 19-year-old Russian anarchist, Denis Kozak, who is accused of supporting terrorism based on his posts on VKontakte against the war in Ukraine and his attempts to create a peace network. The young man now risks seven years in a prison camp. This is the second case of deportation to Russia from Kazakhstan for such reasons.