Netanyahu hunts defence minister, critical of justice. Clashes in the night

Today's headlines: Singapore premier on official visit to China, the first since the pandemic; Taliban block a march of women activists in Kabul for women's right to study; Myanmar's coup leader moves against 'acts of terrorism' by armed groups fighting against the army; First 'controlled' demonstration in Hong Kong; In five months more than 25,000 Russians reached the USA across the Mexican border.


Last night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ousted Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, who was critical of the controversial justice reform. In the night hundreds of thousands of Israelis returned to the streets clashing with police forces. President Isaac Herzog also called for a halt; first second thoughts from the ultra-Orthodox parties - Shas and United Torah Judaism - also within the coalition. 

In a rare public speech, the leader of the coup military junta threatened to strongly oppose what he called 'acts of terrorism' by armed resistance groups fighting against the coup army that overthrew the democratic government in February 2021. Min Aung Hlaing also accused rights-critical nations of supporting terrorism. 

Amidst massive security measures and police control, the first (authorised) protest since Beijing's introduction of the infamous National Security Act in 2020 took place in Hong Kong yesterday. Only about 100 people were allowed to march, with approved identification numbers and banners. A land reclamation plan in the eastern sector of the city was targeted.

Singapore's prime minister begins a week-long official visit to China today, the first since the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020. Lee Hsien Loong will meet with Beijing's top leadership, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang. The city-state leader will also deliver a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in Hainan. 

Afghan women activists defied Taliban bans, promoting a protest march in Kabul to demand women's right to study. The protesters, about 20 in number, were immediately surrounded and blocked by security officials. Several films and videos posted on the net show the women, wearing veils, holding up placards saying 'education is our right'. 

According to data released by the US Border Patrol, over 25,000 Russians have entered the US through Mexico in the last five months, a record number even compared to all other nationalities. In all, 22 thousand had entered in 2022, and in the previous year only 467, 63% of all refugees, compared to 28% Venezuelans and only 5% Mexicans.

From 1 April, Kazakhstan will introduce a new online system to check all products crossing the country's borders. The aim is to prevent the parallel import of goods for Russia, in circumvention of Western sanctions, by applying stricter rules than those of the Eurasian Economic Union, where imports are not subject to checks.

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