Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific will hire flight attendants from mainland China

Today's headlines: Thai government holds peace talks in Myanmar but Asean countries decline invitation; Nearly 100 deaths in India from heat waves; Qatar wants to reduce Iraq's energy dependence on Iran; Russia and Algeria vow they "will never be enemies."


Cathay Pacific Airways said that starting in July it will launch initiatives to improve the Mandarin and "cultural understanding" of its crew, including hiring staff from mainland China. In May, three flight attendants were fired for complaining in English and Cantonese about passengers' poor understanding of English from mainland China, an incident that had gone viral on Chinese social media.


The outgoing Thai government invited Asean foreign ministers to discuss the Myanmar peace process, but several countries, including Indonesia, the organization's rotating chair, and Malaysia, declined because Burmese generals were also invited to the talks. Myanmar has been in a situation of civil conflict since the military coup of Feb. 1, 2021.


At least 96 people have died in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in recent days due to heat waves, local authorities reported. Most of the people who died were over 60 years old and had pre-existing health problems. About 300 patients have been admitted to the district hospital in the past three days for various ailments aggravated by the heat, according to a local medical official.


Three Qatari companies and the National Iraqi Investment Commission have agreed to develop .5 billion worth of projects in Iraq, including the construction of a couple of power plants with the aim of reducing energy dependence on Iran. Especially in the summer months, Baghdad imports from Tehran one-third to 40 percent of its energy.


A state visit to Russia was held by Algeria's President Abdelmajid Tebboune, the first since that of his predecessor in 2008, who met with Putin, Prime Minister Mišustin and Senate President Matvienko, agreeing on the relationship that Algeria and Russia "will never be enemies and will not make pacts with enemies of each other."


After some police checks, following a journalist's complaint, toys of military machines with the Russian propaganda symbol of "Z," trucks, helicopters, tanks and planes were removed from some stores in Astana. The store owners claimed that the toys ended up on the shelves "by accident," and they are against war propaganda.