Today's headlines: prisoner exchange between the US and Iran; Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra could be granted parole at the end of February; Indonesia reassesses plans to relocate its citizens for Chinese industries; Beijing asks consulates in Hong Kong to share information on personnel; In South Korea, free therapy for teachers.
UNITED STATES – IRAN – QATAR – SOUTH KOREA
Qatar brokered a prisoner swap between the United States and Iran that allowed the unfreezing of billion worth of Iranian assets frozen by South Korean banks. The deal was announced on August 10 and will eliminate one of the main conflicts between Washington and Tehran but according to experts, relations between the two countries will not change before the 2024 US presidential elections.
INDIA – CANADA
Yesterday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being responsible for the killing of a Sikh separatist and Canadian citizen, who died in a shootout on June 18. This morning New Delhi called the accusation "absurd" and urged Ottawa "to take swift and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their territory." Furthermore, today the respective diplomatic representatives were expelled from the two countries. Activists for the creation of an independent Khalistan are considered "terrorists" by the Indian state.
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra could be released on probation in late February under a provision for prisoners aged over 70, after his sentence was already reduced from eight years to one. After a coup in 2006, Thaksin remained abroad in self-exile for 15 years and was convicted in absentia in three cases involving abuse of power, conflict of interest and wrongdoing. His return to Thailand coincided with the rise of his ally Srettha Thavisin as the new prime minister.
INDONESIA – CHINA
Indonesian Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia has promised a better plan to compensate and relocate villagers on the island of Rempang, where Jakarta wants to make room for a Chinese industrial project. After some clashes between local residents and the police, the minister considered the possibility of allowing residents to move within the island itself rather than to Galang Island, a little further south.
China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong has requested consulates to provide professional titles and residential addresses of all local staff by October 18. A letter seen by Reuters states that in line with the “Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, consulates general and the European Union Office are required to provide information on all locally employed people who have a contract of employment Work". Beijing is responsible for Hong Kong's foreign affairs, but has increased its control over the city since 2020.
Korean teachers will be entitled to free mental health treatment under a new 10 billion won government plan launched in response to growing concerns about their mental health after the suicides of some teachers who faced pressure from their pupils' parents. The initiative will last for the second semester, from September to February 2024, after which the ministries of Education and Health will jointly plan a new budget for the new school year.
The Education Authority of the Russian region of Udmurtia has issued a recommendation, given the low turnout in the last administrative elections, for which local operators and teachers will have to try to implement the 1+5 scheme, communicating in written form their own data and those of at least 5 relatives who pledge to vote in the 2024 presidential elections.
TURKMENISTAN - SINGAPORE
Turkmenistan has entrusted defense against cyber attacks to a completely unknown company from Singapore, Indigo Software, similar to a "ghost" company, based on the German Rohde & Schwarz software, even if it blocks Internet access, very frequent in the country, they are carried out by DDoS-Atak. Many believe that these are overall dark operations of the security services of the Ashgabat government.