Indian Supreme Court rules election funding system unconstitutional

Today's news: protests continue in Pakistan over alleged electoral fraud; Tension between Taiwan and China after a fatal accident involving a Chinese boat; As lessons in South Korea approach, Kim Jong Un increases missile tests; The war against Hamas erodes Israel's economy; Japan, in recession, loses its place as the world's third largest economy to Germany; In Leningrad, all open-air demonstrations are banned, including ecological and sports events.


On the eve of the general elections expected in April, the Supreme Court of India has abolished the electoral financing system established seven years ago which allows individuals and companies to donate money to parties anonymously and without limits. A measure that will especially affect Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, which was the biggest beneficiary of the system he introduced in 2017.


Protests against alleged electoral fraud are intensifying in various parts of the country: in Balochistan in particular, on Wednesday traffic was suspended for several hours on all the highways connecting the region with other Pakistani provinces and with Afghanistan. This is because Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leaders and some candidates who won seats in the national and provincial assemblies of Balochistan announced in a joint statement that the party would form a governing coalition.


Taiwan's government has defended the actions of its coast guard after two people on a Chinese speedboat died while trying to escape an inspection. Beijing accuses the island of persecuting its fishermen in a "dangerous manner", while Taiwan reiterates that Chinese fishing boats and other vessels are increasingly operating in its territorial waters.


Israel's economy is taking a hit after more than four months of war with Hamas. Analysts expected growth of around 3.5% last year, but after the October 7 attack, Israelis stopped spending and traveling, and thousands were called up for reserve military service in one of the largest mobilizations of troops than Israel has ever seen and tens of thousands of Palestinian workers have been fired with half of the country's construction sites idle for months. For this reason, overall growth in 2023 stopped at 2%.


The authorities of the Leningrad region have banned all types of open-air demonstrations, including environmental and sports ones, due to the threat of attacks by Ukrainian assault drones, for the period from February 15 to May 1, when Moscow hopes to be able to solemnly celebrate Labor Day and Victory Day on May 9th.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday oversaw the test of a new surface-to-sea missile and visited a major munitions factory, where he called for increased weapons production because "South Korea is violating the North's sovereignty by insisting on a Northern Limit Line," he said. The launch was also detected by South Korea's military, and is the latest of several such tests in the final weeks before South Korea's April general election.


Japan lost its status as the world's third-largest economy to Germany in 2023 and unexpectedly slipped into recession in the final quarter of last year due to weak domestic demand. Japan's nominal gross domestic product is .21 trillion, trailing that of the United States, China, and Germany's .46 trillion. The main reason for this decline is the devaluation of the yen.


Representatives of “Reporters Without Borders” denounce the continuous repression of the media in Kyrgyzstan, after the decision of the Bishkek court to liquidate the public foundation Kloop Media, on the grounds that “the published materials are aimed at unjustified criticism of the policy of the current authorities of the country", complete with a psychiatric report according to which "these reports negatively influence social emotional conditions".