Iran sets new record with 834 death sentences carried out in 2023

Today's news: in China military spending will increase again by 7.2%; Taiwan forced to apologize to India for some statements by the Minister of Labor on the color of migrants' skin; From July, entry costs 13 dollars to follow the path that goes up Mount Fuji; Fear but little significant damage in the earthquake in Astana.


Iran carried out a "staggering" total of at least 834 death sentences during 2023, the highest number since 2015, according to a joint report by Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Together Against the Death Penalty, based in Paris. It is only the second time in the last twenty years that more than 800 executions have been recorded in the space of twelve months: the only precedent was 972 in 2015. The groups have accused Iran of using the death penalty to spread fear in society, in the wake of the protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022 in police custody.


Despite the economic difficulties, military spending in China will still increase by 7.2% this year. According to the government work report delivered on Tuesday by Premier Li Qiang, the defense budget has been set at 1.665 trillion yuan (over 213 trillion euros). This is the ninth consecutive increase: military spending increased by 7.2% in 2023 as well.


Taiwan's Foreign Ministry has expressed a "sincere apology" to New Delhi after statements by its labor minister suggesting that labor from India in Taipei would be recruited from northeastern states due to similarities in "color of the skin", in eating habits and in religion. On February 29, Hsu Ming-chun was asked about the recently signed workforce mobility agreement with India on an online YouTube program.


Hikers using the most popular route to climb Mount Fuji in Japan from July will have to pay each, with a cap to ease crowding and improve safety. This was announced by a local government official. A growing crowd of tourists climbs Japan's highest mountain, which is covered in snow most of the year but attracts more than 220,000 visitors from July to September.


After initially denying it, the British Home Office was forced by a wave of protests to grant an entry visa to the Afghan Youth Orchestra, an orchestra of young Afghan musicians aged between 14 and 22 who live in exile in Portugal with refugee status since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul. They will perform on March 7 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London as part of a tour entitled “Breaking the Silence” which aims to raise awareness of the plight of Afghan women and girls.


Authorities in the Russian republic of Ingushetia in the North Caucasus said they had eliminated a group of six ISIS terrorists who had barricaded themselves inside an apartment building in the city of Karabulak, from where they were preparing a series of attacks. A passer-by was also killed and a guard injured in the armed clash.


The city of Almaty in Kazakhstan was hit yesterday by some earthquakes which were then assessed as having an intensity of the fifth degree on the Mercalli scale. This is the second episode since the beginning of the year, fortunately without serious consequences. As a precaution, the subway was closed and people poured into the streets and into the 400 shelter locations.