08/22/2022, 09.26
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70-year-old Hong Kong activist Albert Ho released on bail

Today's headlines: at least four victims in the collapse of a Shia shrine in Kerbala; heavy rains and floods claim dozens of lives in India and Afghanistan; Tokyo is ready to deploy a thousand missiles as a deterrent to Beijing and Pyongyang; Singapore has cancelled a rule criminalising homosexuality; allegations over responsibility for Daria Dugina's death. 


A Hong Kong court today granted bail to Albert Ho, a pro-democracy veteran who has been in prison for over a year for violating the pro-Beijing National Security Act. The 70-year-old led the Democratic Party and allegedly has serious health problems, including lung cancer. The release includes restrictions and bans on participation in public events. 


At least four people died in a landslide that partially demolished the Shia shrine Qattarat al-Imam Ali in Kerbala on the evening of 20 August. Rescuers pulled six other people still alive from the rubble. According to initial reports, the landslide was triggered by damp that rotted the ceiling, causing it to collapse. 


Heavy rains and floods caused by the monsoon killed dozens of people over the weekend in India and Afghanistan. Delhi reports at least 50 victims in the north and east of the country, with water invading hundreds of villages and sweeping away houses. Another 20 dead, but the toll could worsen, in the eastern Afghan province of Logar, more than 3,000 homes destroyed. 


Tokyo is considering the deployment of at least a thousand long-range cruise missiles in response to Beijing's growing military capabilities - and threats. According to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri, the weapons, launched from ships or aircraft, would be stationed mainly around the southern Nansei islands. And they would be able to reach the coastal areas of North Korea and China. 


Singapore has cancelled a colonial-era regulation, 377A, which prohibited same-sex relationships, making homosexuality de facto legal in the city-state. The change, announced on television by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself, comes after years of fierce debate between those in favour and those against. The local LGBT movement openly speaks of victory. 


Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic in the Donbass, openly accuses Kiev of the murder of Daria Dugina, daughter of the philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, ideologue of the 'Russian World', who died in an attack that hit her car, in which her father was also supposed to be in Zakharovo, on the outskirts of Moscow. The government in Kiev rejects the accusations, declaring itself uninvolved, while from the Ukrainian capital Ilya Ponomarev, a former member of the Moscow Duma expelled for anti-Kremlin activities, attributes it to the work of a self-styled National Republican Army (NRA), a group of Russian 'partisans'.


The heads of government of Armenia and Georgia, Nikol Pašinyan and Iraklij Garibašvili, inaugurated the opening of the 'Friendship Bridge', the new 'Sadakhlo-Bagratašeni' border crossing across the Debet river. A project that had been dragging on since 2018 and realised thanks to a six million euro credit from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

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