12/04/2021, 09.00
ASIA TODAY
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Afghanistan, Taliban ban forced marriages but fail to mention women's rights

Today's headlines: China backs proposed declaration of formal end to Korean War; talak practice spreads in Central Asia; a Thai singer is facing criticism for her father's involvement in 2013 protests.

CENTRAL ASIA

In the countries of Central Asia, the practice of talak, the Islamic divorce, is becoming more and more popular. Nowadays, this practice can be activated simply by a phone call, a text message or a tweet.

AFGHANISTAN

The Taliban have issued a decree prohibiting forced marriages, stating that women should not be considered "property". The announcement was made by Hibatullah Akhunzada, who did not mention a minimum age for marriage, nor the right to study or work for women.

LEBANON

Lebanese Information Minister George Khordahi, whose criticism of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen against the Houthi rebels triggered a diplomatic crisis, announced his resignation.

INDONESIA

Through a joint venture with Indian and French groups, Indonesia wants to develop the Kualanamu International Airport in North Sumatra province. Angkasa Pura Aviasi will set up a 25-year 'strategic partnership' worth USD 6 billion. Jakarta wants to rival Singapore's Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

THAILAND

Thai singer Sitala Wongkrachang has decided that she will release her first album in South Korea. Some are trying to boycott the release of the new record because of her father's involvement in protests against Yingluck Shinawatra's government in 2013 that later enabled the 2014 coup.

INDIA

In a partial strike, Indian doctors have shunned less urgent cases to demand that the government allow new graduates to join hospital staff in anticipation of a new wave of Covid-19. India has one of the worst doctor-patient ratios in the world.

JAPAN

The US pharmaceutical company Merck has asked the Japanese government for approval to manufacture and sell a tablet against Covid-19. If permission is granted, Japan would be the first country to use the pill against the coronavirus.

CHINA - SOUTH KOREA

Beijing supports the South Korean proposal for a formal declaration of an end to the 1950-53 Korean War. This was stated yesterday by Yang Jiechi, China's head of foreign affairs. The Ministry of Unification in Seoul said the budget for inter-Korean cooperation will rise to 2% in 2022.

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