03/17/2023, 09.07
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Afghanistan: after two years without education, girls turn to madrasa

Today's headlines: Indonesia admits difficulties in Myanmar conflict; Indian students returned to Ukraine to finish their studies; Azerbaijan reassures Germany on gas supply; Meeting between Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey to normalise relations between Ankara and Damascus.


According to Save the Children, at least three million Afghan girls have been deprived of education in the last two years. Since the Taliban's return to power, however, Islamic schools have increased, and in some cases the number of enrolled students has doubled: many female students, in order to continue their studies, now attend the madrasa where they learn the precepts of Islam according to the Taliban's strict interpretation and recite the Koran in Arabic.


Two men were arrested in Hong Kong for possession of picture books described as 'seditious' by local authorities. They are the first people to be arrested for simple possession of the books, after the publishers were jailed last year. Both men were released on bail but will have to report to the police next month, authorities said.


Indonesia is in talks with various warring factions, but resolving the conflict that has engulfed Myanmar since the coup in 2021 will take time. This was stated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, adding that, as Asean chairperson, he will do his best to improve the situation in Myanmar despite the "complicated" crisis.


Indian students who were in Ukraine before the outbreak of the war to complete their medical degrees have decided to return to the country to finish their studies. India had evacuated 23,000 fellow citizens, including 18,000 university students. At least 1,100 Indians are currently living in Ukraine in cities in the western part of the country such as Lviv, Uzhgorod and Ternopil.


Protesters against the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now include a group of women, disguised as the characters in "The Handmaid's Tale", a famous dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood and also a TV series. In crimson dresses and white caps, heads bowed and hands clasped, the activists take part in all demonstrations against the reform of the judiciary, which will limit its independence.


Negotiations between Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey are being held in Moscow these days for the normalisation of relations between Ankara and Damascus, a process that began at the end of 2022, focusing on the problems of the north-eastern Kurdish enclaves and the future of Syria's political institutions, a topic that also affects the upcoming elections in Turkey.


The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, paid an official visit to Germany, where he assured that Baku will increase "the geography of gas exports to Europe", from 8 billion cubic metres in 2021 to 12 billion in 2023, "half of Azerbaijan's entire gas exports".

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