Ankara approves Finland's entry into Nato, Sweden stalled
Today's headlines: 35 die in incident at a Hindu temple in Indore; In limited victory for Tehran The Hague deems US asset freeze of Iranian companies partially 'illegal'; Water crisis hits South Korea; Cambodian opposition leader appeals against conviction; Pyongyang launches campaign against divorce; Taliban delegation in Tajikistan to discuss borders.
TURKEY - FINLAND
Late last night, the Turkish parliament approved a bill allowing Finland to join NATO, opening the door of the Atlantic alliance to Helsinki, which had been pushing for membership in an anti-Russian context. Ankara is the last of the 30 countries to ratify membership, while Sweden, which has so far failed to convince President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, remains outstanding.
At least 35 worshippers died and more than a dozen were rescued by rescuers in an accident yesterday at a Hindu temple in Indore, in the centre of the country. More than 25 people plunged into a well - a source of water used by the municipality - after the floor covering collapsed under the weight of those present. Temples are crowded for Ram Navami, Lord Ram's birthday.
IRAN - UNITED STATES
Partial victory for Tehran: International Court of Justice judges ruled yesterday that Washington had 'illegally' allowed US courts to freeze assets of Iranian companies. The US will have to pay compensation to be quantified. However, the Court said it had no jurisdiction over EUR 1.75 billion of frozen assets of the Central Bank of Iran.
South Korea is grappling with one of its worst water crises in history, affecting over one million people so far. The two main reservoirs supplying Jeolla province, about 440 km south of Seoul, are drying up. Among the initiatives being considered by the Seoul government to limit the crisis is the construction of a mobile seawater desalination plant.
The 69-year-old opposition leader Kem Sokha, co-founder of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), appealed against his 27-year sentence (which he is serving under house arrest) for "conspiring" with foreign entities to overthrow Prime Minister Hun Sen. He was also deprived of his political rights and cannot meet with anyone other than his family without permission.
Pyongyang launches an anti-divorce campaign aimed at convincing 'disgruntled wives' to stay in the family against a backdrop of economic crisis. One of the points of the initiative is the 'public pillory' punishment of the parents of couples going through a divorce. Companies with high separation rates are also targeted.
AFGHANISTAN - TAJIKISTAN
A Taliban delegation, for the first time since the return to power in Kabul, paid an official visit to Tajikistan, in Khorog, in recent days. The parties kept the meeting strictly confidential, without making any statements. Experts believe that the focus of the talks was border relations and the situation of the Tajiks in Afghanistan, with many family ties on both borders.
According to The Moscow Times, President Vladimir Putin has imposed a ban on civil servants, deputies and senators, governors, heads of major state-owned companies and banks, prohibiting them from travelling abroad without explicit permission. Anonymous sources quoted by the newspaper reveal that, in fact, the 'iron curtain has been re-established, at least for state employees'.