11/08/2021, 09.21
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Beijing uses US aircraft carrier replicas in military exercises

Today's news: Emirates opens to marriage, divorce and joint custody for non-Muslims, tensions between Delhi and Islamabad over the killing of an Indian fisherman, Thailand rejects calls for amendment to "lese majesty" law.



The Chinese Army is using models and replicas of U.S. aircraft carriers as targets in exercises conducted in a remote area of the Western Desert. Satellite images show that the People's Liberation Army is focusing on attacks and the "neutralization" of one of the key instruments of American power. The area is the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang, where an aircraft carrier and two Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers have been replicated and positioned. Both assets are deployed by the U.S. Seventh Fleet, which patrols the western Pacific, including the waters around Taiwan.


A decree by Abu Dhabi's ruler will allow non-Muslims to marry, divorce and gain joint custody of children under civil law. The decision was taken in order to maintain a competitive advantage as a regional economic hub; until now marriage and divorce laws had been based on Islamic sharia principles, as in other Gulf States. Last year the Emirates introduced a series of reforms, including decriminalization of premarital sex, alcohol consumption and leniency in so-called "honor killings". 


Indian police have opened a file to investigate the Pakistan Maritime Safety Agency (PMSA) for having opened fire on a fishing boat near the border with international waters, killing one fisherman and wounding a second. The incident, whose contours are still to be clarified, occurred yesterday evening; the judiciary intends to proceed for "murder" against 10 Pakistani citizens. 


Yesterday, Japan recorded no Covid-19-related deaths. The national broadcaster NHK reported that the last precedent was on August 2, 2020. Cases of the new coronavirus and deaths have plummeted thanks to an effective vaccination campaign that has found the adherence of more than 70% of the population, The peak dates back to August with 25 thousand daily cases, driven by the Delta variant. 


For the first time since the start of the pandemic, in November the national airline Cathay Pacific increased connections with various European capitals and cities. The latest destinations to be introduced include Madrid and Milan, while plans for Zurich are currently frozen due to a lack of crew members, combined with the fact that Switzerland is still considered a high-risk country. Moreover, restrictive regulations and still strict measures regarding international travel have blocked plans for further openings. 


Activists and human rights groups are appealing to the Singapore government to halt the execution - scheduled for November 10 - of a man sentenced to death for drug trafficking who has been on death row for more than 12 years. Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, originally from Malaysia, was arrested in April 2009, at age 21, for attempting to smuggle 43 grams of heroin into Singapore. The drugs had been strapped to his thigh. He reportedly has learning difficulties and the sentence is seen as a cruel violation of international law. 


Amending or deleting Section 112 of the Penal Code, better known as the crime of "lese majeste," is impossible both technically and in principle, in spirit. This is what Thipanan Sirichana, former deputy spokesperson of the ruling Palang Pracharath party and current advisor to the Prime Minister's Office, said. Abolishing a rule intended to provide legal protection to the monarch from insult and dishonor, she explains, is a serious violation of the Constitution. The rule has long been the focus of protests by activists and democratic movements, because it would be exploited to suppress dissent. 


The shaman of Jacuzia Aleksandr Gabyšev, who for over a year has been trying to reach Moscow to put a curse on President Putin, has been arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals, and sectioned in the local psychiatric hospital. Gabyšev had already been assigned to an asylum in Novosibirsk for several months, and no one knows how he managed to escape and cross half of Siberia without being noticed.


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