Burma's junta won't dissolve Aung San Suu Kyi's party
Today's Headlines: Covid rules threaten to drive businesses out of Hong Kong; South Korea's birth rate slumps again; Iran open to restoring nuclear deal; Flight of foreign capital from India; Naval'nyj added to terrorist list; Major power blackout in Central Asia.
The military junta that took power on February 1, 2021 says it will not dissolve the National League for Democracy, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the civilian government overthrown by the generals. The move aims to give more credibility to the elections that the coup government says it wants to hold in 2023.
Hong Kong could remove its stringent anti-Covid rules and reopen fully to foreign travel only in early 2024. This is the alarm raised by the local EU Chamber of Commerce, which believes that this scenario could cause a flight of foreign companies and staff, endangering the city's status as an international financial centre.
Taipei has not received any request from the Lithuanian government to change the name of its representative office in Vilnius, the island's foreign minister said, contradicting press reports on the matter. The use of the word "Taiwanese" for Taiwan's diplomatic mission in Lithuania has triggered commercial retaliation from China, which considers Taipei a "rebel province".
The birth rate continues to fall according to figures released today, only 19,800 children were born in November, down 1.3% from a year earlier and the worst figure for the month in question since 1981, when Seoul began collecting these statistics. In the first 11 months of 2021, the annual decline was 3.4%.
If the United States removes economic and financial sanctions against it, Iran is willing to reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal called to limit Tehran's atomic programme President Ebrahim Raisi announced last night. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two sides since April.
Along with South Korea and Taiwan, India is the Asian country suffering the greatest fligh of capital. This week, foreign investors sold .1 billion worth of Indian, South Korean and Taiwanese bonds, a move prompted by the expected rise in US interest rates in March.
Aleksej Naval'nyj has been officially put on the list of terrorists and extremists in Russia, together with his associates in the Anti-Corruption Fund. Some of them are in prison like the well-known dissident, others exiled abroad and some are trying to continue operating in their homeland despite severe restrictions on their freedom of action and movement.
There have been electricity outages throughout Central Asia, leading to total blackouts in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan from morning until evening. Especially Tashkent, Biškek and Almaty were left in the dark due to a "grid imbalance" on the Uzbek and Kyrgyz side.