11/17/2022, 09.52
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Cambodia: 5-year ban expires, main opposition party returns

Today's headlines: the number of young people under 15 in Hong Kong arrested for drug offences increased by more than 50 per cent in 2021; in Pakistan, censorship gives green light to Joyland screening; Turkish Islamic telepreacher sentenced to more than 8,000 years in prison; Burmese army raids on Thai border, three civilians killed; Beijing reduces Russian oil imports. 

After a five-year ban, issued in 2017 by the Supreme Court under pressure from Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia's main opposition party is back. Yesterday, the terms expired and the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) is back in the political fold, although about half of its former members will not be able to run for office because they have been convicted of subversion or conspiracy. 

The number of young people in Hong Kong between the ages of 10 and 15 arrested on suspicion of drug offences increased by 52.6% in 2021, a growth deemed 'substantial'. Last year, 678 people under the age of 21 were imprisoned; of these, 116 were under the age of 15 (72 in 2020). Less than 40 between 2017 and 2019. Posts on social media encouraging drug use are also on the rise. 

An Istanbul court sentenced the controversial Islamic tele-preacher Adnan Oktar to 8658 years in prison in second instance. In the first instance, the sentence was 1075, on charges of money laundering and sexual offences. On TV, he extolled creationism and conspiracy. As a holocaust denier, he then defended the right of Christians and Jews to pray at the Esplanade of Mosques. 

The censorship committee reportedly gave the green light to the screening of a Pakistani-produced film, which tells the love story between a married man and a transgender woman. Behind the suspension decreed by the government was allegedly pressure from Islamic extremist groups. "Joyland' received praise abroad, including the Jury Prize at Cannes and an Oscar nomination. 

An air raid by army fighters in the early hours of yesterday in a border area between Myanmar and Thailand, controlled by the Karen National Union (Knu), caused at least three civilian casualties. They were allegedly workers in a mine in the area, located 32 km from Payathonzu in Kayin State. Several Chinese immigrants work in the quarry, but the dead are all said to be Burmese nationals. 

China is starting to decrease its import of Russian oil, in view of the total embargo by the European Union that will officially start in early December. Instead of the usual 30 monthly cargoes, only seven have been purchased so far for December from the Russian Far East producer Espo, replacing them with cargoes from Brazil and West Africa.

Measures are being stepped up in Turkmenistan against young people with long beards, considered a sign of a tendency towards Islamic extremism, with numerous arrests every day and forced shaves in police stations, on pain of severe sentences. Previously, it was enough to drink a glass of vodka and eat a piece of lard to avoid fines, now a sum of about EUR 5 has to be paid.

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