03/01/2024, 09.26
ASIA TODAY
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China: fifth monthly drop in manufacturing, government policies ineffective

Today's news: Tokyo sends mini-drones and robot-snakes to one of the Fukushima reactors to prepare for the removal of highly radioactive waste; Israel aims to build new settlements in the West Bank, nearly 15 thousand housing units; Burmese junta hits a market in Rakhine State, at least 12 dead; In Russia, controls on mobile phones and apps increase.

CHINA
China's manufacturing industry fell for the fifth consecutive month in February, reflecting continued weakness in the economy. The Purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 49.1 last month, a further decrease compared to 49.2 the previous month (50 marks the limit between expansion and contraction). The measures adopted by Beijing to support the economy, including the reduction of a lending rate, are ineffective - for now.

JAPAN
Japan yesterday sent two mini-drones and a "snake robot" to one of the three reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the scene of the March 2011 accident. The vehicles were deployed in preparation for the operation to remove hundreds of tons of fuel and waste, which could take decades. The interior is too radioactive for human entry.

ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Israel wants to build a new settlement for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, north of the town of Al-Ubeidiya, east of Bethlehem. According to Peace Now activists, the first part includes 3,600 housing units on approximately 417 dunams for a religious-nationalist population. In the second another 2,000 dunams and 10 thousand housing units for ultra-Orthodox Haredim. The project costs 751 thousand dollars.

MYANMAR
The Burmese military junta killed 12 civilians, shot while they were in a crowded market at the time of the attack. Another 18 people were seriously injured. The bombing occurred yesterday morning and was the work of a battalion that opened fire indiscriminately in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, a territory disputed with the Arakan rebels active in the area.

INDIA
Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India with 114 billion dollars in assets, organized a sumptuous pre-wedding party for his son by setting up a banquet for 50 thousand guests, the inhabitants of his native village of Jamnagar, in the western state of Gujarat. Today the arrival of Bollywood stars, industrialists and politicians is expected for the three-day wedding. In 2018 he organized the most expensive wedding in the country for his daughter, with a cost of 100 million dollars.

RUSSIA
As several humanitarian activists report, in Russia there are more and more criminal charges based on information collected from phones or mobile applications, conversations and saved messages or files. The police demand checks on devices and material either when crossing borders, during house searches or even when checking documents in the middle of the street.

ARMENIA - AZERBAIJAN
Negotiations continue in Berlin between the Foreign Ministers of Yerevan and Baku mediated by Prime Minister Olaf Scholz. Meanwhile, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pašinyan continues meetings with Western leaders including his Greek counterpart Kiriakos Mitsotakis to whom he promised to "build a new liberal democracy". A visit to Armenia by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is under consideration.

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