03/04/2024, 09.53
ASIA TODAY
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China, 'two sessions' kick off: eyes on economy

Today's news: In Pakistan Shebaz Sharif wins confidence as prime minister amid protests from Imran Khan MPs; US Vice President Kamala Harris calls for "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza; Government crisis in Nepal; Yingluck Shinawatra also acquitted in Thailand; Chaos in Kazakhstan over adoption of single time zone.

CHINA

Thousands of delegates from across China gather in Beijing this week for the "two sessions", the most important political event of the year. The first, which kicked off today, is the meeting of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). From tomorrow it will be the turn of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's legislative body. The "two sessions" ratify what has already been decided by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, but they are a crucial event to verify the internal balance of the nomenklatura and the political priorities of the People's Republic. The economy, grappling with the collapse in consumption and the prolonged crisis in the real estate sector, will be the most followed topic at this year's meeting.

PAKISTAN

The Pakistani parliament yesterday re-elected Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister with 201 votes, against 92 for Omar Ayub, the candidate supported by deputies linked to Imran Khan, the jailed former prime minister, who emerged victorious in the elections. Sharif - leading a coalition - returns to the role he had until August, when Parliament was dissolved. The outcome of the vote was greeted by strong protests from the Sunni Ittehad Council, the party which includes Khan's parliamentarians, elected as "independent" after his party was banned. These MPs called for Khan's release and shouted slogans claiming that fraud allowed Sharif to come to power.

NEPAL

Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is in talks with two opposition parties to form a new coalition, amid difficulties with his current ally, the Nepalese Congress Party. Govinda Acharya, Dahal's press secretary, said the former guerrilla leader is likely to appoint a new cabinet that will include candidates from the two main opposition parties - the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Rastriya Swotantra Party (RSP).

THAILAND

Thailand's Supreme Court has cleared exiled former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of negligence in a case dating back to 2013, when he was in office. The decision comes a few days after the release of his brother Thaksin, also a former prime minister. Yingluck has been living abroad for the past six years to avoid prison for a previous conviction for negligence handed down after her government was ousted in a military coup in 2014.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE-UNITED STATES

US Vice President Kamala Harris called for an immediate six-week ceasefire in Gaza and pressured Israel to increase the flow of aid to ease the "humanitarian catastrophe" among the Palestinian people. This is the clearest intervention by a senior US government official since the beginning of the war. Just today, Harris will meet Israeli Minister Benny Gantz in Washington, in the United States for a trip contested by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The clash occurs while the negotiations in Cairo to reach a truce remain deadlocked.

RUSSIA

The conference of Catholic bishops of Russia (KKER) met in Irkutsk in Siberia for its LIXth assembly, in which Card. Giorgio Marengo from Mongolia. The bishops asked the Lord to "guide our steps" and those of everyone on the path to peace and declared the blessings of same-sex couples "unacceptable", "to avoid temptation and confusion" regarding the doctrine on the family and marriage .

KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan's transition to the single UTC+5 time zone is creating some inconveniences, such as the total blocking of the eGov state services portal, and confusion in the digital documents of citizens who have "aged" by one day, while the date of previous birth. Operators are looking for solutions, promising that a few days will be enough.

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