Chinese military exercises around Taiwan: 'Warning to independents'.
Today's headlines: Moscow's Sakharov Centre also closed. Thaksin Shinawatra will return to Thailand on 22 August, Pheu Thai premier's confidence day. Star of David on one cheek during the arrest of a Palestinian detainee. Baseball bats made of recycled aluminium from Japan's ultra-fast Shinkansen train.
China's People's Liberation Army today launched massive naval and air force exercises around Taiwan. The operations - said the spokesman of the Eastern Theater Command Shi Yi to the official Chinese agency Xinhua - aim to test the ability to fight in real conditions, adding that the patrols "serve as a severe warning to the collusion of the separatists of Taiwan with foreign elements and their provocations”.
The Moscow court has decided the definitive closure of the Sakharov Center, dedicated to the memory of dissent, throughout Russia at the request of the Ministry of Justice, which in its checks found "serious systematic and non-amendable violations of the law", declaring the Center "foreign agent" and the Sakharov foundation in the US as "unwanted" in Russia.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return to Thailand on August 22. The younger daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra announced it with a post on social media. The date coincides with the day of the confidence vote in parliament for Srettha Thavisin, the premier candidate of Pheu Thai (the party of the Shinavatra family) who should receive the support of political forces close to the military. Thaksin has been living in voluntary exile since the 2006 coup d'état and has three sentences pending on him for a total sentence of 12 years in prison.
A Vietnamese stand-up comedian was arrested by police in Ho Chi Minh City, beaten and then fined for videos on social issues he posted on his popular YouTube account six years ago. Nguyen Phuc Gia Huy, 41, has participated in the television program "Vietnam's Got Talent" and has a YouTube channel - where he is known as Cucumber - which has nearly 900,000 subscribers. He was fined 7.5 million Vietnamese dong (about 300 euros) for "untruthful content".
Israeli police officers allegedly brutally beat a Palestinian In East Jerusalem, stamping a Star of David on his cheek after arresting him. The man, a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp, is suspected of drug crimes; His attorney has filed charges of police brutality. According to the Israeli site Ynet sixteen agents took part in the arrest, but none of them had their cameras on.
The state universities of Kalmykia, Tuva and Buryatia, the three Russian republics of Mongolian ethnicity, have formed a consortium for the study of the Buddhist religion, the majority among their populations, together with the Buddhist university "Daši Čoynkhorlin" and other educational institutions and religious, during the Buddhist Forum in Ulan-Ude.
Aluminum from disused Japanese Shinkansen ultra-fast trains has been recycled into baseball bats for children, which will be marketed in limited editions starting October 14, the day Japan celebrates Railway Day. JR Central retires “bullet trains ” after about ten years, scrapping seven a year from the Tokaido Shinkansen line. Recovered and purified aluminum has so far been reused as decoration for buildings.