09/15/2023, 09.59
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Dhaka: two-year jail term for activists who documented extrajudicial killings

Today's headlines: Emirates, maxi seizure of 13 tonnes of Captagon worth over a billion dollars; A 10-year-old boy in Hong Kong arrested for armed robbery, luxury watches worth nearly 650,000 euros in the loot; Tharman Shanmugaratnam sworn in as Singapore's ninth president; Border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan reopened, but tension remains between the parties; Lavrov: 'Russia and China withdraw from UN sanctions on Pyongyang over nuclear programme'.

Two years in prison: this is the sentence handed down to two prominent activists in Bangladesh, which - according to critics - aims to silence dissent. In the dock are 63-year-old Adilur Rahman Khan and 57-year-old Nasiruddin Elan, leaders of the Odhikar organization, which for decades has documented thousands of extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances of activists and police brutality.

UAE police have seized 13 tonnes (86 million) of amphetamine pills hidden in a container containing furniture, worth more than a billion dollars. The drug is known as Captagon, the "poor man's cocaine", and was discovered following a tip-off. The suspicion is that it was produced in Syria, the global epicenter of the narcotic.

A 10-year-old boy was arrested for armed robbery, along with two accomplices aged 14 and 19. Their target was a luxury watch shop in the Tsim Sha Tsui district where goods worth almost 650 thousand euros were stolen in 30 seconds. According to The Standard he was wearing his school uniform at the time of the crime and was equipped with a hammer, butcher knives and a sledgehammer.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam was sworn in yesterday as the ninth president of Singapore, two weeks after a landslide victory at the polls (70.41% of the votes). Two predecessors, Halimah Yacob and Tony Tan, were present, as well as members of the government. The role includes stewardship of past reserves, integrity of public service and symbol of unity in a multiracial society.

After a nine-day closure, the Torkham border crossing, the main land crossing point between Afghanistan and Pakistan, reopened today. The border was closed after a heavy firefight between the two fronts, blocking thousands of travelers and hundreds of trucks loaded with goods on both sides. Despite the agreement, the exchange of accusations between Kabul and Islamabad continues.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of the meeting at the Vostochnyj cosmodrome, underlined that Russia and China have renounced applying sanctions against North Korea. They "were decided in a completely different geopolitical context", against Pyongyang's nuclear programs by the UN Security Council, of which Moscow and Beijing are also members.

As Prime Minister Nikol Pasinyan explained to the Yerevan Parliament, when questioned by opposition MP Agnessa Khamoyan, the National Security Service (SNB) is verifying the news spread by various media on the arrival of a significant number of members of the Wagner company. The government remains on high alert.

Israel has signed an agreement with Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan to form an unprecedented regional alliance with Muslim countries, aimed at the transportation of grain. The objective is to guarantee "the satisfaction of all the needs of Tel Aviv in the context of the global crisis caused by the war in Ukraine", a "long-term" agreement with access to Israeli technologies.

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