05/27/2022, 00.00
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Doctors and health workers on the streets of Beirut in two day general strike

Today's headlines: after two years of Covid-19 closures, from 10 June international tourism resumes in Japan; Beijing rejects passport applications from Christians; drug use is rampant in the Kachin State in northern Myanmar; the Indian prime minister continues his protectionist policy on food, after wheat now sugar; from Bishkek a call "for unity" to the other Central Asian nations to counter the critical period. 



Dozens of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff took to the streets yesterday in front of the Central Bank headquarters in Beirut. White coats and health workers have called a two-day general strike to protest against the rapidly deteriorating economic situation, and will affect both public and private facilities. Dialysis and emergency interventions will be guaranteed. 


After two years of closures due to Covid-19, Tokyo announces the reopening of borders to tourists from 36 nations, starting from 10 June. Visitors will only be welcomed as part of organised group tours and from countries such as Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Australia. Other Asian countries include Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. This brings the number of airports with international flights to seven. 


Drug use is on the rise among young people in the predominantly Christian Kachin State in northern Myanmar. Use has been increasing since the military coup in February 2021, especially of opium heroin. At least two out of five males in the 18 towns use drugs; the sale is illegal, but the proceeds also attract officials and authorities.


Chinese authorities in the east of the country are rejecting passport applications en bloc, especially if the applicant is a Christian who wants to emigrate or study abroad. The phenomenon concerns the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu in particular. The government is tightening controls and blockades, which are not justified by containing the Covid-19 pandemic. 


The Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues its 'food first' policy. And after cutting wheat exports it is now focusing on sugar to safeguard the domestic market. The latest measure stipulates that no more than 10 tonnes may be sent abroad between June and September. The remainder should suffice for domestic needs. 


Grey' purchases of electronics-related materials have begun in Russia: the 'MVideo - Eldorado' network has started to import elements from various directions, but mainly from Iran, without the corresponding consent of the rights owners. However, the under-the-table traffic does not include Apple products, for fear of US reactions. 


A prominent Kyrgyz diplomat, Bolot Džunusov, former head of international cooperation in the Biškek government, published an appeal in Azattyk to all politicians of Central Asian countries. He issued a call for unity of forces and intent in this dramatic international context, based on mutual cultural, ideological and economic affinities.

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”