06/20/2022, 09.37
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Dozens die in floods in India and Bangladesh

Today's headlines: support wanes for Japan's Kishida government; Sara Duterte is sworn in; the U.S. calls for the release of an environmental lawyer in Vietnam; China conducts successful missile interception test; cinemas in Russia will be forced to close.


Dozens of people have been killed in floods that have been battering South Asia for the past several days: at least 59 people have died so far between India and Bangladesh. Schools have been converted into shelters and the army has been deployed to villages that have been isolated by the floods. Bangladesh described the recent rains as the worst since 2004; the situation could worsen further in the coming days.


China yesterday conducted a successful test of medium-range anti-ballistic missiles, the Defense Ministry reported, adding that the exercise was "defensive and targeted no country" in particular. According to Chinese state media, six intercept tests have been conducted so far. Meanwhile, Beijing has increased crude oil imports from Russia by 55 percent over last year.


The approval rate against Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida fell six percentage points to 60 percent, according to a poll conducted by the Nikkei newspaper. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the government's handling of inflation. Monetary policy has become a major issue in the campaign for the July 10 upper house elections.


New Delhi will go ahead with the new recruitment plan for the army called Angipath despite protests from the population. Experts have criticized the decision saying it will weaken the structure of the armed forces. According to the Defense Ministry, 46 thousand cadets will be recruited this year but only 25 percent then will remain in the army ranks.


The United States expressed "concern" over the two-year prison sentence of environmental lawyer Nguy Thi Khanh, on tax evasion charges. U.S. authorities called for her immediate release. Khanh had been arrested in February, the same day two other activists were sentenced by the Hanoi court to similar prison terms.


Sara Duterte, daughter of the outgoing Philippine president, was sworn in as vice president yesterday, making a call for unity, a theme also repeated by Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos during the campaign. "The days ahead may be full of challenges that require us to be more united as a nation," he said. Marcos' inauguration ceremony will be held on June 30.


Movie theaters in Russia are gradually closing, deserted by audiences in the absence of Hollywood blockbusters, so much so that attendance has plummeted by 70 percent across the country. A loss of 11 billion rubles (nearly 200 million euros) is expected by the end of the year, and it will have to close most theaters permanently.


A deputy from Medžlis, Turkmenistan's parliament, Serdar Arazov, commented at the UN Almaty Summit for the Development of Central Asian Countries on the ban on cosmetic services for women in Turkmenistan, explaining that it is not a measure taken "for aesthetic reasons," but "totally based on health considerations."

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