Ex Japanese PM Abe shot at rally, in serious condition
Today's headlines: Qatar, alcohol-free stadiums for Qatar World Cup; in Sri Lanka, more and more people are abandoning cars and motorbikes for bicycles; in Afghanistan, tens of thousands of people have been displaced in fighting between the Taliban and locals for control of some mines; Vientiane blocks the activities of a Vietnamese company due to environmental pollution and exploitation; more and more Russian tourists are visiting Georgia and Turkey.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hospitalised in serious condition following a gunshot attack at an event in the city of Nara. The second bullet hit him in the back, causing him to collapse to the ground. The police detained a 41-year-old suspect, who was allegedly involved in the shooting. At the moment, the reason for the attack that is shaking the country, which will go to elections for the renewal of the upper house on Sunday, is unknown.
The World Cup stadiums in Qatar will be 'alcohol-free', in compliance with the norms of Islam. After much controversy and dissenting opinions, the organisers appear to be moving towards prohibition inside the facilities, allowing consumption in certain areas before and after the sporting events. A snub for most fans accustomed to beer consumption.
Faced with the growing economic crisis, thousands of Sri Lankans, many of them once members of the middle class, have abandoned cars and motorbikes to rely on bycycles. Hard currency reserves are close to zero, and imports of fertiliser, food and medicine for the 22 million inhabitants are at a standstill. Fuel supplies have been blocked for a fortnight.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by recent fighting between the Taliban and local tribes in the Balkhab district of Sar-e-Pul province. Behind the violence is an attempt to control the (five) coal mines in the area. One of the world's largest copper reserves is also located in the area. Mining resumed three months ago as the energy crisis deepened.
LAOS - VIETNAM
Vientiane has ordered a Vietnamese-owned iron ore mine to halt production after some rivers turned red. The Company of Economic Cooperation in Vietnam (Coecco), which operates a plant in the southern province of Khammouane, was targeted. The company is responsible for illegal mining, exploitation and environmental pollution.
Due to the difficulty of reaching European tourist resorts, middle-class Russians flocked to Georgia, where around half a million tourists, mostly from Russia, travelled in June, between the sea and the mountains, despite the low standard of services. The more affluent prefer Turkey, despite the steep rise in air ticket prices.
Kazakh President Tokaev has urgently instructed the company 'KazMunajGaz' to work out an alternative route for the transportation of oil across the Caspian after the closure of the Russian Ktk facilities 'due to maintenance problems'. This involves the export of two-thirds of the production, to be protected in international corridors bypassing Russia.