06/15/2024, 10.40
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G7 leaders: key work of UNRWA and other ngos in Gaza

Today's news: Indonesia closes 2 million gaming websites; Hostages freed by the Israeli army last week in Gaza include a 27-year-old Russian man who fled the war; Possible imminent visit of Putin to North Korea worries Seoul over military ties between the two countries; Intensified bombing in Myanmar, Arakan forces denounce attack on civilian population. 


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) - repeatedly targeted by Israel - must be allowed to work unhindered in Gaza, G7 leaders said at the end of the second day of their annual summit in Italy. "We agree that it is critical that the distribution networks of UNRWA and other UN organisations and agencies are fully capable of delivering aid to those who need it most," their final communiqué read.


Indonesia has shut down more than 2 million websites that offered illegal online gambling services, the Minister of Communications said on Friday. Online gambling is banned in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, but despite this there is rampant abuse of the practice, with more than 3 million Indonesians involved last year, for an activity estimated to be worth nearly billion, or about 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product. 


Myanmar's military junta has intensified aerial bombardments in the western state of Rakhine, aiming to slow down the advance of Arakan Army rebels. Yesterday, 16 air strikes were carried out in one morning around the state capital, Sittwe. The civilian population was increasingly affected: 10 people were injured. Arakan forces reported the targeting of villages and hospitals. In a monastery in Sagaing, south-west of Mandalay, an offensive reportedly left 13 people dead last week.


As tensions rise between the two Koreas a possible imminent visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to North Korea could deepen military ties between the two countries in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. South Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun, in an emergency phone call with US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, said the visit should not lead to greater military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.


The head of the Philippine military urged local fishermen to continue fishing in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, despite new Chinese Coast Guard rules allowing it to detain offenders without trial for up to 60 days, effective 15 June. The detention is due to the enforcement of a 2021 law, which authorises Chinese authorities to use force against those sailing in waters claimed by Beijing.


Since 15 August 2021, some women have challenged restrictions on their freedom imposed by the Taliban, including a ban on working, studying and going out in public. But those who have taken to the streets in the capital Kabul to protest and demand 'food, work, freedom' have suffered severe repression. BCC interviews three Afghan women who claim to have been beaten, imprisoned, even threatened with death by stoning.


Among the Israeli hostages freed on 8 June in a raid against Hamas in Gaza is 27-year-old Russian Andrej Kozlov, who had moved to Israel in August 2022 to escape the war and was working as a caretaker at the Nova festival on which terrorists struck on 7 October, and was now able to meet his parents who had come from St. Petersburg, after eight months without news of him.


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pašinyan stated that the future of relations with the Csto alliance (Collective Security Treaty Organisation, established in 1992), from which Armenia intends to leave, will depend a great deal "on the apology expected from the president of Belarus, who hoped Azerbaijan would win", assuring however that he will not visit Minsk as long as Lukašenko remains in power.

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