Gaza-Israel: US veto on immediate ceasefire
Today's headlines: Japan's prime minister is set to replace his right-hand man. Indonesia’s president blames human trafficking for the increase in Rohingya arrivals. Laos is proposing new economic reforms that do not convince the population. Due to climate change, a flower sacred for one of Taiwan’s indigenous people is disappearing.
GAZA – ISRAEL
The United States vetoed a UN Security Council's calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, arguing that it could be the start of even fiercer clashes. Washington has also called on Israel to make a greater commitment to the protection of Palestinian civilians. Israel recently released pictures of dozens of half-naked men captured by Israeli security forces, claiming they were Hamas fighters. Several Palestinians recognised friends and relatives, saying that they are civilians and have nothing to do with the armed group.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering replacing Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, after he was accused of raising 100 million yen (US$ 69,000) in political contributions without reporting them over the past five years. The chief cabinet secretary is the prime minister's de facto number two. Matsuno's departure would be another blow to the Kishida government, which recently saw its approval rating hit an all-time low after more than two years in office.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo claims that human trafficking is behind the arrival of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Indonesia. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 1,200 Rohingya, who are a persecuted minority in Myanmar, have landed in Indonesia since November. The high number of arrivals is generating negative feelings and resistance in Aceh, the country’s westernmost region where most of the landings have taken place.
Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone announced that his government was introducing new measures to address the country's economic problems, including the imposition of exchange rate controls and regulating food prices, actions that workers have criticised for having already been implemented in the past without success.
The Dendrobium orchid, or golden grass orchid, is disappearing from the island due to climate change. Known as the "God Flower" to Taiwan's indigenous Tsou people, it is used for all kinds of ceremonies. According to the native tribe, it is no longer cold enough in winter to allow the buds to form and bloom in the spring.
RUSSIA – CYPRUS
A group of FBI agents arrived in Cyprus from the United States to help the local police investigate cases of possible violation of sanctions by Russian oligarchs, The Guardian reports. The US agents will explore what role lawyers and accountants in Cyprus, through contacts in the Turkish side of the island, have played in helping the oligarchs get around restrictions for the past 10 years.
“I urge you to immediately end the repression of peaceful demonstrators, community leaders, journalists and activists in Tajikistan, as well as all forms of transnational repression,” said Senator Ben Cardin, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during hearings on the actions of authoritarian regimes against dissidents abroad.