11/24/2023, 09.15
ASIA TODAY
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Gaza: truce between Israel and Hamas starts, first prisoner exchange

Today's news: for Beijing there are no 'new or unusual' pathogens causing the paediatric pneumonia epidemic. South Korean appeals court orders Japan to pay compensation to 16 'comfort women'. At least 20,000 Sri Lankan workers ready to leave for Israel in the agricultural and construction sectors. UN resolution against Iran for religious freedom violations, Tehran executes young pro-Masha Amini protester. Russian sturgeon market 40% occupied by illegal Chinese production.

GAZA - QATAR
The long-awaited four-day truce between Israel and Hamas came into force this morning, but both have declared that it will only be "temporary" and mortar shells and an air attack were heard moments before it began. Under the deal, brokered by Qatar, 13 Israeli hostages are expected to be released today, while a total of 50 will be freed over the course of four days. In contrast, Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners. In the meantime, trucks loaded with medicines, fuel and food have entered Gaza from Egypt, with the delivery of 130 thousand liters of diesel fuel per day expected.

CHINA - HONG KONG
Beijing has not reported the presence of "unusual or new pathogens" that have caused an epidemic of pediatric pneumonia in the north of the country in recent weeks. This is what the World Health Organization underlined in a note, presenting the results of a report received from China which explains the outbreaks with the end of Covid-19 restrictions and the increased circulation of viruses and bacteria. Meanwhile in Hong Kong two superbugs are on the increase among patients, while healthcare leaders intend to use artificial intelligence against the excessive use of antibiotics.

SOUTH KOREA - JAPAN
A South Korean appeals court has ordered Japan to compensate 16 women forced to prostitute themselves in Japanese wartime brothels [comfort women], overturning a first-instance ruling that had dismissed the case. The protest from Tokyo was immediate, over a thorny issue left over from the colonial rule of the Rising Sun on the peninsula (1910-45), a topic that is still sensitive today.

MYANMAR
Over a thousand schools (out of a total of 1800) spread across 10 municipalities in western Myanmar have been abandoned by pupils due to the intensification of battles in Rakhine State between soldiers of the coup junta and Arakan militias. To date, "only" 650 institutions are operational. State media, controlled by the junta, define the closures as "fake news" even if they come from official channels.

SRI LANKA - ISRAEL
Despite the war, at least 20 thousand Sri Lankan workers are ready to leave for Israel in desperate search of (well) paid work. The sectors most in demand are agriculture and construction, especially in the large agri-food companies in the center and south of the country which so far have made use of the workforce of Thais (dozens seized by Hamas on 7 October) and Palestinians. Sri Lanka's Minister of Labor and Foreign Employment said it had received more than 10,000 applications.

IRAN - UN
Tehran secretly executed 21-year-old Milad Zohrevand, sentenced to death in connection with last year's anti-government protests over Mahsa Amini. Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution on human rights violations in Iran, including "continued and serious" limitations "on freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief". The text passed with 80 votes in favour, 29 against and 65 abstentions and mentions Christian victims of arbitrary arrests and detentions.

RUSSIA
According to data from the Single Control Register (Fgis), the domestic market for black sturgeon caviar is 40% occupied by illegal production from China, sold as Russian without passing safety checks. In 2023, infringements of up to almost 20 tons of illegal goods were detected. According to the president of the Caviar Union Aleksandr Novikov "it is only the tip of the iceberg".

KAZAKHSTAN
Presenting the new budget law, Astana illustrated the results that indicate the "transition to the new economic model" announced several times by President Kasym-Žomart Tokaev. It is based on transparency and credit and fiscal balance, stimulating local production and the export of secondary materials. Attracted .3 billion in foreign investment.

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