06/16/2022, 09.19
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Hong Kong, new school textbooks erase British colonial past

Today's headlines: climate change behind the spike in Dengue cases in Singapore; in North Korea, Covid is joined by an 'unspecified' intestinal epidemic; Israel to reopen Taba crossing with Egypt on 3 July; 20 times more Afghan child workers in Iran under Taliban; Western sanctions lead to lack of super-technological lifts for skyscrapers in Russia. 




Hong Kong's new school textbooks state that the territory was never a British colony. On the contrary, it is emphasised that London 'only exercised colonial rule', endorsing Beijing's thesis of a sovereignty that was never broken. Hong Kong was reunited with mainland China in 1997, after 150 years of British rule with the sole exception of 1941 to 1945. 


In North Korea, an 'unspecified' intestinal epidemic has broken out in an agricultural area, adding to Covid-19 in a poor nation lacking adequate health resources, starting with medicines and vaccines. Seoul is monitoring the situation, according to a Unification Ministry official it could be cholera or typhus. 


Afghan child workers in Iran have increased 20-fold since the Taliban came to power in Kabul in August 2021. A never-ending stream of families has crossed the border to escape violence and insecurity; in the Islamic Republic they resort to any expedient to collect money, including the exploitation of children. In addition to Afghanistan, there are those from Pakistan and Iraq. 


Climate change is responsible for the escalation of dengue cases recorded in Singapore this year. An exceptionally hot and humid season favoured the breeding of mosquitoes carrying the haemorrhagic fever. In 2022, there were about 15,000 cases, three times the 5,258 in early 2021. If left untreated, the disease has a mortality rate of up to 20%. 


Israel is ready to reopen the Taba crossing with Egypt. The date is set for 3 July, the border point will be accessible 7/7 and h24; it will reduce overcrowding and strengthen the link with Cairo. The crossing point was closed two years ago with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, half a million Israelis had crossed it on their way to the Sinai Peninsula. 


One consequence of Western sanctions in Russia is the shortage of super-technological lifts for the highest buildings, the 'towers' with the penthouses of the rich oligarchs. The US company Otis and the Finnish company Kone have completely ceased business relations with Russia. In an attempt to curb the problem, the builders are looking for new producers in Turkey and China.


Kyrgyzstan intends to lease a 25-hectare plot of land in Biškek to Russia for 49 years, according to an agreement signed on 13 June by the International Affairs Committee of Žogorku Keneš, the parliament. Buildings will be constructed on the two plots for the Federal Border Service, which has already acquired the land through a 1999 agreement on customs cooperation. 

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