06/13/2023, 09.41
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Hong Kong wants to loosen entry rules for foreign workers

Today's headlines: Afghan Taliban against music and dancing at weddings; Burmese junta shuts down oil wells in Magway, over 300,000 workers at risk, Beijing studies a new "water network" against drought, Holland and Canada want to try Damascus in the International Court for torture; Bhutan sets its sights on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency to build a 600-megawatt power plant; Tehran ready to build an assault drone factory in Russia.

Hong Kong plans to relax entry rules for foreign workers to stem a labor shortage that could have a major negative impact on the economy and competitiveness. Chief Executive John Lee confirmed that the plan will be unveiled "shortly," with the aim of strengthening sectors with "serious" shortages and averting a "labor crisis." 

Religious police have renewed a ban - hitherto disregarded - on all wedding halls in Kabul from playing music, dancing or engaging in activities that violate the norms of sharia, Islamic law, at wedding or anniversary celebrations. The Taliban had introduced the law last year, considering music contrary to the Muslim faith, but the owners had ignored the precept. 

The military junta has imposed the closure of all privately operated oil wells in the central Magway region, risking putting some 300,000 workers in the sector out of work. A decree that came last week without warning or any reason to justify the measure. Behind the move is the military's fear that the money could fund rebel groups. 

To counter climate change-related drought, Beijing is planning new - ambitious - infrastructure. In late May, top government officials released plans for a national "water network" with new canals, reservoirs and storage facilities for irrigation. However, experts warn that diverting rivers and changing reservoirs could have a harmful impact.  

The Netherlands and Canada have called for a trial against Syria at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), for torture. The two governments attack Damascus for committing "countless violations of international law" since the civil war began in the spring of 2011. It could be the first international tribunal to rule on torture cases. 

Bhutan, famed for its happiness index, is devising a plan based on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency to bolster the kingdom's economy and ferry it into the 21st century. The goal is to create together with Singapore-based Bitdeer Technologies Group a fund to raise 0 million to invest in a 600-megawatt power plant, tapping potential in the hydropower sector. 

Iran has promised Moscow to build a factory to produce "Shahed" assault drones, providing the necessary materials to open the facility in the "Alabuga" special economic zone in Tatarstan by early 2024. Meanwhile, Tehran will continue to equip the Russians with military drones, brought across the Caspian Sea from Amirabad to Makhačkala.

A court in Biškek sentenced the former president of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiev, to 30 years in prison in a hard-line prison camp. He is accused of corruption in an affair dating back to 2013 and related to the "Kumtor Gold Company" mine contract. Judges also imposed life imprisonment on his son Maksim and other officials linked to him, almost all of whom now reside abroad.

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